Arieana’s brother has been murdered by her own people in a world not their own. Forced into breaking ancient law, she ventures into the human realm in search of her brother's soul. Once she steps through the Veil, she realizes the renegades are up to more than just punishing a few humans. They want to destroy the race itself.
Forced to forge an unlikely alliance with the very race responsible for the storms tearing her world apart, she finds out more of her past than the elders want. With the war started, each clue they uncover leads them closer to the first of the elemental relics, and a chance to save mankind.
Together they must work side by side to stop the renegades…
Before time runs out for both worlds.
Arieana woke with a start. Her muscles ached from the onslaught of the vision and her body was drenched with sweat. She attempted to search for the link to her brother but found only a void of darkness.
Rydan. Her heart felt shattered. The only family she had left was now gone. Brutal as his death was, she knew he had shielded her from the brunt of his pain. Every ounce of her wanted to yell out, but she found her throat had gone hoarse. The fanatics' desperation was worse than she had first imagined, and now it had hit a level none of them had expected. They had a plan.
She turned toward the window and the forest outside. Droplets of water still clung to the leaves of the trees from the morning dew, yet it didn't help. She felt disconnected from everything. All she wanted was to die, to join Rydan in the darkness. Losing him had killed what was left of her heart.
Why hadn't he listened! She wanted to scream. She wanted to cry, to fight and tear the universe to pieces for taking her brother away. Her eyes filled with tears she couldn't control and her body shook with a mixture of anger and despair. They would pay for his death; she would make sure of it.
"Rydan," she whispered, "I am so sorry, my brother. I should have found a way to keep you safe." Each word tore at her soul. She wanted him back.
Pulling herself out of bed, she walked across the cold tiled floor, still unable to accept he was gone. She made her way to the bookshelf and reached for the tome she had been reading. She needed to change her focus, keep herself busy, or she would crawl back into bed and hide under the covers. Unfortunately, she saw merits in both choices.
Many of the books held the history of her people, but this one book contained much more. The night her parents had died, she had found a note addressed to her, written in her mother's hand. Short words led her to a passage, hidden within their home, and the book it contained. Ever since that night, she had been immersed in what she read. The text was full of the ancient language and history that had been banned from their teachings.
She read day and night, absorbing what she could. It was her solace and escape from her loss. There were things she remembered her mother and father discussing, but she had always been just out of earshot. She now wished she had paid more attention and had tried to find out. What she did remember were the words her mother had imparted, a few nights before both her parents were killed, and now burned into her memory.
My daughter, there is much of our and the other worlds that you do not know. Light and darkness, race against race, is how some see it. When the rift began is unclear. If you read into the texts of our history, there is much that is withheld. Depending on who you speak with, there are different variations to the truth, but none know which are correct. Centuries have passed since our world began to feel the effects of the humans' negligence. Many tried to influence and repair the Earth, but the waves of their destruction continue to overflow into our world. It is because of this that others have taken it upon themselves to right the wrong. Many agree something must be done, but their call to arms was too extreme for most.
After that night, she had done everything she could to find out more. What she did find wasn't always pleasant. No wonder her parents had always told her some secrets were meant to remain hidden. Knowledge in the hands of some became deadly. It was then that the Dark Warriors were created.
The day the Dark Warriors had vanished across the Veil was the day her brother had been called into service. He had been tasked with tracking down the traitors and doing what he could to protect the humans. Now, more than ever, she wished she had been able to talk him out of it.
Arieana's mind turned back to the room and home she had lived in all her life. The night she lost her parents, it had become her and Rydan's place. Though he was rarely around, she had always left his room as he had. "Messy but with purpose," he had said to her, more times than she could count. It had always made her feel like he was there. Now, it was all that remained of him.
She moved through the hallway into his room; his bed was still unmade after his last visit. Draped across the back of the chair hung one of his shirts, one she had nearly washed yesterday. It still held his musky scent.
"Damn you, Rydan. Why didn't you listen?" Her heart hurt more than anything she had felt in the past. Even the air felt heavy in her lungs. She wanted him home, safe, not dead in a world so far away. She held on tightly to her only reminder of him and closed her eyes to fend off the tidal wave of sadness she felt threatening to envelop her.
Anger and frustration boiled deep inside. "I'll find you and bring you home," she whispered. It was her vow and promise to both of them.
Such darkness and pain had surrounded him in death that it made her skin crawl. She had always known it would come to this. How many times had she warned the Council that those who opposed the fanatics were in danger?
The room grew colder. Ice formed along the wooden shelves that lined the walls. Her temper was bordering on dangerous. Rydan's death had sparked a fury she had reined in for a long time.
"Arieana?" A quiet voice pulled her back from the frigid darkness.
She turned to find Aeryn at the doorway. She couldn't miss the fear in her friend's eyes. She couldn't blame her.
"Hello, Aeryn. Now is not a good time." She turned to face the window and then looked back at her friend. "What do you want?"
Aeryn moved carefully about the room, her hands brushing against the icicles. "I see you've received some bad news. What's happened?"
"You may not want to be here right now." She wanted to destroy, to find her brother's killers and rip the flesh from their bones. "It would probably be safer if you weren't."
A warm breeze from her left moved across Arieana’s cold skin. "I'm not going anywhere. Now tell me what has happened to have you so distraught."
"Rydan is dead." The words ripped open new wounds.
"No…!" Aeryn paused. "It can't be true." Her hands quivered. Arieana knew that her brother had meant as much to Aeryn as he had to her. "He can't be dead. I would have known."
"No, you couldn't have known. He always made sure he shielded you from his work." The pounding in Arieana’s head increased. "He tried to shield me from what he felt."
"You felt it, didn't you? Why would he hide it from me?"
"He had his reasons," Arieana answered. She didn't want to cause any more pain.
"I want to know and feel what you felt."
Hope you all enjoyed the snipit! Have a great week. You can purchase KEEPERS OF WATER at the following locations.
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Happy reading and writing everyone.