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Book Previews - Cleansing Hunt
Book Two of The Earthsoul Prophecies

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Chapter 1
A Call for War

    Clutching the Blood Orb of Elsa tightly in his fist, Jase Fairimor watched the sun rising in the east and pressed his lips into a frown. He'd stood here since waking from the dream of Trian's destruction, too troubled by what he'd seen to return to bed. The fate of Trian - the fate of the world - was in his hands, and he was starting to wonder if he would be up to the challenge. He'd been so confident last night when he'd followed the whisperings of the Talisman to the top of the Dome and thrown back the night. He had known that what he'd done had been the fulfillment of prophecy. He'd felt good about accepting his birthright.
    But then the vision had come. A vision of the future, to be sure, and one that had him wanting to hide under a mountain. Too late for that, he thought. Every person in the Nine Lands probably saw what I did. And every one of them will wonder what it means.
    He sighed. At least it would give his enemies cause to wonder. He just hoped it made them fear him... at least as much as he feared himself.
    Turning back into the room, he moved to the porcelain tub the servants had filled the night before. He momentarily considered taking a cold bath but worked up enough courage to clear his mind and open himself to Ta'shaen. Then, with more control than he'd shown in weeks, he channeled a tendril of Fire into the water until it was nice and hot. Figures, he thought darkly. I only foul up when there are people around to see it. The incident on top of the Dome aside, of course. He'd embraced the Power properly then, too... and alerted every Power-sensitive being within five hundred miles.
    Shaking his head in disgust at the workings of fate, he slipped into the tub until only his head was above the water. Closing his eyes, he tried to relax. The High Tribunal would be gathering in a few short hours, and the decisions made there would change the future as well. Hopefully it would be for the good. It was two full hours later before he was finally ready to leave his room - it had taken that long for him to come to terms with the warnings in the vision. He was still haunted by the images of Trian's destruction, haunted even more by the fact that it had been his fault. As terrifying as it was, though, it steeled his resolve to learn to use the Power wisely and appropriately.
    He glanced at himself in the mirror and frowned. He hoped the horror of what he'd seen didn't still show in his eyes when he reached the dining hall. He didn't want to have to explain what he'd seen to the others. He knew there would be no getting out of explaining how he'd lit the top of the Dome bright as noonday.
    The bulge of the Talisman of Elsa beneath his shirt caught his eye and he reached up to touch it, vowing to let the ancient blood help him through all of this. It was, after all, the cause of most of it. It knows who the enemy is, Gideon had said. It is alive with the spirit of Elsa.
    If that's true, he thought, then Elsa has an interesting concept of irony.
    For if there was only one thing to be gleaned from the vision, it was that he could be the enemy. And with Aethon watching for a chance to pull him over into the realm of the Agla'Con, he wasn't sure if the Talisman had done the right thing in announcing him to the world. The proverbial gauntlet had been thrown; Aethon and the others were sure to respond.
    He pushed the thoughts away and fastened his attention on his image in the mirror. The clothes he'd chosen to wear were similar to those he'd worn in Chellum - clothes equal to his rank as a Prince of Trian. It still made him nervous to think of himself that way, but the impression others had of him was critical. He hoped the dark blue uniform with tiny bars of silver stitched into the hems of the sleeves and lapel would do the trick. He didn't know if he liked the delicate silver chains linking the three rows of buttons across his chest or the bright red stripe running down the outseam of both legs, but it was the best he could find. Especially considering that the chains, silver stitching, and stripes paled in comparison to the Blue Flame of Kelsa sewn over his heart - the hundreds of tiny gems glittered every time he moved. Talia would like it, though. So would his mother... if she could see it.

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