Her choice will change the world.
She hated the wheelchair. Hated the way it made her feel less than what she was. Most of all she hated not being able to do all the things she used to. Ari had been a track and field star, an archery champion and an Eskrima pro. Now she was confined to a wheelchair slowly dying inside from its restraints.
Medical science wasn’t working. The tests, the drugs, the therapies were all useless and a waste of time. She was tired of wasting her time; she was tired of failure. It was time to look away from the obvious and try something unconventional.
Nothing was ever free and that included miracles. Abruptly, Ari finds herself tangled in a web of lies, questioning everything she’s ever known as truth. Never had she believed she’d be thrown headfirst into a world of good and evil, magic and Gods.
Trapped in the middle of a war she had never known existed both parties demanded her allegiance. Ari was a catalyst that could change all the rules of the Earth. But when the time comes to make a choice will she be strong enough to know right from wrong?
Miera had been trained from childhood to be Faithful always to the Goddess. She had been taught with Faith they would always be protected. She had never wavered from that course. She hadn’t counted on the consequences of that choice.
As Ariadne’s birthday draws closer darkness closes in on Sparta. Monsters, both Tainted and Pure alike, were vying for pieces of their island. Doubt and fear grew like pestilence. Death was unavoidable.
Sparta sat on the brink, but of what Miera wasn’t certain. There was no record, no precedence for her to consult. There were no living patrons of the Goddess to seek council from. She only had instinct and Faith. If she could not maintain the balance Sparta would fall before Gaea’s return.
How did the lost lead the people out of darkness?
“I’m twenty years old.” Leonidas said quietly. “And I am destined to die before my next birthday. You understand why I have no enthusiasm for hurrying that along.”
“Come on.” Sasha grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and drew Ari back. “He’s not worth your anger.”
“Can I at least have the runes? I’ll get someone else to help, but I need the other runes.” Ari begged. Pride was no longer an option. Her one chance was slipping through her fingers. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes. She wouldn’t just give up. “Please. You may not care at all, and I really don’t care if you do or not. But, please, don’t condemn me to this wheelchair for the rest of my life. Please?”
“Sasha.” Leonidas slowly righted himself. He wanted to ignore her pain. Wanted to pretend it didn’t matter. His ghosts, however, wouldn’t let him. His words were slow and resigned. “You’ll need to pick her up. Her chair cannot go where we need to go. Put it there,” he gestured next to the archway, “out of the walkway and follow me.”
Sasha parked the wheelchair and carefully slid his arms under Ari. He was always very careful with her. Spun glass, was what she reminded him of, though, recently that glass was lined with steel. He waited for Ari to grab her notebooks and nod at him in confirmation before righting slowly and letting her adjust comfortably once upright.
Leonidas watched bemused, but said nothing. It wasn’t his place to say anything, and if he had it would no doubt have met with defensiveness from Ari. While he wasn’t above being argumentative, he wanted them out. It hurt to look at them for too long. Their unit was too solid and it pained him.
Leonidas had been right about the wheelchair. The hall behind the curtain was barely wide enough for them to walk. There was no way a wheelchair could have been navigated through. All the doors were closed so Ari could only guess at what was behind them.
At the end of the hall, Leonidas pushed on a tile in the wall. The panel slid open to reveal an elevator. It was just as brightly lit as the main gallery which made the ride down a little more tolerable. Ari had no idea how far down they went before the elevator dinged to a stop.
When the doors opened there were books as far as the eyes could see. They disappeared into the shadows. There were no windows and the lights were dim. Several of them flickered, dangerously close to blowing out. It made the entire room look like something out of a horror movie.
“Charming.” Sasha quipped. “Do you keep your coffin down here, too?”
Miera heard, rather than saw Thalia stop in the door after Zoya followed her in.
“The High Patriarch will resolve this matter please return to your beds. I know the screaming is discerning. It will end momentarily,” she said. She stood in the door a moment longer before following them in and closing it behind her.
Leonidas was not in his bed but on the floor next to it. Blood stained the floor and marred the white sheets. He arched and contorted unnaturally screaming all the while. As they watched Leonidas raked his nails across his body. It looked as if he was trying to pull out whatever was invading him. He didn’t even react to the self-inflicted injuries.
Miera sighed and slowly reached out, “Leonidas?”
“Wait,” Zoya reached to grab her hand but it had already landed on Leonidas.
Miera jerked back in surprise and pain. Her hand and arm had gone numb and yet felt like a thousand bee stings. Whatever was invading Leonidas was trying to attack her just from touching him. She dropped to her knees and clutched her now dead arm.
“Miera,” Thalia dropped to her knees beside her charge.
Miera shook her head and jerked away. “Don’t touch. It’ll spread.”
“What can we do? What is it? Can you tell?” Thalia knelt closer than Miera wanted but there was no stopping her.
“It’s…painful,” Miera gritted through clenched teeth even as tears rolled down her cheeks. It was like her arm was being broken from the inside a thousand times over. “Dark, cold, oily. There are so many words…”
“Tainted,” Zoya whispered. She reached out and placed both hands on Leonidas.
“Zoya!” Miera wasn’t close enough to stop her.
“It’s alright,” Zoya inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. “We are Gaea’s Advocates. We are the Envoys. Shush, Leonidas. Hear me. Come back.”
Miera and Thalia watched in astonishment and admiration as Leonidas’s screams ebbed and then ended. The tension in his body released. He laid there motionless but for the rapid rise and fall of his chest.
The pain in Miera’s arm slowly faded as well. Instinctively she flexed her fingers and was overjoyed when she could feel them again. She stood slowly; her knees were weak as if she had been sick for weeks rather than just a few moments.
Zoya turned her head to look at Miera as she rose. Miera started at her white eyes. Zoya smiled slowly. “It is done,” she said and fainted.
Thalia’s reflexes were lightning fast and she caught the falling girl inches above the polished wooden floor. Thalia gently places her on the cool surface. Miera knelt next to her and placed a hand on her brow. Zoya’s eyes opened at the touch and they were back to their steely gray.
“I am fine,” she said weakly. “If I could borrow Thalia to take me to my room? I don’t think I can walk just yet and it’s improper for me to stay here.”
Miera gave a dry chuckle. “Of course,” she nodded to Thalia who carefully picked up the much weakened Zoya and carried her from the room.
She turned to Leonidas once they were gone and squatted down at his side. Before she could touch him, he rolled away from her reach. Miera stood slowly even as he began to slowly push himself up.
“Can you tell me what happened?” she asked when she realized he wasn’t going to voluntarily speak.
He shook his head, “I wish I knew.”
Miera studied his face as he rose slow and carefully like the old or sickly. His muscles strained with the motion and he refused to look at her.
“You know I know you’re lying right,” Miera said flatly. “What happened?”
He leaned against a post of his bed before slowly moving to the adjoining bathroom. “I’m exhausted and bleeding. If you’ll excuse me?”
“You’ll take your leave when I grant it.”
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About the author:
Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but with the ability to claim eight states as home; Victoria Escobar writes fiction from her current home in New York. She writes whatever comes to mind and because of such has a variety of genres written including Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, and Contemporary Fiction.
In spare time if not with family, and friends Victoria enjoys curling up with a book from a favorite author with music playing. If not reading or writing she spends time drawing, sketching, crocheting, or some other random art project. She enjoys staying busy, but most of all enjoys staying creative.
I'd love to read these books! They seem really interesting! ;)
Thanks for sharing the info and for the chance to win in this great giveaway! ^_^
This sounds like my kind of book. :D and thanks for the awesome giveaway
Great expert was cool loved it.
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