As the final book of The Primortus Chronicles, PLAGUED PRIMORTUS, nears publication, it’s the perfect time to read an excerpt from book 2.
Skylee suddenly sensed the weight of her amulet against her skin. It felt neither hot nor cold. Yet her desire to read her Humusara was stronger than ever. Perhaps it could answer her questions. She pulled the book from her backpack, removed her necklace and placed the amulet inside the diamond-shaped carving in the cover. As usual, it began its miraculous transformation, going from a new-looking journal to a wornand weathered volume of ancient writings.
I never get tired of seeing that, thought Skylee, grinning down at her Humusara as she opened it. Instantly, words begin to shimmer across the page. She glanced up totell Will, but he and Airon seemed enthralled in conversation. Turning around in her seat, she looked at Chrism, who had moved to the back of the glider, and was in her own world with loud music blasting from her E-buds. I’ll tell them later. She peered down atthe aged pages and read.
EXTINGUISHING THE MAN ABLAZE
WILL BRING ABOUT A TOXIC HAZE,
REVEALING FEELINGS LEFT UNSAID
UPON THE TRACK THAT LIES AHEAD.
Hmm, I don’t like the sound of that…toxic haze. She frowned, remembering her trip to the Maori Village where Ashley had used some kind of gaseous concoction on her mom. And he might have succeeded in kidnapping her if Skylee hadn’t stopped him by using the tree’s roots and limbs. Wait a minute, she thought as the words came together in her mind. Ashley Hayes…Haze…that can’t be his real name. The book’s pages fluttered, bringing her eyes back to the paper as itfell open to a new spot. Oh goody, she thought, rolling her eyes, more riddles.
THY HEART SHALL BE CONSUMED BY FLAME,
AND LOVE BE JUDGED OF GUILT AND BLAME.
THE NINE WILL GATHER ONE TO TEST
AND TWO MUST PART AT THEIR BEHEST.
My heart consumed by flames…really? Skylee covered her eyes for a moment and then peeked through her fingers to look down at the shimmering words again. Nine will gather one to test, she reread, dropping her hand as her eyebrows shot up. Nine who, or what?Oh brother, how am I supposed to know what that means?
Skylee glanced at Ann, who still seemed engrossed with something on her V-phone. Of course, she knew Will’s mom had a point about making sure her powers weren’t seen. But it kind of hurt her feelings that she hadn’t even seemed grateful that she’d saved her son from becoming a crispy critter. Skylee exhaled loudly.
“Sky,” Will said looking at herover his shoulder. “You okay?”
Every head in the glider turned inher direction. Oh, hey guys, my Humusara just told me my heart’s gonna burst into flames at any moment, she imagined herself saying. Psssh—nevermind! Shegazed up at them and said, “Yep, I’m good.”
“Well, my neck hurts like heck,”
Chrism said in a scratchy voice. “And thanks for asking.”
Airon immediately moved back to sit next to her sister. He took Chrism’s hand and spoke to her in soft tones. How does she do that? Skylee wondered,shaking her head. In any case, she was glad the focus was on Chrism so shecould get back to her Humusara. Looking down, she watched the shimmering wordsfrom her last riddle replaced with new ones.
“Wow, guess you’re feeling chatty today,” she whispered to her book.
OF EARS, WHICH LISTEN BUT DO NOT HEAR,
OF EYES, WHICH SEE ALTHOUGH NOT CLEAR,
OF MOUTHS, WHICH SPEAK BUT WILL NOT SAY,
THEIR WORDS, THEIR SIGHT, THEIR SECRET WAY.
“Ugh,” Skylee sighed, pulling her Humusara to her chest and hugging it tightly. Why riddles? I mean really, what’s wrong with plain English, like—Watch out! Brinfrost ahead, turnback! Now that would be more useful. But at the moment all she had was more questions, and chief among them was why the Arcamentum had guided her to Brinfrost.
This week Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest serving Monarch. We may not be royalty but this seems the perfect time to tell you about the time we took an imaginary trip across the pond.
It might sound completely mental to imagine we are traveling to the UK, but until we make “The Guardian Bestseller List” or our books are made into movies (we can dream) we’ll just have to pretend we’re visiting the places in our stories.
Or watch “Doctor Who” while noshing on Jammie Dodgers
Visit a Local British Restaurant
Fish and Chips for Lunch
Spend the afternoon reading the words of a British Author.
J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bront, Emily Bront, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and Agatha Christie…just to name a few.
Decorate the dinner table for a “Doctor Who” Dinner
Yummy fish sticks and custard
Cassandra Pizza and Bow Tie Pasta
So, if you ever do get to Jolly Ole England, remember…pants mean underwear, sweaters are called jumpers, and trainers are tennis shoes.
If you’re not too knackered from the “trip” curl up on your settee with a cuppa and read this scene from HOLLOWED HUMUSARA, introducing our favorite “Britishy” butler, Chesterfield.
At that moment the castle’s ornate wooden doors swung open and a slender man descended the stairs. He wore an old fashioned black tuxedo with long coat tails, a crisp white shirt, and a bow tie. His salt and pepper hair was meticulously combed back. Skylee thought he looked like he had just stepped from the pages of a Jane Austen novel.
Chrism, who was still slightly out of breath from dancing, stepped up to Skylee and let out a soft snort. “Where’d Phileas find him, Buckingham palace?”
Skylee gave her sister a poke in the ribs without taking her eyes off the approaching man. “More like the Antarctic,” she murmured back, resisting an urge to laugh.
“What the heck?” said Chrism, wrinkling up her forehead.
“Oh, I got it” she said, rolling her eyes. “Honestly, does everything have to be about wildlife with you?”
Skylee shrugged and grinned.
“Welcome to Mogg Castle,” said the man when he reached the bottom of the stairs. “My name is Chesterfield, the caretaker here. ‘Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He spoke in a prim and proper British accent.
Skylee noticed something odd about him. His facial features seemed almost immobilized. But before she could study him more closely, a squeaky little meowing sound caught her attention. A rather large cat with fluffy orange and white fur had followed him down the steps. As the caretaker introduced himself to the adults, the cat scurried up and rubbed against Skylee’s legs.
Kneeling down, she stroked it gently. “Ooo, such a big kitty, she cooed. “Yes…let’s see…are you a Maine Coon? I think so…yes I do… Aren’t you a good…uh, girl? No…no, you’re a boy…aren’t you?”
“Aaaaw,” said Chrism, joining her to pet the cat. “Look at him, he’s so gorgeous! And he reminds me of someone.”
And just like that, Skylee was struck with an unnerving thought. Ever since her sister had turned into a bear and then a snake—not to mention seeing Levi, the Silvereye, flying around her hotel room—she couldn’t see animals in the same way. Now, she found herself wondering if they were a Corporus.
Well, if I could shift I’d be a cat, she thought, looking closer at the kitty. His large eyes shone like golden glass and his fur felt too soft to be real.
“Hello young miss,” said Chesterfield, bowing slightly to Chrism, and then pivoting to bow to Skylee. “Miss Porter, I see you’ve met our resident cat.”
Skylee stood. “Oh, hi—yes sir—we have. What’s his name?”
“We call him Mr. Chi.”
“Oh, what does it mean?” asked Skylee.
“The name has many meanings,” he said. “In China it is the energy of life or literally air, and the traditional unit of length, sometimes referred to as a Chinese foot. It can also mean dragon. In Greek it is the twenty-second letter in the alphabet. And in some urban settings it means an extremely attractive person, a hottie.”
“Er, well, thanks,” muttered Skylee, glancing over at Chrism, who stood gawking at Chesterfield as though he had just spouted a second head. “That was a very, um, very thorough definition.”
“You are welcome, miss.”
“Huh—can’t believe it,” Chrism muttered under her breath. “He might actually give her a run for her money.”
“Who?” asked Skylee with furrowed brows. “What are you talking about?”
Her sister smirked. “I’m just saying that Chesterfield here reminds me of another Wiki-fact wizard I know.”
“You are mistaken, miss,” said Chesterfield in a corrective yet tactful tone. “It is true that my data is accessed via Internet and includes an extensive number of dictionaries, glossaries, encyclopedias and web browsers, but I rarely scan Wikipedia.”
“Ooo…kay?” said Chrism, looking puzzled.
Skylee let out a small laugh and glanced nervously at the caretaker’s expressionless face. Is he for real? she wondered. She was searching her brain for the right thing to say when her mother stepped closer.
“Oh, Pumpkin,” she said, picking up the cat, which had still been weaving in and out of Skylee’s calves. “He seems to really like you.” She handed the furry feline to her.
Skylee cradled him in her arms. “He’s so perfect.”
“Correct, young miss, he is an android pet, a DroidCo Nine model. Mr. Mogg has equipped the manor with the finest technology, take myself for example I am a DroidCo Generation Twenty.”
“You’re an ANDROID!” Chrism blurted out, and then clamped her hand over her mouth.
Everyone stopped talking and looked at Chesterfield.
For Dinner have a good old-fashioned COOKOUT with Cheeseburgers and Fresh Veggies.
Then roast marshmallows for S’MORES!
Top it all off with SPARKLERS.
Interested in learning more about New Washington?
READ THIS EXCERPT…
New Washington, formerly Washington D.C. was no longer the U.S. capital. The most powerful city in the world had been reduced to rubble on The Day of Disaster. Nearly all of its citizens had moved south, fleeing the brutally cold weather brought on by the volcanic ash known as the “Death Haze.” There were only a handful of people, survivalist types, who had stayed on, living below ground in the damaged tunnels of the Metro subway system.
It had taken four years for the politicians to get their heads together and decide on a new capital in Houston, Texas. So Washington D.C. sat in ruins, like a frozen wasteland.
Around the world, every nation had endured destruction and great loss of life. Those who survived now measured their lives by before or after The Day of Disaster, now more commonly known as The Day.
Over time, ever so slowly, the skies began to clear and it grew warmer. Naturally there had been a groundswell of support to rebuild the capital on its original site. However, after months of political debating and negotiating, a different plan was set in motion.
The capital would remain in Houston, and an SGR (special governmental region) would be set up in Washington. A region devoted to the prevention of global disasters, where experts from around the globe could come together. It would be filled with scientists, engineers, civil servants and environmentalists.
When the reconstruction began, most of the buildings and monuments were found damaged beyond repair. It took three years to rebuild the White House, which was then opened to the public as a research library and museum. But the most impressive structure erected in New Washington was “The Day of Disaster Memorial.”
The entire site consisted of three parts: the Global Recovery Fountain, the Survivors Memorial Park, and the Hall of Remembrance. The Hall was a gigantic crescent shaped building on the bank of the Potomac River. A plaque at the entrance read…
“Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
Upon entering the building the visitors were greeted by a massive glass wall, which overlooked the Globe Fountain. A holographic photo gallery depicting the earth from space, before and after the catastrophe, lined the interior wall. The far ends of the hall contained event rooms.
Inside one of those darkened rooms lay a neatly wrapped package, waiting to unleash its contents. Securely tucked within were two gifts that were not what they seemed. Their true worth and how deeply they were tied to The Day was yet to be revealed. After years in silence their time had arrived.
Skylee crept into the room, carefully avoiding the open suitcases, shoeboxes and clothing scattered on the floor. Dressing for the wedding had created quite a mess. She had wanted to clean it up, but her almost stepsister insisted that her father had hired people to do such things.
As she approached the package, her pulse raced. Skylee normally opened a present slowly and carefully like a doctor performing surgery, but her excitement made her eagerly tear through the wrapping.
Inside, cushioned on a bed of crumpled paper, was a brown leather book bound with four gold rings. A diamond shape was carved into the front cover. She held the book close to her heart realizing that it could be her father’s journal, a look into his soul. Turning it over, she examined it more closely and tried to imagine him holding it in his hands. Despite her feeling of excitement, a deep sadness washed over her.
Skylee reached up and pushed back the heavy curtains, flooding the room with sunlight. As she opened the book, a musty odor filled the room even though the cover looked new. She thumbed through the crisp white pages to find page after page of strange hand written lettering, which appeared to be an ancient language. Skylee squinted at the lettering and tried to make out the words.
Holding the book closer to her face, she decided it was a language she had never seen before. Her heart sank in disappointment. It wasn’t her father’s journal. Why…she wondered…why did my dad want me to have a book that I can’t read?
First, let’s set the scene…The city of Auckland, sometime in the future. It’s 15 years after The Day of Disaster, a catastrophic event, wherein a vast crack in the earth’s crust nearly circled the globe. Our main character, Skylee Porter is on her way to the recently restored New Sky Tower to go bungee jumping.
Imagine finding out the necklace you’ve been given (as an inheritance in your father’s will) holds a magical power…and there’s a mysterious man, who will stop at nothing to take it from you. Now imagine he comes for it at the top of The New Sky Tower! How will you escape?
The following is an excerpt from Book One of The Primortus Chronicles.
It was a relief when they reached the corner of Federal and Victoria streets and entered the base of the Sky Tower. Skylee was pleased to learn that her book, still secretly hidden inside the backpack, could be safely secured inside a locker while she bungee jumped.
Once Ann had bought the tickets and signed the forms, they lined up for the elevator ride to the top. As they waited Skylee felt the necklace, which was tucked under her shirt, warming against her skin. She decided to ignore it hoping it would return to normal.
Moments later their tour guide arrived. He explained that he would also serve as the bungee instructor for the brave few who planned to jump. He was a tall, attractive guy, even dressed in the dorky bright orange uniform and white gloves. His dark blonde hair had that shaggy but styled thing going on, and he wore trendy sunglasses. His oration about the Sky Tower turned out to be surprisingly unrehearsed. Skylee wondered if this was perhaps his first day on the job.
“The New Sky Tower is three hundred and forty meters tall,” the guide began. “Uh, making it um…one of the tallest towers in the world. I think it’s…yeah, it’s as tall as the New Eiffel Tower.” He took a deep breath and the next part of his speech flew out at high speed. “The tower was designed to withstand winds in excess of one hundred and twenty miles per hour. It even survived a nine point three earthquake on the Day of Disaster. The New Sky Tower recently reopened to the public after years of reconstruction and repair.”
Will leaned over and whispered in Skylee’s ear, “I didn’t know you were so famous. You have a tower named after you, Sky.”
Skylee rolled her eyes at him. It was hard to decide which was worst Airon calling her Skippy or Will’s Sky joke. She placed her fingers in an L on her forehead, turned toward Will and dramatically mouthed the word loser. Catching a glimpse of the guide staring, she quickly dropped her hand. He smiled oddly at her and she looked away, suddenly aware that he might have thought she was making fun of him.
As Skylee stepped onto the elevator she noticed her necklace warming. The sensation made her stomach churn as the elevator took off. She tried to ignore it and listen to the guide’s speech.
“There are something like…twelve hundred steps…uh wait, yes, twelve hundred and eighty-five steps from the base of Sky Tower to Sky Deck,” he continued, looking down at his white glove, which was covered with writing. “On a clear day you can see approximately fifty one miles from the Sky Tower.”
Skylee felt the elevator lurch to a stop and someone took her by the hand. The guide was escorting her out of the elevator. This left a rather confused looking tour group to exit on their own, including Will who looked more annoyed than confused. Chrism, on the other hand, seemed to find it amusing.
Skylee could feel the guide’s eyes upon her, even though his dark glasses concealed them. Her face flushed under his gaze, and the necklace hidden underneath her shirt grew hotter by the second. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could bear its heat. Anguished, she let out a small sigh.
Will’s mouth fell open and he formed a fist. For a second, Skylee thought he was going to punch the guide. But instead he stood frozen in place, staring loathingly at him with both fists still tightly clinched. All along, Chrism persisted in chattering to Will about their first time to bungee jump together.
Ann, who had exited the elevator behind them, was watching him closely. The anger on Will’s face seemed to spur her into action.
“Pardon me?” she said stepping between Will and the guide. “Where’s the best place to view the bungee jumping?”
The guide snapped into a professional sounding tone, “Okay…friends and family are welcome to watch from the viewing platform.”
Skylee glanced over at Will who was slowly shaking his head. Then a couple of young women, dressed in orange uniforms, began leading the spectators to the platform. Ann stood motionless and watched as they prepared for the bungee jump. Her eyebrows were strangely twisted and her lips pointed downward as she looked on
“Are you okay?” Skylee asked her. “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, after all you’ve bungee jumped yourself, plenty of times.”
“Yeah, mum, no worries. I‘ll make sure it’s safe,” Will added, without taking his eyes off the guide.
“I’m just being a mom, you know…mom’s always worry,” Ann replied then she slowly turned and walked to the viewing platform.
“Those of you who will be jumping tandem please stand to the right and the solo jumpers to the left,” said the guide as he motioned to each side.
Chrism and Will were among the first to be suited up for the jump. Will, who had bungee jumped dozens of times, looked as cool as a cucumber.
“Oh, Will I’m so scared,” Chrism said in a childish sounding voice.
Skylee turned her head and made a face. Just then, the guide began the countdown for their jump, her stepsister pleaded with Will to hold her until they leapt. Will complied, but his eyes were now focused on Skylee. Even as they plunged from the platform concern was written across his face.
One by one, the jumpers dived from the Sky Tower, some with squeals of delight, some with screams of terror, until Skylee alone remained. The necklace was so hot it was nearly unbearable. She considered removing it but feared she might lose it in the jump.
A shadow fell across the Sky Deck as the sun hid behind a cloud. The air grew still. It seemed that the entire world had gone oddly silent. Skylee looked across the decking in search of Ann who raised her hand in a funny half-wave. For a moment, Skylee had a weird feeling that Ann was warning her not to jump.
“Step over here, Skylee,” the guide said as his hand seized the back of her waist. “I’ll help you get ready.”
“Okay, thanks,” she said, watching him hook the bungee cord to her harness. “Wait…how do you know my name?”
Moving with lightning speed, he shoved her away and she stumbled backward until she was at the edge of the platform. She clung to the cord for balance. A glint of light caught her eye.
A knife. He pointed it at her and raised his other hand in a slow, deliberate motion, removing his dark glasses. No, how can this be? Skylee asked herself as she stared into his soulless black eyes. It’s him. The devil from the wedding had found her. Her visions were coming to life.
He slowly edged nearer, holding the knife between them. There was nowhere for Skylee to go but down and she wasn’t sure her bungee cord was completely secured.
“Please…don’t…who are you?” she asked, her mind racing. “Why are you doing this?”
“Give me the necklace,” he coldly demanded.
“I don’t have it,” she said, trying to sound convincing.
“It would be wise for you to hand it over.”
Skylee felt choked by fear. “Why are you—”
“Give it to me, NOW!” he shouted.
“I can’t it’s—it’s in my room,” she lied.
“No it isn’t!” he barked. “You’re wearing it!”
He rushed toward her, holding the cord in one hand and the knife in the other. Her feet were barely touching the edge of the platform. She struggled to peer around him hoping Will’s mom had seen she was in danger. Then a sickening realization hit her, Ann could only see him from behind. She couldn’t see that he was holding a knife. Gathering all her courage, she twisted and turned trying to release his grip on her.
“Be still,” he snarled through gritted teeth.
A scream rose from deep inside her, but it was quickly halted as he held the blade against her throat.
“If you don’t give it…to…me…I WILL TAKE IT!” he loudly growled.
Running the knife at an angle along her collar, he reached the chain of her necklace. Skylee felt the blade’s cold metal and gasped as it pricked her skin.
“Okay, okay you can have it. Just don’t…” she pleaded with him, but agonizing pain halted her words.
A burning sensation tormented her as the necklace slid across her chest. It eased slightly when he suspended it over her shirt, holding it by the chain with the tip of his blade. The corners of his mouth curved into a sinister grin and his black eyes sparkled as they fixed upon the amulet.
“At last, you’re mine,” he said, reaching for it.
The magnitude of his words triggered an overwhelming surge of willpower within Skylee. You’re not taking my father’s necklace, she thought. Using every ounce of strength she could muster, she pushed his arm away, throwing him off balance. She looked up and saw the necklace swinging back and forth on the blade. Then a silver flash crossed her vision as the knife came down and sliced her arm. She expected sharp pain, yet she felt nothing but cold numbness. There was only one way to escape him. Moving swiftly, she grabbed the necklace by its chain and stepped backward off the tower.
“NO!” he screamed, swinging the knife wildly.
For a brief second she felt as if she were hanging in midair. Then she watched in horror as he nicked her harness, severing partway through the fabric. His other hand was still gripping her bungee cord, which was now slipping through his fingers. It slashed a gash through his glove and deeper into his flesh, leaving a bright red streak. The last things she saw as she tumbled downward were his black eyes.
Skylee felt herself falling—falling—backward. Everything will be fine, the harness will hold, she told herself. When she reached the end of the cord it pulled taunt and sprung back. A feeling of relief swept over her. She had escaped the stranger and the necklace was still in her hand. Soon she would be safely on the ground. On her second trip downward she heard it.
The sliced harness had broken free. Skylee helplessly tumbled through the air watching the tower fly by. There was nothing she could do. The ground came rushing up at her.
Why are we talking about Weta bugs? Because in Book One of The Primortus Chronicles we encounter one of these amazing insects. So let’s find out a “little” more about a “big” bug.
The following is from AsianScientist:Source Animal Planet (Dec. 7, 2011) – An American researcher at the Smithsonian Institution says he has found the world’s biggest bug on New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island.
The insect has a wing span of around 18 centimeters (7 inches) and weighs three times as much as a mouse. It was thought to be extinct after European settlers brought rats to New Zealand.
The giant weta bug was found by 53-year-old entomologist and photojournalist Mark Moffett, who has been called the Indiana Jones of Entomology by the National Geographic Society.
“Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta. We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree,” he said.
However, Moffett did what a responsible explorer would do – he returned the bug right where he found it.
Did you know that Weta Digital (visual effects studio for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit films) is named after these creatures?
Warning this part is totally disgusting!!!
Don’t worry there are about 70 species of bug that go by the name weta. And I’m told Bear didn’t eat one of the endangered types. Well, let’s hope so!!
The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elemetum:
Chrism let out a loud gasp, pointed at Will and yelled, “BUG!”
Everyone froze. There, sitting on his shoulder, was the largest bug Skylee had seen in her entire life. The brown creature resembled a giant cricket with long hairy looking legs. It was so big in fact, that if Skylee could have mustered up the courage to pick it up it would have barely fit on her palm. Usually Skylee wasn’t afraid of insects but she found herself taking a small step back as chill bumps rushed over her arms.
Will slowly craned his neck around and was eye to eye with the enormous insect. He closed his eyes for a split second and when he reopened them, they were as wide as saucers. He looked straight ahead and didn’t dare move an inch.
“Maybe it will jump off,” Skylee quickly said as she considered how she might use the power of the Elementum to control the huge creature.
“What should I do?” whispered Will trying not to disturb it.
“Hold still mate,” said Airon with a bewildered look on his face. “Crikey, what is the bloody thing?”
“It’s a weta bug. I haven’t seen one in years,” said Hera in a hushed voice. “They—they almost went extinct after The Day. So, we should try not to harm it.”
“Weta-bug? Well, do they bite?” asked Airon curiously.
“I don’t think so, unless they’re feeling threatened,” said Heather. “Stay still. Let’s think, what can we do to keep from harming it?”
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? SOMEBODY, JUST SMACK THAT UGLY THING!” screamed Chrism frantically shaking her hands in front of her.
“Hey, I’ve read about these,” said Skylee, leaning in for a better look. “There are lots of different species. They’re flightless so, I don’t think it will jump off. It must have crawled on your shoulder when we were under the trees. Oh, do you think it is a tree weta?”
“Possible, yes,” answered Heather.
“They’re nocturnal, normally. Will, you must have woke him up,” Skylee said smiling at the bug.
“Hopefully, he’s a good sport about it,” he replied as he glanced at her.
“He seems okay, he hasn’t raised his back legs in defense, so you should be okay.”
She placed her hand over her necklace, hoping she could use her power without having to pull it out for everyone to see. She might be able to control the weta. Skylee searched her mind for the right thoughts to concentrate on.
Almost at the same time, Zane bounded up to Will. He smiled broadly and bent forward looking closely at the bug. Then to everyone’s amazement, he calmly picked the gigantic insect up and looked admiringly at it.
“Well, take a gawk at that!” he exclaimed. “I thought I’d never see a weta bug again. Little fella, you better find somewhere else to sit. I’m afraid you’re not welcome here.” He walked over to a tree and carefully placed the bug on a branch.
“Little,” gasped Chrism. “You call that terrible monstrosity little?”
Zane started to speak but Will reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder. “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t scarred of it or anything but I just, well I didn‘t…”
“Of course,” he said as he patted Will on the back then turned his attention to Chrism. “Let me clue you in on a secret, little lady. What you call a terrible monstrosity is a survivor and we should all consider ourselves lucky to have seen it.”
“That’s right,” said Hera nodding her head. “It’s a sign…a cause for hope.”
Chrism’s eyes got big. “I don’t get it! You’re saying that awful looking thing is some sort of special sign?”
“Don’t you see?” said Skylee. “The weta bug means the natural world is continuing to recover—the planet is healing.”
Her stepsister rolled her eyes and said, “Okay, okay you don’t have to go all environmentalist wacko on me. I get it, that gross, horrid bug is mankind’s link to utopia, yeah, whatever.
“No, it’s not like that,” said Skylee, frowning. “You don’t understand.”
“Yeah, I do, ” Chrism shot back. “But what I’m trying to comprehend is why Weta Studios is named after something that hideous. Go figure.”
Before Skylee could respond, Hera and Nika chimed in and tried to get through to her, explaining the significance of protecting the fragile environment. Skylee’s heart sank for she could see from Chrism’s bored expression that their words fell on deaf ears.
The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum where Skylee shares the secret of her Humusara with Will.
Skylee took the book from her backpack, placed it on the foot of the bed and they both knelt in front of it. She quickly removed her necklace and placed it in the book’s cover. Will’s mouth dropped open as it began to transform.
“What’s bloody happening?”
“It’s aging¸ see, here’s the strange lettering,” she said touching the page. “But watch—wait—there—do you see it?
“No…eh…I don’t see anything, just unreadable script.”
“But you have to see it, look, don’t you see it?” Skylee took Will’s hand and placed it on the page.
They both gasped as a brilliant light appeared. It looked exactly like the light she’d seen the first time she placed the Elementum inside the cover. There was no time for Skylee to explain. Will’s body jerked, and his hand appeared to be stuck to the book. Just as before, a blaze of silvery white light erupted and formed a dazzling column of brightness that illuminated the room.
“Don’t be afraid,” whispered Skylee, seeing his eyes widen with astonishment.
Skylee shivered as the room grew colder and colder. She watched with tears in her eyes as Will gasped for air while the light moved up his arm to his chest. The same orb of twinkling light she’d seen days ago on her chest was now on his heart shining through the fabric of his shirt. Within seconds, the third column of light formed and returned to the book.
As the room warmed, Will stared down at the book. His hand softly rested on the page as he watched the flickering light fade. He didn’t speak, didn’t move. Words were appearing, shimmering across the page in front of him.
Want to read more? You’ll find the link to our book on our home page.
The villagers of the Himalayans have given the snow leopard this name because they rarely see the big cats. Why are we talking about snow leopards? Well, for one thing, they’re amazingly beautiful and for another, they’re on the list of endangered animals. And that’s not all. In our book “Eleventh Elementum” our young shapeshifter changes into one of these mysterious beauties.
Only 3,500 to 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild, with 600 to 700 in zoos worldwide. Exact numbers in the wild are undetermined due to their shy nature.
Their number appears to be in dramatic decline due to poaching driven by illegal trades in pelts and in body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine. Vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats’ large mammal prey are also contributing factors.
The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum.
The leopard dashed through the woods, leaping over snow-filled ditches and downed trees. She let out a loud wail that filled the forest. Chrism had nearly shifted back when Skylee held the Elementum in front of her. It had taken almost all her strength to resist. She growled angrily as her destiny played out in her mind. Will I always be under her control?
Racing onward, she tried to get lost in the rush. All of a sudden, a sharp pain jabbed at her, causing her to stumble. Her huge paws gripped the icy ground, and she continued to run. Stay focused, she told herself. But there was no way to stop it. She didn’t want to go back to human form, not after knowing what it was like to run free across the snow. Except the pain was too great, which caused her to unwillingly drop down and crawl on her belly.
Her body shook violently. She curled up, wrapping her tail around her face, waiting for it to finish. Now, half human and half leopard, her ears twitched as footsteps approached. A hand reached out to her. She was weak and frightened and lashed out with her sharp claws to warn the intruder.
“Easy, Duchess,” said a startled voice.
Realizing it was Airon, she raised her head and glanced in his direction. Blood trickled down his arm, staining the white snow.
“No,” she softly whimpered as she finally returned to human form. “Did I…?” She struggled to sit up, tried to reach out to him, but stopped when she saw him hold up a hand to halt her.
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”
Butterfly Video Blog
The following is an excerpt from Chapter four of Eleventh Elementum
Book One of The Primortus Chronicles
Skylee rushed out of the memorial hall toward the wedding arch with the card from her mother clutched tightly in her hand. A huge cluster of butterflies flew along right behind her.
“I must bloody well be seeing things,” said Will, rubbing his eyes as he headed toward her.
Meanwhile Skylee’s eyes were so intently focused on the envelope, that she didn’t notice the colorful insects or Will. She scampered down the sidewalk toward him.
He gently reached out, clutched her arm and said, “Sky, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, Will, there you are!” she said in a distressed voice.
“What’s going on, eh?” he asked, staring up at the butterflies.
Skylee smiled when she heard his voice. His normally slight Australian accent was much stronger after being in Sydney. Actually, since Airon had come to live with them, Will had picked up more and more of his cousin’s Aussie ways. And Skylee noticed something else was different about Will. He had returned from his trip with blonde highlights in his wavy brown hair. She wouldn’t be surprised if the new surfer-boy look had turned many an Aussie girl’s head.
For some reason she didn’t like dwelling on that thought, so she turned her attention to giving Will a detailed answer about the stranger, the book, the necklace, and the words that had appeared and disappeared. During her little speech the butterflies, still hovering around her, continued to distract him.
“Uh-huh,” he grunted.
“Will?” Skylee called a little louder.
“Eh?” Will replied, with his eyes still glued to the butterflies.
“What are you looking at?” Skylee questioned grabbing his jacket.
Will finally turned his attention to Skylee and motioned with his eyes toward the fluttering creatures. He gently placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around.
“That,” he said in a matter of fact tone.
Skylee cocked her head to the side in bewilderment. A mixture of shock and awe possessed her as she gazed at dozens of colorful butterflies flying above her head. She raised an eyebrow and said, “Eastern Tailed Blues, well…their real name is Cupido Comyntas—what are they doing here so early in the spring? Okay, that’s a little weird.”
“Cripes, Sky! It’s more than a little weird, by the look of it, they’re following you.” Will pointed out.
“All right, it’s really weird,” said Skylee, waving her hands in the air to shoo the butterflies away.
As she watched the purplish-blue butterflies floating into the sky she wondered if her mind was scattering with them. I must be going crazy. Why are all these bizarre things happening today? She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
“Will, did you hear what I told you?”
He nodded but continued watching the butterflies, now tiny specks, as they faded away. Then she softly tapped him on the shoulder, which caused him to jump and look over at her.
“Sorry, I’m a bit distracted,” he said with a crooked grin.
She smiled forgivingly at him. Over the last few months, there had been a change in their friendship. It was subtle, but she could sense awkwardness between them. So what…he’s still your best friend, she told herself. In fact they had been BFFs for as long as she could remember. Her mind drifted back to when she was about seven or eight. Those were the days when she spent much of her time with Will and Gracie. They had called themselves the three musketeers, one for all and all for one. That had been their motto. Those were blissful times even though the skies were gray and even after Gracie’s illness prevented them from going outside to play. They still had fun building forts out of blankets and dressing up like their favorite characters out of the books Gracie read to them. Then it all changed. Skylee wished things didn’t always have to change.