Available in paperback and ebook at most online book sellers. It is also available as part of a 2-book set.
Two centaras ago, at the end of the war, the Starstone was broken into three pieces. Scattered across the land, the pieces were soon forgotten, and Danaria found a relative peace. Now, one piece of the Starstone has resurfaced, and Lord Darkwind is determined to capture it, along with the one person who can direct its powers. Thrust into the search for the Starstone, Neerah and Joelnar find themselves evading not only Lord Darkwind, but also the Guardians of Starfall—religious zealots who believe that only Neerah’s death can save their world. With the advice of the mysterious Ethereals to guide her, Neerah struggles to retrieve the pieces of the Starstone and save Danaria from the darkness that threatens her world.
NEERAH TILTED HER head toward the sun as it filtered through the leaves and listened for the tones of the forbidden singing stones. She stood near the creek in the forest clearing behind her home. She often came her when she needed time to herself.
She closed her eyes and slowed her breathing. As she turned her focus inward, she tuned out the rustlings and squeakings of the small ground creatures that scurried through the underbrush of the forest floor and the burbling of the small creek that tumbled over the rocks near her feet.
A myriad of tones drifted through her, but her attention was drawn to one in particular. The song she heard most clearly was warm and mellow, but with a bit of an edge to it. That’s the stone she wanted to find today. She tilted her head, as if her ears could lead her to the sound; but, the songs weren’t audible in that way. Instead, she allowed the energy of the stone’s music lead her to it.
Ever since the War for the Starstone—a war begun over an especially beautiful Aurisen and her ability to use the Starstone to create and destroy worlds—the ability to manipulate energy had been rigidly regulated. To that end, all children between the ages of two and four were tested to determine their potential. Those judged above ‘norm’ were taken away, either to be trained or to have their abilities neutered—no one wanted another energy manipulator like Lord Darkwind running loose, so those with too much potential had to be neutralized.
Neerah had failed the test, which made her normal like most everyone else. This made her all the more surprised when, several months ago, she discovered her ability to hear the music created by different stones and crystals.
At first, all she heard were brief single notes that seemed to pop out of someone’s ring or necklace when she brushed against them. But then she had come to her favorite spot by the brook to enjoy the peace that only nature brought her, and she had heard more music—some pleasant, some not.
She had been sitting on a log near the edge of the brook, when she noticed a light blue stone partially embedded in the mud. When she had picked it up, it had sung to her. Just three notes. Three clear, precise notes. But in those notes, was the image of wispy clouds in a blue sky, the feeling of a gentle breeze, and the smell of fresh cut hay; all the joy of a sunny day wrapped up in three little notes.
However, because of her grandfather’s stories, she knew how dangerous it was for her and her family if anyone found out about her ability. But unable to resist finding and listening to the stones, she had taken to hiding them down here near the stream where she could enjoy them privately.
Over the past several months, she had collected a number of these marvelous stones—each one different, yet each one having an amazing and mesmerizing voice that spoke to her and enchanted her.
She took several steps before squatting down, her eyes still closed. She reached out with her left hand, palm down, and skimmed it over the ground around her. There. She moved her hand back to the spot where she had felt her palm tingle, and opened her eyes. A slow smile lit up her face and eyes, and she plucked the small yellow stone from the muddy shore of the brook.
She dunked her hand and the stone into the cold stream, and let the brisk water wash away the dirt from the stone. It looked like liquid sunshine in her hand, and it felt like a warm, cozy fire in her soul.
She found it difficult to comprehend why everyone was so afraid of these stones; so afraid that they had actually outlawed them. For her, each one filled her with wonder, awe, warmth, and love.
The sound of the bell by the back door of the pub brought Neerah out of her reveries. She looked over her shoulder in the direction of the pub, and heard footsteps racing down the path in her direction.
With a sigh, she stood and hurried to the large moss-hung tree whose branches draped over the creek. She clambered to the top of the large boulder at the foot of the tree, and then standing on tip toe she reached up into the abandoned flyer’s nest in the crook of the tree’s branches. Her fingers latched onto the small pouch hidden there, and she brought it down.
She quickly untied the mouth of the pouch. With one last caress of the stone, she dropped it into the pouch, and then tied the pouch closed again. She had just secreted it back in the nest, when someone came crashing out of the woods.