Happy #teasertuesday! How are everyone’s writing projects going? If you’re running on low steam, I encourage you to dive into a good book. Look at art and listen to music that enriches your soul. Sometimes the world around us is very could at sucking the soul out of the people in it. It’s our job to seek beauty and fall in love, for it surely won’t drop into our laps. Often, the task is easier than you might think. Be encouraged. Be dazzling. Be inspired today.
P.S. Angel Blue will officially release on Amazon on August 17th!
Angel Blue Teaser
She knows she’s entered the dungeons by the smell. The only light is a single flame, dripping wax over the stone floor. She had once overheard that the redum lit it, to remind themselves how long to extend a torture. When the wick runs out, so does the life of the prisoner.
No sounds come from beyond the door at the opposite end of the torture room. No cameras monitor this room. While so much of this house has become modern, Etlu is in charge of the army and its prisoners. Like Eanna, his way is the old way.
Keeping to the shadows, Eanna focuses on the dim light hanging beside the metal door ahead. Medieval chains hang against the walls. Upright tables stand with loose trappings. The metal is riveted with claw marks. Her back aches with phantom claws.
Two rapid heartbeats meet her ears, accompanied by an abnormally slow one. Blood, sweat and urine coats the prisoners. Their chests rattle as they struggle to breathe.
Eanna treads lightly over layers of unwashed filth. She holds her breath and edges nearer to the metal door ahead. Just before she touches the handle, a raspy voice breaks the silence.
“The door is wired. You can’t get past it without them knowing.”
The voice laughs roughly. “I can still see you chosen. It’s all right. They’ve gone. Quite an uproar going on, from what I’ve heard.”
When Eanna turns, her breath catches. The few torture devices she saw upon entering only scratch the surface. A dozen different tables, chains and ropes are bored into the walls of this room. Only three are occupied now.
Two hulking, beastly men, near the size of Wil, are battered with bruises and struggling against their restraints.
“Over here, chosen,” the voice whispers, thankfully drawing her attention to the opposite corner of the room. A pair of glowing sapphire eyes waits for her. This cursed is hung farthest from the light, stretched from wrist to ankle by shackles tied to the ceiling and floor. Though its clothing is half gone, this cursed somehow appears unblemished.
Gissu… Shades? But unlike any I have seen before.
Shivers dance up Eanna’s spine as she recalls the feel of their flesh beneath her hands before she plunged her dagger into the creature’s belly. She recalls the hunger in their empty eyes. Most of her people assume this is the weaker cursed species. Yet here it hangs on cruel display and Eanna cannot explain why she is more afraid of this creature than Wil in his monstrous form.
“You are tall…a pureblood, then. Tell me who you are?” The voice turns softer, smoother and cultured, as though beckoning. On closer inspection, Eanna is surprised to find it’s female.
“Tell me?” she sweetly croons.
A faint pressure is against Eanna’s temples.
How dare she!
Eanna allows her fire to dance at her fingertips and the shade hisses.
“Give it a rest.” The largest seeker’s voice is a deep rumble. “That don’t work on purebloods.”
“Be quiet, dog!”
Despite his injuries, the seeker answers with equal enthusiasm. “Only if you will, you psychotic bat.” His dark gaze locks with Eanna’s. “No chosen is going to help us, anyway.”
“Why are you really helping me?” Wil had asked.
“Oh, why won’t you just die already?” The female is seething by now.
Eanna borrows their distraction to inch towards the doorway. If anyone has checked her room, they’ll already be searching for her. She needs to do this now, or there will be no second chances. Her hand reaches for the door.
The shade doesn’t miss it. “I told you the door was wired. Don’t try it.” The female’s sapphire eyes shone through the shadows, contrasting words that fall softly as velvet to the ear. “If you free me, I will show you how to get through.”
“Give it a rest, Charon!” The burly one’s groan turns into a strangled growl. His muscles bulge. Yet the silver chains sizzle against his flesh, keeping his monster at bay.
Eanna’s heart clenches with sorrow at his howling scream. Her feet carry her across the room and to him before she’s aware. Glowing yellow eyes greet her, an animal plain in the man’s face. “Don’t come any closer!” he snarls. The rocks his chains are bolted to crack.
“Just this once, I’d listen to the dog, chosen,” Charon sing-song’s nearby.
Eanna is near enough to see a slip of a smile on delicate features. After living among the privileged most of her life, Eanna doesn’t miss the aristocratic air the shade carries.
“Why are you here?”
“Why should you care about any cursed? The wolf was right about that much.”
Eanna considers. If she’s discovered, she could always use them as a distraction while she slips away. And as for the two seekers…Wil would want them free.
“I need to get past this door,” she tells the shade. “Care to prove your worth, cursed?”
A manic smile stretches Charon’s face. “We’re going to die here in this cell if you don’t break these chains. You will die if you try to open that door without my help. Lucky for you, I happen to be an expert with modern technology.”
“No,” The beast growls, trembling. “She’s an assassin, don’t listen to her!”
“Bringing up these bitter prejudices again are we?” Charon croons.
Eanna approaches the seeker then and lifts her fingers to his cheek. “What’s your name?”
“Odin,” he says. His jaw drops as she cradles his face between her hands. Please let this work.
“Odin,” she repeats, “I need you to trust me.” Energy flows from her fingertips, followed by sparks of blue and green flame.
Odin’s chest expands and then settles as the last of his wounds close. The fur recedes under his skin and the chains seem not to bite so deep.
“Why were you made this way?” she groans. “So much pain.”
“They’re coming!” Charon hissed low. “Pick a side fast, chosen. We’re out of time.”
The sound of voices beyond the door, signal the return of the redum. Eanna rips her hands from Odin, fearing the heat in her palms and the light in his blue eyes.
She spares a glance for the door, before grasping and breaking Charon’s silver chains. Eanna keeps hold of the broken ends at her hands and looms over the smaller female. “Try anything, and I won’t hesitate to kill you, shade.”
Charon’s lips part in a mad smile against filthy skin. “I need you too much to kill you, chosen.”
The voices come closer as a guard blocks the light from the room.
Eanna drags the shadow up against the rock wall, beside the door. “Do what you’re best at,” Eanna whispers, then lets go of the chains.
to be continued…