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

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    Wrapped tightly in her blankets, Brysia was lost in contemplation of the dream she’d had during the night when she heard Jase’s loud gasp. She raised up on an elbow and listened anxiously for a moment, but when she heard nothing more than a whispering of blankets, she lay back down. He’d had another nightmare, she realized. One which had jolted him awake in horror. It was the second time in as many nights.
    So, he was stressing over his newfound abilities was he? Poor child. She knew firsthand what he was going through. When she had first learned she was Dalae, she hadn’t slept well for a month, every night wielding her new Gift in ways that made her jolt awake with her heart pounding and her breath ragged in her throat. It was only natural, she supposed, for one to live out one’s fears through dreams. Or, as was her case recently, to live out one’s sadness.
    Last night she had dreamed of Benak again; and a powerful dream it had been, too. She had been working in the flowerbeds in front of the house when he was suddenly beside her, trying desperately to tell her something. He’d looked exactly as she remembered him, tall and ruggedly handsome, with eyes like blue agate marbles. His dark hair and beard had been flecked with grey, and the lines of his face had been deeper. It was how he would have looked had he lived.
    She had risen to her feet to embrace him, but her surroundings had shifted, and she’d found herself staring at him from across a wide, deep chasm. He had continued trying to tell her something, his face contorted with the effort, his eyes glittering with intensity as he spoke. But no sound had come. His eyes, she remembered, had taken on a haunted look near the end, a look of unspeakable terror as a dark shadow washed over him, hiding him from view. She had jolted awake then, startled by the realization that his fear hadn’t been for himself, but for her.
    The sound of Jase shuffling around in his room pulled her from her thoughts. He had decided not to go back to sleep. He usually didn’t, preferring to do his chores early so he would have free time later. He passed her door without looking in, and she heard his booted feet going down the steps. She returned to her contemplation of the dream.
    What did it mean? Why the chasm and the shadow? Did it mean, as most people believed, that Benak and the others had not simply died doing their duty, but had somehow been overpowered by Maeon? She crushed the thought as soon as it came. It couldn’t be that. Their trip to the Soul Chamber had been successful as evidenced by Shadan’s destruction. His armies had been scattered, and most, if not all, of the Agla’Con and their Darklings had been killed.
    Perhaps it was her mind’s way of telling her it was time to accept the idea that Benak was dead and that he and the others were not coming back. She shook her head emphatically at the thought, grimacing at having thought it. Never! She would never give up hope! She loved him too deeply to ever stop believing he would come back. Besides, if the prophecies concerning Death’s Third March were true, Con’Jithar itself was about to be unleashed on the Nine Lands. An apocalyptic day, to be sure, but a day of hope as well. Because if the prophecies were true, Gideon Dymas would return, and Benak would come with him. She believed it would happen. Deep down inside, she knew it would.
    What, then, should she make of the fear in Benak’s eyes and the frantic nature of his attempted speech? The dream had been very vivid in both respects —Benak had been trying to tell her something and had been terrified that he couldn’t. What did it mean? Nothing? Something? She simply couldn’t say. One thing was certain, though: She needed a holiday. A holiday from everything that made her think of Benak. She needed some time to sit and sip tea and chitchat with a friend she trusted even more than her warders when it came to some things. She needed to visit Maira.

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