*** UPDATE: This project is on the back burner, as I am currently working on a new project called Siren Song (see its page above). I will probably be going back to it once I’ve finished the draft of Siren, but that remains to be seen. ***
Darkness Awakens is my current work-in-progress, a fantasy novel I’ve been working on since October of 2009. Here is a preview:
She closed her eyes and let herself fall back with her arms flung out at her sides. The wildflowers grew so tall that her limbs and head were mostly hidden, a torso floating in a sea of multihued flowers. She breathed in as deeply as her diseased lungs would allow. The perfume wafted in a fragrant cloud around her, waiting for her to sample its richness, its depth, its tranquility. A coughing fit seized her, wracking her thin body. The reward is worth the sacrifice, she thought, as she wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth with a shaking hand.
The serenity of this place encouraged her to drift off, to forget about all the things that were weighing on her mind. Craving oblivion, she gave in to the tempting darkness.
The sun peeking between the petals and stems fell on her face, waking her with its piercing rays. She rubbed her emerald eyes, surprised by how much time had passed. As she was struggling to rise from the ground, a white mist surrounded her. Her skin tingled wherever it touched her. A healing mist.
A woman stepped out from the trees at the edge of the clearing, smiling at the girl as she approached. No, not a woman – a woman’s spirit; the trees could still be seen through her shimmering body. The regal apparition glided across the field, approaching Ayana.
“Child,” said the woman in her soft timbre, bowing slightly.
Another coughing fit prevented her from answering.
“It is not yet your time to go, Young One. You are still needed here.”
Ayana shook her head slowly. “I came here to leave peacefully,” she explained. “I am a Healer, I know that I will fade into the Mist soon.”
The spirit-woman smiled sadly in understanding. “It is true that your Gift has cost your body dearly, but I am here to ensure that you remain among the living, where your Gift will be strongest. There is a disturbance in the veil between Allul and the Mist, and if the balance continues to shift, they will collapse upon each other. The Fates have seen the End. You are the only one who can prevent the destruction of our people.”
Ayana’s steady gaze remained on the lovely translucent face as she processed the information. “What can I possibly do to stop the End from coming, if the Fates have already seen it?” she asked, her voice calm despite her growing sense of dread.
“All I know, Child, is that you are the key. The Fates will surely want an audience with you.”
Ayana sighed. “My body is on the edge of the Mist, there is nothing that can be done for me now.”
The elder reached out her hand as if to brush a brown curl behind the girl’s ear. Her eyes were ancient and kind. “We can heal you,” she said, waving her arm towards the trees as four more spirit-women emerged.
All five wore coronets upon their heads. They must be the echoes of the Queens of Drak, the strongest Council of Queens from Allul’s past! She bowed her head as she dropped to her knees, wincing at the shock of pain racing through her.
“Rise, Child!” commanded the closest spirit, who could be none but Lidesa, the First among Queens. She was helped to her feet by the mist that was still swirling around her, thickening as the other Queens approached. Ayana nodded silently, resigned to her Fate. She had always been different, her Gift too strong for her own body to withstand – she had always known that her life would be difficult.
The Queens of Drak formed a circle around her. She closed her eyes and felt herself lifted off the ground by a sudden burst of wind. Ayana shivered. The Queens chanted. The white mist rose. What had been broken was made whole.