Here's a peek at the top of the cover for . . . .
The Ninth Chosen Book Two:
The Keeper of the Last
Artwork once again provided by the amazing Lisa Anderson!
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PLUS here's a look at the first two chapters!!
(They're still in the revision phase so don't panic over errors:)
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The first 21 chapters of The Ninth Chosen (book one):The Shadow Prison are available to read on Wattpad and you can now purchase directly from my website K.A. Parkinson as well as find other purchase links!
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Keeper Sneak Peek #1
THE NINTH CHOSEN: The Keeper of the Last
Ye are all the children of the Light, and the children of the day:
We are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Arwah . . . Animashta . . . Leenwa . . . Télora . . .
Lóklana . . . Kunamin . . . Honitahai . . . Dicernan. . .
Dembashi . . . To’Conchla Mindra. . . .
Degani . . . Ladonradi. . . .
Darkness veils the Sight,
Those with Power lose their Might.
Shields to heal left to die,
Unending Night; a fallen Sky.
A failed Trust; Balance broken,
A Single hope; a simple Token.
But lo, Eight groups remain,
United under a Banner of pain.
One shall lead with Might, and Shield.
With the breath of Radia, so nature will yield.
Water, animal, earth, light, unseen, fire, wind and . . . Sight,
The Chosen will save this world from endless Night.
The Ninth shall lead them with Light’s Aid beside,
To death or victory within the coming Tide.
—The Prophecy as revealed by Eamun Woodlore
Chapter 1: The Keeper
The moment of his death was near.
He could hear it in the echo of paws thundering toward him across the forest floor, and in the shrieks of the Raksasha carried on the winds of the Shadow storm.
Eamun Woodlore did not have long.
He dropped from his vantage point in the trees and glanced up at the darkening sky. There would be no stars this night.
He crushed the herbs between his palms, blew them into the wind, and closed his eyes to watch them trickle into every footprint he left behind. With his eyes closed, the nightmare became too real. The echo of terrified screams filled his ears and his eyes snapped open. He pushed his feet forward——his own sobs mingling with the howl of the wind.
He could not save them, but at least Sashan had escaped. His entire family would not die in vain.
He paused beside a towering pine. His fingers trembled as he tugged the shard from his neck. It glowed gold in the dim light. He knelt at the base of the tree, tears dripping off the end of his nose as he dug his hands into the cold earth, deeper, and deeper. With a silent plea, he gently dropped the shard beneath a thick root, placed his hand on the rough bark, and whispered something only the tree could hear. He pulled his hand away and a gleaming golden symbol burned brightly for a few seconds in the wood and then disappeared.
With a surge of fierce relief, Eamun pushed the dirt back into the hole and waved his hand over the mound of earth. Thick grass sprouted around the tree until the ground surrounding it looked undisturbed and perfect. He sprinkled another handful of herbs through the grass and paused to listen, his waist-length gray hair and beard whipping around him in the increasing wind, his blue eyes glistening.
The shrieks of the Raksasha and the DéHool’s howls were too close.
He couldn’t lead them here.
He ran back the way he came, careful to match each step so that the herbs would mask his scent, waved his hands behind him and the grasses stood upright hiding his footprints.
The howling grew louder and an unnatural cold covered him.
The Shadow Wraiths were almost upon him.
He emerged from the thicket to see the first line of DéHool. Their red eyes flashed to the trees behind him.
He clenched his teeth and dropped to his knees in front of them.
The wolves howled in victory.
Eamun threw his arms up toward the sky. “Radi! Y’na hi y’takra!”? A burst of white-hot light engulfed him; and then all was silent.
The fire burned out as quickly as it started and the Raksasha uncovered their yellow eyes. The second throng of wolves rushed forward, but where Eamun had been nothing remained but a dozen dead DéHool and a pile of ash.
A long mournful cry echoed through the sky. The clouds released their rain, washing away the grisly scene, and a silvery Great Horned Owl circled low over the destruction before spreading its vast wings and soaring through a hole in the clouds.
“Eamun is dead.”
Forrest Bastian looked up at Zarin as he scanned the scroll in his hands.
“I am sorry Bastian. Word has just reached the Citadel. His village was attacked.” The leader of the Guardians sighed. “There were . . . no survivors.”
Bastian tugged on his long white ponytail, his sapphire eyes bright with worry. “The Last?”
Zarin shook his head. “No sign. We would know by now if the Dark had it. Eamun must have hidden it before he died. The owl tells us he sacrificed himself before the DéHool could take him.”
Bastian stood and began to pace. The other eleven Guardians watched him with concern. He stopped mid-stride and turned to face them.
“The Last Shard is powerful enough to create a rift in the Balance that would allow Darsapean to escape Misery. This is what he has been searching for. Someone must find it before he does.”
Zarin took a deep breath. “Sit down friend.” He waved his hand toward Bastian’s chair and waited for him to settle back in before he continued. “There is but one who can find it. One who now has the sworn allegiance of a Watcher’s shard. The Last has chosen her and only she can be trusted with this mission. No one else can know what has happened. People would begin searching for it. The temptation of its power is too great.”
Bastian slumped in his chair. “Macy. . . .”
Zarin’s forehead crinkled, his pale eyes—the same sapphire blue of all Watchers—narrowed, and he nodded slowly.
Bastian ran a hand over his thick gray beard. “Why? Why does the Light keep demanding so much of her? She is needed with the Ninth.”
Duron, the Guardian to Bastian’s left, placed a hand on his shoulder. “Trust in what you know of her Bastian, surely you can see the logic of the Last choosing her as its new Keeper.”
“Logic yes, but she is human. The weight of bearing my shard is difficult for her . . . The Last is tremendously powerful . . .”
“Do you not believe her capable?” Worry laced Zarin’s question.
Bastian shook his head slowly. “No, she is capable. But she has been through so much. Despite the strength in her life-force, she still has human needs and I wonder if the Balance can sense those needs. Can it sense what leaving Tolen might do to her?” He did not expect an answer. “It may prove too much to ask.”
The thought of his precious ward on such a dangerous mission alone, worried him more than he wanted to admit to the other Guardians. She was strong and powerful yes—more so than even she knew, but she had spent her life relying on Bastian to guide her. She did not trust her intuition, the guidance from the Light that was a part of her. She was more often ruled by her emotions rather than her good sense. Tolen had calmed her some—her desire to help and protect him brought out much of her natural instincts—but without him, would she have the faith necessary to trust those instincts? An idea began to form in his mind and her future shifted in his thoughts. He knew her personality better than anyone else did. He knew what it would take to get her to follow her heart, but it just might break his heart to do it.
Zarin stood, signaling the end of the meeting. “Only you can follow her fate Bastian . . . Go to your chambers. Find peace with the decision. We will meet with the children soon, once we have had more time to discuss the details.”
“I know what to do.” Bastian took a deep breath and looked at his hands. He could feel his eyes burn as they dilated and shifted through the near future. “She will leave today, without the details of her mission.” The other Guardians gasped, but Zarin only sighed.
“You know her best, Bastian. Do what you must.”
The other Guardians left their chairs and slowly filed out of the room, but Bastian stayed seated. “I cannot see if she will,” his voice cracked, “survive.”
Zarin walked over and put his hand on Bastian’s arm. “Being a Guardian is never easy. You have learned in your many years that the best decision is rarely the easiest. But I understand that is so much harder to accept when those decisions could negatively affect those we love. Trust the Light Bastian. There is always a greater purpose to our trials than the ones we plainly see.”
Bastian stood up and stepped down from the Deliberating Platform. He paused when Zarin touched his arm again, but he did not meet his eyes.
“I am truly sorry Bastian. It seems almost cruel to add this to you at the same time you learn of Eamun. He is a great man. He will be sorely missed.”
“I could not have asked for a better brother.” Bastian clenched his teeth and left the courtroom, his eyes filled with frustrated tears, his wings twitching on his back.
Chapter 2: Visions and Plans
Dembashi . . . Dembashi . . .
To’Conchla Mindra . . .
Tolen rubbed his eyes with his fists as jumbled pictures flashed through his mind.
It was the same scenario every morning for the past week. He woke up to the whispered voice saying, “Watcher . . . Watcher . . . The Ninth Chosen . . .” And then his head was filled with rushes of images too blurred to make any sense.
He took several deep breaths while the images slowly faded and the soothing tranquility of the Citadel calmed his racing thoughts.
Just the view outside his window alone could make him forget evil even existed—it was out there, he knew it, he’d felt it . . . he’d fought against it. But here, surrounded by light and goodness, where even the buildings themselves radiated so much peace, it was easy to ignore the truth.
He watched the golden lip of the sun slowly brighten the tops of the Mountains of Promise like a glittering crown. Everything was so vibrant here. Almost as if the colors themselves were alive—not reflected light—but rather the light within every living thing flowed outward giving off brilliant color zinged with sustaining and nurturing energy.
The day he would have to leave was fast approaching. He would be eighteen in six days—a coming of age most people look forward to—but not Tolen. All the warnings and fearful looks being thrown his way everywhere he went, he actually dreaded his transition to adulthood and all its impending consequences.
He thought of the strange voice and blurry images. The voice seemed to be getting louder and if he really concentrated, he could remember seeing faces in the hazy images and . . . feeling what they felt.
As easy as it was to get lost in the peace here, the breaking of dawn always brought with it the truth of why he was really here.
He wasn’t Tolen Daedal Parks, weird-eyed town freak with no friends and no father. He was Tolen Daedal Téloran, Ninth Chosen, and gifted follower of Light, with a destiny so frightening if he thought too deeply about it his untrained gifts would go berserk. Bastian and the Dominants had been trying to teach him to control his emotions in order to better control his gifts, but it was still so new to him!
He’d accepted his destiny to save the world. He’d fallen in love with Macy, and with her strength, help, and knowledge, he’d been able to save his father. . . .
He shivered from the memory.
That wasn’t entirely true. If the Guardians hadn’t shown up with the Radia Warriors they would have failed and not only would he have been responsible for his parents’ deaths, but Macy’s death as well. Every time this thought came, he relived the moment when he’d seen into the future and watched Daemon kill Macy—a future that came way too close to being real.
He pushed his fists over his closed eyelids.
It hadn’t happened. She’d survived. We all survived. . . .
His breathing increased and the light scent of cloves and earth swirled from his hands. He pushed them through his hair, took two deep slow breaths, threw off the covers, and rushed over to the glass doors leading to the balcony—his movements harried, jerky. He pushed through the doors into the warm light spilling over the mountainside, and turned his palms toward the sun. His heart slowed from a gallop to a trot and the Kuna slowly left his hands. It was moments like this that told him the warnings were real. The closer he got to his birthday the more his gifts seemed to be trying to take him over. Sometimes even the slightest jump in emotion caused strange reactions. Just two days ago, all he’d been doing was standing on the balcony thinking about the afternoon he’d had with Macy and suddenly the entire rim of the Forest of Grace sprouted a new row of trees, and fields of wildflowers cropped up all over the realm. He didn’t know he’d had anything to do with it until Keytleen showed up at his room moments later and told him the Guardians wanted to see him.
He’d then spent the next three days working with a group of Spheres who tried to teach him how to recognize the shifts in his own gifts. It was pointless—they’d already told him once he was eighteen he wouldn’t be able to hide anything from the Dark anyway. He’d be too . . . powerful.
He closed his eyes. In the end that was why they’d made him train with the Spheres, it wasn’t really to train him, but to calm the fears of those who lived here. Those who were afraid his presence would bring harm to the realm.
He opened his eyes and looked up at the sky. Something was cutting through the fluffy clouds, headed in his direction, and getting larger every second. He stepped back as soon as he realized who it was and Bastian landed lightly beside him. His white robes emitted a pale glow that softly mimicked the sun rising behind him. His bright sapphire eyes glittered like crystal, the dark pupils slightly dilating and contracting. Tolen wondered what he was seeing with his Second Sight.
A slight smile touched the Watcher’s lips, but something behind the smile didn’t help Tolen’s anxiety.
“Are you alright Tolen?”
Tolen looked away from Bastian and leaned on the marble railing. “Yeah. Just the usual . . . oversensitive gifts, and weird dreams.”
Bastian leaned beside Tolen. “You will learn to control your gifts Tolen, I have faith in you.” He sighed and folded his hands in front of him. “As for your dreams . . . Do you know what they really are?”
Tolen dropped his head and nodded. “I think . . .” He met Bastian’s knowing look. “Okay . . . I’m pretty sure I’m getting glimpses of thousands of different lives. Human, as well as Hidden-kind. It’s mostly hazy, but sometimes their faces are clear and I can feel what they’re feeling.”
Bastian stroked his beard. “You are doing very well, Tolen. You have taken to Watching even faster and better than I did in the beginning. I know it can feel . . . overwhelming.”
Tolen snorted—a trait he’d picked up from Macy. His lip curved up a tiny bit. She’d be up and waiting for him to get his butt out of bed. The thought of seeing her pushed a tiny bit of the anxiety away.
Bastian chuckled, but it was tense, almost forced. “She is up.” He looked back out toward the mountains. The muscles in his jaw twitched and Tolen sensed the real reason he had come was not to talk about Tolen’s visions—it was something else. Probably something Tolen really didn’t want to know, but had to know. The seconds ticked by and still Bastian said nothing.
Knowing the Watcher would get to the real reason he was here when he was ready and a hundred inquiries from Tolen wouldn’t change that, he stepped back into his room and walked behind the deep blue dressing screen. He ignored the tan uniform slacks and instead tugged his jeans off the side. Today was his weekly free day, no uniforms, no training, just time for him, Macy, and the standard visit with his parents. He pulled a white t-shirt over his head and moved out from behind the screen to see Bastian sitting in the chair beside the breakfast table staring out the window, his eyes still shifting.
Tolen sat down in the opposite chair and stepped into his sneakers, counting in the Hidden tongue in his mind. A calming distraction Kyndras, the one Dominant he could honestly say he liked, had taught him when he needed to ignore the things that were upsetting his emotions. Counting in Hidden wasn’t easy and required a lot of concentration.
He’d just reached fifty-two when Bastian finally spoke. “Tolen, there are a few things I need to discuss with you.”
Tolen swallowed and absently scratched the back of his arm. “About my visions?”
“Partly, I also want to talk to you about your training, and a few other things.”
Tolen sighed and glanced back at his feet. “I don’t think I’m doing as well as they would like.”
Bastian turned away from the window. “On the contrary, the Dominants have informed us that you are in fact exceeding their expectations.”
Tolen looked at Bastian in surprise. “That’s not the way they make it sound. I was sure Dunrath wanted to bury me under the Mountains of Promise the last time we worked together.”
“The Dominants are not gentle in their training methods, but regardless of what you may think, they are very impressed. O’shae believes the wind has claimed you; it will follow and obey you at first call. Took’rah said the animals speak to you as one of their own. Kyndras is very fond of you, and she assures us that the water will bend to your will. Dunrath, despite wanting to bury you under the mountain, said that you have the Earth’s acceptance and she will listen without question. Nephen told us what we already knew; you have the Light’s allegiance. Jun’tar was the first Dominant you worked with and he absolutely beams whenever he speaks of your Kunamin abilities. Ras’met said there is nothing he can teach you that you do not already know in the Nature Speak. He has simply been fascinated watching you. And Vindi . . . well . . .”
Tolen tried not to roll his eyes. Vindi was the smallest Dominant, bald, wiry, with translucent paper-thin skin. He looked like the tiniest wind could carry him off. But what he lacked in height and substance, he more than made up with attitude. He was by far the crabbiest man Tolen had ever met. From the very beginning, he hadn’t been afraid to say he didn’t like Tolen very much.
Bastian nodded knowingly. “Vindi has always had his own way of doing things, but he too has said your ability to blend in with your surroundings and settle the Balance around you would rival an Unseen with years of training.”
Tolen shook his head in shock. All of the Dominants except Kyndras were so gruff in attitude it was hard to believe they’d actually said anything good about him. “They couldn’t tell me that themselves?”
Bastian cleared his throat. “They have already left for the Zenith.”
The Watcher sighed. “Things are developing faster than we imagined. They want to get there ahead of you—make preparations—”
“My presence at the Zenith is going to endanger everyone there, just like it does here. Isn’t it?”
Bastian looked away and nodded.
“Bastian, I can’t keep doing this. The Doogar, Dane, you . . . Macy.” His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. “I’ve been the cause of so much death and destruction to those who have tried to help me. It’s not right. It’s not their fault I’m not as strong as I should be. They shouldn’t have to pay for my weakness.”
Bastian’s cheeks flushed red. “What else is there to do?” He slammed his fist onto the table and Tolen jumped, but it wasn’t the Watcher’s anger that frightened him, it was the agony in his eyes. “We are out of options! Out of time! There are things set in motion that we have no control over and we must do whatever is necessary! You cannot succeed in your destiny if you do not learn to balance your power correctly and the world cannot succeed without you. The danger that exists because of your lack of knowledge is something we must all accept and help you where we can. The people here, though afraid, realize this. Those preparing for you at the Zenith are ready. They know what to expect. They are ready to do whatever is necessary to help you, to help the Light. And the Light . . . the Light will do whatever is necessary to save us all. . . .”
Confusion clouded Tolen’s thoughts—were they still talking about the same thing? Suddenly, he was sure he didn’t want to know the other reasons the Watcher was here. Guilt from Bastian’s words mingled with a growing dread in his heart.
Bastian took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “The Zenith is one of our oldest and most protected strongholds. They will be prepared for your arrival. They will be ready. You will grow in strength and confidence. You will succeed Tolen. You must have faith. . . .” His hand twitched. He sounded like he was trying not only to convince Tolen, but himself.
Tolen reached over and put his hand over Bastian’s clenched fist. “I will do my best Bastian. I can promise you that. I am trying.”
Bastian nodded and Tolen lowered his hands to his lap.
Bastian looked back out the window, his eyes glistening. “Forgive me. I did not mean to make you feel guilty. You are doing remarkably well Tolen; do not be too hard on yourself. Your weakness will become your strength in time.” He met Tolen’s eyes for a brief moment. “But we must pray it will be soon. Darkness is spreading. Their numbers are steadily increasing. Dark servants are everywhere. The world has changed a lot since you came here. Your visit to the Shadow Realm seems to have set things in motion. Creatures that previously would have cowered from our Radia Warriors are becoming more brazen, attacking small settlements of Hidden-kind. The Dark is moving its pieces. It is setting the board.
“There is a crack in the connection between Misery and earth that Darsapean has been exploiting under our very noses. A tiny flaw the Guardians knew was there but believed was too minor for him to manipulate. Once again, we underestimated the strength of the Dark.
“Before we came for you, Macy and I were tracking a small band of Kreydawn in the Nevada desert. They were mining something. It is not that unusual for Kreydawn to be miners and gatherers, so their movements were not that suspicious. . . . Until the two of you discovered what they were mining. Kelner gave a piece of it to Macy when you were in the Shadow Realm. That rare metallic rock contained traces of the same metal used to fashion the first bridge to Misery. Darsapean’s minions have been mining it. He has found a way to widen the crack.”
Tolen’s palms started to sweat. “You’re not talking size when you say widen, right?”
“Correct. The metal within the stone harnesses the power of Light. Movan use them to make Light Spears and other rare weapons.”
“Are you saying it can harness the power of the Dark as well?”
“Yes. We believe Daemon has found enough of the metal to create a bridge from his side in the Shadow Realm to the crack in Misery. From there he has been smuggling creatures from Misery into the Dark Realm where Daemon has been releasing them into the earthly realm. As the world is filled with more Dark creatures, the Dark’s power grows. As its power grows, it can allow darker, more powerful creatures to escape Misery. Once the world reaches a certain point in darkness, or Daemon finds something powerful enough to overcome the remaining Light imprisoning him within the walls of Misery, Darsapean will be able to escape.”
Tolen leaned his head in his hands. “If only we hadn’t gone after my dad—”
“If you and Macy had not gone into the Shadow Realm to save your father, we would not know any of this. It seems there are many reasons the Light wanted you to save your father. You have given us a chance to prepare, plan.”
Tolen pushed his hands through his hair, stood up, and turned his back on Bastian. “Plan for what? We obviously can’t stop them or you wouldn’t have kept me here for so long without mentioning anything.”
“We have not known for very long. The Radia Warriors have been out fighting, spying, and gathering information. Only today was notice sent to Watchers to prepare their Chosen for the Call. All over the world the Hidden will be preparing for battle . . . and for the Ninth to lead them.”
Tolen started pacing.
“Tolen, the army will gather to you at the Zenith. Once the word reaches the colonies and Hidden settlements, Seekers will lead them and the planning can begin. Darsapean’s escape may be imminent, but we are more prepared now than we would have been. Because we have been forewarned we believe the Dark will lay low for a while giving us more time to prepare you for battle.”
Tolen tried not to be angry that he’d been left out of the plans. It was his own fault. If he had been able to control his emotions and get a handle on his gifts, they wouldn’t be afraid to tell him things. He took a deep breath and counted to ten in his head. “Okay. I’ll go.”
Bastian didn’t respond and Tolen paused to look over his shoulder. Bastian’s eyes reflected the sunlight and burned with an intensity that made Tolen’s insides turn. There was more, and it was worse . . . a lot worse.
Bastian nodded sadly. “I am afraid it is much, much worse. . . . We believe Daemon has left the Shadow Realm. We do not know where he is hiding, the group of Ookra the warriors captured did not know. They said he is in the earthly realm, but they were not given his exact location.”
An image of the seven-foot tall Demon Master flashed across Tolen’s mind. The blood-red skin, the hate filled yellow eyes, the huge black horns erupting from the sides of his head curving down to his black pointed teeth. His deep cold voice. The frightening strength of his power.
Tolen dropped back in his chair. “How do you know that the Ookra weren’t lying? I thought he couldn’t survive outside his own realm anymore.” His voice shook and he cleared his throat again.
“That was true when we first won the war, but as the world increases in its evil the Dark’s power grows, allowing evil to more easily survive here. We believe the Ookra because of an attack on a village of Kunamin. Daemon left no survivors and his symbol was burned into the foreheads of the bodies. He was sending us a message.”
Tolen’s jaw started working but no words would come out.
“Tolen, what I have to say to you now is not going to be easy for you to hear, but because you will eventually see it anyway I convinced the Guardians to let me tell you.”
Tolen nodded slowly.
Bastian pinched the bridge of his nose. “Your birthday is in six days.”
“Yeah . . . and I leave in five. Right?”
“Yes . . . but . . . Macy will not be traveling with you.”
Tolen’s hands twitched and he struggled for a calm tone. “What?”
Bastian stared deep into Tolen’s eyes. His expression said he didn’t like the idea, but it had to be done. He sighed. “Eamun Woodlore is dead.”
Tolen’s chin snapped up. “The Keeper of the Last shard?”
“Did the Dark . . . ?”
“No, they did not get the shard. Eamun hid it somewhere. But someone must go and find it before the Dark does.”
“Macy . . .” It felt like someone was crushing Tolen from the inside.
Bastian’s eyes narrowed. “You have already seen?”
The dreams . . . visions of so many people . . . visions of Macy. Agony ripped through him. His voice came out monotone, dead. “Not specifics, just lately I’ve been seeing strange things. Macy standing in places I don’t recognize and I’m not with her. I’ve been trying to ignore them or believe we’re at the Zenith, but I can feel that she’s far away from me.”
Bastian ran a hand over his eyes. “The Last has chosen her to be its Keeper. Once the choice is made, there is no one else who can find it.”
“Which means whoever killed Eamun is going to be waiting for her to come looking for it.” Tolen jumped up and clenched his hands into fists willing his gifts not to react. Fire seemed to be rising from his toes. “It’s Daemon isn’t it? He found Eamun and that’s why he killed the Kunamin village wasn’t it? Because he somehow knew the new Keeper would be Kunamin!” He was shouting by the end. He couldn’t help it. “Bastian! You can’t send her out there with that psycho on the loose!” He threw his hand toward the open window and a burst of flame shot from his palm. He closed his hand and clenched his teeth, his body trembling as he tried to calm down.
Bastian jumped from his seat and stood nose to nose with Tolen. His white-knuckled fists were clenched at his sides, his wings twitching. “You think I wanted this? You think I want her in that kind of danger!” He grabbed a fistful of his hair; he looked almost deranged. “You think for one moment that this is any easier for me than it is for you? The growth of evil is affecting the Balance. Watchers are struggling to see the future clearly. We are running out of options. If the Dark gets the Last it will give them more than enough power to free Darsapean and every other evil creature in there. The Last has chosen Macy. There is nothing we can do about it!”
Tolen put his arms over his head. Macy’s voice carried to him from memory and his heart ached at the truth of her words. Following the wishes of the Light is not always easy, just worth it in the end. “Does she know?” His voice came out husky with defeat.
Bastian shook his head. The anger had drained from his face and Tolen knew he was only angry to hide the pain. He felt exactly the same. They could do nothing. He clenched his teeth as Bastian answered.
“No. The quest for the Last is a sacred undertaking. It has chosen her, but she has to prove herself before it will show itself. She will go into her task blind, having no idea what she is looking for, and only her faith in the Light to guide her.” His voice faltered and a trail of tears ran down his cheeks. He made no move to wipe them away as he took two steps toward the balcony. His next words were thick with emotion.
“Your parents wish to speak with you. Macy is waiting. You——you must not tell her anything.” He looked back at Tolen with anguish painted in every line of his face. He turned and jumped over the railing, extended his wings full span, and soared into the sunrise.
Tolen watched him fade into the distance and then the truth of their situation fell over him and the pain made his knees buckle. He dropped to the floor and buried his face in his hands.