In a world divided by an ancient enmity involving the very gods themselves, forces move, threatening to upset the delicate balance between the people of the air and their enemies on the ground.
Skye, prince of the Skychildren, is betrayed and exiled from the sky realm. Wounded and cast down to the earth below, he is unable to escape capture by the detested Groundbreathers and is assigned to serve as the slave of one of the Groundbreather princesses. Escape, however, is paramount, as his kingdom is being threatened by a madman, and he resolves on trying to find a way back to the sky realm.
While certain that his disdain toward his heathen captors and their reprehensible god is justified, Skye finds himself thawing toward the Groundbreathers—most especially toward Princess Tierra, who is different from the rest of her people.
Complicating matters are the whispers he hears of the existence of a creature of legend, one which has the ability to destroy all life. As events spiral out of control, Skye begins to follow a path he could not have imagined, and he discovers that the secret of the Fenik is one which threatens the very existence of his people.
Tierra had rarely seen such a fog as had fallen that evening. It drifted throughout the courtyard, slinking around statues, creeping along the cobblestones, sneaking through the shrubs. Its undulations were almost otherworldly, as if some mysterious force were pushing it through the air like waves of incorporeal water. The fog was so thick that it seemed almost impossible to penetrate, and the notion of returning to her warm bed was a tempting one.
But Tierra knew that she needed to be the one to prevent Skye from escaping, and so she continued to step forward carefully, her eyes darting here and there in search of the rogue slave.
“I know you are here, Skye,” she said. Her voice sounded eerily loud in the seemingly empty courtyard. “If you give yourself up now instead of forcing me to bring you in, your punishment shall be much lighter.”
A soft snort sounded in the air above her.READ MORE
Tierra looked up in surprise. There, squatting among the eddying currents of the fog, was Skye. A self-satisfied grin stretched across his face, and his blue eyes glittered with amusement.
For a moment, Tierra froze in surprise. How was Skye actually able to stand on the fog, of all things? But the question soon disappeared from her mind. She was caught by the ethereal beauty of the Skychild as wisps of fog swirled about him, the light of nearby torches causing the air to shimmer like the dance of moonlight on newly fallen snow.
Skye reached down and grabbed her. She did not struggle as he lifted her into his arms. She was too surprised to do more than gasp.
He sprinted upward into the rising fog and over the castle walls, moving toward the countryside beyond. In a night of surprises, the act of actually going over the walls on stairs made of nothing more substantial than air was the greatest shock to Tierra’s already alarmed state. After they made it over the walls, they descended a little closer to the ground, the fog unfurling before them to create a path.
It was impossible for her to process much at that point. Changing from captor to captive in an instant was enough to draw anyone up short. Yet despite the whirlwind of confusion assaulting her brain, she was able to register two things.
The first was that Skye was holding her in a rather intimate way while she was in her nightgown. He had one arm was wrapped around her waist, and the other was beneath her legs, almost as a man might hold his wife. She had not simply been thrown over his shoulder as she might have expected from a Skychild carrying off a captive Groundbreather, and she shivered at the realization. The second (and more important) thought that occurred to her was that she had not been tied up . . . and that the ground was not so far beneath her that a fall would kill her.
She looked up at the Skychild, noting the amusement tugging at the corners of his mouth and the way he clutched her tighter when he felt her gaze on him. Beneath that smugness hid something soft and perhaps even warm. He did not wish to hurt her.
Tierra smiled to herself. Then she jammed the edge of her palm up against his chin.
“Celesta’s skies!” he swore, his grip on her loosening.
She tossed her sword down to the ground and struggled out of his grasp, pushing away from him. As she fell, she grabbed the bottom of his legs, trying to slow her momentum right before she let go. But all she did was bring him down with her.
They fell in a heap onto the grass, with Skye landing heavily on top of her. She let out a grunt of pain and glared up at him.
Ignoring her discomfort, the arrogant Skychild grinned down at her. “I should have expected more of a fight from you. Just be glad my sword didn’t accidentally bring a quick end to our night with that foolish move you pulled. It could have gutted one of us, you know.”
The close proximity of their faces made Tierra’s stomach twist, as if someone had stirred up a nest of ground-snakes which writhed in her abdomen. Yet she ignored the feeling and shoved Skye off her. She sprinted over to her sword and picked it up, feeling a sense of relief once the familiar hilt was in her hand. This was territory she could handle.
In the meantime, Skye was calmly rising to his feet and pulling a sword out of his belt.
She took a few steps forward and pointed her own blade at him. “You cannot win this fight, Skye. You might as well give up now.”COLLAPSE
"So much about the world building in this novel was fantastic. It basically made the book for me." --Haley Keller, Been There, Read That
The first novel in the Earth and Sky trilogy by J. L. Griffin.