I have begun writing Wicked Voices. I thought I would share the Prologue as a teaser of what is to come. It is not fully flushed out and edited, but for those who read Wicked Love, it is a look into where the story continues. Wicked Voices: A Weeping Willow Novel is scheduled to be published in 2016! But if you haven't read Wicked Love, the prologue may contain spoilers, so read the other books first!
If you haven't read any of the books in the Weeping Willow Series, I invite you to read the two FREE short stories available, Weeping Willow - Part One and Part Two, available now at Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers.
P.S. Wicked Chemistry is in the process of being edited and will be available in paperback format soon.
There was one time that I could recall in my entire life that I seemed to step outside of myself from shock. There was a sense that the Earth had ceased its rotation and the world around me froze. I was a boy and my father’s mare was in foal. I awaited this new arrival, being promised the foal if it was a colt. My father said that it would grow to be my royal steed.
The birthing process was long as the mare experienced problems. Once the foal was born, we saw its ghastly deformities, having a large head with two faces and only three legs. My father, in his disgust, took up his sword and slit the throat of the foal. I could still hear the cries of its mother as the body of her baby lay beside her. It wasn’t long after that day that the mare refused to eat and starved herself to death in her depression.
Standing outside of the stall, I cried as a child would upon seeing death for the first time. I didn't understand it. But I knew that it didn't feel good. I stared at the growing pool of blood, feeling a sense of dread invade me.
As my father walked out of the stall, he knelt on one knee and aligned his mouth with my ear. He told me, “In our ordered world, there is no place for something different. You’ll see when you’re king that the ones who are different, who go against the grain of order, are the ones that must be cut down to keep the peace.”
“Is death more merciful, Father?” I asked.
He smiled, finding my words comical. “Son, in our world, there is no mercy. Mercy is weakness. Justice is strength, it is the sharp edge my sword. In this realm, there are order and disorder. Disorder breeds more disorder. Remember that when you feel merciful.”
I dried my tears, and he left me without another word. At that moment, I learned to conform, fearing that I would be killed if I didn’t. But all of that changed when the Oracle gave me a reading. After that, I went against my father, my mother, my people and created life. I made Willow, and she couldn’t have been more different than me, different than any other Elf I had encountered. Yet, looking down at all the blood, I was reminded of that dead foal and wondered if my father was right. My disorder, my need to go against the grain had bred Willow’s dysfunction.
“Nalin! Nalin, help me!”
I could hear my name being called, but I was in shock. After I fell on my stomach and reached out, I watched it disappear before my eyes and with it any hope of finding Willow. Rising to my knees, I looked at the spot where the door had been and cursed myself. Why didn’t I see the signs? Why didn’t I see that Willow had been corrupted by the Dark King? He had used her to execute his dismal plan of revenge against the realms, and she was traumatized by what she had done. Like me, she could not forgive herself, and I didn’t recognize her vulnerability.
“Nalin!” Avery screamed.
Coming out of my thoughts, I turned to face him, still not feeling like myself.
He was kneeling over Rosalyn, his bloody hands over her wound. His eyes were wide as he watched her life’s blood gush from her, possibly realizing how inept he was to deal with the situation. “Help me stop the bleeding!” he yelled, shaking.
I could have continued to stay in my daze, but there was something in his voice snapped me into the present, a panic that forced me into action. Reaching for a small dagger I carried on my belt, I stood up and went towards a lit torch. With Avery yelling at me to hurry, I put the blade into the fire, waiting for it to get hot.
When the metal had changed color slightly, I pulled it out and rushed to Rosalyn’s side, pushing Avery out of the way.
I ripped her dress to have a better view of her wound. Opening the gash, I inserted my finger and felt for a pulsation. When I felt the blood gush upwards in tune with her shallow heartbeat, I knew I had found the cut artery and plugged it with my finger.
“The knife pierced her artery. I'm going to have to insert my hot dagger in to cauterize the wound,” I told Avery, inserting the small blade in and burning the artery closed. “Go to Rosalyn’s room and combine some herbs to help the wound heal.”
With a new purpose, Avery ran to Rosalyn’s chambers to work on an herbal remedy.
When the blood had stopped flowing, I knew that I had successfully closed the artery. Then I began to burn the gash on the surface of her skin closed, the smell of burning flesh filled the air around me. When it was done, I dropped the dagger and carefully picked up Rosalyn. Walking towards her chambers, I met Avery, and he helped me lay her on her bed. He dressed her, placing leaves over green paste which was spread thick over the scar.
I looked down at myself, seeing that Rosalyn’s blood was all over me. “I’ll find a medicine woman who can tell us what we are dealing with here,” I told Avery.
Holding his hand up, he said, “I will do that. You cannot be seen with all of that blood. People will talk.”
“She needs to be cleaned and changed.”
Avery nodded. “I’ll summon a trusted servant directly,” he said. “Get cleaned up, Nalin. When Rosalyn is stable enough, we’ll inform the wedding guests.”
Sensing anger and confusion bubbling to the surface, I began to tremble. I tried to understand, but I couldn’t. I wished she would have told me that something was wrong. We could have faced it together. Looking back, I think I knew that she had changed which made me angrier, because I didn’t help her. I could’ve prevented this. She could’ve been with me at that moment, but I let her slip through my fingers again. “What are we going to tell them, Avery?” I asked, growing warm in my frustration. “That Willow tried to kill her mother?”
“No,” Avery said. “That stays between us.”
Not wanting to direct my anger at him, I turned away as a growing sense of defeat rose from my gut. “What are we going to tell them?” I asked, breathing slowly in an attempt to calm myself.
He walked away from the bed and closed the bedchamber door. “We’ll tell them that there was an accident. We’ll say that Queen Rosalyn has been hurt and is in need of recovery,” he said, keeping his voice low. “We’ll tell them that the remaining wedding feasts have been cancelled. There will be no mention of Willow, and that should give you enough time before people grow suspicious.”
“Give us enough time for what?” I asked, walking towards the window and looking out.
“For you to find her,” Avery told me. “For you to bring her back, so she can answer for what she did.”
I shook my head. “I looked straight into her eyes, and she wasn’t in her right mind. She's ill,” I told him, knowing that my heart was clouding my ability to judge the situation.
“What would your father have done?” Avery asked, his brows drawn together.
I brushed my hair away from my face. “He would have killed her,” I answered matter-of-factly, watching his expression soften upon hearing my answer. “But I’m not my father. You’re hurt because you love Rosalyn. You’re angry but think of Rosalyn would want. She loves Willow. I love Willow. I can’t persecute her.”
Avery crossed his arms on his chest and nodded. “I wouldn’t request a trial, only an explanation. We can find a way to help her from there, but nothing can be done without finding her first.”
Looking at my friend, I wondered what he was thinking. He had a strong sense of justice which raced through his veins. Could he really let Willow live without being punished for what she did? I wasn’t sure, but he was right. Willow had to be found. The realms were not safe for her; headhunters were out for her blood. Yet, there was no way of tracing an invisible door, and I feared that she was lost forever.
WICKED VOICES: A WEEPING WILLOW NOVEL
COMING IN 2016!