For her it all starts with the flick of an image. From there a story is born. Being an eternal romantic, Jenna is a true believer in happy endings. It’s the rest of the story that anything is possible. Writing is her passion. It is something that helps her unwind at the end of the day. She likes to tell stories that will pull at your heartstrings, or simply whisk you away even for just a little while. So grab your favorite blanket, and a hot cup of coffee and settle in for the ride.
Samil ran his fingers through Lilly’s hair. They were sitting in front of the fireplace.“You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this, for just a moment alone with you again.” He leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips. She felt a tingle on her hand. She thought she was just caught up in the moment. Samil noticed her palm glowing blue and backed up. “No, not already, you just got here.”She looked down and noticed what he was talking about. The palm of her hand that the compass had branded was glowing blue. She jumped up in shock and started shaking her hand.“What’s happening? Why is it doing that?” She asked him.Samil stood and grabbed her hand.“Don’t be afraid. It means it is time. It will lead you to the first relic. I thought we’d be able to have more time together.”Lilly couldn’t stop herself; she grabbed him and kissed him.“If this ends up being our last moment alone together, then I just need to feel you, here in the flesh.”Samil looked at her questioningly.“Are you sure, Lilly? It will only complicate things even more.”“I have never been so sure of anything.”He lowered her down in front of the roaring fire. She smiled up at him. He noticed the way the fire reflected in her eyes. He swept the hair to the side and lowered his lips to her neck and tenderly kissed her. Lilly trembled at his touch. He ran his hands down the length of her body. Just his simple touch made her moan in pleasure and anticipation. When his lips brushed hers, she lost herself to him.The door to the room blew open. Usha stormed in. Samil broke his hold on Lilly as Usha hurled a statue at them. Samil pulled Lilly to her feet and stood in front of her to block Usha from her outburst.“What do you think you are doing, Usha? This is my chamber and you do not come barging in here.”She strode over to them until she was only feet away.“I will do whatever I want. I am the princess. How dare you have your hands all over her? I can smell her on you. It makes me sick.” She started spinning around staring at the ceiling. “I don’t know why you don’t get it, Samil; you can never be with her. Ugh! I am so sick of everyone buckling down to this stupid girl. She’s nothing.” She ran her fingers down the front of Samil’s chest. “She won’t touch you the way I can. She can’t offer you a whole kingdom like I can. So what is the appeal of some little insipid half breed? She doesn’t even belong anywhere. She’ll be dead in the end anyway. Caleb won’t die for her this time.”Samil could feel Lilly flinch at the last sentence. She didn’t understand what it had meant. Usha sensed her shock because she laughed.“Oh my goodness, no one told you. How delicious. One of you lives and one of you dies, Lilly. One of you must choose but only one walks away.”Lilly couldn’t contain herself.“I don’t understand.”Usha laughed.“Of course not, that’s why you are stupid. One of you must die in order to seal the gate. Somehow you have always convinced Caleb to do it, this time he won’t allow himself to be near you until it is time for the choice. He will be claimed dark and kill you to seal it. Oh this is just tasty. No one bothered to even tell her about this. I’m glad I got the privilege.” She was gloating in her little victory when Seth appeared in the doorway. Tangela stood by his side.“Samil,” Seth yelled out. “I should have known you’d lead a council member astray. How could you do this?”Samil closed his eyes and Lilly could feel his hand squeeze hers.“Go Lilly, go with Seth. I will see you when I can.” He covered her palm with a red velvet napkin so no one would see that it was glowing blue. Seth lunged at Samil and the two fell to the floor. Lilly could see Usha pull a sharp object from her leg and she jumped toward Lilly. Tangela rushed between Usha and Lilly and blocked the knife. She punched Usha square in her chest. She fell backward and grabbed her chest.“You bitch, I will kill you,” she screamed at Tangela.“Bring it, bitch. I’ll see you on the battlefield.” Tangela laughed.Tangela grabbed Seth and rushed them out the door. Lilly didn’t want to stay, but she didn’t want to leave Samil. She wanted to find a way to be with him again. She looked behind her as she left the room. His hair was all disheveled and his eyes gave way to his sorrow. Seth pushed her through the door, grabbed hold of her hand and pulled her out the door. She watched it close behind her.They ran down a series of long hallways. Tangela led the way and Lilly and Seth followed. Seth stood behind her to make sure no one grabbed her. She could hear Usha scream at the top of her lungs. She was calling her minions to find and attack them. Seth pushed Lilly even faster, but she was barefoot and wearing a thin dress.They rounded a corner to the next hallway when Tangela stopped short. There were five minions blocking their way. They were all smiling with their jagged teeth. They seemed larger than the ones she had come across out in Plymouth. One of them took a step forward and swung at Tangela. She got slammed against the wall. He laughed as she curled into a ball in pain. Seth jumped in front of Lilly and pulled a sword off of the wall. He pitched forward and slit the minion’s chest open. The minion crumpled to the floor in shock. Seth rushed forward to fight off another one. Lilly ran to Tangela’s side and helped her up. Someone grabbed her from behind and lifted her off of the ground. She screamed and it got Seth’s attention. He ran back to her and stabbed the minion. The minion dropped her, and she fell to the ground. Seth lifted the sword and swung. He took the minion’s head clear off of its shoulders. Tangela saw Lilly’s hand and grabbed hold of it as she yelled for her to run.“Run, Lilly. We need to get you out of here. Let Seth fight them. It is what he was trained for.”Lilly followed behind her and they ran up a staircase and down another long dark hallway. Tangela stopped in front of a large steel door. She opened it and pushed her through. Lilly found herself back in the tunnels. This one was different from the ones that lead to Maidstone. She didn’t like the way it felt so she ran as fast as her feet would take her. She could feel something around her. She could hear laughing, but she couldn’t see anything. She felt something scratching at her arms. She flinched and kept running. Something was taunting her. She neared the end of the tunnel and she could see a dim light ahead of her.As she reached for the door, she felt a burning sensation across her stomach. She grabbed her stomach and kicked open the door. She made it to the other side and collapsed on the ground. Keith and Amy rushed to her side.“Oh Lilly, you’re bleeding all over the place,” Amy cried out.Lilly looked down at the dress, it was slit open across her stomach. She could feel a sticky liquid but because the dress was so red, she couldn’t tell how bad it really was. Keith ripped off his coat and wrapped it around her.Tangela ran through the realm door. She saw Lilly on the ground and Lilly could see the concerned look on her face. She ripped pieces of her shirt and held it to her stomach to try to stop the bleeding.“I hope Seth’s close behind, this isn’t good. We have to get her help.”Keith picked her up in his arms.“Forget about Seth then, we have to get her help now. Just tell us where to go.”Tangela looked torn.“I can’t heal this. This needs special attention. Seth won’t know why we weren’t here, but you cannot get her the help she needs unless one of us is with you.” She thought about it.Lilly could feel her world turning black. She was getting sick of passing out. She couldn’t even count how many times she nearly died in the last few days. Tangela ushered them to the end of the alleyway. Just as they were rounding the corner to Court Street they heard Seth call out to wait. He saw how badly Lilly was wounded and had a look of panic on his face.“We need to get her help now.”He led them to a boutique on Court Street named Laughing Moon Boutique. To the outsiders and tourists it looked like a new age store, but to the other world it was a place of healing. It was after hours so Tangela knocked hard on the door. Her knock seemed to be a sort of code. The door crept open and a woman’s head popped out.“Yes! Can I help you?”Tangela spoke in a different language and the woman quickly opened the door and rushed them inside. Once they were in, the woman bolted the door and lowered a brass bar across it. She led them into a back room and down a flight of stairs. She pointed to a cot and told Keith to place Lilly on it. Lilly could hear talking and then the pain took over. She was sweating and couldn’t stop writhing in pain. Amy kept wiping her forehead and Lilly could see her crying.The woman spoke to Tangela.“What did this? Do you know? How long ago did it happen?”Tangela immediately answered her.“It was the Akki-Oni, the dark spirits in the Hyvania tunnels. We were almost through when they struck out and scratched her.”The woman, whose name was Batya, quickly rushed about her room grabbing different herbs. She mixed Skull Cap, Mugwort, Perilla and Feverfew. She turned it into a paste and rubbed it on the claw marks. Lilly could immediately feel the burning stop. She lit a candle made of Mullein. She told them it was to ward off evil spirits. She crushed berries of a Pokeweed plant and held Lilly’s head up and forced her to drink it.“I’m sorry for this, Lilly. This will not be pretty, but if it does its job you will vomit out all the toxins from the Akki-Oni’s toxin.”Within seconds of swallowing Lilly felt nauseous. Like a true friend, Amy held her hair as Lilly retched into a trash barrel. Keith sat by her side and kept a damp cloth on her forehead. She honestly didn’t think she was going make it. She had never experienced that level of pain. She wasn’t sure if she had any fight left in her. Her mind wondered, what is the point? When she felt there was nothing more to throw up, she closed her eyes. That was all she remembered of that night.