Fire and Ice Young Adult and New Adult Books

Roots Entwine

by Victoria Bastedo



"Roots Entwine" by Victoria Bastedo Hidden in the trees is a boy with a mysterious past and powerful ability- will the team that found him have to watch him die?

15-year-old Joaquin can hear a man's heart beating a half a mile away. He can see in the dark when others are stumbling. One whiff and he can tell what was served for yesterday's dinner. But then he needs near-coma sleep to heal his brain from the searing pain. He's a Phoshat, and his ability comes with a price.

Rumors spread about the mysterious Phoshat living in the forest around his family's estate. Then Kallum comes, the tall stranger who leads a mission team for the king. He's determined to add a Phoshat to the list of talents that his team boasts. He takes on the responsibility of a teenaged, untested Phoshat, and they set out, but soon it's evident that Joaquin's gift is so powerful that it almost swings out of control. As their journey goes on and unconsciousness overwhelms Joaquin over and again, Kallum begins to question whether Joaquin is ready for the dangerous mission that's growing more intense every day.

Joaquin wonders too. Why was he born different than everyone else?

Roots Entwine is a young adult fantasy adventure. A tree standing alone shades no one, but entwining his life with his team moves Joaquin towards the inevitable choice he must make for them. It's up to him to decide what the sum of his life will be, and if his inborn ability will be a curse to him or the gift that saves his friends.


 

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Excerpt
Chapter Two

Feeling more stubborn than ever, Joaquin was annoyed when - yet again - he found that the stranger had moved between him and his house. For three days the man had been tracking him, sniffing out all of his favorite haunts, popping up so silent and sudden that it took Phoshat skill to perceive him, giving Joaquin a constant headache. Last night the pursuit made him get home so late that Grandfather had yelled at him, saying he was tired of carrying a child that caused worry and trouble and yet couldn’t be relied on to do any work. This comment had caused a mighty argument within the family, until his mother, Minarett, had left the room crying.

And it was this stranger who was the cause of it all, keeping Joaquin from his meals and disrupting the tentative balance that helped him disappear into the family’s talk and relaxation at meal times. That was why Joaquin was stubborn in remaining hidden from the man, although it was obvious that the stranger didn’t intend to leave the area until he’d located him.

But enough was enough. The stranger had now settled himself down against the back wall of the house, right underneath Joaquin’s window. If Joaquin didn’t hurry in soon, he’d be late for dinner again.

He scowled at the man, considering the idea of walking in through the front door to avoid him, bringing on further scolding, or perhaps slipping in through his younger brother’s window, which would mean explaining that the stranger was still out in the woods. But that wouldn’t be good. If the family suspected that the stranger had tracked him home, there’d be uproar even worse than last night. There was nothing else to do. He scooted from branch to branch, positioned himself, and dropped with lithe agility right in front of the stranger’s gaze.

The man started, taken by surprise.

“Quiet, we can’t talk here!” Joaquin snapped in an angry whisper.

He yanked his chin into the direction of the forest and the stranger scrambled to his feet so he could keep him in sight as he strode away. It was time to confront the man. Once they were deep into the darkened woods, Joaquin turned on him.

“What do you want? Why are you following me?”

The man cocked his head at Joaquin’s tone and waited for further tirade. Joaquin went on talking.

“So, you’ve tracked me down, haven’t you? You’ve seen all of my hiding places. Surely by now you’ve learned enough to satisfy any man’s curiosity!”

“Not at all, my young friend. Tracking you has done nothing but increase my curiosity.”

“What do you mean?”

“No, lad, I haven’t seen all of your hiding spots. In particular I haven’t seen the inside of the room at the back of that house that you slither into each night. Tell me. Does the Briec family know that you make use of their house to sleep in?”

Joaquin’s heart began to pound at the question. The man must have thought he was a thief, a stowaway living unwanted on the Briec’s property. Joaquin closed his eyes. This nightmare was none of the stranger’s business, and yet the man looked as though he could read every expression on Joaquin’s face like a book. He took a deep breath and controlled his emotions.

“Yes, they know,” he said, after several seconds had passed. “The Briec family and I have an arrangement of sorts, one that you don’t need to know about.”

“It’s dangerous to leave a man like me so curious, lad. I might never leave until I find all the answers.”

Joaquin let the full force of his glare out, but the stranger only laughed.

“Come now, what’s the big problem then? If the Briecs welcome me, a pleasant visitor, and they know about you, then why don’t we both go and knock on the front door? If my limited un-Phoshat senses serve me right, dinner will soon be set upon the table.”

“I can’t sit at that table with you.”

“So they aren’t willing to sit with you, and yet they don’t mind passing the night with you under their roof?”

Joaquin’s face was set.

“Tell me more about this ‘arrangement’ then. Why would this large family put up with you? It’s easy to see that they don’t need you to add to their fortune, or to defend them if danger nears the house. A more powerful clan I’ve never seen.”

“It’s true they don’t need me for anything,” he admitted, feeling both hollow and angry. “But let’s quit wasting time,” he growled. “The question isn’t what the Briecs want, but what it is that you want. Why are you searching for me? Why are you still here? And don’t bother telling me that you’re curious. You haven’t been tromping through the underbrush and skipping meals because you’re curious. I may not know much about people, but I’m not a fool.”

The man chuckled.

“If you were a fool, I wouldn’t be interested in you, lad. But what do you mean that you don’t know much about people? Why do you avoid them? Why hide here, in the forest?”