For our fourth installment, C.A. Szarek takes us into the head of our mysterious girl, where we learn more about her power and why the Elders fear her.
I absolutely love where she’s taking the story. Great job, Chrissy! Up next is Bryan Grubbs, writing as Matthew Bryant.
I looked into sapphire eyes that made my heart skip.
Ezra. The boy from my dreams.
He said nothing as his gaze darted from me to his brother. “Help,” he whispered.
I needed to move.
I’d watched helplessly amongst the crowd, cloak as wrapped as tightly as I could get it, the small spell disguising my hair color—which was a death sentence just as it had been for the tiny child the Elders murdered before my eyes. I’d prayed to the Goddess over and over that my magic would hide me.
The babe’s mother howled, on her knees next to the pyre, but she did nothing to stop the Elders. Magic could have helped the poor mother, but the Goddess wouldn’t have liked it if I’d helped the woman who’d failed to save her child.
Never in my wildest dreams had I fathomed running into my savior this day.
Mother’s visions always spoke of the greatness Ezra would be responsible for. The changes of our world he would fight for. The very basis of the Fifth Society would be overturned.
How could it be possible?
The blue eyes and mussed dark hair held a rakish innocence. And he was no older than my own seventeen years.
Right now, panic and grief—and disbelief was all I could sense as he stared.
That I could do something about with forbidden magic.
I could save his brother.
“Please…” Ezra whispered.
I knelt and rested a hand on the boy’s chest. Asher lay far too still on the ground. I knew his names from my dreams.
He was my savior’s twin, though shorter, thinner. His hair was the same dark hue as the older twin, but curly where Ezra’s was straight.
They had the same startling blue eyes.
I concentrated, calling the magic from the air. My chest tightened as I forced open Asher’s lungs, took his pain.
Struggling for breath, I panted as my own lungs refused the air I needed.
Asher sat up and fell into a coughing fit.
My knees gave out and I landed on my rear end. The wind kicked up, Mother Nature’s very real protest that I still couldn’t breathe. As one of her daughters, she needed me to live.
“Asher!” Ezra’s shout—part panic, part relief—made me fight even harder to heal.
I couldn’t die before I got the chance to help my savior. In order for Ezra to achieve his destined greatness, I had to be at his side.
The goddess had spoken. Mother and I always listened.
Warm calloused hands cupped my face and I raised my lashes to meet Ezra’s sapphire eyes. His cheeks were flushed pink and my belly flipped.
Odd. What does that mean?
Mother always used the word fated when she spoke of me and Ezra, but I’d never fully understood it.
“Are you all right? I don’t know what you did. You…saved my brother’s life.”
“Heretic,” Asher spat.
Alarm washed over me and I shoved Ezra’s hands away from my face. I needed to get up. I needed to run.
“Ash,” Ezra spat, ignoring my protests. He gripped my upper arm and hauled me to my feet before turning to his brother. “She saved your life, brother.”
“Magic is forbidden.” Asher crossed his arms over his thin chest, a frown firmly in place.
Standing side by side, the boys looked like an older and younger version of one another, even though I knew them to be twins. Their faces were the same, but Asher appeared more thirteen than his true age.
“Asher.” Ezra’s voice was hard.
“I’m going to Elder Mitchell’s.” The younger twin turned on his heel, starting to cross the vast field that led to the vast farm across the way.
Only the barn was visible from where we stood at the edge of the woods.
“Asher,” Ezra called. “Don’t tell Elder Mitchell what happened!”
Tremors chased each other down my spine when the ungrateful boy didn’t even glance over his shoulder.
“Goddess,” I whispered. Panic clawed at me from the inside out.
If he tells, I’m dead.
Ezra turned to me. “I don’t know how to thank you for saving my brother. He is my momma’s light. If he was taken…”
I panted, unable to process the words coming out of my savior’s mouth. Couldn’t speak. My tongue was thick, glued to the roof of my mouth. Clutching my cloak around me, I chanted the spellwords that made my hair appear as dark brown as Ezra’s.
Venturing from the caves was a mistake. I cannot be discovered.
“Hey.” His voice, deep for a boy of sixteen or seventeen, had my eyes shooting to his face. When Ezra’s hands landed on my shoulders, I didn’t pull away. I couldn’t. “He won’t tell. You don’t have to worry.”
I forced a nod.
“Thank you for saving him.” Ezra shook his head. A smile played at his lips and my heart fluttered. “I keep repeating myself. Sorry. And I don’t even know your name.”
“Edana.” The truth fell from my lips. A soft breeze caressed my face. The Goddess herself approved. It should’ve made me feel better.
Ezra’s face paled. The apple of his throat bobbed and the grip on my shoulders tightened. “My dreams.”
Shock washed over me and my pulse pounded in my temples.
Ezra has been dreaming of me, too?