Foretold (Daughters of Saraqael Book Three)

BOOK: Foretold (Daughters of Saraqael Book Three)
8.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy: Book Three



Raine Thomas


Published by Iambe Books at Smashwords


Copyright 2011 Raine Thomas.

eISBN: 978-0-9838318-2-2

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.

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This book is dedicated with much love

to my husband and daughter,


Kevin and Faith


Thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement…

and for not disowning me when I say, “Not now. I’m writing!”


Without you, this book would have never been written.




“Another book already?”

Kate looked up from her reading and watched as the Gloresti elder, Gabriel, walked into the family room. She smiled, an action she knew perplexed the unemotional Estilorian. “Of course. I seem to be going through them rather quickly these days.”

“That is an…interesting reading method,” he said, eying the book where she had it perched on her round and swollen belly.

That made her laugh, provoking yet another confused expression to flash in his dark blue eyes. “I figured this was easier than trying to hold my book over or around myself. I’m getting too big to do much besides sit here and read.”

“If you want to go for a walk, I would be happy to assist you,” he offered.

She smiled again. He was always so kind to her. Even if that kindness was motivated at least in part by unwarranted guilt on his part, she still appreciated it. And lord, he was gorgeous. She might be pregnant with her beloved Saraqael’s daughters, but she had eyes in her head and a woman’s perspective on such things. The combination made him very endearing despite his continued bewilderment over her all too human emotions.

During her past months on the Estilorian plane, she had come to enjoy the company of all of the class elders. She was even now in the home of the Elphresti elder, Jabari. He had been unfailingly gracious and patient with her since she had transitioned. The Lekwuesti elder, Sebastian, made sure her every need was met, from her human need for food throughout the day to clothes that could accommodate her impressive girth. Whenever she needed comfort, Malukali was able to use her powerful mental energy to offer at least a semblance of it. Zayna, the Scultresti elder, kept her updated on the progress of the forms being created for the babies. The Wymzesti elder, Knorbis, told her many amazing stories about the creation of the Estilorian plane and the remarkable future he predicted for her daughters. Uriel, the Waresti elder, and Ini-herit, the Corgloresti elder, assured her that they were planning as thoroughly as possible to ensure her safe transition back to the human plane.

Those conversations usually saddened her, as she knew she wouldn’t survive that transition. She had dreamed of it.

Still, she had never been one to dwell on the negative. She would soon be with her beloved. That was certainly something. And she had come to believe that the Estilorians, however unemotional they were, would take care of her daughters.

“Thank you for the offer, Gabriel,” she said at last. “A walk might be in order later. I’m getting to the good part of this story, though.”

He shook his head. “Well, at least you enjoy reading, since it is one of the few things you can do safely at this late stage of your pregnancy.”

“Oh, yes,” she agreed. “And it has actually proven practical, as well. I’ve come across some names in the books I’ve read that I intend to give the girls.”

“Really?” His eyebrows rose, giving his handsome face more expression than usual.

“Yes.” Eager to share her choices with someone, she shifted in her chair to get more comfortable. One of the babies was pressing heavily on her bladder. He reached over to assist her.

“Thank you,” she said, blushing over the attention.

She felt his eyes on her face, absorbing her reaction. He was always studying her, trying to understand her expressions and emotions since he couldn’t experience them himself. She often wondered how Saraqael, the passionate male she had fallen so deeply in love with, had been from this race of inherinetly unemotional beings.

Clearing her throat to cover her discomfiture, she said, “I have decided to name the firstborn Amber. Her Estilorian name will be Ambryl.”

“Two names?”

She nodded. “I think it would be nice to have a name for their human halves as well as their Estilorian halves.”

“I see,” he said, appearing to give this some thought. “Well, those are nice names.”

“Thanks,” she said, smiling brightly. “I love them. The books I have read indicate that amber—the substance—is very ancient and has properties of light and healing. And the name makes me think of a solidly-grounded individual. That seems right for an oldest child.”

He didn’t seem to know what to say to that. As Estilorians couldn’t reproduce and there had never been a newborn baby on the Estilorian plane before, she knew he really was clueless.

Continuing on as though she didn’t notice his creased forehead, she said, “My name choices for our second-born are Olivia and Olaya. I imagine as the middle child she will often serve as a source of balance for her sisters. And since the olive branch is a symbol of peace, it also felt right.”

“Also very nice,” he said politely.

“I’m glad you think so,” she said, and meant it.

Now, her smile turned soft and maternal. She rubbed her belly as the babies inside writhed and kicked. They would be here soon…within the next week or two, she guessed. She could only hope that this basic foundation she was creating for them would prove enough to set them all on their feet.

“I believe our youngest will have a more liberated spirit than her sisters,” she said, catching Gabriel’s thoughtful gaze. “I hope she’ll learn to fly free where her sisters are more grounded. And with this wish in mind, I’ve come up with the name I will give her. She will be Skye. Skylar.

“And I believe she will help everyone around her soar.”




Excerpts from the Great Foretelling:

The time will come when all Estilorians will face the consequences of our decision to separate the planes. We can only have faith that we made the right choice.”


There will be those among us who will be required to engage in instant relationships with this new class of being. These relationships will be both incredibly foreign and incredibly stimulating.”


Chapter One


“Thatta girl. Come on, just one more push! I can almost see the head.”

Skye squatted a few feet away from the birthing mother, issuing frequent and enthusiastic encouragement. The labor had been progressing steadily over the past hour. The delivery was now imminent.

“Here it comes!” she exclaimed, surging forward in her excitement.

Three pairs of hands pulled her back.

“Are you out of your mind?” her sister Amber asked in an exasperated voice. “That
a huge panther, you know. She could take your head off.”

Unable to contain her happy smile, she glanced at Amber and gave a little shrug. “I can’t help it—Aurora’s finally about to have her cubs!”

She watched Amber roll her golden eyes and catch the gaze of her husband, Gabriel. He just grinned and glanced knowingly at Caleb, the third set of hands who had hauled her back and away from Aurora. As her Gloresti, Caleb was the Estilorian charged with Skye’s protection. She was the first to admit that she didn’t make it easy for him.

But how was she supposed to just remain still when her sister Olivia’s closest animal friend was giving birth? It was such an important time, and Olivia was still away on her honeymoon. Aurora needed their support.

Just then, a small form emerged from where Aurora crouched over a pile of leaves. Tears filled Skye’s eyes as she watched the cub slide free and onto the natural bedding.

“Oh my goodness!” she breathed, bringing her hands to her mouth. Emotion flooded her.

Aurora turned to lick the cub clean. No bigger than two hands, the baby panther was dark in coloring, like its sire. Titan, the black male panther, sat still as a statue a few feet from Aurora. Skye knew Caleb was watching the unpredictable tom with a wary eye. Only Olivia and James, Olivia’s Gloresti and now her husband, had the ability to mentally connect with the animals. While Aurora had been a companion of theirs since they transitioned to the Estilorian plane, Titan was a new and relatively unknown addition to their family circle.

“I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl,” Skye said, tilting her head as if she’d be able to determine the gender just by looking at the cub from a different angle.

“We’ll just let Lucas tell us that when Aurora’s had some time to recover,” Gabriel said in his calm voice. He and Amber shared the same human southern accent, and it made itself known in his careful drawl.

Lucas sat a few feet away in case Aurora ended up needing his assistance. Responsible for caring for the panthers, he was highly skilled in the ways of animals and had grown rather attached to the two cats since their arrival at “Estilorian Central,” the Estilorians’ hidden and protected main base. Now, his lavender eyes flickered up and caught Skye’s cheerful gaze. His face lit with a brief answering smile, the effect of the flash of his white teeth rather remarkable against his dark skin. As usual for him, he was dressed in a toga, this one black and gold.

Not long after the first cub arrived, Aurora resumed her pacing. She occasionally made sounds in her throat that tugged at Skye. She imagined the pain must be awful.

“Looks like another one’s coming,” Amber observed.

Glancing beside her, Skye considered her normally stalwart sister’s expression. It was even more somber than usual. When Gabriel reached over and ran his hand along Amber’s back, she realized that her sister was worried.

Her intuition kicking in, Skye nodded to herself. “You’re thinking that in a few more months, that’s going to be you.”

Amber was nearly four months pregnant. Frowning, she replied, “I won’t be squatting over some leaves, for heaven’s sake.”

That image made Skye laugh.

“Is it very painful?” Caleb asked from his position behind Skye. When they all glanced at him, he clarified, “Giving birth.”

Skye winced before looking back at Amber, who scowled. Gabriel cleared his throat and answered, “It’s no walk in the park, but we’re going to make sure Amber is as comfortable as possible.”

“Yeah,” Amber said dryly. “With no drugs or anything available here like they have on the human plane. Great.”

“Drugs?” Caleb asked, obviously at a loss.

Where Amber, Olivia and Skye were half-human and had grown up on the human plane for the first eighteen years of their lives, and Gabriel was full Estilorian but had also experienced eighteen years of life on the human plane as he relearned human emotions, they all occasionally forgot how different things were between the human and Estilorian planes of existence.

Skye again looked at her Gloresti, someone she had come to think of as much more than just a protector since her transition to the Estilorian plane five-and-a-half months ago. His brows were drawn into a puzzled frown over the dark blue eyes that marked him as a Gloresti. The expression did nothing to distract from what she considered his off-the-charts “hot” factor. His long, curly brown hair, distinctive facial features and tan-edging-toward-mocha skin tone gave him the appearance of what a human might call multi-racial heritage. On this plane, since Estilorians couldn’t reproduce as humans did, he was simply the result of the efforts of an extremely talented Scultresti, who created Caleb’s Estilorian form when he transitioned to this plane. His muscular arms were now crossed over his broad chest, the black tank top he wore leaving his fine physique open to Skye’s scrutiny. Even though the specially-cut tank tops were very common apparel among Estilorians, only Caleb consistently caused her to all but gape when she didn’t focus on not doing so.

“Drugs are a kind of human medicine,” Gabriel explained to Caleb. “They alter a human’s physical and sometimes mental state, depending on the drug’s purpose.”

“They give such things to birthing mothers?” Caleb asked, his tone filled with disbelief.

“To relieve their pain,” Skye hastily explained when she saw Amber’s eyes narrow. “I mean, think about it. A woman has to squeeze something the size of a large melon out of something the size of a, well, a lemon, I guess. Her body has to make some rather violent changes for that to happen.”

Caleb’s frown disappeared as he placed that into perspective. An eyebrow rose instead. He looked from Aurora, who continued to pace agitatedly, to Amber, who was watching the panther.

“I’ll bet you’re glad that it isn’t the male who bears the children,” he said to Gabriel after a moment.

Skye couldn’t stop the giggle that his comment caused. When Amber glared at her, she slapped her hand over her mouth. Gabriel shifted in obvious discomfort over the topic, wearing a chagrined expression. Running a hand through his dark, wavy hair, he remained wisely silent.

“Well, don’t think I’m going to lie there absorbing all of this wonderful pain I’m going to experience without projecting it anywhere,” Amber snapped, crossing her arms over her chest.

Since she and Gabriel shared a mental connection due to the fact that they were avowed—the Estilorian equivalent to bound forever—it was no idle threat. Gabriel, the supremely powerful leader and eldest member of the Gloresti class, paled like a youth facing his first battle.

Skye bit her lip to keep herself from laughing again. Then she noticed Aurora squatting and returned her attention to the ongoing birth right in front of her.

“Here comes the next one!” she declared.

Once again, when she moved forward, three pairs of hands pulled her back.

“I just want to see it better,” she complained, but returned to her position without arguing further.

The second cub proved to be the last in the litter. After Aurora had cleaned the two cubs and Lucas changed out the leaves with clean bedding for the panther family, he conducted a quick check of the cubs’ genders while Aurora and Titan watched carefully.

“We have one male and one female,” he informed them.

Skye was so excited she couldn’t sit still. Jumping to her feet, she clapped her hands to express her happiness. “Olivia is going to be beside herself!” she declared. “Oh—I wonder if she’ll let me name one.”

As Gabriel also got up and then assisted Amber to her feet, her sister said, “You know you’d just name it after some Disney character.”

Blushing, Skye argued, “No, I wouldn’t.” Okay, so maybe she
been thinking that Simba and Nala would be cute names for a cat. Was that so criminal?

“Well, I’m glad the happy family is doing so well,” Gabriel said, reaching over to put an arm around Amber’s waist. “But I’m beat. It’s got to be nearly two in the morning.”

Amber let out a yawn to express her agreement. Although she had recently stopped growing as tired every day as she used to earlier in her pregnancy, it was quite late for all of them. She looked decidedly exhausted.

“I just want a couple more minutes with Aurora,” Skye said, glancing at the new mother where her cubs were squirming under her belly in search of their first meal.

Gabriel glanced at Caleb. Skye imagined they were sharing a thought. Ever since she, Amber and Olivia had quite accidentally, but very meaningfully, exchanged vows of friendship and commitment as a group with Gabriel, James and Caleb, the three males had all been able to send each other thoughts. Similarly, Skye could now send thoughts to her sisters whenever she wanted. She actually thought it was rather cool, even if it did occasionally infringe on her privacy when she wasn’t guarding her thoughts closely enough.

When Caleb gave Gabriel a brief nod, she knew she had been right.

“Okay then,” Gabriel said. He gave Skye one of his charming smiles. “‘Night, sis.”

Unable to resist smiling back, she replied, “Good night, you two.”

She watched them for a moment as they walked away. Amber brought her arm up and put it around his waist, as well. The two of them had been best friends on the human plane. That had blossomed into much more over their six years together living in the same foster home, and now they were married and avowed, as connected as they could possibly get. Especially in light of Amber’s history of emotional detachment formed after multiple displacements before the age of twelve, their connection was nothing less than a miracle, Skye thought. She got a tremendous amount of joy watching the two of them together.

When they were out of sight, she turned back to Aurora. Squatting again, she said, “You did a wonderful job,
. I know Olivia wanted to be here with you when this time finally came, but I’ll keep every moment up here to share with her when she gets back.” She tapped the side of her head.

She watched the new family quietly for a few more minutes, her smile never fading. Because she sensed Caleb staring at her, she resisted the urge to reach out and pet the panther. Although she felt perfectly safe doing so, her Gloresti tended to overreact to such things.

“I’ll come and check on you in the morning,” she finally promised, standing back up. Then she tilted her head and considered her own words. “Well, later
morning, I guess,” she clarified, amused with herself. Then she turned and caught Caleb’s gaze. “Okay. Thanks for waiting with me.”

He nodded. Unlike her, he was generally a being of few words. Somehow, she found that trait rather comforting.

They walked in silence, heading back toward the bedrooms that the Estilorian’s hospitality class, the Lekwuesti, had prepared for them while they stayed at Central. Not surprisingly, they didn’t encounter anyone once they entered the building housing their rooms. The hallways, lit by balls of light that bounced against the ceiling and followed their progress as they walked, were quiet. Skye could hear the swish of Caleb’s long hair, pulled into a ponytail, brushing the back of his tank as he turned to glance in all directions, ever vigilant.

Then he surprised her with a question. “What’s a Disney character?”

“Um. What?” She could feel her face heating and prayed she hadn’t heard him correctly.

“Your sisters have referenced Disney movies and Disney characters in regards to some of the things you’ve said. I’m curious to know what they are.”

She considered saying that she couldn’t tell him. Estilorians as a whole were largely ignorant of the ways of modern humans, having lived on this separate plane of existence for over two millennia. The elders of each class had agreed over time to limit how much information was shared about human culture because there were many things that could not—and should not—be replicated on this plane. Keeping such details quiet was one of the earliest things impressed upon Skye and her sisters, who all remembered very clearly what life had been like on the human plane at the time of their transition.

“Hmm,” she stalled, struggling not to fidget under his thoughtful gaze. “Well, I’ve told you about movies, before I knew I shouldn’t.”


She sighed. “Disney movies—the ones my sisters call me out on all the time—are kind of like fairytales put into movie format.”


How did one explain such things to an Estilorian? Until she and her sisters, along with Gabriel, had transitioned here, emotion had been all but unknown to Estilorians. They had learned only after separating themselves from humanity for the sake of protecting humans from themselves that all they had known of emotions had been left on the human plane. Sure, they were relearning those emotions now that she and her sisters were here and could teach them, but some things were just about impossible to explain without some point of reference.

Finally, she hazarded, “Uh, well, I guess you could consider fairytales fictional stories with heroes and heroines who face challenges and overcome them. There’s always a happy ending and usually some kind of love story.”

He considered this in silence for a full minute. Then he said, “Why is it your sisters seem scornful of these movies and characters?”

Glad to note that they were getting close to their rooms, she fiddled with the end of her long braid and shrugged. “Amber and Olivia are both more realistic than I am,” she admitted. “They know that life doesn’t always have a happy ending.”

“And you don’t?”

They had reached the door to her room, which adjoined James’ empty bedroom on one side and Caleb’s on the other. He paused with his hand on the handle to her door, holding her gaze.

BOOK: Foretold (Daughters of Saraqael Book Three)
8.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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