While trying desperately to remember the words to the song she had been humming earlier, Kaia began to notice smoke rising high above the trees. The wind blew a heavy scent of burning leaves toward her and she broke into a full run, spilling the blackberries across the path and tossing the bucket aside in frustration. Crackles and splitting wood rang throughout the forest, nearly drowning out the bloodcurdling screams and mournful cries that rose above the hellish flames.
Smoke and tears blurred her vision. Kaia slowed down, exhausted from her sudden sprint. She coughed out the smoke that threatened to suffocate her lungs and the heat almost unbearable point here at the perimeter of the growing flames: her village.
There was nothing she could do except watch it burn away, yet her brain continued to race, trying desperately to think of a way she could extinguish the massive flames. She came up with nothing. With her mind numb, she meekly called out, "Mom?"
Kaia's voice went unheard with the anguish shout of the blaze. It inched closer with every passing second. Her heart began racing and she shouted, "MOM!" while running recklessly toward the fire. Two arms shot out from behind and embraced her, halting her body.
"Let go! Let go! I need to see my mom!" She thrashed and threw her body against them until her body grew limp from exhaustion. The arms loosened around her slowly; her body slumped down into a heap. As she sobbed, a hand rested tentatively on her shoulder sending a shiver down her spine. Hesitantly, Kaia lifted her eyes to see who had stopped her from rescuing her mother.
She expected to see the face of someone much older, but was surprised to find a teenager of around 17--an adult to her village's standards. His eyes were mysterious and glued her eyes to his. They penetrated her, appearing to see every thought and secret. His hair, like hers, was an unusual color, though his was a light indigo. He kept his hair a bit longer than most males, but wore it tied back. The glow of the fire caused his face to seem hard, which only frightened her more since he showed no sign of friendliness. Whatever he was to her, she wished he would stop looking at her.
After what felt like an eternity, he finally spoke. His voice was tough, straining to sound friendly, but failed and came out commanding, "Go to the shrine. It's safe there."
"Why?" she asked, tentatively, her voice barely a whisper.
"There's no time to explain. Just do it!"
She still didn't move and just as she was about to question him again they heard a noise. In a nearby tree, the spotted a man standing on a sturdy branch. Dressed in black, he held a box of matches and had a sword at his side. He tossed the box up and down, up and down, and then suddenly stopped. He looked down at them and feigned surprise. Casually, he threw the box into the inferno and gave a sinister smirk.
"It would appear that I missed two," he said, gracefully unsheathing his sword and directing it at them. "Now, who should I kill first? Her--or you?"
The man looked over Kaia and her face scrunched up in revulsion as the man smirked and licked his lips slowly as he clutched the hilt of his sword. The teenage boy's eyes hardened and he stepped closer toward Kaia.
As she took a few tentative steps back to distance herself from the man and the steadily approaching flames, the teenager said, "I don't think you'll be killing us. Or anyone else for that matter."
She looked quickly at the teenager, but his face was still without emotion. The man in the tree laughed, turning Kaia's attention back to him.
"And why won't I be killing anymore?" he bellowed.
"I'll tell you why," the teenager said, his voice rising with anger, "because I'm going to put a stop to it!"
Kaia saw that the had a sword of his own. He agilely unsheathed it and pointed it toward the man in black. The man only laughed. "You're barely out of diapers, and you think you can take me on?"
The teenager said nothing, but coldly stared back. More quickly than she could follow, the man jumped down from his perch. Kaia squeaked and moved behind the teenager. The teenager, however, didn't flinch. He seemed steadfast and sure of himself. The man in black also noticed his demeanor and his grin vanished.
"What's your name?" the man suddenly asked.
"The name's Reeze," he answered coolly. "And yours?"
The man gave a wolfish grin. "You can call me Tipton."
Kaia closed her eyes for a split second, wishing desperately that everything was just a dream. Opening her eyes, she found Reeze right in front of her holding back an attack. Sweat glistened on his forehead as he strained to push Tipton back, while Tipton was again grinning.
"Go!" Reeze yelled at her. Reluctantly, she scrambled up and mustered enough energy to get up and sprint toward the shrine, never looking back.
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THE CHOSEN: BOOK ONE
Kaia’s entire life has erupted in flames after an assassin appears and burns her village down.
She’s rescued by a god from another planet who requests her help because she’s the descendant of their last savior.
Together with Reeze — the only other survivor from her village and her appointed guardian — they set off on a quest to find the treasures of the gods in hopes of preventing a dire prophesy.
Kaia and Reeze quickly meet the Tueors, a group of people many thought extinct, who are searching specifically for Kaia.
Their intention: to protect the truth. As Kaia discovers more about the truth and her family’s past, she also learns of the Tueors’ bloody secret.
Will Kaia be the savior the gods have been waiting for? Or will she let the
prophesy come true?
Buy links: Amazon Barnes and Noble iTunes/iBooks Smashwords
A neek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and
magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story
structures and character studies.
When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.
Find her online: