Fire Stones (The Fire Wars #2)

BOOK: Fire Stones (The Fire Wars #2)
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The Fire Stones

 

The Fire Wars: Book 2

 

kailin gow

 

 

 

The Fire Stones

Published by THE EDGE

THE EDGE is an imprint of Sparklesoup Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Kailin Gow

 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher except in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

For information, please contact:

 

THE EDGE at Sparklesoup

14252 Culver Dr., A732

Irvine, CA 92604

www.sparklesoup.com

First Edition.

Printed in the United States of America.

 

ISBN:
978-1597484602

 

 

 

DEDICATION
 

 

 

For my beta readers and teen/college board members – thank you.

 

 

 

Prologue

 

           
I
had a dream – that was not at all a dream.
I had read those words before. The poetry of Lord Byron – some English class – the ninth grade. He was one of the few writers we read who wrote before the Erosion – so often, for us, it seemed that nothing pre-Erosion mattered. The seas were rising; the lands were vanishing into the waves. Sand grew wet and scattered; the earth succumbed to the swamp and the darkness. How were we supposed to care about the lives of those who had lived back when the world was a mass of great continents, when we did not have to worry about the ever-shrinking ground beneath our feet.

            But the lines of that poem stayed with me for a long time after I learned them.
I had a dream, that was not all a dream.
For last night I too had a dream, and although the splendid phantasmagoria, the surreal sense of flying, the echoes in my ears all told me that I was dreaming, there was something within my dream so strong, so clear, that it was more real still than my waking days. My dream was strong enough to eradicate anything that was not my dream at all. The world didn't exist. My waking life didn't exist. High school, Aeros Academy, the popular girls, test grades – how petty they all seemed, how vague! As if it were of those things I had dreamed – and now, now at last, I was awake.

            Where were we? I looked around and my eyes were shining. This place, so glorious in its splendor, alive with the shine of pure white fire – it was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Even the most beautiful vistas of Aeros – its high mountains, its dark seas – could not compare to this splendor. Yet it did not frighten me. I was not afraid, nor intimidated, by the awe-inspiring grandeur of this place. It was my home. I
belonged
here. Of this I was sure. I commanded these golden flames; they lapped and licked at my command. I
owned
them. I looked around – the clouds were mine, the earth beneath my feet was mine, the flames were mine: and I knew in my heart the truth of the matter. I was Queen of this realm. It belonged to me.

            But I was not alone. A man was at my side, his flesh sweet-smelling with fire and a hint of sweat, the warm smell of action and vigor. His skin glistened in the firelight; he wore no shirt, and his olive-dark stomach rippled with tense muscles – like the tensing of a lion's body before the kill. His hair was long and dark; his blue eyes were penetrating. I could feel his skin against mine, the warmth and the smell of his skin against mine, and in ecstasy I knew he was with me – in a sense deeper than the greatest depth of magic. He and I were one, fused together the way the flames of the firelight fused together – two tongues of the same eternal fire. We were dressed in fine rainment – in the clothing of great kings and queens. Our bodies were weighed down with glimmering gemstones – red, orange, yellow, green – and fine golden silk caressed our skin.
Where is this place?
The part of me that remained Mac, that remained myself, was confused.

            But a still-greater part of me knew exactly where I was. I was home – sitting upon my throne, with my love at my side.
Vesta's throne.
I could feel a shiver run through my body. This was where I belonged. This is where I had always belonged. All my life up to this point had been a vague and frenzied search for this moment of eternal, perfect bliss. I could feel my love's lips against my shoulder, nuzzling my neck.

            “The Great Goddess Vesta,” a servant was bowing at my feet, so low that I could not make out his face. He touched the earth with his forehead. “I have come to do the Ritual Honors. I have come to bathe and prepare you for the ritual.”

            “What sort of preparation?” My love smiled – a cocky, familiar smile that spread slowly and rapturously across his face.
Chance?

            “Fine scented oils,” the servant said, bowing low once again. “A massage.”           

            “A massage?” There was a twinkle in my love's eye. “Why, do you think to deprive me of the chance to touch these proud, these agonizingly beautiful shoulders?” He put his hands upon my shoulder blades, his fingers finding my tension, seeking my release. “No, my good man, you are dismissed. These particular honors I wish to do myself.”

            “As you wish, Lord Mars.” The servant shuffled away, leaving me alone with him. I moaned softly as I leaned back into his hands, letting him knead my skin into ecstasy. I turned my head to face him, and in his eyes I saw the shining power of love. This man loved me – he wanted me – his desire so intense it seemed to radiate like beams of light from his eyes. I wanted to sink into his desire, to let it wash over me like a warm bath. How could I resist this joy, this feeling of absolute pleasure that came over me the moment his fingers touched my smooth, bared skin.

            “You are my love,” he murmured softly, “my one, my only. The two of us – twin flames. We are destined...” And here he kissed my shoulder. “To be together for always. We are destined to be united, the two of us. I shall never let you go.”

            I laughed, shooting him a flirtatious smile. “And if I ran away?”

            “Then I would spend eternity finding you again,” he said, his smile belying a strange gravity to his words. Although we joked, I had no doubt that he meant every word.

            “Fear not,” I whispered back, sinking into his kiss. His lips were sweet and spicy at once, like cinnamon. “My love for you shall not allow us to be divided. Neither time nor place shall ever divide us. We are one, and destiny has decreed it. We are to be together for eternity. For we know the ancient magic, and its ways are great. Only together can we command the power of the Flame. Only together can we command the world – the great power of life. Destruction and rebirth – the sacred power of fire.”

            Chance pulled me in for another kiss, this time rougher, more savage. His desire was stronger now. He looked up and pulled my hand over to a basin of fire, over which a clear glass bowl was being heated. No matter how hot the fire grew, I knew, it would not burn us; the bowl would not shatter. We had command over it. And in the bowl I saw five gemstones, each burning more brightly than the last, composed of five different colors – each glowing brightly, as if a storm were brewing beneath the smooth surfaces of the gem. I touched each of the stones in turn, feeling their warmth against my skin. “If you ever lose me,” I said, smiling. “If ever fate should separate us – then fear not. These five stones will lead you back to me. Always.”

            Chance looked at the stones, feeling them in his hand, turning each one over in turn. “I know your ways, my love,” he said. “I know how it amuses you to transform rocks – mere stones – into things of great beauty. You hold a pebble in your hand and it becomes an amethyst, or else a garnet, a sapphire, an emerald, topaz – all splendid creations, but none so beautiful as you. But today, my love, you have outdone yourself. These stones are brighter than even the sun itself. Look – they are shaped like the full moon, whose pale whiteness fades in comparison to your dark beauty.”

            First I picked up the emerald. Green flames burst from its core. “All stones have power,” I said. “This is the power of vision – its magic will provide those who hold it with the second sight. The holder of this stone will have the power of clairvoyance, the power to ward off trouble before it comes. But it has another power, too.” I smiled seductively. “The power to enhance love, to create joy.”

            Chance kissed me and pressed the stone to my breast. “Then you must wear it always.”

            I picked up the second stone, a glimmering red garnet. “The color of my heart's blood,” I said, Vesta's power coursing through me. “It is the symbol of my love. When you are afflicted with pain, with anger or sadness, this stone will offer you relief. When we meet, this stone will you possess, for our meeting, like the stone, will destroy any sadness. A stone of protection and affection.”

            I picked up the next stone, a shining amethyst. “This one,” I said, “will forge dreams. It will provide courage. And the fourth stone...” here I picked up a night-blue sapphire, “can heal wounds, and bring peace.” Chance played with all these stones in turn.

            “But the last one,” I said, “is the most powerful stone of all.” I picked up the topaz, glimmering with faint gold. “And it is the most dangerous. This stone provides to the wearer a very great strength: the power to become invisible to the human eye. And, for those mortals who wear it – the power of immortality. The ability to defeat death itself.”

            “You have outdone yourself, my love,” breathed Chance. “These are truly exquisite creations. You are the cleverest and best of divinities, my darling. Yet I fear...” his face darkened. “These stones, so beautiful, yet magical – all creatures in the world will want them. Human,  non-humans. Mortal, immortal. They may seek to steal them from you, from us.” He held me close, enveloping me in his arms. I inhaled his soft, sweet musk. “My Queen, my goddess...I can only hope...” He sighed heavily. “That I never have to use these stones to find you. That we are never separated. But if we are – if we must enter the Mortal Realm, into mortal bodies, I hope that then they shall prove worthy of those who possess us – and possess them.”

            As he finished speaking, he leaned in to kiss me once again, and I sighed with pleasure as I vanished into his kiss.

 

Chapter
1

 

 

            “
M
ac?” A voice from far away – not soft and caressing, as my dream-voice had been, but laughing and jocular. “Ma-ac? Are you sleeping?”

            “What?” I murmured, my eyes still closed. “No – go away – five more minutes...”

BOOK: Fire Stones (The Fire Wars #2)
6.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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