Night of the storm an ep.., p.21
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Night of the Storm: An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Eura Chronicles Book 2), p.21

           K.N. Lee
 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

  Lilae licked her lips, imagining the power they described. She also remembered how euphoric her power had felt the day Jaiza described in Lowen’s Edge. Something had snapped within her, turning her into a being driven by destruction.

  Her hands began to shiver. She clamped them together, frowning down at them when they wouldn’t stop.

  A gasp escaped her lips as her chest tightened, making it difficult to catch her breath. Jaiza’s image before her started to blur. Her skin grew hot, and her knees weakened, sending her to the floor with a loud thud. Lilae had no control over her body.

  She whimpered, her entire body locking and shutting down.

  Help. Help. She wanted to speak, but the words wouldn’t come out. It was as if something unseen clutched her throat.

  No. Panic took over. Lilae couldn’t breathe, move, or regain control of her body.

  What she could do was feel Dragnor activating his curse.

  Liam.

  Jaiza touched her, her frantic voice nothing more than a dull whisper as all light faded despite Lilae’s eyes being wide open.

  Something crashed through the window, and yet Lilae couldn’t move. Whatever towering creature had entered the room tossed Risa and Jaiza to the walls with a thud of broken bones.

  “Lilae!”

  DAWN CAST ITS FAINT GLOW on the city, waking Torgrid’s interesting breed of people. The goblins left their buildings in hordes, as if someone had rung a bell and made them leave their homes.

  Curious looks lifted to Liam and Rowe, although no one spoke to them. Children smiled and waved, their little faces brightening at seeing the strange glowing men outside the castle.

  Liam nodded at them and waved back, returning their kind smiles.

  In just a few days, they would embark on their next journey, one that would determine the fate of Ellowen.

  Such a heavy notion weighed on Liam’s mind as he and Rowe sat outside of the Keep, enjoying the fresh air as they waited for the others to awaken. Memories of Lilae’s laughter the night before put Liam at peace as his eyes followed the goblins down the road to the mines outside of the city.

  Liam’s smile faded as he watched a young mother shuffling her four children toward a large stone building separate from the tall towers that served as their homes.

  If only his mother could give him a sign that she was alive. His stomach churned each time he thought of her.

  Seeing Lilae smile with such vibrancy was enough to pull him from his dark thoughts of plagues and death back home. He’d give anything to see that smile every day—for the rest of his life.

  Such a notion should have frightened Liam, but it didn’t. It made an excitement brew inside that he had never felt.

  Was it possible to feel such strong feelings for a girl he’d just met only weeks ago? Sona had destroyed his heart with her betrayal, but the moment he’d met Lilae, it was as if she was an instant remedy and renewed him.

  Knowing that she was willing to return to Oren with him one day brought a smile to his lips. Liam pictured her walking through the palace gardens in a beautiful dress, her long hair styled in the Oren way; her smile directed at him made his smile widen.

  “We should probably wake Lilae and her sisters,” Liam said to Rowe. “Get started with preparing for our Gate.”

  “Maybe,” Rowe said. “But, they were pretty drunk last night. I’d let them rest a bit. You know nothing of the headache a night of too much ale or wine can give a person, especially someone as small as those women.”

  “I suppose you’re right,” Liam said, glancing to the left when Ayoki stepped from the front door. She didn’t look their way, but graceful, yet shy, she walked over to a stone bench and sat down with her back pressed against the wall of the keep.

  She drew her legs into her chest as she watched the sky above, a perplexed expression on her face. She leaned forward, as if focusing in on something.

  Ayoki was a mysterious creature, one that intrigued him. After what they’d learned about Pretica’s betrayal, he also felt pity for her.

  “So,” Rowe said, breaking Liam from his thoughts. “Are you going to tell me what happened between you and Lilae last night?”

  Liam cleared his throat, drinking the brew the castle cook had prepared for him that morning. It was potent and lifted his spirits within moments of his first sip. He drank to stall answering Rowe’s question, all the while hoping his cheeks didn’t blush at the memories of the night before.

  “What’s that?” Rowe said, breaking Liam from his thoughts.

  Liam looked up, following Rowe’s gaze to the clear night sky. His eyes narrowed as something flew across the sky—a flutter of fabric. Was it a dress? Or robes?

  His eyes followed the movement, warnings brewing in his belly.

  “It’s a woman,” Liam said, incredulously. His eyes widened as she flew closer, her black dress fluttering with the wind, her long black hair wiping around her body.

  Her eyes fixed on him.

  Ayoki stood and looked to Liam, her face paled in comparison to her usual dark complexion. Her brows were furrowed.

  Liam stepped backward as the woman grew closer. A whistle filled their ears. Loud and shrill, it resonated through the entire city, making the lines of goblins stop their trek to work. They turned to look up at the gray sky.

  Where had the sun gone? Darkness fell as the clouds blocked out the sun, and the air grew cold, sending goosebumps up Liam’s arms and neck.

  “Get Delia and the others,” Liam said to Ayoki, drawing his sword as, from the dark clouds, something large fell through them.

  A goddess.

  COLDNESS FLOODED LILAE’S BODY as she opened her eyes to a dark place. The pain of the curse had subsided, yet Lilae was disoriented when she looked around.

  Jaiza and Risa.

  Where were they?

  Where was she?

  Realization hit her full force, and she whimpered when she realized that she was no longer in the bedroom in the castle.

  Dragnor?

  She scrambled to her feet. Her breaths quickened as she looked at her surroundings, stumbling backward. Her eyes darted from one end of the empty rectangular room to the other. A startling chill in the air made Lilae’s teeth chatter. Her breath puffed out of her mouth before her as she exhaled.

  Where was Dragnor? Where were his torture tools?

  She whimpered, too afraid to face him again like this.

  Meet me in the real world, Lilae pleaded. Where I can end this.

  She knew that he awaited her, ready to torture her body and torment her mind.

  Instead, silence welcomed her along with an eerie feeling that she was being watched. She saw something in the corner of her eye. A shadow moved under the cloak of darkness.

  Lilae forced herself to speak. “Who is there?” While she asked the question, she truly didn’t want to know. She wanted to escape this place and return to her sisters.

  She clutched her arms and walked backward across the slightly damp stone floor until her back was pressed against a similarly damp wall.

  “Lilae?” A familiar voice called from one of the dark corners.

  Lilae tensed. All color drained from her face as her heart thumped against her ribcage.

  “Kavien?”

  Her hands flew to cover her mouth as tears sprouted from her eyes.

  Kavien.

  Out of the shadows, he stepped toward her.

  Tall. Swarthy. Handsome.

  Naked.

  Her eyes swept up the toned muscles of his nude body to fix on his gray eyes. Such adoration and relief filled his gray-eyed gaze as he continued to approach her, unabashed by the display of his body.

  “My dear, Lilae,” he whispered, his hand outstretched toward her as he walked. “This cannot be.”

  Shaking, Lilae considered closing the gap between them. Still, a mild distrust kept her planted in one spot. Her body wanted to be near him. Her mind yelled at her to resist. Whatever this dream world was, she didn
t feel comfortable.

  This was not the same dreamscape she shared with Liam. This place was the exact opposite.

  “You’re all right,” she said, tilting her head as she took note of every detail of his face. “Dragnor said he would kill you if I didn’t return to Avia’Torena.”

  Kavien’s jaw clenched. “He bluffs. He cannot touch me.”

  “But, he was the one to curse you.”

  Kavien looked away in silence, his eyes cold.

  She couldn’t believe just how much she’d missed watching him. His features were unlike the fair-skinned men from the north of Eura. With clear dark skin and almond-shaped eyes the color of the sky before a storm, under thick dark lashes, full lips that she could still taste, he was still one of the most attractive men she’d ever seen.

  Something flashed before Kavien’s eyes, making him stop abruptly. Fear. His face went ashen.

  “We don’t have much time. Dragnor is pulling you to his consciousness, but finally, I have you. I’ve been trying every single day in hopes that I would you see again, if only for a second. I knew that if I kept trying, that I could bring you here.”

  Lilae took a step forward. The urge to comfort him was stronger than the warnings inside her head.

  “Don’t let him take me, Kavien,” Lilae said, fear striking her heart at the thought of another torture-filled night.

  This place—in its dark eeriness, was better than a minute with Dragnor.

  “Don’t touch me,” Kavien said, looking behind him as if he’d heard something. “They are watching us. I don’t know what will happen if we touch. But, dear Elahe, I’d give anything to touch you right now.”

  Lilae nodded, unsure of who they were, but intrigued by the notion of being in Kavien’s arms again.

  She licked her lips. “All right. What is this place?” She rubbed the gooseflesh on her arms beneath her shirt sleeves.

  “Misery,” he whispered, his shoulders slumping as he looked down at the floor.

  “How do we get out of here?” Lilae asked rushing over to the stone wall to search for some sort of door. Her fingers traced the grooves, hoping to find a clue. She remembered something and paused. “I can get you out of here.”

  Kavien’s eyes returned to her and he pushed fallen hair away from his face. Hope flashed before them as he watched her. “Blasted spirits, I have missed you more than freedom itself. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about your beautiful face. But, it is not going to be that simple.”

  “Yes,” Lilae said, nodding, ignoring the warnings that churned in her belly.

  Her entire abdomen was tight with anxiety, yet as she looked into his eyes—eyes that were full of love for her, she was afraid and torn.

  She lowered her voice to a whisper. “What do you need?”

  Kavien rubbed his face with both of his hands, and Lilae willed her eyes to stop exploring his sculpted body. She’d never seen a naked man before, and her eyes lingered a bit too long for her own comfort.

  Pursing her lips, she scolded herself for such curiosity in the face of danger, but the way Kavien looked at her made her face grow red.

  A screeching sound resounded through the small room, making Lilae jump. She braced herself.

  Something flew across the room. A bat-like creature? A shadow…or a being of some sort. It happened too quickly to be sure.

  Kavien crossed the room to grab Lilae by the arms and pushed her into the wall. His arms wrapped around her, as if shielding her.

  “Leave her alone!”

  Lilae’s eyes widened. She could see nothing with Kavien’s body pressed hard against hers. His scent was familiar. She’d smelled his masculine aroma for months, every night as he slept in the bed beside her box and the times they’d slept in the same bed.

  The time they kissed.

  Her breath came out labored as he held her midair against the wall.

  The screeching grew to a deafening roar, and Lilae closed her eyes, willing it to stop.

  “Go away! She is not yours. You want me. Not her.”

  The noise faded.

  Silence filled the room but Kavien seemingly waited for the horrific cries to return.

  “What were those things?” Lilae’s eyes searched the room for whatever had flown out of the darkness.

  “The Horrors,” he said, holding her in place.

  Lilae looked at him, her brows furrowed.

  “The voices I hear. They are responsible for them. Except, now, they are more real than I ever realized.”

  “Are they gone?”

  “I think so,” he said, releasing her. He set her on her feet, but didn’t move away. His eyes searched her face as he stroked her cheeks. “We can touch.”

  Lilae’s lips pursed as she looked up at him, his cold fingers still managing to warm her.

  In her dreams with Liam, they’d never been able to touch. Each time they attempted, they’d be met with a bright light that shot them back to the present.

  What made this different? His hands moved to her shoulders, and slowly, he rested his forehead against the top of her head. Lilae chewed her bottom lip as his breath warmed her face.

  “I can’t believe I brought you here,” he said into her hair, breathing her in.

  Lilae’s eyes fluttered closed. “Neither can I.” The cold of the room started to seep into her skin, chilling her bones. “I fear something is going horribly wrong in the real world. We have to get out of here.”

  “I know,” he said. His hands slid into her hair, and he drew in a deep breath. “But, you’re not going to like the journey.”

  THE FLYING WOMAN SOARED through the sky like an eagle, graceful, powerful. A bright light lit her trail as she descended from above the clouds like a falling star.

  Liam, Rowe, and Ayoki stood there, watching as the woman in white landed before them.

  Liam had never seen something like this woman.

  Not outside of the ancient texts, and he could not believe his eyes.

  It is not possible.

  Medium-height, with long lavender hair and brown skin, she had blue eyes that reminded Liam of the brightest Orenian sky. She was strikingly beautiful, but what he knew about her was more frightening than having Wexcyn stride into the city.

  Her gaze locked with his as she glided across the stone pathway to him.

  “Prince Liam Marx,” she said, not a hint of a smile on her stern face. Her skin was flawless, free from any lines or emotion. “You know who I am. Don’t you?”

  Liam flinched when he heard the screams of women far into the distance. He looked over his shoulder at the castle.

  They were screaming Lilae’s name.

  “Pay attention, and you will all be allowed to live,” she said.

  Liam swallowed, panic filling his eyes as his breathing quickened. He turned his gaze back to the frightening woman before them and nodded.

  The goblins ran back to their homes to hide, quiet and efficient as if they’d done this before. There were no screams of terror, just action.

  “You are Litha,” Liam said, his blood running cold. The legends and stories of her notorious reign were unsettling.

  Lips pursed, Litha nodded. “Good job. I’ve been watching you. And, I am impressed.” She motioned to Rowe and Ayoki, and to Delia and Vaugner as they left the castle to join them—their faces ashen as they beheld the goddess before them.

  Mai stayed inside, peeking around the open door, her fingers clutching the wooden frame.

  “Most mortals know nothing of the gods of the other worlds. But you, smart boy, have taken it upon yourself to feast on knowledge. I love that.”

  Liam didn’t know what to do. His heart pounded in his chest as he fought to keep the utter terror from filling his eyes.

  He knew what this woman—no, she wasn’t a woman. Not an ordinary woman. Litha was the Goddess of Law, and he knew what she was capable of.

  “What do you want with us?” Vaugner asked; his eyes narrowed as he looked Lith
a up and down. “You have no business here. Ellowen belongs to the Ancients.”

  Litha did smile then, a smile that didn’t disarm any of them, it only struck fear into the deepest depths of their hearts.

  “I execute the sacred Law of all the worlds, Elder. Ellowen, The Abyss, Aden, Varon, etc. etc. Break a Law and you belong to me.”

  Liam’s eyes widened as a giant in glowing white armor landed before them, holding Lilae’s limp body in his arms.

  At least eleven feet tall, the giant man’s eyes held a white light that scanned Liam and the others from above.

  Lilae.

  Why was she unconscious?

  “What have you done?” Liam shouted the question before he could stop himself.

  He didn’t care about anything but protecting Lilae at that moment. He drew his sword, the glow intensifying to an enchantment that made the tense air sizzle all around him. Teeth gritted, his glare met the dark stare of the man that held Lilae.

  “Let her go.”

  The Goddess of Law clasped her hands out before her. “Listen, Liam. You will put your sword away and lower your tone. We don’t need four dead bodies strewn about this lovely city, do we? Your Elders didn’t bring you here to bury you. My sheriff here has already greatly injured the two human girls,” Litha said. “Someone should tend to them.”

  Delia held her hand out. “Please,” she pleaded. “Let the girl go. She has broken no sacred Laws.”

  Litha shook her head. “No. She hasn’t. But I need her. Just for a while. And I will return her. You have my word.”

  “Take me with you,” Liam said, lowering his sword. Anything to stay by Lilae’s side. He’d give up his life for her if it were necessary.

  Litha’s eyes brightened. “Of course, you can come along. I am pleased. I didn’t even have to barter with you.”

  She summoned a small blue orb and let it hover before them like a glowing ball.

  Liam glanced back at Delia.

  She looked from Litha to the sheriff that held Lilae, and Liam could tell that she was holding her breath as her eyes beheld the orb.

 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment