“Wow, I couldn’t believe how good this was. I loved the way the author kept me guessing. And I was so angry when Joelnar was…well, I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. But just let me say, it was unexpected, and left me devastated.”
“Can’t wait for the second book.”
Two centaras ago, at the end of the war, the Starstone was broken into three pieces. Scattered across the land, the pieces were soon forgotten, and Danaria found a relative peace. Now, one piece of the Starstone has resurfaced, and Lord Darkwind is determined to capture it, along with the one person who can direct its powers.
Thrust into the search for the Starstone, Neerah and Joelnar find themselves evading not only Lord Darkwind, but also the Guardians of Starfall—religious zealots who believe that only Neerah’s death can save their world. With only the advice of the mysterious Ethereals to guide her, can Neerah retrieve the pieces of the Starstone and save Danaria from the darkness that threatens her world?
Read the book to find out.
HOW COULD SOMETHING so innocuous be considered so dangerous? Neerah shook her head in bewilderment as she studied the mud-covered lump in her hand. She dipped her hand into the clear water of the icy stream that tumbled its way through the trees and let it whisk away the debris from the pebble.
As she tilted her hand, the stone caught the sunlight and sparkled. Lifting it from the water, she studied the small bit of rock that had called to her when she had taken a break from her chores. Cupped in the palm of her hand, it looked like liquid light, while the song it sang to her felt like a warm, cozy fire in her soul.
She walked the few steps to the fallen log that had become her favorite bench here in the glade and settled into the well-worn spot of her sitting tree. This was her hideaway when she needed a break from her little sister or her chores. Holding the oblong-shaped stone between her index finger and thumb, she angled it toward the light.
The way it sparkled echoed the music that she heard when she held it. The music wasn’t audible; she wasn’t hearing it with her ears. It was more of a sensation that she felt, saw, heard, and tasted…but that wasn’t quite it, either. It was hard to describe. Yet, it was there, all the same.
However, she had learned early on not to tell anyone about her ability to ‘hear’ the music that came from some of the stones around her. Graffa, her grandfather, had repeatedly told her and her sister how dangerous the singing stones were. They were so dangerous that most countries had outlawed them.
But there were other stories, too. These were the stories that people only whispered to each other, and only after making sure that no one else was around. Neerah had only caught snippets of the stories as she waited on people in the pub, but even these snippets were enough to ensure her silence.
She first found out about her ability when she brushed up against old man Ederick. When she grabbed his hand keep him from toppling over, his ring sang to her. It startled her so much, that she let go of him. But when he wobbled, she grabbed him once more. And there it was again. She was positive that the song came from the stone in his ring.
The stone was a mix of browns with a green, fern-like mark in the center. And the music—just a few notes really—spoke of forests and left the taste of fresh mushrooms in her mouth. It was extremely odd and disconcerting. Unsure what had truly happened, she found an excuse to disappear to her favorite spot by the brook.
She kicked at the dirt and a light blue stone rolled out of the mud. She picked it up and it also sang to her. Just three notes. Three clear, precise notes. But in those notes, was the image of wispy clouds in a blue sky, the feeling of a gentle breeze, and the smell of fresh cut hay; all the joy of a sunny day wrapped up in three little notes.
Her initial reaction was one of joy. And she picked up stone after stone just to listen to its song. But then she remembered the stories and she dropped them all. Wide-eyed, she looked around to make sure no one had seen her before running back home to hide in her room.
For almost a week, she claimed to be sick and she wasn’t really lying. Her eyes were haunted and, being too worried and frightened to eat, her already petite body became wasted looking. Her red curls grew listless and her pale skin looked washed out as she wrestled with her decision. The tussle between her desire to seek out the stones and her fear of being found out tore at her.
Finally, unable to sleep and tired of tossing fitfully on her small bed, she snuck away from the house. She went to her sitting tree hoping that the setting would help her decide. As morning crept out of the dark, she watched the sun poke its fingers through the trees. She knew if she weren’t back in her room when Marmian awoke, she would be in deep trouble.
Still unclear as to what she should do, she placed her hand on a nearby boulder to push herself erect. The grumbling melody that cascaded through her made her smile. It reminded her of her grandfather when he was lumbering up the stairs after a hard day at work. That’s when she decided that the others had to be wrong. There couldn’t possibly be harm in listening to something so pleasing.
However, just to be safe, she wouldn’t tell anyone else what she could do. Not even her sister, Sahni. It would be her secret.
Over the past several months, she had collected a number of these marvelous stones—each one different, yet each one having an amazing and mesmerizing voice that spoke to her and enchanted her. The music from the stones was hardly anything to fear. In fact, each of the stones she had collected so far, only sang of warmth and love. Fearing what would happen should anyone find out about her collection, she hid them down here near the stream where she could enjoy them privately.
The sound of the bell by the back door of the pub brought Neerah out of her reveries. She looked over her shoulder in the direction of the pub. The pounding noise of footsteps racing down the path in her direction told her someone was coming.
She jumped to her feet and rushed to the large moss-hung tree whose branches draped over the creek. She clambered to the top of the large boulder at the foot of the tree, and then, standing on tip toe, she reached up into the abandoned flyer’s nest in the crook of the tree’s branches. Her fingers latched onto the small pouch hidden there, and she brought it down.
She quickly untied the mouth of the pouch. With one last caress of the stone, she dropped it into the pouch, and tied the pouch closed again. She had just secreted it back in the nest, when someone came crashing out of the woods.
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Available in paperback and ebook at most online book sellers. It is also available as part of a 2-book set.
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