Authors: Travis Simmons
Copyright © October 2014 by Travis Simmons
The Harbingers of Light Book Two:
The Darkling Tide
Wyrding Ways Press
Wyrding Ways Press
Wyrding Ways Press
Cover Design by:
Najla Qamber Designs
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or in any means – by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used factiously. Any resemblance to actual places, events, and people, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
“How could they have killed the warrior?” Gorjugan asked. His hands were braced on either side of the black mirror, which revealed the twisted, burned remains of the darkling many miles away from where Gorjugan scryed. The warrior had been one of the strongest darklings he knew. That’s why he’d summoned it and sent it after those harboring the god slayer.
The warrior had been killed.
He let the image fade to black glass once more.
He rubbed at the back of his neck where the muscles bunched.
I have to do something,
he thought. He
the god slayer.
Gorjugan studied his plagued reflection. The right half of his body scarred by shadows, his blue eyes shining like diamonds from the depths of his skin. His blond hair appeared ghostly white in the black depths of the scrying mirror he peered into.
It had been this mirror that the god slayer had used to come into Agaranth. Gorjugan wasn’t able to decipher where it had come from. If he knew where it had come from, then Hilda and he would finally know where Olik had been hiding it all of these years.
Hilda won’t be happy that I’ve failed,
he thought. Thinking of his darkling sister chilled him to the bone. When she was angry...it was best not to think of her angry. They both had things to do, and if he failed in getting the god slayer, Anthros would forever be bound to the Tree at Eget Row, and not able to help them overcome the Gods that banned them from the Ever After.
“Without Anthros,” Gorjugan said. He rubbed at his throat and winced at an oncoming headache. They all had their parts to play in the coming darkness, but Anthros was to keep them safe from the watching eyes of the All Father. Gorjugan cast his eyes up to the horizon where the sun bathed the tops of the Fey Forest in honeyed light. The Waking Eye was already rising, and those within the forest who kept the god slayer with them would soon be safe from the lesser darklings he’d sent after them.
Gorjugan could feel that soon the god slayer would be with the harbingers of light, and he couldn’t let that happen. Once it was with them, it would be nearly impossible to get back. He had to do something.
If the warrior didn’t work
...Gorjugan didn’t like thinking of the alternative. The half-men darklings. They were called elle folk and were worse than the warrior. The warrior had owed him a debt since Gorjugan had saved him from the fires of the Waking Eye when the warrior was nothing but a weaker darkling, still a shadow of the power he’d grow into. The elle folk were different.
But there was nothing for it. There was little he could do. The price the elle folk would exact would be hefty, but nothing compared to what Hilda would do if he should fail. He imagined his sister’s half rotten form staring down on him as she laid him to rest in the sick beds on her boat. Gorjugan had lain for decades in those beds plagued by any number of pestilence she felt a worthy punishment until Hilda deigned he had learned his lesson. The thought of the nightmares, and the demons that plagued him while he slept was enough to make him do his best in carrying out her wishes.
He drew the silver dagger from his waist and slashed open his right palm. Polluted blood sprung to the surface, more shadows than scarlet. The shadowy blood oozed out of the wound and gathered on the floor before the mirror. He could see the mists gathering in the black surface of the scrying mirror, and felt the darkling wyrd within him call out to the elle folk.
Abagail refused to open her eyes. It couldn’t be time to wake up. There were times when she was so comfortable that she didn’t want to move, and right then the bed beneath her was just right, and the warmth of the room was perfect, and she didn’t want to break the spell.
She could hear movement in the room around her. Her sister Leona and their neighbor, and Abagail’s life-long friend Rorick were up and already planning for the next leg of their journey.
And that was another reason she didn’t want to move. If she laid there and tried hard enough, maybe this would all be a dream. Maybe she wouldn’t be stuck on another world, so far from her home world of O, looking for an aunt she’d never met. Maybe the mishap she’d had with their hive of bees at home had just been a nightmare. Maybe she hadn’t been infected with the shadow plague, and maybe she wasn’t becoming a darkling.
But she knew that was wrong. Even now she could hear the cold wind of Agaranth blowing against the abandoned elvish hut they overnighted in. Reality crashed down around her. Last night they’d fought a darkling like none she’d ever seen before. Just a couple days before they’d left her crippled father in a dangerous situation to find someone to help cure the shadow racing up Abagail’s arm. And just a couple days ago, a darkling had broken into Rorick’s home and killed his parents.
Even now she could feel the shadow plague along her arm, spider webbing over her skin in veins of darkness. The plague that leeched all humanity from the afflicted person until they were nothing more than a walking shadow bent on the destruction of all things good. Her father, Dolan, had sent her from O to Agaranth thinking she could learn to control it with the help of her Aunt, but when they arrived here, their aunt wasn’t where she was supposed to be.
Still, it’s better than being on O
, she thought. That was true enough, on O, anyone with the shadow plague was automatically thrown to the fires, the light of the All Father’s Waking Eye, as it was called.
It was evident that Abagail wasn’t going to get back to sleep no matter how much she wanted. Her mind was racing too fast over the events of the past few days, and there was no way her thoughts were going to let her get back to sleep.
The more she laid there and thought, the more she wondered what the next day would bring. That wasn’t a good train of thought to follow because she would realize just how out of her element she was. It made her think of how far from home she was, and how Dolan really wasn’t around. Abagail had grown up providing for her family, but Dolan had always been there to comfort her and make her truly feel safe.
Now, nothing made her feel that way.
She yawned and lengthened herself into the best stretch she’d ever stretched, and allowed her eyes to open and stare up at the rough wooden ceiling.
For an elf village she thought the structures in Landanten could have been a little more sophisticated. Granted, two days ago when she’d met Celeste, the elf, she didn’t even know that elves were anything more than myth and legend. And now they were staying in an abandoned elven village.
“Does that mean you are finally admitting you’re awake?” Rorick asked from the table set before the window.
Abagail groaned and pulled the pillow over her head. “No,” was her muffled response.
“We need to head out soon anyway,” Leona said. “What if more darklings come after us?”
And there it was, the reality she was trying to avoid. Darklings were hunting her because Abagail was a harbinger. Harbingers were stronger than regular people and able to control the plague, but they had to choose the light or the dark. The darklings were always tempting harbingers to join their ranks, and Abagail was afraid that she would eventually do just that.
“I don’t know if they can,” Abagail said. “They aren’t supposed to be able to get on Singer’s Trail, and we are in the center of it.”