Series: Eramane Trilogy, #1
Publication date: Summer, 2013 by Archway Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In the village of Eludwid, seventeen-year-old Eramane Fahnestock goes about her life, cheerfully disregarding a prophecy made to her parents that she would have a great gift. Not yet wed and beset with boredom, Eramane cannot shake the feeling that something exciting awaits her beyond Eludwid. But when she is invited to picnic with a handsome young suitor, Eramane has no idea that her life will soon change forever.
As Eramane prepares for her date, she is suddenly hypnotized by a strange voice that tells her he will be coming for her that night. Unsettled but determined to press forward, Eramane and her suitor, Lebis, head to the woods to enjoy their picnic. As darkness falls on the forest, however, a beast emerges, transforming their beautiful outing into a terrifying scene. Taken captive and carried away to a mountain hideaway, Eramane finds her memories are soon clouded, even as her family frantically searches for her back home.
In this gripping fantasy tale, evil is summoned to the mountaintop, forcing a young woman to discover her magical gifts and exact revenge against a beast determined to destroy everything she has ever loved.
Crackling flames from the oversized hearth touch my face with their heat and wake me from my void. I feel as though I have been asleep for days, without having dreams or any other reassurance of existence. I am lying on a white fur on the floor of a chamber. The bright fur stuns my vision momentarily; I have had my eyes closed for too long. I move my fingers through the fur; it is soft and smells like wood and smoke. Where am I? I blink my eyes to adjust my vision, and it begins to clear. Then my mind clears. Lebis! I sit up, and fright surges through me. My eyes search the room for my abductor. Where is it? It is dark in the corners of the chamber; does it lurk there? The chamber is a large stone room with no outside openings, and the ceiling is so high that I cannot see where it ends. I rise from the soft fur bedding and put my feet onto the cold floor. It is not until I stand on the chamber floor that I notice my foot has been re-bandaged. I look around the room, desperately trying to see into the darkness. If that thing is in here with me, I would rather discover it now than wait in wonder of my fate. I make my way to the shadowed corners. I see nothing, for now I am alone.
The rock walls have pieces of crystal that catch the reflection from the fire, causing them to twinkle like the night sky. I feel as if I am atop a mountain, surrounded only by the starlit skies. I walk slowly toward one of the walls, touching one of the sparkling crystals. The warmth of the large fire does not reach the walls, so I go back to it for comfort. I stand in front of the hearth feeling the flame’s heat begin to lightly toast my skin. I stare into the flames, and their color reminds me of what brought me here, those fire-colored eyes! Images of Lebis flash inside of the flames, like a reflection in a mirror replaying that horrible event. Tears fill my eyes and blur the flames. I lie down on the white fur again and weep until I lose myself again to the bliss of sleep.
My breath is taken by a swift, musky draft. I am aware that I am still in the room with the twinkling walls and golden fire pit, but when I wake this time I can sense the presence of someone else in the chamber. However, my eyes cannot find anyone. I had hoped that death would find me in my slumber; instead it passed me over, left me alive, in the captivity of a monster. I am at the mercy of the beast that murdered Lebis, robbed me of an innocent life, and confiscated my future. Only where is this murderer? I do not believe that I can bear to gaze upon that creature again. The horrid memories spin through my head, and I wonder if I will go mad harboring all of them.
Creak, the door to my chamber opens. Hinges squeak and rattle, taking me away from my thoughts. I am suddenly keenly aware of my vulnerability, not having the safety of a closed door. “Come, Eramane,” a raspy, cracking voice says. I stand and listen for the voice to speak again. “Do not be afraid; you are safe here,” it says. My eyes dart around intently, not finding the source of these words.
“What do you want from me? Why have you brought me here?” I shout. My voice carries around the chamber, echoing off the stone. The door closes, leaving me alone once more, alone with my thoughts.
I do not know how long I have been held captive—hours, days? It could be either, for I have battled exhaustion the entire time, sleeping most of it. I am certain that my brother is searching for me by now. I imagine him and his Riders invading this stone prison and saving me. I have dreamt that scenario several times. It is a hope that keeps me from walking into the fire that continuously burns, hot and strong. My daydream of rescue is intruded on as the creaking of hinges and jarring of metal accompany the opening of my chamber door. There is no dark, odorous cloud this time. Again a voice, seeming to radiate from the walls themselves, offers a meal to me. Taking the offer as a cue, my stomach rumbles and gnaws at me, as if trying to claw its way out, hoping to find food on its own, in the belief that I have given up on its need of sustenance. I am starving but afraid to leave the chamber. I stare at the open door, wondering what fate awaits me if I walk through it. The door begins to close, but this time my fear of the unknown is second to my need of nourishment. “Wait, please,” I say, choking back my words, afraid to actually say them. The door pauses. I walk toward it, and it waits for me.
I cannot see anything outside of the door, but I am compelled to continue through the opening anyway. I look to my right, into the darkness, and there is nothing. I look left, and it offers the same. My body is numb with fear, but I cannot seem to control its will to find food. My body moves me forward while my mind pleads for me to turn around and run back to the warm fur next to the hearth; it is desperately trying to fight against going into the dark hallway
As I proceed down the dark corridor, torches hanging from the walls begin to ignite with my every step. The walkway appears to be endless, yet with each grumble from my belly, I am compelled to proceed. I turn to look behind me; there is nothing there, not even the torches that burned a moment ago. Complete darkness backs me. All I can navigate is the way in front of me. I follow the torches until I come to another door, an oversized, wooden double door, with black iron rings the size of wagon wheels hanging from the center. The doors are so big that it seems like I will need a team of plow horses to open them. I stand in front of the wooden barriers and watch with intense curiosity as they slowly open on their own. Finally, the enormous doors cease to move, and my eyes take in a beautiful sight.
Frankie Ash is the author of the YA novel Eramane, COMING SOON! She holds a B.A. in English and resides on the east-coast somewhere between “Will it ever be warm again?” and “The summers here are too short!” She is currently writing book #2 of The Eramane Trilogy, to be published in 2014.
50$ Amazon Gift Card + eBook of Eramane (Open internationally)