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The Forgotten Dream is the third book in the Amazon Best-Selling Obsidian Series. The first book in this young adult fantasy series,The Labyrinth Wall, is a Dante Rossetti Award Finalist and is a Reader's Favorite 5 Star rated book.
During a dire encounter with magical attackers, an unexpected visitor shows up to save the day. However, suspicions of this unwanted guest arise when people start disappearing in Kasabac. It is difficult to know who can be trusted and harder to ignore the alarming claims about the labyrinth that come to Araina’s attention. Will she be able to locate the missing people? Perhaps more importantly, can she discern the truth from the lies about the labyrinth?
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Stagnant air smothers us and all sounds have subdued. This isn't right. Between our new Terrac friends, Korun, Darith, and myself, hopefully we'll figure out what's awry.
We sneak through the mysterious jungle labyrinth corridor. Nothing perilous makes itself known. Perhaps it's just a quiet day.
We're on our way to Masla Rose Briar. The briar may be near the gate that brought us to Segment Three.
This place is breathtaking. I wish Saige was here to appreciate it. I can't believe her funeral was only a week ago. It feels like ages.
The Terrac's town of Kasabac is lovely, but the wilds of Segment Three are even more amazing. I'm still in awe of the Ever Change Trees here in this segment of the labyrinth. When we arrived, those trees were yellow and green, but now, they've turned to different shades of blue.
The creatures are all lovely too, even the beasts. Their hues are vibrant, and their shapes are often long and elegant. Flowers come in all forms, sizes, and colors. Some of their petals look so soft.
But I'm learning all this loveliness is a charade hiding the true horror of existence here. Many of the plants entice with their beauty but kill with their fangs. Nothing is what it seems. The dangers of this place may even surpass those of the other labyrinth segments. The threats just look prettier here.
Eerie silence lurks as we investigate the wild woods of Segment Three. What is with this quietness?
A shiver runs down my spine. I turn to observe the source of the abrupt loud sound.
"Sh, Korun!" Darith whispers harshly. He tousles his dark brown hair away from his face. His green eyes shoot daggers at Korun.
Korun's white robes swish when he slowly lifts his foot off a small fallen branch. His brown cheeks blush, barking of embarrassment.
"I was already nervous because it has been oddly quiet. I fear that sound may alert predators of our presence," Juniper whispers.
"Ah, we've come pretty far anyhow. Why don't we head back for now?" Darith scratches his head.
"Don't you think we could make it farther?" Knots of frustration tighten in my stomach.
We need to get to Masla Rose Briar to look around. It must be where we came through the gate. We were passed out there when the Terrac discovered us and brought us to their civilization. The Terrac are exploring the woods anyway to replenish supplies, so they're teaching us the area and how to get back to the briar. That gate is the only connection we have to the other Segments. Perhaps we can make it take us to Kathar. It could be dangerous, but we've come too far to stop.
"Darith has a good point. We do not want to lose daylight either. We should probably go back." Juniper turns, and her beautiful green hair sways gracefully.
The other Terrac wheel around to follow her. They blend into the scenery with their green, brown, and beige woodland clothing.
I run my hands across the soft tan tunic I'm wearing over my white shirt. It's odd to look around at my friends also dressed in the Terrac garb. They didn't have to offer us clean clothing or bring us on their outings. Truly they are kind, but couldn't we set aside a day to get all the way to the briar? Could they be delaying us for some reason? I guess if I'm honest, it did take time and discussions for us to get acquainted with the Terrac. They only recently disclosed where they found us. Still, I'm anxious. Do we have to turn back just because the woods are eerily quiet?
A deep breath escapes me. Despite their hazards, these woodland labyrinth corridors seem to be the only things that distract me from Blue and Saige. Sitting back at Kasabac only gives the grief time to fester. Nothing will ever be the same without them. I know what happened to them wasn't my fault. I had to face that truth in order to fight the Bast. A part of me feels like I failed them, though. My dream of delivering them to freedom, peace, and happiness is gone.
Now that they're lost to us, my mind is on Korun and Keelie. They're the most innocent and kind people in this world.
I want Korun to find Kathar, where his heart is set. That means I need to find the gate so we can get him there. Plus, I'm hopeful Kathar might be a truly safe place for our group.
In the meantime, the best I can offer Keelie is my love and an ear as she deals with Saige's loss. Though I admit, it stings that the normally talkative Keelie has barely said anything since Saige passed.
"Ya must be doin' lots of thinkin' again, Araina. That brain's sizzlin' to match that red hair ya got, isn't it? That why ya ain't sayin' much?" Darith brushes beside me.
We meander behind the Terrac.
"Sure." I shrug.
"This place is somethin', isn't it?" He points at some long, flowing, silky-looking blue leaves hanging down from an Ever Change Tree by our path. It's quite lovely.
"Darith, you're not one to marvel at the landscape. What's really on your mind?" I keep my voice hushed since our surroundings are still oddly quiet.
"I guess I wondered how ya been doin' since ... well, ya know?"
Saige was ripped from us. Blue was savagely destroyed. I've been wallowing in the pain. Scrats, it feels like knives are twisting in my heart. Saige we lost only days ago. I desperately miss them both and sense it's only the beginning of more abandonment and heartache.
In some ways, Darith has been a rock for our group, at least for me. He'd never say, and I mean never, but I think he misses them too.
"It would be a lie to say I'm just fine. I can hardly reconcile reality in mind, and I miss them so much. But I also feel like I have some clarity since we got that Bast out of me. My heart still aches, but I don't feel as bogged down in that. That Bast showed me the outer reaches of sanity, and I don't want to go back now that it's gone. I'd rather focus on what can be done. You know?"
Sweat glistens on his olive skin, and his tall muscular form tightens. Eyeing me uneasily, he swipes the chestnut hair out of his face yet again. I think he's unsure of such a stable answer. It's hard to blame him.
"Ya don't have to be strong for Keelie if that's what this is. It's me. Let it out." He takes a deep breath.
"No, I'm really ... okay-ish. Not great, obviously, but I'm getting through for now. Are you sure I'm the one who needs to let things out?"
A part of what he said might be true. It's possible I'm being strong for Keelie, for him too, for all of us. I couldn't control what happened to Blue and Saige. How do I deal with this right now, though? I do have control over my actions today. Saige would want me to take care of everyone. She'd be strong. That's what I've got to do for those we've lost.
On the other hand, Darith typically comes across as calm, cool, collected, like he's dangling the world by a thread. Not today though and not lately. In fact, I'd say even though Cildin was considered dramatic by her other villagers in Segment Two, she and I are the only ones of our group who aren't completely in shambles.
Darith smirks. "Ya think I'm-"
"Sh," Juniper interrupts us, her finger pointing at something not very far ahead.
She and the other Terrac quietly back-peddle to join up closer to Darith, Korun, and I.
"What in the world are those?" I whisper. She's pointing at shimmers ahead. I'm not sure I believe my eyes. "Are those–"
"Spiders!" Juniper interrupts.
We inch our way behind some trees and peek up at them.
"They're huge and terrifying, but, whoa, they're gorgeous."
"How tall do ya think they are?" Darith's mouth is gaping open.
Chuckling under my breath, I push his chin up.
"What? Like twenty feet?" Korun's eyes are peeled open too.
"Yes, typically about that size, sometimes larger," Juniper answers us.
Twenty feet sounds about right, and they're some of the most beautiful creatures I've seen. Each one's abdomen looks like a giant diamond that reflects light at certain angles. Their legs are similar and organic in shape. Their skin is like sheets of crystals. Here and there, a few white flowing tendrils hang from their legs. If I didn't know better, I'd think they are giant crystal carvings, but they're alive and moving.
"One's eyein' us." Darith pulls back behind a tree.
"Oh, stars, that is not good." Juniper's forehead scrunches up.
"Wait, they're climbing up the trees." Korun points.
"These things are shockingly smart and always looking for meals. They will not just stroll off once they have seen us," one of Juniper's men chimes in.
"Thanks, Sir Sour Socks," Darith huffs.
"There." Korun points. "Run!"
A third one emerges from the trees in a corridor much closer to us than the others. We take off at full speed, forced to head away from the path toward Kasabac.
"Not good, not good, not good!" Juniper exclaims as we flee.
We dash through the labyrinth corridor between blue and green trees and hop over flourishing teal plants.
"The others are tracking overhead," one of the Terrac shouts.
Yes, I'm aware of the movement in the branches.
"Eh, they're oversized spiders. How fast can they move?" Darith's a few feet behind me.
"It's not about how fast they run. It's about their other capabilities." Juniper pants.
"Oh, no! Look ahead." I come to a halt.
"Are those webs?" Korun's nearly caught up to me.
"They wanted us to go this way?" I extract my dagger.
"Looks like it." Juniper joins us.
Her green eyes scan the extensive wall of reflective webbing that stretches beyond sight above us. Again, it's stunning. It's like a wall of shimmering glass, but it could be our death.
"Well, we can't turn back." Korun looks at my bag.
I can only assume he's suggesting I use the Buyu spike.
I extract the foot-long black weapon from my bag. I'll never grow accustomed to the odd feeling when I slip it on. It's like something within the spike is holding my hand.
I swing my arm up in the air facing the webs. As it reaches full extension, a line of fire shoots out of the spike's tip. Streaming flames strike the intricate designs spun by the large crystal spiders. The webbing shrivels up and drops to the ground, creating a path for us.
"The next couple of corridors should still connect us back to our main route," Juniper encourages, "but it will not be that easy. They are toying with us."
"Here it is." I sigh as we reach an opening.
"Toyin' with us? Nah, if we can make it to the next corridor, we should be fine." Darith's close behind me.
"You don't understand. These spiders can—"
Everyone piles into my back when I halt at lightning speed. A towering spider is perched in the webbing about thirty feet in front of us. Spinning around, I see one has appeared behind us. A third is not too far off in the other direction. We're surrounded.
We face the tallest spider, and the other two slowly approach us from the other sides.
"They blink shift," Juniper finishes her explanation.
"I take that to mean they magically appear wherever they want?" I hope I'm wrong.
"Correct," Juniper squeaks.
"Yep, we can see that." Korun's soft voice is a bit shaky.
Our group is now bunched up in a circle.
"They can't cross through solid objects," another Terrac adds. "They stay away from Kasabac. The hydrangea trees seem to repel them. Of late, though, they've even been breaching the borders of the hydrangea trees. In any case, we're not protected out here."
As those words sink in, I recall Juniper's conversation with one of the Terrac about troubles at the border. That was the day I woke up in Kasabac. Is this what they were referring to?
"We're surrounded. Any ideas?" another Terrac presses.
"I guess I can use my spike again?" My legs feel a bit unsteady.
"They're kinda far off for the spike, and you're gonna have to be strategic since they're in different directions. Don't wanna get us trapped in a fire pit," Darith responds.
"May scare the others off if you take one down, Araina, but Darith's right. One needs to be a little closer to use the fire," Korun suggests.
Scrats, this is ridiculous! I hold my breath as the giant and deadly creature creeps a little closer, a little closer. My stomach churns. When should I attack?
"Probably need to decide what we are doing quickly," Juniper urges.
"Get your weapons ready," I shout.
My hand jolts up. The spike is pointing at the tallest and closest spider. Fire spews through the air like a strike of lightning. The giant spider is set ablaze. Shrieks ring out. As the cries erupt, I feel warm sticky webbing wrap around my arm and then my body.
"Araina, no!" Korun cries.
A strong stream of webbing yanks my arm down. A different spider has pulled me from the group and across the corridor. It circles me so quickly I hardly see traces of its motion. There's no wiggling free or fighting to be done. This webbing is too thick, and paralysis is setting in.
"Fight it," Darith yells.
They aren't quick enough to offer any true aid fighting this attacker. It jumps out of reach, dragging me farther away. Nonetheless, they chase us, swinging their swords, trying to take it down.
The motion suddenly stops. I'm mostly covered in webbing from head to toe.
Loud crackling from a pile of flames that billows smoke down the corridor startles me. Presumably, the spider I attacked is dead. At least I accomplished that much.
"There." Juniper eyes my spider attacker, which has blink shifted onto the wall.
It tugs on the webbing and yanks me off my feet. The spider reels me in, pulling me at full speed. I want to wiggle wildly, but I can't. The webbing is so tightly secured around me there's no getting out. It's all happening too fast. The others can't catch me. Is this it?
"We'll get you, Araina." Korun's trying to climb the wall now that I'm about twenty feet in the air.
As I dangle, I catch sight of my attacker's hungry face. I don't want this creature to be the last thing I see. Oh, scrats! I close my eyes.
Amidst the screaming of my friends, I hear a faint whirring sound.
"What was that?" Darith exclaims.
I'm suddenly falling rather than moving upward.
"Help me catch her!" Korun yells.
As I descend toward the ground in my webbed restraints, helplessness rushes through me. I crash into Korun's arms. We both hit the ground.
I roll onto my back to see the other spider is lit in dark blue flames up above me.
"Move!" Darith dives to push us out of the way.
The burning spider falls, writhing.
Darith and Korun help peel the webbing from me. Sensations and feeling begin to return to my body.
"What happened?" I whisper.
A dark blue fireball whizzes toward the already burning spider. My sights trace backward to locate the origin of the blue flames.
How could she show her face here? So much pain rushes through me that fire may as well be searing my flesh! Blue's and Saige's faces pulse in my mind. It's hard to breathe, and the world becomes a hazy mess. This can't be real!
"I've been looking for you. Give me a chance to explain. I need your help," Narrah yells.CHAPTER 2
Narrah has emerged from around the other labyrinth corridor, but I don't think she's seen the third spider coming up behind her. It shoots webbing out at her so forcefully that she's knocked forward and hits her head on the wall. Unconscious, she tumbles to the ground, and the giant creature sets its sights on Juniper and the other Terrac.
"No," I shout.
By now, I'm totally free because Korun has worked to unbind me. My arm thrusts into the air again. Spewing flames from the Buyu spike, I attack the spider. We've survived this long. We're not letting the last one take us down.
Screeching sounds explode from it. The creature's shiny crystal-like body is now ablaze. Scurrying away in flames, it disappears into thin air. I guess it must've blink shifted. Even if it survived, I think at least it's damaged enough that it won't be returning soon.
"Everyone okay?" Korun surveys our party.
We all nod, shaking away webbing. We get to our feet.
"Let me deal with her! Now is the time while she is unconscious," I charge toward Narrah.
She's the reason Blue's dead. She's a heartless Creator, so she's partially responsible for what happened to Saige. I'm ending her once and for all. My spike is ready to go, and all the anger I've ever felt seems to be combusting inside of me. Her seemingly helpless state and bruised bloody face don't fool me. I know the danger she poses. A part of me wants to yank those golden locks right out of her head and watch tears stream down her pale face. That would be a fate ten times kinder than what she did to Blue.
"Araina, what are you doing?" Korun grabs my shoulder.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Making a mistake." Korun shakes his head.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Forgotten Dream"
Copyright © 2017 Emilyann Girdner.
Excerpted by permission of Luminous Words Press.
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