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#samplesunday New Preview of Prophecies of Fire: Corithian Saga Book I

Prophecies of Fire

A work in progress

K Crumley

Chapter I

The King’s paige wandered out into the courtyard of his castle at dawn, wincing as his bare feet reacted to the chill of the flagstones.
“Shanley,” King Jaryd barked. “Shanley!”
“Yes sir?” The young, blonde boy stood at attention. The boy had noticed that the King was acting strangely. Normally Jaryd is gentle, soft-spoken, and even friendly with his servants. But ever since Jaryd had taken this new Sirenian maiden as his lover, he had become rather grouchy, gruff, and altogether obsessed with the sable-tressed beauty.
“The Lady Belissa? Where is she? Have you seen her yet this morning?” The King asked. His eyes bore a strange, bewildered look.
“I believe I saw her leave through the gate shortly before sunrise, sir.” responded the lad.
“Outside the walls?” the King said as he started to panic, “This early in the day? Alone? Why didn’t you STOP HER?!”
“Your highness, I…”
Jaryd held up his arms to hush the boy, “Please spare me your excuses. She could be attacked by vagrants, drunkards leaving the taverns…For God’s sake lad, she could have been attacked by a wild beasts!”
King Jaryd stormed out of the courtyard, in a huff, behaving like a weak, lovestruck schoolboy—not like the strong noble king that Shanley had been so proud to serve. He disappeared from Shanley’s sight.
“Hmm,” the boy huffed, as the king stormed out of sight, “Don’t I wish…” In honesty, He had wished the King had chosen a more suitable fiancé.

~~~

Morrigan D’Laiec woke from her nightmare, screaming. her heart pounded within her chest. She rubbed her eyes. This last one was too horrid to even imagine…and the thought that her poor, misguided Jaryd could be in danger…that he would follow that witch he’s been courting into… “No.” She whispered, “No it couldn’t be!”

~~~
Dawn arose upon the Kingdom of Corithia. A realm so well protected by Maji and mermen guardians. Its peace had not been disturbed in nearly 30 years. It was safe now from the leagues of ancient creatures that ravaged their land years ago. So tranquil, so calm…
So, so naive, and unsuspecting, Belissa thought as she fled the king’s castle at dawn. She was a curvaceous maiden, with shoulder length sable tresses that framed a heart shaped face. Clad only in a long, red robe her bare feet tread tread lightly across the sand. She disappeared behind the rocky clefts and whispered the word “shift” as a cloud of smoke surrounded her. The smoke dispersed.

Moments later, a dragon-like creature emerged from the clefts. “Glorius morning.” She hissed, as she contemplated victory. “Simply gloriussss….”
The sun shone as brightly as the fiery glint in her dark eyes. “Everything is falling into place,” she whispered, as she strode through the sand, along the clefts towards her lair. The love spell was cast. The King would choose to wed her, and not that snotty know-it-all Duchess who claims to be a prophet. She sneered at the thought of her. “She best not get in my way…if she knows what’s good for her.” She cringed. “I’ll soon be queen! Then they all will pay!”

Beliah snickered at the fact that the late King Marcius was probably rolling in his grave. The Dorzyn’s reign was long overdue. She had brought the pride here, despite their doubts and questions. The victory she promised them was now right around the corner.
The very thought of it caused the lizard-like Beliah to practically dance, as she skittered across the beach; her talons created an intricate pattern into the soft, sandy shoreline. Just then, a peel of silvery giggles could be heard from the other side of the cleft.
Now who can that be? Her mind whispered…
She turned, to see the evidence of her prancing. Dorzyn tracks she’d left behind. She knew what would become of her species if this evidence were discovered, so she turned and blew a puff of sulfuric breath across the sand. The evidence of Dorzyn presence on the isle was thus erased.
Again, a giggle was heard in the distance. From the other side of the cliff, she heard a high-pitched singsong tone. Beliah sniffed the air, with her long snout. She hissed, sniffing the air. She sneered, “Mersssssss.” Then, cursed the creature under her breath. There was bad blood between Merfolk and the Dorzyn. There always has been…
As she crept over the edge of the cleft to survey the scene, she spotted a pristine green-tailed girl brushing her long brown hair as she sat on a rock. Reading her thoughts, Beliah sensed that she was totally oblivious to the danger that was afoot. This mermaid seemed young, naieve, and all alone. No army of trident-wielding seafolk to chase Beliah away from the shoreline.
The little mermaid sang dreamily of the human man she had a crush on: Jaryd D’Marcius, the handsome King of Corithia. Beliah grinned, wickedly. For, Jaryd’s fate lay in the hands of Beliah of Fury, herself—as did this whole blasted kingdom. If only the little mermaid new…if only she had sensed.
“Tsk-tsk-tsk, Foolish child of the ocean.” The Dorzyn shook her lizard-like head. “Don’t know who you’re dealing with, do you?” She climbed over the cliff, like a gecko on all fours. She sniffed the air and then sensed another presence nearby. Sinister. Dormant. The Dorzyn’s keen eyes spotted him right away, a dark shadow slowly moving amongst the rocky clefts.
The mermaid however was quite oblivious. She was slower, naturally; and not quite as bright or clever as most of them. Perhaps this was due to her youth—she appeared to be in her early teenage years. Lost in her childish daydreams, she didn’t see the lizard-like enemy coming climbing down the cliffs toward her; nor did she sense the predator lurking nearby.
“Simple minded mergirl doesn’t even know what danger she’s in.” Then, she had an idea. “Perfect,” Beliah hissed, “Just perfect.”
Beliah slid out of sight, for a moment behind the rocky clefts. She emerged again in human form. But not as Belissa the sable-haired maiden. But as the King himself. Tall, handsome with wavy chestnut brown hair. Clad in a midnight blue doublet over a crisp, white shirt and black trousers. “My dear, darling Mermaid!” He said, beckoning her toward the rocky clefts. “Come to me, let me take a look at your loveliness. Perhaps you could sing a song for me…” He held out his hand to her, smiled charmingly.
The mermaid squealed with joy, ran her hands through her hair. Then whispered shift, as her green tail became two legs. she modestly covered herself with a light green silk tunic that she had laid on a rock near shore, and then tried to walk as a mature woman. She swayed her hips like she’d seen human girls do, headed right into the arms of the faux king…who suddenly disappeared. “I’m in here dear.” the king’s voice said, as she heard him echoing from within a dark cave.
“Jaryd?” She said, “King Jaryd?” She walked into the cave…looking for him.
With a rumble, and groan the huge cave shifted. The king was standing right outside, laughing with a wicked female snicker. “too easy! ” She transformed back into herself; the Dorzyn Beliah. As she backed away quickly, she saw the rock demon’s mouth close. it’s horrid lipless mouth closed with the mermaid inside. It shifted again, groaning. The Dorzyn let out a hiss as the rock demon spotted her with it’s large black eye that resembled a deep crevice in the stone. She blew a breath of bright orange fire at him, and he backed away. “Don’t mess with me you monster!” She shouted.
A scream was heard in the distance—a female scream. Then another figure came into her view. Beliah turned to see where the noise was coming from. Her bright orange eyes narrowed, as the cloaked figure came into view. Friend or foe, she thought as she looked closely at the female face, peering out from under the hood. Whisps of blonde hair blowing in the slight breeze.

“Drat, that Holier-than-thou duchess! I cannot let her see me like this!” Beliah scampered off behind some rocky clefts. She emerged as Belissa, once again; donning red velvet robes. She spotted her romantic rival running toward her.

“I just had the most horrid vision.” The golden-haired woman said, as she drew back her hood. “A cave,…Jaryd was standing in it…it collapsed or something…someone screamed!”
“Oh, dear prophet you’re losing your touch.” Belissa said, sarcastically. “That just happened moments ago. But don’t worry dear…Jaryd is fine.”
Morrigan shook her head. She looked around, frantically. “No. Something is wrong here…I sense…I sense danger!”
Belissa nodded. “Rock Daemons.” She explained, “These Isles were once so overpopulated by them that neither man nor beast felt safe. They eat whatever crosses their path, if you’re not careful. Disguise themselves as caves. They hide in the vales of mountains and clefts of the sea.
“Years ago a far nobler species came, and rid the island kingdom of them. But humans turned their backs on their allies. Preferred the company of a more passive, weaker race over their own protectors.” The corner of Belissa’s red lips curled up to a sneer. She glanced at the duchess, who bore a look of disbelief.
“Oh, don’t tell me a wise prophet like you never heard of the story of the Dorzyn!” there was no disguising her sarcasm.
“It’s just that I’ve heard it told differently.” Morrigan said, in a matter of fact tone. “The Dorzyn nearly devoured all sealife, and had used up the natural resources of our kingdom. Their arid breath made the sea ebb away. Something had to be done. The Sea dragons were saught for their wisdom in how to deal with them…”
“The sea dragons were sent to chase the species away from shore. And without the ability to go near the shore, w…well they could get no food for themselves. Could they? And without food they’d die.” Belissa crossed her arms, “They simply migrated.”
“Well that’s a good thing.” Morrigan said, “Let them go to Yanesta…and scare all the pirates!” With that, Belissa had to snicker despite herself. The two ladies were not friends—but they both hated pirates.
Suddenly something stirred, rumbled. “Here he comes.” Belissa said, grabbing the other woman’s arm firmly.
“What do you?” Morrigan said, “Get your hands off me.”
“That thing just ate a mermaid! Do you want to be next?” Belissa said through gnashed teeth. Sure she wanted to get rid of her romantic rival. But not like this. She’d never give a Rock creature the satisfaction. She wanted her rival out of the way; but, not dead.
At least not yet, anyways. She wanted the self-proclaimed prophetess to cower in fear with the rest of them, when the truth is revealed. She will see the duchess bow to her!

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#SampleSunday: Special preview of CHARMED LIVES prologue (WIP)

Prologue

It had been eighteen months since Maevis Etherwood, prima ballerina, had found her husband in bed with his mistress.  Eighteen months since she was investigated for their murders, and subsequently cleared due to lack of evidence.  Eighteen months since she retired from the world of dance, and seemingly disappeared…

To La-la land, I suppose. Heavy set matron Roberta Warren thought to herself, pondering the whereabouts of her ex-daughter-in-law.  She always thought the girl was a bit flighty, as was her whole family.

She was sorting through some old things, again…bleached-white teeth ground together, beneath grimacing pink-stained lips.  The creases around the corners  of her mouth grew deeper.  She growled, as her manicured hands clutched the picture frame.  In it was the picture of a beautiful auburn-haired bride, and Roberta’s own blonde, handsome son Reese.  She let out a grut, dropping the picture to the floor.  Glass shattering!

She stood trembling.

“Now, dear.” Her husband Edgar said as he came into the room. He picked up the picture frame.  The man had envisioned this scene over a dozen times this past year. “I’ll get a broom to sweep up the glass.  Go have some wine, hun.”

“I just cannot stand to…to still see any remnants of her.  To see her face again! To see…”

“Well, that’s a picture of our son, too Bertie.”

“Yes,” she said, “Making the biggest mistake of his life.” She put her hands on her hips.  Shook her head, her blonde angled bob tossing from her frantic movements.  “I never did like that girl!  Never did approve!”

“Well, I always thought Maevis was a quiet, nice young lady….just…different is all.”

“She killed our son!”

Her husband shook his head, and put his arm around her shoulder consolingly.  “Now dear…you know the truth is…”

“Yes, I know they really couldn’t prove anything…” She said, as her words started to trail off.  She cleared her throat again. “But Edgar, you were a lawyer.  You know there are more ways to murder somebody than by a gun, or a knife…”

“Yes, Bertie.” He said, “We’ve been through this…”

“She did something to scare them.” She continued, “To shock them.  She had to have done something!” Roberta was shaking, again.  “Reese was a healthy, young man.  And, that Barbie or Bambi…whatever her name was?  Well she was only twenty-two.”

“You really want to persuit this civil case, don’t you.”

“Yes, Edgar.” She said, “I cannot rest until we see her…and the rest of that crazy family, get what they deserve.”

***

Fiona Etherwood sat in her office staring out the picture window.  Christmas was approaching, her busiest time of year…and the malaise was overtaking her. Fiona felt dizzy and weak.

The leaves were changing, as the Pennsylvania Hillside beyond the city looked like bouquets of Orange and red chrysanthemums.  Seems like just two weeks ago they were bright green… She thought, pushing a lock of auburn hair out of her eyes.

Prototypes lined her shelves; dolls, handheld electronic games, lifelike stuffed animals that growled, barked, or purred when you rub their necks.  She had broke two of Hutchens’ latest creations; she hadn’t meant to.  She had just lost control, and they went sailing across the room…crashed into the wall.

She had drank some Yasminea tea during her coffee break, and had used her magic to restore them, erasing any trace of damage.  And, with that…depleted more strength.  She was now as sick as Maevis was a year and a half ago…

As sick as her parents had been, when he left the company in her hands…

It was happening again…

She did not want to alarm Cayden.  It would lead to another one of those conversations about Cayden quitting school, to help her.  They just couldn’t do that now–couldn’t afford to do anything else that would make them look less normal again, in the eyes of the wingless people.

She only had one Yasminea petal left at the office, tucked safely away in her desk drawer.  She would have to ingest it before heading home.

***

Night fell in the trees, and goblins moved around freely.  This time at night, they did not fear the young, powerful Queen.  She was most likely sound asleep, in her castle in Oberia. They hoped she could not even sense them, frolicking about in the Hollow of Four Gates.

A portal was created, to reach the one who would revert things back to the way they were.  To free the goblins from their perceived tyrany, so they could create their mischief–free to roam about in any realm.  Even the Outer Realm, where they could cause the most trouble.  Chibito, imp that she was, scampered out of a hollow, rotten smelling tree trunk…

She heard his footfall, which she would sense anywyere.  He trepsed through the woods.  Brown leather boots squashing fern, twigs, and errant berries.  Until he stopped in the Hollow.  Chibito ran to his feet, “Yes, My Lord.” She said, bowing to him.  She had found a new master even Darker and more sinister than the first….

***

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