Lifeblood, p.1
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       Lifeblood, p.1

         Part #2 of Everlife series by Gena Showalter  
Lifeblood


  "My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning."

  With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

  Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future--and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

  But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget--the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love...or victory.

  Books by Gena Showalter

  available from Harlequin TEEN

  The Everlife Novels

  (in reading order)

  Firstlife

  Lifeblood

  The White Rabbit Chronicles

  (in reading order)

  Alice in Zombieland

  Through the Zombie Glass

  The Queen of Zombie Hearts

  A Mad Zombie Party

  The Intertwined Novels

  (in reading order)

  Intertwined

  Unraveled

  Twisted

  To God, my rock, my fortress and my deliverer!

  To Naomi at French 'N' Bookish--Thank you for all you do. Your support and enthusiasm are absolutely priceless!

  To Katy Evans and Sarah J. Maas--You guys are such a delight, and so freaking talented! I'm honored to know you.

  To my earthly support team, Vicki Tolbert, Shonna Hurt, Michelle Quine and Jill Monroe--You are divine blessings!

  To Bryn Collier--You give good promo! Thank you, thank you and a thousand times thank you!

  To Siena Koncsol--You, brilliant lady, do so much behind the scenes and I'm so very grateful!

  To my editor Natashya Wilson--The time and attention you give to me and my work is so appreciated!

  "I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

  --CHARLES DICKENS, A TALE OF TWO CITIES

  The light Expands and the darkness Narrows

  I've heard it said your entire life flashes before your eyes as you die. Those words comfort those who have loved and been loved but torment those who have failed and been failed.

  I say, when you know where you're going to spend eternity, celebrate! Death has been defeated. Life forever reigns.

  I am proof. My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is now beginning.

  My Light will shine...

  The shadows will scatter...and every life will matter...

  It's time to do what I was born to do. It's time to arise and shine.

  Whatever I face--be it war, persecution, hunger, simple threats or my Second-death--I will not be deterred. Night will be replaced by day, and those who cry in the dark will rejoice in the morning.

  The day is about to dawn. Time is short. Let the battle begin.

  Glossary of Terms

  excerpted from the Book of the Law

  * * *

  Abrogate--

  Without hope, there is no Light.

  The highest rank of General in Myriad.

  Rare, none currently in existence.

  Those who extinguish the Light in others.

  Conduit--

  Day will forever chase away the night.

  The highest rank of General in Troika.

  Rare, only two currently in existence.

  Those who absorb the essence of sunlight from the Land of the Harvest and direct the beams to Troika.

  Covenant--

  So you shall say, and so it shall be.

  Any blood oath agreed upon between two separate parties (i.e. a human and an Everlife realm), legally voided only through court.

  If covenant terms are broken illegally, a human can be punished and put to death and a spirit can be enslaved.

  Everlife--

  Where there is no beginning and no end.

  The afterlife, where Troika and Myriad are in power and at war.

  Also known as the Unending.

  Firstking--

  He reigns with mercy and might evermore, evermore.

  Creator of Troika, Myriad, humans and their home, the Land of the Harvest.

  Father of the Secondkings: Eron the Prince of Doves, and Ambrosine the Prince of Ravens.

  Firstlife--

  What is isn't always what's supposed to be.

  A human life (i.e. a spirit encased inside a body).

  Dress rehearsal for the Everlife.

  Firstdeath--

  The end is merely the beginning.

  The demise of a human body.

  Occurs the moment a spirit cuts ties with its body.

  Fused--

  Believing a lie does not make it a truth.

  A Myriadian belief that a spirit is joined to another spirit (or even multiple spirits) after Second-death to be reborn in the Land of the Harvest.

  Disputed by Troikans.

  General--

  Learn the way, go the way, show the way.

  Next in command under the Secondking.

  Those who oversee specific teams of Leaders, Headhunters, Laborers and Messengers within the realms.

  Responsible for planning battle strategies and leading armies into war.

  Laborer--

  Clear the way, make the paths straight.

  One of six main positions within the realms, directly under Leader.

  Responsible for returning to the Land of the Harvest to convince select humans to make covenant with their realm of choice.

  ML, the term for a Myriadian Laborer; TL, the term for a Troikan Laborer.

  Land of the Harvest--

  We shall sow, and we shall reap.

  Earth, home to humans.

  Leader--

  A helpmate is more valuable than diamonds.

  Assistants to the Generals.

  Responsible for delegating assignments to all other sub-positions within the realms.

  Many Ends--

  Ignore your future, pay the price.

  The realm where Unsigned are imprisoned after Firstdeath.

  Where happiness goes to die and nightmares come to terrible life.

  Messenger--

  Harken and deliver the good news.

  One of six main positions within the realms, directly under Laborer.

  Responsible for teaching humans about the realms, protecting others from the enemy and chronicling exploits within and without the realm.

  Myriad--

  Autonomy, bliss, indulgence.

  The dark realm, ruled by the Prince of Ravens.

  Magical forests whisper enchanted tales, and secrets lurk in every corner...self-indulgence is revered, and the party never stops...victors are adored and failures are abhorred...emotion always trumps logic.

  Motto: Might Equals Right.

  Penumbra--

  In the dark, the blind lead the blind.

  A disease born and spread in darkness, capable of draining Troikans of Light.

  Origin and cure unknown.

  Realms--

  Home is where the heart is nourished or starved.

  Kingdoms in the Everlife: Troika, Myriad and Many Ends.

  Second-death--

  Another end, another new beginning.

  When a spirit is drained of Lifeblood.

  Myriad believes a spirit is Fused to another spirit(s) in order to return to the Land of the Harvest; Troika believes a spirit enters into the Rest forevermore.

  Secondking--

  The one you follow decides the roads you take.

  One of two sons of the Firstking; Eron the Prince of Doves, and Ambrosine the Prince of Ravens.

  Ruler of a realm.

  The Rest--

  Peace beyond all understanding awaits.

  Troikans believe a spirit enters into this state of absolute tranquillity after Second-death, forever separated from the realms...with a few exceptions.

  The Resurrection--

  And so the dead shall rise again.

  Once every year, Troika holds a vote; one spirit within the Rest is brought back to spirit-life.

  The winner must exit the Rest even if he or she wishes to remain.

  Troika--

  Justice, equality, freedom of choice.

  The realm of Light, ruled by the Secondking Eron, the Prince of Doves.

  Untouched by gloom, where hard work isn't an expectation but a way of life, equality isn't an ideal but a standard and fear isn't a treasured friend but a hated foe...logic always trumps emotion...people are governed by a strict set of rules, and violators are punished.

  Motto: Light Brings Sight.

  Unsigned--

  Without hope, there can be no joy.

  A human who fails to make covenant with Troika or Myriad before Firstdeath.

  Damned to spend the Everlife inside Many Ends.

  Veil--

  All who enter are welcome.

  A doorway leading into and out of an Everlife realm.

  Contents

  Troika

  Troika

  Troika

  Troika

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter Six

  Troika

  Troika

  Troika

  Troika

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Troika

  Troika

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Troika

  Troika

  Troika

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Myriad

  Troika

  Troika

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Myriad

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Myriad

  Myriad

  TROIKA

  * * *

  From: L_N_3/19.1.1

  To: M_C_4/2.17.12

  Subject: Tenley Lockwood You begged to take over Miss Lockwood's case, Madame Cordell, and vowed to always--always!--keep me updated on her progress. Since her Firstlife ended by poisoned spear, I have yet to receive a single report. Update me. Now!

  Light Brings Sight!

  General Levi Nanne

  TROIKA

  * * *

  From: M_C_4/2.17.12

  To: L_N_3/19.1.1

  Subject: Your patience and trust humble me My apologies for making you wait a whole 6.8 seconds for another report, sir. If you haven't noticed, my team is a little busy slaughtering Myriadian soldiers--and getting slaughtered in the process. By the way, Archer Prince has experienced Second-death. Not that you asked. I've lost track of Tenley and suspect Myriad is hiding her within their shadows. I'm doing my best to locate her, sir.

  Light Brings Sight! Maybe consider using yours?

  Madame Meredith Cordell

  TROIKA

  * * *

  From: L_N_3/19.1.1

  To: M_C_4/2.17.12

  Subject: Brrring! Brrring! This is your wake-up call Find her!

  And you had better not be crying for Archer. He lived a good life and died a warrior's death. His name has been added to the Book of New Life, and he's a candidate for the Resurrection. You just might see him again--and soon!

  Light Brings Sight!

  General Levi Nanne

  TROIKA

  * * *

  From: M_C_4/2.17.12

  To: L_N_3/19.1.1

  Subject: Please leave a message at the beep

  When has "might" ever been good enough?

  Light Brings Sight!

  Madame Meredith Cordell

  MYRIAD

  * * *

  From: Z_C_4/23.43.2

  To: R_O_3/2.17.12

  Subject: The Conduit It's certain. Miss Lockwood has made covenant with Troika. Foolish Madame Bennett! Her actions hurt us all. We appeared immoral and foul, so I can't blame Miss Lockwood for her choice. My question is: Does Killian Flynn protect Miss Lockwood for our benefit--or theirs?

  How would you like me to proceed?

  Might Equals Right!

  Sir Zhi Chen

  MYRIAD

  * * *

  From: R_O_3/2.17.12

  To: Z_C_4/23.43.2

  Subject: Instructions You're right. Madame Pearl Bennett got us into this mess, but I'm happy to report Killian Flynn will get us out. I assure you, his every action is intentional and for our greater good. His mission is critical.

  You will tell no one of his motivation. The fewer people who know, the less likely the information will spread, compromising everything he has done and has yet to do. Let today's battle play out without interference.

  And fear not. All is not lost where Tenley Lockwood is concerned. Killian is working his magic to ensure she single-handedly wins the war--for us. Let him do what he needs to do. He knows what's at stake, and he won't let us down. He never has before.

  Might Equals Right!

  General Rosalind Oriana

  chapter one

  * * *

  "Tribulation reveals your greatest strength...or greatest weakness."

  --Troika

  Present day

  Sand in the hourglass falls, one grain at a time...time...one second bleeds into two...three... I try to piece together my fragmented thoughts. A difficult task. My mind is hazy, my thoughts blurred. Four...

  A fact clicks into place. Numbers are my greatest obsession; they always tell a story, and they never lie.

  Five...five...five. The numeral gets trapped in my head, set on constant repeat. Click. Five minutes and fourteen seconds ago, I died.

  Whoa. I'm dead?

  I must be. My heart no longer beats, and my lungs are deflated. I can't breathe. I need to breathe. Sweat beads on my nape and trickles down my spine, and yet my limbs remain ice-cold.

  Calm. Steady. Though my body is wrecked, my spirit lives on. This is a new beginning. A new life.

  Calm? Seriously? From now on, I'll have zero second chances. Zero do-overs. Everything I do will matter: every word I say, every action I take, every person I befriend and every enemy I slay will positively or negatively affect me. No ifs, ands or buts.

  Welcome to the Everlife.

  The words whisper on the wind, and a quiet ring erupts in my ears. In seconds, the volume cranks to high. I cringe. My bones vibrate, and a light tap registers against my ribs. Tap, tap. Tap, tap. Bang, BANG!

  I gasp, taking my first breath, the real me awakening at last. My chest cools, and my lungs fill. I can breathe again. I'm dead, but still I live.

  Arise! Arise and shine!

  Another whisper drifts on the wind...or a voice is speaking inside my head.

  I'm dead and crazy?

  Inside, I wither and return to my default setting: counting. Six...seven...

  Click. Seventeen! I'm seventeen years old. I was born on the tenth day of the tenth month at 10:10 a.m., and I died on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at 10:14 a.m.

  1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 0 + 1 + 4 = 10

  The work of Fate, some would say. Wrong! Fate is a myth, an excuse, a way to cast blame. While we might have a divine purpose, not everything that happens is through divine intervention. Our actions change the course of our lives for good or for ill.

  We are the final authority.

  My present is the sum total of decisions made in my past--my own decisions, and even those made by the people around me. We are accountable...count...eight, nine... Ten!

  Click, click. My name is Tenley Lockwood. "Ten" to my friends.

  5 + 5 = 10. A representative of two equal parts.

  The last piece of the puzzle snaps into place. Two realms in the Everlife--Troika and Myriad--are currently locked in a fierce, brutal battle.

  Troika fought to save my Firstlife while Myriad strove to end it. Myriad proved successful. My body lies on a blood-drenched street in the heart of LA.

  Congrats, Myriad. You won a battle. You won't win the war.

  With my last breath, I pledged my allegiance to Troika, evermore, and I have no regrets. I value Firstlife. I like rules and enjoy structure. I understand every punishment is meant to teach rather than harm.

  I'm a Troikan now, born anew in blood and violence. A soldier in a war as old as time. I've become enemies with people I've never met as well as people I know and love.

  I've become enemies with Killian, a top Laborer in Myriad.

  Killian! His name is a ragged cry from the depths of my soul. I'd say we dated, but dated is too mild a word. I craved him like a drug...and yet I still chose Troika over Myriad.

  Home sweet home. Something I've never really had.

  I'm supposed to hate him, but every fiber of my being flinches at the thought. I will never harm him. He means too much to me.

  "Is she dead?" A harsh, unfamiliar voice claims my attention. "Did she make covenant with Troika?"

 
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