Book of Sacha:Dark Fate (The Dark Fate Chronicles 3)

By: Matt Howerter & Jon Reinke
Book of Sacha: Volume Three

WORDLESS screams poured from Sacha just like the blood that poured from her sister’s throat.

Sloane dropped limply to the stone paving as the monster, Vinnicus, released her and staggered away. Sacha’s sister shuddered once then went still. Vinnicus came to a halt some distance from Sloane’s body. He remained there, motionless as the sentinel stones that surrounded the circular viewing platform of the Cliffs of Judgment. The monster had brought Teacher and Sacha here to the foot of the falls mere moments ago, it seemed. What should have been a joyous reunion   with her sister had instead become the latest scene of a long nightmare.

Weeks ago, the caravan that had been escorting them to Waterfall Citadel for Sloane’s wedding had been attacked during their one-night stay at the quaint riverside town of Riverwood. Sloane had been rescued, but Sacha and Magistrate Brier Harristone from Basinia had been kidnapped by a man who named himself Jagger DeBoucher. The brigand, in turn, claimed to be acting on the orders of a patron who had never been named. Sacha had watched Brier die at their captor’s hands for reasons that were never made clear. Erik and Kinsey had come for her soon after, or so Erik had said. She never laid eyes on Kinsey that night, but she trusted the elf’s word that the half dwarf had come. Her and Erik’s flight from her captors had ended on the banks of the Tanglevine in the hands of monstrous spider-like creatures and her loss of consciousness. The next time she woke, it was in the caves below the very falls that thundered nearby. In a desperately short period of time, her mentor had been enslaved and her child, long thought safe, had been revealed as a hostage of the monstrous Vinnicus. With no help in sight and no strength of her own, Sacha had had no choice but to yield to Vinnicus’s demands. Now she sat at the foot of a waterfall, staring at her sister’s corpse.

Sacha struggled to her feet and staggered across the misted stone before falling once more to land heavily at Sloane’s side. “No,” Sacha sobbed as she cradled her sister’s head. “It’s not fair!”

Sloane’s body was limp, almost flaccid, but still warm through the odd leather outfit that garbed her from neck to toe. Her head lolled back, revealing two deep gashes that marred the skin of Sloane’s neck, but blood no longer flowed from the wounds. Sacha could tell that her sister had spent many hours outside in recent days. The skin of her face and neck had been touched by sun and wind, but the color was washed out, her palette diluted by death. The crystalline blue eyes that marked her as a Pelosian royal were wide and staring. The lifeless gaze held an accusing air for Sacha. “You’ve killed me, sister,” they seemed to say.

Sacha looked away, squeezing her eyes shut, trying to block away the image but only succeeding in etching it more firmly into her memory. She shook her head in despair. This was her fault. If she had been able to kill Vinnicus, none of this would have happened. If she had been more prepared, more powerful, her sister would still be alive, and her daughter would not be held captive by this wicked thing spawned from nightmares.

“Bliss,” mumbled Vinnicus suddenly. The tall, dark figure took a small, staggering step—swaying as if drunk on brandywine. His words were so slurred that she could barely make them out. “Must... must not devour the essence.”

“Mot take you!” Sacha howled at Vinnicus before bending back over her sister’s lifeless body. She was so tired. Since her capture, she had known few waking moments that were not beset by fear or frustration. All that was left to her, all that was left in her, was cradling Sloane’s head and sobbing.

Hands gently touched her shoulders, and she realized that someone had been speaking to her. “Come, my lady,” a familiar voice whispered urgently in her ear. “We must leave.”

Sacha looked up to find the golden hair and green eyes of Chancellor Kesh Tomelen. His usual ingratiating smile was distinctly sick around the edges. Just moments ago, it had been revealed that this pompous man had accused her friends, Erik and Kinsey, of abducting her and holding her for ransom—the same men that had come to rescue her. Fury lent her strength enough to swat away his hands. “Do not lay hands on me, traitor,” she growled. “I will see you in the fires, sir.”

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