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Breena Taljain’s idyllic days in Araboth came to a skidding halt when circumstances forced her into the dangerous hinterlands. The dire sacrifice she made to protect her comrades tainted her heart with hatred and despair. To cleanse herself she must outrun Death’s relentless pursuit and venture into the bleak unknown. With the odds stacked against her, stumbling into love when she least expects it may very well be her saving grace.
Meanwhile, succumbing to the Patriarch’s devious traps has Galbrecht Atalir questioning his motives. The folly of his recklessness has left him physical scarred and mentally traumatized. Now he must overcome more adversity as the wrath of the Sin Ministry bears down upon him. He will need more than wits and quick fists to find the truth he has sought for seven years.
Alas, every second Breena is apart from Galbrecht draws her further into strife. With her world rapidly crumbling inwards, she puts everything on the line for a last stand against the ruthless force that threatens to destroy all she holds dear….
Breena frowned at the same time Helel averted his gaze in shame. Never mind the question of how she knew all this. What was her point? “I don’t see how—”
“Of course you don’t,” she spat. “The world went on. Nothing you did or didn’t do mattered. What transpires today is no different. What is the purpose of it all? What matters to you one moment is meaningless the next. Nothing you do affects the greater scheme of things. You are merely a hiccup in the pulse of the world.” She turned from Breena and craned her neck backwards. “This is the truth, Breena. You will live and die. Others will rise after you and they, too, will live and die. Nobody will remember you. Nobody will remember them. Do you understand now? Nothing matters.”
“Then why are you—”
“This isn’t about me,” she rebutted. “You are just another flower in the field, Breena. You sprout from a seed and bloom into something special. The world adores you as you blossom. It takes advantage of your sweet aroma and praises your beauty until you wither away. What good are you then? You’ve become nothing. Soon you die cold, wilted, and alone. The world tramples on your remains, yes, but it does not mourn you. No…another seed will take your place and carry on as you had until it shares the same fate. Eventually the field will turn so barren that nothing else will grow. Then it will serve another purpose. The endless cycle of no true beginnings or endings will continue.
“Life goes on with or without you. Your existence will have no impact on the grand scheme of things. A single tree won’t make a rainforest any more than trouncing me would rid this plane of black emotions. Years, decades, even centuries from now, I will be born again and so the sequence will endure. Forever we shall dance this depressive, endless waltz.” She glared at Breena again. “I will change things, though. I intend to stop the cycles of rebirth. None will suffer as I have then.”
“That’s wrong. We live to make our own experiences. Joy and sorrow, love and hatred, pain and pleasure…it’s all part of the blessing! Who are you to put a price on it?” Breena pressed her hands against her hips. “Your flawed logic sickens me. You’re insane!”
Jake Bonsignore is the author of Descendant of Strife, Empyreal Illusions, and Awakening the Fire. he is a graduate of the University of South Florida with magna cum laude honors. Outside of his literary pursuits, he enjoys playing sports and is a fitness enthusiast. He is currently working on his next novel, The Lioness.
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