Friday, March 14, 2014

First Chapter Reveal: Written in Ruberah by P. Christina Greenaway

Title: Written in Ruberah
Author: P. Christina Greenaway
Publisher: Girl by the Sea Publishing
Pages: 420
Language: English
Genre: Paranormal romance
Format: Paperback and eBook

PURCHASE AT AMAZON!

New York real estate broker Miriam Lewis takes off for a brief getaway to a remote inn on the rugged cliffs of Cornwall. Rest and romance with her boyfriend seem like the perfect cure for a life that appears to be going nowhere, and too fast.

Entering Cornwall, Miriam crosses the River Tamar and glimpses a luminous girl floating in the river. A memory from long, long ago begins to unfold in Miriam’s thoughts—something about a promise she made to perform a selfless act of courage. Could it be true? Could she ever rise to such heroism or is it just a hallucination?

While at the inn, Miriam experiences a series of flashbacks from a life she lived in an ancient land called Ruberah. These startling images convince Miriam that she did write the promise and that she must keep it. But to do so, Miriam will have to let go of everything in her life and place her trust in a guide—the river girl—the wise and eternal spirit of the River Tamar.

First Chapter:

CHAPTER ONE
The Age of Jeweled Intelligence
The Ending

The quake rumbles beneath the palace gardens, and the earth splits in zigzags like forks of lightning. Princess Li’ram leaps onto a thick block of gold still standing solid beneath the sundial. The weight of guilt lies heavy in her heart. She clutches the ruby pendant at her throat and presses it hard against her skin. “I am so sorry, Beloved.” She shields her eyes against dust and debris swirling in the air, and gazes at the palace gates.

Da’krah strides into view, his black hair flying in the wind, a crown of emeralds sitting low on his brow. To be loved by Da’krah is the dream Li’ram has harbored since she first laid eyes on him, when he presented her with an emerald birdcage containing two small white birds. “They’re lovebirds,” he said. “One cannot live without the other.”

Da’krah stalks into the gardens and leaps over gouges in the land like an animal roaming its natural habitat. Li’ram’s heart lightens a little. Command is Da’krah’s nature. He will not mourn the moment; he will take action and lead the people.

Landing on the sundial beside her, Da’krah crushes Li’ram in an exuberant embrace, brushing his cheek against hers. “We have little time. Are you ready to begin the ceremony?”

Li’ram touches her fingers to his brow. “We thought we were doing the right thing for our people, didn’t we?”

“We did what they insisted upon. Everyone wanted us to use Rube Force to try and ignite the energies of emeralds. Everyone wanted the riches of the Emerald Kingdom.”

“Not everyone. My father—”

“Your father was ill and barely cognizant when I discussed the matter with him. Do not torture yourself over what is done. The Ending is here. We must move forward. Plans to save as many people as possible are in effect. We will lead them to a new land and a new life.”

Positivity radiates off Da’krah, heady and vibrant like the shimmer in the big emeralds encircling his head. “Make haste, Li’ram. Ask the Goddess for the mating rings.”

Da’krah’s certainty gives rise to Li’ram’s courage, and she lowers her eyes and stills her thoughts, seeking her jeweled vision.

When its soft pink glow shades her world, she glances at her astral disk shimmering on the palm of her hand like a second skin. She taps the disk. Icons flash into view. She touches the symbol for Astral Command and asks to speak to the Goddess of the Ruby Sphere. A wisp of pink mist floats across her palm. She is connected.

“Beloved Goddess ... I … I …” Sorrow overshadows her cause, and she stutters and stumbles, feeling regret for having caused the disaster that befalls Ruberah. I—”

“Speak your request, Princess Li’ram.”

The directness of the Goddess daunts Li’ram, as it always does, but doubly so today as she longs to seek her forgiveness. Li’ram steels her emotions, knowing the Goddess will grant her but a few moments of her time. “Da’krah, Prince of the Emerald Kingdom, and I wish to be mated for life. Will you grant us the most precious gift of the rings of the Ruby Sphere?”

“It is so.”

Tears well in Li’ram’s eyes, but she quickly pulls herself together as Da’krah warns her that to weep as they join souls is to weep forever.

His dark, close-set eyes glow as if lit from behind by the moon. Li’ram chokes back sorrow and envisions the children they will have, the beautiful little souls she will cherish and adore.

A swirl of pale pink stars twinkles over the palace, and jeweled circles begin dropping down from the astral sphere of the Ruby Kingdom, thousands of them, whirling in and out of each other like hoops of fire, falling over Li’ram and her lover.

Li’ram speaks her vow. “I, Li’ram, join my life with Da’krah. I pledge to live in love and harmony with him, and to hold kindness in my heart for all who cross my path. So help me, Beloved of the Jeweled Spheres.” She slips a band of rubies on Da’krah’s finger.

Da’krah pledges the same vow, and places a ring of emeralds on Li’ram’s finger. She falls into his arms, wishing they could stay forever, safe inside the fire of rubies. But the jewels retreat to their cosmic home, and a savage wind blows in.

Red-hot lava rolls up to the palace steps, and the marble pillars surrounding the palace crumble. Da’krah grasps Li’ram’s hand and they flee, jumping over flames and craters in the earth, running all the way to the harbor. Huge waves crest and flood the quay. Da’krah sweeps Li’ram into his arms and carries her onto the gangplank leading to the royal ship, the Silver Serpent. The wooden slats creak and sway beneath his feet.

Da’krah lowers Li’ram onto the deck. “We’ll leave soon.”

“No! We cannot go until my mother and sister join the ship.”

“I’ll ready the crew for departure.” Da’krah kisses her cheek and heads toward the bow.

His kiss lingers on Li’ram’s skin and seeps into her body like liquid fire. She dismisses shame. She understands the laws of the universe. In one way or another, be it a moment from now or the next life or a thousand lives later, she will meet the consequences of her actions. She draws in a deep breath. She will not wait for the repercussion of the law. She will set her punishment now. Li’ram looks into the tunnels of time through the light of her ruby vision. “For my hand in the destruction of Ruberah, I shall bear guilt and sorrow through many ages and lifetimes to come, and the suffering of all who perish today shall live in my heart.” Li’ram calls upon her soul guide to seal his destiny. “River Spirit!”

The winding and slightly rose-tinted waters of the River of Life sweep alongside Li’ram. River Spirit swims up to her, a maiden with golden tresses as long as the river itself. Her huge aqua eyes shine clear as ever, absent of fear or blame. “Do you seek my counsel, beloved princess?”

“I know many are calling upon you today. I will not keep you long.”

“This is your time with me, Li’ram.”

“I have in every way placed my love for Da’krah above my duties as princess of the realm and High Priestess of Sound. I enticed my darling sister Sol’aria to use her Sun Master gifts to assist Da’krah and myself in our experiment to capture the power of emeralds. My father warned that the human family was not ready to harmonize their consciousness with emeralds. He said it could result in a power beyond our control. I turned a deaf ear to him. The ruin of Ruberah rests on my soul, and I have cast a heavy debt on myself for this.”


River Spirit speaks, and her voice rings soft and carries a faint echo like a wind chime. “Your father was the sole dissenter in the matter of this experiment, and yes, his was the voice of wisdom, but all others are complicit in this disaster. You could better serve the human family by healing your troubled heart, as they must heal theirs, rather than inflict a long sentence of suffering upon yourself.”

“The only way I dare to love Da’krah now is to know I will suffer for it tomorrow. Do not try to convince me otherwise. My mind is made up.”

“Then what do you ask of me?”

“Will you, one day, many ages from now, when I am strong enough to face my guilt and regret, guide me on a sacred future in which I might redeem myself?”

“What task shall you perform to free yourself from suffering?”

Li’ram thinks of the many who will drown today, drown and be taken prisoner in the Black Heart of Dark Master’s empire.

“I will enter the Black Heart and rescue someone for the benefit of another. I will take the first step into the underworld alone. Once inside, I will call your name and seek your guidance.”

“Do you understand the risk of such a mission?”

“Yes.”

“If you smite yourself this way, without compassion, you will lose your ability to think and see with your jeweled intelligence. This will make it very hard for you to believe in me many ages from now when your sacred future comes due.”

“I deserve no less. My mind is made up. I seek no further guidance.”

“So be it, Li’ram. Your sacred future is written on my river.”

River Spirit’s image fades away, and Li’ram meets again with the horrors sweeping through the city of Az’Rayelle.

A broiling vortex of flames scatters across the skies. The suffocating smells of ash and sulfur sicken her. Smoke burns her eyes. She blinks and scans the docks for sight of Sol’aria and her mother. Another rumble groans beneath the land, and marble buildings crumble as if made of sand and paste. Li’ram shields her ears against the screams of those being crushed to death beneath the heavy stone.

She looks to the high plains above the city where Mt. Rube towers into the sky. The land suddenly rips open beneath it, and plumes of crimson light shoot up from its jeweled peak. The mountain sinks at an alarming speed. This tells Li’ram her mother and sister have successfully completed the program to save Rube. Now it will descend straight to the ocean bed where it will rest unharmed, waiting for another time—for a race of people more highly evolved than they. Or for a High Priestess who would not wield her power for her lover’s gain.

Li’ram wonders if Sol’aria managed to hide the Scrolls of Knowledge—a written account of how to operate Rube Force. The Scrolls should be entombed in a golden casket inside the mountain. This would be a treacherous task. Sol’aria would have little time to get in and out of the mountain between quakes. All being well, her mother and Sol’aria should arrive at the docks any moment now.

She lowers her eyes to the city. In yet another volcanic eruption, the ruby light paths—their crystal transport system—explode. Splinters of red light shoot into the sky. The Crystal Temple of Science shatters inward, crashing into mounds of gold, glass and marble.

Black dust billows over land and sea. Li’ram squints and searches the tangled mass of bodies racing toward the docks. Some jump onto ships waiting to carry them to other lands. Others stumble, trodden to death by the crowd surging behind them.

The captain of the Silver Serpent shouts orders, instructing the sailors to push the ship away from the dock.

“No—stop. My mother … the queen, my sister ...” Li’ram runs to the gangway. “Let me off!”

A sailor points out to sea where the golden galleon Mercy cuts through the angry waters, her sails full with wind, heading for a distant land. “Queen Leah and Princess Sol’aria will most likely be on her,” he says.

Li’ram folds her arms across her aching heart, telling herself that must be true. The golden galleon always came for the brave.

Oarsmen heave. The Silver Serpent edges forth, dodging debris and the oars of other ships. Li’ram strains her eyes to the harbor and catches sight of her sister’s unmistakable flame-colored hair streaking through the smoke. She screams Sol’aria’s name across the water. The girl runs onto the docks, her arms loaded with rolls of parchment tied with ruby ribbons: the Scrolls of Knowledge.

Li’ram’s heart sinks. “Dear Goddess, please keep the scrolls safe from the Black Heart.” She ruminates on the fate of her fellow citizens should the sacred documents fall into the hands of Dark Master. The ruler of the underworld would forever hunt them, no matter who they might become in the future. Rube is the strongest force on the planet and Dark Master lusts after its power. Though few had assumed the duties of High Priestesses and Sun Masters of Rube, the sound vibrations and light forms needed to activate Rube abide in the soul of everyone born in the Ruby Kingdom. Her mother said it was but a decision to hear and see them.

Li’ram cups her hands to her mouth and shouts at the top of her voice. “Sol’aria, toss the scrolls in the fire. Burn them!” She yells it over and over, but her words drown in the sounds of wind, sea, and the pain of the dying.

Sol’aria staggers toward a ship still moored to the dock. Li’ram prays to the Goddess with the full force of her soul for her sister to reach safety, but the Goddess does not answer. The ground erupts again, and the cliffs around the harbor crack and crumble and roll down to the docks on a flow of crimson lava.

The oily, dark waters of the underworld spin to the surface of the sea. Small boats crowded with those trying to escape overturn. Li’ram covers her ears against the gasping sounds of the drowning.

The Silver Serpent pitches from side to side. Li’ram hugs a mast, wondering where her mother might be. As Queen of the Ruby Isle and devoted servant of the Goddess, she surely escaped on the golden galleon. Scanning the harbor again, Li’ram catches sight of Sol’aria, swimming in the sea. She rounds up those who’ve jumped off the quay to escape the fire. Then, waving the Scrolls of Knowledge above her head, Sol’aria directs the survivors to form circles around her. She cloaks them with her courage and leads them in a chant to the Goddess.

As Li’ram aches to possess an ounce of her younger sister’s valor, Sol’aria’s attention falls on the Silver Serpent. Li’ram lets go of the mast and crawls across the deck for a closer view of her sister. Clutching a rope, she steadies herself against the waves crashing over the ship. She meets Sol’aria’s eyes and together they float outside of time in a soft pink haze. A foreknowledge of their future shimmers in the ether. They sit astride a black horse, galloping across a field that borders a rocky coast.

Sol’aria waves the Scrolls of Knowledge at Li’ram, gesturing for her to join in their song. As Li’ram sings, the chant carries her into the stillness at the core of her being. In that peace, she hears Sol’aria praying to the Goddess. Her sister asks for all who have died to pass quietly into the light of their souls, and for those on the ships leaving the harbor to settle safely in other lands. Sol’aria’s prayer awakens the Deva Chorus of the jeweled mountain, and ten thousand voices rise in song. Their sound activates Rube and its dazzling red force spirals up from beneath the ocean and floods the sky.

The dead walk into its glow—thousands upon thousands of them—radiant and happy—led by Leah, their beloved queen. Li’ram weeps as her darling sister Sol’aria takes up the rear, helping those with the greatest needs, all the while smiling back at her.

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