Title – The Scarlet Queen
Author - Mitch Reinhardt
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy/Adventure
Book Blurb –
The final battle against an ancient evil is about to begin.
The armies of the Scarlet Queen are advancing across Alluria and Jane has fallen under the spell of the Shadowlord and has become a powerful dark druid.
Geoff and Sawyer, along with their elven friends, Ariel and Ishara, must find a way to save Jane while trying to hold back a dark tide of evil that threatens all.
As their feelings for each other blossom, can they continue to grow and work together, or will their faith in each other prove to be their downfall?
Dangerous enemies from their past resurface to challenge them as they try to save Alluria while new allies rise to fight by their side.
Can humans overcome their petty differences with elves and join the fight?
If not, an age of darkness will dawn. The fate of Alluria hangs in the balance as they come face to face with the Scarlet Queen herself in an epic showdown.
If she could just give herself time to get away, she’d be able to mask her trail and she might still be able to find a place to hide. They were closing on her, but she had to try. Briefly pausing, she pointed toward the ground, summoning up the druidic words.
“Bar’athel envora,” she said.
The grasses instantly lengthened, whipping the air like vibrant snakes, while the trees stretched their limbs in effort to ensnare her pursuers. Sawyer hadn’t noticed what was happening until he was wrapped in a grassy cocoon, as was the smaller, lighter human.
Geoff, she remembered. Geoff, of course ...
But the two elves were far nimbler, especially the one carrying a bow. Her fourth pursuer, however, the taller elf, had only to hold up her hand for the treacherous grasses to shrink back into themselves, overruling Jane’s spell.
Blinking in disbelief, Jane realized that the tall elf was incredibly, shockingly, powerful. No matter how furiously she concentrated, the surrounding flora ignored her. Instead, she watched, in a near-panic, as Sawyer and Geoff were released by the grassy tendrils that she had summoned to hold them.
Ariel. Jane groaned, as her memory retrieved the name. Then a flash of movement to her left caught Jane’s attention. The elven archer was also rapidly closing in.
“Ana’thel,” Jane shouted as she threw an acorn. However, she had misjudged the distance and the projectile struck a tree behind her target, though its green explosion still rocked the delicate elf off-balance. Sawyer and Geoff were closing in on her, yet Ariel was almost upon her.
Without another thought Jane threw another acorn, this one straight at Ariel.
“Ana’thel”, she yelled, anticipating another explosion.
Instead, Ariel neatly caught the acorn between two slim fingers.
No explosion. Nothing.
Jane’s jaw dropped as she watched Ariel drop the acorn beside her, having neutralized Jane’s attack. Jane gritted her teeth and glared.
“Okay, then,” she said. “Fine. Give this a try.”
Jane slung the remaining acorns at Ariel and the others with all her might.
She flicked her fingers, expertly dispersing the remaining acorns in several directions. Ariel, who had been sprinting toward her, stopped, spun around and ordered, “Get back, all of you!”
“Look out, Geoff!” Sawyer shouted as he pushed the smaller teen to the ground.
The resulting mass of explosions sent chunks of soil and bits of trees flying. Briefly, a thick, smoky haze filled the air and lingered. Jane spun and dashed away.
“Sawyer! Geoff!” Ariel called.
“We’re okay,” Sawyer coughed back. “Don’t worry about us. Keep going!”
Jane frowned. How could she possibly outrun Ariel? Digging into her reserves of strength, Jane pushed deeper and deeper into the woods. From her left, Jane heard something whistling through the air followed by a distinct thwack as an arrow impacted the base of a tree just ahead.
So close! Shaken, she tried to avoid the arrow as she ran, but her foot tripped on the shaft, sending her tumbling to the ground and knocking the breath out of her. She scrambled to her knees, gasping for air.
Glancing around, she saw that the elven archer had already nocked another arrow and was taking careful aim, eyes narrowing. Ishara. Her name was Ishara. At least there were a few acorns within reach. Jane grabbed a handful of acorns, gritty with grass and dirt. Just as she was about to hurl them, she became distracted by a flash of movement at the top of the hill just ahead of her.
Confused and exhausted as she was, she still half-recognized the man in tattered animal skins. Her momentary hesitation gave Ariel just enough time to close the distance between them. As Jane wheeled around, she found herself face to face with Ariel.
Her emerald green eyes held Jane motionless. Before she could react, Ariel waved a slender hand over her face.
“Sleep, Jane,” Ariel said. “Sleep.”
As she collapsed into Ariel’s arms, the elf regarded the human teenager for a moment. Then she directed a sharp glance toward the tree line at the top of the hill. A couple of branches still swung back and forth. Someone, or something, had been there and had distracted Jane.
Ishara appeared beside Ariel, with bow and arrows.
“Her power grows.”
Ariel nodded but remained silent. She shifted Jane’s body in her arms and lifted her up. They turned and started walking back toward the others.
“But did you see?” Ishara persisted, keeping her eyes forward. “Her aura has dimmed. She no longer shines like Geoff and Sawyer.”
“Yes,” Ariel said with a frown as she looked down at the two red scars on Jane’s neck. “I too am troubled. Evil has taken root in Jane.”
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Indie Bound –
Author Biography –
Mitch grew up in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina and is currently a business analyst for an international software firm. An avid animal lover, he enjoys hiking, tennis, classic movies, and, of course, reading & writing. His books have won numerous awards and been best sellers on Amazon. The Darkwolf Saga is his first young adult adventure series. He loves to connect with readers and is always willing to answer questions about the craft of writing. In his desks are many notebooks filled with book ideas, characters, and scenes for books he hopes to publish one day. Visit Mitch at https://www.mitchreinhardt.com/
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