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Last Updated: March 06, 2015 11:14:48

Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan

Barack stared out over the blackened ruins of the battlefield.  The vampires had reduced a once beautiful land to smoke and ash.  The trees wept poisonous tears that dripped and ran down twisted trunks.  Brittle branches had sheared off leaving jagged stumps along the cracked and bleeding trunks.  Below, on the ground stripped of all green, lay broken branches like fallen warriors.

A lone woman walked barefoot in the middle of the massacre, her arms widespread, her head thrown back, looking up at the heavy, snow laced clouds.  Her mass of long hair blew around her like a silken cape, caressing her shapely hips with every step she took.  She wore a simple skirt that fluttered and a brief peasant top, yet she looked a queen as she moved through the barren land.  Behind her, like a bright carpet of hope standing out starkly against the devastation, in each print of her foot, green grass and tiny sprouts pushed through the blackened soil.
The wind carried the sound of her voice, soft and melodious, as her chant coaxed the ground to give up new life.  She began to sway with the rhythm of her song, her feet following a centuries-old pattern known only to the women of her lineage.  Her hands wove an intricate graceful design in the air and with every sweep the wind rustled through the wilted leaves and breathed life back into them.

Barack held his breath as he watched Syndil perform the dance of healing over the scarred land, his heart keeping time to the music, his pulse thundering in his ears.  She was beautiful.  Ethereal.  She was a legend come to life, moving with such grace and beauty through the utter devastation of the land that the contrast brought to light the struggle of life and death and good and evil.

Syndil seemed oblivious to the ring of watchers, but Barack was acutely aware of them, of the awe on their faces, the respect and shock.  There was such power in her feminine magic.  The males of his species were warriors, dark and dangerous, calling down the storms, using the lightning, yet their women had such influence in harmonizing the universe.  They were gathered as well, standing shoulder to shoulder with the men.  The wind ruffled their hair and, as one they stepped forward, lifting their arms and swaying to Syndil’s rhythm.  Desari lifted her voice first, her song rising to blend with Syndil’s chant.  The ancient words, unlike the more guttural sounds of the healing chant, were a blend of melodies pleasing to the ear. 

One by one the other women joined in, until the forest rang with their song, aiding Syndil’s power, so that energy crackled in the air all around the blackened field.  New shoots sprang up even faster, leaves on trees burst forth in vibrant hues of greens.  Their feet found the pattern of Syndil’s dance and the graceful movement of her hands, and they moved in a circle around the area where she was working, all the while feeding their strength to her.

The men formed a tighter ring of protection, wary eyes seeking the interior of the forest surrounding them, taking in the tops of the trees and the ground where Syndil performed what amounted to a miracle. 

Barack almost missed the slight rise of the soil, as something sinister followed Syndil with stealth, moving just beneath the surface, pushing the dirt up no more than a half an inch.  Syndil!  Behind and below you!  He called to her on their most intimate path, knowing, even as he took to the air, that she never heard anyone or anything when she healed the earth.


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My latest release is titled Covert Game. Look for it in stores now or order it online. To read the first chapter click here.

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