The Journey to Avristar
You didn’t know what to expect when you stepped onto the boat and traveled into the mists, but when you landed on the island of Avristar, you forgot about the Lands of Men you came from. You found the rolling fields of Orlondir and saw the bonfire in the distance. You quickened your pace, cresting hills with agility you never knew you had. You stopped short, taking gulps of air as you watched the Brotherhood of Amersil sparring. Someone with long brown hair speckled with gray beckoned you to follow them. He lead you around the moat and past the trimmed hedges, across the bridge and through the courtyard.
He stopped at the elaborate stone archway before the Grand Hall and nodded to someone on the inside. He moved aside and you stepped forward, noting the distinct smell of apple pie. Before you, creamy marble floors stretched on endlessly. They curled around the most breathtaking fountain you have ever seen in your entire life and tapered off near the edges of the cavernous room. A group of bards played on the other side of the fountain, filling the empty air with music that made you want to dance.
You past the first clusters of tables, avoiding the hairy feorns and the glass-faced fae. You thought you saw a girl with long pointy ears but she was gone before you could talk to her. You bumped into a chair and lowered yourself into it, your eyes constantly flickering across the space, noticing something new with each pass. A chandelier above your head with shimmering crystals, honey-crusted quail on a plate in front of you, sparkling water trickling over the lily pad shaped basins of the fountain, and kinfolk dancing to the music.
Someone sits down beside you. They’re dressed in a black and silver embroidered gown, their black hair trailing down their back. They rest their chin on their cupped hand and smile. “Welcome to Avristar, do you like what I’ve done with the place?”
Leave a comment if you have an answer for me 😉
Flame of Surrender is finally available for everyone to read! As in, it’s on sale now! Okay, it’s not on sale everywhere, but it’s on sale in some places now! In celebration of this crazy milestone known as my YA debut . . . some bloggy people are hosting some goodies for you . . .
I’m hosting something that was on Parajunkee in September for her Supernatural Smackdown series, but it was too good not to do a replay so here it is again . . .
#FoS Alternate Ending: If the villain had won . . .
They came and went, came and went, from her little glassy chamber. Kaliel watched them, the people in the silvery white coats, their tawny hair caught in buns or shaved close the nape of their necks. They didn’t know she could see them, they didn’t know she could feel them, they didn’t know she could hear them.
They didn’t know.
She felt heavy, her limbs like boulders, her head a dead weight. She had been laying on the linoleum floor for what seemed like forever, the faint glow of crystals creating an artificial light above her. It brightened and dimmed, casting a pale rosy glow over everything.
The sound of feet shuffling made her aware. Her amethyst enflamed eyes shot open and caught the ceiling. Someone loomed into her peripheral vision, their face a blurry mask of shapes and colors blending together. She whimpered trying to make them understand, trying to make them stop but they didn’t. Something clamped over her arm and it was followed by a slight pinch as the needle slid into her skin. Her stomach heaved involuntarily as they depressed the plunger and removed the needle. Her vision blurry, her chest crushed, everything moved in clockwise circles. She trembled involuntarily and tried to scream but she had no voice. Tears escaped the corners of her eyes and slid down her temples, getting lost in her thick white curls of hair.
They left the room, the glass door slid shut and she plunged into the nothingness again. The eerie glowing light, the deadness of her heavy muscles, the vertigo taking over her every sense, she couldn’t fight it if she tried. All she remembered was his white-lightning eyes. Her elder Mallorn on Avristar had called him Crestaos, one of the dangerous members of the Valtanyana. His eyes had crackled like electrical storms before he had drawn her into his arms, his bony hands wrapping around her soft flesh like metal shackles. He had floated through the forests, past the cabin on the mound that belonged to Mallorn. He had reached the wooden boat at the edge of the island and dumped her unceremoniously into it. They had glided away from the shores of her home without a whisper. She had tried to cry out, she had tried to fight, she had tried to escape the boat. She had tried to alert the merfolk, but they had long since left the shores of Avristar. Nobody had come to her rescue, not even the boy she loved, Krishani of Amersil.
Her heart felt like shattered glass when it came to him. It ached in a succession of beats, forever poisoning her limbs with heaviness and drought. Her mouth felt like parchment, her shoulders cold, and her heart on fire. The Flame inside of her had retreated to some unknown place and her eyes were their usual shining emerald.
She had tried one last attempt at escape and that was when his bony hand wrapped itself around her forearm, the white-lightning crackling as Crestaos’s eyes bore into hers. All it took was one more look at him, and the darkness wrapped around her like a carpet being rolled up. Her strength crashed as she descended into the dark place, unable to move, unable to speak, unable to do anything to rescue herself.
She woke up in the glass chamber, and for days and weeks and maybe moons, she laid there, spread eagle on the floor in her knee length ivory maiden’s gown. She had spent the better part of her entrapment thinking about Krishani. Was he dead? Was he captured? Did the Daed kill him the way she had seen in her vision? Was he looking for her? Did he leave Avristar? Did the elders force him to the ugly fate of being the Ferryman? Was she ever going to see him again?
The questions went unanswered. Her lips were like rubber, she babbled like an infant when attempting to form coherent sentences. Her words slurred together, her lips betrayed her. She whimpered and gasped, growled and guffawed but nothing changed the way they treated her. They poked and prodded her until she was bruised and sometimes bloody and then they left.
Injections were the worst. They burned from the inside out forcing an internal struggle in her paralytic state. She couldn’t do anything but let the pain run its course, let it burn out into her extremities until she passed out. Longing for Krishani was trumped by the idea of hanging onto consciousness long enough to fight whatever it was they were doing to her.
In the present, Kaliel waited for the injection to take effect. She waited, her thoughts swirling, her mind braying for mercy. And then the glass door slid open again and the stench of him hit her nostrils. He smelled like the burnt tips of fabric combined with the hint of lavender. She thought it was disgusting.
“Little Flame,” he breathed.
She had heard that voice before, in her mind when she was begging him to stop. He said then that he wouldn’t stop until she belonged to him. Her skin prickled as his footsteps paced around her. She felt him kneel at the crown of her head. His hand pressed into her shoulder and shocks ran through her body forcing her to seize involuntarily. Kaliel tasted foam in her mouth as she shook with violent force, the electricity running through her like a wild current. She heard something pop and then his hand released her and she slumped into the ground, an ache mushrooming through her back.
“I was expecting more from you little Flame,” he said as his footsteps retreated.
Kaliel tried to shake her head, tried to grab him, tried to protest, but she couldn’t do anything if he was going to leave her there. His hand smacked the interior wall playfully and her eyes widened. The orderlies rushed into the room, one under each of her shoulders, pulling her to her feet. Her knees buckled as her feet bent against the concrete floor. Hands pressed violently into her torso, forcing her to stay upright. Kaliel ran her eyes over Crestaos’s form. He was in black polished shoes, black trousers and a mandarin style jacket with silver buttons running down the left hand side. The cuffs were tapered with those same little buds of silver. His face was the product of dismay. Sallow skin spotted with tiny translucent red spots dotted his face. His nose was jagged and long, his cheeks droopy and his eyes sunken into their sockets. He had a high forehead and slicked back stringy white hair. There was a smirk on his colorless lips, and when he spoke, Kaliel noticed his black teeth and tongue. She cringed at the unseemliness of it and avoided his eyes.
“I don’t want to hurt you anymore,” he said, dead pan.
Kaliel still couldn’t find her feet; she remained slumped in her paralytic state, unable to give him a reaction other than the one in her eyes, her shining violet colored eyes. The injections forced the Flame to the forefront of her mind. It forced her aura to spark with the faint white violet color that Crestaos was addicted to. She hung her head, not wanting to hear lies, not wanting to know what he wanted to do with her, what that mouth wanted to do with her. She would rather crawl out of her body than let him touch her.
Crestaos snapped his fingers and like a marionette on strings, her body stiffened like a board. There were aches everywhere. Her feet found the ground, and the orderlies eased up on her torso.
“Follow me,” he said, turning from the door, his shiny shoes clacking on the concrete.
Kaliel was still paralyzed, she couldn’t stride forward, nor would she want to if she had control of her body. The orderlies moved her stiff as a board body down the corridor after Crestaos, lights and shadows collecting in strips on the bare concrete. She couldn’t glance up to see where the light was coming from, and part of her didn’t care. She knew she was far from home, a prisoner in the lands of the Valtanyana, somewhere in the Avristyr quadrant, the Lands of Beasts. Her heart thrummed in her chest, threatening to push her into overdrive, but she tried to keep her calm. This was different than the days of cowardice torture, of neglect, of idle experiments. She wasn’t sure what this was.
They carried her until he stopped. Crestaos was perched on a ledge, and she was afraid. He looked over his shoulder at her and then moved out of the way so that she could see what he was looking out at. The orderlies pushed her onto the balcony and then she saw it. Kaliel gaped, letting her eyes wash over the rushing rapids, the red rocks, the cages of rabid animals. Crestaos snapped his fingers again and Kaliel pitched forward, the paralysis wearing off in an instant. She fell on her hands and knees and retched. She wiped her mouth with her back of her hand and glanced up at Crestaos.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked; her voice hoarse and raspy.
He smiled at her and put a hand on the railing. There was movement, it sounded like rocks sliding out of the way. Kaliel pulled herself to her feet and peered over the edge. There were people stepping into the battlefield, faces she didn’t recognize. She scanned each of them, looking for something familiar until her eyes found him. Her whole body shook with tremors as she traced the contours of his face, the high cheek bones, the elongated ears, and the full lips. She let out a blood curdling scream and fought to throw herself over the balcony. She didn’t care if she died from the fall.
“Krishani!” she screamed as the orderlies pulled at her arms and legs, an impossibly strong force clamping her in place. Her head wobbled back and forth as she tried to comprehend. She couldn’t believe it. Crestaos had taken her, and he had taken Krishani. Who else had Crestaos killed? Who else had he imprisoned? Who had lasted long enough to face the battlefield?
Crestaos lowered his lips to her ear and she could smell the rot on his blackened teeth. “I want you to kill them.”
Kaliel straightened her back instinctively. Her mouth went dry, her mind blanked, her heart slammed against her ribcage as she thought of the idea of killing Krishani. She couldn’t do it, she wouldn’t do it. She would rather destroy herself than destroy the only thing she ever loved. She knew what Crestaos wanted her to do, he wanted her to let loose the Flame inside, let it encompass her until it crushed her. He wanted her to burn everything the way she had in the First Era. He wanted to watch her do it again and again and again. She bit back tears and whined against the pain as Crestaos placed his hand on her shoulder and the familiar shockwaves rippled through her.
“I can’t,” she whispered breathlessly as she stared at the edge of the balcony, unable to see the others gathered below.
Crestaos lifted his hand off her shoulder and pressed his back into the railing of the balcony. He crossed his arms. “You have no choice. You’re mine now.”
The boy who follows death meets the girl who could destroy the world.
Krishani thinks he’s doomed until he meets Kaliel, the one girl on the island of Avristar who isn’t afraid of him. She’s unlike the other girls, she swims with merfolk, talks to trees and blooms flowers with her touch. What he doesn’t know is that she’s a flame, one of nine individually hand crafted weapons, hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl.
Nobody has fallen in love with a flame until now. She becomes Krishani’s refuge from the dreams of death and the weather abilities he can’t control. Striking down thousand year old trees with lightning isn’t something he tries to do, it just happens. When the Ferryman dies, Krishani knows that he’s the next and that a lifetime of following death is his destiny.
And Kaliel can’t come with him. The Valtanyana are hunting the flames, the safest place for her is Avristar. Krishani can’t bear to leave her, and one innocent mistake grants the Valtanyana access to their mystical island. They’re coming for Kaliel, and they won’t stop until every last living creature on Avristar is dead. She has to choose, hide, face them, or awaken the flame and potentially destroy herself.
Coming November 1st, 2011
Don’t forget to visit my friends for more tidbits of #FoS.
I’ll let you be the judges, is my book worth it?