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Quiet Whisper – Chapter 1

Don’t worry, I haven’t completely forgotten about the next book in the Angel’s Voice series. I have been a little preoccupied with finishing Demon’s Dance, but I have started on Quiet Whisper and here’s the proof. 

I’m not entirely happy with the first chapter and it might be rewritten many, many times, but enjoy this first draft! 

Quiet Whisper – Chapter 1

She really should be wondering what he was doing there. She hadn’t seen him for months, but somehow he managed to show up in the exact same town she was currently staying in.
He was watching her intently from the other side of the street. He was sitting atop of a brick wall, elbows rested against his knees and his chin placed in his palm. Selissa could feel his eyes boring into her, and she pointedly ignored him.
A map was laid out in her lap and she tried to focus all her attention on it, in the vain hope that he would go away if she pretended not to see him. It quickly turned out to be a lost cause.
With a frustrated sigh, she folded the map and crammed it into her duffel bag. Gritting her teeth, she carefully kept her eyes lowered so he wouldn’t get the satisfaction of seeing her seething.
“I just finished another job…” She said loud enough to be heard on the other side of the street. “Is a bit of peace and quiet really too much to ask for?”
She heard the sound of boots hitting the ground and she lifted her eyes to glare at the man who insisted on making her life a waking nightmare.
“Peace and quiet would drive you insane.” Ardeth said as he approached her, voice deep and familiar. “If that was what you wanted, you would have gone back to the temple a long time ago.”
He really was infuriating when he was right. Selissa huffed and glared at the assassin, even though she knew she had lost the argument before it began.
As he had closed the distance between them, she was now able to get a good look at him. He had not changed the least bit since she had last run into to him in some shady tavern far out in the country, but somehow he always managed to look different to her every time she saw him.
She decided it had to be the strangely tasteful clothes he was dressed in. He was wearing a dark gray traveling cloak over a dark green vest and faded black trousers. They showed no trace of rips or other signs of battle, which in itself was very odd. His long, black hair was tied back in a low ponytail with a green ribbon that matched the vest.
To top it all off, the left side of his face was covered with black leather mask. Selissa knew all too well what lay beneath the mask, but Ardeth rarely bothered to cover up the mark tattooed on his left cheek. Something was definitely off.
She decided to completely disregard his previous comment as she looked at him critically.
“Should I be disturbed by how… decent you look?” She asked hesitantly.
Ardeth grinned, the predatory glint in his eyes standing in sharp contrast to his appearance. “You’re not the only one who just got off duty.”
Selissa lifted an eyebrow. As far as she knew, Ardeth’s ‘duty’ involved slashing some poor bastard’s throat and then delivering the body on a silver platter. Hardly stuff you needed to dress up for.
“Some people prefer to take a less direct approach…” He explained when he saw her skeptical look. “Though personally, I never understood the point of blackmail when you can rid yourself of the problem a far easier way.”
She suddenly realized what he meant. “Never took you for a spy… You don’t strike me as someone good at blending in.”
“That’s because I never bothered trying.” He said simply.
There wasn’t really any arguing with that. Ardeth had never cared what anyone else thought and he wasn’t about to start now. That he even accepted a job that involved a fair deal of deception was a surprise. Selissa cringed at the picture of Ardeth acting civil to fool some unknowing victim into trusting him. It just didn’t sit right with her.
“And it’s a complete coincidence that our paths just happened to cross?” She asked lightly.
“Complete coincidence.” Ardeth agreed casually. For some reason, Selissa wasn’t convinced.
“I’m not going to get dragged into some crazy scheme, am I?” She asked exasparated. Things tended to go downhill every time she ran into the assassin.
“Not because of me…” He said, but he was looking at something behind her. Leaning forward, he spoke softly into her ear. “But maybe because of the red-head who’s been watching you for some time now.”
Selissa swung around to follow his eyes, but she saw nothing besides the various merchants and people in the street. “What are you talking about?”
“A girl…” Ardeth said as his eyes returned to her. “She’s been watching you ever since you came to talk to me. She disappeared the moment you turned around.”
Selissa kept looking uncertainly over her shoulder, but whoever Ardeth had seen was long gone now. She had not noticed anyone watching her, but she didn’t doubt him for a second. The only problem was that she had no idea why anyone would be watching her.
She shook her head, refusing to let herself become paranoid just because someone had been staring at her. It wouldn’t be the first time.
“It’s probably nothing…” She said, more to herself than to Ardeth.

She hadn’t really had high hopes that Ardeth would leave her to herself, but Selissa still found herself getting annoyed when he followed her like a loyal, albeit very dangerous, dog when she prepared to leave the town.
“Do you really not have anything better to do?” She asked as he stalked a few feet behind her as she made her way towards the gates. The town they were staying in was located in the far east of the ‘Bla’ province, not far from the border between Sinaria and Ver’dohna, and the presence of military was prominent. It was mostly populated by war refugees, and Selissa was highly aware of how they stuck out in the crowd. She could feel eyes lingering on them as they passed one of the town guards.
“Not really, no.” Ardeth said calmly. He didn’t seem all that bothered by the suspicious looks sent his way.
“Following me won’t be much fun.” Selissa said, even though she knew he wouldn’t listen to her. “I’m not even sure where I’m going.”
“Let’s find out, then.” He said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Selissa stopped abruptly. She placed her duffel bag and her sword sheaths on the ground and turned to look at the assassin with her arms crossed over her chest.
“No…” She said slowly, as if she was talking to a child. “I’ll find out where I’m going next. Alone.”
Ardeth smiled and bent down to look her in the eyes. “How are you going to stop me?”
Before she could reply, he leaned closer and whispered in her ear. “And just so you know, that girl is still watching you.”
Startled, Selissa looked over his shoulder and saw a flash of red disappear around a corner. For a moment, she considered shouting out to the person, but she could still feel the eyes of the town guards linger on her and it was better not to draw any more attention to herself.
“How did you even notice her?” Selissa asked as Ardeth drew back from her. As far as she knew, he would have had his back turned at all times and couldn’t possibly have seen the girl by accident.
“If I didn’t notice such things, I would have been dead long ago.” He said casually.
He had a point. Not to mention that if he didn’t notice, she would be long gone as well. Selissa didn’t even remember how many times he had saved her when she was about to be stabbed in the back.
Selissa took one last look at where the girl had disappeared, weighting her options. She didn’t know if the girl was a threat, but even if she was, Selissa doubted she was in any danger as long as Ardeth followed her like a shadow. And she wasn’t eager to stay in the town any longer than she had to. Not while wary eyes still followed every step she took.
“I’m leaving.” Selissa said to Ardeth, before turning on her heels and continuing towards the gates. “Do as you like.”
She knew he would follow, and she wasn’t disappointed. He would have been a poor shadow if he had let her get away.
“You’re not going to anything about it?” He asked.
Selissa shook her head, but kept walking. “I’m not going to go look for trouble. Not today. If anyone wants something from me, they can come and say it to my face.”
“Then I guess I will do that.” The voice calling out to her made Selissa stop dead in her tracks, and she slowly turned around.
A young girl walked towards her, only sparing Ardeth a wary glance as she passed him. She had to be around fifteen, the faint traces of childhood just barely visible in her face, and Selissa couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something familiar about her.
Her red hair danced around her face as she came to a stop before Selissa. A strained smile graced the younger girl’s lips as green eyes met silver.
“It’s been a long time.” She said.
Selissa stood unmoving, still convinced that she had met the girl before, but unable to recall where. Slowly, the girl led a hand to her hair and swept a flaming red lock behind her ear, revealing her left cheek and along with that, an all too familiar tattoo. A tattoo nearly identical to the one carried by the assassin by Selissa’s side. Finally, the pieces fell into place, and Selissa remembered exactly who the girl in front of her was.

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Silent Sound Preview

Silent Sound is the second book in the Angel’s Voice Series, continuing the story about Selissa and the other characters from Resounding Echo.
As a little preview, here is the current draft of the first chapter. Enjoy!

Silent Sound – Chapter 1
Her footsteps echoed against the walls as she walked through the gates. It felt like an eternity since she had last set foot in this place, but in reality it had barely been a year.

As she looked around, she noticed that nothing had changed. The temple still looked exactly as she had left it. Exactly as it had looked like all the years she had lived there.

But still it seemed foreign to her. The halls she had walked through thousands of times seemed unfamiliar and strange despite the fact that it was the exact same halls as back then.

The temple might not have changed, but she had. She was not the same person who had left a year ago.

She pulled her hood closer as she walked through the almost empty hallways. Twilight had already settled and only a few priests passed by her. None of them paid her any notice.

It didn’t take her long to reach her destination. She stopped in front of the heavy oak door and hesitated only for a second before she knocked.

She faintly heard a voice telling her to enter and she slowly opened the door. It creaked loudly as it swung open. The sound seemed like a roar in the empty hallway. She entered silently and pushed the door shut behind her.

“So you decided to come after all?” Selissa shot a hard look at the old man behind the wooden desk.

“Didn’t you expect me to?” She asked calmly.

“Actually, I didn’t. I hadn’t expected you to return at all, no less at my call.” His lips moved into a wry smile as he returned her stare.

Selissa suspected that the High Priest of Issara had been an impressive man in his days, but age had not been kind to him.

Years of worries showed clearly in his worn face. It was set in a permanent stern expression that made people automatically think they had done something wrong. Thick hair that might once have been black had long since turned grey and was beginning to thin. The only thing not affected by the years was the sharp grey eyes that watched her calmly.

He motioned to a chair opposite his desk. “Please sit.” He said.

Selissa crossed her arms over her chest. “I’d rather stand.”

The old man sighed. “I guess you’re curious as to why I have called you here.” Selissa raised an eyebrow at his obvious question, but kept quiet.

“I assume, that after the whole ordeal with the Demios clan, you now know about the powers you possess as the host of Cadeyrn.” He said slowly, watching her carefully.

She stiffened as realization sunk in. “You knew…” She said.

“Selissa, let me—“ He started, but she interrupted him.

“For years I tried to find out what that mark meant… I asked everyone. And you knew all along.” She said coldly.

“I thought it was safer if you didn’t know…” He said. The remorse in his eyes didn’t touch her.

“Safer? You thought they wouldn’t find me?” She almost laughed at the thought. “Well, that plan certainly worked out fine.”

“You were protected here. I knew you would be going after them if you knew.” He said. Selissa scoffed.

“Well, I went after them anyway. I might as well have known what I was getting into.” She said.

The old priest hung his head in apology. Suddenly, Selissa wanted to laugh at it all. How often hadn’t she been the remorseful child being reprimanded by the High Priest? Now the roles were reversed.

As much as she enjoyed watching him grovel, this was not why she was here.

“You didn’t call me here to tell me this, did you?” She asked.

He hesitated. “No… I didn’t.”

She didn’t say anything, instead waiting for him to continue. He seemed unnerved by her steady stare, silver eyes boring into him unwavering. He closed his eyes as if he was deep in thought, before speaking.

“What do you know about the Nephilim?” He asked slowly, opening his eyes to watch her reaction.

Her eyebrows rose in surprise at the word. She faintly recalled coming across it in some of the books she had studied relentlessly to try to figure out the meaning of the mark she carried on her back. She closed her eyes, trying to recall what it meant.

“The Nephilim…” She said slowly, racking her mind for the information she needed. “The children of angels who mated with humans.”

The High Priest nodded seriously, and she continued thoughtfully. “I have heard about them. But what do those myths have to do with anything?”

The old man folded his hands in front of his face and looked at her intensely.

“Do you believe they are simply myths, Selissa?”

The way he said her name made her frown. “Of course they are! They are fairy tales made up by people who wished to believe that angels walk among us!”

To her surprise, he chuckled. She had never seen the old man display any sign of humor, so his sudden amusement had her shoulder tense and she watched him warily.

“Wouldn’t you have told me the same if I had told you about an archangel using a human as his host?” He asked her, a slight smile on his face.

She hesitated, unsure of what to say.  She was very sure she would have been just as skeptical about the idea a year ago, as she was about the fact that descendents of angels might reside on earth. But the last year had shown her that some myths were very real.

She scoffed annoyed when she realized that he had backed her into a corner. She sighed in defeat, before reluctantly going along with the idea.

“So you believe the Nephilim exists?” She asked.

“I not only believe it, I know it for a fact.” He said. Selissa stared at him in disbelief.

“Don’t tell me you actually know of one?” She asked in amazement.

“I do. And not just any Nephilim. The son of one of the archangels.” He said.

Selissa wanted to ask him if he was kidding her, but then again, she didn’t believe he had ever kidded anyone in his life. She was at a loss of words, unsure what to make of what she had just been told. Luckily, she didn’t need to fill the silence.

“More than twenty years ago, Arnath, the archangel of healing, fell in love with a human woman and she bore him a son.”

She wasn’t quite sure how to react to that, so she addressed another issue.

“What does that have to do with me?” She asked.

“The child was taken in at the temple of Arnath.” He said. “The priests of Arnath see it as their duty to protect the son of their guardian.” He continued. Selissa summoned up all her patience and waited for him to tell her which role she played.

“Lately, several residents of the temple have been attacked. The problem is, no one have seen the attacker. But the priests agree that it’s nothing human.”

“A demon?” She wondered out loud. A demon would have been able to attack someone without them ever seeing their attacker.

“Everything about the attacks makes it seem like it was done by a demon. There’s just one problem…” At that the priest hesitated.

“What problem?” She asked curiously.

“The attacks happened inside the temple’s walls. A demon shouldn’t be able to enter holy ground.” He said, his face deadly serious.

Selissa nodded slightly in understanding, but there was still something she didn’t understand.

“Where does the Nephilim come in?” She asked.

“The priests think he is the target of whatever is attacking the sanctuary.” He said.

“And you want me to do what?” She asked, eyebrows raised. As fascinating as all this was, she still didn’t understand what it had to do with her.

The High Priest leaned his chin on top of his folded hands and met her eyes. “I want you to protect the Nephilim and find out what has been attacking him.”

“And why would I do that?” She asked frowning. Her voice came out harsher than she intended, but the High Priest didn’t even flinch. “I don’t own you anything.”

“No… You don’t owe me anything.” He said slowly. “But I can’t think of anyone better to help, and I know you won’t just turn your back on people who need your help.”

“Don’t talk like you know me.” She said, anger seeping into her voice. “A lot has changed since you last saw me.”

The look that passed through his eyes at that moment almost made her regret being so harsh. The usual stern look disappeared completely and only sadness was left in his face.

“I know.” He said quietly, voice filled with regret. “I wish I could have done something to prevent it from happening, but you can’t run from who you are. And you can’t deny your connection to the archangels.”

Selissa crossed her arms over her chest and looked at the floor. She was beginning to realize that she did not have a choice in the matter. She closed her eyes and sighed.

“When am I leaving?” She asked defeated. She might as well give in and save herself a lot of grief.

“You can stay the night and leave tomorrow. Your old room is still empty.”

She shook her head at herself, wondering what she had just agreed to.