Welcome to the tour for Compendium by Alia Luria! This is a sci-fantasy novel that is adult but clean and appropriate for young adult readers.
“Melia,” SainClair whispered. Her skin was tinged with blue.
Melia lowered her head next to the minister’s lips.
“Go now. Get the key to my estate. My son will know what to do with it.”
“You have only moments now,” Draca said through clenched teeth.
“Help me,” Melia said, grimacing. She pulled a pin from her robes and stuck it deeply into the pad of her thumb, where a drop of blood welled up.
Minister Draca nodded and pressed SainClair’s right thumb into the blood that seeped from her chest.
“Quickly,” he said.
Melia pulled a book from her robes and opened it to a random page. She pressed her bleeding thumb into the center of the page while Draca pressed SainClair’s bloody thumb onto it as well.
End recording and lock all profiles to these samples, Melia commanded.
“Recording ended and locked,” the smooth voice said into her ear.
Activate sleep mode.
“Good-bye,” the voice said.
She barely heard the voice in her head as the lights in the Core dimmed.
“Hurry,” Draca said, and shoved his walking stick into her hand. “Go!”
Partially in shock, Melia staggered to her feet and rushed away from the crush of delegates as well as the more delicate roots that sprouted up from the earth. The yelling voices of the others followed her as the lights began to fail and a deep throbbing vibrated through the roots. The Core was shutting down. If Melia didn’t go now, she would be trapped with the others. In the confusion, Rosewater had broken free from his restraints and was barreling toward her. She swallowed hard, a ball of panic caught in her throat like a bone.
She took a deep breath and yelled, “To the SainClair estate!” then slammed the stick onto the ground twice.
Rosewater’s enraged face disappeared behind the swirling vortex that opened up in front of Melia with an enormous crack. It was the sound of something existing where just moments ago nothing had, and it always unnerved her. Turning her head to the side to shield it from the intense winds, she held her breath and leapt into the vortex.
Her knees buckled as she struck a deep snowdrift on the other side. Her stomach churned, threatening to give back her last meal. So what? she thought. Nerves had prevented her from having any appetite the last few days. I call your bluff! Go ahead and vomit. See what it gets you.
Traveling by baccillum was never pleasant. Still feeling ill, she struggled to her feet. She looked down at the baccillum and the book. They were both inert now; the tiny veins of blue light that shone intermittently on each were dark. She stowed the book in her robes and trudged toward the giant cluster of hearthtrees in the distance.