The Rabbit and the Raven: Book Two in the Solas Beir Trilogy

The Rabbit and the Raven: Book Two in the Solas Beir Trilogy by Melissa Eskue Ousley

Book: The Rabbit and the Raven: Book Two in the Solas Beir Trilogy by Melissa Eskue Ousley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melissa Eskue Ousley
scowled, narrowing his eyes. He shot Abby a look of warning. He turned to Marisol. “Nor is it necessary to ask for details. Especially not from my mom.”
    Clucking her tongue, Marisol shook her head and took back her horse’s reins. “You are a bad boy, Jonathon Reyes.”
    “I’m sorry,” Jon said.
    “Don’t apologize,” Marisol smiled. “I like it.”
    Jon grinned. “Oh, really …”
    “Yes. But to get back to the subject at hand,” Marisol replied. Ignoring Jon’s pout, she turned to David and lowered her voice. “She’s an angel right? Maybe the Daughters of Mercy are angels too—you know, like the Angel of Death? That’s New Testament dark side, isn’t it?”
    “Old Testament,” David corrected her. “And I don’t think she’s an angel. I was thinking more like a valkyrie.”
    “Aren’t they supposed to hang out on battlefields or something, taking the valiant dead to Valhalla?” Jon asked.
    David shrugged. “Maybe…look, I don’t know what she is exactly.”
    “Betcha five bucks she’s an angel,” Jon offered.
    “All right, I’ll take that bet and your money, Reyes,” David said, clapping him on the shoulder. “But I promise you, my friend—she is not an angel. Come on, let’s go chat with the villagers.”
     
     
     
    Abby saw that Eulalia had already arrived with her troops; she was talking with the two Nuren eldsmen and the eldswoman who served as village leaders, ambassadors, and at times, peacekeepers. Gorman had been teaching Abby and her friends about the politics of the region surrounding Caislucis. She noted that each wore long robes over his or her clothes and a medallion around the neck, signifying their role. David, Cael, and Erela joined the discussion while Abby, Jon, and Marisol stood back and surveyed the village.
    “Looks like this place got hit by a tornado,” Abby said. Structures that appeared to have once resembled a barn and some kind of tower had been almost leveled. Some of the villagers were clearing the rubble, while others worked with the castle guards to distribute supplies and care for the new livestock. Abby approached a woman working near the destroyed buildings. “Do you need help here?” she asked. “My friends and I can work on clearing this out.”
    “We would be grateful for your help,” said the woman. She had dark skin and wore her hair bound in a colorful scarf. The skirt of her printed, ankle-length dress was smudged with dirt. She smiled wearily and handed Abby a pair of leather gloves. Jon brought over a small cart and Marisol led the horses to graze in the field. Returning, she picked up a spade and joined Abby and Jon.
    As Marisol shoveled away debris, Abby and Jon began placing heavy stones into the cart. “We’re emissaries of the Solas Beir,” Abby said to the woman. “I’m Abby, and these are my friends Jon and Marisol.”
    “I am called Yola,” the woman said. She looked as though she had not slept at all; her eyes were dark and full of worry.
    “Was anyone in these buildings when they fell?” Abby asked.
    “There were sheep and goats in the barn, but none of our people, thank the Light,” Yola said. “The other building was the granary—much of our food and the grain for our stock were stored there. It is a great loss to us.”
    “I’m sorry. Did you see it happen?” Marisol asked.
    “No—I did not see it myself, though I heard it. When the creatures came, it was already dark, and most everyone was inside for the night. There was a terrible sound, like the wind, and hellish screams, the likes of which I have never heard and hope never to hear again. The creatures were attacking our animals, and the screams of those they took echoed throughout our village. Then everything shook as the buildings fell. There was a crash, like thunder—and then all was silent.
    “ I was terrified to leave my home, but I thought perhaps people might need my help. I searched, but I could not find anyone wounded. As people

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