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|Author||E. M. Kinsey|
|Other Characters|| Kanali (Sub-Antagonist)|
|Preceded by|| Living History|
|Followed by||The Thousand Winters'|
The Forges of Dawn is the first novel of the Iron Lyons series, written by author E. M. Kinsey and released on September 13, 2014.
Uhuru and her pride are peacefully living in a section of Afriik yet untouched by the Pale Ones, but that pride's long-standing search for Kamaria leads them there anyway. Koto and Hotio, the two leaders of the pride, try to fight off Jezisa and his cavalry but they are no match for the strength and ferocity of three hounds. Uhuru, having been absent during the attack, mourns over her fallen pride and gives them what burial and honors she can before tracking Jezisa's hounds down from a distance -- he still has Asta, Tarute, Dayima, Dasturi, Moyo, Liwaza, Ainra, and Aja held prisoner. Throughout the weeks it takes to get to The Black Mountains, some of the lyons manage to escape and Uhuru learns of a weakness the hounds have as well as managing to kill one.
She follows Jesiza into the Pale One stronghold where she is eventually captured herself after roaming around, bested by the Royal Guard Kanali but not before blinding him and taking an ear. Brought before Vireka, she learns of his interest to marry and breed her, and only goes along with it enough so that her family and herself are not hurt. However, Vireka sees through her ruse, and throws her in the Hound Pits, where she comes face to face with a houndified Tarute. She is able to bring him back from his magic-induced rage, in mind anyway, and use him to escape the Black Mountains. Vireka gives chase, following Uhuru all the way to the edge of the continent where she stands between the Pale One's captivity and cruelty, and the near certain death of jumping into The Tempest. Stubborn and unwilling to be within the white lords grasp again, she and Tarute choose the tempest.
Having survived the fury of the tempest, largely thanks to Tarute's bulk protecting her, Uhuru is dragged aboard a raft by Endian Utans who intend to sell her, figuring she comes from the lost continent of Afriik thus will be highly valued. When they arrive though, Prince Lochan of the Endian Empire takes her away if only to see if it is true and that she is not a false prize. The two exchange languages, Uhuru learns a bit more about her bloodline, and even comes to feel something for the brown, blond-maned lyon. The apes interpret this as stealing, and some weeks later, have Endian guards descend on the prince, Uhuru, and Tarute.
They are taken before Empress Chetna, who's quick temper sees them both thrown into the dungeon. Lochan is carried off to be beaten and tortured, while Uhuru stays behind and puts up with the prodding and oily words of a Maltese Tigrisian called Yu Song. She ends up making a bet with him -- If Lochan proves a rat like the tigris thinks, she must give him the Fyre Stones around her wrist. Uhuru, confident in Lochan and oblivious about the magical beads, agrees. Some time later, guards come to get Uhuru, which agitates Tarute. He breaks the bars of his prison, and savages the guards, nearly killing Uhuru and Yu Song in the process. She is able to reign him, though, and after picking up a badly beaten Lochan, the quartet escapes.
They meet Yu Song's crew of pirates, Uhuru immediately butting heads with Yu Song's second, Tai Yang. When the crew gets to Laksha Isles, Yu Song bids Uhuru to explore whilst keeping Navya on her tail to make sure she stays out of trouble. Interested in getting some Iron Armor for her eventual conquest, Uhuru drags Navya around looking for someone with a reasonable price to make it, and stumbles upon a Tigrisa called Ming Huo. The Sister of Tai Yang and former mate of Yu Song, Ming at first rejects Uhuru when she learns the lyonesse is wrapped up in the doings of Yu Song. Then, when she learns there is no Iron at Afriik -- only bronze -- she takes interest for the sake of profit and fame. She agrees to help Uhuru wiggle her way out of Yu Song's clutches, and the group sets off to secure Lochan and Tarute before Nayva runs to tell Yu Song and Tai Yang about Uhuru's plans.
On the way, an old lyon who'd braved The Waste and survived comes along called Modak, and they are able to get away from Yu Song on a boat steered by a crew of Tahras. They are not without loss though -- Uhuru does lose the beads, throwing them in the ocean and Lochan doesn't make it, stabbed in the heart by a knife thrown by Tai Yang. Uhuru abandons her name on the ship, donning one she feels suits her better: Uru -- diamond.
At last, they arrive on the very edge of the Waste, and meet a pride of Barbary lyons. Out of amusement, intrigue for Uhuru's red coat so like their own, and being hospitable anyways, the Barbary lyons allow the group to stay with them and train Uhuru while Ming Huo works on their armor.
Uru and Co. suit up for war. Uru completes her training with the Barbari lyons, those red lyons imparting one last offering for her to stay before she goes, and wisdom when she refuses the offer. An elder, Aloka, tells her she must fine the "white object" if she has any hope of traversing The Waste alive. What it is he cannot say, and his precognitive abilities indicate near all her paths end in un-death, but she presses on regardless after pouring her frustrations out onto Tarute. His will, his continued fire gives her strength, and so into the Waste she goes with her band.
All is well during the first week, as they stay long the waste's edge when the Guardians are least likely to stir, lead by Modak. However, the water eventually forces them inland, and they stalk quietly through the dead terrain, sounds and sights haranguing them as they walk. The tense stillness ends finally when Ming Huo sneezes due to some kicked up dust, awaking the first and then many of the undead guardians. The quartet are able to get away thanks to Tarute's speed and stamina, but they must eat and rest eventually -- the Guardians are tireless however, if slow.
When all seems lost, they finally do dig and find the white object, just as the biggest and nastiest of the guardians comes to seal their doom: Nirnasha. Uru, with Tsatsi's skull in her grasp, saves the group and is able to control the undead lyons, giving her an army to fight with. She explores the magic of the dead land, imbuing her armor with SunFyre, wearing Tsatsi's skull as a helmet and donning the deceased Lochan's mane as her own, appearing as some mad, undead god. It, she believes, will help the war effort.
Meanwhile, Vireka has finally realized that Uhuru is lost, and moves on to find her sister. She is not so red or so willful, but she will do, and he is much less patient about finding her than he is about Uru. Slandering her name, killing, and using the ColdFyre, he is able to get the lyonesse to give herself up to save the lives of others, where he treats her just as badly as he did her sister. Aja and Moyo struggle to survive, with hounds on their tails, but before they can be rent to peices, Uru and her army kill the hounds and their riders. With her ensemble on, Moyo at first doesn't recognize her, but he recognizes her voice. He also notices there is a hardness and resolve to his sister that wasn't there before, and marches besides her as she encroaches on the Black Mountains. Vireka is too busy preparing for his wedding to hear any words about a marching army, though even so there is doubt and fear in the very back of his mind.
Uhuru stumbles upon Kikore being beaten and about to be executed by Pale One high judges, but she kills them and Mimba, saving the lyons life for not ratting her out the first time she came to the lands. Kikore flees, gathering his wits and putting pieces together, realizing that this could be the only time in so many years that the Pale One's iron grip on Afriik is truly challenged and perhaps broken. That in mind, and tired of living under tyranny, he rallies forces of his own across the land to help the Red Queen.
Just as the wedding commences, Uru's forces fall onto the black mountains, interrupting it and enraging Vireka. He leaps and accosts the guard who bursts in on the ceremony, but stops short when he locks eyes with the white maned, red eyes monster of a lyon leering back at him, fur the color of blood with a skull for a head. Fearful, he begins to flee for his Coldfyre, but Nirnasha runs alongside Uru and takes control of it when Vireka tries to use it. Uru, meanwhile, does Kanali in and obliterates the white Lyon with her HeartFyre when he kills Tarute. Nirnasha looms over Uru as she holds him and grieves, giving her a hint as to how to bring him back to life, before he himself blows away in the wind, the magic that kept him undead gone now that Tsatsi's skull has been destroyed.
Indeed, Uhuru's magic does revive Tarute, and the lovers go on to become the new Rulers of the Black Mountains.
Back in Endia, Yu Song has gotten his claws on Uru's Fyre stones at last. Not without cost however -- he's drowned all but one of his crew in it's pursuit, but he has it all the same and remarks that his plans can truly be put into action now....
- Hotio is Uhuru's father and Co-leader of their pride.
- Koto is Hotio's brother and Co-leader of the pride, as well as the father of Dayima, Dasturi, and Moyo.
- Tai Yang is a sub-antagonist and Yu Song's mate. She is a female Tigrisian, and pirate from Yu Song's crew.
- Navya is one of the lower ranked crew members of Yu Song's pirates.
- Bambang is Wulan's Second or first mate.
- Wulan is the Captain of her rag-tag crew of Utans.
- Chetna is the Empress of the Endian Empire.