Shades of Dark
The Hidden Magic Chronicles Book 2
By Justin Sloan and Michael Anderle
Although her father had insisted they get a full night’s sleep before beginning their mission, Kia found that sleep didn’t come easily the night before riding off. Add in her worries about Rhona and the others, and she had only been able to sleep for a couple hours. The rest of the time was spent staring at the ceiling and flashing back to those sorcerers and their magic.
Her father had always told her to hide that her magic was different than the others. Not only had she skipped the phase where others saw spirits or familiars, but she could control fire without a nearby flame. No one else even considered that possible. While fighting to save their lives, it obviously hadn’t been such a big deal. Now she wondered where they stood on the issue.
When they went out to the surrounding clans, would she be expected to stand by and pretend like everything was normal, or would she serve as an example of how their situation had changed?
She finally gave up and, opening the door carefully to avoid waking her father, crept out into the early morning. The sun was still just a faint light beyond the clouds on the horizon, a distant glow that sent long shadows across the village.
She still found these people strange; the water mages and their kin. She had almost forgotten about the others visiting, the outsiders who had come seeking refuge after paladins or remnant had destroyed their homes. But as she made her way to the kitchens to see if there were any leftovers, she spotted a small boy by the river. He was moving his hands in a complicated pattern that resembled waves, so at first she expected to see him manipulating water. When she drew close, however, she saw that there was a wind spirit hovering before him, the two in some sort of staring contest.
“They’re not real, you know,” Kia said. Suddenly the wind spirit was gone and the boy leapt up, spinning to face her.
“I was just watching the water,” he said, face pale. His eyes narrowed as he took her in. “Oh, you! You’re that sympathizer girl, aren’t you? I’ve heard of you.”
“The one who’s friends with a paladin.” He shook his head as if she should be ashamed. “The rest of us don’t appreciate that much.”
“So you speak for the rest of the clans, do you?” Kia folded her arms across her chest.
“Well, no, but my uncle says—”
“You uncle’s an idiot.”
The boy stepped forward, moving his hands again as his eyes turned black, but Kia held out her hand, palm up, and made a flame dance there. It was tiny, but threatened to be so much more.
“I dare you,” she challenged, smiling in the knowledge that the fire’s reflection would be casting creepy shadows across her face that added to the intimidation factor.
“My uncle saved me,” the boy muttered, eyes wide at the sight of the flame. He stumbled back and sat again, black fading from his eyes. “He wasn’t able to save my dad, but he saved me.”
Kia let her hand fall, knowing the answer before she asked. “Was it remnant or paladins?”
The boy gave her a look that confirmed her suspicion and then replied, “Paladins,” as if to rub salt in the wound.
“Not my friends,” she retorted. “The paladins are after them too, for betraying them. For turning from their ways and helping us.”
The boy looked doubtful. “Yeah?”
For a moment, the boy watched the darkness and the moon’s reflection on the water. Kia sat down beside him.
“I’m sorry about your dad.”
“Me too. And I know they’re not real…the spirits. Not like my dad was, anyway. But sometimes my uncle is too busy with clan responsibilities, and it’s nice to have someone to talk to.”
“Even if it’s an imaginary wind spirit?”
“You can talk to me.” She offered a smile, but he didn’t notice.
“Thanks.” He looked up, cautiously. “You know, I met them. The mystics that your friends traveled with.”
“You met actual mystics? The good ones, right? I mean, I heard the stories too, about the fight at the Fortress of Stirling, but to actually meet them…”
He smiled, proud now.
FROM JUSTIN >>> The final snippet before the book releases (today?). I hope you all are as excited as we are! We’re so excited, that book 3 is already underway.
So what’s next after you get the book? Get PT Hylton’s next one, because you know it’ll be great.
As for me, I have to get back to writing so that you don’t have long to wait for the next book.
Find out more about Justin Sloan and his books at http://www.justinsloanauthor.com