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To Wish For  Hope excerpt

~ To Wish For Home ~

As quiet as an elkaleen, Sharah of the family Hast stood in the Elfaxen forest and watched the person who had collapsed not far from where she was standing behind a giant tree. The three-unit diameter, much taller than a normal Trio-World man, of the katrok tree’s base provided more than ample protection from being seen while she could see satisfactorily all around her. The man, not wearing anything, had stumbled in her direction and fell with a mighty thud to the floor of the forest. He now lay still as the frost-laden leaves he fell in.

Usually, she wasn’t one to watch men without clothes, but this one certainly needed watching. Something had happened to him. Even on Elfax, nakedness wasn’t a sight she usually saw, especially in the freezing temperatures of The Freeze. During The Heat, the Elfaxen natives didn’t wear much clothing compared to what her home planet of Mallen wore, but at least they wore something.

She stayed silent, keeping her ears open, listening for any disturbance among the branches and undergrowth. The brisk cold air blew into her face, taking her breath, but she kept watching. The birds had ceased their chirping. What few birds that hadn’t flown toward lower elevations for The Freeze didn’t even call between them. No sound could be heard. It was an unnatural silence, amid the fallen leaves and barren outreaches of the arms of the trees.

Too silent.

Time crept by just as a snarl, the slowest of the forest creatures, might rush toward its destination. Now, it might be safe to approach the fallen man. Sharah stirred very little on the ground around her as she closed the units of the distance between herself and the fallen man.

She stopped again and peered around, and then glanced down at herself. If the Elfaxen man awakened what would he think of her garments? Most likely he had never seen anyone like her. She was an unusually clad female. Her knee-high tanned-skin boots and breeches, also of tanned skin, brought only a whisper to trained ears. A long sleeved cottalin tunic covered her upper body and brushed her thighs and became visible only underneath the open front of her thigh-length fur coat.

Her garb, which was that of a Malleneese woodsman, belied the fact that she was a woman. The plait of long blonde hair and soft feminine curves, which she couldn’t hide beneath the cottalin tunic said otherwise. A blade handle at her waist peeked from under her open coat and a projector filled her hand as she approached the stranger with the caution of a seasoned warrior. She would take no chances.

Finally reaching him, she crouched beside him and placed her fingers on the pulse of his neck. He was still alive. His long brownish-black hair mixed with the frozen leaves into which he had fallen; the plait above his pointed left ear fell across his face.

He didn’t even have the short Elfaxen sword or a weapon of any kind on his person. Had he lost them in his run from his enemy? Well, she wouldn’t know unless she talked to him and, right now, he remained unconscious.

She gave him a shove and turned him over, gasping at the hard muscles that defined his abdominal area. This man was a fine specimen of manhood. She rarely saw such a balance of sinews and bones.

A Cherrok. That was easy enough to decide. His coppery complexion and brown-black hair with plaits beside his pointed ears represented easy clues. His lack of clothing did not. The Cherrok men usually wore tanned leather vests, loin covers and soft shoes. This man had a wide metal band circling his neck and lying flat against his collarbones. The symbolism of the adornment meant something, but she couldn’t remember. The metal band wasn’t anything like the beaded collar of yellow, blue, red or black that marked an Elfaxen slave’s neck. Even though she’d never seen an Elfaxen slave, she’d heard too much about them.

She took in a deep breath. A handsome man lay before her even if he was an Elfaxen. His face was chiseled in masculine features. His body rippled with the muscles of strength. She had seen few men his equal. How would anyone defeat such as he?

Since he wore nothing, surely he had not come to this area prepared for the unexpected drop in the mountain temperatures. Far from his home, at least three Elfaxen quartermonths to the nearest Cherrok village, he wouldn’t have expected to return anytime soon, especially to get across the Northern gap before the harshest part of The Freeze, which made the fissure in the valley nearly impassable. Only the very brave...  or very stupid… crossed the gap during the deepest snows.

Oblivious to his surroundings, his eyes remained closed, and he bled. A red sticky stream of blood ran down from a small round hole in his ribs. Someone had aimed for his heart with their projector and missed, hitting him in the rib cage instead. Lucky for him, maybe, but if he didn’t stir and seek shelter, he could freeze when the temperature dropped with the fall of night.

She slapped at his face with her open hand. The shock should have stirred him, but he didn’t budge. A small stream of blood appeared at his hairline. She used her index finger to move the hair aside. He must have hit something on his impact with the ground. The large rock beside him most likely. The evidence of impact showed a small wound just above his temple. She slapped at him again. “Cherrok. Wake up. You need to get up.”

He still didn’t move.

Well, she just couldn’t leave him here or he’d die for sure. Neither wound looked bad but the cold would surely get him if she couldn’t awaken him. What should she do? All of Jaho’s creatures needed help at one time or another. Would that make an Elfaxen savage any different? Somehow, she just couldn’t bring herself to let him stay here and freeze. She would tend any wounded animal of the forest, and what more living thing of the forest could an Elfaxen be?

Sharah stared at the handsome face. What to do? She couldn’t manage the man without her merka. He was too big for her to drag the four deci-units to her shelter. She would have to come back for him, but she would have to hurry, because there wasn’t much light left in the day. She’d have a hard time getting this man to her shelter in the daylight, much less at night when the poorly marked trail would disappear completely into the blackness.

After pulling some of the drier leaves from around where he lay, she covered him, nearly burying him in the loose debris from the forest floor. It would provide some protection from the increasing cold, and maybe from whoever might have inflicted those wounds.

Why hadn’t she thought of that before? The assailant could still be around. She stood, peering around her and listened. Nothing. The usual quiet still remained. If anyone else prowled about the forest she’d hear them. Her ears were trained for sounds that didn’t belong, just as any good hunter’s were.

Satisfied that she had done all she could do until she returned, she lit out toward her shelter with nearly the speed of a bastis. Comparing herself to one just proved all the more that her imagination worked more than normal. The feline-type creatures were nothing more than myths, after all. But there had been times when she thought she’d actually seen the creatures roaming around outside her shelter. She even thought she’d heard them, the deep feline cry rumbling through the trees.

 

 

 

 

 


Reviews

Genre: SF Romance

Title: TO WISH FOR HOPE

Author: Jayme Evans

Publisher: Wings ePress Inc

Release Date: 11-2009

ISBN: 978-1-59705-082-1

Review Company: Conger Books Reviews

Review Date 11-30-2009

Review Rate: 5

Reviewer: JoEllen Conger

Format:

 

TO WISH FOR HOPE

 

Quote:

TO WISH FOR HOPE by multi-published author, Jayme Evans is a real keeper. It continues the complex family story of Grand Bastis Braize and his village of native Cherroks. This is a very multifaceted other-world tale of different planets inner-acting together, some more violently than others. Elfax has an important crystal that is being sought after by the Euphratorian Empire, while the Cossars come to capture slaves. There is a lot of action in this one. It’s great.

 

Review:

After killing her foster father, Mallen born Sharah of the family Hast, hides in the backwoods-forest on Elfax. Like a frontier woman she lives in a hut and disguises herself, hunting and fishing like a man. While hunting one winter day, she discovers an injured man lying unconscious in the woods wearing nothing but an elaborate neck piece. Although she no longer trusts men, she knows she can’t just leave him there to freeze. She must take him back to her cabin.

Recovering, Grand Bastis Braize, leader of the Cherrok Nation, takes Sharah under his protection. Her simple life changes when she is taken to his village. Then without warning they are attacked. Can Braize protect her even after she is captured by the lizard slavers of Coss? She realizes that her survival is her only hope. She must do whatever it takes to survive

 


 

 

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