Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Evil Tidal Pool ~ Sample Sunday from Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five

This is a sample from the beginning of my new release, Quintessence, the fifth and final book Enchanted Bookstore Legend. The genre is epic fantasy romance. 

In this scene, the heroine, Lyra McCauley, along with her allies from the Alliance, encounters the enemy leaders of the Dark Realm. The two factions are in a desperate race to acquire the four missing keystones, which can transfer much-needed magical astral energy to the failing Alliance. To gain the upper hand, the Dark Realm has taken a prisoner--the 10-year-old crippled Alliance seer named Kessa--making the stakes much higher.

from Chapter One: The Evil Tidal Pool


Jaw clenched and arm muscles tensed, Lyra pumped aura into her fist, which was closed around the Staurolite. The cross-shaped crystal at its center pulsed red hot in her palm. Power from her ancestors—four female Scribes—pressed hard against her fingers, begging to be set into motion against the evil alchemist. Aura flooded Lyra’s senses, bringing keen perception. She studied Eburscon, watching for the slightest movement.
His gaze fixed on her and the Unicorn Guardian in the surf below. He sat motionless on the back of a cimafa stealth dragon, hand cupping the iolite pendant outside of his dark purple cloak. The gem lay quiet. Only the graying braid at Eburscon’s back swept from side to side with the impatient contortions of the cimafa.
Inky clouds billowed around the members of the Dark Realm. The three cimafa were well camouflaged, visible only when they snorted through fiery nostrils and their sleek, long tails undulated.
The Black Dragon’s scales irridesced with light reflected off whitecaps riding on fierce waves across the Sea of Cogadh. Acid drool from his snout peppered the water, sizzling upon impact. His wings moved almost imperceptibly to maintain an aerial position, while his gaze locked on his nemesis, the Alliance’s leader.
Behind Lyra, the huge golden dragon, twice the size of his opponent, stood on the shore. The Imperial Dragon’s thigh muscles bulged and his wings extended, ready for flight. Muffled guttural noises escaped his throat, apparently still burning from the Black Dragon’s acid attack.
Lyra wanted to empower the golden sapphire apex of her wizard’s staff, but feared the display of power might initiate more strikes from the Dark Realm.
Behind her on the Unicorn’s wide rump, Kenzo’s aura shifted. The owl followed the Imperial Dragon’s cue and partially unfolded his silver-striped wings.
Wisps of the Unicorn’s white aura danced in the twisting, turning surf.
Nearby, the sea nymph watched the Pearl of Pendola she had protected for centuries. Its white nacre shined between the fingers of Eburscon’s fist. Before he stole it from her hand, she intended it as a gift for Lyra. The pearl would strengthen the power of the Alliance that protected the nymph and all kind dwellers in the Sea of Cogadh. Tears rolled down her pale cheeks. She slipped off the rocky outcropping into the churning waters now overtaken with evil. Her long blue hair briefly swirled at the surface before she dove deep.
A tremor of power moved along the Unicorn’s spine beneath Lyra. Pulsations of his aura pushed her nerves over the edge. Her own aura spilled reflexively into her staff, and she clutched his mane, preparing for the consequences of an onslaught of strikes from the enemy.
The partially eroded skin of the Black Dragon’s upper lip curled back to reveal rows of snaggled, dark teeth. “If you will not concede, then come into my land and try to get what you need.” He reared his long neck high, then coiled it behind him and snaked his body into a sharp turn in the direction of the Dark Realm.
Eburscon released a wicked laugh and leaned toward Lyra from his seat on the cimafa.
The Imperial Dragon responded and soared to a position between them. His tremendous wings, connecting far beyond his hind legs, completely shielded Lyra.
Warlord Oasth took an aerial position beside his leader. He spread his smaller drake-sized wings but snarled viciously, a mouthful of flames swirling between his teeth.
A violet laser, the color of Eburscon’s aura, shot to the shoreline and pelted the evil tide pool. The surface reflected purple rays at all angles, but no one dared to move toward it.
At last, wing beats sounded behind the wall of the two dragons protecting Lyra. Although breeze from dragon flight lifted strands of her hair, no flames or acid shots cut the airspace.
The alchemist’s laugh grew more distant.
Lyra turned to face the tide pool and noticed an image on its surface. “Move closer to the enchanted pool,” she urged the Unicorn.
“I don’t trust the strength of my ward against Eburscon,” the Guardian whispered over his shoulder to Lyra. He peered cautiously from behind the dragons’ wings, his aura heightened into a swirling cloud.
Kenzo hovered a short distance beyond them and motioned with the tip of his wing. “They are leaving.”
The Unicorn faced the Dark Realm’s border while stepping toward the basin. His dark eyes widened, and his nostrils flared, he tested the trails of evil hanging on air currents.
The party from the Dark Realm flew slowly but steadily back to their land. When they disappeared into the shadowy forest of Silva Nocens, Lyra and the Unicorn turned their attention toward the pool. Violet haze of Eburscon’s aura hung above the water. The calm surface beneath reflected an image.
Kenzo circled the pool, while Lyra dismounted and kneeled on the bank in order to see under the mist. She secured her heavy wool riding cloak behind her shoulders, but the golden tip of her braid nearly fell into the evil water before she pushed it onto her back.
In the vision, the thin frame of Kessa, the young seer, huddled in a corner against a rough stone wall. The ten-year-old child wore shackles on her ankles. Her leg braces had been removed, revealing long scars above and below her knees. She hid her face in her folded arms and a cascading curtain of matted, dark blond hair.
A heavily muscled Qumeli man sat cross-legged beside her, a stoic expression on his bearded face. Two thick, coiled horns grew from either side of his forehead and spiraled backward past his shoulders. Their size revealed his mature age. Red beaded decorations strung in his long peppered black hair and between the horns indicated his status as a tribal chief.
On the other side of Kessa, a plump old woman puffed calmly on a hand-carved pipe, allowing the smoke to trickle out in ribbons through her wide nose. Horns spiraled from high on her head of wiry gray hair, coiling around her ears one turn more than the man’s. Beaded dangles and charms festooned the bottom of each spiral. Weather-beaten, deep wrinkles marred her olive complexion. Lyra recognized the woman as the sibyl star reader, Stella, who had tricked her. During a lesson in mystic astronomy, Stella had positioned Lyra near the edge of a cliff, where a waiting cimafa attacked and fought fiercely to steal her aura. Recalling the experience, her first with a stealth dragon, Lyra shivered.
A heaving lump of clothing next to the sibyl raised a scarf-covered head and choked on a sob. Nillea’s swollen face turned to the Qumeli woman. Nillea’s eyes were bloodshot and her clothing ripped. She crawled a foot in the direction of her daughter.
The sibyl glared at Nillea, and the chief sent his fist into Kessa’s outer knee.
Kessa whimpered and curled tighter against the wall, while her mother wailed inaudible words with a hoarse voice.
“Stop begging,” the sibyl snapped. “Such a slow learner. More you do, more pain she’ll get.” One corner of the old woman’s mouth curved into a grin. “Only when she tells where the other keystones are to be found, we stop and let you both free.”
“She’s only a small girl. Please.” Nillea shuddered. Upon receiving no response, she faced Kessa. “Kinchin, please do this one bit of Great Gramaema Heilia’s magic for these people.” Her voice cracked. “Then we’ll leave here and no more magic ever. It brings too much hurt.”
The sibyl cackled and blew a puff of smoke in Nillea’s face. “You hurt the child, not her seeing.”
Nillea coughed and fell back. Her foot caught in torn layers of her full skirt, and she writhed helplessly, while the sibyl enjoyed a resounding belly laugh.
A dense violet film clouded the vision. Lyra looked at the Unicorn and Imperial Dragon. With white knuckles, she clamped onto the shaft of her wizard’s staff. “If this is true—”

*~*~*

Information about the Enchanted Bookstore Legends:

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends are about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications. 

Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her.  

When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction…Lyra becomes the Scribe. 
 
Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One

Lyra McCauley is a writer and loves fantasy novels, but until she opens a selection from bookstore owner Cullen Drake, she has no idea he’s a wizard character who lives a double life inside that volume…or the story’s magic will compel her from the edge of depression to adventure, danger, and love. 

His gift to Lyra, the Book of Dragonspeir, was actually her copy, misplaced years ago. Lost in her pain following divorce and death, she fails to recognize him as her childhood playmate from the fantasyland. Friendship builds anew. Attraction sparks. But Lyra doubts whether a wizard is capable of love. She’s torn—should she protect her fragile heart or risk new love? 

Opening the book’s cover, she confronts a quest: save Dragonspeir from destruction by the Black Dragon before he utilizes power of August’s red moon to expand his strength and overthrow the opposing Imperial Dragon. Lyra accepts the challenge, fearing Cullen will perish if evil wins. Along with magical animal guides, Cullen helps her through many perils, but ultimately Lyra must use her own power…and time is running out.

Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two

Lyra McCauley receives an alarming letter from the coroner who evaluated her deceased aunt, originally thought to have died of cancer. The news causes Lyra to take leave from her job and travel from sunny Tampa to the frozen island community in northern Michigan. Questioning whether Dragonspeir magic was responsible for her aunt’s death, she resolves to learn the truth and accepts the Imperial Dragon’s appointment into the Alliance sorcery training. 

Additionally, becoming proficient in magic craft is the only way she can bridge the gap between her mortal human world and her lover’s. Cullen, a 220-year-old wizard, is dependent upon his Dragonspeir magic for immortality. He is her only family now; she cannot lose him.

Evil forces block her and try to steal her inherited scribal aura. Riding a stealth dragon, a cloaked rider pursues Lyra. Both the Alliance and Dark Realm alchemists lay tricks and traps. Her aura equals that of the first and most powerful Scribe, but will Lyra’s novice training allow her to discover the truth…and find a life with Cullen? Or will the Dark Realm keep them apart?

Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three 

When Lyra McCauley learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague, she doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancĂ©, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra. 

She leaves her college teaching and puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four

Lyra McCauley, current Scribe of the Alliance, is the only one who can decode magic hidden in the recently retrieved ancient texts written by her ancestors, the first four Scribes. Information in those writings can help Lyra locate the four missing keystones, which will restore power to the Alliance and allow overthrow of the Dark Realm. With peace restored, she and her beloved, Cullen, could finally marry.

Time is short with the Black Dragon’s Dark Realm increasing attacks to avenge the death of his heir. Many innocent lives are lost. Alliance residents are forced into hiding. Magicals and blue dragons follow leadership of the Imperial Dragon and the other three Guardians into battle to defend the Alliance.

While Lyra unlocks the ancient magic, she opens herself up to scribal powers from her ancestors. She alone can fight the deadliest of the Dark Realm’s forces—the cimafa stealth dragons—but at a cost. The energy flux threatens her health and ability to learn where to find the missing keystones. Can Lyra overcome this shrewd tactic of the Black Dragon to decimate the Alliance?

 Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five 
~the final volume~

Barbaric Dark Realm warfare threatens to overtake all Dragonspeir lands, including the Alliance. Lyra McCauley, the fifth Scribe of the Alliance, finds herself in a desperate competition to gather four missing keystones. Those amulets of the four natural elements guarantee victory for the side possessing them. The Dark Realm’s alchemist, Eburscon, beats her to finding the water gem, the Pearl of Pendola. Three more keystones remain: the fluorite containing earth energy, the moonstone of the sky, and the fiery, dangerous Emtori Ruby.

The powerful gems, stolen centuries ago, channel astral energies and can restore much-needed Alliance power—the last hope. The wizard, Cullen, who is Lyra’s beloved, relies on Alliance magic for his immortality and will perish if the land falls to the Dark Realm.

Lyra uses her rare magical energies of quintessence and the Staurolite, governor of the four natural elements, to guide her to the hidden keystones. However, greed and power drive opponents, who challenge her in close pursuit, planning to destroy the Alliance, or to claim the power of quintessence for themselves.

The Dark Realm captures the ten-year-old Alliance seer, Kessa. Her abilities can give them information about the locations of the keystones, complicating Lyra’s plans. Will her love, allegiance, and quintessence allow her to save Cullen, Kessa, and the Alliance before the Dark Realm claims all of Dragonspeir?

Purchase Links for books in the series:

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance. For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.

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