Excerpt from "The Guardians of Light, Book Two: The Land of Sand and Sea" and New Character Reveal!

Hey all!  A deal’s a deal.  In celebration of reaching 100 Facebook likes, here is an exciting new excerpt from The Guardians of Light, Book Two: The Land of Sand and Sea!  But first, a little intro to the awesome new character revealed within…
His name is Mirfio, and he’s unlike anything Anoera has ever seen before.  His eerie yellow eyes, fangs, and claws are the only things that indicate he is more than human.  But what is he exactly?  What does he want?  And what kind of history do he and Andreena share?  Find out in The Guardians of Light, Book Two, but in the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek at the newest threat to Kandin and his friends…  
When the sun was directly above them, and hunger was gnawing at their bellies, Andreena would not let them stop.
“Do you plan on starving us to death?” Bandin snapped.
Andreena ignored him, continuing to walk at the front of the group.  Kandin was following directly behind her…and nearly ran into her back when she came to a sudden stop.
“Hey, careful!” he growled.
She didn’t seem to hear him.  Her body had gone rigid, and she was as still as stone.
“Andreena?  Are you okay?” Kandin frowned, moving around so he could see her face.  Her eyes were wide, her mouth was gaping, and her cheeks had turned white.  “Andreena?”  He reached out a hand to touch her shoulder, but she was gone before he even realized she had moved.
“Where did she go?” Kandin cried, frantically searching the area for her.  How could she have simply vanished like that?  Had something taken her?  She had been right in front of him seconds ago…
“Up there!” Shaena exclaimed, pointing towards the treetops.  Kandin gazed up, and spotted Andreena crouched low on a large branch high above him.
“How in the world…?” Bandin gasped, craning his neck to gawk up at her.
“She’s been holding back…hiding her abilities from us.  She doesn’t have to anymore now that we know she’s an Immortal,” Shaena muttered, stunned.
“You mean she jumped up there?” Kandin breathed in awe.  Andreena, like a cat, peered off into the distance, and then suddenly disappeared again.
“Come on!” Shaena shouted, breaking into a run.  “We need to follow her!”
Kandin briefly wondered how they’d even findher, but then saw her blurry figure appear on another branch before disappearing again.
 
At that moment, Andreena had completely forgotten about the others.  Something was in the air.  A scent, a power she recognized…but it couldn’t be right.
This dark power, she thought.  It can’t be him…it’s impossible.  She continued to race towards the source of the power she sensed, anxiety and dread making her stomach queasy.
Andreena came to a halt when she was directly above the cause of the disturbance she felt.  Jumping out of the trees, she did one flip, and landed neatly on the ground.  She slowly raised her head, and then stumbled back in shock.
Within seconds, Kandin and the others burst from the trees behind her.  Kandin came to a sliding stop when he spotted what had startled Andreena.  Nearly twenty large demons stood before them in a line, snarling at them.  A giant black warhorse pawed the ground impatiently in front of the demons, but it was the beast’s rider that proved the most menacing sight.  It appeared to be a man, not much older than Kandin himself, but he wasn’t a man…not really…but he also didn’t appear to be a demon.  He was something else, something Kandin had never seen before.
He was cloaked in blood red and was handsome, but in an inhumane, almost frightening way.  He had yellow eyes, slitted like a cat, and wild black hair that had undertones of deep red.  His ears were pointed, and small fangs glinted between his lips as he smirked at them.  No, he definitely wasn’t human…but Kandin wasn’t sure what he was.
Kandin looked from the rider to Andreena.  She was staring, wide-eyed, at the strange creature.
“Mir…Mirfio?” she finally stammered.
“Hello Andreena,” the man said in a cool, deep voice.  “It’s been a long time.”
“Wait…you know this guy?” Kandin blurted.
Andreena ignored him.  “Mirfio…is it…is it really you?”  Her voice was a hesitant whisper.  She took a step forward.
“It’s me, Andreena,” Mirfio nodded, dropping from his horse.  He began walking towards them…his eerie yellow eyes locked on her.  Kandin, Shaena, and Bandin each stepped back, but Andreena stepped forward again.
“Mirfio,” she breathed his name.
            “Andreena, what are you doing?” Kandin demanded to know when she took yet another step towards Mirfio.  What is going on? Kandin thought, his heart racing.  Why won’t she move away?  He didn’t know what to do.
Mirfio walked right up to Andreena and stopped when he was directly in front of her.  She had to tilt her head back to meet his gaze.  They stood silently, staring at each other.
“Mirfio…I thought…I thought you were…thought you were dead!”
“Dead?  How could I be dead, when you are still alive?” the creature murmured.
“What do you…?” Andreena began.  Suddenly, Mirfio’s hands shot out and he grasped her shoulders, cutting off her question.
“Andreena!” Kandin cried in alarm, lurching towards them.  Before he could reach the pair, however, Mirfio slowly leaned in to Andreena…and kissed her.  Her eyes went wide in surprise, but then she closed them and returned the kiss, reaching up to clutch his shoulders with her fingers.
“An…Andreena?” Kandin gasped in disbelief.  Pain seared his chest, and it felt as if his heart was being ripped apart.  His legs all of the sudden felt weak, and he slowly crumpled to his knees as he watched the two embrace.
“What…what is she doing?” he heard Shaena ask in shock.
“She’s lost her mind,” came Bandin’s dumbfounded reply.
Finally, after what seemed like eons to Kandin, Mirfio broke the kiss and stared down at Andreena.  He wrapped one arm around her shoulders, pressing her tightly to his chest, and let his other hand drop to his side.
“Mirfio, I’ve missed you so much,” Andreena admitted in a pained voice.  Her eyes shimmered with tears, and she gazed up at him looking very much like she was…in love.  Kandin felt like he was going to vomit.
“I’m here now, Andreena…after all this time, I finally have you.”
Something in Mirfio’s tone raised the hairs on the back of Kandin’s neck.  He fought back his crushing disappointment to try and understand what it was that seemed so off about the creature’s words…
Mirfio squeezed Andreena tighter, and she buried her face against his chest.
“I was afraid I would never see you again!” she sobbed.  “All these years, I’ve wanted so desperately for you to be alive…to find you.  I’ve wanted to apologize to you so badly for…”
“Betraying me?” Mirfio finished in a cold, flat voice.
Andreena’s head shot up, and she gaped at him.  Then she screamed.
“ANDREENA!” Kandin roared, shoving to his feet as her arms fell away from Mirfio.  The creature released his hold on her and shoved her backwards, yanking a long, bloody dagger from her belly.
She flew back, slamming into Kandin, who caught her in his arms.  The impact threw him off balance, and he stumbled, falling to the ground.  He twisted so his body absorbed the impact, and clutched Andreena to him protectively.
“Andreena!” Shaena cried, and he heard her and Bandin run towards them.  The demons watched, snarling and growling in excitement over the bloodshed.
Kandin sat up, gently cradling Andreena in his lap.  Her eyes were closed, and her torso was soaked with her blood.  Frantically, but attempting not to hurt her in his panic, Kandin laid a hand over her wound to try and staunch the flow.
“Andreena?  Please, wake up,” he whispered, terrified that her eyes remained closed.  “You’re gong to be okay.  Please…just wake up.”  Her heartbeat was weak, and his hand was soon drenched.
Finally, with a tiny gasp, she cracked open her eyelids.  Kandin’s relief was short-lived, however, when her gaze landed, not on him, but on Mirfio.
“Wh…why?” she stuttered weakly, tears running down her cheeks.
Mirfio smirked as he sheathed the dagger.  It was still covered in her blood.
“Idiot,” he hissed.  Then, he clenched his jaw and his eyes turned fiery with fury.  He bellowed, “It’s your own fault!  You are the one who turned your back on me!”
            “I…I said…I was…sorry,” Andreena moaned.
Mirfio glared at her.  “Sorry?  That’s all you can say to me?  When I needed you most, you betrayed me!  The only thing that has kept me going, that has given me any sort of will to live, has been the thought of killing you.  We are far beyond sorry.”
“Don’t you dare talk to her like that,” Kandin spoke with quiet ferocity.  Rage burned in him like a wildfire, scorching his insides and blocking all but one thought from his mind…making Mirfio pay.  Andreena peered up at Kandin, and was shocked to see the fierceness of his expression.  He glanced down at her briefly, but then focused all of his attention back on Mirfio.  “I swear to you, if she dies, New Opitimass will seem more merciful than me.”
Mirfio appeared momentarily taken aback, but then shrugged Kandin’s threat away.  “What’s this?” he grinned evilly at Andreena.  “Have you already snared another’s heart?”  He looked away from her and addressed Kandin with a sneer.  “I would be careful of her if I were you,” the creature warned mockingly.  “She will rip it right out of your chest if you give her the opportunity.”
“I’ll take my chances,” Kandin growled.  Andreena tried to turn her head back to look up at Kandin, but she was too weak.  She slumped over, her eyes closing.
            Kandin felt her body grow heavier.  He shook her gently, then slightly harder when she made no response.  “Andreena?  Andreena!”
Mirfio’s look of satisfaction broke the last of Kandin’s control over his fury.  “I hope she dies and rots in…”
Kandin suddenly appeared inches from Mirfio’s face.  Andreena lay on the ground behind him.  The creature was too stunned to immediately react.  Kandin grabbed his collar, and lifted Mirfio off of his feet.  “If she dies, I will tear you apart.”
Instead of appearing afraid, Mirfio smiled savagely.  “Then start tearing.  She’s as good as dead, and if you kill me, Andreena and I can live together in oblivion forever.”
Kandin’s grip on Mirfio tightened.  His rage was all-consuming, and in that moment, something snapped inside of him.  His power shifted…grew heavier…darker…stronger
            “What’s this?” Mirfio calmly observed, sensing the change.  Kandin clenched his teeth, and tightened his grip further.
            “If she dies…” His eyes turned bright red, and his power swirled around them like a wind.
“What’s happening to Kandin?” Shaena asked, bewildered.  Bandin shook his head, and stared at his best friend wide-eyed…and fearful.
Kandin relished the familiar sensation of power pusling through his body, but that wasn’t all he was feeling.  Something was happening.  Something new.  It started as a soft thumping in his chest, but the beat slowly increased until his heart pounded against his ribs so hard, he thought his chest would burst.  It was as if something inside was breaking, and some strange substance was leaking out to mix with the power soaring though him.  It burned differently, and felt toxic, but strangely glorious at the same time.     
            “Look!” Shaena exclaimed.  “Look at Kandin’s eyes!  They’re turning black!”
Apparently, his internal transformation was becoming a physical one as well.
“What are you?” Mirfio asked with curioustiy.  There was still no trace of fear in his voice…which only angered Kandin more.
An excrutiating pain suddenly shot through his whole body, and he dropped Mirfio with a cry.  He clutched his head in his hands as his skull began to throb, feeling like it would split in two.  Shaena and Bandin helplessly watched in horror as Kandin began to scream in agony.  He pulled his hands away, and saw his fingernails start to lengthen and sharpen into…claws.  His teeth pierced his lips as they grew into small, sharp fangs.  He threw his head back and roared.  The demons, in a frenzy, answered it with roars of their own.  They quickly took to flight, panicked and terrified, leaving Mirfio alone.
“What’s happening?” Bandin cried.
“I don’t know!” Shaena replied, horrified.  “But whatever it is, I don’t think Kandin can fight it!”
“Is he even trying to?” Bandin shouted.
Growing overwhelmed, Kandin tried to control the change, but it was too powerful.  Why is this happening?  Where is this coming from? he thought desperately.  He felt something tugging at his mind, trying to pull him towards a darkness that he knew he would never escape…  

Hope you enjoyed it!  Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more updates and news!

E.K. Broich

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