Home > From Shadow and Silence (Elements of Five #4)

From Shadow and Silence (Elements of Five #4)
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan

 

Chapter One

 

 

Lyric

 

 

I wasn’t dreaming.

Odd, since I’d had this dream before. I’d felt these flames, this wind. I’d had this dirt under my feet; heard the sound of water hitting my ears from far off in the distance like I did now.

Only I knew this wasn’t a dream.

It was a nightmare.

A living one.

I stood on the connecting points of five elements and four directions—the center of the abyss. But there was no real light, only shadow.

And I knew this wasn’t a dream.

Wasn’t where the world crept over my skin and seeped into my soul. It had to be real.

And I wasn’t alone.

Braelynn stood near my shoulder, her wings tucked behind her, the right one brushing my hair.

She’d once been human, my best friend. Now, she was my Familiar, a cat with wings who could breathe fire. Recently, she’d found herself able to grow into the size of a panther, as well. Fortunately for my shoulder, she’d reverted to her original size—around the size of a house cat.

I knelt in the corner of a cave—at least it felt as if it could be a one—and tried to control my breathing. Braelynn nuzzled into the side of my face, and I reached up and tried to pet her, only I hit her wing instead, and cursed under my breath.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. I didn’t know if anyone was listening, and I didn’t want them to hear what I was saying. It wasn’t as if the apology falling from my lips, issued to a cat on my shoulder, would matter in the end.

I let out a breath, tried to reach my Wielding, but I couldn’t. I only felt a gaping void gnawing at my soul. Panic slid through me at the thought, and I tried again.

Nothing.

Again.

Nothing.

No Wielding.

I was the Spirit Priestess, one who could hold all five elements of the realm. Though I didn’t know if I was in the Maison realm at the moment. Still, I should have been able to use Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. As well as Spirit.

When I was in the human realm, I wasn’t able to use my Wielding to its full extent, but I could still feel the tendrils of power deep inside, spiraling through my body.

Others had sacrificed so much to help me get to the point where I could even unlock my elements. I had lost so much in my pursuit of them, and I was still learning to control my power. However, I should be able to feel them. Yet, I couldn’t. It was as if something had blocked me; dampened my senses. And I couldn’t understand why.

Was this the Shadow realm that Easton had talked about?

I swallowed hard and tried not to think about Easton. Because I missed him. He had been taken from me before. After enduring so much, after breaking the curse, finding him, and losing so many of our people along the way, now I had been taken.

I would get back to him.

I had to.

I would get Braelynn home. And I would find a way to protect the realm and bring the crystals back together.

There was nearly no light in the cave, shadows all around me. But the thin sliver of illumination I saw danced along my skin and shone brightly.

The sparkles within from the remnants of the two crystals—both the dark and the light—that had been embedded in my skin when they shattered.

The Obscurité and the Lumière fighting for so long, killing each other along the way, had destroyed their crystals, as well.

The crystals that kept the Maisons alive.

I didn’t know what would happen now that they were gone.

Could I use them somehow? I didn’t think so. They had only just shattered, finally losing their fight in the war. And, somehow, becoming a part of me.

Then The Gray, the Wielder of shadow, had taken me. Taken me to his realm, most likely—if that’s where this was—and away from my friends. My new family. I had no other family left. The Gray had sent his lackey to kill my parents. They were gone, murdered in front of me, and that was how I ended up with the Spirit element in my body. The one I didn’t quite understand.

It wasn’t like it would help me now anyway.

Braelynn purred, and I wished she would grow and use that fire she could spew from her mouth.

It was a new talent, one I didn’t understand, but everyone else seemed to. It was like a running joke for my friends to hide what Braelynn truly was and what being a Familiar entailed. I didn’t mind. It was nice to have something fun, a mystery that couldn’t hurt. Especially since I had so many secrets that had dug deep down into my skin, never to let go, their claws penetrating my flesh and taking part of my soul along the way.

“You seem so introspective,” a deep, rumbling voice said from the doorway. I stood up, my knees shaking, my skin bloody. I swallowed hard.

“You’ve made a mistake by taking me,” I said, my voice far stronger than I imagined. Good. Because I wasn’t just going to lie down and take this. I wouldn’t let him win.

I would find a way to access my Wielding, and I would break free. The others wouldn’t have to come for me. They had other things to worry about. Namely, a realm that was being ripped apart at the very seams.

They needed to protect the territories, safeguard the innocent.

I would have to save myself.

“You seem to be full of words and false promises for someone locked in a cave with a cat.” The Gray moved forward, his cowl over his head so I couldn’t see his face. “But then again, that’s not quite a cat, is it? A young Familiar? Interesting. Though one you don’t seem to know how to harness the power of. Which makes sense. Despite the prophecy of the powerful Spirit Priestess, you seem to be nothing. No one. Of no consequence.”

I swallowed hard and glared at him. I desperately wanted to pull from my Wielding like I’d been trained to, only I couldn’t. I hoped it was only temporary. If not? No…I wouldn’t think about that. I pulled my focus back to The Gray. “You’re the one still talking, not me.”

The Gray lifted his head, his cowl falling back. He glared. “Oh, I’m going to have fun with you, dear Lyric. Just like my friend had fun with your parents.”

I glared, and Braelynn huffed smoke out through her nose as Garrik and another man moved up from behind The Gray. I didn’t know who this other man was, but it had to be Durlan. The Gray’s second, the one Easton hadn’t been sure he killed. Evidently, Durlan was still alive, though he did look a little pale and sickly—probably because he’d had a knife in his gut. I hoped he died soon.

Not something I would have ever thought before I came to this place. After all, I had been born human. Or so I’d thought. I hadn’t known the Maison realm lay upon the human realm. I didn’t know there were even more realms, ones I didn’t have names for yet, where others lived, and magic was wrought.

The territories of the Maison realm had been at war with each other for eons; the kingdoms split into two courts ages ago.

The Lumière, the light, held the Water and Air territories. While the Obscurité, the dark, held Fire and Earth. The Spirit territories lay between them, not of either court but of their own power. Until the Spirit Wielders were murdered, wiped out, and those who had survived hidden amongst the humans.

When the first kings fought for so long, they had turned their people against one another. Great battles and wars ensued and eventually created the Fall—a cataclysmic event that had forever and irrevocably altered the realm.

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