I can’t believe I get to share this bit of news but guys, I HAVE ANOTHER PART OF THE PUZZLE!!!! *flails*
Being part of this project is beyond amazing and I am excited to share with everyone the newest part of the the puzzle. I will get to that in just a moment but first…
For those who may have stumbled onto this post and have no idea what Tales From The Front is here is an quick explanations:
“Tales from the Front is a series of notes, alternate POV chapters, and other teasers that take place from just before the end of Fire Falling (Air Awakens, #2) to the beginning of Earth’s End (Air Awakens, #3). They are being sent out at random with the idea that bloggers and readers can ban together to put the puzzle pieces together to find out a different side to the story and uncover truths about the characters.”
This is an idea created by the wonderful author Elise Kova! All to help us have fun as we await the release of Earth’s End.
If you haven’t read the first book Air Awakens you can check out my review for it here.
And you can check out my review for Book 2 Fire Falling here!
This may contain spoilers so if you have not read the first 2 books please do not read past this point! If you have read both books, PLEASE CONTINUE TO THE GOODNESS BELOW!
Aldrik pulled his chainmail over his head with a soft hiss. His shoulder rejected the movement, protesting angrily. He pulled at the collar of his shirt, looking at the deep purple bruise that was already threatening to consume the skin between his neck and arm. It was going to make riding painful and now was not the time to be anything less than his best. Aldrik turned his attention to the mail with a sigh. It was dented, and fixing the links was an utterly loathsome process. It was a process he’d deal with later. For now, he was more determined to close his eyes for a blessed few minutes.
He never expected to actually sleep. Sleeping would mean he’d be able to ease the tension in his muscles and trust the buffoons under his command enough to do their jobs on lookout. The hollowed underground, framed by a skeleton of tree roots, was a safe enough place to hole up in – his favorite on the march, if he was choosing between things he hated and things he loathed – but Aldrik was keenly aware that the one entrance made it both easy to defend and be trapped within.
Footfalls, muffled by soft earth, pried his tired eyes open. He’d pinned a square of canvas to the ground on his right and earthen wall at his left for a modicum of privacy – the benefits of being a prince. So, he didn’t see her until she was crouched down at the opening opposite the corner he was leaned against. She stared at him uncertainly from underneath her dark hood and Aldrik peered back through narrowed slits.
He could still intimidate the girl, that was good. She should be intimidated. She should need to gather her confidence before initiating conversation with him. She should want to be kept at arm’s length. Things were better that way, and they always had been. The only times he’d slipped up had been Inad and Vhalla; and, given how his relationship had ended with the former and was shaping up with the later, it was not exactly a great track record.
“My prince,” she whispered, mindful to keep her words low enough that they fell underneath the talking of soldiers enjoying their small reprieve around a tiny fire not far off.
Aldrik imagined he were dissecting her piece by piece. He imagined starting with her heart and carving out her chest. He watched her squirm as if she could read his mind. It was a game he played, to see how far he could get mentally breaking down people bit by bit until they gave in and ran. Those who were foolish enough not to run were usually met with his ire and that was a fate that would send the bravest of men scrambling, much to Aldrik’s satisfaction.
At least, it had been his satisfaction, until her. Until Vhalla Yarl, the library apprentice whose naïve trust sparked a dangerous flame of hope in his chest. Until she had stood up to him. Until she had made it his mission to regain that trust. The woman had ruined him well and truly, that much was more evident by the day.
The woman had saved him.
“I brought you something, for bruising.”
Aldrik studied her eyes, rather than imagining gouging them out. He had no idea how this creature, so beautifully soft and textbook feminine, had passed for the unorthodox variety of stunning that his Vhalla was. The girl’s eyes were so wrong.
She produced a vial, placing it between them like a peace offering. Aldrik focused on it for a moment before returning his attention to her. Passing swift and harsh judgment on her meager token.
“Why did you save me?”
Well, he certainly hadn’t expected that. “Why, indeed?” he drawled, resting the back of his head against the wall of dirt behind him. “I could be sleeping now were it not for your intrusion on my privacy.”
“It was stupid.” She frowned.
There was a time where he would’ve lashed out at her with such ferocity that she would’ve wished he’d taken a physical whip to her. But, for as annoying as the girl was. For all the ways she was wrong and not his Vhalla. She did have one similarity with the woman she was masquerading as. She’d somehow wormed her way under his skin and into a place that wasn’t easily removed. Likely only as a result of the illusion they’d been keeping for weeks. After all, he was the Fire Lord, the dark prince, and he didn’t make friends.
“I shall overlook that comment.” He needed her to be aware that while she’d managed some special status it wasn’t to be tried or tested. It stilled her and she finally lowered her eyes, humbled. Aldrik hadn’t realized until he’d been interacting with the girl how much he’d enjoyed his Vhalla and how she was finally keeping her eyes upward when speaking to him.
“Thank you, my prince.” She mumbled.
Aldrik watched as she withdrew pulling herself away mentally before she began to move physically. In the back of his mind he heard Vhalla’s voice encouraging him, more like demanding of him.
“Timanthia.” The girl cringed at her name. Aldrik couldn’t indulge her on everything and saying her full name was one way that he’d show he would not concede to her wishes. He was still her prince. “Thank you, for the potion.”
Timanthia stilled and had the audacity to give him a small smile. Aldrik returned it with a scowl.
“You’re welcome, my lord. I hope you have the pleasant variety of dreams today.”
Aldrik watched her as she finally retreated. It had been a mistake, telling her anything of his dreams. It had been a dangerous calculation on his part, taking her into his tent on the march. He loathed it still, bringing another woman into the sanctity that had become something he’d viewed only for him and Vhalla. But his love’s life depended on everyone else’s belief that she still was at his side and Aldrik would do what he must for that illusion to remain. Even if it meant showing false favor to the girl.
False favor, however, quickly stirred the murky waters of his heart – a heart he’d kept so carefully closed that it had been running away since he had decided to open it again. The girl paled against his Vhalla, mentally simple and boringly beautiful. But she was kind in the face of his ferocity and that reminded him just enough of the woman he loved that he could not hate her for it. It had encouraged his lips to speak yes, instead of no, when she offered to drink alongside him on the march.
But the dreams, those were things he should’ve never uttered. Timanthia borderline knew too much and that was not a feeling he was ever fond of.
Getting a glimpse at the false Vhalla was interesting enough, but Aldrik’s view of her was even better!!!
What did you think?
What could Timanthia know already? Do you have any theories??
To go along with this amazing POV of Aldrik we also have a Giveaway!!! Here is the link:
Thank you for reading!!
Elise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.
Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook.