***Warning, if you have not read any of the first 3 books in the #Divinity Saga yet, DO NOT RUIN IT FOR YOURSELF by reading this #teaser no matter how tempting it may seem!! :D ***
However, you can get started on the saga if you haven’t already, what are you waiting for? The first book, #Divinity: The Gathering: Book One is #PERMA #FREE on #Amazon, #Barnes and Noble, and #Smashwords right now, no excuses! Get caught up today before the final book in the saga, Book 4 is released this summer!
As promised, here is an exclusive (not yet completely edited) sneak peek at Divinity: Realm of Annihilation: Book Four!! Read and enjoy it here:
The one Universal Law that kept any of us from destroying Morning Star no longer applied, thanks to me.
I had broken it and he had intended for it to happen.
Morning Star knew that if he had Starling, let alone both Edanai and Starling that I would not hesitate to come for him.
Though I should have been angry with myself considering what it all meant now, I wasn’t in the least.
Nothing was off limits in both realms anymore but at the same time, neither was interference by the Angels.
In fact, it wouldn’t be long before His son would emerge, turning all that is into an all-out war against darkness on a grand scale that no man or beast has ever seen or experienced before.
“Cam, please answer me!”
Hearing Starling’s voice in my head meant that she was alright but I couldn’t be distracted by her right now no matter what.
“I’m alright, get to safety! I’ll come for you soon!”
Hysteria was prominent even in her mental voice. “I’m with Ry . . . but I don’t know if Rahab and Edanai are okay. I need to check on the others and my friend, China . . .”
“Get yourself to safety first, don’t worry about anyone else. When I get to you, we can both check on everyone together.”
I could hear her begin to sob and it pained me.
This was why I didn’t want to answer her in the first place but I couldn’t let her think I was hurt or worse. Ry had already informed me that he had Starling when he caught her.
“Ry, please get Starling to safety quickly. I’ll find you all soon. I cannot afford to be distracted right now.” I called out to Ry.
“Safety? Where do you want me to take her? There’s shit going on everywhere right now, nothing major but soon.”
“Take her back to her apartment if it’s safe and then have some of the others meet you there if they are able. If not, then take her back to my place and please don’t leave her alone. Do not tell her anything . . . it’s going to take me a little bit before I can find and join any of you.”
“Are you hurt badly?”
“Let’s just say that I won’t be able to fly or ghost anywhere for a while.”
There was a long pause before he finally responded. “Damn you, Cam! Let me come help you!” He raged.
“No. Protect Starling for me. I’ve got this.” Starling’s voice was a sudden, pleading whisper.
“I love you, Cam. Please come back to me, to us.”
She was killing me.
I may have been jumping the gun but setting everything into motion was my doing.
I had to finish this for her and my children.
I was going to kill Morning Star once and for all.
“I will, I promise.”
My heart was filled with both fear and anxiety but it had nothing to do with being scared or nervous about what was starting to happen.
Strangely, I wasn’t afraid of what was happening now at all.
I was fearful because I was missing and worried about Cam —and I felt guilty for leaving the others with no way of getting in touch with me. I couldn’t have prevented or predicted any of this though. I never imagined that Cam would be the one to flip the ‘on’ switch for the chain of events that would quickly lead to the end of the world. Ever since I woke up in the spirit realm, I’ve always had this bizarre feeling that I was going to be the one responsible for causing the destruction of the world.
Well, close enough . . . I was definitely a big part of the launch.
I thought about everyone from China, to my divine warrior friends, and even the other warriors and elders that I would never come to know personally. Then, I thought about Lira and Spencer. Wherever they were, I prayed that we would find them soon and that they weren’t suffering or being tortured.
Though it couldn’t be seen by mortal eyes yet, the dark crimson coating that was slowly oozing across the surface of the luminous moon made my skin crawl with an eerie sadness of a weird, distant memory.
The sky arks that Durien told me about were soaring in and out of the atmosphere in masses, like shimmering cumulonimbus clouds in all sizes.
Who were the beings inside? Actual aliens, some other advanced species of humans, or assistants to the Angels?
Shadows and various dark forms streaked across the sky, disappearing into the nearly indistinguishable barrier of both the spirit realm and the human realm.
Hearing Cam promise to come back to me should have been reassuring enough but deep down, it wasn’t.
I had to get back to the apartment and make sure that China was alright first. Then, I’ll need to contact the others to find out where they are right now and if they’re ok.
“Son of a bitch!” Ry growled.
All at once, he simultaneously drew his sword in his free hand while clutching me tighter against his body, and securing his legs around mine.
My heart began to hammer wildly as if it could beat any harder and faster than it already had been. I lifted my head to get a glimpse up ahead of whatever it was that had provoked his sudden exclamation.
An entire gang of Fallen were heading straight towards us and they didn’t appear to be friends of his.
Ry slowed and finally stopped altogether, choosing to hover while assessing the situation and his options . . . though I could tell that he really wanted to fight.
He wouldn’t be able to fight well while balancing me in one arm though, and he surely couldn’t take all of them on by himself. Even if he could, I wouldn’t let him. Abruptly, the pack dispersed, moving to form a circle and surround us in order to block any option of retreat or changing of direction on our part. There had to be at least twenty of them and they all had either a weapon drawn or flickering magic ready to be thrown.
I suppose I could get ready to throw some hallowed fire too but Ry might get hurt or worse in the process.
I glanced downward. We were way too high up and the ground below reminded me of a patchwork quilt of geometric lines, greens, browns, and yellows.
I felt Ry slowly start to descend inconspicuously.
Did he plan on just dropping me? I wondered.
“Ry, what are you doing?” I whispered.
“Stay still and silent. They’re wondering if I’ve captured you myself and what I plan to do with you. They want to make a deal if I’m interested. You’re extremely valuable if you didn’t already know.” He hoarsely replied.
Pursing my lips, I frowned up at him even though he wasn’t looking down to see me do it. Even if he were, I couldn’t tell behind the dark tint of the sunglasses he was still wearing.
It was his signature accessory.
I assumed that Ry was still engaging in some brief telepathic conversation with one or more of the other Fallen right now. He seemed mentally occupied.
“There’s too many of them . . . you’re gonna have to drop me.” I suggested with insistence.
“Are you insane? Don’t try to play martyr or heroine right now!” He reproached.
My breath hitched as the gap of distance between us and all of them began to shrink quickly. Every muscle in my body went rigid with tension and anticipation of the worst.
Yeah, they definitely planned to strike first without hesitation, which meant Ry must have told them to screw off or something after all.
“Take my sunglasses off for me and shut your eyes. Do not open them once they’re off until I tell you to, got it?” He instructed firmly.
I wanted to ask why but there was clearly no time for that.
Freaked out by his statement, I quickly reached up over my head, grasping for his sunglasses and pulling them off while pinching my eyes shut. Despite being morbidly curious, I kept them closed. Wanting to gawk at whatever it was that he was going to do drove me crazy though.
“What are you doing?” I decided to ask anyway.
“Buying a few minutes.”
Suddenly, high-pitched shrieking and cursing echoed all around us and we began to descend superfast this time.
Ry curled his wings around me for added protection and my stomach lurched into my throat.
Curiosity about what he’d done and what was happening now was killing me, so I disobediently peeked.
A flaming, neon-red, sheer curtain of light surrounded us in the form of a giant cylinder and the Fallen on the other side of it appeared to be temporarily blinded, scrambling to attack us only to end up flying into each other clumsily.
The brilliance of the stinging red color hurt and my eyes immediately began to burn and water. I shut them quickly but not before a sharp pain began to radiate in between my eyes, burrowing through my brain, and finally settling in the form of a pounding ache in the back of my skull.
That’s what I get for being hard-headed.
“Damn, they’re still coming!” Ry cursed.
“It’s me that they’re after but I don’t think they’re gonna hurt me this time. I think I’m beginning to understand why they all want me.” I informed him and then clenched my teeth against the slowly subsiding throbbing in my head.
I didn’t tell Ry anything but my guess included everything that Morning Star said to me back at the apartment just before this happened. It made me angry as hell all over again.
“Don’t count on that. Universal Law is dead now. It’s every demon for himself and I’m not gonna have the loss of two lives on my hands. I can’t ghost out with you in tow because I have no idea what effect it’ll have on you.”
I was genuinely touched by his concern.
“Cam did it before. He created and used a portal though.”
“Do not mention him by name at all out here. It doesn’t matter anyway. If something happened . . . I’m just not gonna risk it. I can handle this a lot easier once we’re on solid ground.”
Crap, I forgot all about doing that especially in this situation. Even though Cam`ael wasn’t his true name, it was enough to let the other Fallen know who I was soul-bound to and whose children I was possibly carrying as well.
Cam told me what his true God-given name was when he essentially proposed to become soul-bound to me. He gave me a gorgeous, custom created ring to seal the deal and I accepted it and his offering, giving him mine in return.
Technically, I guess we’re considered to be married . . . at least by spirit realm standards.
I would protect his trust at any and all cost.
I vigorously rubbed my eyes and then with much trepidation, I opened them slowly. I made sure to keep them narrowed in an attempt to temper another full-on exposure to the eyeball- melting red film of a wall that was surrounding us.
To my complete shock . . . all I saw was flat gray.
Oh my God! I rapidly blinked, furiously rubbing my eyes one more time, only to open them to the same endless gray screen.
“Ry, I . . . I can’t see . . . I’m blind, I can’t see anything!” I shrieked, flailing in panic as if there was something I could physically do to try and force my vision to return.
I felt him inhale and exhale deeply, signaling a heavy sigh that vibrated against my back, coming from his chest.
“Stop squirming and relax. You looked when I told you not to, didn’t you?” His tone was abrasive.
“No.” I weakly lied, barely loud enough to hear myself.
“No? Really, Starling?”
“Alright, I barely peeked and it was just for a second.” I quickly admitted though my response was timid with shame. I was still hysterical with the thought of being permanently blind. He laughed briefly.
“You’ll be fine in about five minutes. For future reference, stop being so headstrong. Unlike your man, I have zero patience. I tend to get aggravated and pissed very easily, got it?”
Even though he came across as harsh I didn’t believe that entirely. Ry was just as caring about humans as Cam and the rest of the Fallen in his circle were. I would probably never know Ry as much as I’ve come to know Cam and some of the others, but he was definitely one that I wanted on my side in this new state of the world. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize just stop doing it. We’re gonna have to find someplace safe to hang out until your sight returns because it looks like we’re gonna have to do some fighting.”
The thought of that possibility awakened something powerful deep within me. It was the same energy that took over when I thought I’d pass out after having been thrown through the portal and into the Dark Lands.
All of it had happened not long after Devlin returned to the Hall. I helped her and for that I was reprimanded and basically given the only option of being shunned. I had accepted shunning but it was for a completely different reason than risking myself to save her.
I would have had to leave the hall eventually anyway because Cam was a Fallen— and I was both in love with him and pregnant with his children.
“Too damned bad. I may not belong to the Divine Hall anymore but in my heart and soul, I’m still a Divine Warrior. My brandings are still silver, Hallowed Fire is still my essence, and I can still wield my Deific blades. I will fight and continue to protect all people, especially my friends, until I absolutely can’t fight anymore. That includes you guys too, Ry, even if you never consider me or us as your friends.”
“Applause-worthy speech. We’ll see how long that lasts now that the Earth is spiraling straight into an abyssal shit hole.” Ry quipped.
“It doesn’t have to. It will if we give up and let it though. Even an army of one can make a difference somewhere that could spark a domino effect.” I defended.
He didn’t respond, choosing to remain silent for whatever reason.
Daring to open my eyes again and test my vision, I decided to wait and keep them closed until I finally felt solid ground beneath my feet.
The air was crisp and the earthy smell of wet leaves, ragweed, grass, wildflowers, and water hit my nose all at once. It was a little chilly but not cold.
I didn’t need to see to know that we were probably in a meadow or the woods.
I couldn’t wait any longer.
Five minutes or not, I had to know if I was still temporarily blind.
I slowly opened my eyes. Though my vision was a bit hazy at first, I could see again! The environment around us had completely verified what my senses were acutely relaying to me.
We were in a clearing next to a forest of large trees in the midst of losing their orange and brown leaves. A light layer of fog hung in the air about a foot above the ground, giving the landscape a somewhat haunting look even in the daytime.
A narrow, running stream wound endlessly through a bank of smaller bent trees and it seemed to go on for miles. Somewhere in the distance, sheep were bleating. This peaceful, desolate area of nature in the human world hadn’t been reached or touched by darkness —yet.
However, it wouldn’t be long before the leaders of the free world would begin to panic, not knowing what to do when their man-made weapons fail against the armies of darkness. They’ll end up making decisions that will further throw the entire world into more deadly and destructive turmoil.
I didn’t need to be a psychic, a seer, or a scribe to predict all of that. It was exactly what those armies and Morning Star wanted. As humans, we would end up doing the majority of their work for them ourselves.
Ry quickly ushered me behind the trunk of a gargantuan, old tree. Continuing to use his wings to help protect and conceal me, he now held a deadly sword in each hand.
The sound of the babbling water, the unseen sheep, and a few woodland birds were the only things that could be heard. I didn’t want to speak or move, wondering if he were doing more than just listening and watching.
After about five minutes of silence, and without looking at me, he finally spoke. “For the sake of being heard, all I’m gonna say is that I wouldn’t have risked catching you back there if I didn’t think you were pretty cool for a warrior.”
Then, he laughed and chose to turn his head slightly and glance over his shoulder. I could only catch sight of his profile when I tilted my head back to look up at him.
“You jumped blindly and chose him over your own destiny as a warrior. Not a wise use of your free will but you could’ve chosen worse. You’ve got defiant balls and spunk though, so you definitely have my respect.”
I guess that was a compliment coming from Ry and I appreciated it.
“My destiny as a warrior is still the same for me. I don’t believe that things can’t be changed or made better.”
“Well, you’re several steps ahead of the rest of us then.” Ry replied cynically.
I wondered what he meant by that at first but then I understood. Sympathetically, I thought back to the things that Cam told me about being branded a demon forever, and that would never change for them no matter what they did for repentence.
Sudden thrashing came from the other side of the stream, shaking the trees and bushes and sloshing through the water. I quickly wielded both of my blades and infused white flames into the inscribed, razor-sharp edges of each one.
We both anticipated being rushed and attacked by that gang of Fallen. Defensively, Ry’s wings quickly snapped out and curled around us again, but this time his black and white feathers transformed into a full layer of solid, metal plates right before my eyes.
Before I could even marvel at or ask how, he pulled me close to him and hunkered down over me to make sure that I was covered entirely from head to toe. A deluge of tiny solid objects were hailing against his newly armored wings at lightning speed.
I gasped, more worried about Ry using himself as a shield to protect me than anything else. I pressed myself against him, feeling helpless for the duration.
Once he was sure that the brief assault had ceased, he straightened and quickly began to look me over.
“Are you hit?” He asked gruffly.
“No. I don’t think so.” I replied, glancing down at my thighs and calf-length, combat-style boots for any damage.
“You’d know it, trust me.”
“What were they shooting at us?”
“Hell-thorn coated needles and Grethlor claws. The smaller the form, the more difficult it is to see and dodge until it’s too late.”
“Holy shit. What about you?” I anxiously asked.
“Don’t worry about me, I’m fine. Still think they care about not hurting you?” He breathed.
I bit my lip and sighed.
The ground began to rumble and then it started to undulate and move like rolling waves on the ocean’s surface. I imagined there being something dangerously hideous and alive right under the Earth and it was trying to break free. This was unreal and I didn’t know how to react or what to do initially, especially when it threatened to topple me over and make me lose my balance.
Then the air began to hum all around us with a palpable thrumming and it was getting louder and closer.
“Grab onto me!” Ry ordered. He still held a sword in each hand and his feathers had returned to their normal pitch black and sparse white coloring. His large wings snapped outward and he began to ascend.
Before I could even get my arms fully around his lean torso, a sonic blast of power exploded between us. Its intent was obviously to separate me from him, and it sent me flying as if I were nothing more than a tumbling leaf caught in a strong breeze.
Divinity: Realm of Annihilation: Book Four is Copyrighted© 2015 by Susan Reid