Today, I have author Elysa Hendricks guest blogging on my blog for her new futuristic novel, Forbidden Moon.
FORBIDDEN MOON by Elysa Hendricks
Have you ever wondered what really happened to Atlantis?
In my second moon book, Crystal Moon I created a mythical, Atlantis type valley called Andacor, a place where peace reigned and people lived forever. When I was working on Shadow Moon I realized my fantasy world of Tareth was actually a conduit world, a place where people from different worlds, galaxies and dimensions gathered. At that point I knew that my Andacor was a piece of Atlantis that had escaped destruction on Earth by transporting to Tareth. And the premise for Forbidden Moon was born.
Can perfection exist forever? What if the world of Andacor was threatened with destruction? How far would the people of Andacor go to save their world and themselves?
With these questions in mind I got to work. Forbidden Moon is the result.
Laila DiSanti trusts no one. Betrayed by her father’s ambition and greed, she lost her family, her home, and her lover. Forced into exile in the lawless mountains surrounding Dramon, she eases her guilt by using her skill with sword and knife to hunt down outlaws and slavers and rescue the innocents they prey upon.
Pace Alastar is devoted to two things—his daughter, and the welfare of his home, the legendary hidden valley of Andacor. His world was upended when a ground quake damaged the crystals that protect Andacor and grant its citizens near immortality. Unless the crystals are restored to power, Andacor and its inhabitants will die. Only Pace’s daughter can save them, and she is lost in the outside world.
To rescue a young girl and save a world, Pace and Laila join forces in battling outlaws and the harsh mountain terrain, but can they conquer the insurmountable obstacles that mean Pace’s certain death?
"Kill the witch!"
Dressed in a once white, tattered shirt and dirty water worm hide trousers, the object of the crowd’s animosity stood motionless on a dais. Tall and slim, with close-cropped hair, the woman stared over the heads of the angry mob without any outward reaction to the hatred directed toward her.
Standing at the edge of the crowd, Pace Alastar reached out mentally to the woman. To open his mind amidst this turmoil was a dangerous move. Though he wasn’t a true telepath the intense thoughts of these people breached his mental shielding without difficulty. If not careful he could easily be buried beneath the negative emotions swirling around him. There was no choice. He had to know if she was the person he sought.
Like the hail of stones that precede an avalanche—hatred, anger, pain and rage battered his ka. Two hundred annum of peaceful existence hadn’t prepared him for the onslaught.
He pinched the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. The action did little to ease the tension radiating through his body. His legs trembled. The Elders had warned him of the violent attitudes and horrific actions of which the people outside of Andacor were capable, but until now he’d found their tales difficult to accept. How he longed for the sweet peace and serenity of his home.
Many annum had passed since he’d sensed such emotional intensity. In Andacor only the young suffered severe emotions. As they matured, Andacor’s protective crystals enabled them to control their response to life. Along with knowledge and wisdom, age brought an inner calm that this outside world seemed determined to destroy.
Drawing on the failing power of the protective crystals hidden deep within the mountains surrounding Andacor, he fought his way through the landslide of useless emotion to reach the person on the dais.
And found nothing. The woman held her thoughts and emotions behind a solid wall. Even the crowd’s physical and mental battering didn’t penetrate her shield as it had his. Where and how had a non-Andacorian learned to guard herself so well?
"Kill the she-hound!"
A rock struck her face. Like an obscene night flower, blood bloomed on her cheek. She barely flinched.
"Die witch!" Another rock struck her shoulder. Without a sound, she staggered back then straightened.
Pain created a brief crack in her mental shield. She was the one he needed if Andacor was to survive. Laila Cathor. He’d found her. Relief surged through him. The unexpected emotion disturbed him. He shook it off. To succeed he needed to remain dispassionate.
The angry grumbles of the crowd grew. Though a few guards at the foot of the stairs struggled to restrain them, soon the mob’s rage would propel them forward and the woman would die.
Whatever her crimes against these people, he couldn’t allow that to happen. He needed her help. Andacor needed her. Without her, the last capable Crystal Singer—his daughter—would never be found and Andacor would be doomed.
What he did next was more dangerous than lowering his mental shielding. He stepped into the crowd and used his power of dominion to delve deep into their minds.
Chaos assaulted him. Tendrils of fear tightened around him. He staggered and, for a moment, his resolve wavered. Then, knowing that no matter the cost he couldn’t afford to fail in his duty, he gathered his determination and forged ahead. Success or death were his only options.
Once he formed a connection with the people, he used his dominion to summon tranquility and forgiveness from within them. Their bewildered eyes followed him as he walked through the crowd.
Laila watched the stranger. A head taller than those around him, and clothed in clean, elegant but oddly styled garments, the man would have stood out among this rabble even if he wasn’t breathtakingly beautiful—a glowing being of white and gold moving through a sea of dirty miscreants.
Hair the same color of sun-drenched wheat as Aubin’s, her dead lover’s had been flowed unbound over his broad shoulders. A gust of wind blew a thick strand across high, sculpted cheekbones. He brushed it aside with strong yet lean fingers. His stride didn’t waver. He gazed at her with eyes the blue-green of a mountain lake, eyes that saw much, yet revealed little.
He moved with an unconscious grace that spoke of certainty in his abilities. The air of serenity surrounding him, the same air that had drawn her to Aubin, stirred something inside Laila she’d believed long dead—hope.
Numb from days locked away in a lightless, nearly airless cell without food or water, she’d resigned herself to dying when the mob had dragged her out into the light. But she’d vowed her death at their hands would cost them dearly.
Without the distraction this man’s appearance caused, the mob would have soon released her from her never-ending nightmare of living. She didn’t welcome the possibility of survival. If not for her son Sorel and her responsibility to others whose lives yet held meaning and hope, she would embrace death’s inevitability.
One by one the men and women in the crowd fell quiet and moved aside as the man passed. An elderly woman dropped to her knees at his feet, clutched the hem of his travel cloak, and looked up at him with imploring eyes. "Oh, pure one, forgive me my wrongs and lead me back into the Eternal One’s grace."
Though the man gently raised the old woman to her feet and murmured a blessing without pause, Laila sensed his discomfort in the role these stupid, superstitious people cast him in. But it obviously suited his purpose, whatever it might be, to humor them.
As he moved toward Laila, he murmured too softly for her to hear his words, but his effect upon the people was obvious. With each step he took closer to the dais the mood in the town square shifted. Laila didn’t claim to have any empathic feelings like her half-sister Sianna, but she felt the anger, fear, and hatred draining from the crowd.
She stared at the figure in white. His step faltered and he looked up at her. Their gazes met and held. The world around them seemed to slow and fade away. All she could see was him—a vision of white and gold, a haven that offered peace, comfort and something else she couldn’t identify. Part of her wanted to succumb to the temptation of his promise. Her emotions softened under the stranger’s odd influence. The tension in her shoulders eased. Pain disappeared. She swayed.
Reality intruded. A rough hand gripped her arm and yanked her up against a hard male body. She jolted in disgust.
Summoning the angry guilt that sustained her, she glared at the stranger. No freak of nature would determine how she felt. The connection between them broke.
Sorrow at the loss of the connection speared through her. He turned back to the people.
She almost welcomed the pain of the guard’s hand finding and squeezing her breast. What the white-robed stranger offered was a chimera, an unrealistic distraction from the process of survival. With nimble fingers she palmed the dagger from the guard’s belt.
As if mesmerized by the stranger’s presence, the crowd parted and dropped to their knees. Even the guard on the dais forgot his duty. He released her, moved to the edge of the dais, and bowed his head.
What unholy power did this stranger wield?
No matter. She used the diversion he provided to ease backwards until her heels hung over the back edge of the dais. No one noticed as she made the waist high drop. Without the use of her arms for balance, the jump tore open the wound on her inner thigh. Pain shot through her groin and blood trickled thick and hot down her leg to pool in her boot. Sucking in her breath, she ignored the discomfort and crouched. In one smooth motion, she pulled her arms under her legs so her bound wrists were in front of her and used the knife to slice away the rope. In a heartbeat she vanished into the town’s shadowed alleyways.
The sudden angry roar of the crowd told her they realized she had escaped. It stirred her guilt, but it didn’t stop her from slipping out of town. The stranger had chosen to interfere in her life. His fate wasn’t her responsibility. Still, she paused at the edge of the forest, straining to hear.
The echoes of shouting reached her ears, but she couldn’t make out the words. Had the crowd turned on him? Grabbed him and pulled him down with dirty, hurtful hands? Torn his white robes and bloodied his smooth skin?
She owed him naught. He’d given her nothing she wanted. Life was a curse not a gift. She took a step. But what of those she was sworn to protect? By saving her he saved them. For that she did owe him.
Besides these dung eaters had stolen her weapons, her crystal sword, Justice, and her daggers. Before she left she would have them back.
Laila Cathor refused to let anyone steal from her or to own her gratitude.
Buy link:Imajinn Books/Forbidden Moon