Hello R.M. Fans. Here is the Prologue from Foster of Dark. Please remember that this is not the final version. Things may change when we are in the final stages of editing. Don’t enjoy this preview alone, share it with friends. Thank you for all of your support. Until next time, stay naughty.
Marcelus Noir’s lungs burned from exertion. He was leading the women of magic toward safety by running through the Blue Forest. They all had the power to blaze to the tree that lead to the mortal realm but using that power would alert the Derans. Their group had been running for at least two hours because the sun had set. The idea of taking a short break clawed at his resistance. A moment to rest against the sweet scented blue grass would refuel his spirit. The idea evaporated with the reality of what could happen.
When a man is at war, rest is equivalent to death.
He was a young beacon, and at the age of 10 mortal years, his body was not at full power. Adult Beacons could run for hours without resting. Being so young made it difficult to run for so long without some rest. For now, determination would have to take the place of limitless energy. When violence erupted in Dera, Marcelus wanted to do something to protect his family. His mother had been drugged and left for dead by people they had called family. A war between the houses of magic and the original Derans soon followed. Everyone assumed he would hide away while his loved ones battled for survival. Marcelus went in search of the Ether and asked for her assistance. Their conversation a few hours ago played on an endless loop in his head.
“Grandmother Ether, help me. Tell me what to do.” He begged.
“Marcelus, my young beacon, it is time for you to play your part.” She stated as her brilliant light filled the forest.”
“I want to help. Let me fight.” His hands curled into tight balls at his sides.
“You do not have to yield a sword in order to protect the women and children of this land, my child.”
The Ether’s golden hair and glowing skin made it difficult to look at her directly. Her white eyes seemed to see through him. The Blue Forest grew silent as if afraid to overshadow this powerful God.
“My powers are limited Grandmother.”
“Nothing is limited if I will it so.”
He lowered his gaze to the ground. The Ether was their creator, guardian, and God. How could he doubt her power?
“Lift your eyes to me my son.”
He raised his head and watched as she glowed even brighter.
“Open your mind to me and I will tell you everything you need to know. Speaking telepathically is the only way to ensure we won’t be heard by others.” Her voice was commanding as she imposed her will on his open mind. She spoke in his mind:
The house of magic and original Dera are at war. The dark Dera will not stop until all Beacons, and future Beacons are full of Blue Spirit and forced to return to my essence. You must guide the Houses of Sept and Noir to the mortal realm. They will have to hide all over the world where magic is potent. It is the only way to ensure the survival of my children.
As her words ended, a wave of white light poured from her body into his chest.
Heat coursed through his veins as his limbs gained renewed strength. Marcelus wanted to both cry and leap with joy. His body shook as he fell to his knees before her.
He was pulled back to their current flight from danger as Ahmose collapsed from the weight of her pregnant belly. She was his mother’s best friend and leader of the house of Sept. Marcelus called water from the land to quench her thirst. There were six other women with them. They all tried to help Ahmose regain her strength.
“Thank you Marcelus. You have taken such great care of us.” Ahmose said as she rose to her feet.
Her flushed cheeks and sweaty covered face made him feel guilty. It took a lot to push a Beacon to that point. This was too much for her, but they had no choice. He was pushing this pregnant woman to her limits. This was the only way to ensure the safety of her unborn baby and the rest of the women there. They had to keep going.
His next words were filled with the sorrow that was gripping his heart. “We must continue. I am sorry, sisters.”
It was Femi who spoke next. “My young warrior, we are honored to follow your command. Let us resume our journey.”
She gave him an affectionate smile and a brief hug.
As their feet continued to pound against the forest floor, Marcelus’s thoughts returned to his conversation with the Ether.
“Will you lead them?” she asked.
“I will,” Marcelus pledged.
“Let the women know what they must do in order to survive. Here are my instructions.”
As the mental pictures of what was expected flooded his mind, the women of magic from the house of Sept, and Noir appeared in the forest. The Ether had transported them to Marcelus.
She spoke to him and her daughters.
“My daughters go with Marcelus, warrior from the House of Noir. He will lead you to safety.”
She looked at him one last time before saying “My son, this journey will be a terrifying one. It will test your strength and faith. It may be a long time before you are home again.”
“I am ready. I will not fail.”
He pulled the hood attached to his jacket closed in order to protect his ears during the run.
“No, Marcelus, it is I who has failed you.”
Before he could say another word, she was gone.
He and the women had finally arrived at the portal that separated Dera from the mortal world. It was hidden inside of an old African Baobab tree. No one could see it unless the Ether willed it so. The opening to leave would only last for brief minutes.
Time was not on their side. They had been running for too long. By now someone would be on their trail. He started casting the magic that would protect the women and allow them through the tree. The green energy flowed from his fingers and wrapped around the women. The light danced in the air in preparation for his final spell. The air would turn bright red when the magic begins to work. Marcelus spoke to the women quickly. He did not want anyone else to hear the instructions he had been given.
“You must tell your children The Story of Origin once their power arrives. Once you leave, you will be mortal, and your bonded mates will pass when you pass. Open yourself to the Ether and one day you’ll return to Dera. Bind your children to your spirit as long as you can. They will be born Beacons with more power than a God. You must protect them, so they are not captured by the Dera. Once they’re born, the Dera will sense their existence. They’re no longer immortal, but they’re still connected to the eternal spirit of the Ether. Make sure your children carry the name of all the houses who contributed to their birth. The new Beacons must command more than one house. You’ll be sent into countries that are firmly rooted in magic.”
Tears fell from the faces of the women as they hugged one another. He had to look away. An emotional warrior could not protect his people.
Marcelus continued, “Seek the assistance of the mortal Gods if you must. When the war is over, we will all return home.” The women hugged him and began to cast the spells that would bind them with his Truth in Direction spell. The magic would also slow down their pregnancy significantly. If the Beacons were born later than expected, then the Dera would not find them.
Each daughter of magic began to disappear. Before Agna left, he kissed her belly. Her daughter Angelique had always danced in her womb when she heard his voice.
He spoke to her, “goodbye my friend, one day I will bring you back. I, Marcelus Noir, will lead you to Dera.”
Agna’s tears touched his cheeks as she cried. She pulled him close and whispered, “she will be waiting, brave warrior.”
He stepped away so she could leave. She grabbed Femi and Ahmose’s hands as they stepped into the tree. As he looked on, their eyes widened. They screamed for him to turn. He turned in time to see a figure appear with a woman who looked like his dead mother.
His instincts told him to blaze away. This was one of the men involved in his mother’s death. He still had blue hands from handling the poison he had used. Marcelus could not get away in his weakened state. The man grabbed him by the neck and put a blue fruit in his mouth. Tears fell from his eyes as realization dawned. Marcelus knew he would never see Dera again.
Foster D’Arc gasped for air. Her lungs refused to accept any oxygen. The cold, wet feel of her own filth made her whole body shiver. She could hear the staccato beat of blood dripping from her skin onto the wooden floor. Each raspy breath she took echoed like death in her ears. The red hair she loved now felt hard and sticky against her scalp. This nightmare was slowing consuming her soul.
It was her 18th birthday.
The momentous day had been on her mind for the last four years. She would finally be able to leave her foster home and make a life of her choosing. Someone had different plans.
Her guardian, Abo, stood over her in a daze. He was waiting for Papa Loko’s approval. Papa Loko was a Voudou Loa that protected Hougans and Mambos. He demanded inhumane sacrifices.
This entity had spent eight years torturing her. He would request that Abo whip her until her skin would bleed. One week, she endured three days of lashings with a bamboo rod until she pretended to worship Loko. The beatings consumed her body until every fiber of her being was baptized in pain.
The agony became so familiar and intimate that she waited for it like a hungry child. She knew there was no escaping it. The system set up to protect her had failed in every way possible. The social worker never noticed the bruises or signs of abuse.
Abo would always say that her sacrifices would ensure they remained safe.
“You must sacrifice because he has given you a good home,” was his constant sermon.
Abo’s devotion to Papa Loko proved how dark the Vodou religion could be.
Abo finally spoke. “Pa fè danje antre nan kay la, ti zwazo.”
His smoky voice made her cringe.
It was the same warning over and over. “Don’t invite danger into our home, little bird.”
She hated the nickname. When she was younger, her aunt had called her little Agna. Agna had been her mother who’d died during childbirth. The happy memory of her aunt’s loving voice was replaced by a fire blazing along her cheek.
Foster was immediately pulled back to her current state of nothingness.
Her deranged guardian had slapped her and now stood over her with a candle and began to dance and chant calling the loa forward.
His song was both a physical and mental assault. There were deep gashes on her arm caused by a box cutter. The cuts formed an angry work of woven art across her body. She had been there on that floor for two hours. Every click of the grandfather clock from the living room was a haunting melody. She began counting the seconds in order to escape the pain.
First, she was beaten, violated, and then cut with a blade. When he was done, she was tied to the floor with rope in a room adjacent to the living room. The room had been adorned with talismans, pictures, and idols dedicated to the Loa. The torture continued as the minutes melted into hours. All she could do was lay in agony and wait. Suddenly the heat traveled from her face and caressed the flesh above her thighs.
Why not? She thought.
She’d assumed he’d placed the lit candle against her skin. Lifting her head to verify the torture was too much. She was weak and exhausted. There was no burning sensation, she just felt hot. The slight warmth increased in intensity. It became invisible lava.
The imaginary flames swelled like an out of control forest fire in her head. It devoured whatever was left of her sanity.
Abo had finally done it. She was going to die. Death hovered inches from her heart, and she waited for it to liberate her from Abo and the world. Death never came. She remained on fire for long moments until a voice boomed in her head.
“Vous disposez d’attente pour la mort, mais il ne viendra pas aujourd’hui.”
The voice seemed to shake the room and then it changed into a taunting singsong sound.
“I forgot you only speak Kreyol and English. You were not given the opportunity to be educated properly. Why don’t we move beyond the language thing and discuss your little situation.”
Foster’s body shook violently and then she saw nothing.
The voice spoke again. “You are dramatic, little bird.”
She was in a dark place being taunted by the faceless voice. Her body was still bound to the floor. Then she heard the silky voice again.
“I mean trying to die before your purpose if fulfilled. Did we say you could die?”
“Who are you?” She could barely manage the question. “What do you want?”
“We are many things,” was the confusing response.
“How is that an answer?”
“Oh, little bird, would you like to continue playing with Abo or are you ready to end your
little torture experience? I must say Abo has become a bit aggressive with you.”
Fury ripped through her. She screamed her next words.
“A little aggressive, is that what you call being tortured? Aggressive! Send me back now and let him finish! Where were you when Abo beat me until I could not walk? The only thing I am prepared to do is die.”
“Are you angry, little bird?”
She spat in the direction of the voice.
“Stop calling me that. My name is Foster.”
“No, your name is Angelique, but we can call you Foster. If you are through with the theatrics, we are here to give you a gift.”
Foster put a temporary lid on her rage by grinding her teeth. It was the only way to keep her mouth shut.
“Good bird, I mean Foster.”
Then they appeared, twins dancing between male and female forms. They were without definition but looked exactly the same except for their eyes. One twin possessed piercing hazel eyes that seemed almost gold. The other had cold dark blue eyes. Their bodies were glowing amber light that brightened as they came closer.
Foster forgot to breath.
“If you don’t breathe, you will die and then we can’t give you the gift.”
She closed her eyes and waited.
“We can free you from Abo. We will make it so that no one can ever use your body as their sacrifice. All you have to do is say you will take our gift and never attempt to suppress it. We will lead you to all the people who are responsible for your little vacation in Abo world.”
I swear I will kill these freaky twins if they do not shut up.
Those monsters called her ordeal a vacation? Their careless words doused her rage with ethanol, and she allowed it to explode.
“Go to hell, you demons!”
There was silence then the voice boomed again.
“You dare call us demons? Maybe we should heal you so that you can experience the pain again. Would you like that, Foster? Would you like to wake up feeling Abo ripping you into a thousand pieces? We are the truth that lives in darkness. We are Lemi, and you will obey us.”
I will die a thousand deaths. No one will own me ever again.” Foster shrieked at her tormentors loud enough for them to taste her hatred.
“Do you want the gift or not?”
“I’ll take your gift and use it in my coffin.”
“Ok, whatever you want little bir…Foster.” Without warning, they disappeared.
She opened her eyes to Abo’s wretched form looming over her with a white candle. Hatred, rage, and pain seduced her once more.
She looked at Abo and yelled, “Ou pral mouri. You are going to die.”
As he reached back to slap her, a cloud of smoke rose from the candle in Abo’s hand.
It forced itself into Abo’s nose and mouth. It invaded every pore in his sinus cavity and consumed his breath. He stumbled and landed on the floor. He begged his Voodoo God to save him. The fire from the candle engulfed the room. Abo couldn’t yell or pray. His gaze was transfixed on something. Foster could not move so she just kept staring at the black cloud that was consuming the air.
It floated down and crawled up her body. She inhaled and felt it flow into her lungs. A sense of calm engulfed her broken spirit. Death had finally found her and this time he would take her away. Foster lay still, waiting to choke, but the smoke lifted her up off of the ground. The ropes snapped as the dark energy forced her to stand over Abo.
Their eyes locked, and she smiled at the terror on his face. The compulsion to conquer and destroy this weak man made her skin feel tight. For a mere second, there was complete stillness. They both held their breath, waiting to strike. Instead of breathing, a dark snake-like energy poured from her mouth and flew into Abo.
His desperate wheezing made her smile. He made no sound, but his body shook so hard that it cracked the floorboards. Then he was still. The dark energy returned to Foster. Her body hit the floor, and she was drowned in darkness as greedy flames devoured the house.