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Authors: Irene L. Pynn

From Light to Dark

BOOK: From Light to Dark
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FROM LIGHT TO DARK

by Irene L. Pynn

Kindle Edition

Copyright © 2011 by Irene L. Pynn

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

For my mother, who teaches me magic.

For my father, who is my Safety.

For my brother, who makes everything “extraordinary.”

For my husband, who is my light in the dark.

And for my entire family, with love.


Her voice was like flower petals falling on wet grass
.”

(artist: Justin Togail, 2011)

Eref is about to die. He sits at the End of Light World, accepting his stoning execution one rock at a time, until the impossible happens: the ground opens up beneath him, and he drops down into the unknown.

There, he meets Caer, a kind-hearted girl from Dark World who saves his life. Together, the pair forms an unlikely and illegal bond that not even the strongest hatred can break. But can their connection bring down the evil institution that has kept Light World and Dark World at odds for hundreds of years?

Praise for
From Light to Dark


Irene Pynn has crafted an incredible world in
From Light to Dark
, a young adult fantasy with a Yin/Yang feel, mythological elements, and a “truth despite the cost” theme—you won’t be able to stop reading!
” Meg Mims, award-winning author of
Double Crossing


This is romance at its most poignant, fantasy at its most thrilling. Caer and Eref are a heroine and hero with all the tragic nobility of Romeo and Juliet, and their struggle to survive the many dangers of their exotic worlds is emotional, exciting and ultimately inspiring. It’s a book you’ll remember long after it’s over, as you dream of Liber Flowers and the soft blue glow of Moonstone.
” Kathleen O’Brien, author of
The Cost of Silence
and
The Vineyard of Hopes and Dreams
.


From the moment Eref drops through Dark World’s portal in a last-ditch attempt to escape his execution in Light World, readers are immersed in dichotomous realms that mirror our world, and the human condition. Pynn’s narrative is engrossing and well-crafted. A must read
.” Lori Pollard-Johnson, author of
The Lie, Toxic Torte, The Truth Test
and
Recipe For a Rebel

Praise for Irene L. Pynn


Irene L. Pynn is a phenomenal storyteller who immerses the reader in the thick tapestry of her extraordinary worlds. Again, we are introduced to a fantasy author who plunges our senses into stories that spirit us away from the daily grind and transport us into realms where honor builds heroes, beauty is birthed from dignity, and magic solves our problems. Reading Pynn isn’t a pastime, it’s a life choice
.” Ron Gavalik, author of the
Grit City
emotobook series.

Chapter One

From Light to Dark

Getting stoned to death wasn’t the worst thing that could happen—or so Eref told himself when the first rock cracked over his head.

But it hurt. Blood trickled down his forehead and into his eyes, blocking the sharp rays of the sun overhead.

All around him, forty or fifty men dressed in long tunics shouted curses and flung stones at his naked body.

“Blasphemer!”

“Devil!”

“Treasoner!”

The bright power of the Governors’ Moonstone from its hidden place in Light World made certain each rock hit its target.

So many people had come to this hidden corner to watch him die. Far from the rigid roads of Light World’s city, each face glared at him. Each mouth snarled. Eref blinked the blood away. He thought for a minute that he saw Balor among the crowd. No…it couldn’t be. But it was true. His best friend pushed his way to the front, holding several large stones in his fist.

Eref tried to meet Balor’s eyes. He tried to find something familiar in them….

As if to answer, Balor growled like an animal and hurtled one of his rocks into Eref’s stomach, creating a lightning bolt of pain and knocking the wind out of him.

After that blow, Eref barely felt anything else, though a hundred stones crashed onto his skin and broke his bones. Only Balor’s throws hurt, because they bruised his heart.

“Balor,” Eref shouted, trying to be heard through the curses. For the first time throughout this ordeal, he let himself cry. “How can you do this?”

The crowd fell silent, and many faces turned to Balor, whose eyes blazed with something that looked like madness. He gripped another stone in his hand, holding it so hard that the dark skin on his knuckles whitened.

Eref wiped blood and tears from his face. “Balor. You’re my best friend.”

Balor glanced around at the crowd and then stared blankly at Eref. “You tried to destroy our way of life,” he said in a monotone, quoting the morning’s headlines. His fingers rubbed the stone in his right hand.

“But it was your idea, remember? You’re the one who suggested I turn off the light—”

Balor reared his arm back like a pitcher and let loose. This rock knocked Eref to the ground. It smashed into his bare chest and crushed his ribs. He scrambled backward, gasping for breath.

More stones sailed. Eref curled into a ball and lay still, feeling each rock pummel his life out of him.

His life. His dreams. Once, he had hoped to become someone. Someone who could change things.

Now the people of Light World seemed determined to watch him die.

But it could have been worse, Eref reminded himself, feeling everything from pebbles to boulders pounding his limbs and back. Soon he would be free. He would never have to reach eighteen—the Age of Enlightenment. The age of brainwashed blindness.

How could he have endured going to the Eighteener Entrance, where his mind would have been stripped and his sanity exterminated?

The magistrate had taken Balor to the ceremony the day after the prank.

And now look at him.

Blood slid again from Eref’s forehead into his eyes. He caught another rock in the jaw.

A week ago, Eref and Balor had basked in the bright, healthy rays that came from the Center. They had worshipped at the Light. They’d studied at the Learning.

But that was before Balor had suggested they shut off the power. Just for a moment, he’d said. The Learning could be so dull.

They’d had no idea….

Now Eref lay crouched in the End, the ugliest corner of Light World, miles from the Center and the Learning, accepting death one stone at a time.

An executioner stepped forward, and the crowd grew still as a reverent hush fell over their voices. The round, dark man balanced an enormous boulder in his stubby arms. Eref looked at the bloodstains on its jagged edges, where the heads of albinos, thieves, and rebels had….

Splattered.

Everything had become still and silent around the End. The only sound was the stomping of the executioner’s feet drawing closer. Around the executioner’s neck hung a ring on a chain. The Moonstone. The source of all Light World’s power. He had the special blessing of the Governors’ most precious gem. His would be the final blow.

Instinctively Eref looked for his friend, not for help, but to say goodbye. Balor still stood at the front of the crowd. He tossed several smaller stones up and down in his right hand, apparently itching to finish Eref himself.

His heart aching, Eref stared at Balor’s face, searching for an expression he recognized. A frown, a tear, even a grin. But Balor’s familiar black features and soft, clear eyes had contorted into the face of a brainwashed madman. The real Balor was already dead.

The executioner was almost upon him, groaning under the weight of the boulder. This was it. A shock of fear coursed through Eref’s broken body. Nothing in Light World had prepared him for dying.

Taking a shallow, shaky breath, he closed his eyes and tried to imagine he was somewhere else.

In his mind, Eref pictured the familiar, blue walls of the Learning, imagining he was back at school. He was in class right now, not at the End. Soon it would be time for lunch. He would sneak out with Balor and explore the dusty lowlands.

The vision seemed so real. On the chalkboard in his mind, letters appeared as if by magic, but they didn’t spell anything. A faraway voice came to his ears – no, they were only in his mind – and they recited the sounds.

Euni wpn jgexim fim snw wpn Dfyheg wpgexjp we f inz zegsm. Euni wpn jgexim, fim snw pht dfyn xd fss oget wpn Nyhs Ohyn. Wphd hd wpn sfdw eo tb dwgnijwp. Wphd hd tb sfdw dunss.

The crowd chanted, drowning out the strange voice in his head. From a distance, their excitement could have been mistaken for a surprise birthday celebration. “Three! Two! One!”

The executioner let go. Eref braced himself.
Goodbye
.

But the boulder didn’t crush his skull or crack his neck. It didn’t even fall.

With a gurgled sound of shock, the executioner jumped backward. The crowd’s cheers turned to confused gasps and awed murmurings.

The ground beneath Eref felt strange. It almost felt alive.

Eref opened his eyes and looked down.

Beneath him, a round, black hole had opened up, darker than the deepest shadow he had ever seen. It had started off as small as a pin, but it expanded rapidly. Within seconds, Eref’s legs dangled down into the cool darkness, and he gripped the edges of the hole, struggling to stay above ground.

What was happening?

The teachings of Light World said that all shadows and darkness were evil. He had never seen anything so dark as this hole before. But it didn’t look evil. Strangely, it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

A hideous howl came from someone in the crowd, and Eref looked up at Balor’s twisted face.

Several stones crashed into Eref’s eyes, and Balor shouted, “Kill him! He’s going to get away! Kill him now!”

People rushed toward Eref. The executioner adjusted the boulder in his arms.

Eref’s heart pounded. There was no escape. Unless….

He peered below. He tried to see what lurked in that evil, beautiful blackness.

He returned his gaze to the crowd. Certain death, rushing forward with eager faces.

Eref held his breath. He let go and dropped into the unknown.

Above, the crowd at the End grew smaller as he plummeted downward, quickly becoming just a pinpoint of light far in the distance. Even as the terror of falling flooded him, he was glad. He was out of their reach.

For a long time Eref fell in a silent panic, reaching out for something to hold onto. Everywhere, he saw nothing but blackness.

Instinct urged him to stretch his legs to stand, to grab at the air for walls, but there was nothing. Only the helpless sensation of falling.

No sound or scent reached him, either. It seemed he had dropped into a place where nothing existed. Not a barren wasteland, for there was no land. Not an empty sky, for there was no sky.

Minutes passed.

Maybe an hour.

He kept falling. He’d endured such horror already that his energy had run out. Eventually, Eref gave up fighting and let his body hang limp in the air, as a humid breeze rushed past him. The fall took on a strange, dreamlike slow-motion. It was like death: terrifying, but unchangeable.

Eref had meant for his life to be so different. What did his classmates think of him now? What about his teachers? They’d probably all expected it, he thought. He’d always been such an “unpredictable Light Boy,” as his headmaster used to complain.

“You’ll amount to no good,” Headmaster Lesur would say. “And poor impressionable Balor. The two of you are evidence enough that the Eighteener Entrance should be performed earlier, if you ask me.”

BOOK: From Light to Dark
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