The Blue Woman and the High Wood
Book Two in the Nyla Series
(C) 2018 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
And Nyla realized that her eyes were open and the sky was what she was looking at.
Somehow, day had arrived. Perhaps the storm had compressed her sense of time. Or maybe she had passed out long ago and never realized it.
She sat up and looked around. There was little to be seen. No tents had survived the deluge of wind. The remnants of the bonfire were scattered in pieces about the encampment. Sand had been blown into huge inconvenient piles, greatly altering the shape of the landscape.
There were a few people around, lying on the ground, or half-buried in the sand. As far as Nyla could tell, they didn’t seem to be breathing.
Nyla staggered to her feet, which were painful and unsteady. She tottered from one person to the next, looking for faces she recognized. Vival? Highboy? Iss?
“Is anybody here?”
A woman’s voice said, “I am.”
Nyla turned, but the face she saw was not familiar.
“Who are you?”
The woman smiled. “Just a traveler,” she said. She was a large, squat woman, very sturdy, with a golden tinge to her face.
“How did you survive the storm?”
“That was no storm, Nyla. That was Echawa.”
“How…how do you know my name?”
Instead of answering, the woman peered at Nyla carefully. “What dispersed it?”
“Echawa,” the woman said patiently. “It’s usually the end of everything. Instead it went away. How?”
“It followed the Blue Woman.”
The golden-faced woman nodded slowly, as though she understood, but Nyla got a sense from the amount of nodding that maybe she didn’t. Nyla wanted to ask about the Blue Woman, but something restrained her. Instead she asked, “Do you know where Vival is?”
“I do,” answered the woman.
“Well, where is he?”
Again, the woman peered at Nyla, as if trying to read something in her face. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because he’s my friend!”
Nyla didn’t answer right away. The question troubled her. It seemed that she had been asked this a lot lately.
The woman seemed suddenly tired. She plopped her large bottom on a dune and smiled up at Nyla. “I want to make you an offer,” she said.
“What?” Nyla asked, astonished.
“I can take you from here, right now. I know where you belong.”
Nyla felt all breath leave her. “You do?”
“Yes,” nodded the woman. “And if you come with me, right now, we can go there, straight away.”
“But what about my friends?”
“They aren’t going that way,” said the woman. “They have a different path.”
Nyla considered, rubbing her nose harshly with her index finger. “Well…what if I want to go on that path too?”
The woman pursed her lips thoughtfully. “You could do that,” she agreed. “It’s a much longer journey. And there’s no guarantee you’ll get where you’re going if you take it. I’m offering to solve your problem for you. Right now.”
Nyla blinked several times. “Where’s Vival? What’s happening to him?”
The woman sighed. “The Just fled inland to escape Echawa. That forest.”
“The High Wood,” Nyla said.
The woman nodded again. “Render followed them. He thinks they’re hiding you in there, and his soldiers have them surrounded. Vival is there too, standing up to them.”
“Then they’re in danger. And I have to go help!” Nyla cried.
“Why?” asked the woman quietly. “What do you think you can do for them?”
Nyla’s voice failed her. Nothing, she thought. Nothing at all. She didn’t even have the ghost of the Vie A Lyn.
“If you go,” the woman said reasonably, “You’ll just be stepping into a trap. Render will see you and take you. Vival and the Just will attempt to win you back and probably die trying. Why would you put them through all that?”
Nyla felt miserable. She had caused enormous damage by being here. She thought that it would make sense just to go with the woman. “You say you’ll take me where I belong?”
“How do I know that? How do I know I can trust you?”
The woman snickered. “You don’t. This isn’t a decision about trust. It’s about you knowing what you want.” The woman shrugged and rose to her feet. “I could have taken you without your permission. Instead, I’m offering you a choice. Trust me, or don’t. Only hurry up! I have places to go.”
The print version of Motherless Child is now on sale at Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1644380153/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1560990201&sr=8-1
More about The Blue Woman and the High Wood
Now that Veer Isle was secure, it was time for the hero Vival to take Nyla to see the Sand Witch. Accompanied by Chere/Sherluck and Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, Nyla and Vival board a ship bound for Zen.
But trouble begins as soon as the ship leaves the harbor. A terrible storm comes up. The sailors want to throw Nyla from the ship. And rising out of the ocean is the mysterious Blue Woman.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including Motherless Child and Seven Ways the World Can End.
You can find the next, or previous chapter of this book at https://www.authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?id=1108
Want to read the previous book? You can get it at https://adamcole.selz.com/editor?url=/categories/all .
You can ensure the chapters continue to arrive on time by visiting https://www.patreon.com/adamcole and joining our growing fanbase.
What do you like? What do you wish was in the book? Post a comment at www.acole.net , or leave a post on Patreon and tell us what you think!