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Book Previews - Veil of Darkness
Book One of The Earthsoul Prophecies

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    He entered the barn, and the horses snorted in irritation at the sudden brightness. "Sorry, guys," he apologized. "But Rusty and I have some business to attend to." He dimmed the lamp as best he could and hung it on a peg. When he finished saddling Rusty, he told Matail where he was going, then waited while the warder fetched his horse.
    The darkness suited Jase's thoughts perfectly as he struggled to come to terms with the truth, and he kept a larger than normal distance between himself and Matail. Sensing his mood, the warder didn't press the issue.
    Jase blew out his cheeks resignedly. He was Gifted - that much was certain. But could he be something more? Could he be a... a Dymas? The thought terrified him, and he shook his head. No! The fact that he had three Gifts meant nothing. He was Dalae and nothing more. He couldn't be more. He didn't want to be more.
    The Himels' farm was quiet. Lamplight glowed in one window, but the rest of the house was dark. Jase left Rusty with Matail out near Forest Road and approached the home cautiously. When he wasn't met by the Himels' dog, however, it occurred to him that the dog had been absent earlier in the day as well. Killed while guarding the flock, he decided, and his sympathy for the Himels grew. Losing sheep was one thing, losing a dog was like losing one of the family.
    Careful not to rattle the latch, he tied the bag of gold where it would be easily found the next morning. Nodding in satisfaction, he returned to his horse. Matail handed him the reins with an approving smile and moved to lead the way once more. Jase watched him go, then glanced back at the Himels' home. They would suspect him, of course - no one else in Kindel's Grove had the money he did - and would likely try to give the money back. Try, because he would deny having given it to them, and without proof, they would just have to keep it.
    It made him feel good to be able to help, and he temporarily forgot about his troubles with Ta'shaen. By the time he reached the lane branching off toward his home, however, the euphoria had faded; and his struggle with the truth settled on him with all the weight of Mount Augg. He knew he couldn't put it off any longer. He was going to have to tell his mother about his Gifts.
    Sam and Jes began barking as he and Matail drew near, streaking out of the darkness to confront them. AHey," Jase scolded softly, Ait's me."
    At the sound of his voice, their threatening stance turned to wagging tails, and they loped circles around Rusty, somehow managing not to get stepped on. He glanced at the house and found the living room still bright with lamplight. Either Daris and the others were back from the Waypost, or his mother had waited up for him.
    He led Rusty into the barn and was disappointed to find the warders' animals still missing. Sighing resignedly, he turned Rusty into her stall and made his way slowly toward the house, desperately trying to steel himself for the admission he'd been holding inside for a month.
    When he reached the door, he hesitated. His heart was pounding, and his legs felt as if they'd turned to jelly. He momentarily considered leaving but had no idea where he would go. He glanced around the yard, tempted to invite the warders in for a drink, but changed his mind. Taking a deep breath, he turned the knob and stepped inside.
    His mother was sitting in her favorite chair near the fireplace, and he moved to the chair across the rug from her. A fire burned brightly in the hearth, throwing a soft orange flicker across the room, but to him it offered little warmth. His guts felt like they'd turned to ice.
    Trying unsuccessfully to still his thumping heart, he struggled to find the words to begin. When he did, the truth came out like a flood.

    Brysia listened quietly as Jase told of his newfound abilities with the Power, pleased that she had been right about what was bothering him but terrified by the fact that she had underestimated the extent to which he was Gifted. That his first experience had been the sensing of Ta'shaen in the dartbow showed he was Gifted with Spirit. That he could feel when she used her Gift confirmed it. She tried to keep her face smooth, but a cold fist began to tighten around her heart. With his primary Gift being that of Spirit, he had the potential to become a Dymas.

- 11 -

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