Let’s kick off 2019 with an excerpt from Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. Enjoy!
Plucking a blue apple from the tree, Dariana takes a seat next to Fizzle and uses her sleeve to clean her snack. The purple-scaled drite is on his back and breathing heavy, his stomach bloated from overeating. Scratching her friend’s blunted horns, the telepath takes a bite of the fruit and nearly chokes on the deluge of water that runs down her throat. Feeling Fizzle shiver in the winter air, Dariana gently places him in her lap and removes her long-sleeved shirt to use as a blanket. Unaffected by the cold, she remains outside in her dirty t-shirt and nibbles at the rest of the apple. The stars appear one by one while Tavon the Blue Moon rises to her left, its three siblings nowhere to be seen. Her puffs of breath drift through the air and gather like tiny clouds that dance around the extravagant garden. They are about to return to the telepath when she senses another presence and has them dissipate.
“This may be the last time I can visit you,” Zaria says as she takes a seat next to her daughter. Noticing several faces in the sky, the Purity Goddess glares at the curious deities until they leave. “Some are still hoping that I get myself sealed, but the Law of Influence is not as heavily enforced these days. Once your father is defeated, things will return to normal. So . . . why are you lying to your friends again?”
“Only to Nyx,” Dariana replies while running a finger along Fizzle’s delicate wing. She stops when the drite’s tail slaps at the ground and he whimpers in response to a bad dream. “I told her enough about Luke. Regardless of what Nyx says, she doesn’t need to know how broken his mind is. The surface is all pain and fear, but deeper is this void that I’ve never felt before. At first I thought a part of him was torn out by my father. Yet, I still sense that something is in there and avoiding me. Luke is certainly shattered and shouldn’t be able to resist my power, but it’s like trying to pull a specific drop of water out of the ocean.”
“Mortals are physically simple, but mental complicated,” the red-haired goddess states with a sigh. Curious about the unusual apples, she stretches her arm to claim a yellow one and takes a bite that causes her tongue to shine like a lantern. “I would like to comment on Luke’s condition, but I have nothing to say that you don’t already know. Like you, I have faith that he will recover before he is truly needed. Not that you have a lot of time left. Arthuru is waiting in Vir’s Castle and his patience does have its limits.”
Dariana is about to ask a question that is wiped from her mind by her mother’s intrusive thoughts. Unused to being on the receiving end of a telepathic attack, the silver-haired woman shudders and twitches for several seconds. Her body relaxes once she erects enough mental shielding to sort through the static that is making her brain spasm. The relief is short-lived before another pulse rocks her psyche and sends her tumbling through a chilling darkness that seeps into her nerves. Numb and defenseless, Dariana can only trust that her mother knows what she is doing and has a reason for the unexpected attack.
Her descent comes to an abrupt stop when the telepath lands in a patch of clovers that absorbs her solid impact. Getting to her hands and knees, Dariana sees that she is on an island small enough for her to see the entire coastline. The largest plants are berry bushes that are spread out around the flat land, which is a patchwork of clovers and crabgrass. She is about to head for a small hut made out of sticks when the champion hears a low hum coming from behind her. Cautiously turning around, Dariana sees a towering portal composed of lightning, shadows, fire, and ice. The moment her eyes focus on the terrifying sight, her psyche is snapped back into her back and she wakes with a jolt.