And boy, are they hungry!
We decided that a little taster wouldn't hurt and so, to get everyone suitably pumped for the release on the 30th of October (one day before Halloween. Coincidence?) we'd release to you the first five lines of the first chapter. Enjoy, Frank Fans.
“Ow. Ow. Ow. And did I mention ow?"
Kestra chuckled as she hurried to help the enormously pregnant woman trying to squeeze herself and half a dozen books and scrolls out of the Demon archives situatedin the basement of the Demon King’s castle. Said Demon King, Noah, being Kestra’s mate and said castlebeing their home.
“You would think,” groused Isabella, a Druid/human hybrid, “that becoming half Nightwalker, a powerful, supremely gifted, fast-healing species, would allow me to avoid things like an aching back and swollen ankles. But noooooo. . . .”
Kestra was used to this complaining and took it as good-naturedlyas it was meant. And Kestra forgave Bella for whatever parts of it were not lightly meant. She could understand. Bella, like her Demon husband, Jacob, was an Enforcer. Normally it was her calling to go out and kick ass, take some names, and keep errant Demons from breaking Demon law. But because of her present enceinte state, she was relegated to staying home and playing with her daughter or hanging out in Noah’s library and playing with ancient scrolls and manuscripts.
Bella’s overprotective Demon husband, in his usual high-handed way, wouldn’t hear of her stepping one foot outside the Demon King’s protection while he was away doing his job. Jacob, Bella, and their daughter, Leah, had permanently moved into Noah’s enormous castle a few months back when Bella had suffered horribly debilitating side effects fighting the poisonous magic of Necromancers, the beginning of a great battle culminating in the final capture of the traitor Demon Ruth, who had long been a thorn in their sides. Now Ruth was imprisoned for all time in a crystal ball, which was no doubt adorning Jasmine the Vampire’s dressing table that very moment, and Bella was recovering . . . but in the interim, it had been decided the family would continue to remain there as Bella moved from the vulnerability of recovery into the vulnerability of late pregnancy.
Bella was not always as upset about it as she pretended to be. After all, she had the enormous Demon archives and library at her fingertips. Which was basically heaven for a woman who had, seemingly a lifetime ago, been a librarian. Also, one of her Druid abilities was to read almost any language once exposed to it long enough.
“You shouldn’t be carrying the heavy ones. I told you, Jaleal could help you with that.”
“It’s not all that heavy.” Bella dropped a book on the table, the weighty smack of its landing echoing into the rafters and sending a plume of dust eddying in all directions. “Anyway, I wanted to show you this weird little scroll I found.”
She tried to belly up to the table, exhaled in exasperation, and thrust the scroll at Kestra instead. Kestra helped her out, spreading open the scroll and using objects from the table to gingerly hold it open. It was extremely old and had not weathered time very well. She suspected it was from what had once been the poorly protected Nightwalker Library, a damp cavern trove newly rediscovered only a few years earlier. It was destroyed now, thanks to Ruth, but whatever had remained had been relocated into the Demon library archives, where it would be safer . . . better protected from both the ravages of time and . . . others.
Had it been one of Noah’s historical Demon scrolls from the archives, it would have been much better cared for.
“These are . . . what is this? Egyptian hieroglyphs?”
"Yup,” Bella said, as though reading hieroglyphs were an everyday event for anybody. She leaned forward.
“Okay, let me read.”
“Please do,” Kestra said dryly. Though she too was a Druid, her gifts were very different from Bella’s. If someone needed to blow something up, she was your girl, but this was way out of her league.
The Lost Scroll of Kindred . . .
And so it will come to pass in the forward times that the nationsof the Nightwalkers will be shattered, driven apart, and become strangers to one another. Hidden by misfortune and by purpose, these twelve nations will come to cross-purposes and fade from one another’s existence. In the forward times these nations will face toil and struggle unlike any time before, and only by coming together once more can they hope to face the evil that will set upon them. But they are lost to one another and will remain lost until a great enemy is defeated . . . and a new one resurrects itself. . . .
“What do you think it means?” Kestra asked carefully.
“Hell if I know. I mean, it sounds like a huge war between all the Nightwalkers or something. Scary thought, considering. But I’m not interested in playing guessing games. The part I found interesting was ‘twelve nations.’ ”
“But there’s only six. Demons, Lycanthropes, Druids, Vampires, Shadowdwellers, and Mistrals.”
“Are natural witches a nation? That would make seven. And what if, like originally with natural witches, we just don’t know about others?”
They looked at each other, then both snorted out laughs over the unlikelihood.
“More likely these others are now extinct,” Kestra said.
“Other nations would explain all those books in quite a few unfamiliar languages that we found in the Nightwalker Library,” Bella posited. “And surely if they were still around, whoever they are, we would have had some sign of them by now.”
“Other than the books? Yeah.”
“How sad,” Bella said, her violet eyes filling with immediate tears.
“There, there,” Kestra comforted her hormonal friend, pulling her as close as she could and laying Bella’s cheek on a shoulder covered in Kestra’s sugar-white hair. “It all happened a long, long time ago. None of it has anything to do with us now.”
“No,” Bella agreed. “None of it has anything to do with us now.”
Forbidden is out on the 30th of October. Make sure you're there to see the beginning of the exciting new series The World of the Nightwalkers!
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