Radiance - Book 4

When everything comes to light...

“We are all part of the whole, child. Never forget this. Each of us has a part to play in the big scheme of things. Some play very small parts, while others bear heavier burdens. But if one piece is out of sync or missing, the hole it creates is both felt and seen.”  --Riyah the Elderad

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land. 

The Truth Comes Out...Choices Must Be Made...
The Dark Lord Darnel knows a Curian has returned to the Halls of Knowledge. He must stop this spark before it turns into a raging fire. 
Alyra's memories have returned. The staggering truth about her past and her former master is more than she can bear. While Lotari and Stitch try to finalize the building of the Wilderland Meeting Hall, she and Ethan are proving to be a hindrance to their plans. Alyra must decide if she should stay and work through the trials facing her quest, or give in to Lord Darnel’s demands.
Katrina has more help now than she knows how to handle. Tarek, the Racan traitor, is now in her service along with the warriors Jerin and Carah. Jerin is commissioned to help train the townsfolk as they attempt to reclaim the city of Denovo. Katrina must decide if she should give up the search for her missing peoples, or stay in hiding from the one who knows her secret. 

Alburnium can only be saved if everyone will put aside past grievances and stand together for the common good. Unfortunately, wounds run deep and forgiveness means weakening defenses in a time when a strong defense is needed more than ever. 

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Radiance Book Four

Chapter One

Stitch the centaur stared up at the towering structure of their nearly finished Meeting Hall. Despite the scorched portico, the sight took his breath away and sent his yellow tail swishing with delight. The faeries promised they could fix the burns caused by the battle brought on by the dwarf overlord Lucien. Stitch hoped they’d begin working on it soon. 

The thought of that rotten stump of a creature made Stitch dig his hooves into the mossy ground. Nobody had located Lucien's body, so it was assumed he’d survived Lotari’s arrow. They still awaited news on whether the treacherous leech had slunk back to his mountain lair. Stitch hoped he'd left Wilderland altogether. So far, none had seen so much as a hair of his ratty gray beard. 

A week had passed since the battle. Stitch’s hide twitched to get back to work. Lotari, his mentor and centaur-in-charge of the Meeting Hall construction, wished to give everyone a chance to recuperate from their injuries and the trauma brought on by the attack. With a heavy sigh, Stitch stared at the silent building, fearing they all had more than a few cuts and bruises to get over. 

“Well.” Stitch rubbed his hands together. “There must be something that needs to be done.” 

He searched the front of the Meeting Hall. There were no logs or stones provided by the ogres and trolls. The faeries and pixies remained silent in the tree boughs. Lotari had left before the sun rose, saying he needed to speak to Talos, the centaur clan’s leader. 

Stitch had bid him good luck on getting the stubborn old buck to listen to reason. Since the arrival of the humans, Talos refused to set a hoof in the Meeting Hall, where Alyra was still healing from her ordeal with the dragons. 

The morning sun peeked over the towering pines. Stitch looked around, wondering if the two overgrown flying lizards had left yet. Lotari said they’d received orders from their Gran-Doyen to return home, where he planned to meet with the whole clan. The young, blue dragon didn’t wish to leave without knowing if her friend, Alyra, would be all right. Lotari assured her over and over of Alyra’s progress. 

Even though they’d saved the clan’s hides, the drakes still made Stitch nervous. And the humans made everyone else nervous. Stitch blew out a long, frustrated breath. 

Since there were no wood or stones to build with, he started to head inside, when he caught sight of Lotari slowly making his way out of the canyon. The chestnut centaur’s face was downcast as his hands fidgeted with the strap of his quiver. Nobody went about unarmed nowadays. 

“No luck?” Stitch startled Lotari out of his deep thoughts.

“No, the stubborn mules. The whole lot of them.” He stormed past. “Have you seen my mate, by chance?”

“I believe Esdra is checking on our two-legged mules.” He pointed toward the small enclosure off the main room, where Alyra and her brother Ethan resided. 

Lotari rolled his eyes. “We must pry that girl out of her hammock. Today. She’s not injured.”

“Not on the outside,” replied a voice from behind them. Stitch spun around, but found nobody standing nearby. Yet Lotari’s brooding, dark eyes remained locked on a spot a few feet away from them. Stitch noticed the blades of grass bending as if tread upon by a set of feet. 

“Good morning, Riyah.” Lotari extended his hand. Small indents appeared in his tanned skin as the Elderad shook in greeting. Stitch heard the rustle of clothing move nearer before something grasped his own hand. 

“Good morning, Stitch,” Riyah said, and even though Stitch couldn’t see him, he was sure he heard the smile in his voice. 

He must know, Stitch reasoned. Beads of sweat filled his palms. But he refused to be intimidated. Even Miss Alyra hadn't seen her Elderad instructor when they first met. Still, Stitch had to wonder what hindered his seeing Riyah, when Lotari obviously had no problem whatsoever. 

“Good morning, sir.” Stitch offered a small nod, unsure how to address the strange being. For a moment, the air rippled, and he was able to discern Riyah’s outline. The vision reminded Stitch of looking upon the ice statues that decorated King Shaydon's throne room in Aloblase. 

Riyah didn’t release Stitch's hand as he spoke to the two of them. “I intend to begin laying the white stones today.”
If only he’d arrived before Lucien attacked; now there was so much to repair. 

Lotari stared up at the blackened arches. “We have more repairs to do, Riyah. But I’ve been waiting for my workers to recoup.” Then he added under his breath as his brows furrowed into a scowl, “Though I can’t see how their injuries are hindering them now. Most healed a couple of days after the battle.”

Impressions of fingers squeezed into Lotari’s shoulder. Stitch made out the glass-like man standing beside his friend. “Some wounds run deeper and are harder to see. Patience, my centaur friend. I can conduct my work around your repairs. I feel our stay here is meant to be short. However, we do have some time to allow matters to resolve themselves. At the moment, I feel no sense of urgency.” 

Stitch blurted, “But Little Miss refuses to do anything besides sleep with her head buried under the blankets.” He turned to Lotari. “We have to get her up. She is starting to smell like a badger’s den.”

Lotari’s mouth flicked up in a half-smile. “Indeed.” He sighed. “Still, have you heard how she whimpers during her sleep? She’s always been prone to disturbing dreams, but lately…” He shook his head. “She frightens me sometimes.”

Leaves crunched under the Elderad’s boots as he wandered away from them. “As I said, some wounds run deep and will take longer to heal. For so long, her mind has been full of holes and disconnections. Now, all of a sudden, everything has come back.” He let out a deep, lingering sigh. “And I still await Alyra’s full story.”

Stitch asked, “She didn’t really meet… him… did she? That’s impossible.”

Lotari rubbed at the lines forming across his forehead, his eyes locked intently on the Elderad. “Riyah was there, too, so I guess meeting Darnel isn’t such an impossibility, is it?”

Riyah’s voice came from right beside Stitch, causing him to jerk in surprise. “Darnel indeed took advantage of her momentary vulnerability. His powers continue to increase. We must be constantly vigilant of his schemes. This is no time to grow lax, my friends.”

Lotari nodded. “Riyah, how can I best help Alyra? We’ve always been close, but I’m afraid during our separation she’s grown distant. Since her arrival, she has barely said more than a few words to me. Mostly, she’s told everyone to leave her alone.”

“What would you need, my friend, if an enormous wave had crashed down upon you?”

“Something to hang onto, I suspect,” answered Lotari.

“Then I suspect leaving her alone isn’t the answer.” Riyah's voice drifted away. “The best anyone can do is to be there for her to hold onto while she sorts through the debris this wave has washed over her.” 

Lotari’s brow arched as he turned to face Stitch. “Very well, then. We will convince her to come out of her shell. Starting today.” 

Stitch wondered if Lot had forgotten how stubborn their Little Miss could be when she didn’t wish to do something. Still, they had to try. As long as she remained in the Hall, he had a feeling they’d not get any of their workers to return. 

* * * *

Alyra’s steed galloped across the frost-covered field, its hooves pounding like a rumbling summer storm. Beside her, a black stallion inched closer, taking the lead. She let out a loud whoop, urging her mount to run faster. “Can’t catch me!”

“Oh, yes, I can!” Her companion whipped the crop across the horse’s rump, leaving a lash mark and gaining the needed burst of speed to overtake her at the end of the field. 
Alyra pulled the reins. “Poppy, you always cheat.”  

Darnel’s horse slowed to a trot as he circled her. “Now, now, Daughter, no need to resort to accusations, is there? You must learn to be more firm. There is no room for kindness when you wish to take the lead.”

Alyra swung her leg over the saddle as she dismounted, but when she went to step down, her left foot seemed stuck in the stirrup. “Let go! Let go! Let—”

She bolted up, her hammock swinging. A female centaur with darkly tanned skin and almond-shaped eyes released her foot with a gasp. Long, coffee brown braids fell across her narrow face.

“What… who?” Alyra looked around, sending her bed to swaying even more. Her stomach churned as if she were on a small boat being tossed by stormy waters. “Where am I?”

Ethan grasped her shoulders. “You’re fine. You’re safe now, Sis; calm down.”

She pushed him away. “I am calm.” Tucking her feet under the bearskin blanket, Alyra rubbed her pounding head. Why were her thoughts so scattered? Hadn’t Riyah healed her fragmented mind? But that was before. When Tarek was with them.

Grabbing her brother’s woolen sleeve, she asked, “Where’s Tarek?”

Ethan’s gaze fell to his boots. “I’m not sure. Nobody has heard from him yet.”

Tears burned her eyes, and she quickly blinked them back, not wanting the Healer to think her weak. 
The female, whom Alyra thought she’d heard someone call Esdra, brought her a small cup of steamy liquid that smelled like a field of wildflowers. “I do not understand. How exactly do you protect this soft flesh from stones and thorns?” 

“Shoes generally do the trick, ma’am.” Ethan’s mouth quirked into a lopsided grin. “Why isn’t she getting better?”

Esdra snuffed with a wave of her hand, causing her many bracelets to clatter. “There is nothing wrong with her. She is being lazy.” She tried lifting the blanket again. “Drink it all, human. Then you must have some stew. It will give you strength.”

“I am not lazy.” Alyra shifted so her legs hung off the side of the hammock. “Where are my boots?” Her stomach rumbled, but the thought of actually eating made her feel nauseated. 

While Ethan searched through their pile of belongings, Alyra sipped the steamy mug, wishing they’d go away so she could work out the dream. Everything was so scrambled now, she wasn’t sure what was true. Scattered memories plagued her sleep to the point of causing her head to ache something terrible as she tried to sort it all into a logical series of events. 

She took in the circular room. Narrow branches were tied together to form the walls. The roof was constructed with woven reeds. Alyra’s gaze fell back on Esdra, the first female centaur she’d encountered. She held her head proudly, shoulders straight, firm. Actually, she was quite beautiful with her pouting, full lips and rich, dark hair adorned with feathers and shells. A vest made from rabbit skin covered her human form, and like Lotari, she had several pouches and a small knife tied around her waist. Her horse body was sleek and only slightly lighter than the deep brown of her hair and tail. 

Was this Lotari’s new wife?  

“Where am I?” Alyra handed back the empty cup.

Indents formed across Ethan’s forehead. “Wilderland. You must remember flying here on Crystal?” He pulled her boots from a pile of bags and other travel gear and handed them to her. 

Several fresh images hit her at once. Being cold. A brilliant light. Cool wind on her face, and a starry sky. She rubbed her face in her dirty palms. Ugh, she needed a bath. “Everything is so jumbled. Where’s Ri? And Crystal? Are the dragons still here?”

“I’m not sure about Riyah.” Ethan tucked a greasy stand of her auburn hair behind her ear. “Maybe if you get out of the hammock and walk around, things will start to make sense again. Crystal and Emerald had to leave last night.”

Sorrow over missing her friend tore at Alyra’s tattered heart. Yes, maybe it was time to climb out of this cocoon she’d woven herself into. Lying in the hammock wasn’t keeping the dreams away.

Esdra’s cool fingers pressed against her forehead. “We must get her up and moving. She needs fresh air, something sustaining to eat, and a dip in the pond wouldn’t hurt, either.”

Alyra started to shake her head, casting a worried glance out the door. Where was Lotari? She recalled hearing her friend’s voice. Stitch, too. Why weren’t they here with her, instead of the strange female who kept trying to examine her toes? 

She slipped on her boots, but didn’t bother to move off her bed. What she wanted was to find a quiet place to sit and figure out her rampant thoughts. 

“Foolish human, you cannot remain in this pit you’ve dug for yourself.”

“No, she cannot,” agreed a deep voice from the doorway as Lotari entered, bringing in his familiar scent of freshly turned earth and pines. Stitch hovered at the entrance. The small room barely held two centaurs as it was. “Today, she comes out of hiding.”

“Lot—” His stern expression stopped her words. 

He didn’t look happy to see her at all. Or maybe he’d always seemed stern but she’d forgotten. Either way, the stubborn, fed-up expression on Lot’s face told her he wasn’t here for a friendly visit. 

“I really don’t—” she started. Without warning, he scooped her up in his strong arms like she was nothing more than a small child. Alyra tried to push away from him, anger burning away any sense of geniality. She wasn’t a child and didn’t need to be treated as such. “Put me down, mule!”

He stopped just outside, his brows furrowing. “Are you going to try fighting me?” 

Alyra blinked against the bright sunlight and had to shade her sensitive eyes. “No. But I’m not a toddler. Put me down.” 

With a nod, he conceded. But when he set her on her feet, her legs gave out, and she started to fall before both centaurs caught her. 

“You’ve been in that hammock for a week now, Missy.” Stitch grabbed one of her arms, while Lotari held the other. “You’re weak from your sickness. Don’t be such a porcupine and let us help you.”

Alyra wanted to protest that she’d manage, but her stomach rumbled, causing every muscle to tremble in her weakness. Had she truly been out a whole week? How was that possible? Finally she nodded, and Lotari lifted her in his arms again.

“Grab her pack, Ethan,” Lotari ordered before turning to the female. “Will you accompany me, my heart? I could use your help getting her bathed in the pool while Stitch and I stand guard.”
So, the female was his mate. Alyra hadn’t been properly introduced to anyone yet. At least, she didn’t remember being introduced. 

Weariness weighed down her body. Making no more arguments, she slumped against her centaur friend as he carried her deep into the woods. Along the shaded trail, she gasped at the deep emerald greens surrounding them. Narrow shafts of sparkling sunlight filtered through the canopy onto mossy logs and waving fern fronds. The bearded trees had to be ancient. Aside from the rustling of the centaur's hooves and Ethan's quick steps, everything else remained quiet as if the whole world held its breath. 

“You all right there?” Lotari asked, his voice so quiet, she wouldn’t have heard him if she’d been walking at his side.

She nodded. Stitch was at his left, his eyes intently scanning the forest, a sword in one hand and his bow in the other. His golden hair was still long and hung in his face, but he’d filled out, his arms muscular from his work here. She had to bite back a grin as she noticed the pale hairs covering his chin. 

The female, Esdra, trotted on Lot’s other side, out of her line of vision. She peered over his shoulder to find Ethan walking briskly to keep up between the two males. He also kept his sword ready. Both of their bags were slung over his shoulders. She should be walking on her own, carrying her own belongings. But she feared her body would continue to disagree with her, though the tea she drank did seem to help ease her trembling and brighten her mood slightly.

“Are we in danger, Lot?” She shifted in his arms so she could whisper into his long, pointed ear.
He cocked a brow, and for a moment, he seemed to consider her question. Finally, he gave a slight shake of his head. “We do not know to where the enemy dwarves have scattered. We have scouts searching for news. Better to err on the side of caution, as you must have learned by now.”

She realized Lotari looked different, too. Sterner than she remembered, for sure, yet more tame in his appearance. His shaggy brown hair was pulled back in long braids adorned with stones and feathers. She smiled at the two thin braids traveling down the sides of his mouth. These must be his wife’s doing. She tugged on one. “You’d think I’d learn that by now, right? Love your new look, Lottie.”

He choked back a boisterous laugh so it sounded like a cough. “Hush, imp. I need to pay attention to where we are going.”

Knowing they needed to make as little noise as possible in the woods, she nestled her head against his shoulder and took in the lovely scenery. Oh, but the ancient forest was quite beautiful, and despite their caution, Alyra liked the sensation of being hidden beneath the leafy canopy.

“Are we on the White Path?” she asked after a while. 

“No,” growled Stitch, who’d overheard her question. “That’s the problem. Maybe the Elderad can make us one leading out to the pool, you think? Isn’t that what he’s here for?”

“We can ask.” Lotari sounded doubtful. 

Alyra raised her head. “He can do that. I saw it, Stitch.”

The palomino winked at her, then returned to searching the woods. She’d never seen him look so nervous before. That’s when she noticed the many scars covering his body and remembered how he’d narrowly escaped an ambush. 

Soon the trees opened into a little clearing surrounding a pond. On the far side, the earth rose up and created a shallow cavern where a narrow waterfall fed the waters. Lotari set her down near the water’s edge, then turned to Ethan. 

“Let’s allow your sister some privacy while Esdra helps her bathe. There’s a place nearby where we can gather something for breakfast. Keep your weapons ready.”

Ethan gave a nod, allowing their bags to fall off his shoulders and land with a thump on the mossy rocks. 

Lotari turned to the female and squeezed her arm. “Wait until we’ve checked the area; I’ll give a whistle when it’s safe.” 

She squeezed his arm in response. 

Alyra plopped down on a flat boulder, feeling exhausted and lightheaded. Yet she knew from her sweaty smell that she desperately needed this. Maybe a bath would revive her enough to walk back on her own. The glowering look the female kept giving her and Lotari told Alyra she probably didn’t approve of him carrying her. Creatures were a little touchy about being treated like pack animals. 

Alyra forced herself to her feet and lifted her bag. “Is there a more sheltered area where I can go?”

Esdra held up her hand. “Shhh, foolish human. Do you not listen? We must wait.”

“Fine.” Alyra threw down her bag and plopped back on the rock. A second later, Lotari’s low whistle came from within the woods, followed by an answering one from Stitch in the opposite direction. 
Esdra let out a long breath. “Well? You will not be carried like an infant colt by me!”

“I’m not an infant!” Alyra jumped to her feet. “Or a…” She couldn’t help but wonder, “Just what does an infant centaur look like, anyway?” 

Most female centaurs shied away from humans. She’d seen a couple of childlike centaurs playing in the woods of Aloblase, but only briefly. She’d been with Stitch that day, and when he saw them, he’d turned off in another direction. 

“Hush,” Esdra scolded. “You mustn’t ask such things. Our young are none of your mortal concern.”
“Fine, fine.” Alyra backed away and almost tumbled over the rock before Esdra caught her by the arm and began dragging her out into the cold water, not even giving her a chance to remove her boots. “Slow down.” She tried to jerk loose, but Esdra maintained a firm hold until they reached a hidden crevice near the side of the cavern opening. 

“You bathe here. Remove those… those…” She pointed at Alyra’s ratty clothes, torn and charred from her encounter with the Gran-Doyen, Ebone. 

Alyra’s face burned with the realization that she hadn’t even bothered to change once since arriving here. She’d been too busy trying to sleep away her confusion and rampant memories. Now, as she thought more about it, the more she slept, the more the memories played havoc in her mind. Maybe what she needed was to stay awake and busy and not give herself the chance to think. If only that were possible. She’d love nothing more than to completely forget Darnel’s parting threat. 

“These should probably be burned,” Alyra said, removing everything except her undergarments. “I’ll wash the rest while I bathe and put on fresh clothes.” She emphasized the last word for the centaur who seemed completely unfamiliar with people. How strange.

“Very well.” Esdra held Alyra’s smelly garments away from her as if they were bloody skins. “You stay right here; I will return to help.”

“I don’t need your help, really. I can take care of myself.”

Esdra gave a derisive snort as she waded toward the shore, her four long, powerful legs keeping her body above the cold waters. 
Alyra set her bag on the narrow, rocky shore and found a bar of soap wrapped in a large leaf tied with twine. She also pulled out a fresh shirt and trousers before stripping down and scrubbing every last bit of ash and dirt from her body. Soon, trembling from the cold, her skin pink and raw, she climbed out and quickly dressed. 

Back at the makeshift camp, Ethan sat quietly beside the flames of a fire Esdra was building. When he saw her, he stood and retrieved his own bag. “I’ll make it quick so we can head back. This place seems to make them nervous.”

Esdra’s sharp ears flattened against her head. “No, human, this place does not make us nervous. The threat of Lucien's abandoned minions, however, does.”

Alyra gave a shrug, but didn’t say anymore, not liking how the centaur repeatedly referred to them by their species instead of having the common courtesy to use their proper names. Then again, Alyra probably hadn’t called her by her proper name, either. She’d been so out of it since arriving, she hardly remembered anything beyond Riyah saving her from Darnel and the centaurs’ concerned faces hovering over her from time to time. 

Squaring her shoulders, Alyra decided to try making friends. Evidently this was Lotari’s mate. Any friend of his would be a friend of hers. 

“Is there anything I can help you with, Esdra?”

The female’s head snapped up, brows furrowed as she looked at her suspiciously. “I wait for the bucks to return with something to eat.” After a moment, she thrust a stick at Alyra. “You can keep the fire going. I will gather some water plants to accompany our meal.”

Alyra caught the stick before it smacked her in the face. Biting back an angry retort, she spent her irritation poking at the kindling. The flickering flames ate up the wood chips and dried grasses, turning them from a deep red to ashy white. Alyra lost herself in feeding the fire until it was hot enough to consume the limbs Esdra had gathered. 

The snapping of cattails drew Alyra’s attention. Esdra deftly pulled the long reeds from the ground, snapped off the roots, and nibbled on a few as she gathered more. Several leafy plants, Alyra thought might be watercress, filled a leather pouch hanging around her narrow waist. 

In the back of her mind, Alyra recalled watercress was good for digestion and giving energy. That was probably why the female collected so much - in hopes Alyra would walk back on her own two feet. She didn’t wish to cause Lotari any trouble with his new clan. Even his old clan leader, 

Wyndham, had been furious when Lotari let her ride on his back when he returned her to the White Path. 

“Can Lot still pull fish out of the water with his bare hands?” Alyra asked, hoping to engage Esdra in some kind of conversation. 

A half smile formed over her mouth. “Yes. He shows off like the male peacocks. Laughs when I must use a net, despite how I can catch more at once than he does.”

Alyra chuckled. “He laughed at my using a stick and hook. Said it was ridiculous.” 

“A stick and… hook?” Esdra shook her head as if she’d never heard of such a thing. “I do not know how this would work. No wonder he laughed at you.”

Alyra wasn’t sure if she should feel insulted or not. “I guess humans don’t really come into the forest, do they?”

Esdra’s countenance darkened like an afternoon storm blocking out the bright sun. “Yes. There are humans in Wilderland, foolish girl.”

Alyra stood, her anger churning again. “My name is Ah-lear-ah. Alyra! Least you can do is call me by my name.”

Esdra came up out of the water, threw down the cattails, and stood over her. Alyra was suddenly aware of just how large centaurs were next to humans. Especially short humans like herself. Though their horse bodies were somewhat smaller than the average horse’s, they were still intimidating in their stature. 

She poked Alyra’s shoulder with her long, wet finger. “It is taking everything I have to appease my mate, human girl, instead of listening to my clansmen and exiling you to the outskirts of our forest. However, because my mate has my devotion and love, I am showing you more kindness than your two-legged, soft-footed, weak species deserves.” She folded her arms across her chest with a curt nod of her head.

“Deserves? What have I done to you? Lotari is my best friend. He doesn’t feel this way.” Alyra jumped up on the rock so they were closer to eye level. “And I’m not weak!”

Esdra rolled her eyes. “Says the infant who had to be carried here in her so-called friend’s arms. You are a burden. Your kind brings us nothing but trouble and heartache. You humans would see us shackled and in servitude.”

Alyra’s fist clenched as her voice rose in anger. “That’s not true! Don’t—” 

“Enough,” Stitch said, running toward them, his chest heaving with his deep breaths. “I feared you two were under attack from all the shouting.” He looked from Esdra’s hateful glare to Alyra, who was fuming in her own right. “Whatever you two are bickering about, stop it now. Right now. We have to be careful. Esdra, I’m surprised at you.”

Throwing a livid scowl at Stitch, Esdra quickly turned, her brown tail swatting Alyra in the face as she headed back into the water. She didn’t stop until she reached the other side. 

Stitch turned toward Alyra. “I see your temper is still in working order, eh?”

“Hush, mule.” 

He laughed at her, which Alyra suspected would be his response. He’d not changed much. Throwing his arm over her shoulder, he hugged her to his side. “I’m so glad to see you up, Little Missy. Do you realize how long Ol’ Stitch has gone without a hug from one of his girls? It’s been like… forever and ever and ever and—”

Alyra wrapped her arms around his waist, knowing he’d go on and on until she gave in. She’d missed them, too. Though she worried her presence wasn’t welcomed in the least. How much trouble would she bring down on her two sweetest friends? Perhaps she should let Esdra go ahead and lead her to the edge of Wilderland. If the creatures did end up allowing her to stay, what danger would she be putting them in? 

Already her friend Katrina the Curian was in grave danger. Alyra had to make up her mind soon if she would warn Katrina and hope she found a safe place to hide, or give in to her former master’s demands and turn herself in. At least, if she did the latter, she’d not put anyone else in danger. 


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1 comment:

Sarah Jenkins said...

This book was excellent, but now I'm dying to know what's next! When will you be publishing Book 5 of this series? This cliff-hanger is driving me nuts! HAHA! I think I managed to read all of these books in about 3 days. Tarek and Alyrah's story has definitely captured my attention. Eagerly looking forward to the next installment!