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Dreaming In The Dark (Paperback)

Dreaming In The Dark (Paperback)

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Book 4 in The Soul Force Saga

Ebook Version

 

All peace is fleeting.

 

Six months has passed since the warlock Connor Blackman’s defeat.

 

Now a new threat has emerged to threaten the kingdom.

 

While Damien St. Cloud is off exploring a mysterious underground city, his sister Jennifer is tasked with investigating a horrific murder. What she discovers goes against everything she knows to be true. A human and an ogre have worked together to kill people before turning on each other.

 

Can Jen solve the mystery and root out the threat approaching the kingdom? And what will Damien find in the abandoned city?

Look Inside

Damien St. Cloud made his way across the sun-drenched yard outside King’s Castle towards the training ground. Every day for he’d lost track of how many weeks, he’d been helping rebuild the capital. At last, the city was back to normal, more or less. That should’ve thrilled him, and in one sense it did since he didn’t need to do any more carpentry work, but mostly he was bored.

After a year of near constant battle, the months of quiet had dragged to the point of tedium. When his sister sent a note asking him to join her so she could show off the new technique she’d been working on, he flew out the castle door. Anything that broke the routine was welcome.

Damien waved to one of the wall guards as he made his way around to the dirt training ground on the far side of the castle. He might be bored, but everyone else seemed overjoyed by the end of the fighting. Maybe his brain didn’t work right. What kind of idiot yearned for battle?

You are your father’s son. Fredric was always keen to show his skills in battle even though he didn’t get as many opportunities as he preferred. 

Lizzy’s warm, telepathic voice brought a smile to his face. He’d inherited the demon sword after his father’s murder last year, though he’d known her forever and couldn’t imagine his life without her. Damien loved the spirit bound to the blade more than most people considered prudent, but they didn’t know Lizzy. Along with his sister, she was one of the people that made life worthwhile.

“I’m not sure Dad would have agreed with that, but I’m grateful for the sentiment.” He adjusted Lizzy’s sheath so she sat more comfortably on his back.

Not that the strap rubbed his skin. Damien maintained a constant soul force barrier strong enough to stop a ballista bolt. It wasn’t really necessary in the capital, but he liked to stay in practice. Besides, if an assassin showed up, and it wouldn’t be the first time, he’d be ready.

When he arrived at the flat dirt patch, he found Jen hammering a training stake into the ground with her bare fist. Warlords used the slender rods to practice their sword skills. He wasn’t worried about his sister injuring herself. Jen’s powerful soul force allowed her to make her body stronger than a steel hammer.

She wore her slashed blue uniform, the openings revealing glimpses of pale skin underneath. The sword he made her was belted at her waist and a simple leather band held her blond hair back from her face. Small wonder she was known as the warrior goddess among the other warlords.

When she finished pounding the stake, it made six dotting the area. She turned to face him and smiled. “Took you long enough. I finally perfected the move I’ve been working on.”

“The super-secret one you refuse to tell me about?”

“That’s the one.”

“Are you going to tell me about it now?” he asked.

“Better to show you. Don’t blink.”

Jen put a hand on her sword.

All six stakes fell over, cut cleanly in half. He hadn’t seen her move. Damien studied his sister closer. Three-quarters of her core had been depleted in less than the blink of an eye.

She straightened up and grinned. “What do you think? I call it god speed, even faster than lightning speed.”

“Impressive, though given how it drains your soul force, you’ll have to be careful when you use it. In a long fight, that trick might land you in trouble.”

“I know, believe me. I don’t even like using lightning speed unless absolutely necessary. I consider this more of a trump card. When I get stuck with no other options, I have god speed as a last resort.”

Damien nodded. Having a trick or two in your back pocket was smart. “How long did it take you to perfect?”

“I’ve been practicing for an hour a day over the last six weeks. You should have seen me the first time. I didn’t hold enough power back to reinforce my bones and my first move broke both ankles. Took ten minutes to get them healed.”

Warlord healing never ceased to amaze Damien. As a sorcerer, he couldn’t heal himself which sometimes left him jealous of his sister’s skills. On the other hand, he had power enough to level a fair-sized town with a single blast, so there were pluses to being a sorcerer.

“Where’s Imogen?” Jen crouched and yanked the nearest shaft out of the ground.

Damien grimaced. He and Imogen had gone their separate ways when he blew up over her excessive clinging. Having her underfoot every second of every day got old, no matter how beautiful she was. Sometimes you needed a moment to yourself.

“She asked the archmage for a new assignment. I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but the woman was driving me nuts. Hopefully she’ll be okay.”

“I thought she’d gotten more stable,” Jen said.

Imogen had violent, sometimes suicidal tendencies and one of the reasons he agreed to partner up with her was to keep an eye out for her bad spells. “She’s definitely better. I can’t do anything about it now anyway. Still, if she does something crazy…”

“If she does something crazy, it won’t be your fault.” Jen had an armful of sticks now. “You’re not responsible for everything, little brother.”

“Thanks, Jen.” Damien conjured a soul force bubble around her sticks and crushed them down to a small ball then flicked his wrist, sending the ball soaring out over the city. He put enough power behind it to make sure it reached the Great Green, the massive forest that covered over half the kingdom.

A moment later he sensed the approaching energy of one of his master’s message spheres. The golden orb flew out onto the training field, stopped a few feet from Damien, and transformed into the words, “Throne room, both of you.”

Jen glanced at him. The archmage seldom summoned them together. “What do you suppose this is about?”

He didn’t have a clue but hoped it would be something interesting.

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