Well of Souls
Read the first chapter here:
Two factions of Immortals fight for the human race, though at odds with each other. One serves Order, the other Chaos. At stake is the Tobar d’anamacha—the Well of Souls—and with it the pairing of soul mates.
Occasionally, humans are forced onto the battlefield. This is one of those stories.
San Diego, April 2011
Deanna smoothed an imaginary wrinkle from her white satin dress with nervous hands as the music swelled in the main room. Three hundred guests waited out there to watch her walk down the aisle and into Nick’s arms.
Taking one last glance in the mirror, she could hardly believe her fairytale wedding day had arrived after months of planning and dreaming about it. Nick had said yes to every single thing she’d suggested, even helping her address the wedding invitations. She had to be the luckiest woman on earth.
Strains of grunge rock sang through the room and Deanna spun around, exasperated. Her bridesmaid and best friend, Kate, couldn’t live without her cell phone.
“Sorry. Forgot to turn the ringer off.” Kate ducked her head as she glanced down at the phone. Her face turned white as she read whatever was on the screen.
“Is everything all right?”
“It’s for you.” Kate brought the phone over and dumped it in Deanna’s hand.
Her vision swam as she read the text. Tell Deanna I’m sorry. Nick.
She ripped the veil from her head, tears stinging her eyes as the pins captured long golden strands of hair and kept them for souvenirs. Nick’s words reverberated through her skull while Deanna’s mind tried to grasp their full meaning. He waits until ten minutes before the ceremony, then texts my friend to say he’s sorry?
Deanna knew she should be devastated but all she felt was anger—a blinding red heat rushing through her body, trying to set her on fire.
“Deanna?” Kate touched her arm, her eyes full of sympathy. “I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s okay. I guess you were right.”
“I didn’t want to be.” Kate’s voice sounded choked and Deanna immediately wished she hadn’t said that. It wasn’t Kate’s fault that she’d seen Nick in a clearer light than Deanna had.
All these months… Had Nick ever intended to marry her, or had it all been a game? Her heart finally caught up with the news, the ache threatening to overrun all coherent thought.
Her family and friends were out there waiting for the ceremony to begin. Oh God, what would she say? How could she tell them? Nothing had prepared her for this. Her knees buckled and she grabbed the edge of the mirror, refusing to look at herself while she still wore this dress.
“Help me get out of this thing.” Removing the layers of mockery would be her first official act as a newly single person. As if stepping out of a dress could make a difference.
“Hold still. I’m working as fast as I can.” Kate’s fingers fumbled with the tiny pearl buttons running down the back, somehow divining that Deanna meant to rip it off if she didn’t hurry.
Once free of the dress, Deanna kicked it aside and grabbed her jeans, nerveless fingers grappling with the zipper as she tried to put them on. Her hand reached into her bag for a t-shirt, brushing against the bundle of love letters tied in red ribbon. A soft moan escaped her lips. She’d planned to re-read them tonight with Nick on their honeymoon to celebrate their love.
You’ve got to keep it together long enough to tell Dad what happened. Don’t break down in front of him. He’ll feel betrayed enough as it is. Dad loved Nick like a son. Deanna wiped the tears from her cheeks and stood straighter before she poked her head out the door.
Dad stood in the hallway, waiting to walk her down the aisle. He looked so handsome in a tux. Her knees started quaking as she motioned him over.
His brow furrowed when he saw she wasn’t in her wedding dress, then Deanna watched his eyes sweep behind her, resting on the bridesmaids doing their best to imitate statues.
“What’s wrong, honey? Shouldn’t you be dressed?” Blue eyes that matched her own studied her face, noticing the tear stains for the first time. “Why are you crying?”
“The wedding’s off, Dad. C-could you tell everybody for me, please?” Her face began to crumble and she bit her lip. Not now. Not yet.
He looked confused but nodded. “If you’re sure…”
She nodded back, unable to clear the lump in her throat. As soon as he left, Deanna grabbed her keys and left out the side door, anxious to get to her car without having to talk to anyone.
Tires squealed as her car shot out of the church parking lot and across three lanes of traffic, squeezing into the flow of vehicles that headed for the beach. Was he already gone from the apartment they shared? Deanna was afraid to find out. She didn’t know what might happen if she ran into him.
Her cell phone was still off but Deanna turned it back on once she arrived at the beach and sat on the seawall. Nothing. He hadn’t even tried to contact her, leaving Kate in the uncomfortable position of delivering the bad news.
Bastard. Scum of the earth. Deanna went through a string of silent name-calling as her anger rose once more. Kate had been right about him. Any trustworthy person would have had the decency to tell her to her face and not wait until she was at the damn church to make up his mind. She jumped off the wall, determined to go home and throw his things out onto the sidewalk.
Ten minutes later she opened the apartment door, immediately sensing he’d already cleared out, robbing her of any revenge. Deanna had spent last night at her dad’s, staying in her old room to honor tradition. Had Nick actually spent all night packing without letting her know? Hard to believe and yet the evidence smacked her in the face. Not a single item of his sat anywhere, including some of his old furniture. He was really gone.
She sank down onto the sofa in shock. Had it all been a lie? For what purpose? She shook her head, unable to fathom any of it. He’d even paid for the wedding, since her dad couldn’t afford it. Nothing made sense.
The diamond on her finger sparkled with false promise, mocking every movement of her hand with shiny lies. She wrenched the ring off and dropped it in the flower vase on the table, consigning it to a watery death.
The tears started again and this time Deanna didn’t try to stop them. She crawled into the bed they’d once shared and cried herself to sleep.
Boulder, April 2011
Robert looked out the glass wall of his office and sighed as he felt Deanna’s pain. He’d discovered her just in time. Soon she’d be ready for her journey. His new assistant walked through the door and interrupted his thoughts, waving a sheaf of papers at him.
“I think I’ve found another one, Kyndeyrn.”
“So soon? And please remember to call me Robert. That’s the name I’ve adopted in this timeframe.”
“Sorry. Robert.” She looked out the window at the snow-capped mountains in the distance. “This place will take some getting used to.”
Robert smiled at her. “It will grow on you, Fiona. This century has some advantages over others.”
“If you say so.” She didn’t look convinced. “Do you want me to contact Deanna?”
“Not quite yet.” Robert turned away from the view and sat down at his desk. “We’ll give her some time. I’ll let you know when.”
The phone rang as Fiona left his office. “Yes?”
“You have a call on line three from Scotland,” the receptionist said.
“Put it through.” He picked up the line. “Robert Thornton.”
He listened for a moment. “No, I don’t recall meeting you, but you’re more than welcome to set up an appointment. Good day to you.” He hung up and permitted himself a small smile before getting back to work. This was working out perfectly.
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