The furious squeaking she heard coming from a shadowed corner made her glad she was wearing her knee-high boots. Bare feet—or any naked skin, for that matter—were fair game to the scurriers scavenging down here. She’d treated many prisoners for bites and wounds caused by the vicious, little carnivores. A draft of air brought with it the stench of unwashed bodies, which almost overpowered her. She coughed and lifted a sleeve to cover her nose.
“You know none of the others will come down here.” The old healer’s tone held censure for her surliness.
If Annika were honest, the physical conditions of the dungeon weren’t the real reason for her reluctance. It was the mumbling voices of prisoners: some babbled, driven mad by circumstance, some cried piteously, others wailed in despair. The sound of their helplessness was heartbreaking and she could do little but try to ease their pain.
Her face heated. Her half-blood status was a boon and a curse. While even the lowest caste of the Na’Reish outranked her, their fear of her father was the only thing stopping the guards from refusing her access.
“Who’s imprisoned there now?” she asked.
“Rumor has it that Na’Hord scouts captured a warrior during a slave raid in the Outer Provinces.” A thread of excitement colored the old woman’s voice. “He refuses even to give his name.”
Hope fired deep inside her and she glanced sharply at Hesia. “A Light Blade?”
Annika bit her lip as hope surged from deep within her. Lady’s Blessing, this could be the opportunity she’d been waiting for, the chance to escape.
Kylie Griffin’s obsession with all things paranormal/fantasy started at an early age, when she used to imagine the jacaranda tree in her front yard was a spaceship used to defend the world from invading enemies. Writing stories seemed a natural extension to her childhood adventures.
Today, she’s a primary school teacher sharing her love for the written word with young children. In her spare time, she writes and reads all things paranormal.
Kylie lives in a small rural village in outback New South Wales, Australia, where she volunteers in a number of emergency service organizations in her local community. Visit her website.
THE Q & A
These were the original tales - you know, where the ugly sisters had their eyes picked out by crows etc. - blood, gore, and bad consequences :-), not the censored versions you get in some fairytale books. I loved reading it.
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
KYLIE: Oh, a fairytale theme - cool! I have to claim it's The Enchanted Princess, mostly because of the awesome pictures that went with it.
The story is about two tradesman's sons - one lazy and selfish (for some reason the father favors this son), the other honest & hard working (he received abuse). The father overhears a story that the king's daughter is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. The king offers his daughters hand in marriage to any man who can rescue her.
“I don’t bite.” The corners of his mouth turned upward ever so slightly. “Not unless you want me to.”
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Then the Na’Reish raid human territory for blood-slaves and kickstart a war, the key to the survival of both races—Na’Chi and human— is an alliance. However, when Kymora is kidnapped, pitting human against human, Varian realizes he must embrace his darker half, not only to save the alliance…but also the woman he loves.
DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me tomorrow when I host Medical Romance author Connie Cox. ~Angi