Minstrels of Skaythe is a fantasy series of novellas by Deby Fredericks that takes place in the world of Skyathe. The stories follow the members of a disbanded troupe of mage-minstrels, taught by the recenly late Ar-Thea, who are running for their lives. Each one has an internal battle between wanting to help others and hiding to save their own life. They know they cannot violently defeat the oppressive, cruel, and very powerful master mage Dar-Gothull who rules Skaythe. Especially when Skaythe itself is cruel and oppressive. All they can do is battle the regime doing what they know best: reaching the people as mages and minstrels while trying not to be found. Being found could mean worse than a quick death, it could mean having their souls sucked away.
The series has received praise by authors Priscilla Bettis (author of the modern Gothic Horror novel The Hay Bale); Alden Loveshade (author of GURPS Fantasy Folk: Elves which recommends the series); and David Lee Summers (author, editorial director of Hadrosaur Productions, and publisher of Tales of the Talisman Magazine).
The descriptions below are of the beginnings of the books and do not have spoilers.
The Tower in the Mist
Description: Seargent Zathi's Badger Squad's job is to capture renegade mages in the cruel world of Skaythe. But Keilos is a mage-minstrel who is unlike any they've enountered before. While transporting their prisoner through a strange forest, they face deadly battles and the key to an ancient mystery. They also face compromising their principles which may force them to either change their ways or kill their prisoner.
Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts
Description: Cylass is a warrior who's more dead than alive. The cruel rules of Skaythe demanded taking his armor and weapons and abandoning him to die. But the dancer Tisha, who's also a mage, appears. She doesn't leave him to die, but her help leaves both of them facing the wrath of Cylass' former lord.
The Ice Witch of Fang Marsh
Description: Meven is a hunted renegade ice witch. Left with no other place to go, she hopes to hide in the dangerous Fang Marsh. But to get there, she has to go through the town of Eshur, where her old enemy, Countess Ar-Toris, commands dozens of spies and guards. But her plans are thrown awry when she meets Ozlin, a boy thrown out because of his emerging magic
The Renegade of Opshar
Description: The juggler-mage Berisan wants to hide to save his life. So he disquises himself as a beggar in the small village of Opshar. But there he encounteres Yamaya, a pregnant widow struggling to hold onto the family farm, who has secrets of her own.
Prisoners of the Wailing Tower
Description: Alemin, juggler-mage and brother of Berisan, was arrested for helping an innocent person. He is thrown into the Larder, a prison of nightmares where his fellow inmates are murderers. Meanwhile, Lorrah, a mage-violinist, is with Badger Squad which knew Keilos. She senses one of her fellow minstrel needs help. But what can she do?