Selene gave her mother one final farewell hug, then her father. He gave her a stern look with his purple eyes. It was a look she knew all too well that said, ‘look after your brother.’ Smiling, Selene gave him one last hug. She didn’t know if or when she’d ever see that look again.
Friends and neighbors met Selene and Eris at the center of the town near the carriage. Jeanette was on the far right of the crowd, a hateful scowl on her usually placid face. Blake was much more mature. He wasn’t happy, but he was understanding of the consequences should they stay. Selene would write to him, at the very least, to say goodbye. “Lucita, I want to thank you for allowing us to come. I wish times were safer so that we may have more time.” Naavah bowed, flustering Lucita.
“Oh, your majesty, I understand. I wish you well on your travels back home.” Naavah returned to her carriage, instructing Selene and Eris to follow. Selene did not look back as she entered the spacious carriage, letting the door lock tight behind her.
“You two are awfully quiet,” remarked the Queen as the carriage trotted along, her green wings spread against the back, allowing her more comfort.
“We’re sorry—” began Selene, looking down at her hands.
“You’ve no reason to reason to be sorry,” interrupted Naavah giving her yet another kind smile. “I understand. Leaving one’s home is always an occasion for sorrow.”
Selene nodded, sparing a glance at her brother, whose jade-green eyes revealed nothing but sadness and regret as they watched the Queen unwaveringly.
“Naavah,” began Eris, “may I ask you a question?”
“Did you know that we needed to leave?”
Slowly nodding, Naavah answered, “Ranita saw. This new life has given her the gift of foresight. Within a week of the journey, she caught a glimpse into the future, so we changed our plans.”
“So you never intended to take us away,” inquired Eris bitterly.
Naavah shook her head. “No. We thought we would stay for a little while longer. Then, after that, Ranita would send for her daughter and stay as long as she saw fit.”
“What gift does she have?” asked Eris, suddenly interested.
“Anita has a peculiar gift of foresight,” began Naavah, “she can look at anyone and see their entire path. Some say that she can even change it if she wants to. But, on the other hand, Ranita cannot look at will. Instead, visions just come to her.
“Touched Borns’ are a rare find Eris,” Naavah sighed, continuing. “Your kind tend to be more powerful than normal Witches and are born with a Reborn gift, so to speak. Touched Borns are mysterious; many of them find it difficult to find a place in the world. It is challenging for Anita since most of her company is made entirely of Reborns. As for the Reborn children, well, they have not come into their full memories; therefore, they do not deal well with half-breed children. You will see when you get there. The young ones do not impress me.” Sighing again, Naavah looked away, the disappointment in her gentle voice clear. Selene looked at her brother, whose expression was unreadable as he began to twiddle his thumbs.
“How long until we reach Seraphim?” asked Selene, trying to take the conversation off Reborns.
“Three weeks at the very least. Now that you are traveling with us, we’ll have to travel quicker to the minor cities.” Selene nodded in understanding. The magical safeguards around the bigger cities, like Seraphim, had just appeared one day, a gift from the Gods. Somehow they weakened the Shadowlings just enough to keep them at bay. No one knew how or why. It just was. It was their power that had inspired Selene as a child.
“Eris, may I ask you a question?” said Naavah looking at him intently.
“Of course, your majesty.”
“Your gift, what exactly is it you can do?”
“I can reach into shadows and see through them.” Then, turning away, he stared out the window to watch the passing scenery. At that moment, Selene saw a look pass across the Queen’s eyes. Selene was unsure, but it looked almost like recognition.
Eris’s dreams haunted him. He was too young to remember. They came from a child no more than a few months old, unable to understand what was happening. He had laid in his little crib, looking through the bars, feeling something in the darkness. Even at a young age, he could feel the evil flow and wrap around itself until it took the form of a being. Senid. He sneered and smirked at Eris, even patting him on the head. Eris recoiled.
“Oh, Eris, don’t you recognize an old friend. Hmm, you probably wouldn’t at such a young age.” Eris didn’t know, couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. But even he, at such a young age, knew to fear a silver blade with an edge of darkness. Eris had begun to cry, and Senid gave him a disapproving glance.
“Hush, Eris, you were never such a child.” Senid laughed and sunk back into the shadows as the door creaked open. He saw his father enter, and he wished he could warn him. He saw Senid come forth and sneer at him. The child before saw Senid thrust the blade through his father.
Eris jerked awake and took in his surroundings, momentarily forgetting where he was. He was still in the carriage alongside the Queen and Selene, who was using his lap as a pillow. Eris looked at the Queen. She was lying down on her stomach, using her arms as pillows on the seat, her wings softly flapping as she dreamt. For a long time, he hated his father for being a Reborn. All Reborns knew that their lives were ever long-lived; they knew death was on their heels, yet his father had left the city to be with his mother. He had made them both know loss. Considering recent events, he wondered if it was his fault his father had been killed.
Selene stirred, briefly opening her eyes.
“Eris, you shouldn’t be awake,” she yawned.
Yawning, Selene closed her eyes. “Soon everything will be all right. Don’t worry, Eris.” Selene quickly fell asleep as he stared into the utter darkness of the forest around him. A curious thought crossed his mind, making him wonder if Nivette was tracking him.
Eris didn’t go back to sleep. Instead, he watched the sunrise set the world in a glow that turned the land into a brilliant mesh of green and gold, even as the scenery faded and shrunk into a nearby town. He watched the sun’s rays hit Queens’ face forcing her to flutter open. Eris greeted her with a smile, and she did so in return.
“Are we stopping here?” asked Eris when she was finally awake. Naavah nodded.
“The horses will need a break. So we’ll disembark at high noon.”
“The towns’ people?”
“They are more than willing to accommodate me.”
Looking out into the dawning day, he stared at the people filtering out of their houses and filling the streets. “Naavah is it true what people say? Are the cities safer?” The air filled with sounds of the spell around the carriage broke, and she gave him a solemn look.
“No.” The door opened, allowing in the brilliant rays of the sun that swam over Selene, jolting her awake. She jerked away, causing herself to roll off the seat and hit the carriage floor with a large thump. Eris laughed while Naavah stared down amused, the corners of her mouth uplifted.
“Calm yourself, Selene. We’re among friends.” Naavah stood up and made her way out of the carriage. Her green wings stretched out in the sunlight.
“Good job Selene. You’ve successfully embarrassed yourself in front of her majesty.”
“Shut up and help me stand.” She held out her hand as Eris laughed while he hoisted her to her feet.
“Let’s get something to eat.”
Blood Hunger (Eclipsing Trilogy, #1)
Eris and Selene Sintas thought their menial Witching lives were simple. That was until the magical barrier protecting their small town vanished in the night, attracting not just the Vampyre’s that go bump in the night. Suddenly, the two siblings discover that they have been dragged into a war between the sisters of light and darkness.
Now, hunted by creatures stronger than Vampyre’s and far more evil, the Sintas Siblings must find refuge before they lose their souls to the Goddess of Darkness.