The knights didn't see her.
How lax they are, chuckling, she let herself out of the gate. Her quick pace led her into the darkness of the woods. It tickled her to have slipped in and out unnoticed.
Her waiting had paid off. The night of the engagement party had been just the beginning. It may have taken her twenty years of lying low and planning, but she was ready. It may be unfair to give the King an advantage by warning him of her vengeance, but she couldn't stop herself from making sure he knew exactly who was behind the upcoming attack.
All her hard work was about to come to fruition. Her suffering would be justified.
She paused and turned to look back. Having come far enough and deep enough into the forest, she couldn't see any light from the entrance she had just walked through.
However, it was satisfying enough to know she'd left the note behind.
“You will remember, Tritium, that I warned you. So many years ago, I warned you. You would not listen. If only you had listened. For now, it is too late. Too late!”
Walking forward, she continued, “I warned you. Yes, I did. Warned you then, but you wouldn't listen. I will have my revenge.”
Then her mutters turned into a soft whisper and she sang,
“The darkness rises, on wings of hate.
Discontent is well-fed of late.
You hear the whisper.
You hear the call.
He rises to destroy us all.
The blackness comes on wings of fire.
All will burn under his ire.
No one can escape,
this awful dread and wait.
Do you see? Do you see?
The darkness rises on wings of hate.”
Her laughter echoed throughout the woods. Animals paused and cocked their ears. Birds hushed their songs and tilted their heads. Eyes darted back and forth everywhere.
Evil drew near. Evil was upon them. They ran and hid and tucked themselves back into their holes. They recognized the voice. The voice of hate.
A witch was calling upon the darkness, and they wanted no part of it.
Amazon and Goodreads 5-Star Reviews:
“I love the twisted fairy tale genre and this book is a very good read.” ~Suzy Kenski
“I loved this book! It was fun and quirky. Couldn’t wait to pick it up each night and see what would happen next.” ~Amazon Customer
“Five Stars…Great weekend read!” ~Kristen Bombgardner
“I have read a lot of fairy tale spinoffs. This one kept me interested. It had the classic Cinderella story line but with different characters and a nice, surprising twist at the end. I enjoyed reading this book!” ~Sarah Kirn
"Five Stars. Good story." ~Laura
Other books in this genre:
We’ve gathered a handful of thrilling stories from all of your favorite genres and put them together into an epic anthology of young adult fiction. Some of them are just the beginning of a unique adventure, while others are complete stories that will spark your imagination.
With over 200,000 words (about three full-length novels) That Moment When will provide weeks of reading pleasure.
Have you ever reached a moment in your life when everything changed? A crossroads of sorts… a point of no return. An event or realization so enormous you knew it would impact you forever in ways you couldn’t begin to understand? Discoveries so momentous they changed everything you thought you knew about the world, and yourself?
That Moment When is filled with exactly these kinds of moments.
If you read the stories in this anthology, I guarantee you’ll find at least a few that thrill and excite you. Make sure to follow the authors if you want to read more - most of us have at least one free book on our sites.
He Who Seeks Power, Seeks Destruction.
Over 1000 years ago, nearly all the ancient wizards were destroyed after the Wizard Wars. However, the one who started the War still remains, having worked his will in secret. If he can find the last Dragonwand, he will regain his powers as the dark dragon. Unaware of the Dragonwand or the betrayer, sixteen-year-old Markus is looking for a wizard who will give him a letter of recommendation for the College of Wizardry. During his journey, he stumbles upon Tolen the Wise, who sends Markus on a quest to end the darkness and find the Dragonwand before it gets into the wrong hands. As Markus discovers growing powers and makes allies, will he find what he needs to complete Tolen’s task, or will the ancient, dark wizard uncover the Dragonwand and forever change the fate of the land of Gallenor?
The Story So Far
A Sisterhood Of Seers.
On a world similar to ours but unknown to us, Celandine had been a celebrated dancer and sometimes reluctant seer born into the original Violite tribe untold generations before. These nomadic ancestors boasted interesting but somewhat dubious talents, and were known to those now alive as the Ancient Ones.
Through the artistic and maybe lucky use of a violet dye to draw tattoos on their bodies, Celandine and her people were able to survive a devastating plague. Sadly, this was all to no avail for the dancing seer. She was killed before her time by the angry, unfounded suspicions of another desperate and jealous tribe in a fit of blind hatred. Her soul was tormented. In the moment of her violent death, Celandine had seen there was a danger the truth that lay at the heart of the Violite story would be buried deep by foe and friend alike to be lost forever.
The despised Violites were left to wonder through the land hopelessly until they finally stumbled across an ancient, deserted city. They called this mountain citadel Heritage and moved in, claiming the strange place as their own. As time went by, the elders amended the story of the tribe’s colorful past yet again and established the House of Paynes as the city’s noble family. All connections with their gypsy-like history were buried very deep and, just as Celandine had feared, the truth finally appeared to be lost forever without a trace left behind.
Ages passed, and the tribe’s belief in baseless myths became distorted reality. When their very existence was threatened by becoming entrenched in a system of corrupt and stifling traditions, Celandine found a way to save her people from themselves. Using her love of music and dance, she was able to reach out across time and guide another likeminded seer to the truth that would set their people free.
This artistically gifted and courageous young woman was Trinity. In order to use her in yet another self-serving lie, the Keepers of Tradition had murdered her father and secretly stolen her as a baby. Despite being deceived so cruelly, her unknowing and bereaved mother Ishka eventually gave birth to a second daughter. When Beatha was born, nobody else knew she was Trinity’s half-sister. It wasn’t until the girls grew into young women separated from each other by circumstance and pomp, that it could be seen they shared some striking family characteristics. They looked very similar to their mother and each other but the most important of these traits by far, was an uncommonly powerful talent for the seeing.
With Trinity sacrificing her own life in the destruction of Heritage, it was talented Beatha who, by using her sister’s guidance from the other side, was able to find a way through the Unscalable Mountains and help lead her people to the freedom of the flatlands beyond.
A pair of moons graced the night skies above the land. Lilac Anthra was prettier but it was the amber light of her larger sister Marda that glinted off the metal tip of the short, stout spear in the deep shadows. At first, the long forgotten human fires had been enough to keep the hungry predators at bay but, as time went by, they got used to the flickering, crackling flames. Now their courage was growing in leaps and hungry bounds. They crept ever closer to the settlement under cover of night, tempted by the promise of an easy meal. It was the patrolling guards’ mission to make sure that promise was never kept.
All the men took their turn at keeping watch over the settlement’s perimeter when they were finished with the work of a backbreaking day. Other than some boisterous horseplay among the younger ones using blunt staves to replace their sharp spears, there was little training for the task however. The arduous life on the plain had made them as strong as oxen but it never occurred to anybody there was much to learn about killing.
Not that there were any experts in the arts of hunting or combat to be found in the tribe anyway. These people were lovers more than fighters, and the warrior mentality had never played a big part in their long and convoluted history.
When wolves found the courage to get too close to the herds of cattle or smelly goats, noisy lunging with their weapons was usually enough to drive the snarling creatures away. On the rare occasion a wolf was too slow to avoid a sharp spear, it was run through. Not too much was made of it when this happened but the unfortunate creature was cheerfully skinned and its killer kept the lush pelt to use as a mattress. So there were rewards of a sort for their small victories, since the young women lined up to sleep on these beds of furry luxury in the strong arms of a brave hero.
On nights like this one, the guardsmen had to fight off these earthy distractions. Not an easy thing to do under the circumstances. They could hear the sounds of smoky music and knew all too well, what they were missing.
On a simple stage in the middle of the settlement, a young woman in a body-hugging costume danced in the light of the fire. She wasn’t really good at it by any means, but she was focused on every move, earnest in her attempts to get her art as close to perfection as she knew how. The music she was trying so hard to interpret wasn’t helping matters much either.
Drums are as ancient as the human soul. A basic sense of rhythm rises from the pulse of life itself in most human cultures wherever it’s to be found, so the drummers were up to the task well enough. The hollowed logs they played using heavy, padded sticks lacked any real depth of tone but they too, served their purpose.
Sadly, the pipes were a different matter altogether. Finn had put them together from memory having watched Morden make a similar instrument for Trinity when they’d lived in Heritage. They consisted of a series of metal tubes of differing lengths joined together side by side, and were played by blowing horizontally across their open tops. They looked and sounded much like the ancient instrument found in several regions of our own world and known to us as pan flutes.
Like his lost friend, Finn didn’t have the ear necessary to make the final adjustments to the assembled tubes’ musical qualities but, unlike Morden, he lacked the technical skills to compensate. As a result, only most of the pipes were in tune. The enthusiastic musicians, led by talented Kerill, did their best anyway and they filled the night air with an only slightly discordant melody.
The dancer’s taut limbs were being lit by the fire and more softly by the light of the sister moons, but it was the lilac-colored tattoos covering her body that really made her skin glow. Faces watched her in silence from the shadows at the edge of the flickering pool of firelight. One or two of the prettier ones appeared mildly critical in some way, while most of the others looked impressed to some extent at least.
Feena Payne, although the family name was pointedly no longer used, was a mousey haired, angular woman like all the others born of the old, noble line. Right then her thoughts were hidden behind an enigmatic mask while she assessed the girl’s performance. When the presentation was over, Keeva hopped off the stage to an enthusiastic round of applause making room for one of those other pretty, eager faces to take her place.
Before climbing to her feet, Feena handed three-year old Enya to her husband Hendon. He was a gaunt, somewhat frail looking man having been born a member of the inbred nobility of Heritage too, but the powerful love he bore for his little girl was plain for all to see. “Here,” Feena said to him, “it’s time she was tucked up in her bed.”
The child squirmed in her father’s arms as he walked away cuddling her. “No, I want to watch the dancing,” she mumbled softly but soon gave in as gentle sleep settled over her.
Once they were gone, Feena took Keeva by the arm and led her to a space behind the spectators’ rough-hewn benches. While she spoke to her favorite dancer, she kept an eye on the new girl on the stage. “Very good, but at the end of the release your arms should be straight before you take flight.”
She demonstrated a crude bras croisé before flapping her own very straight arms as if trying in vain to really take off. She looked like a wounded albatross. Despite Feena’s obvious lack of talent, Keeva gave the teacher her undivided attention. Everybody knew Feena was the only person who’d learned the steps and gestures by watching Trinity in person. She was the lost seer who was now revered as ‘she who danced with Celandine’s ancient voice’. As a result, all the young women who wanted to dance sought out Feena’s instruction and enthusiastic guidance.
Beatha sat alone watching all this. She always sat alone and sometimes got angry with herself because she felt like she needed to. Then the music ground to an unexpected halt. People looked around at each other, disturbed by the silent and eerie interruption. Other than the firelight, the place had been plunged into darkness. The bright moonlight had gone out like a malevolent hand had thrown a cosmic switch.
People gasped, twittered, and generally made a fuss as they looked up at the heavy clouds that had rolled in to block out the moons. They hadn’t seen a single raincloud in the sky above the plains since they’d found themselves here. Strangely, they didn’t like it one bit and a shared feeling of foreboding settled over them.
In addition to being the tribe’s baker, Declan was also one of the most popular elders. He was strikingly ordinary looking, not the strongest of men, and maybe not the wisest but he cared about the tribe like no other. And when he needed advice of a practical nature, his pretty wife Bryony was always there at his side to help. He was quick to get to his feet and speak in a loud but calming voice. “Come on, there’s nothing to worry about, we’ve all seen plenty of clouds before.”
And so they had. Rain had been a common feature of their old home but here it was rare and unexpected. Then the darkness was shattered by an intense bolt of blue/white lightening. Nobody spoke; they were all waiting. They didn’t have to wait long. A massive clap of thunder rolled across the flat plain shaking the stage. It didn’t rain but the night’s excitement wasn’t over yet.
The occasional, small pack of wolves was one thing to the tribe, but bears were a different matter altogether. Fortunately, they were far less common on the plain than other predators but when one did come on the prowl, the guards rang an old, cracked bell they’d scavenged, as a call for backup. Not only were these bears much bigger and stronger than a man, they fought standing on their back legs cleverly using their enormous, clawed forepaws as vicious weapons.
Before the final, angry echo of the thunder was gone, an even angrier rumble took its place. It was the deep, snarling growl of one of these bears. The alarm bell sent out its fractured warning and reinforcements charged through the night in anxious answer.
Despite his advancing years, Ardal was one of the first to get there. He didn’t exactly leap into the fray however, he saw himself as a coach more than a frontline fighter. As small groups of more able-bodied men turned up, the elder called out enthusiastic advice on moves, countermoves, parries and all sorts of other unheeded nonsense. On this occasion, courageous ignorance and overwhelming numbers won the day. Fortunately, there was only one minor casualty of the bear’s razor-sharp claws before the ferocious creature had enough of being poked and jabbed at. Without putting up much of a fight, he soon lumbered away into the angry darkness.
The healer who attended to the injured man’s lacerated arm when peace returned, was an attractive young woman who saw her duties as wider ranging than simple first aid. Comforting the wounded soul was part of the healing process for her and, after all, heroes deserved special care.
The following morning arrived as bright and sunny as ever. Declan came out of his cabin, thick, brown hair covered in flour, and looked up into the clear sky trying not to show his overwhelming relief. It didn’t work. Bryony saw it all over his open and honest face. “What happened last night?” she asked him.
“Nature happened,” he said still looking up, “it’s got to rain sometimes, even here I suppose.”
Then he went back inside, suddenly in a hurry to get the unbaked bread in the oven. Bryony looked around at the flatland surrounding her and frowned as she raised her gaze back up at the sky.
Three years or so had flown by since the Violites had left the ashes of Heritage behind and ended up here, but a small, simple town had already begun taking haphazard shape. It sat on the banks of a shallow, slow running river whose waters had been partially diverted into irrigation channels. These cleverly fed the small fields where straggly wheat and oats were being raised to make flour. The plants had originally been found growing wild on the plain and nobody thought to ask where they’d come from to start with. The same was true of the feral cattle and goats that had been captured, and now enjoyed life in pens so they could provide milk, meat, and hides to their captors.
But a typical day’s work here was hard. In addition to crops and animals that needed tending, there was shelter being built to replace the raggedy tents that still housed some of the growing tribe. These small buildings took the form of simple log cabins put together using trees cut from the sparse woodland to the east. It was a long haul back to the settlement from there and the stubborn oxen used to drag the lumber made the process laborious, time-consuming, and sometimes downright dangerous.
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall. Who's the fairest of them all?”
“Why, my dear, you are.”
The knife is smooth and cold on both sides. The edge is jagged, and overall, it takes a lot more force than she originally suspected to stick it in just the right spot.
Angling the knife, her force is precise and heavy. Leaning over, it slides into his heart with ease. His initial grunts are cut off by the pillow her left hand holds over his face. Her right hand jams the knife in harder in an effort to stem any last noises or movements. He needs to die.
The pressure of his hand closing around her arm feels like a snake slithering and wrapping its body around her, but it gradually releases and drops to the bed.
“All hail the King,” she whispers.
The knife slides out with a few catches on muscle, skin, and cloth until it comes free with drips of blood clinging to its metal. Moonlight catches the beads of red and makes them sparkle.
Stealing from the room, she hides the knife in the folds of a towel. The same towel which allowed her to sneak the knife past several guards. None of them would suspect her of the deed she had just committed.
The games are about to begin.
After accidentally shrinking a human boy, Nahtaia—a mischievous moon-faery—is stripped of her powers by the Jaydürian gods. With the help of a pine-faery named Oren, Nahtaia must find a way to change the human back to his natural state before her mistake is discovered by the leaders of the fae. But a journey through the forests of Jaydür is long and arduous for an impatient faery with no wings, and even more so for the two traveling with her.
Ever wonder if mermaids are real?
Skye sure believes. She is one, and she’s recounting their history for the young mermaids.
It’s a history full of heartache and bad choices, in which a tribe—once holders of the sea’s secrets—become a part of her.
Mermaids are real, but what Skye wants to know is if humans are everything she’s dreamed of.
Life can flip in the blink of an eye, but love and passion will find a way to make it right.
Flipping is an award winning romance novel that highlights the power of love to move us forward and the strength of the human spirit to overcome life's challenges.
Be Inspired. Fall in Love.
JonSun and SuAnn are an unlikely couple. But despite their different social backgrounds, they fall in love. From the start, the odds were against them. SuAnn's family has other plans for her future, but their love cannot be dismissed so easily. Defying everything, the couple gets married in secret and moves to California. Good fortune blesses the couple while flipping houses. Their success marred only by JonSun's sudden need for revenge.
The second story is about Christa and her struggles with her disabilities. At a young age, it was discovered that she was profoundly deaf. A cochlear implant gave her a new perspective and she fell in love with Gymnastics. Flipping in the air made her feel alive, and nothing will stop her from achieving her dream of a gold medal. These two stories intersect when JonSun and SuAnn's son, Wynson, meets Christa. They became good friends for many years, and their friendship turns into something more. But a lot of problems stand in their way. Christa receives devastating news which could be a game changer, and Wynson has to deal with his own troubles at home. The question is whether their love for each other will survive these trials.
What gives this novel depth are the parallel themes running throughout. The characters' struggle with their self-esteem are prevalent throughout the book. This creates a richly layered and more interesting novel as the reader recognizes the threads that weaves the book together.
“The troops are here, Sire.” The butler held his head high and stood in the doorway, hands clasped behind his back. “They have armed themselves and are ready to leave at your command.”
“How many?” the king asked as he put on his uniform, his burgundy hair tucked behind his ears and ready for the helmet he would put on for protection. His blue-green eyes searched for any flaw in his armor.
Every piece shielded him from head to toe in a body vest made of the sturdiest laminated fibers and felt like a second skin upon his tall, muscular body. It would protect him from every form of combat, including fire.
The advancements in technology over the last 3,000 years would be of great benefit to him today. He didn’t just want the best technology science could create and money could buy. He wanted the power to do whatever he wanted. Just as the Second Kingdom had.
Since WWIII, the First Kingdom and Second Kingdom had created a contract to avoid future wars between their two countries. They had divided the remaining land and claimed truce. The remnants of the seven continents were now merged into two.
King Ezra was in charge of the well-being and progress of the First Kingdom. Queen Ada was in charge of the Second. However, news of the Second Kingdom’s advancements into sorcery and magical power made the King twitch for the same. He should be able to possess what they controlled. Otherwise, WWIV was inevitable.
“Approximately 25,000 men from all over the Kingdom, Your Highness. Every man eighteen and over has arrived and trained for what is to come. Are you certain you wish to do this, Sire?”
Blue-green eyes peered at the butler with darkening irises.
“Buford, do you dare question your king?” His voice was sweet and smooth like water steadily pouring over pebbles.
Buford's eyes blinked and moved to the floor. His face scrunched before he shook his head and said, “No, Your Highness.”
“Then kindly tell the men to get into formation and prepare to march. For today, we will defeat the Second Kingdom's power. We will conquer them and unite into one Kingdom.”
“Yes, Sire,” Buford responded, and then walked out into the hall with a shudder.
With head bowed and slow steps, Buford walked down the hallway praying the young king would change his mind. He wasn't the only one who knew the king was walking toward certain death.
Sighing, he opened the doors and motioned to the Secretary of War to step forward, “The king is ready to attack.”
His whispered words were sent with another shudder, and he looked into the dark eyes of the grizzled man before him, exchanging a silent nod and raised brows.
“He won’t be swayed? There has been peace for almost 3,000 years,” the secretary pleaded.
Buford shook his head. The secretary sighed before walking to the edge of the steps to announce the king's command.
Mount Olympus. Long Ago.
The enormous white columns gleamed in the blinding sunlight as the two magnificent women stood face to face. “I cast you out,” Hecate, Goddess of the Witches screamed, her voice bouncing off the grand chamber walls. “Now, and forever more. Be gone from my sight.” “No, Mother, I beg of you.” Her beautiful blonde hair caught in the gentle breeze as she grabbed for her mother’s hand. Hecate moved her hand and looked down in disgust as Empusa dropped to her knees, tears staining her cheeks, and pulled at her white flowing diaphanous dress. “You are no daughter of mine. I curse you until the end of time.” Empusa sobbed, but it fell on deaf ears. Her mother was wicked and cruel and not even the mighty Zeus could sway her decision once made. Hecate raised her hand slowly. “Your form will match your true nature.”
Empusa rose into the air, screaming in agony, her hair aflame. The once beautiful blonde locks fell onto the ground, dissolving into a pile of ash. In its place, a mane of red flaming hair grew. She cried out, the flames burning her scalp.
A sudden shift in the physical world plucks me from a pretty dream and hurls me into the land of the waking. Caught in the drugged haze of a sleeping pill, I struggle to grasp where I am. Oh yes, I’m on a plane. But where, geographically, am I now? In a proper place or still hovering somewhere over the Atlantic? I raise the shade on my window and am met by the sharp light of morning. It burns. When my eyes finally adjust, I see land. Runways. Terminal buildings. A gray world, slicked and shimmering. Heathrow. London. Home. Funny, the last bit I remember was the flight attendant going through safety procedures and thinking that I wouldn’t mind at all if the plane went down and killed us all.
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