The Blood Within The Stone (Book 1 of The Wraith Cycle)
By: T.R. Thompson
Published by: Odyssey Books
Date of publication: 22/7/17
Genre: Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Young Adult (12+)
A shadow is spreading across the land. Fear will be your downfall.
When the Prefects of Redmondis discover that their quick minds and quicker fingers hide secret potential, young thieves Wilt and Higgs find themselves unwilling recruits. Wilt’s ability to sink into others’ thoughts, knowing what action they will take before they do, is both a prized and dangerous gift.
The Nine Sisters of Redmondis have sensed a growing threat, and search for the one who can control the power of the blood within the stone. But even their sinister plots are nothing compared to the force that controls them.
As Wilt and Higgs rally their newfound weapons, they discover that the threat to their lives, and their reality, is much greater than they realize.
“Daemi, isn’t it?”
Daemi increased her pace, so Wilt hurried along beside her. He wasn’t going to give up that easily.
“I was wondering if you could help me.”
“Do not speak to me.” Her voice was harsh and cold, her breath fogging out of the gap in her helm the only sign of humanity.
“Pete–the old man who healed me–he’s a guard too, isn’t he?”
Daemi swung around suddenly and shoved Wilt to the ground. She paused for a second to look down at him, and Wilt saw something new in her eyes. Fear perhaps, or regret. Daemi turned away quickly and resumed her march.
“I told you not to speak to me.”
Wilt lay in the dirt for a second, considering his predicament. She was faster than seemed possible in that armour. Maybe it wasn’t as heavy as it looked.
He pushed himself to his feet and skipped after her. “The reason I ask is, he’s missing a finger.”
Daemi spun again but this time Wilt was ready. He ducked the blow and grabbed her wrist as it sailed over his head, then stepped in and twisted her arm behind her. Before she could react, he slid her glove from her hand. Sure enough, her little finger was missing, and a fresh bandage covered the wound where it had been.
“Just as you seem to be missing one.”
Wilt heard the raw anger in her voice and let go, stepping well clear. She spun to face him, the long knife already clasped in her other hand, pointing directly at his heart.
Wilt held up his hands in surrender, her glove still clasped in one of them. “Let’s not do anything either of us will regret later.”
Daemi was beyond reasoning with. She let out a scream of incoherent rage and charged at him. Wilt barely had time to spin clear.
“There’s no need for this. Here.” Wilt threw her glove back to her, making sure it sailed high enough to lift her eyes. Sure enough, he saw their green light follow the arc of the glove. As soon as they left him, he shot forwards and kicked the knife from her hand.
The blade spun away and landed in the dirt. Wilt felt quite pleased with himself, for all of a second or so. Daemi’s cry of rage turned into a grunt of effort as she dropped and spun, her back leg sweeping around to take Wilt’s legs out from under him. He flopped back onto the ground and the air exploded from his lungs. Before he could roll away Daemi was on top of him, her hands clasped tight around his throat.
Wilt gaped up at her and felt himself fade as her image blurred. There was no air left in him, and no way to suck any more in. Bright stars burned through his vision.
No! He is reaching for me. I will not let him in, I must not let him in. I will kill him first.
Wilt saw himself lying prone, hands wrapped around his throat, his eyes grey and strange, all colour drained from them, yet still staring, peering into him, completely into him, taking him over. His hands loosened their grip.
Damn you! I will not let you take me!
But I do not want to take you. Just let go. Let me breathe. Like that.
Wilt saw his eyes begin to clear then slipped back into his own mind, the thick black rope that had linked their minds slithering away from her.
Wilt coughed and sat up, rubbing his throat. Her nails had drawn blood.
Daemi had rolled free and was on all fours, her body shaking. Something like a sob wrenched out of her.
“That will do I think.”
About the author:
Tom is an Australian speculative fiction writer. He lives in Belgrave on the outskirts of Melbourne with his wife and two young sons.
When not writing or reading he spends too much time gaming and taking long meandering walks through the forest that always seem to end up at a tavern.