I’m Robin, your temporary host. Last week, I showed you part of Rogue Ranger, my third book, and you might be wondering how I went from that camp in the mountains to tramping through a snowy and very enchanted forest with Shade, whom you may remember from Curse Breaker Enchanted, while searching for Sarn.
If you want to know where Sarn is and why I can’t find him, you need to read Rogue Ranger because that all happens in there.
But the story of how I met him happened in my second book, Rogue Night. I know. I’m talking about my books out of order. But I’ve always been a rebel, so let’s go.
But first, a few announcements because my Scribe, Melinda, requested them:
- Shards For His Giftis nearing completion. You can read it on Patreon, Substack, and now Kindle Vella. (Ran would like me to remind you that Shards For His Gift will be the tenth Curse Breaker book, and Curse Breaker Enchanted is the first book. See the whole series here.)
- You can also read Rogue Rescue, my fourth book, on Patreon, Substack, and now Kindle Vella too as it’s written.
And now back to my story.
by Melinda Kucsera
“My baby.” As those two words echoed through the tunnel, they attenuated until they filled the darkness, leaving no room for anything else, not even the breath Robin struggled to take as fear and loss constricted her chest. But she put one snowy boot in front of the other because she had to. This was the only path open to her now, and Robin would damn well make it work.
Each step was an effort because it took her away from her daughter. Robin felt that keenly now, and a small voice kept screaming at her to turn around and find those wolves. Their collars were the key. They held the only clue she’d found to her daughter’s kidnappers.
If only she could get her hands on one. But those wolves were gone just like her daughter. Damn her for not being fast enough to grab one by the scruff of his neck. Robin swayed as that event replayed, but she still didn’t know what she could have done differently.
Robin landed on the gravel path leading up to the doors of Mount Eredren and braced herself for a fight. When it didn’t come, she sat up and met the wolf’s glowing green eyes. In his eyes, she saw that gloating Huntress in all her half-naked, furry glory, confirming her guess. That baby-stealing bitch had sent those wolves after her. Her hunch had been right, but it was a hollow victory.
“Thank you.” Robin reached out to ruffle the wolf’s sable fur then thought better of it and let her hand drop onto her lap. He was an alpha, not a pet.
The alpha nodded and whined in pain as a flash parted his glowing green collar. It fell off and vanished before it hit the ground leaving a luminous green thread behind. He backed away from it and growled at Robin when that thread crawled toward her.
She crab-walked away from it, but it launched itself and wrapped around her ankle, adding to her collection of glowing things. Robin tensed and waited for something to happen, but nothing did. There wasn’t even a tug from the leash it had been part of. Damn it.
The leash was gone, and so was her only clue to the whereabouts of the Wild Hunt. That new thread just glowed around her ankle. Robin dropped her head into her hands. She’d been so close to finding the answer she’d sought.
Robin blinked as the tunnel came back into focus, not that there was much to see other than rocks, rocks, and more rocks. Was the tunnel spinning, or was she? She leaned on her bow case and felt lightheaded and alone. There was no one else in the tunnel.
The chunk of white lumir crystal dangling from a button on her red coat had grown a fuzzy halo. That couldn’t be good. It was the only light in a tunnel that must be part of a maze because each twist and turn only presented her with another intersection, and it looked exactly like the last one.
Three identical pathways led into the darkness on three separate paths. Which one led to the mage she sought and the help she needed?
“They took my baby,” a woman said, but her voice seemed to come from everywhere at once.
“They took mine too,” Robin said too softly to interrupt those heart-wrenching sobs. Which tunnel would take her closer to that woman? Oh Lord, she was so lost. Robin had no idea which way to go. Which would take her to the woman who was living her personal nightmare?
A green glow reached out of her coat and into the darkness, stretching its spherical nimbus into an ellipse whose narrower end pointed to the left-hand tunnel. Robin ran a finger along the green-glowing links of her necklace and wondered again about the mage whose power had combined to make it. What would he be like?
Robin regarded the tunnel the remnants of his magic pointed at. He must be down that way. But could that woman also be down there? She needed to find both, but his power just pointed unerringly to the left, so she went that way because gaining his help was paramount. Robin couldn’t find her baby, or that other woman’s child if the same people had kidnapped them both, without that mage’s help. “But will he help me?”
She touched her necklace again and got nothing from it, no promise of aid, no reassurance, just a not-so-gentle nudge toward the left-hand tunnel.
Robin leaned on her bow case as she pushed on, using it in place of a walking stick. The case she kept her bow in was big enough to stand in for a walking stick. At six feet dead even, it was a hollow tube made of a light but tough woody vine.
Her unstrung bow fit snugly into it, but the case was still thicker than a traditional walking stick and heavier too. But it was still quite effective at propelling her forward over the uneven ground. It was the perfect probe too. It had revealed several deadly drops and quite a few large holes in time for her to avoid them.
The metal capping her bow case’s base glinted in the lumir crystal light, and Robin froze as a feeling of déjà vu swept over her. But she couldn’t have done this before because today was the first time she’d ever visited Mount Eredren. But that feeling only intensified as she probed the darkness with her bow case for any more traps.
She hoped Strella had better luck finding help for Kat, but Robin sincerely doubted that. Strella was probably around here somewhere and likely getting just as frustrated when yet another bend revealed either another intersection or worse, a blank wall.
There had to be people around here somewhere. Robin had sensed them during that strange moment when she’d connected with the mage whose power had created her necklace, and she still needed an explanation about that. How had she connected to him?
If Robin could figure that out, she’d be one step closer to finding him. She tapped her finger against the green-glowing links on the chain around her neck but got nothing from it except light. There was still no sign this place was even inhabited. It felt abandoned, but that was impossible.
Rumor had it this place was packed with people. Where were they? Robin had seen no one since parting with Strella. That goodbye had punched a small hole in her heart. Strella had become a good friend, and the events of that day had made it clear Robin needed all the help she could get. She just had to find some.
Robin touched the necklace glowing a vibrant green one last time then strode down the left-hand tunnel. Robin swayed, and the tunnel seemed to revolve around her. That wasn’t good.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten, or if she even had any food in the rucksack slung over her shoulder. But that was a moot point now. Those echoes grew louder and clearer. Robin sped up, hoping she’d at last found another human being in this oppressive darkness.
Get Rogue Night, book 2 of the Robin of Larkspur series, now.
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with more!
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