Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chapter One Except... Fully Edited Proof

In Dreams... The Solitary Road Ch. Excerpt 

The World of In Dreams...

           Amara was outwardly a very happy child, bright and eager in her studies, but her nights were filled with terrible dreams of fires, and a shadowy demon, that caused fits of screaming, which Rosaline left either her parents or Jeremiah to deal with. In fact, unless it was to scold her Rosaline rarely ever occupied the same room as Amara, who wanted nothing more than her love and approval. Keeping with their promise to protect Amara, as Rosaline’s patience with her was thin as skin upon milk, Nathan took to teaching Amara a rhyme to help keep the dreams at bay.
         “Dreams of sorrow, dreams of pain, shall not linger in the light of day. Should darkness unfold in memories untold, nothing shall haunt a child bold.”
         This was the last gift she would receive from her beloved grandfather. For unfortunately, life has a way of breaking the most sacred of promises. By the time Amara was five, Nathan was gone. Having disappeared on a fishing voyage, just before she was to begin her studies as a Priestess Initiate. His demise sent his wife Amaranth into a despair from which she has never truly recovered. This left Jeremiah, as the only protector to a young girl who was often made to feel inferior, by the woman who was supposed to love her most of all. Rosaline never forgave her for bringing the Ravens, or for the color of her hair. Both, atrocities for which she blamed Jeremiah as well. She often clamored that had she known, that in his youthful days he too had the omen color, she would have never allowed their coupling. On several occasions, Jeremiah had to put himself in between Rosaline and Amara, simply because the woman would smack her just for being in the room.
        For his kindness and his nature, Amara loved her father dearly. He was a large man, almost six feet four inches tall, just one of his hands could encase both of her own, but for all of his imposing, he was the gentlest man she knew. With him in her life, she could withstand the scowling of her mother, and the poisoned tongue of her teacher Beatrice.
        He made her want to be the daughter Rosaline expected. Good, honest, loyal, and obedient. He told her tales of places far off, of cities underground, filled with neon lights, and mirrors that brought the sun’s light to the darkest of places. Places she vowed to see one day.
        These stories made her happy; they were the only thing, which brought her solace.

         Two weeks past Amara’s eighth birthday, she stood before the Elders of the Isle; it was time for her first test as a Priestess. Several months before she and Beatrice’s Daughter Carmine were made host to the Hymenopteria Queen’s larvae. A small incision had been made in their right forearm and the wriggling thing had been put into place. Both girls had been knocked out and awoke to find their right arm bound. It was a race for the growth and survival of the Leadership of the Isle. The Decon and Ward Families each vied for the position, and it seemed that Amara’s family would once again prevail, for when Carmine’s arm was opened, the larvae was dead. This meant that she was not to be host to the Queen, and would never have control of the hives. For once in Amara’s life Rosaline seemed proud. Beatrice however condemned her daughter to the life of a keeper of the hives. This meant that she would never marry, have no children, and would live out her days tending to the rock hive walls of the main house, where Amara’s family lived.
Amara’s Queen had indeed survived, this test was a success. She now only needed to use the young Queen to call the swarm. If she could do this then her place as High Priestess could never be challenged again.
In this she failed... Miserably.

        She stood with the Queen in her hands, humming as she had been taught by her tutors. The Queen darted from her hands, flitting this way and that, as it did so, the other Hymenopteria began to awaken from their long cold time slumber. The swarm rose, filling the sky. Amara stood frozen, her fear holding her and her voice at the gate of silence. She could not continue the hum or the chat that should have followed. Her fear was too great; the idea that this insect could kill her in moments overwhelmed her. The swarm came in a rush, down upon the masses of people. Pandemonium ensued. They ran. Ran into their homes, headed for the water, others high tailed it to the Inn on the hillside. Rosaline had no choice but to step in, she took Amara’s place in the center of the swarm, wrapping her arms protectively around Amara.
        “Jeremiah! Come take her, wrap her in your garb. Keep her from the queen! She will seek her out!” Amara’s mother’s voice was filled with demanding concern. Jeremiah did as he was told, staying low to the ground avoiding the insects’ stings.
        Within a few moments, Rosaline had stopped the swarm, her presence seemed to be all that was needed, when it was over and all was calm, three people were dead, including Carrola, Beatrice’s youngest child.
        To make matters worse, because Amara was unable to finish her final initiation, the task of calming them, there was no alternative, their appeasement could only be held firm with smoke and blood.

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