Jamyria: The Entering (Sample) by Madeline Meekins by Madeline Meekins - Read Online

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Summary

This is an excerpt of Jamyria: The Entering (Book 1 of the Jamyria Series)

Freshly marked with power upon entering the alternate world of Jamyria, Margo Grisby explores vibrant forests, battles unimaginable beings, and seeks out the world's darkest secrets. Together with her friends, she must find the Witch hidden amidst the forest in the hopes of discovering an escape while outrunning the world’s creator and her guardsmen.

EXCERPT:

To look inside this forest is to explore the works of a dream in hard form, granted a chance to see imagination. The colors are hardly hues found in ordinary woods but are more vivid and saturated. The leaves not quite a lime green nor the woodsy hunter green they’re expected to be. Flowers are scattered throughout the branches painted in vibrant neon. Even the cloudless sky is a shade closer to turquoise. It is as if she’s walked into someone’s realism painting in which the artist has slightly mixed the wrong colors, throwing off the whole mood.

But — and this realization churns her stomach — this is wrong. This feels like someone has played God, and the forest is the result of not mixing the colors just right. Abnormal plants and trees fill the woods. Spiky bits of moss cling to trees like sea urchins. The tree trunks are more russet than brown, some with unusually smooth bark. Wild-looking flowers wear large, exotic petals. Even little things she notices — the soil she walks on being too fluffy or a patch of weeds she brushes against too slick against her skin — are strangely off-putting.

Published: Madeline Meekins on
ISBN: 1944248498
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    Page 1 of 1

    Acceptance

    Prologue

    Nearly Fifty Years Prior

    A chilling scream fills the desolate forest.

    Thin trunks of ebony stripe the snow-clad woods. The howling wind swirls vicious flurries. All fauna is silenced; the creatures sense the impending battle and burrow into safety.

    The cry ebbs in the background, fading into the relentless wind.

    Flames burst to life on the edge of an outcrop, a shocking contrast to the black and white world, and drop to the ground below like molten lead. The flames collect and quiver. A circular patch of grass melts to reveal its verdant self from around its source.

    A growl rumbles from within its fiery core.

    With a roar of his own, a dark man appears from overhead, readying his sword. Each of his strides rips into the snow, uplifting black soil from beneath its luscious white overlay. He skids to a stop, having noticed the flames settled in the clearing below. With a glare of suspicion, the man whips the sword once in his meaty hands. But he does not approach the fiery being. Not just yet.

    A woman, small in stature, follows suit though her footing, unlike his, is light and barely disturbs the snowy earth.

    The flames before the pair bend their light, shifting into the molten shape of a man ablaze. His skin is charring embers, both blackened and aglow. The sudden increase in heat sears the land, snow sizzling to steam in its wake. A jet of flames streaks from his breath, the darker man unable to dodge it in time —

    The woman steps in front, outstretching a hand to block and cast away the blaze with a burst of energy. Her fingertips blister in response.

    Fool! Rushing in to battle will accomplish nothing! Save your hot-headedness and first analyze our foe! She buries her scorched hand into the snow.

    In the shadows of the trees, a curious watcher gazes at the scene.

    The flaming beast digs his hands into the soil underfoot, heat spewing from his nostrils. The woman, too, regains her composure, steadying her sword on point. Liquid energy pulses through her veins, strengthening her calves. She prepares to attack, but —

    The darker man emerges from near nothingness, blade piercing the distracted beast’s chest. A hot, blaring scream rages until his flames burn out to reveal his true self. The man, brown-haired and stocky build, staggers away from the darker man, clutching his gushing chest.

    The boy in the shadows sneers.

    The air of a threat burned out with the man’s flames, but for reasons inexplicable, he does not give into death but hobbles away into the moon-kissed forest, leaving a bloody pathway behind him.

    The darker man whoops in celebration, while the woman futilely attempts to repair her singed fingers; healing has never been her forte.

    Don’t flatter yourself, she mumbles irritably.

    He turns to her, victorious smile shifting to a grimace. What’s this? Are you jealous?

    Humph! She turns away coldly. You wouldn’t have been able to strike him down, had it not been for my distraction. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will take all of the credit.

    A kill is a kill. The one who drives in the blade still receives the glory.

    Speaking of kills, she says, cocking her head. The job has yet to be finished….

    He booms a menacing laugh. Did you not see the state he was in? Crawling off like a wounded animal? Ha! The coward’s ran off to die under a bush somewhere. Call on the others to search for his corpse. The Marked One is dead.

    *

    The screams in the distance blare on.

    She is frightened, the dying man thinks. She must have been the one who brought in the snow.

    It is in her direction he runs.

    The only sounds are her scream of terror and his own overworked breathing. Must find her. Must…

    The man falls into the snow in a heap, crying out as the pain becomes unbearable. The bleeding doesn’t stop, and he recognizes the empty feeling, though he has never experienced it before, as his spirit leaves the physical behind.

    The screaming has finally succumbed. A smile plays at his lips at the irony as he, too, is now willing to succumb.

    A gasp.

    His eyes pop open to find the girl staring down fearfully at his crimson body. She couldn’t be more than fourteen, brown hair to the waist, primped in a summer dress and sandals despite her wintry surroundings. Her eyes are splotchy with tears but stare wide at his open chest.

    She drops before him, knees buried in the snow. A hand reaches out for his wound but drops away. Whether out of fear or the realization that there is nothing she can do, he does not know.

    What happened to you? she whispers simply.

    But the man’s chest breaks out into spasms, breaths grow uneven. He doesn’t have much time. He must reach out for the girl. I’m — sorry — he says between gasps.

    The girl jumps to her feet, with a sudden uncertainty in her brow. She notices it then: the cluster of dark scars patterned beneath the collar of his shirt. He lifts his hand, placing it on her thigh, and fire prickles her skin. Her scream resounds. A bright light flowing, his hand fuses to her leg, knitting the fibers of their skins together.

    It is over as quickly as it began.

    The man grabs her by the hips, using what little of his strength remains to lean forward and breathe the word Run.

    She skids away from him, clutching her bleeding leg.

    A series of black tree trunks blur past as she runs through the forest, putting as much distance between herself and the crazed man as she can. Snow falls heavily, obstructing her vision. She blinks away the cold, pressing on.

    A whirl of black appears out of the corner of her eyes. The hooded figure runs parallel, watching her from the shadow of his cloak.

    Out of nowhere, fire splits her jaw in two, and she is suddenly on the ground looking up at the slight woman. Her cheek throbs from the blow.

    The hooded man runs into view with a ferocious expression.

    I warned you, says the woman. Did I not tell you to finish the Mark off?

    He says nothing in return.

    What a bother. She raises her sword, the girl scurrying away. I wonder if he accomplished what he set out to, prolonging his power for mere minutes. Oh well…

    That’s enough. A third cloaked figure approaches, a younger boy with a terrifying calm. Always eager to kill, you two are. He kneels before the girl to roughly wipe a smear of blood from her lips. He speaks to her now. Well, it’s a shame for you. Wrong place at precisely the right time.

    She must be killed, the woman insists.

    The girl splutters in response, which only causes the woman to cling tighter to her sword.

    Standing coolly, the third says, "Unfortunately for you, she has landed herself in my region. The decision is now mine, and I choose to pass it along to her Majesty."

    The darker man growls. Just barely in your region!

    But my region, all the same. No objections, I presume? He stares thoughtfully at the girl, though not in a kind way. It is as if he sees something tantalizing worth consuming. "Her energy level must be off the charts having completely fused with a New Mark. It’d be an utter waste to destroy her.

    I suggest you two scour the land for the Marked One’s remains.

    *

    Flurries catch the moonlight and shimmering stars in their descent. He wonders, as his life leaves him behind, how everything can change so suddenly. How priorities and events that seem as miniscule as snowflakes can turn into avalanches in an instant.

    Will she have the necessary strength to tame my curse?

    He looks up to find the woman he fought standing over him, curved sword in hand.

    You are much less formidable in that state. Far less bothersome. The woman nears.

    He says nothing in return, but rather coughs, splattering blood from his wound.

    I must ask… She