Excerpt from CHAPTER 6 – ALLY (Bored Reginald’s show)
“Silhouettes again. How original. I get why they call you Bored,” Josefine snarled from across the table. Ally’s eyes narrowed. Her daughter loved putting people down to raise herself up. Ally was just about to chide her when Reggie responded.
“My most humble apology, dear Lady Verdain. I did not know you needed more thrill.”
He led the shadow figures closer to Josefine and snapped his fingers again. Both grew in dimension and color until they turned into illusions of two muscular, sparsely dressed men. The courtiers’ eyes widened, for they were both undeniably attractive. Reggie’s fan from earlier whistled. The jester himself crossed his arms and grinned.
“So you’re longing for excitement, my dear Lady Verdain? I think they are too.”
Another snap, and they performed a provocative dance that soon turned into a striptease. Ally shook her head, barely able to contain her laughter. What are you doing, Reggie? The look on her daughter’s face was priceless. Josefine turned burgundy and finally behaved like the teenager she was. Heidegger would surely recognize her immaturity, and the ridiculous discussion would be over. Reggie always managed to turn conflict into humor.
“I-I command you to stop this, jester,” Josefine stuttered.
Reggie clapped his hands, and the figures turned back into shadow silhouettes. “Thank Alames you were satisfied already. My illusory phallus game is weak. Total flop, if I may say so.”
Ally burst into laughter not fit for a princess, but the courtiers’ howling drowned it out. Several whistled. Reginald had a talent for making nobles forget their nobility. It surely worked on her.
“Now please, gentlefolk, you can finish this story later in your privates with your privates. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to my boring old art.”
A dramatic gushing sound quieted the room. The rhythm of haunting drums followed. He changed the atmosphere of the room in an instant. Not with the cowardly methods Heidegger used, but simply with his brilliance. The rhythm connected to Ally’s heartbeat until her breath steadied and new strength streamed through her veins. For the first time since seeing Subira, she was certain about the path ahead. She had allowed the Heideggers to take whatever they wanted for too long. They had robbed her of her youth, of raising her own daughter, of her crown’s power. It ended now. She’d take Silberfluss, take Agathe’s throne, and build an Elfentum nation too strong for the Council to meddle with.
Reggie’s eyes met hers, and she sensed a chemical reaction between them, an energetic charge that she would never tire of studying. He stepped to the side of the stage and gestured for the silhouettes to take their place inside the snowstorm, far enough to be enclosed by it without becoming invisible. An illusionary scaffold rose from the floor and lifted them until they almost reached the hall’s high ceiling. They took each other’s hand and bowed to the audience as the construction shook underneath them.
The blue-tinted figure spun the lilac one. Their circles reminded Ally of a sped-up clock until the figure spun out of time and collapsed onto the scaffold. The blue one picked them back up, and the two drifted into a pulsing dance. They pulled together and apart like a silent accordion. One pull was farther than the blue figure expected, so the lilac one slipped off the scaffold’s edge.
Ally let out a shriek. She knew the Council members were watching her, but they didn’t understand. The silhouette was sure to fall to their death. The blue figure caught the short one in the last moment. They were safe for now, but the scaffold trembled beneath them. It couldn’t hold the imbalance for long. The lilac one swung from one side to the other with all her might. Yes, focus on the momentum. It’ll create force.
The blue one didn’t let go. The lilac figure’s swinging was desperate yet beautiful. They looked like a bird, soaring higher and higher in the hopes to land again. Every time they tried, the scaffold threatened to throw them both to their death.
Reggie flicked his finger. Flames emerged next to the scaffold, reaching toward the ceiling until they stopped half an arm’s length under the lilac figure. The figure must’ve felt the heat, but they kept swinging, focused only on the blue one. Hands crept out of the flames.
When they had built enough momentum to land, the blue one’s arm ripped. The strain of holding them had torn the figure apart. Ally hadn’t noticed until that moment. Her eyes and concern had been with the lilac one.
The fragments of the blue figure broke down on the scaffold, and the lilac figure fell toward the flames. But before the lilac one could be ravaged by the hands, wings grew out of their back. The figure became the free bird they were meant to be and flew up to the top of the scaffold. The lilac one gently picked up the halves of their lover, and they ascended into the snowstorm together.
Goddess of Limbo
The Forgotten Splinters Chronicles Book 1
by Lea Falls
Genre: Dark Epic Fantasy
Free will is a relic of the past. Souls have a prewritten path to heaven. If they miss it, they are doomed to roam the lost realm of limbo as splinters of their former selves or worse—as demons.
Their only hope is the reaper Alames, whose own soul shattered when her celestial lover, Balthos, usurped their creators to make them gods. In her absence, he builds a pantheon of monsters and tricks the mortals, whom he blames for his grief, into worshiping him. But when a new generation defies Balthos’s law, Alames’s splinters appear among them.
Brilliant physicist Ally longs for progress and innovation, but the Council controlling her nation strips the “Mad Princess” of power. Pregnant and uncertain, the unrivaled Captain Se’azana abandons her career for the false promises of love. The starving serf Richard makes a deal with a Fae demon to save his son. And teenage rebel Vana trades her guitar for a blade when faced with ruthless nobility.
When worlds tear and hearts break, will they defy the gods’ narrative to create a brighter future or will they obey the lies preached and doom their soul forever?
For fans of THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE and THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE comes an epic rollercoaster ride of demons, rebellion, and dark magic.
Lea Falls is a writer, actor, and passionate lover of stories. Equally drawn to page and stage, she’s written plays, screenplays, poetry, short stories, and two novels, and has acted in numerous short films, plays, and improv shows. She earned her BFA in Acting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and attended the Yale Writers Workshop. After a brief call and response with Londontown, she now lives in NYC with her wife, two cats, and a slither of skyline that never fails to inspire her. There, she spends her days murmuring lines over a keyboard or a script.
GODDESS OF LIMBO is her debut novel. Her short story EMILY’S HEIRS will appear in Hansen House’s ELIXIR: STORIES OF HOPE AND HEALING (AN LGBTQ+ SFF ANTHOLOGY), set to release in January 2022.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!