Mountain of Truth: The Revelations of Oriceran, Soul Stone Mage, Book 3
By Sarah Noffke & Martha Carr
The Kingdom of Virgo has lived in peace for thousands of years… until now.
Azure rode with her head down and her hands tight on the reins. She’d grabbed the first horse she found tied up outside the House of Enchanted. Its previous rider didn’t need the animal, since he was presently lying flat in the grass taking a pleasant nap. As Azure sprinted through the House of Enchanted for the exit she’d watched several witches and wizards drop, overcome by a sudden need to sleep. Gran was a damned crafty witch. She was grateful the queen mother was on her side.
The palomino slowed as they neared the woods on the northern border. Before the horse even halted, Azure threw her legs to the side and stumbled forward. She didn’t know how to find something that had always found her. Why was it that the unicorns were attracted to her? Their whole connection was a mystery to Azure, but she knew they were the only ones who could help her purify the wells.
She darted into the trees, not knowing where she was headed. Her foot caught on a root obscured by leaves and ferns, tripping her. Her palms landed in a patch of thorns. “Fuck,” Azure spat, panting. Blood ran down her palm, spotting the sleeves of her robe.
“Hello?” Azure called to the woods. “Are you out there? I need your help.”
She was losing it. How desperate had she gotten, that she was calling out to an empty forest for help? She pushed up to a standing position and trudged forward, forcing plants out of her way as she did.
The humans of Terran, and specifically the Duke, were responsible for this virus. This was the drastic action Emperor Frederick had promised, Azure realized. This was how they were punishing her for not turning her father Richard over to them. She should have been more prepared to defend her people. How many witches and wizards would lose their magic because of this? Would it ever be recoverable? Azure shook her head, trying to clear her mind. Right now she had to focus on a solution to their water pollution.
She’d already walked deep into the woods, and was now nearing the Dark Forest. There hadn’t been a sign of anything so far. Halting, Azure closed her eyes. She could hike through the entire forest bordering Virgo, but what she needed was for the unicorns to come to her. Pressing her eyes tightly closed, she focused on a single intention. It was full of peace, and so strong it made her smile despite her current circumstances.
In the distance Azure heard a twig crack, but she kept her eyes closed. Leaves rustled, and still she kept her thoughts centered on peace and love for all in Virgo. These thoughts she fed with an unyielding desire.
A breeze laced with lilac and moss hit Azure’s nose, making her feel that spring was blossoming. She closed her fingers into her palms, and felt a shiver run down her spine. Faith wasn’t something a witch or wizard from Virgo was encouraged to have. Spells and potions were built on strength and elements. However, in that moment Azure knew that she had to remain frozen and hold true to the idea that what she needed would be found.
A soft rustling sound swept through the air, and just then Azure felt a presence. She felt like she was at a banquet surrounded by the chatter of happy guests, their body heat making the space cozy.
She cracked one eye, and then both sprang open. Azure stepped back, not sure that what she was seeing before her was real. Rotating her body, Azure cast her eyes on the circle of unicorns that surrounded her. More than a dozen of them stood in the circle. Their glistening white coats reflected the morning sunlight streaming through the leaves overhead. They weren’t easy to discern from each other since each had the same rainbow mane and tail. Flowers and vines were threaded through their manes, which were plaited into various styles of braids. However, each had eyes of a different color. She peered at the unicorns, who all blinked back as her with strange wisdom in their eyes.
“You came…” she said, breathless.
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