Author of the Ancient of Light Series
Welcome to the Realm In the beginning there were Vampire…
Man’s fall from grace sparked the birth of the Dark creatures from the underworld. To counter the explicit threat to mankind, divinely-created immortals were brought forth. The Witch encompassed seven Castes of power; their magic was most effective against the nefarious agenda pursued by the evil ones. The war has raged since the beginning of human history. Ancients of Light is the series detailing the stories of the immortals that will fulfill an arcane prophecy and bring about the conclusion of the supernatural conflict.
About the Ancients of Light series
Chosen is the first in the thirteen books of the Ancients of Light series and is only the beginning of a young Witch’s journey toward developing both the strength of character and magic that will be required to fulfill her prophesied role as leader of the Light faction.
Revelations of nuances in the Prophecy - facets that were never fully comprehended by the Ancients - will continue in successive stories. The culmination of its true meaning in the destiny of the supernatural world of the Realm will only be revealed when Kaitriana is adequately prepared to lead the Warriors now being called together to champion the Light’s purpose.
Familiar characters return for each storyline as the focus turns to a new key couple in every book - a pair that significantly factors into the purpose of Light – however, the story of the Chosen does not end with Book #1. Kaitriana and Lorcan, their growth together as partners in leadership and in love as a couple, will thread through the series as Kaitriana assumes the role that was destined as hers since the beginning.
In the beginning...there were Vampire
Man’s fall from grace sparked the birth of the Dark creatures from the underworld. To counter the explicit threat to mankind, divinely-created immortals were brought forth. The Witch encompassed seven Castes of power; their magic was most effective against the nefarious agenda pursued by the evil ones.
She is Chosen
Kaitriana’s gift of magic is unrivaled. A descendant of the most powerful Ancient in existence, her birth was foretold ages before her time. Destined to lead the Witch faction, she is betrayed by her own kind, destroying her birthright and all hope of delivering the Realm from the sinister shadow of the Ancient Dark.
He is the Key
Lorcan is a mighty warlord in the Vampire species. His animosity towards the magical immortals is personal - his mother was their Queen. Having long since severed all ties with his former kin, his existence remains plagued by the repercussions of her treachery and a secret that threatens to be his downfall.
They are the Prophecy
An arcane prophecy from the time of the Ancients proclaims that only two in all of creation can bring peace to the Realm. When Kaitriana miraculously appears seeking his protection, Lorcan must forsake his duty and disregard the dictates of his breed to shelter the female. Together they must combat the Ancient Dark and surmount the forces within their own factions that would oppose the Prophecy. Their fates have always been entwined and only when joined can they triumph over a blood feud that has shadowed the Light for millennia.
Though the scene was being witnessed by hundreds of warriors, at this moment none existed but the two before the gates. Lorcan’s tone was icy, “What know you of my mother?”
“Apparently more truth than you….Lorcan.” Her inability to locate Myrrdyn had caused her to seek the Vampire warrior; she instinctively trusted him and she needed his protection. Kaitriana had not intended to insult him nor broach the subject of his Witch mother, but the pain, fatigue and hunger plaguing her now made her testy. She was not in the mood to argue vampires and the falseness of their beliefs.
Anger rising, apparently she knew her enemy by name while he had no inkling of her origin or purpose, Lorcan still managed to check himself and he stepped no closer in response to her taunt. She had kept her head down, the curtain of her hair continued to hide her face from him. His ears and all those within the yards of the keep were keen enough to hear her sharp intake of breath, accompanied by an ever so slight moan of pain. The girl’s hands extended shakily from the skirts of her gown, still tightened in a claw-like grip as though in reaction to immense suffering. Her fingertips scraped over the snow, raising dirt as she hunched slightly forward.
He witnessed it at the same time a faint trace reached his senses; a smattering of blood was on the bodice of her gown, much more of it smeared over her arms. Anger abated slightly for the moment with the realization that the creature was suffering. Lorcan released his hand from the sword and in direct opposition to his cautionary nature he squatted closer to her level. He scooped up a handful of the powdery snowfall, patiently sifting it through his fingers. He provided her a minute, attempting to allow her to regain some composure before he pressed, “You are injured?”
Her head remained lowered and Kaitriana eased back as the wave of pain slowly subsided. She refolded her hands demurely in her lap and followed with a short, rueful laugh. “I have been tending my injuries for nearly half a millennium, Milord. At this moment I am in pain, yes… but this blood is not mine, nor have I been injured during all the bloodletting that has left me in such a state.”
Lorcan was appreciative of the response she gave though her words were a bit odd. ‘Milord’…her language was dated. Damn, if the creature would just push those curls back so that he could see her eyes and ascertain her intentions. Lorcan did not lie to himself; he was curious and cared to see if she was as pretty as he was imagining. How he could feel such intrigue towards a supposed threat he could not gather, but there was something about her that pulled at him on an instinctive level.
He could not garner a clear scent of her either, which perplexed him further. She did not reek of any of the Witch Castes. Her scent might be masked somewhat by the blood that marred her skin and gown, but to be undetectable to one with his senses was odd indeed. In order to be responsible for the death of the magnitude described by Jortha, the little thing must be Ancient and of one of the stronger Castes.
Those delicate shoulders raised, just enough to send snow cascading from them as he watched, “I am not an Ancient…nor nearly so old as you...”
Lorcan stiffened; was she probing his thoughts?
As if to confirm, Kaitriana slowly lifted her head, raising her face to his view. The effort cost her. The splitting in her head amplified immensely with the slight movement and her body felt as though it were being torn apart on the inside. Her nails began shredding the fabric of her skirts in earnest again as she attempted to control of the shrieks of agony that wanted to escape her.
Lorcan took in the pain etched in her face, the tears gathered at the corners of her eyes and the pallor of her skin. He understood immediately her issue, noting the tips of tiny white fangs and the marks they had had left on the bottom of her lower lip. Those observations registered with him simultaneously through the impact of a shock that nearly knocked him back physically. Lorcan’s gaze locked on her. Those eyes swimming behind the pools of tears appeared as shards of ice. There was no sparkle within them at this very moment but those eyes had haunted him for centuries. He knew them well and only one in the Realm had ever possessed that amazing look.
Lorcan’s entire body weakened in a rush, requiring all his brute strength to keep himself steadfast. The air expelled rapidly from his lungs as he began counting; Lorcan realized he was crazed even as he did it. Eighteen…eighteen little freckles smattered across the beauty’s face. The creature at his feet was the very image of the beautiful witch that had been burned to memory nearly five hundred years before when she had fled at the Festival of the Moon. Kaitriana. Did he whisper it aloud?
Maybe he did, he thought a smile was taking her lips before she gasped in pain again. The fang on the right side pierced her lower lip as she arched back in agony. There was a rumbling among the men behind him. They were aware too that she was near the end of transitioning. The pain of the process that changed one into the Vampire form could cause a strong warrior to beg for death. Blood traced from the corner of her mouth and this time he could scent her. Lorcan reacted, his fangs extending sharply.
He closed the distance between them in less than a blink. The streaks of light in the sky were nearly unceasing now and Lorcan thought it may be connected somehow to the pain she suffered. Heedless of the female’s current state, he knelt down in front of her; his hands tightened around her arms and he gave her body a hard shake. He was uncaring when she responded with a tortured cry. Lorcan was greatly tormented now too, the brief feeling of relief and hope that had risen in him had been extinguished just as quickly. The despair he had felt earlier this night increased tenfold as he gazed down at the being.
Lorcan dragged her writhing form flush against the metal plating on his chest, demanding through gritted teeth, “What treachery is this? The witch is dead!” His mind was not making sense of her appearance and fury ensued. Lorcan shook her again, harder, before tossing her bodily ten feet from him to the snowy ground. A bolt of sizzling light flew from the sky and pierced the ground but a few feet from him, accompanying her shriek of pain. He was oblivious to the threat but his men began to shift uneasily as Lorcan ground out “Answer me!”
She moved not from where she landed but only drew her knees towards her chest. Kaitriana was panting through the pain, tears freely flowing down her cheeks. She lifted those watery eyes to him, hearing the crunch of his boots over snow as he approached, and extended a trembling hand in his direction.
Was she attempting to ward him off or reach for him? Having seen enough transitions to know that she was in the final stages, he also knew that in such state, no matter how powerful, she would be in no condition to fight him. He crouched on a single knee next to her, using her extended hand to jerk her roughly to him. Supporting her torso on that bended knee, he encased her upper body in the steel bands of his arms. Lorcan’s fangs extended further, his eyes blackening with his rage. He leaned to put his face in hers, his voice deadly cold, “Tell me, you deceitful bitch, why I do not tear your throat wide and end you now?”
Her lids lowered slowly, she thought the pain must have made her daft. The blackness of his eyes, induced by his Vampiric traits when his emotions were heightened, was ringed in vivid blue. She experienced a rush of cool breath from his mouth as his fangs touched the vein of her neck in warning. She would not give him the pleasure of witnessing her fear, just as she had not with those evil vampires of the Dark that fateful night long ago. In the throes of her misery she was too beleaguered by it to spend energy imagining her death at his hands. Death would be a welcome escape from the relentless agony that had arrived so suddenly. Overwhelmed by it, she had possessed barely the strength to take leave of the last of Rhydach’s manors that she had destroyed.
In her quest for the death of a killer she had destroyed any and all of Rhydach’s possessions and people that stood in her way. She had found the other bastard responsible for her parents’ murder and had exalted in his torment and the horror of his allies before she had ended them all. The pain that had come upon her immediately afterwards was crippling; although she had called desperately for Myrrdyn, he had not come to her rescue. Her memories had pushed her here and God had answered her prayers. Lorcan was in residence this night.
Another series of knifing pains shot through her entire being and the moan of misery escaped despite her best efforts. In response she rolled her body tighter against Lorcan, as if seeking comfort in the fold of his arms, rather than away from the threat he currently presented. Buried under that pain, in the recesses of her mind, she still had a tenuous grip on the deep-rooted belief that he would protect her. Her action exposed the slim column of her neck to him only more fully.
He found it odd that she offered no defense. Was there no fight in her? To him her silence was an admission of guilt, treachery. Lorcan tucked her up higher against him as he readied her neck for his bite; he wanted her tormented and he wanted her fear. Her blood stained hands splayed across his chest, but she did not push, she did not resist. Damn it, he wanted her to fight and he wanted to relish in the victory of her death. Lorcan grazed his lips over her ear and paused there to whisper as she shivered, “I will have you begging for my mercy.”
His mouth slipped downward and his fangs found the top of her throat, under the jaw line. He pressed only hard enough to drag sharp tips roughly down the entire length, leaving two thin trails of blood glistening against her pale skin. This evil would cower to him. By all that was Ancient, the creature would be begging for the end when he decided to deliver it.
The Prophecy Will Be Fulfilled
Ancients were created in the beginning of the age of man. The Vampire were birthed by the underworld after mankind’s fall from grace to destroy what remained of God’s people. This threat to Creation was countered with divinely-breathed immortals. The Witch were most effective against the nefarious agenda pursued by the evil ones. An arcane Prophecy proclaims that the divine purpose of the Ancients of Light will be fulfilled, beginning with the rise of the Chosen. Now the Queens will join her…
Fire is her Destiny
Ella long ago determined she would not live a life where magic defined her. Feeling no kinship with her Caste, she walked away from the Realm and its conflicts. She found acceptance and fulfillment in her life amongst the mortals and is on the brink of achieving her dreams.
Darkness is His Curse
Nicholas is the most revered warrior in the Darks’ army. His personal animosity towards the Light drives his existence and draws him to the one Witch he is set on controlling. Nicholas knows the reasons that Ella never found acceptance within the Fire Caste of Witch and he will use that knowledge to pursue his Dark agenda.
When Light and Dark Collide
Despite her origins, Nicholas discovers more in Ella than just a powerful Fire Witch, leading him beyond the Dark evil that has plagued him for eight centuries. Ella disregards the inherent calling of her breed for the only true belonging she has ever experienced, the love she finds with her Dark Vampire. The beginning of the very Prophecy that will save the Light tears the pair apart and the fallout threatens their existence. When two of the most powerful immortals on opposite sides of Realm collide in divinely-inspired fate, neither will escape unscathed. Only when the Forsaken finds grace will Ella and Nicholas be able to fulfill the destiny that has always been meant for them.
He was certainly sin, wrapped in chocolate with a sprinkle of naughty. Visions of him would keep her happy in fantasy land for months. Ella felt a stabbing tingle of power again and dismissively tamped it down. Lifting her gaze to find his riveted on her, it became important to her only just then that he had robbed her of her wine. To interfere with a witch and her consumption of brew was a no-no indeed. Her brow creased in mild vexation, “Are you attempting to cut me off? Because I am a big girl and I can handle…”
His finger found her lips, cutting off her rant before she could work herself into a lather over the stolen drink. Leaning in close enough that his breath caressed her cheek, he confirmed that the attraction was not one-sided, “I am merely making certain that later, when I taste your lips, they will not be tainted with that plonk.”
Ella swore he shuddered with the characterization of her aforementioned drink before turning and nodding his thanks to the tender for the bottle of wine and glasses deposited on the bar. He swung that piercing gaze back to lock meaningfully on hers and murmured in the same smooth tone, “Your head needs to be clear enough to focus only on me when I kiss you the first time, Witch.”
His words - both his claim to her attentions later and the call to her immortal nature - had the desired effect. A sharp intake of breath and quickening pulse accompanied the rapid rise of color to her cheeks. Her eyes flared wide before narrowing with animosity. An unnatural spark of green swirled in their depths, evidence of a rise in magic, and this time Ella let it go unfettered.
Her intoxication had been enough to muddle her instincts and cause her to dismiss the warnings her magic had been screeching at her. Now that she had been clued in, it was easy for her to gain a sense of his nature as well…Vampire. Her lips curled in distaste, only to be answered by his smirk as he ignored her obvious ire to attend to their glasses. His unconcerned manner made her furious. He knew her to be of the Witch breed so he should be fleeing in the opposite direction, not pouring her a beverage…the arrogant bloodsucker.
The Light’s Duty to Protect
A war over the fate of mankind sparked the creation of the Ancients - Light and Dark - one divinely-created guardians, the other hell-spawned killers. The conflict raged within the Realm for millennia, neither faction triumphant in its purpose. In recent history the Darks have adopted a more surreptitious path - the boom of technology allowing the Dark One to insinuate himself into the midst of those he would most like to destroy. Tragic consequences result when the Ancients of Light pursue the Darkness into the Outer Realm. The Prophecy continues…
Darkness Claimed Her Soul
The adversity of Kylie’s youth forged an indomitable spirit. A vibrant and strong woman determined to plot the course of her life with room for nothing beyond the next measure of success, Kylie believed in only herself, and most certainly neither destiny nor love. All those tenants were derailed with a single encounter, but the same man that tempted her to live again drew her into the middle of an aged war, the consequence being her own destruction, plummeting her into a hellish existence.
A Warrior Haunted by His Failure
Sayer’s mission was only to foil the latest plan of the Darks in the Outer Realm and return a few Vampire to Hell. Finding a perfect mortal that tempted him beyond all reason was an unforeseen complication. Just when Sayer realizes that his eternity is meant for one alone, Kylie is destroyed and the loss drives him to the pits of despair, revealing events of the past that would best remain buried.
Tragedy will Reveal Those of Divine Purpose
Sayer’s appearance in her life was the catalyst to fulfilling a destiny that existed since Kylie’s creation. Their fate thwarted by Darkness, both shattered by tragedy, Kylie and Sayer must return to the love that once was while finding absolution or perish apart. Only once all that was broken is returned to unblemished will God’s own Warriors rise. The beginning of the beginning…
She tore into his throat, reveling in the violence of it as much as the taste of Witch, while a thunderous banging began on the other side of the barred door. The magic that kept her within was also most effective at keeping the others out, Kylie had gambled on that. The Vampire could not shadow inside to reach her and neither they nor the Witch could break the magic barrier coupled with the strength of her own Vampire abilities holding the door. Cade could undo the spells, but it would take him any number of minutes and by then she would drain the Warrior Caste leader.
Giggling, she tore another gaping wound into his flesh and purred while she lapped up the blood, his struggles already weakening, “Mmmm….you taste as sweet as you look, Kendrick, like cotton candy and sugar cookies .” She took another bite just as the door exploded inward. The force rocketed Broderick across the room with the remnants of the door, a large thud echoing when he collided with the far wall. He had not regained his feet when Lorcan and Sayer rushed in.
Kylie calmly withdrew her bite and eyed them. Kendrick was too weak to resist her, and satisfaction gleamed in her eyes, “If you come near me, I will tear his throat so wide there will be no hope that you can heal him.”
Her eyes sparkled with evil when she locked on Sayer, “I waited for you, honey, just like Cade suggested. I even saved you some – to share.” She extended a hand, as though offering him a taste. The thick blood that ran from Kendrick’s throat coated both her hands where she had them knotted in the front of his tunic. No small amount of the same was smeared over her cheeks and mouth. Kylie knew she looked monstrous and she delighted in Sayer’s horror.
She was eyeing Kendrick’s throat like a starved lion, and Sayer attempted to talk her down, “Kylie, give Kendrick to Lorcan and I will take you home.”
It only irritated her, souring her expression, “You should address me as Callie because Kylie is unlikely to listen to you.”
Sayer’s jaw clenched tight and his reaction made her want to dig deeper at his pain points, “Do you know why my eyes are always veiled in black, love?” She chuckled and made an exaggerated lick at Kendrick’s throat to give Sayer time to hazard a guess. When he didn’t, she went on nastily, “It is because your little Kylie harbors so much hatred for you….thin line betwixt love and hate and all that. Why do you think it was so easy for me to slip here and take over? Kylie is strong, so for me to gain foothold, she had to surrender. The girl would rather be dead than be here, with you, in the Realm.”
Lorcan growled, but Sayer paled, her suggestion of Kylie’s hate for him impaled him as effectively as any weapon she might wield. Kylie leaned in once more to lick a rivulet of blood from her wrist before looking back at him, “As if Blackmore’s torture wasn’t enough…then the poor girl went through the transition, all by herself, in a cold, dark dungeon. They let her starve for three days with bloodlust, before Turloch decided to make her into his own little Frankenstein. Do you think getting all this Darkness into her soul was painless?”
Sayer visibly recoiled, prompting her cackling laugh, “It hurt like hell, but her mind never snapped, Sayer. You know as well as I that Kylie was too strong to break, but unbridled hatred will allow Dark magic to take hold very, very easily.”
Running her free hand through Kendrick’s hair, she tightened her fist in the sandy strands of blond. With her hold she jerked his head to and fro looking for the next best place to bite. Continuing to examine his neck, all the while she kept Lorcan and Broderick in her periphery, “You knew she was terrified to let anyone into her heart, but you convinced her she was safe with you. The very next night you abandoned her, and all her faith and trust in you was demolished during those weeks of torture when you never tried to save her.”
The blood began dripping to the floor, and she watched the wasted drops of crimson spatter beautifully, finishing, “You shattered her already broken heart. Bits and pieces, Sayer….that is Dark, very Dark. Are you playing for the right team?”
There was not nearly so much strength in Sayer’s command this time, but he latched on to one thing that Kaitriana had explained to them earlier, “Kylie, put Kendrick down. The magic has made you think you are Callie, but she is not here. You are here with me.”
Kylie sneered, “If you would like to jot that down, I will be certain to pass that message on to her too, the next time your wee little human decides to pop in.”
Enemies by circumstance of Creation
Sworn to their purpose, the Vampire and the Witch
were created to battle over the fate of mankind.
He was the First
Until one Vampire sought a Higher Purpose.
She was the Beginning
And one Witch’s faith brought Darkness into the Light.
Their love would turn the course of the Ancient War…
Before the Prophecy, an Ancient Queen and the Vampire she loved
would forge the path for those that would follow.
June 20, 2014
Tristan liked that she was not composed enough to hide that second responsive sunburst of magic in her eyes… or her shiver. He believed fear was masking the true cause of her trembling… feeling certain that her body’s desire for him rivaled his for her. He confessed his thoughts, wondering if she would scream in terror, “I imagined my mouth on your skin and it nearly drove me mad each night… I want to learn your taste, experience your blood spilling over my tongue.”
She stayed still, but her heart skipped two beats – he heard it quite easily – and her breathing stopped. Alia was putting on quite the show of bravery, making it harder to keep that smile from appearing. Intensely satisfied that he had her under his control - even if it was only for these few minutes - it eased his raging instincts. Tristan shifted position so that he could whisper against her ear, unable to resist grazing his lips over that sensitive skin, “Does that scare you, Alia?”
Alia knew it was reasonable to be terrified. One of the darkest of warriors within the ranks of her enemy had abducted her, was holding her in an unknown place, and that gleam in his eyes told her he was most likely planning to do just as he had mentioned with those teeth. Drawing a deep breath, it was only when she stared into the abyss of onyx that blanketed his eyes that her senses began to tune into everything else that surrounded them. Alia recognized a sound, and almost simultaneous to it felt an internal pull. Her gaze darted to the opening at the entrance of the cave, disbelieving.
During her hurried inspection before, she had been mistaken in thinking the weather outside their location was merely overcast. What she had believed to be a haze beyond the entrance of the cave was not; Alia realized now from the sound that they were behind a waterfall. Her eyes widened and then narrowed with her frown, perplexed when they returned to his. It was obvious that he had been waiting for her to come to the realization of the very thing he had known all along… there was no reason for her to fear him… not here.
While her power with the additional elements - the water and the lightning - was a new facet of Nature magic, her captor’s smug expression told that he knew exactly the line of her thoughts. The wilder the force of nature, the more her magic was able to feed and yet Tristan brought her to the raging rush of a waterfall. This location was no accidental choice… he had surmised that she would be stronger here as well… much stronger than she had been in the forest.
Intelligent Vampire… Skatosita … she did not want to like him, but Tristan was making it rather impossible to relegate him to the pile of degenerate monsters that was his breed. With this leader of the Vampire, she was witness to his intelligence yet again and glimpsed a side that suggested much more was beneath the surface. He had intentionally brought her to a place where she would not feel powerless with him, but there was accusation in her question, nonetheless, “How did you know?”
Tristan refused to believe she was as upset with him as her tone implied, but he was not going to pretend to be something he was not for the sake of charming her. Between them there would be no skirting what either of them was or the past that was between their breeds, “I have told you before that we know much of the Witch. Even were your breed not so loose with their lips, given the right incentive, your Caste will reveal its secrets as willingly as all the others.”
It sunk into her slowly what he meant by “incentive,” and she whispered, aghast that he would even broach the subject in her presence and then have the audacity to gloss over it, “Torture.” It was not a question and he did not need to answer, but Tristan gave her a curt nod to make certain she had no room to form fanciful notions about his character.
Alia did not move, but her eyes stabbed him, “I would imagine, as a General in the Darks, that you are particularly adept at such practices.”
She was acting as though his breed held the license on torture with her pious little snit. With an accompanying eye roll, Tristan released her to cross his arms over his chest, answering drolly, “No more so than your leaders, Alia.”
About the Author
Heather Fleener lives in Indiana with her husband, D.A. and their twins, Thomas and Alexandra. Professionally she has spent her career working in the area of Intellectual Property law. Reading has been a passion of hers since she was young and she has adored romance novels her entire life. The romantic styles of Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood are her inspiration, though she has read and loved the stories of countless other authors. Her fascination with the paranormal began to form at the young age of six, watching late-night ghost and vampire movies with her Grandpa. Unfortunately, as a result, she also remains afraid of the dark to this day. Combining her love of epic romances and the supernatural was a natural progression for her overactive imagination. When the idea for the Ancients of Light series began, it was an abstract story line rambling around in her head to help kill a few miles on the treadmill. As the stories and plotlines continued to grow, it finally became necessary to put the words to paper and build the characters that had been living in the Realm and having conversations in her head for months. The series is a testament to many miles on the treadmill and lots of characters that insist on having their stories told.
Books in the Ancients of Light series Chosen Forsaken Broken Mistaken –
Release Date: June 20, 2014
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