Cursed by Diamonds (A Dance with Destiny Book 1)By: JK Ensley & Jennifer Ensley
Book One of A Dance with Destiny
“I feel a great darkness approaching, Mother. Have you seen nothing? Not a single vision?”
“No, my son. I sense an entity, a ravenous soul, yet I see nothing clearly… not yet. Something dark approaches, but from whence it came and to what end it may go, I cannot tell.”
“Does it concern her?”
“I know not. It may well be within Ashgard, or even within her own family. Nothing has yet been made clear. Let us not guess. You will see trouble where none exists and miss the evil dancing within your grasp. When the time is right, I will see all.”
The chill blew through Mangladune’s ancient trees the same as it did in the Thralldom Mountains. The unseen folk could feel the trembling elements and knew the tide of malice was fast approaching their lands. Even the animals bristled and hid their young. Ashgard would never be the same.
“Something wicked this way comes, Sire.”
“I felt it, Kias. My ancient bones rattle within me.”
“Can you tell what it is, Father?”
“Izadori, my child, I can tell who it is.”
“Who? You don’t mean…”
“Yes, dear one, he stirs. Revenge consumes him.”
“What shall we do? Send forth commands, Sire, before all hope drains from the land.”
“Nay, Kias. I will not move my hand against him. We will remain as we are.”
“No, Izadori. The Elves have withdrawn. We no longer interfere with the evils of man. We will observe and record, nothing more.”
“Then, what good do we serve? What is our purpose here if we no longer protect and teach? Are you content with our entire race growing old and fading away? We have stood idle for so many years, our kind is no longer even recorded within their manuscripts.”
“And, has that stopped your beating heart, my daughter? Have you lost the ability to draw air into your lungs because they no longer sing of your great beauty? No, dear one. They have their Guardians. We will not interfere.”
“But the Guardians move not.”
“They do not sleep. If their hand has been stayed in this matter, you would do well to remain far from it, my child.”
The people of Ashgard had once known the warning signs, yes. Alas, their many years of ease had erased those darkened thoughts. Now, the cold wind only caused them to tighten their raiment. No one looked to the stars. The hand of death was upon them once more, and they noticed it not.
Shibta had passed over Ashgard many years before. The demoness had brought with her a devastating plague. It was an epidemic, one which annihilated nearly half their population, leaving the decimated survivors roaming about in mournful despair.
The mighty Guardians eventually restrained the demoness of disease. Shibta had been cast into darkness and was bound there still. But her twin brother, Shabriri, now sought his pound of flesh as payment.
“Ah, Varick, I see him.”
“Who is it, Mother?”
“The master of the true darkness.”
“No… Shabriri… anyone but him. Does the summons come? Is the time ripe?”
“Yes, my son. The summons is here. Call every warrior to your side. If this chieftain of evil is allowed to touch even one—”
“I know, Mother. I know.”
The thunderous sound of wings filled the sky as the dogs of heaven gathered en masse, blotting out the very sun. Battle rage and blood lust consumed their every thought. As the cry went forth from each commander, legion upon legion disappeared into the swirling cloud bank.
The graceful seer emerged to stand next to her son as he made ready his generals.
“Fair news from blessed mother would go far to temper rising fears.”
“A request I would gladly grant, but cannot.”
“He has taken her, hasn’t he? By all that’s holy! I vow to you now, Mother, no soul will rest until I have cast that demon into the pits of hell by mine own hand. If he has harmed but a single golden hair upon her fair head—”
“He will save her for last, to better savor her misery. Varick, he touched Marlise.”
“Yes, my son. It has begun.”
The majestic King of the Elven folk stood silent within their forest domain. The whispers and fears of his people circled about him.
“The summons has come down.”
“Do we join the Guardians once more?”
“Nay, Kias. We will not interfere.”
“Father, you diminish us all. Do not punish the whole of man for the acts of one. We are a blessed people for but one reason. If you withhold our purpose, you condemn us all.”
“Izadori, if you step one foot outside Mangladune, you will join your sister in exile.”
“How could exile be any worse than the forest cage you have locked us within?”
“You know the answer to that, my child. Removed from your brethren, you fade.”
“I fade with them as well. As do you, Father.”
Moonlight spread across her face, glistening off the beads of sweat covering her brow. She stirred, mumbling muffled words into her feather pillow. A creaking noise came from the adjacent hallway… then again. Her deep blue eyes sprang open, frantically searching the darkened room.