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Series Name: Shadows of the Vale

Book Two: Title Undecided

Genre: YA Fantasy

Status: Second Draft Complete

The Mysterious Forest_edited.jpg

Ara has rescued her sister and unveiled The Lord's true form, but that is only the beginning of her story. Follow Ara as she struggles to find the way forward.

Read the first page of When Shadows Fall below!

CHAPTER 1

The Changing

“Lan…”

My voice came out as a pleading whisper, but Lan didn’t move. She sat cross-legged on a slab of rough stone, brown eyes watching hungrily as the sun sank ever closer to the tree-lined horizon. Colour kissed the clouds drifting near the sun, but my eyes were drawn inexorably to the dark forest below. Shadows stretched from the Morwood like twisted black fingers, creeping up the slope of rich pastureland towards us. I shivered, despite the summer heat that still hung heavy on the plains.

“Just one more minute,” Lan said, her gaze unwavering. “The Changing hasn’t even started yet.”

Sweat trickled down my brow. The bell in the ancient clock tower had tolled its third and final warning; fifteen minutes to sunset. By third warning, it was assumed everyone was already secure inside their homes. That had been four minutes ago.

“Lan, we have to go,” I said, urgency making my voice high and thin.

But Lan wasn’t listening. Her tanned face shone with excitement, and she leaned forward, pointing a slender arm at the Morwood. “Look, Ara; it’s started… Look at the trees!”

Cold with dread, I followed her gaze. Even from here, I could see the distorted edge of the forest, as if the fabric of reality had begun to fray. The air grew charged with a foreboding energy that prickled my skin, raising the hairs on my neck and arms.

I squeezed my eyes shut. “Lan, please!” I begged, hysteria edging my words.

She gave an irritable huff. “It’s not like I was going to stay until the end.” Work boots scuffed the rock, and a warm hand took mine. “Come on,” she said, pulling me towards town.

I didn’t want to open my eyes, but I couldn’t keep them closed without stumbling. Beneath my feet, the thick grass and scattered rocks were indistinct, and when I dared another glance at the forest, I found the sarr trees blurred and strange. All around me, reality burned away as new shapes took form, shadowy impressions of rocks and trees where none had been before.

Unease skittered up my spine. An unshakable sense of wrongness permeated every fiber of the world, and I stared at Lan’s thick, brown hair, trying vainly to ignore the shadows taking shape around us. Memory clawed at the back of my mind.

Screams in the night. Wood shattering. An empty bed...

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