Friday, November 20, 2015
Children Of Lightning by Annie K. Wong
Children of Lightning by Annie K. Wong
Secrets beget secrets. The curse that befell the Hollows clan has left them incapable of producing male offspring. To extend their bloodline, they have formed a covenant with the serpentine Ophidians, who give them children. In return, the Hollows must keep these monstrous creatures well fed, though the details of the procurement are so abominable that the truth is never revealed to the other clans. In their homeland of Matikki, they live like outcasts.
Through a series of chance discoveries, the secrets of the ancient curse unfold before a warrior named Writhren Hollow. Is her purely female clan the result of a lapse of divine providence, or are the Hollows themselves victims of an enslavement scheme?
If Writhren frees her clan from the covenant, she risks the wrath of the Ophidians and the future of her bloodline. If she keeps the truth of the curse to herself, she is a traitor to her own kind. Either way, she will suffer for what she must do.
This is not a story of redemption, but regret. This is Writhren’s story.
He grew pale and heaved as if about to retch, then grimaced and sank his iron fangs into the back of her hand, delivering a rush of burning heat through her. Her hair-snakes trembled, their fangs dripping with venom. Her heart stopped, then pumped again with deeper, more purposeful pulses. Her eyes, heavy with bliss, blinked wide with new clarity.
As he retracted his fangs and loosened his throttling grip around her, she inhaled and bent over, hands on her belly, the heat ricocheting and writhing in her womb like a thousand serpents.
“Ophidian…” She gasped and grinned with excitement.
“Wriven,” The Cunning One said. “The child’s name is Wriven.”
“Meaning ‘fierce’. Why?”
“For being the fruit of our feisty encounter,” he explained. “Had you been more… pliant, she might have been a… Tamerie. ” He smirked.
“Wriven she shall be called then, and I’m ever grateful for your gift.” She kneeled before him and kissed the bite marks on her hand.
Carefully, she stepped out of his tangled trunk and slipped away, his scent protecting her. As soon as his scent dissipated, she would once again be prey to the Ophidians, including The Cunning One.
* * *
Experience should have eased the birthing process, or so Mother thought when she was in labour with her third child. But regardless of how hard she pushed, her womb seemed unwilling to release the baby into the world, resulting in four candle-hours’ worth of moans and pain. Eight more candle-hours would have completed the day.
Before the fifth candle-hour ended, the baby finally slid out, fat and smeared in amniotic fluid, ringlets of baby hair-snakes glistening on her head. Sweat-soaked and exhausted, Mother received the newborn from her elder cousin and wrapped her in a blanket.
Outside, the fluorescent blooms of the pearl trees softly illuminated the snowflakes drifting into Snake River. It was the darkest day of the year.
“Deeton, what’s her name?” asked the elder cousin.
Mother looked lovingly at her infant, whose bright violet eyes never strayed from her gaze. She ran her fingers past the child’s lips, her pink torso, and the tiny hands eager to seize the world around her. Stroking her chubby chest, she echoed the baby’s giggle.
“Tithren,” Mother said. “Her name is Tithren. Tithren Hollow.”
“‘Tithren’, meaning ‘victory’,” said her elder cousin in delight. “The Cunning One has chosen well.”
Children of Lightning is the origin story of Writhen Hollow, the villain in an upcoming book series. In celebration of great villains in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, Annie K. Wong is offering for the tour giveaway gift, The Hyperion Cantos (ebook or print - winner's choice).
An award-winning series from Dan Simmons, The Hyperion Cantos features one of the greatest villains ever written and a storyline spanning hundreds of years across distant galaxies. In this epic space opera, humans are threatened by their own creations, including biologically engineered post-humans, artificial intelligence supercomputers, and their constant internal wars. Amidst the violence and chaos, the protagonists search for life’s meaning through religion, poetry, romance, not to mention strife and battle.
As of June 2015, Syfy Channel is developing the first book, Hyperion, into a TV series, with one of executive producers being Bradley Cooper.
Annie K. Wong was born in Hong Kong and lives in Canada, in the west coast city of Vancouver, BC. She has a BA in Business Administration and Creative Writing from Houghton College as well as a Diploma in Film Studies from the University of British Columbia. Although she explored careers in advertising, television and office administration, the desire to write overtook her at the turn of the new millennium. In 2003 she earned a Post-Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Humber College and has been crafting stories ever since.
Her current project is a fantasy series, the prequel of which is Children of Lightning.
Connect with her and receive freebies and updates about her book and other upcoming projects.