SAMPLE CHAPTERS & ARTWORK UPDATES

Chapter Snippet

From the newest chapter in “No’va”

Nickademis eyed the sea of wavering brown and green grass. There was little movement where he had last seen the young harpy until a shift in the pattern of bending reeds confirmed her location. Huffing out a sigh, he continued down the path Windchester had cleared once again.

A sudden squeal, followed by a burst of feathers emerged directly alongside the doctor. He halted in a panicked skid before realizing she had caught a field mouse.

“Someone’s enjoying breakfast.” he grumbled.

Amber eyes peered up at him, the mouse’s tail still twitching along her dark lips. It was intriguing to actually view all of her facial markings during the daylight hours. A black line went from brow to chin, with thinner ones fanned out across her cheekbones. Unfurling her wings broke the illusion that kept them from tangling in tight spaces. Yet even they contained shades of greens and brown alongside the darker plumage.

Everest stood, sucking in the tail and licking her lips. A small lump could be seen traveling down her throat when she tilted her head back in a swallow. A shake of her feathered head brought a grin, and she patted her belly.

“Earrrly morrrningsss are the bessst,” she hissed with pride. Her top crest of feathers fanned out as wide as her toothy smile before layering flat over her hair once again. The hissing vanished with her next comment, “You should try it sometime.”

“I saw some rabbits,” Phine commented from behind the doctor. “Would make a nice stew if we could catch ’em.”

“Perhaps you could assist,” Windchester suggested to the harpy. “Although I am not permitted to harm the creatures that grant our shifting abilities, that doesn’t mean I will stop anyone else from obtaining their rightful nourishment.”

“With pleasssurrre,” Everest purred in delight before folding her wings in a fade. She then darted back into the wavering blades while the group continued their trek.

“Wonder how Thomas Gracie’s group is fairing?” Phine thought aloud. “Any contact with the Healer there?”

Windchester shook his head. “None yet. But that might…change.” He lifted his nose to the brisk wind that whipped across the tops of the blades. The group stopped while a mini whirlwind of leaves twirled his trailing robe and sleeves around him, finally settling at his feet. Eyes closed, the Healer stood a moment, measuring the scents brought with it. A glow of power faded from those golden irises when they finally opened, and he gave off a low growl.

The strange phenomenon even drew Everest from her hunt. From the corner of his eye, the doctor saw her peering through the grasses.

“There are very few who can actually cross elements,” Windchester said. “Using wind to deliver messages is not something I or even Providence can do. However,” he bent to retrieve one of the leaves, “I just received some…disturbing news.”

Nickademis cringed at that semi-accusing look. The Fire Mage was his first thought. What idiocy has he done now? Set the forest ablaze? A corner of his lip started to turn up in a smirk, but the intense stare of the Healer was enough to hint a possible real threat. Remembering his thoughts could be read he quickly inquired, “It’s not that, I hope.”

“No.”

Accutely aware that the others were probably wondering what he meant, he asked again. “So Shafari’s not to blame? Good. What’s happened?” As much as he wanted, the doctor held back on the question of Black Wings, especially with one traveling with them they hardly knew.

He saw the Healer’s gaze flick to the hiding harpy, but then slightly shook his head.

“Your Fire Mage did upset one of our own, but that is not my main concern. ‘Twould seem Jenario came across a nesting Imitation Spider. She and her brood are now wandering unchecked…and Providence was bitten by it.”

There was a moment’s pause while the group took in this news. Finally, Nemmerel spoke.

“Are we talking poisonous?” He glanced between the others in worry. “You can heal from it, right?”

“It depends on the bite, but yes. And no. We can only heal the physical wound, not the poison. How much he received, I’m not sure.”

“Where is he now?” Nickademis inquired. “Do we need to go back.”

By now Everest had pulled herself back into the open. Wings unfurled, she sat waiting on the group’s response with interest. The last suggestion, however, ruffled up her feathers in aggravation.

“Much faster to fly!” She pumped her wings to the words, sending the others back a step from the dust kicked up at the motion. “But hoomuns cannot do it.” She then stood up as tall as she could, using her wings for balance. A bulky talon pointed at herself. “I can watch over them. I can warn if there’s danger now that I can fly. Now…I fight too!”

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