She tried to warn them. They wouldn’t listen.
As a child, Terrin of Xell barely escaped a spirit from the Dark Forest. She knows better than to rely on magic. But with her schoolmate Chris accused of a magical crime he didn’t commit, she couldn’t let him face banishment alone.
So Terrin gets caught up in Chris’s quest to recover an ancient relic, with only magic to guide them. Naturally, everything goes wrong.
What lurks in the shadows, hunting Terrin and her friends? Or did the magic itself turn against them?
Hunted: The Riddled Stone Book Two is being serialized freely on this website at the pace of one chapter per week. You can buy the full novel at my publisher’s store or in ebook or paperback format at your favorite online retailer.
“Pleasure to meet you, Dyani Xell,” said Nora, studying the willowy woman before her.
“And you, Nora of Yorc.” Dyani returned a quick appraisal, and then turned to Arnold, who was leaning back against a tree trunk. They exchanged greetings.
Then Dyani’s eyes fell to his wrist, which was covered in blood-stained cloth. “We should take him to my village. Is it safe to move him?”
Nora nodded. “It sh—”
“It’s not my legs that are hurt!” Arnold said, pushing himself to his feet with his good hand. He stood tall, broad-shouldered, with his eyes flashing a challenge.
Nora could tell exactly why he made such a good knight. She couldn’t help smiling as she said, “As I was saying, it should be fine.”
Dyani also seemed pleased — and amused — at his reaction.
“Good. I’ll help pack up your camp.”
As Nora and a forest man carefully cleaned the wound, applied a fine paste, and bandaged his wrist, Arnold couldn’t help feeling like a child being fussed over by his mother for a skinned knee. Then the two healers made him drink a thick, bitter tea, admonished him to rest, and left him alone in the dim hut.
It was dry and comfortable, and a breeze moved in through the hanging cloth that sufficed for a door. The building was small and looked old, but as far as he could tell it was sturdy. The air smelled strongly of the herbs that lined the shelves.
He shifted slightly on the hanging cot, which bounced up and down, making him stiffen. He most definitely preferred sleeping on solid ground to this swaying monstrosity.
He considered slipping out of the hut to explore the village. But the town was small, and he had a feeling the sharp-faced healer would not approve. He turned his thoughts instead to Terrin.
Best he could tell, this was one of the nearest villages to Terrin’s own, and Terrin had visited it often as a child. The woman, Dyani, appeared to be an old family friend. He smiled. Terrin must be happy to see familiar faces, he thought. She had been the least keen of them to travel with Chris. Arnold wondered vaguely where she was, as he shut his eyes. Probably catching up with her friends.
“I expected you to be pacing like a caged lion.”
Arnold opened his eyes to see Terrin standing over him. He stared up at her for a moment.
Then he said, “Have you ever seen a caged lion?”
“Then you can’t know that it would pace.”
“Maybe,” she said dryly. “But the point is, I expected you to be pacing.”
“And face the wrath of your healer friend? No thanks,” he said with a small chuckle.
“I thought you were the one who was going to go off and face dragons without so much as a blink. This wound must be serious.”
“Yes, well, dragons are mythical. You forest folk are just as fierce and quite real.”
“Well, then, perhaps you had better obey orders and rest.”
She pulled the room’s only chair over next to the cot and settled herself in it.
“And of course, it falls to me to make sure you behave. You never can trust a caged lion.”
Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Gaskins
Published by Tabletop Academy Press.
Cover and layout copyright © 2016 by Tabletop Academy Press
Cover Photo Credits: “Girl with bow” by Yeko Photo Studio via DepositPhoto.com and “Forest, untagged” by Lukasz Szmigiel via Unsplash.com.
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.