Thursday, October 20, 2011

Excerpt: Summoned, by Susan Noble

Synopsis: Lina had no plans to leave her beloved homeland. Then gypsies kidnap her and take her to a foreign land. There a strong urge compels her to travel north. On her journey, she reluctantly uses her Elemental powers as she battles mystical creatures that have not existed for 800 years. When she discovers the shocking truth behind the calling, it will change her life in ways she could never imagine.


The young woman tossed in her bed, muttering softly. She rolled over, her long honey-colored hair covering her pale face. Her fingers dug into the mattress. She shook her head as she sank deeper into the dream.

The yellow light cut through the dark. Her eyes stayed focused on it as it flickered before her like a hundred candles dancing in a soft summer breeze, growing brighter as she neared. As she walked, her hands reached out, touching the smooth, cold stone wall. That alone should have warned Lina something was not right. Even as her mind called out that this was all wrong, she continued down the hall toward the light and toward whatever was calling her.

No one called out her name. No, the calling was unspoken but strong. The urge to respond to it consumed every part of her. She knew she must obey. What was calling her and why were unimportant to her now. All that mattered was she must go.

As she reached the end of the hall, Lina paused. The bright light hung above a curved stone staircase. She lifted her hand, shielding her eyes. She wished she could block out the light. And the calling. Then she saw the doorway to her right. Without thinking, she opened the door, slipping into the dark room. She heard low voices coming from the adjoining room. She tilted her head as she listened but the words were too soft to understand. She moved toward the room, pausing in the archway. What she saw next made her tremble with fear. Her hand flew to her mouth as the cloaked man before her turned. Suddenly, the floor trembled. The walls began to tumble and the floor collapsed beneath her. She saw her hair swirl around her as she fell. She opened her mouth, a scream on her lips, yet nothing came out. She pressed her eyes closed as she waited for the impact she knew was coming.

As she hit the ground, Lina gasped, her eyes flying open.

Her heart raced. She sat up, breathing fast. She pressed her hands into the soft mattress below her as she looked around. A small table separated her bed from another narrow bed. A dresser and a table with two chairs completed the room’s meager furnishings. The room was vaguely familiar.

Lina? Are you all right?

The gentle voice of Tosh filled her mind. Her eyes quickly scanned the room, stopping on the small grey cat lying on the table. This was not her room. She shook her head slightly trying to clear her mind, trying to piece together what had happened. Then it came back to her. Harmony. The trip with her father. She glanced at the motionless form in the other bed. Good, I did not wake him, she thought.

Tosh’s yellow eyes glowed as he jumped onto her bed, his paws sinking into the thick mattress. Was it the dream again?

“Yes,” she answered, silently. “And the feeling has increased. I don't know how much longer I will be able to ignore it, Tosh.”

Lina shook her head. The feeling, or “calling” as she had recently begun to call it, grew slightly each time she woke from the dream. Her pounding heart began to return to normal. She tried to recall what scared her, but the dream was already fading from memory. It was like something dangling just out of reach. Now all she could recall was the feeling that she had been falling. She sighed. The dream and the calling had to be linked. They had not only begun at the same time but whenever she had the dream, the feeling drawing her north increased ever so slightly. There must be a connection. But what? She rose from the bed, moving toward the window.

As she and her father had traveled north toward Harmony, the feeling had strengthened. It was as if she was destined to go north. Lina looked out the window at the moonlit street below. She still could not get over the fact the city was made of rock and mortar. So different from home, she thought. Her mind flashed back to her first sight of the capital of her homeland. The grey stones had risen impressively out of the lush green Grasslands. She had seen more of the beautiful countryside on this trip than ever before and her love for her homeland had grown to a new level.

“I can't leave, Tosh.” She turned to look at the cat sitting on her bed. “This is my home. It is where I belong. But this feeling...I don't know how I will be able to ignore it if it gets any stronger.”

There must be a reason for it. Tosh replied calmly. Maybe the answer is even here in the city.


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