Fire and Ice Young Adult and New Adult Books

The Sword of Lumina #3

Mira's Last

by Erin Elliott



"Mira's Last" by Erin ElliottGalena has recovered the Sword of Lumina and now she has to race to find her brother, the leader of the elf army, to aide him in battle against Rau’s forces. Together, they push the enemy back until they find themselves facing Blackwell and every dark creature imaginable, including Rau himself.

Galena uses all the magic she possesses battling creatures never before seen until she finds herself face to face with the one who has ruled the elven nation for far too long. In a battle of light versus dark, Galena proves why she is Mira’s Last.


 

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Teens


Chapter One

Galena sat quietly regarding the campfire dancing merrily before her. Visions from the cave still racing through her mind, causing her to cringe with each one. She turned to look at Elenio’s sleeping face, envying him for the peace he seemed to have. She’d tried lying down, but the nightmares began and she found herself sitting up, drenched in sweat, her own screams still ringing in her ears. A lifetime would not be long enough to forget what her mind made real.

Mira warned her before she’d reached the cave what she could expect once she crossed the mouth, but even then, Galena hadn’t been fully prepared. She didn’t understand what she truly feared. The cave almost broke her. It pushed her to the very brink of madness and was about to give a final shove, causing her to enter into a void she would not have been able to return from, when Elenio saved her. Through the mental link they shared as commitment partners, he pushed her forward. Even when she begged for death to take her, he’d been there, encouraging her, pushing her harder than even the magic of the cave could have. It was only with his mind linked to hers, unable to see the horrors she beheld, was she able to find the Sword of Lumina and return to the reality of the world to which she’d been born into.

She rather hoped that once she left the confines of the cavern walls, her memories of the place would dissolve just as the bodies within did, but it wasn’t so. Unlike the stories she heard from elves who’d crossed the path of the cave and the guardian, she remembered everything in detail. Elenio hadn’t forgotten either and they both attributed this to the successful retrieval of the famed sword.

Galena shivered more from memories than the cold. She slipped from their bed and sat by the fire, savoring its warmth and light. She pulled the sword from its shabby scabbard and regarded it carefully. It looked battered and worn, much like the swords hidden beneath her childhood home used for thousands of years. However, as far as Galena knew, this couldn’t be true. She’d never heard of the Sword of Lumina being used in any great battle or any battle at all. Returning the blade to the scabbard and placing both by her pack, she wrapped her arms around her legs and continued to stare at the fire, the images of dead loved ones floating in the smoke that curled and drifted in the air above the bright flames.

Galena sighed deeply, shaking her head to clear her mind of its morbid thoughts. She knew, with no uncertainty, Mira was right on several accounts. However, one thing struck her more powerfully than the rest. The whole experience taught her what her greatest fear was and made her stronger for it. She knew she would never again watch a loved one die, not while she still had breath in her body and magic flowing through her veins. They would have to kill her first if they ever wanted to touch her family, of that she was sure.

Standing, she looked at Elenio, sleeping peacefully and surrounded by a mound of blankets from their packs. She smiled as she looked at him, her heart clinching painfully as she watched. When she’d first emerged from the hated cave Mira created, he looked shocked at her appearance. It appeared she’d been through a terrible battle, even though in her mind, she’d experienced something far worse than any battle she’d ever fought. Then relief flooded through the features on his face and she could feel them radiate through his mind as well. All she could think was that here he stood, alive and well for the most part, a fact she would never allow to change. He raced across the clearing and embraced her for the longest time until Twoit bit him rather harder than necessary on the leg, causing him to let go.

She had stood back and watched him practice a few choice words while scratching Twoit’s head until she too calmed down. Healing Elenio’s bite quickly and the other cuts and bruises he suffered as a result of wrestling with vines intent on keeping him from the cave, they decided to head out immediately. Neither of them wanted to stay anywhere near the guardian or the cursed cave. As far as Galena was concerned, if she ever came to the Western woods again, it would be too soon.

Once they stopped, Galena changed into her spare outfit and true to her word burned the clothing still covered with the blood from the bodies of her loved ones. She caused a heavy rain shower to fall on them, washing away the remains of her imagination from her face, hands, and hair. She hadn’t wanted to stop for a bath and that had been the quickest way for her to feel clean again, although the smell of death still lingered.

Sitting back down by the fireside, Galena closed her eyes, resting her head on her raised knees. She was tired. They’d been traveling for almost a week and during that time she’d only managed to sneak in a couple of hours of sleep. Those precious hours were riddled with nightmares. Haunting images of her family dying one after the other in the cave with Galena standing helplessly by as she watched their demise.

Taking a deep breath, Galena focused her thoughts on Elenio. He’d been extremely supportive ever since she had emerged from the cave. He never once asked her what she had seen, for which she was deeply grateful. She would never be able to put to words the horror her own mind had had in store for her. She realized he’d seen some of what she had, but it had not affected him the same way. He hadn’t held the body, felt the warm blood soaking into his clothes, and heard the death rattle of a last breath. He only experienced briefly, what she had been unable to escape on her own.

He wore a knowing look every time he glanced at her, making Galena more certain that to an extent, he had been there through part of the ordeal, otherwise she never would have made it through. It had been Elenio pushing her on mentally that kept her going when she wanted to lie down and die. However, she also knew in order for him to have survived what she went through, he had to have shielded himself from the full emotional scale of what she suffered. Galena realized she’d lost part of herself in that horrible cave, a part she was unsure she would ever get back. Why couldn’t it have taken the memories with it, she thought glumly to herself.

“Because it made you stronger and it will continue to make you stronger.” Galena jerked her head up and fell back all in one motion. She found herself looking up into the face of Mira, smiling sadly down at her. Anger and sorrow welled up in her as she looked at the beloved goddess. She could have been more honest with her. She could have told her exactly what she was going up against in the cave, but instead she had been vague, telling her the bare minimum.

“Now you choose to show yourself,” Galena said bitterly.