Excerpt from Venture

Chapter 1

 Liam

 

The mournful hoot of an owl sounded from somewhere in the distance. Inside the darkened bedroom, all was still. Silence permeated the air. The ivory laced curtains, every now and then, fluttered, as a calm breeze wafted in from the half-open window. The curtain’s slight movement lengthened and then contracted the crescent moon’s attempt to illuminate the room. In the somber bedchamber, the dusty-rose painted walls, light oak furniture and frilly accessories were a stark contrast to the occupant of the room.

Liam would cringe if he found himself surrounded by such unmanly decor. The room was awash in pinks, lavenders and fuchsias. From the nightstand, the soft light given off by the Tiffany lamp barely reached him, as he lay unmoving on the bed. His six-foot frame, with its slack yet sinewy muscles concealed much of the frilliness under him on the double bed, but not all.

The fuchsia pillowcase under his head changed the color of his shoulder-length sandy blond hair making it appear pink under the dim light. Strands of his hair fanned out like a halo around his head. The effect gave his peaceful, relaxed face a somewhat pasty complexion. Pale, with weeks’ worth of stubble on his square jaw, his full lips were slightly parted, as he breathed steadily. The serenity of his features belied what was going on inside of him.

For his entire life, spanning centuries, Liam had lived under his brother’s shadow. Aidan was to be the savior of their people. His older brother had been raised and trained for that one purpose alone. Liam’s needs, his want of love and attention, were an afterthought to their mother, the queen of Eruva.

Belonging to a race known as the Sidhe, their characteristics set them apart from other faerie races. Their height, almost all were at least six-feet tall, along with their vivid emerald eyes and incredible strength were but a few distinguishing features. His whole life he had tried to impress both of his parents. Whereas his father did at times express pride in Liam, he had never received any praise from his mother. Her sole focus was on the prophesy that would have Aidan, along with Alexa, return the long-lost Kaemorra, his people’s protective crystal, back to her.

Alexa herself had lived a difficult childhood. Her protective mother allowed her no friends or companionship. Moving often to keep her safe from their enemy, Thalia never explained to her daughter the need for caution. Alexa discovered her origins, the prophesy and the unwanted bonding with Aidan, all at the same time. Liam had to give her credit for how she had handled everything. Never once had she given in to the urge to flee. She might be a petite five-foot-three young woman, but she was stronger than any gave her credit for.

Alexa had readily accepted her role in the prophesy. However, that it involved Aidan as well and that he was supposed to be her soulmate, she had fought at every turn. Her stubbornness had driven Aidan to distraction. Aidan was at a loss to understand why she could not accept they were meant to be together. On her nineteenth birthday, as foretold by the prophesy, Alexa had come into her powers.

As an offspring of a witch and a Sidhe father, it was natural that she would inherit some of her mother’s abilities, along with those of her father. The whole range of her powers was still being discovered though. Liam knew there was so much more they still had not seen.

It was incredible how easily she had adapted to her changes. Her outward appearance, as well as her inner strength, was magnified by the source of her newly-formed powers. Her eyes had gone from gray to a steely silver color. A long white streak of hair had appeared, running down the right side of her heart-shaped face. The changes to her body were also profound. Her muscles had become more defined, while her figure grew curvy and fuller.

Alexa had also developed the ability to see visions of the future. She foresaw the attack coming on the night Liam was injured. It was an inopportune time to find out how unpredictable her visions could be. The method of their enemy’s assault differed from what she had foretold. They were prepared for warlocks and Sidhe to strike them. The arrival of the shadow people had come as a surprise. With their non-corporeal bodies, Liam and his brother had no weapons to defeat them with. Slithering along the ground, moving silently to box them in, the shadows had given them no chance of victory. Liam’s comatose condition was a direct result of that night.

His unconscious state came about when a shadow crossed over his foot. That brief contact was enough to render him senseless. He remembered clearly the night of the attack. The charge by the shadowy beings came swiftly, giving little chance for them to respond. In the garden with Aidan, the slithering forms, as they surrounded them, made it impossible to defend against the threat. With no physical bodies, the shadows were soon upon them. Alexa had arrived too late to save him. He fell, losing consciousness instantly. Since that night, all he had known was darkness.

While his body refused to move, his other senses had been heightened. He was imprisoned in his mind, where he could do nothing but listen to the world around him. Snippets of conversations, the alarmed voices filtered through the gloom he found himself within. He had remained alone for some time now. In the deafening silence, his mind replayed his last contact with Alexa.