Breaking Free:Others of Edenton: Book 4

By: Brandy L Rivers

Dedication





Michele, you’ve always been my best friend.

You always will.

Who else is going to listen to me

go on and on about all the

crazy characters in my head,

Never stop being you,

and I’ll always be there for you.





Prologue





71 years ago



Slipping into an unfamiliar dream, Declan caught sight of pale hair blowing in the wind. The black sky sparkled with a million twinkling stars. A shining crescent moon illuminated the tower.

A young woman stared off into the distance with such sorrow etched into her lovely features, his heart went out to her. He craved a smile from her sweet full lips.

He sighed, and she looked down. Hope flashed through her expression. Her hand reached out to him.

One look and she stole his heart. He stretched his arms out, taking the shape of a falcon and flew up to her. Hoping not to frighten her, he landed at her feet and shifted back.

Surrendering to the impulse, he brushed his fingers over her cheek. “You should always smile in your dreams, darling.”

Her voice was light but filled with barely contained agony. “If all hope in life is gone, there’s nothing left to smile for, even when I sleep.”

He took her slender hands in his and stared into her eyes. “What troubles you?”

A strangled laugh escaped her lips as she looked up at the ceiling. “Only a dream,” she whispered.

“Not all dreams are bad, even if they start that way. Sometimes dreams come true, and sometimes dreams bring you hope in even the bleakest times.”

Her gaze lifted to lock with his. “I’ve been taken away, forced to turn a monster into something far worse. There is no escape, and when I’m done, I’ll be nothing more than a toy to break.”

Resisting her was impossible. He knew he would go to her, no matter the cost. “Tell me your name, and your best guess as to where you are.”

Sucking in a breath, she looked away. When she let it out, she answered, “My name is Moira Blaine. I think I’m in Italy.”

“I’ll find you, Moira Blaine. If only to bring a smile to your lips.”



* * * *



For three weeks Declan visited Moira in her dreams. Every night, he learned something new that drew him closer. He traveled from his home, Hope Valley in Derbyshire, to the rocky coasts of Italy where ancient cities clung to land’s edge.

Somewhere along the way, Declan gained a shadow. He did his best to lose the dark mage following him but it was no use, his every move was being tracked through a spell. Nothing Declan could come up with countered the magic.

The closer he got to Moira, the more he felt like he was being watched. Either the dark mages had somehow tapped into their link, or they had taken control of every Other within a hundred-mile radius. It was especially worrisome as he should have run into something. A witch, a wereanimal, a mage, anything.

He’d learned a lot during their nightly encounters. In fact, he contacted her most trusted friend, Gabriel Sharpclaw. Presently, the plan was for Declan to reach Moira, free her, then meet Gabriel back at the druid compound near Declan’s home.

Moira had been captured by DeMarco, a dark mage who was rumored to be looking for druids to perform the rituals which would transform him into a liche.

The rituals hadn’t been used in centuries because the Silver Council declared it illegal to aid in the creation of such beings, and did their best to hide any tome that detailed the rituals. Liches were deemed too unstable. Once the process completed, the dark mage ascended, no longer needing a physical form. They became pure undiluted power.

A liche hadn’t been created in centuries. Not only were the rituals difficult, but they required the correct combination of powers from two pure druids.

Declan took a seat in a restaurant and ordered lunch. Perhaps the Dales would come for him, and take him to the woman who had captured his heart.

After a light meal, he made his way down the road, and turned onto a neglected, grimy alley. Declan only made it three steps when darkness closed in as an enchanted bag was brought over his head. The spell was designed to steal his consciousness. His wards didn’t allow that to happen, so he faked it, letting the mage take him away.



* * * *



Bruised and scuffed-up, unnecessarily so as he hadn’t fought, Declan was thrown to the stone floor. A feminine gasp threatened to pull his head up, but he lay there limp, feigning unconsciousness.

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