Beskrivelse av boka
Because of her, war is coming. And she may be the only one who can stop it.
When Ayva comes of age, her powers manifest in ways that scare her. She fears because magic is considered dangerous in the world outside their mountain. Even her mother wants Ayva to hide who she is. But she’s driven to know why she can see the memories of others, and to discover what else she can do.
During Avya’s search for answers, she encounters new friends with powers of their own. Yet even while they join forces, the Heartless King is plotting his attack.
Archenon, known as the Heartless King, discovers the resurgence of Elemental powers–thought to be long gone from the world since his ascension to the Elemental High Throne. They pose a threat to his power, and he will do anything to stop them.
One young woman holds the key to the war between good and evil. Can the revival of old magic end a tyrant, or will the Heartless King find and destroy the alliance before it destroys him?
– Niila –
Water sprayed Niila’s face as she leaned over the great ship’s red timber railings. The islands of Mar-Ôen had disappeared from view, and the Ûndahav Ocean lay before her. Pa’s ship was busy—a hundred or so men worked on deck. Their next stop would be the Merri Docks. It was exciting to finally be headed back.
Her eyes studied the shifts of pattern and color in the ocean. Some of the strangest creatures known to man—as well as some yet to be discovered—lived down there.
Warmth enveloped her shoulder. The scent of salt and whiskey smelled like home. Pa had come to her side.
“You’d best be careful, my dear Niila. These are perilous waters.”
Niila beamed and leaned into him, keeping a safer distance from the waves crashing against the ship. “Oh, Pa. I love the ocean.”
Pa had sailed the Lady Marin for decades as captain of the Ûndan ocean guards, the Eàth-èlun. As she gazed into his gentle, narrow eyes, they betrayed his knowledge of how deceiving these waters could be.
He smiled lovingly, his grey beard lifting toward his clear eyes, resembling the color of a sunlit ocean. “I cannot believe it’s been sixteen years since I first held you. What’s happened to my little girl?”
Standing on tiptoe, Niila planted a light kiss on his nose. “She’s still here.”
Strong arms folded around her. Pa’s embrace was her safe place, the way it had always been.
* * *
Later that night, Niila walked the deck again. She should have stayed in her cabin, but she felt as if the ocean had beckoned her to come outside. Apart from the vociferous waves and the sound of rain hitting timber, the ship was quiet. Only a couple of sailors stood duty. The waves had increased throughout the day, and with every one that crashed onto the ship, water streamed across deck. A flash of light flared up in the distance, followed by bellows of thunder.
Niila’s hair lay wet against her cheeks and clung to her neck. Instead of protecting herself from the rain teeming down on her, however, she dropped the reefer she had borrowed from her Pa. She welcomed the downpour as a friend. Stretching her small body and opening her arms to the sky, Niila danced in circles and twirled around.
She was abruptly thrown to the side. The ship keeled over, and the sails nearly touched the highest waves. Flying toward the rail, Niila almost missed it as the roaring torrent fought to pull her from the ship. The hull groaned, and Niila was hurled back as the ship turned.
She barely managed to hold on as the ship continued rolling through the storm. The water parted to form a whirlpool that wound down into a gaping black hole. Sailors rushed out from the deckhouse.
Pa sprinted across deck, at the same time fastening a rope to his waist. “Hang on!” He fell down and slid toward Niila on his thigh. Firm hands gripped her waist. “I’ve got you. Njord must be furious tonight.”
Pa always blamed the temper tantrums of the ocean on the great king beneath the waves. Even now, Pa was spinning yarns about Njord, just as he had throughout her upbringing.
Niila reached around his neck and let him drag them further in toward the ship’s foremast, where the other end of the rope had been fastened.
“We need to ride this tempest now. You stay here.” He spoke the words in a hurry, as he bound her securely to the mast. He dashed toward the helm, bellowing orders through the ferocious noise of the storm. He fought to stay upright as the wind and rain attempted to trip him over. He signaled at the helmsman to move away, and Pa placed himself in charge of the Lady Marin.
“Let’s see what you’ve got, Njord!” he roared, and the thunder boomed in response. The ship continued to spin for what seemed like an eternity. Niila’s father persisted in swearing at the ocean, and the water carried on roaring back in his face. The ship creaked agonizingly as he tried to control its motions.
Hanging onto the mast, Niila’s own strength ebbed. She squinted through the heavy rain. The lightning illuminated the night in flashes, allowing her to catch glimpses of what was happening.
A young sailor rushed past her on his stomach, only to disappear over the rail. Niila could not tell who it was. Her heart raced against her chest, and she clutched the mast harder. With every passing minute, more men were lost to Njord. A sailor hit the rail head first, and inundations of blood blended with the water on deck. Splinters stuck underneath Niila’s fingernails as she clawed at the mast.
Lightning struck halfway down the mast with a resounding crack. The top portion fell straight toward the helm.
Pa hung on with not a breath to spare before he threw himself away from his post. He reached for a line that hung from the rigging. His eyes shone with desperation as the line slipped through his fingers—the water swallowed him as he fell.
“Papa!” Niila cried, reaching for him with her arms.
The body of the ship was breaking up all around her. The ocean was claiming the whole vessel.
Sobbing, Niila fought to free herself from the ropes that tied her to the mast. A burning sensation kicked in, and a piece of the ship came free. This pushed Niila loose from the mast. She swung toward the open mouth of the whirlpool and was swallowed up by darkness.
* * *
Niila squinted against the blinding light of the sun. The ocean lapped around her.
A peculiar woman stared at her from the water with eyes like almonds. The woman’s nose was thin, and her face was elongated. She had small, ruby lips, and her hair was like planktonic algae—tangled, yet vibrant and moving.
“Ye, ‘kay?” the woman asked.
Niila shook her head at the woman who lifted herself halfway out of the blue. Her thin fingers folded over what was left of the mast, on which Niila was lying. The woman’s forearms sported a row of gills that ended at her elbows. She had to be a Mermian. The sudden flapping of her large tail confirmed it.
The Mermian bobbed her head and moved in close enough for Niila to smell her salty breath. “‘Kay?”
Niila shook her head again. “Not so much. But I’m alive.”
The Mermian offered her a lopsided smile. “Ye alive. I see. You near dead. I float ye.”
“Thank you. I am Niila Niamsdatter. And you are?” A sprinkle of water fell on Niila’s face as the Mermian giggled and flapped her tail again.
“Is Shiilo Njordsdatter,” she said.
“Nice to meet you, Shiilo. Um, do you think you would be able to help me get to shore?”
Shiilo tilted her head from side to side. She dipped underneath the surface and disappeared.
Niila wasn’t surprised—her Pa had told her many stories about the Mermians of the Ûndahav Ocean. They were rarely seen, yet curious and reckless. They could be both kind and heartless. He had always said she should never trust anything that lived in the ocean.
Niila was alone. Sailors she had known all her life had been taken by the furious water. And Pa! She shivered, hugging the piece of mast. The wood scraped against her cheek. Even the Mermian had abandoned Niila.
From what she knew of the Mermians, they had an honor code of sorts. If you kept to it they would treat you with respect, though if you deviated from it, they would not think twice about turning on you. If betrayed, their wrath was said to be as fierce as the waves of the ocean in a storm.
Tears poured from Niila’s eyes. A set of slimy fingers wiped them away.
Shiilo had reappeared. She grimaced, wrinkling her nose. “What this?”
“I am crying,” Niila sobbed. “These are tears.”
“Never ‘eard of it.” Shiilo’s lips formed into a little heart. “I have dolphin. To take ye shore.” She exposed her tiny, white teeth, including two larger, sharper ones at the corners of the bottom row.
Niila sighed. “Thank you. One day, if our paths cross again, I will repay you for your generosity in any way I am able,” she said.
“Dolphin is Innina,” Shiilo replied, nodding. Jumping from the surface, the Mermian turned twice in the air, before vanishing into the blue again.
Niila took a steadying breath. With the rope securely fastened around Innina, they were off. She could not help but be concerned, however, at the fact that they appeared to be traveling north. She struggled to stay awake, but eventually allowed her eyes to fall shut.
Niila awoke on a shore of crisp, white sand. Innina was jittering her goodbyes from far out in the ocean. A thick line of trees extended beyond the shoreline further than Niila could tell. The green crown of foliage grew densely, covering the immense forest. A loud chorus of chirping birds sounded from within.
This definitely was not home.