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Authors: M. Stratton,Skeleton Key

Fate of Elements

BOOK: Fate of Elements
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Fate of Elements
The Skeleton Key Book Series
M. Stratton

F
ate of Elements

C
opyright
© 2016 by M. Stratton

Cover by J.M. Rising Horse Creations

Edited by Kimberly Brancatelli

A
ll rights reserved
. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

T
he scanning
, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

F
ate of Elements
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Other Works by M. Stratton

The Storm Series

After the Storm

Eye of the Storm

Caught in the Storm

Fade to Black

Bender

The Star Series

When Dreams Come True

Wishing on a Star

120 days…

Novellas

Dreaming in Moonlight

Constant Echo

Fate of Elements

To the real life Dayna,

who was kind enough to lend me her name

for a character who is not nearly as nice as she is.

Welcome to the world of The Skeleton Key

One Skeleton Key – Endless Adventures

* * *

R
aina Owens
, who’d been taught from a young age that she could never be too careful, lived vicariously through the characters in her books. She never expected the letter informing her of a mysterious uncle she never knew, whose untimely death left her the only remaining heir to his estate. What she thought was a leap of faith into her first, real life adventure was only the beginning. Her uncle, and the house he had willed to her, held secrets beyond her understanding, but she held the answers to her future in the palm of her hand: the Skeleton Key. Would she be brave enough to turn the lock and step into her destiny?

Hallet, King of the Fire Elements, spent his life obsessed with the prophecy of the Skeleton Door and the one who would walk through it. As the tensions between the elements of his world rose, all he could do was wait for the one who would bring peace. His power over the fire element burned in his soul, and although he loved ruling over his people, deep down, something was missing.

A battle had been brewing for centuries. Betrayal, blood, and suspicion ran just below the surface of the people of Aimsir. Only the one who crossed through the Skeleton Door could bring them hope and peace. But was she ready to be The One to fulfill the prophecy? She would have to rely on her training, magic, and power over the elements to defeat the age-old rivalries which had been smoldering for centuries. Who could she trust? And was she strong enough to be the leader they so desperately needed? She was more than she ever thought she could be.

She was the key to uniting their world.

Hallet


D
ayna
, you need to calm down.” Naida, the Queen of the Water Elements, said as the ground where she lay trembled. Her wavy deep blue hair spread out around her.

“Let her get it out of her system,” I spoke from the shadows of the forest just across the meadow from them. I didn’t step into the light; however, they knew my mood based on the red glow of my eyes.

Whirling around, Dayna’s green eyes flashed menacingly. The ground rippled out under her feet toward me. “You dare speak to me like that, Hallet, King of Fire?” Sarcasm dripped from each word like acid eating through metal, her fists clenched by her sides. “You are
not
superior to me.”

“And that burns you up, doesn’t it, sister?” I taunted her.

She spread her arms, raising them high. “I control the very ground you walk on, the very ground your crops grow from, and the very reason you can stand there with your arrogant nose in the air, brother.”

The land heaved under her magic and settled back down, only to whip upward again, waves of angry energy rippling out toward me. I was used to her temper tantrums and waited until it passed.

“Are we really going to go over this again?” Erion’s bored voice echoed down from his perch at the top of one of the towering trees surrounding the meadow. His hair looked white today with only a little bit of grey at the temples, warning us it wouldn’t take much to anger him. “Without me, there would be no air to breathe, without Naida, no water to drink, without Hallet, no fire to warm, and finally, as you pointed out, dear sister, without you, nothing to place our feet upon. We are all needed equally. Can we hurry up with this pissing match? I have things to do.”

“Yes, we all have things to do,” Naida agreed.

Dayna simply crossed her arms in silent agreement, waiting.

“We need to talk about the Skeleton Door,” I said.

“Oh, for the love of…” Erion sighed and elegantly jumped down, landing softly on the ground. His hair turned darker grey, like the storm clouds gathering above him. “We’ve been over this; it’s a waste of time.” He turned and started to walk away.

“It’s shifting.”

Erion stopped and deliberately turned around. “What do you mean, it’s
shifting
?”

“The bones are changing their pattern.”

“That isn’t possible.” Naida’s voice shook as she sat up. “They aren’t supposed to move.”

“The elders wrote about this happening.” Over the years, my brothers and sisters had grown tired of my obsession with the Skeleton Door. I figured half the time they tuned me out. “Remember, they said there would be a time when One would come to unite us all, to stop the fighting.” I looked at Dayna directly. Out of all of us, she craved power.

“It’s all a lie,” Dayna quickly dismissed me. “You want to believe in these old relics the elders prophesied, so you see what you want.” She shook her head. “Grow up, Hallet. The Elements can never be united. We can’t stand to see each other, even though our parents came together for us to be raised as siblings from birth. They thought by bringing each future ruler of the Elements together as children, they could unite us. Fools they were; we can’t be united. We are all too different.”

“Remember what the Librarian said?” Naida’s soft voice flowed over to us. “He knew this was coming.”

“That old mortal was more interested in his damn books than the world around him. Surprised it took him so long to die, breathing in all that nasty book smell for so many years.”

I shook my head. Dayna always had preferred action over study and felt superior to those who spent time reading books. “Some might say the same of you; always riding head-first into battle before using your brain.”

In an instant, she was before me, the ground under her lifting her to eye level. “Don’t start something you can’t finish, sister,” I said.

“Or what? You’ll lose your precious control and burn me? Wouldn’t be the first time.” She licked her lips. “You used to like riding the line, pushing it as hard as you could before destroying everything.” A smirk played across her mouth. “Failed a few times, didn’t you?”

I narrowed my eyes at her, the pain of what I had done smoldering in my gut. I knew what she was trying to do, but I’d spent too many years reining in my fire to allow her to push me over the edge now. “Do you really want to see everything you hold dear burned to nothing again?” I asked, smooth and controlled. “I can destroy everything and still have firm ground to stand on. Don’t mess with me, Dayna.”

“Children, please.” Erion’s voice cracked, turning our attention to him. “Enough. Hallet, tell us what have you seen with the Skeleton Door.”

“The bones are lining up.”

“Please, is that it?” Dayna’s voice shook. “That’s nothing.”

I raised an eyebrow at her, knowing I had her attention now. “You might be able to lie to your people, but not to us. You’re scared little girl, and you should be. In order to unite all the elements, we may all have to die, and trust me, none of us want that. We need to work together to figure out what is coming and to find a way to survive.”

“I’m not scared of battle.” Dayna shrugged. “I’ve survived worse.”

“This is going to be something our world has never seen before. The elders didn’t record a clear outcome to any battle that may take place.” I’d spent many sleepless nights thinking about what needed to be done to guarantee an outcome where we all survived. For as much as the deep-seated need for dominance over the other elements burned inside of me, the thought of the deaths of my siblings and their people was too much for me. There had already been so much death in my life, I didn’t want more.

“Hallet, what do you need us to do?”

“Geez. Naida, way to take the path of least resistance. Right away you’re ready to fall in line.” Dayna’s voice was dismissive.

With fluid grace, Naida stood up, looking down on her sister. “You, of all people, should know I’m not easy to bend.”

“Is that it, Hallet?” Erion asked. “I need to leave and do my own research.”

Dayna rolled her eyes. “Great, another one. Go ahead, put your head in the clouds and ‘think.’ Meanwhile, I’ll be here, with my feet firmly on the ground, ready to fight.”

“We may not need to fight. Haven’t you been listening?”

“I’m not giving up my kingdom. I’d rather not fight against you, but I also will not surrender.” She whirled around to leave.

“There’s one more thing you should know,” I stopped her.

Without turning around, she said, “What?”

“You remember there were four skulls, one for each of the original elders? Earth, Air, Fire, Water.”

“So?”

“There are now five.”

In an instant, the winds blew and rain fell from the sky as the earth shook beneath us seconds after I uttered those words.

BOOK: Fate of Elements
9.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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