Alycia Christine

Enchanting Fiction, Intriguing Photography

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“You Will Need a Guide if You Are to Survive This Night…”

“A Squirrel’s Gaze” – Tap image for more information.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’ll pick up where we left off last week with Katja and Queen Manasa trying to contact Master Caleb through the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror and its shards. In today’s reading, Katja and Manasa make it to the Wraith Realm to seek out the Scrying Pools that share a magical connection to the mirror, but this enchanted realm may prove a far more dangerous destination than they ever expected.

~

A twinkle of silver lit the room, and then a small, silver tree grew out of the offering basin at the altar’s center. Its entwined trunks untwisted to form a translucent oval and the sylph Cyrena greeted them from within its frame. “Creator keep you, my madams. Queen Manasa, I know that you both seek a way to contact the Reformed Mirror and its keeper. The shards alone will not give you enough strength as you have likely guessed. The power you seek is in the Wraith Realm itself, but finding it is more dangerous than you know. You will need a guide if the pair of you are to survive this night,” she said.

“I will be that guide,” Damya said as she wafted out of the center of the Sapphire Keystone hanging from the werecat’s neck.

Cyrena nodded. “You will need the blood mirror shards with you. Keep their necklaces fastened and touch the altar with their tips.”

Obediently, the females stood on side of the altar, and then bowed to touch the spearheads against the altar’s offering basin as Cyrena indicated. With a flash of crimson and silver, all three beings stretched through the ethereal tree’s oval and then appeared in a place as different from the dank dungeon as daylight is to darkness. Grasses eddied and flowed like the waves of a great ocean around them—each curving leaf infused with green hues far richer and varied than any Katja had ever seen in her own world. The wraithwalker smiled at the breathtaking beauty of the Wraith Realm now around her, but her joy evaporated when she saw what lay just beyond the vibrant green.

The great boundary river of Edgewater snaked its way along the edge of the grasslands—a contrast to their beauty in every way. As ugly and deadly as it was, Katja knew that the river’s boiling black eddies were the only barrier keeping the inhabitants of the ruined land beyond the river’s shores from infecting the perfect land her dead family members now called home with their pestilence.

Except now the river’s winding length could no longer hold back the danger. Three new sandy breaches had now bridged the river and encroached into the pristine meadow—spreading their sickness into the yellowing grasses at Edgewater’s banks. Katja’s ears lay flat against her head and she hissed when she saw them.

“Be on your guard,” Damya said. “Dangers now abound in this land.”

A loud screech met them then, and Katja and Manasa both turned to see a gnarled, black creature flying toward them on tattered membrane wings.

“Get down!” the firesprite screamed as twin fireballs erupted in her tiny, blue hands. She launched both of them at the creature, who dodged the first but not the second. With a screech of pain and anger, it veered away from the small group and flapped back toward the river where more of its fellows readied their attack.

“Damya!”

“We are here, Kumos!” she screamed.

“Make your way to us! Hurry!” the werecat wraith yelled.

That was all of the encouragement that Katja needed. Grabbing Manasa by the hand, the werecat wraithwalker scrambled through the high grass toward her dead brother and his fellow wraiths.

“Lytzsibba, you are not dead, but you may very well die while you are here. What possessed you to return here?” Kumos said as he hugged his younger sister.

Before Katja could answer, Queen Manasa spoke. “Forgive me, my sir, but I am the reason we are here. Katja and I combined our wraithwalking and dreamdrifting talents tonight to dreamwalk between the Realms of Reality. Since time and space have different values here, going through the Wraith Realm was the only way that I could hope to traverse the distance of the Sylvan Continent to contact Master Caleb. We are in dire need of his aid in finding the Keystones that are still hidden across the continent. Without them, we cannot hope to destroy the deadwalkers…”

As Manasa was speaking, a human youth stepped forward from the gathered wraiths and Katja’s ears drooped when she saw him.

“Mother?” Sandor asked in a voice shrill with surprise and confusion.

“Sandrie!” Manasa ran to embrace him.

The last time Katja and Manasa had seen Prince Sandor had been when Daeryn had held him hostage while trying to bargain for three of the Keystones. When Lauraisha refused to exchange the Keystones for her brother’s life, the vampire bit open his neck and left him to die in front of her. Now Katja and Lauraisha shared a common grief for dead siblings just as they shared everything else.

“Mother, are you dead now too? Did Daeryn kill you as well?”

The hands that held him began to shake. “No, son. I am alive. We are both alive, Katja and I…”
“Kumos,” Katja said, interrupting her, “it is urgent that we contact Caleb. How do we do that here?”

He shook his head. “The only way I know of is to use the Scrying Pools at Edgewater’s Bend, but it is nearly overrun with Drosskin now. Since you last walked in the Wraith Realm, sibba, four new breaches have opened up along the rivers’ banks. Our enemies are massing for a full-scale invasion of the Sacred Grasslands. If they succeed in overtaking this place, it will cut off our communication to you through the Tyglesean Wraithwalking Altar.”

“Still we have to try. Can you take us to the Scrying Pools?” Katja asked.

Again Kumos shook his lion-like head. “We cannot abandon this post. If we do and the enemy attacks, it will sever communication through the Tyglesean Wraithwalking Altar, and your souls will be trapped here for eternity.”

Katja shuddered. “Faht’s warning…”

“Yes, our father warned you not to come here, but you did not listen. Now we are all in danger.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up with more of this scene next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

“What is this place?”

A bumble bee buzzes among the myriad spring blooms of wildflowers… (Tap image to learn more.)

Today on SCRAWLS, we’ll pick up where we left off last week with Katja and Queen Manasa trying to contact Master Caleb using the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror’s magic shards. A good bit of mystery and history awaits them as they search. Let’s see what happens.

~

“It is as I’ve feared; I cannot use the mirror shards alone,” Manasa said in answer to the wraithwalker’s thought. “Come Katja. Come dreamwalk with me between the folds of reality tonight. Let us see if your strength can be the difference between victory and defeat.”

Katja nodded and followed the queen along the shoreline beside the rolling sea until the pair came to the entrance of a small cave hidden in a cleft of the cliff. Without a word, Katja followed the queen into the stony darkness—the wan blue glow from Damya’s sapphire necklace lighting their path. Together they threaded their way into the heart of the cliff—the crashing waves of the sea becoming less and less thunderous with each step.

The narrow tunnel coiled around itself like the body of a huge basal snake, but Manasa followed its winding course with unerring certainty. The tunnel widened out into a stone gallery complete with carved figures and paintings adorning its walls.

“What is this place?” Katja asked as they rounded a corner and she found herself staring at the half-revealed carving of a griffin and a dryad locked in battle with a gargoyle. The griffin looked so much like King Canuche that it made the werecat stop in surprise.

“Freedom,” Manasa said as she rubbed a gentle hand over the chiseled wall. “This place began as a simple cave, which my father, King Aedus, expanded into a family chapel during the first decade of his reign. You’ll see many scenes from the Second War of Ages carved into the walls here since my father was an avid scholar of that period. He even knew several mages who had survived the war and had gone on to help rebuild the Sylvan Continent after that war and after the subsequent Clan Wars.”

The Tyglesean Queen walked on and Katja followed—still looking at Canuche’s visage. The pair walked on as the tunnel narrowed again and then gave way to a jagged tunnel of rock that looked as if it had been no different from the cliff.

Katja touched the splintered stone and frowned at its familiarity. “Are we close to the dungeons?”

Manasa nodded. “This tunnel system served a dual purpose. It was both a private way for my family to get to the chapel and an escape route to use should we ever need to flee the castle. My family never was able to flee through here during the Tyglesean Uprisings, but I did. My valet Arlis and I managed to make it through the tunnel and to our horses before any beings realized we were gone. In that way, my father’s piety saved my life. Kaylor walled all of this off and turned the chapel into a dungeon system after I escaped, but your companions have done my family and our country a great service by helping to restore what Kaylor tried to bury.”

The pair turned a corner and climbed through a gap in the broken rock that Lauraisha’s fire had created and crawled into the dungeon where Katja’s father Kevros had built the wraithwalking altar. As the human and werecat knelt before it, Katja once again read the language of her kin aloud: “Dei Dyvesé it unmygn ort ol restel. Nur dei reinen ol sere finden Me frieden.”

The Feliconian werecat let out a breath heavy with sorrow and longing, then she translated: “The Creator is our refuge. Only the pure of soul will find His freedom.”

A twinkle of silver lit the room, and then a small, silver tree grew out of the offering basin at the altar’s center. Its entwined trunks untwisted to form a translucent oval and the sylph Cyrena greeted them from within its frame. “Creator keep you, my madams. Queen Manasa, I know that you both seek a way to contact the Reformed Mirror and its keeper. The shards alone will not give you enough strength as you have likely guessed. The power you seek is in the Wraith Realm itself, but finding it is more dangerous than you know. You will need a guide if the pair of you are to survive this night,” she said.

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up with more of this scene next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments on what I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Will Her Magic Be Strong Enough To Reach Across A Continent, Or Will Her Desperate Entreaties Go Unanswered?

In progress artwork. Please comment about the way you want me to color it.

Today on SCRAWLS, Katja and her allies seek the help of Lauraisha’s mother Queen Manasa to try to contact Daya’lyn’s father Caleb using the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror’s magic shards. While not as well-trained of a mage as her daughter Lauraisha, Manasa is nonetheless a powerful dreamdrifter mage. Her determination to find any way she can to help her daughter may give her the strength she needs to communicate across the Sylvan Continent and find the answers they need.

~

That night as Katja curled underneath the scratchy woolen blankets that humans used instead of proper sleeping furs, she couldn’t help but be nervous about Lauraisha’s mother’s attempt to contact Caleb. When Katja and her packmates were journeying to the kingdom of Tyglesea in the first place, the werecat had shared brief dreams with Manasa. The dreamdrifter’s mind was a powerful one, and yet the distance that she would have to traverse to reach Caleb was so much longer than it had been when she had called to Katja. Even with the Ott vre Caerwyn mirror shards’ added strength and Katja’s aid, how could Manasa’s thoughts possibly reach across a continent?

Katja fell asleep still wondering about the possibility, and soon discovered her answer in her dreams. As her mind drifted away from the reality of her scratchy blankets and too-soft bed, Katja found herself walking down the castle’s corridors and out along the narrow beach just below Summersted. In the distance, she saw a human walking along the waves toward her—the female’s long, dark hair and indigo skirts tossed by the same billowing breeze that ruffled the werecat’s golden fur.

Katja stopped before her with an unspoken question perched upon her lips.

“It is as I’ve feared; I cannot use the mirror shards alone,” Manasa said in answer to the wraithwalker’s thought. “Come Katja. Come dreamwalk with me between the folds of reality tonight. Let us see if your strength can be the difference between victory and defeat.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. We’ll pick up with more of this scene next week. In the meantime, I welcome your comments about how to color my in-progress piece of artwork that I’ve shared with you today.

As always, SCRAWLS is designed to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

What Happens If the Wrong King is Crowned?

“Yucca” drawing – Tap for more information.

Today on SCRAWLS, tensions continue to rise over who will ascend the Tyglesean throne and how the new king will interact with Katja and her allies. What are your hopes and fears about this latest threat to the packmates?

~

Vraelth took a sip of tea before clearing his throat and changing the subject. “Back to the matter at hand, Tryntin has already proved his worth in the battle that destroyed the Ott vre Cael mirror and his siblings. Like the rest of us, he gained quite a few mental and physical scars in the process, I highly doubt that one kiss of true power will ruin him.”

“Even so, war changes beings—sometimes in ways imperceptible by others,” Katja said. “In Tryntin’s case, it seems that the grief caused by war has built him stronger rather than breaking him.”

“All the more reason to see Tryntin prove his prowess with the army, then,” Felan said. “That should go a long way to convincing many Tygleseans of Ashomocos’s wisdom in appointing his brother as the Army’s Commander.”

“Yes, but first Tryntin must publicly declare his abstention,” Daya’lyn said.

“You doubt he will?” Vraelth asked.

Daya’lyn only shrugged.

“He’ll declare it,” said Katja. “He must.”

“Why?”

“Because if he does not, then we’ll have a civil war on our paws on top of the intercontinental war that we are already fighting.” She nodded toward Daya’lyn. “For the protection of all Sylvans, the Inquisition cannot allow such a thing.”

The dhampir’s eyes flicked to meet hers for the barest moment. “The Inquisition is weakened by a third, Katja.”

“Daya’lyn, you are the Inquisition.”

“No, I am the Inquisitor. However, my authority was recognized in Tyglesea only because of Lauraisha’s support. Without her, you and I hold no sway at all except by the Tygleseans’ good graces.”

“Ashomocos listens to you, my friend.” Felan said. “And he will continue to do so if he ascends the throne.”

Daya’lyn nodded. “Yes, he likely will. And what if Tryntin ascends the throne?”

He and the others looked at Vraelth and Katja. Slowly, the two shook their heads.

“Doubtful,” Vraelth said and the others all frowned in thought.

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS Diary from my in-progress book Fireforger. As the name SCRAWLS implies, this is meant to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing drawings. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to create my work allows you to truly walk the creative journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: An Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Will Sparks Fly When Mages Dabble in Politics? Find Out Now on the SCRAWLS Fiction Diary!

A lady bug sits among the myriad blooms of Queen Anne’s Lace. Tap for more details.

Today on SCRAWLS, we’re going to mix a little magic and politics. Today’s post finds three characters from my in-progress book Fireforger vying for the Tyglesean throne. This should be interesting!

~

Ashomocos groaned. “Not only do Tygleseans need a wise king to rule them, they need one who can unite them as well. We cannot afford to be divided, especially with the war against the deadwalkers well underway.”

The others nodded.

“Well, what do you suggest?” Felan asked.

Ashomocos just shook his head and looked at Tryntin, who shrugged.

Vraelth looked down the table at the Tygleseans. “Trynt, I may have a solution. My aid in rebuilding so much of the war-torn wharf and merchant districts these past two months has given me quite an outstanding reputation among your merchants. I think they might listen to my recommendations in this dispute and then help convince others of my case.”

Tryntin nodded. “Likely, but how could you make any decision that would be beyond reproof?”

The deep-purple-skinned elf stood and motioned for Katja to do the same. “There is an incantation—very ancient—that I as a charmchanter and Katja as a wraithwalker can do together. It’s called the Bond of Truth and it lays bare every deception within its intended target. If the three of you who are in line for the throne were willing to submit yourselves to this test, we can use it to determine who would make the best king. Then we can build our case from there.”

“It shows every lie?” Saldis asked.

The charmchanter mage nodded.

Saldis shuddered. “Then I formally declare my abstention from the throne. Forgive me, but I’m a far better spy than I am a politician.”

Tryntin smirked at him. “On the contrary, I think your lies make you an excellent politician.”

Saldis rolled his eyes even as he chuckled. “That may well be true, but you didn’t have to say it.”

Tryntin’s grin grew even wider. “The truth hurts, I’m afraid.”

~

I hope you enjoyed this week’s entry from the SCRAWLS Diary. As its name implies, this is meant to be a public journal of my fiction and artwork as I create it. In the way of writing, you’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, enchanting worlds. In the way of art, you’ll see everything from vivid photography to intriguing sketches. As always, my goal is to bring you both finished work and the rough stuff. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to build my fiction worlds allows you to truly walk the creative writing journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The Seared Cranium Report: One Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

The SCRAWLS Fiction Diary: A Strange Bit of Home

I love the contrast between the rough, gray bark of this tree and the soft yellow of its neighboring field of wildflowers. The photograph was shot north of College Station, Texas, in March 2017. Please tap on the image to see more.

Last week, I began something I call the SCRAWLS Fiction Diary. As its name implies, this is meant to be a public diary of my fiction and artwork as I create all of it. You’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, epic world-building.

Today’s post comes from my in-progress book Fireforger, which is the third book in the Sylvan Cycle series. This scene is from the main character Katja’s perspective and helps to set the mood, not only for the first chapter, but for the book as a whole.

~

Katja Kevrosa Escari knelt on a pile of furs with the meager contents of her rucksack spread out on top of the stone altar before her. A leather scrap from her brother Kayten’s rucksack, her sister Keepha’s small lytzahn dagger, her Feliconas Clan signet crest, and her brother Kumos’s tanning kit complete with a fleshing knife and needles were all that she had left of her family.

She gazed up at the darkness of the damp dungeon around her—noting that the tatters of Zahra’s Moon Moss were finally beginning to grow back in the places where Daeryn had ripped them from the stone walls. The vegetation’s soft glow reflected in the few salty puddles still left after Castle Summersted’s dungeons had been drained of sea water and cast green light on the Felis runes of the altar in front of Katja. The tawny werecat leaned forward and rubbed her scared right paw across the carved symbols of her clan’s language, smiling through the steady stream of her tears. Here, in this place so unlike anything of home, she had found some of the most powerful reminders of her dead family.

“I thought I might find you here,” a male’s gentle voice said behind her. Felan placed gentle paws around her shoulders. The little werecat gripped the black werewolf’s paws as tears slid down both of their cheeks. Today marked the first anniversary of the Feliconas Clan Massacre and the beginning of the Third War of Ages.

~

I hope you enjoyed the reading! As I mentioned last week, my goal is not necessarily to bring you finished writing, but to show you the rough stuff as well. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to build my fiction worlds allows you to truly walk the creative writing journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS fiction diary is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

The SCRAWLS Fiction Diary: “I Am Coming For You…”

A dragon wraps her neck
and wing around her precious egg.

After six months of working at a job in that occupies ten to twelve hours of my time every day, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I can write fiction books or I can write a nonfiction blog, but I don’t really have the time to create both. I could crawl into my warm, dark writing cave and simply work on a book as I have for most of this year, but that doesn’t serve you as my readers any better than me writing a blog without writing the books that you all love to read. After all, you deserve to know what’s happening and to be at least somewhat entertained while I’m working. With that in mind, I’m turning this blog into a fiction diary with artwork sprinkled around the edges. The writing will essentially be my thoughts on paper in the order that they occur to me. I’ll bring you new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, epic world-building. You’ll also see some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding and stitches that I use to build my fiction worlds. Fair warning, the writing might not make much contextual sense and, at times, may not be well-edited. However, I want to show you some of the work-in-progress before presenting the final polished book so that you understand how difficult and fascinating the journey of writing really is. By practicing in public, I will also be held accountable to get my work done every week. I can accomplish so much more with all of you readers cheering me on than I ever can alone.

Without further ado, here is this week’s entry in the SCRAWLS fiction diary. It is a scene from my in-progress book Fireforger, which is the third book in the Sylvan Cycle series. This scene is from the villain Daeryn’s perspective and begins right where the last book Dreamdrifter stopped. Right now, this is serving as Fireforger’s prologue. We’ll see if it stays as that or if I make changes to it before final publication. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it!

*

“I am coming for you.”

Daeryn bolted upright on the silken sheets of his bed—his crimson eyes whipping around his chamber in terror. He was alone, but that did not comfort him. The vampire shade had heard Katja’s words echo throughout the depths of his dreams just as Princess Lauraisha had. The overwhelming power of the wraithwalker’s voice had caused cold beads of sweat to trace their way down the pale length of his spine.

Daeryn and Lauraisha answered Katja in the same moment: “I know.”

The werecat had caused him to feel many things, but fear had never been one of them—not until now. He felt his heart pound in his chest even as he opened his shrouded mind wide to embrace this newest sensation radiating from her bright awareness.

And then their minds’ link was severed before the shade could reestablish their bond, leaving him truly alone once again. Daeryn screamed. “No! No, please…!”

He licked the salty moisture off of his lips and hid his face behind pale, shaking hands as a new fear gripped him. The shade pushed his mind toward the trail left in the wake of the wraithwalker’s awareness—grasping at the power that had so easily displaced his dark desires. He searched every corner of his mind for the warm tendril of her vibrant thoughts, but it was gone. She was gone.

“Please, Katja, come back to me…” Daeryn whispered to the empty room even as he felt the heavy rhythm of his rock-hard heart slow and then cease to beat altogether. He put a clawed hand over the scar adorning his chest where the lump from her spear shard had once nestled inside his flesh. For a brief moment, he had felt alive again. He had felt as he once had when her mind was irrevocably linked to his and nothing could separate him from every beautiful and terrible emotion she experienced. It had been a full moon’s cycle since she had stolen the spear shard and shattered their bond. It had been a full month since he had felt any impression from her at all. For one brief moment, Daeryn had allowed himself hope that she had returned to him, even in the depths of this new fear she had instilled in him. Now, she was gone and he felt numb once again.

“No, not again…”

With a snarled string of curses, the vampire rose from his bed and donned his clothes—intent on visiting the slave pens. He was not particularly hungry just now, but he would feed nonetheless. After the encounter he had just endured, Daeryn was desperate to experience the comforting rush of warm blood through his icy veins.

“I shall drain only one this time,” he promised himself. After the flogging Luther had given him over his last overzealous feeding, taking a single slave’s life seemed a far better strategy even if it could no longer satisfy his Thirst.

Daeryn’s pale, membrane wings unfurled from his back and hurled him off of his bedchamber’s balcony into the moonlit night. He circled high above the black spires of Blaecthull before diving toward the entrance of the cavern holding the slaves.

With Princess Lauraisha imprisoned in the water dungeon far beneath the vampires’ fortress, Katja and Daya’lyn would have no choice but to come to the Northern Continent if they wanted her freed. And Daeryn would greet them when they came.

They were dangerous now, so deliciously dangerous. As a full manticore and wraithwalker mage, Katja was now death to the undead and Daeryn cherished her all the more for it. His final conquest of her would be all the more satisfying now. Whatever else happened, he must be strong enough to withstand her when she came for him.

The vampire smiled to himself even as his yellow fangs lengthened in anticipation of the hunt. “Yes, only one slave this time…”

*

Please email me your thoughts! Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

A Marathon of Perspectives

Thank you to those who were kind enough to join me for the Skinshifter and Dreamdrifter Reading Marathons! I hope you enjoyed all of the games, quotes, prizes, and, of course, the daily photos. For those wanting more information on each of the 50 daily photos, I have them listed below in the order that they were shown during the marathon:

“Damsel Daintiness”
“Doorway to Wonderland”
“Living Sculpture”
“Thrush”
“Vitality”
“Flora”
“Window’s Many Faces”
“Twilight Mushrooms”
“Fanciful Feathers”
“Cheetah, Inverted”
“Metallic Pinwheels”
“Stone Straws”
“Lemur Looks”
“Peekaboo”
“Pansy Passion”
“The Pollinator”
“A Monarch for Granny”
“A Patch of Sky”
“Crying Monkey in Clock Faces”
“Marfa Yucca”
“Tuscan Sunrise”
“Windmill Promises: Old and New”
“Contrast”
“Afternoon Reflections”
“Dragon Warriors”
“Asteraceae Gilded”
“Agave Spikes in Autumn”
“Along the Tracks”
“Marbled Patterns”
“Winter Flower Silhouettes”
“Arched Elegance for Mom”
“Ask the Owl”
“Mountain Cloaked”
“Blue Jay Among Blossoms”
“Banana Leaf Lines”
“Blue Beneath”
“Weathered Hyperbolas”
“Misty Mountains”
“Split Sea Falls”
“Z Stripes”
“Yellow Gazer”
“The Lord God Loves Them All”
“Twig Window”
“Sun Dabbled Dune”
“Tulips Kindled”
“Texas Star for Bekah”
“Toucan Gaze”
“Moss Stream”
“Oryx”

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Blooming Through Adversity

Featuring the “Blooming Through” photo.

Adversity is the part of life we would all rather avoid. Yet no matter how much we try, we can never run from adversity, nor can we hide from it. When difficulties arise and evil times befall us, the only thing we can do is work together to endure and overcome each obstacle as it appears. As we face each new challenge, we become stronger, wiser, bolder, and more mature. To be certain, none of us will make it out of this life alive. However, those brave souls who go out fighting with hope still wrapped within their fluttering hearts will have waged a far more victorious battle than those enslaved by fear. This is a reminder that the brightest blossoms do indeed bloom through adversity.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Your Broken Potential

When life leaves you broken, remember that this is not the end. As painful as it is, this struggle is the potential for a new beginning if you choose to make it such.

Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

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