An Eclipsing Autumn Excerpt – Stagnant

Excerpt from
The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn
Chapter Twenty-Six: Stagnant

Stagnant

After a moment, I hear the familiar high pitched clinking of metal against stone. I try to scream, “Is someone there?” but it probably can’t be heard from the other side.

I look at Jayse, who’s leaning against the wall, and I signal to him to do the shouting for me.

He calls out the same thing. “Is someone there?” He must put all his air into it because as soon as he’s done, he falls back against the wall and starts to slide down.

I rush to his side and help him stay on his feet, using my hand to fan him viciously, hoping it’ll cool him down or help him breathe easier or whatever. I don’t know if it does anything.

The hammering has stopped momentarily. Then, far away and muffled, I hear someone shout back, “Yes! Yes, stay right there! We’re coming soon.”

I sigh with relief and look at Jayse. He’s sweating so much that the blood on his jaw has already washed away. I wipe the sweat on his forehead with the back of my hand.

“You want to sit down?” I whisper.

He slides down, then stops himself. The hammering on the other side of the stone barricade has continued, but another sound is louder, closer. The sound of sharpening blades.

I swallow a lump in my throat and look back down another hall to the right, the one we’d have taken if the lanterns didn’t lead here. Something is definitely coming this way. I light the hall with a steady stream of fire. Several yards away, the digger scrapes his scythes against each other. When the fire reaches him, he sprints forward and I scream.

An Eclipsing Autumn Excerpt – Blood Trophy

Excerpt from
The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn
Chapter Eighteen: Blood Trophy

Blood Trophy

His servant returns wheeling in a white cart with a couple of drawers and a tray on top holding color-coded test tubes. I swallow a lump in my throat.

“You want to take our blood?” I ask.

“How quick you are, Miss Goddess! Naturally. I project this will be the final day of the tournament. What will I do with no trophy?”

Jayse draws his sword. Before we know it, the Men in Black have him in a headlock and his sword clatters against the floor, chipping the black stain and exposing the red wood flesh beneath. I hold tightly onto my axe, frozen in place.

“What makes you think we’ll willingly give it to you?” Jayse chokes.

“Your Majesty, you will comply. Resist my needles, and your friend Mr. Raidyne may befall…an accident.”

I gasp. “What are you going to do to him?”

Mr. Gum leans back in his chair and raises a finger for each of his counts. “One, I can eliminate his safety so he sustains injury in this round. Two, once he’s weakened, I can eject him from the tournament. Three, I will then maroon him on an island, one which he’ll never escape. He’ll never have known whether he was fighting to save his precious Martyrs, or if he was fighting for a lie.”

“I won’t let you get away with this!” Jayse struggles against his captors, but they have a grip of steel.

Mr. Gum curls a finger toward his men and says, “Bring him here.”

The men drag him a few feet toward the phlebotomy tray. I breathe heavily, thoughts racing—we can’t let them taste our blood! With all that equipment, they can preserve it and keep it for later. One of the men stretches Jayse’s arm and I scream, “No! I’ll do it!” As a motion of surrender, I twist my axe back into a pen and tuck it away in my pocket. I say, “Take my blood. I’m Goddess. My blood is stronger.”

“Ah, look whose loyalty is stronger, Prince. Your friend is fighting to protect you, and you won’t even pay back with your blood?” He beckons me with his wagging finger. “Bring her here.”

An Eclipsing Autumn Excerpt – The Ceremony of Crescent Starrs

Excerpt from
The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn
Chapter Ten: The Ceremony of Crescent Stars

Happy Bday Michelle

He pulls up the stone and looks at it, then steps forward. “It’s midnight.” Standing a few feet in front of me, he lifts it from his neck and dangles the chain from both hands.

My heart wants to escape my chest. I know what he’s going to do. I watch him expectantly, wondering if he can hear the drums of my heart. He looks at me with his gorgeous green eyes, his cheeks tinged pink. Maybe they reflect the red of my own face.

“A few lifetimes ago, Cyal gave this to Saei to protect her. Now it’s time I return it to you.” He raises it above my head as if it’s a crown and slips it around my neck. I catch the stone as it falls over my chest. It’s still warm.

That was enough excitement for one night, but then Jayse leans closer and places his cheek against mine. He’s going to kiss me. Oh God, he’s finally going to kiss me!

He doesn’t, and instead whispers something even sweeter. “Happy birthday, Michelle.”

Then I burst into tears, cover my mouth with my hands, and gasp, “How did you know?”

He smiles bashfully, wiping my tears away. He says, “You told me once.”

He deserves a kiss for this. I’m crying, laughing, and I throw my arms around him. I don’t kiss him, and go on bawling, “This is the first time I’ve ever had a birthday without my family.”

“I’m sure they’re celebrating the day in honor of you.”

I don’t know if they are. Jayse tells me that he hasn’t told anyone else it’s my birthday, and I want to keep it that way. I don’t want everyone treating me any more special than they already have.

We don’t stay long at the Inner Temple, because we need to be well-rested for the performance tomorrow night.

I hold Jayse’s hand while we walk back to the guest house. I sigh every now and then, thinking about how perfect his fingers feel intertwined with mine. He has such a strong grip, but it doesn’t hurt me. I feel safe.

My parents used to ask me if I felt any different each birthday. When I was little, I thought I felt older. Then I started to lie to make them think I felt special.

Now that I’m sixteen, with the responsibilities as the Cycle’s Creator, now that I’ve fallen in love, I definitely feel different. I feel like another person.