Forgotten has finally been published! Writing the Sanctorian Series has been a struggle. Putting the story on paper is much like going to war with oneself. My endless battle of wording and editing has finally yielded the published work.
Lyla has been captured by the Domuran King and Thane has been betrayed by one of his own men. The two Produrai princes—long thought dead—-have returned from their exile and intend to set right all the wrongs putting their family back together as it should be. Ronan undergoes the Rites of Chief. It is yet to be determined if he will survive.
First Sentence: “The events from last night are raw against my mind as the light of the morning sun shines through the window.”
Last Sentence: “Soon we find ourselves heading down the road towards the antiquities shop and the room the key in the red bag opens.”
As a sneak peek, I thought I would share a little of the story with you.
Here is Chapter One of Forgotten: Book 3 of the Sanctorian Series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
You can find out more about the Sanctorian Series at http://cynthiabrandel.com
Tales of the Past
The events from last night are raw against my mind as the light of the morning sun shines through the window. Worn and weary, my thoughts wander as I sit at the kitchen table holding an empty cup in my hands. Bones sets her glass of brandy down on the table. The amber liquid sloshes over the rim and drops onto the table’s dark wooden surface. Evander grabs a napkin and cleans up the drops of liquid before leaning back against the wall behind Bones.
Evander’s brown hair and blue-grey eyes are the same color as Lyla’s. He is taller than her but fares a good inch shorter than myself. From the way he carries himself, I can tell he can easily handle his own in combat. His wide shoulders and muscular build suggests he has not been idle after his assumed death.
Bones takes another sip of brandy and again sloshes it onto the table. Evander wipes the spill from the wooden surface. To think that Bones can have both Produrai princes taking care of her and showing her the utmost respect makes a smile cross my face. I muster a laugh as she looks up, taking her attention away from the drink in her hand, and tosses me a lazy grin. Her old grey eyes have glazed from the effects of the alcohol.
Malekai walks into the kitchen and takes the seat next to her. “What’s funny?” He asks. I shrug my shoulders, and my smile disappears. Looking closely at Malekai, I strain to match his face to a memory, but nothing comes to mind. “Why are you staring?” His hair is more black than brown, and his skin is tan. There are no visible scars or marks on his face or hands or any other distinguishing features that stand out in my memory.
Malekai is muscular but less so than Evander. The way his hand gripped the hilt of his sword when he plunged it into the Commander’s side is evidence that he is familiar with the art of swordsmanship.
“What?” Malekai asks again. “What is it?” I lean back in my chair and place my hands behind my head in a relaxed position.
“Either you were not worth remembering, or it was so long ago that I don’t recall having met you,” I reply. Malekai grins.
“What you don’t remember this face?” He smirks placing his fingers in the shape of an L, from chin to cheek.
“Nope,” I reply. “Nothing.” Taking a sip from the chipped mug in my hands, the bitterness of the hot tea tantalizes my tongue before I place the heavy mug back on the table. “The girl blames me for your death, but I don’t remember you. If my patrols captured you in the past, I won’t apologize. War is war, brother. I wage my battle and you wage yours.”
Malekai grins as Bones moves to take another sip of brandy. Her cheeks are flushed and her eyes heavy. She drops the glass as she pulls it closer to her mouth. Malekai catches it before it hits the table and spills.
“You are tired,” Malekai says to Bones as if he were talking to a child. She grins widely as Logan enters the room carrying a plastic box with a red cross on it.
He places the box in front of me and opens it to reveal its contents. “Here,” he says as he pulls a brown bottle of peroxide out of the container. “Use this to clean the cuts on your hands.” He places several band-aids on the table.
“Thank you,” I reply and douse a cotton ball with the peroxide. Bubbles immediately start to form on the cuts along my wrists and the back of my hands causing them to sting. I had gotten scratched when I helped to clean up the mess of leaf and vine that had ransacked the yard from last night’s events.
The original plan was to get my revenge on the Commander and then leave Heritage. By now the girl and Argo will have reached the Produrai Palace on Sanctoria. Nikko and Argo will see that she remains safe until I return. Buy the sudden appearance of the long assumed dead princes has changed my plans.
Where have they been all these years? And why did they not return to Sanctoria? How did they meet Bones? What are they going to do now? These questions continue to roll around in my mind, over and over again. Will Malekai take the throne? What about Lyla? Will she still stay with me or return to her own people?
The memory of the two princes appearing right when I was to get my revenge on the Commander runs through me. The blade of my arrow merely scratched the Commander’s side, but Malekai’s sword could have landed the final blow. If the Commander dies at the hands of his own people, I will never be able to fulfill my duty as Prince of the Domura. The revenge I have sought for so many years will slip through my fingers like sand in the wind.
“Bones is tired, Logan,” Malekai says. “Why don’t you take her up to bed.” Logan nods and helps Bones to stand. She leans heavily on him as he leads her out of the kitchen leaving me alone with the two very-much-alive princes.
I reach out with my mind to read their thoughts. “There’s no need for that, Prince Thanark,” Malekai says with a laugh. “I can assure you that I will tell you anything you want to know.” He pours himself a mug of tea. “I assume you will want to start with how we met?”
“That would be a good place to start,” I reply. “However, right now that is not important. What is important is what are you planning to do?”
“Do?” Malekai asks.
“Yes,” I reply. “The Queen passed her throne to you before she died. That is a heavy burden to carry.” Malekai grins and takes a sip of the steaming tea from his mug.
“By all rights, I don’t know where to start,” Malekai says.
“The return of our sister would be first,” Evander chimes in as he takes the seat next to Malekai.
“You are right, brother,” Malekai says casting him a smile before turning his attention to me. “Above all else, I think a family reunion is necessary. Also, I am curious to meet our youngest sister. Lyla must be amazing if she can ensnare you. Forming a blood oath with her could not have gone over well with the King. But, what better way to protect your own life than to tie it to the most precious life of your enemy.”
“That is not how it happened,” I reply through gritted teeth. “Lyla did not ensnare me. I… I…”
“You what?” Evander asks, his face serious. “You tricked her into giving herself to you? Is that it?”
“You what?” Evander yells as he abruptly stands from the table knocking his chair to the floor in the process. “You what?”
Malekai reaches his hand out and places it on Evander’s arm. “Calm down. I am sure there is a good reason behind what has happened between him and Lyla,” Malekai says. “Put our reunion aside. Let’s get back to the point at hand.” Evander picks the chair up from the floor and retakes his seat. “Our next move is to gather our people and take them back to Sanctoria. Joel has updated us on the current situation. I want to return our people home. It is my understanding that you and your patrols currently occupy the palace on Sanctoria. I will have it returned to us along with Lyla.”
Clenching my fists beneath the table, my nails dig into the skin of my palm. “The palace I can return to you. When I return to Sanctoria, I will send word to my patrols to withdraw,” I reply. “But the girl will remain with me.”
“For what,” Evander yells. “You can’t possibly mean to take her with you. Once she steps foot in the Domuran Stronghold, her life is forfeit. The King is not generous. He will not distinguish her from any other Produrai. She will be forced into the pits and submitted through torture until the day he decides to publicly execute her for her crimes against your people.”
“She hasn’t committed any crimes,” I argue. “I made it known to everyone that she is my consort. I am certain this has been reported to my father. He will not harm her. Harming her is the same as harming me. Our bond sealed our fates.”
Evander’s face turns red with anger. “You don’t know your father very well.”
“I think I know my own father better than most,” I reply. “How could a son not know the temperament of his own father?” Evander slams his fist down on the table.
Again, Malekai reaches out a hand and places it on his shoulder to calm him. “You are right,” Malekai says. “A child would know the temperament of his own parents. But you have spent little time with the King since the death of your mother. What you remember of him may not be correct.”
“Now you are not making sense,” I reply standing from my seat. “This conversation is going nowhere. I think it is time I leave.” I turn to leave the kitchen. My hand grips the cold metal knob of the door as Malekai clears his throat.
“The King nearly killed us,” Malekai says causing me to pause. “We were in the pits for months before you and Nikko came to our aide.” I turn my back to the door and retake my seat at the table. “We were captured by some of your men on the outskirts of the Domuran territory.”
“My men?” I ask taken aback. “My patrols have guarded the walls of the Stronghold for a long time now. They keep snooping Produrai from being captured by my father. It couldn’t have been one of my men.”
“They wore your crest upon their chest. They were your men,” Evander replies.
“Impossible,” I exclaim. Nikko and I specifically set a perimeter around the Stronghold with the intention of saving innocent blood from being shed.
“It is what it is,” Malekai continues. “We can’t change the past, but the past has changed us.” Malekai takes another sip of the steaming tea before he continues. “Evander and I were taken as Produrai spies and immediately thrown into the pits. They left us there without food or water for days at a time.”
Evander stands and begins to pace the kitchen. The vein on his neck is prominent as he clenches his fists at his sides. I can tell from his behavior this is not a subject he wants to discuss.
“The patrols would pull us out of the pits only to subject us to torture and questioning. They didn’t know who we were,” Malekai continues. “If they had known that they had the heirs to the Produrai throne, our lives would have been forfeit from the moment we were captured.”
I reach my mind out and push against the barrier in Malekai’s mind. His thoughts are filled with the memories of his time in the pits.
Complete darkness. Hunger. Blood. Pain.
“I will not apologize for what you went through,” I reply. “As I said before, war is war. Both of our peoples have suffered great losses.”
“You are right,” Malekai says. Evander stops pacing and retakes his seat at the table. “We have both suffered great losses. That is why I am at an impasse. We never thought to get out of the pits alive. To find out that we were rescued by the Domuran prince, nonetheless, was a shock to both of us. After you and Nikko helped us to escape the pits, Nikko brought us through a portal and dumped us here on Terra, leaving us with no means to return home.”
I stare into Malekai’s green eyes as the faint memory of two scrawny Produrai trapped in the pits arises in my mind.
“Come on Nikko,” I said as we rushed through the inner sanctum towards the entrance to the lower caverns. The patrols assigned to my mother’s tomb would return soon. If they were to catch us, my father would issue severe punishment.
By all rights, I was not supposed to enter the Stronghold until I had gotten my revenge, but today was the anniversary of my mother’s death. I had to visit her tomb to pay my respects. Nikko and I had planned this visit for several months. Everything to the last detail was meticulously planned. We would follow the route through the lower caverns of the mountain and enter the inner sanctum through the hidden entrance.
Patrols don’t round through the caverns. There isn’t a need to. The pits within the caverns are cut deep from the stone floor. The holes are round enough to fit one person standing. There is no room for movement more so than breathing. The walls are slick and smooth to the touch making an escape impossible without someone forcefully pulling you out.
“This way, my Prince,” Nikko said as we neared the hidden entrance. The sound of footsteps approached as we rounded a large rock boulder. Behind it, we stopped and stooped low to the ground to hide from the approaching patrols. It took less than a minute before I spotted the first patrol entering the inner sanctum from the main hall. They quickly passed without noticing our presence.
Nikko tapped my shoulder and I turned to see him disappear behind the vine curtain hiding the passageway to the lower caverns. I followed behind him slipping into the damp dark passage.
The Stronghold is the place that most Domurans claim as their home. But for me, it is a home that I have longed to reclaim. I was very young when my father expelled me from the walls of the Stronghold and forced me out into the world of Sanctoria with only a few patrols to keep me company. Nikko was among those patrols.
The sound of rocks falling into a nearby pit drew my attention. Nikko came to a sudden halt in front of me nearly causing me to collide with him. “Did you hear that?” He asked. I nodded my head. The pits should have been empty. Nikko and I had placed precautionary measures around the Stronghold to capture any Produrai that would be brave enough to venture near. My father is unforgiving toward all Produrai. He places the blame for my mother’s death on any Produrai that happens to fall into his clutches.
Many have died and paid for the life of my mother, countless times over, but none of them were there on the day my mother died. None of them witnessed her merciless death. I was the only Domuran to survive that attack. I witnessed her die. I remember the crest of her executioner. My father has his way of waging war with our enemy, and I have mine. I don’t want the deaths of all Produrai, just the one that took my mother away from me.
The sound of rock hitting rock echoes through the cavern. Nikko started forward moving away from the sound, but I turned to try and pinpoint where the noise was coming from. It was hard to see in the lower caverns. The room was dimly lit with torch fire spread around the cavern walls. I took a few steps in the direction the noise had come from.
“My Prince,” Nikko said. “Leave them. If they go missing the King will notice. He will find out we were here.”
“I want to see,” I replied as I turned toward the pit to the right of me. Walking to the pit’s edge, I found a Produrai covered in dirt. His hands were stretched out above his head as he tried to grasp the walls of the pit encasing him. He couldn’t have been much older than me. His hair was disheveled and covered with a thin layer of dust. He gazed up at me as I stooped down over the small opening.
“Who are you?” He asked through bloody lips. One of his eyes was purplish black and swollen so large that it could not open. A thin line of dried blood ran down his face from the crown of his head to his neck. At first glance, I could tell he was not the one I had been searching for. I looked from the young Produrai towards Nikko.
Nikko shook his head warning me not to do what I was thinking. “We will be caught, my Prince. You cannot save him,” Nikko said. “He will only slow us down.”
Nikko was right. It would be a matter of when we are caught instead of if we are caught. I stood and took a step away from the Produrai, my conscious gnawing my insides. I took another step and moved to take another, but my feet didn’t obey. I knew it was wrong. If I rescued this Produrai today, I will end up fighting against him in battle in the future, but I couldn’t leave him there. He is not the one that killed my mother, yet he will take the blame, the same the other captured Produrai before him.
I turned and reached my hand down to the Produrai captive and pulled him from the pit. I could see the disapproval in Nikko’s face as I helped the Produrai to stand. He was so weak that his legs nearly gave out from under him. Nikko grabbed one of his arms, and I grabbed the other. We took a few steps before the Produrai jerked free from us falling to the stone floor.
“We don’t have time for this,” Nikko said. “We have to get clear of the outer wall before we are discovered. I bent down once again to help the Produrai to his feet.
“My brother,” he said weakly. “I can’t leave without my brother.” I looked from the Produrai to Nikko.
“Take him,” I commanded Nikko as I passed the weight of the Produrai to him. “I will find his brother and meet you outside the wall.”
“My Prince,” Nikko began to protest, but it was no use. As soon as I was sure that Nikko had the Produrai securely in his grasp, I set off looking through the other pits to find his brother.
“Prince Thanark! Thanark,” Malekai calls pulling my attention from the memory.
“So, it was you that we pulled up out of the pits that day,” I say to Malekai with a chuckle. “It must be fate.”
“Fate?” Evander asks. I chuckle again at the thought.
“Anyway,” I continue. “As I said before, the girl is my consort. I can return the palace to you, but I will not let her leave my side.”
“You,” Evander starts but is interrupted when Malekai holds up his hand. Malekai stands and walks to the sink, placing his empty mug into the silver basin.
“After we have moved our people home, we will let Lyla decide who she will stay with,” Malekai says. “After all, I am sure she would choose you, the enemy of our people, over her own brothers.” Malekai smiles and leaves the room followed by Evander.
His words of sarcasm ring through my mind even after the kitchen has become quiet. Would she really choose them? The more I think about it the more sense Malekai’s words make. Of course, she would choose her own people over me. When I return to Sanctoria, I will have to remind her why she needs to choose me over them.
Find out what happens when Prince Thanark and Lyla are finally reunited.
If you decide to check out the Sanctorian Series…don’t forget to leave me a review.
Happy reading my friends!