Excerpt from Dark Ember
For your reading enjoyment!
After their meal, Whitworth ushered his guests into the living room. Sam followed, still whispering in Jonas’ ear. Rex noted that the handsome human pressed a small, black bag into Jonas’ hand. His friend looked dazed, though more excited than Rex had ever seen him. Magic was something Jonas had always wanted to believe in.
Swift pulled her cloak back on, settled her quiver and sword back into place and slung her bow over her shoulders. Her face had drawn tight, her hands trembling. Rex moved to ensure she was alright, cut off when she spoke before he could.
“Because the portal isn’t totally stable, we may not be together when we land.” Swift’s voice was tense. Rex frowned. “If you don’t see me when we land, park your asses somewhere and wait for me.”
Jonas, still beside Sam, looked startled. “Wait. What?”
Swift continued, adjusting her bow as Whitworth turned toward the fireplace. Rex didn’t concentrate on what he was doing, even as Ember strained for a better look. He was more concerned with why Swift looked so disturbed.
“I can use my magic when we get to Peralt, it won’t take me long to find you. Whitworth is going to aim us for the forest outside of Heversuch. It’s my home. I can’t go chasing you two down. So. Just sit tight and wait. Promise me.”
Her demand was met by a pair of immediate nods. Rex swallowed thickly, shifting his duffel so the strap laid over his chest securely.
“Swift. Are you ok?”
The hunter did not immediately respond. She turned to look over her shoulder. Whitworth was chanting, a language that Rex couldn’t understand. His heart began to pound, his breath in short pants.
Was he about to take a magical trip to a magical land? Seriously?
Whitworth stopped his chanting. Something in his hand began to glow. He set it into the air, where the small, blue stone hovered before the fireplace.
The stone glowed with brilliant white light, a tinny sound like a penny dropped down a dry well. Swift took the position at the front, turning to hug Whitworth and Sam quickly.
“Come see me, ok?”
“Always, darling.” Sam insisted. “Take care of these two.”
Swift turned to Rex and Jonas, still looking incredibly nervous. Rex thought she looked as though she’d be sick.
“Just hold tight. You can’t do anything in there except land. Try to keep your feet under you, close your eyes, and just…try to breathe.”
“Swift?” Jonas’ voice trembled. “Why do you look so scared?”
The hunter sighed, turning toward the portal.
“I just really fucking hate portals.”
With that, she took a step toward the hovering stone and vanished.
Jonas turned to look at their hosts.
“Thanks. For everything.”
“Keep in touch, little mage.” Sam insisted with a wave.
Jonas turned to Rex. “See you on the flipside, ok?”
Rex nodded, a lump lodged in his throat.
His best friend turned, stepped toward the stone, and vanished into the portal.
“Thanks,” Rex said to his hosts. “I appreciate your help.”
Whitworth offered a small smile, his arm around Sam’s shoulders.
“If you carry what I think you do, be careful in the other realms.” Whitworth cautioned. “Your power is considerable and there are others who would do anything to acquire it, not knowing the creature chooses its host.”
Rex swallowed hard. “I’ll be careful.”
“But also remember,” Sam interjected. “That the creature does choose her companion and that choice is made for a reason. Don’t sell yourself short, Rex.”
Exhaling a shaky sigh, Rex shook his head.
“I don’t know if I can handle this.”
“Let her guide you,” Sam answered. “Trust your instincts.”
“Again, thank you.”
“Better scoot along,” Whitworth encouraged softly. “Swift will be worried, once she stops throwing up.”
With a chuckle on his lips, Rex stepped toward the stone. He felt a pull at his back, as though someone were yanking him into a hug. There was a blast of chilled air and then Rex tumbled into the portal.
Thanks for reading!