Greetings, Heartwood fans!
I’m happy to announce that the Cloud Village Arc is coming soon! I’ve got the rough drafts of five episodes right now. I plan on polishing them up and releasing fortnightly episodes beginning October 15th. Keep an eye on your Inboxes then.
In the meantime, here’s a teaser:
Lisette ran in the dark, blundering through undergrowth and tripping over roots. A darker shape loomed suddenly in front of her; she veered, but not in time. Her shoulder clipped the tree trunk. Pain jolted through muscle and bone. Lisette gasped, and kept going.
Her shallow pants rasped in her burning lungs and filled her ears. Her muscles ached.
If only it wasn’t so dark! If only she could see!
Night smothered the forest. The sky above was layered with dark clouds, hiding moon and stars. It would storm soon—the scent of rain mingled with that of pine. Thunder growled in the distance.
Down on the forest floor, trees pressed their shadows upon Lisette’s tight shoulders. Nameless things rustled at the edge of her hearing.
They’d been keeping pace with her.
Lisette forced herself onward, fighting through clinging branches. Where was the village? Where was home? Desperately she scanned the unrelieved darkness for some hint of light.
Nearby, branches clattered together, went still. Dread crawled over Lisette’s skin. Fear was a hard, tight fist in her chest.
Something was stalking her. She felt its presence, clammy against her skin. A stirring of air brought its fetid breath to her nose.
A shape, darker than darkness, sprang towards her.
Fear turned to liquid, ran hot and molten through her body. With it flowed something else.
The bracelets upon her wrists snapped.
Light erupted, a white blaze exploding outwards. It caught the creature leaping for Lisette full in the face. She caught glimpses of green eyes, sharp-toothed snarl, smoke-textured body. The creature twisted mid-leap, fell to the side, whimpering. Trees, tall and stark, cast sharp, elongated shadows behind them. Eyes stared from within bushes—glowing green, yellow, red.
Lisette stumbled, her gaze sweeping down to where the ground dropped into darkness. Her foot slipped on damp grass.
The light vanished. The darkness rushed back. And, with a sharp, hopeless cry, Lisette plunged down the sheer drop into the unknown—
Lisette jerked awake, her stomach still clenched with bad memories. Her body had gone tight, rigid. Her fingers clutched grass, tearing it from the sod. Its scent was sharp in her nose.
No, no, no.
This wasn’t the forest. It wasn’t night time. She was no longer ten years old.
Lisette was behind the girl’s dormitory at Heartwood, and that memory was years past.
(More coming October 15th!)