Here’s the cover and a peek at part of the first chapter of The Lost Tribe: Exile. This is the first book in the series set in the same universe as the Witch and the Wolf. As always, please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes.
“This is all you’re fault Lena!” Sophia screamed hurling a bolt of lightening at her younger sister. “You think because you’re a princess you’re better than me. Newsflash little sister, I’m going to be queen not you!”
Lena dodged the lightening bolt easily but the heavy curtains behind her caught fire. Lena quickly put them out before the flame ruined too much. She picked up the red curtains and shook her head. “You need to control you’re temper sister. A queen should have control of her emotions at all times.”
Rage distorted Sophia’s beautiful features. “Are you going to help your queen or not?”
“The queen is dead and no one has been crowned yet.”
“I am the queen!” Sophia shot off another lightening bolt.
Lena raised her hand and absorbed the attack. “You aren’t even a member of the royal family. You can’t be queen.”
“You don’t even want to rule! You’ve said it yourself a million times.” Sophia circled Lena. Her hair was pulled up in a tight mass of curls and she wore a long formal ballgown. She looked much more the part of royal than Lena in her simple day gown. Sophia always dressed for the role she wanted. That should have been Lena’s mother’s first clue. Prescott, their father, had warned Queen Marie that Sophia was dangerous.
Lena’s mother had a soft heart and had loved Sophia as her own the moment she laid eyes on her. Lena suspected that she would never have been born if Marie hadn’t seen what beautiful children Prescott could produce. Sophia’s mother had died during birth and the queen had taken in the baby. While Sophia didn’t have a title, she was as much a part of the royal family as Lena was. That was the mistake. Sophia was raised as a princess without the ability to ever be queen. Thanks to her mother’s kindness, the entire clan was in danger.
“I can’t help you Sophia.” Lena shook her head. “Nobody can help you anymore. You and your people need to turn yourselves in to the Council. There’s still hope for leniency.”
“As if I would ever lower myself to grovel to those fools.” Sophia stopped circling. “You know you won’t be spared this punishment. They mean to send away the entire clan dear sister.”
“No they won’t,” Lena said confidently. “They will punish you and the people who committed these awful crimes. The rest of us will be fine. I told you not to play with fire sister.”
Sophia laughed. “You are so naïve! The only people who will be spared are the three who have turned on us. Father didn’t make you part of his deal. He’s leaving you to rot with the rest of us.”
Lena left the room. Sophia’s laughter followed her. Lena went out to the grounds. She waved her hand at the footmen who tried to follow her. She wanted to send a message to their father in private.
“Come find me when he breaks your stupid little heart!” Sophia was standing on the balcony still laughing. Lena looked over her shoulder and pushed her sister back into the house. She slammed and locked the balcony door behind Sophia. She was lying. Their father would never abandon his people or Lena. Sophia was trying to goad Lena into helping her again. She was already hiding her from the Council and the lynch mobs. What more could Lena do? It was Sophia and her hate that had caused all the problems and now she would have to pay.
Lena walked into the hedge maze to get some privacy. She turned a few corners before crouching in the grass. She reached out to her father trying to find him in the world. Usually, he kept an enchanted mirror to speak with her and Sophia. That had stopped once the Council started looking for Sophia and putting together what was really going on. Lena thought it was to protect them. If anyone found the mirror, they would be able to find the girls in a matter of seconds.
Divining in the grass, she couldn’t locate Prescott. She frowned and tried again. There was a small map of the world burned in the grass but no flame was appearing to show his location. She cast twice more before giving up. He didn’t want to be found. He had to be using very strong magic to block himself. Sophia was telling the truth. There was no reason for Prescott to hide from Lena. She had done nothing wrong and those who followed her would surely follow Prescott once Sophia was gone. He could finally be King of the Northlands Fae.
Lena trembled in the grass. If anything was going to happen it would be at sunset. The Council had given Sophia and her people until the end of the day to surrender themselves. Lena got up and ran back to the house.
“Sophia! You need to turn yourself in!” She ran from room to room. Sophia was lounging in the queen’s old room. She was flipping through patterns.
“I will do no such thing. The punishment will be the same no matter what I do. I want them to know that I am not sorry for what I did. I would do it again. I will do worse next time!”
Lena kneeled next to the chaise. “If you don’t go, they will punish us all.”
Sophia looked at her sister and smiled. “Will you help me now?”
“I will not! I can not!”
“Then you deserve to be punished too. All that power and you’re going to bend to the will of those less powerful? Why does it matter so much to you?”
“I don’t care what they think. I care what I think Sophia. I couldn’t look at myself if I did what you ask.”
“You won’t be able to look at yourself when they get done with us.” Sophia held up the book and pointed to a purple gown. “I like this one. I think it would look great with my coloring. You could get one in green and we could be matching like when we were girls!”
Lena looked outside. It would be anytime now. “If you love me at all, you wouldn’t do this to me. To our people.”
She put her hand on Lena’s cheek. “You’re willing to forsake me for the other supernaturals and humans. I should kill you where you stand dear Lena.”
Lena stood up. “I should kill you where you sit. I’m sure the Council will be just as happy to take a dead body as a live one.”
Sophia raised an eyebrow. “Are you finally getting a backbone little sister?”
“I can’t let our people all be punished for what you did.” Lena raised her chin. She couldn’t kill her sister but she could knock her out. The guards could drag her to the Council. It would be over quickly.
The air in the room was tense as the two sisters looked at one another. Sophia stood up slowly and brushed off her dress. “I don’t want to kill you Lena but I will hurt you very badly.”
“You can try.” Lena didn’t even raise her hand. Boulders fell from the ceiling. They crashed onto Sophia’s head and split without harming her. The pieces fell onto the chaise and broke it along with a footstool.
“I liked that chaise.” Sophia said angrily. Lena flew backwards and out the window with a crash. She landed on her feet in the lawn. The guards watched with interest as Sophia flew out to the lawn and set the grass around Lena on fire.
The head of the home guard came forward to help Lena. She pushed him back. “Stay out of this Gavin!”
He was a good guard but he couldn’t stand up to Sophia. She really did mean to hurt Lena. Sophia let her glamour fall and her beautiful face was replaced by mottled grey skin with deep black cracks running through it. Her shiny brown hair was replaced by long, stringy white strands. The true face of the Northlands Fae. Lena let her own glamour drop. She wasn’t quite was ugly as her sister but then she wasn’t quite as powerful either.
She had to rely on her speed and cunning to best Sophia. They had been play fighting since they were children. Sophia had never hit Lena with the full force of her power but Lena had a good idea of what her sister was capable of as lightening rained down from the sky and hail the size of small horses hurtled toward her. She used quick teleports to dodge the hail but she couldn’t attack back. The minute she would get to a safe spot the grass and dirt reached up to hold her down.
Lena was teleporting and floating as she zipped to each spot.
“Getting tired yet sister?” Sophia asked as she floated. Lena needed to get her sister on the ground. She pushed wind at Sophia to try to force her down but her sister didn’t move more than an inch. Lena absorbed some of the lightening and shot it back at Sophia. The heat burned off a chunk of her white hair. “Good. This was starting to get boring it was so easy.”
The ground rumbled under their feet. The sisters looked at each other. Sophia’s eyes turned red in a rage. It felt like someone had stabbed Lena in the stomach and was ripping her organs out through the hole. It was like her body was trying to turn itself inside out. She was faintly aware of the guards screaming and writing on the ground. She thought she was screaming too but she couldn’t be sure. Blood was pouring from Sophia’s eyes as she too began to scream.
Whatever they were doing, it was working. Lena would have ripped Sophia’s heart out if she had the energy to move. The fires had stopped when Sophia lost her control on her magic. Lena was glad her mother wasn’t alive to see what had become of their country home. The maze was partially burned and the topiary figures were all ruined. They wouldn’t be able to play croquet on the lawn this season. Such a waste.
The longer the pain went on the more Lena started to understand why Sophia had wanted them all dead. They were willing to do this to Lena and her followers even though they were totally innocent. She didn’t understand why her father had let this happen. Why hadn’t he taken Lena with him at least? She curled up on the ground as the pain intensified. The pain was so great it felt like she was floating or maybe she had just detached from her body. Lena opened her eyes a millimeter and the ground around her was shimmering.
Exile will release at the end of the week. To get an email alert when it comes out, sign-up to my new release mailing list!