Hello everybody! Today I’m back at writing for the second book in the Child of Lies series, entitled The Valceine Prophecy. I’d like to share an excerpt with you from one of the chapters in the book. Granted, it’s still in rough draft stage, but hopefully you’ll get a brief glimpse into part of the mystery that will exist in the followup to Winter’s Bite.
Without further ado…
Braelyn approached the entrance to the cave and saw the torches were once again hanging on the rock wall. Without hesitation, she pulled the mirror from her cloak and let the darkness of the tunnel engulf her.
Just as before, she angled the mirror in front of her and let it guide her through the dark. The journey felt like it took much longer than before and Braelyn was beginning to wonder if she took a wrong turn and was lost in the twisting tunnels. But hope encouraged her to press on, so she distanced herself from the doubts and moved ahead.
Shortly after, Braelyn felt a cool breeze coming in from the tunnel ahead of her. She inhaled and recognized the salty scent that brought with it an exhilaration that reminded her of the luxurious days she spent here before. She was almost to the beach and, more importantly, to answers.
Gradually, light began to filter into the tunnel from ahead. It was still too dark to see, as the twists and turns cut off most of the light, but with every turn of a corner she could make out just a little more ahead. Finally the light was enough to allow her to put the mirror away and make her way by sight.
As Braelyn stepped out into the open air, the morning sunrise peeked up over the water, giving her a sight that made her stare in awe. She had seen many sunrises, but never one from this vantage point on the edge of the world. She waited until the sun was fully above the horizon, reminding herself every few minutes to breathe. Reluctantly she drew her gaze away from the sunrise and descended the path that led to the small, deserted village below.
It wasn’t until Braelyn was halfway down the path that she realized that she had walked all through the night in the blackness of the tunnels. Now that the daylight reminded her of this fact, she began to feel tired and sought the first hut she could find to take a nap.
She slept peacefully and awakened to the sound of waves lapping at the sand and retreating. The young woman smiled and stood up from the cot she had been sleeping on. But despite the lure of the water and the sun (which was once again rising, and she remembered how she lost track of time when she was here before), Braelyn knew she had a mission and time was critical.
Pulling some food from her pack, she ate a quick meal and then started searching the hut for any clue at all as to the mysteries of this enchanted place. She used the mirror to view all areas in the hut, much the same way that she used it to guide her through the mountain. Nothing. Braelyn opened the storage boxes that sat beside the beds and peered into each of them with the mirror and still did not find anything.
Moving from one hut to the next, she performed a thorough search, coming up empty each time. She was about two thirds of the way through the village with nothing to show for her effort. Determined, Braelyn pressed on. If there was one thing she had learned recently, it was to continue even when things looked pointless.
And then it happened. Braelyn found what she was looking for. She almost missed it entirely because she was becoming accustomed to finding nothing and moving on. But as she glanced into the mirror in somewhere near the thirtieth hut, a diagram appeared on the floor of the box.
Taking a closer look, the girl saw what appeared to be a crude drawing of a temple out in the water. Seven small rectangles led from what looked to be the beach up to the temple. “The obsidian pier!” she exclaimed as she stood up and rushed out of the hut.
Looking to the water near the dark, stone slab, Braelyn saw a shimmer. It was but a brief flicker as if reality both was and was not there at the same time. But she knew better. She reached into her cloak for the mirror but before her fingers touched the polished stone, the temple appeared in the distance before her.
Great flames leapt from the walls and roof of the grand church, but never did it burn to ash. It was as if the flames were part of the building, and the building part of the flames. As she stood amazed at the sight before her, she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye. “Oh please, not the birds!” she exclaimed, tearing her gaze from the temple to look at a series of seven obsidian slabs that began to appear, leading up to the temple as if they were the stairs of a giant.
Her gaze followed the steps up to the temple, and when they reached the top she saw her! A woman stood beside a balcony, staring down at Braelyn. Her hair was the red of flames, and her beauty mesmerizing. Both of her hands gripped the railing of the balcony and she stared at Braelyn intently, longing for the girl to notice her. Her eyes pleading that hope did live, even if only in one person. The two women stared at each other, ancient and young, mortal and eternal. A smile slowly creased Temra’s face. Neither moved for several moments, but they knew they needed to meet. Temra’s smile reassured Braelyn as she made her way to the obsidian steps that led up to the temple.