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      Book Two of The Wielder Series


      Franca Ogbonnaya

      Books in The Wielder Series

      Betrayal of Blood Book One: The Novice Wielder

      Editing & Proofreading: Bobbi Beatty, Silver Scroll Services, Calgary, Alberta,Canada.

       This is dedicated to my family. Thanks so much for all your support.


       How is a god born?

       In silence or in fire? Or as the waters of life rise up or as the Earth is rend asunder?

       Surely, the rest of the world shall not survive the labor pains.

       A thousand years shall pass before one lost child of the seas shall go mad and attempt to ascend.

       This will mark the end of all that is and all that is to be.

       Unless…unless the mad child is stopped by the One and the Three.

       Ah, we see you, listener. Your eyes ask, of whom we do speak?

       These four individuals come from different worlds. One is the lost heir; one is the teacher.

       The third will be the catalyst, and the fourth…will be the sacrifice.

       From the Hidden Tome of Prophecies

      CHAPTER 1

      Malie was hungry. It had been too long since he had last eaten. Maybe she had finally forgotten about him. That would be ideal but too much to hope for.

      The giant sea serpent sighed as he tried to make himself comfortable in the transparent, reinforced tank now too cramped for his coils. Malie could barely recall what it was like to swim in the free waters of the Heldiar Sea. He, along with his four siblings, had been plucked from his nesting ground an eternity ago. That thought made him open his one good eye to look at the other four empty tanks resting against the irritating pure white marble walls of the large underground chamber.

      His broodmates had been dead for years. The Alkynaia weren’t supposed to survive in captivity, but he had.

      If one called this surviving.

      Footsteps . The alkynaia froze as a familiar figure in a flowing, crimson gown glided down the white marble stairs leading into the large chamber. She was followed by a group of attendants and her Specialist Wielder Guards, two of them dragging a protesting young girl in prison garb.

      It looks like food has arrived, thought Malie with disgust as he watched the proceedings. He stirred to get a better view of the ceremony he’d witnessed countless times over the years, one that never failed to fill him with loathing…and fear.

      The group moved towards the grey stone altar occupying the middle of the room.

      “Bring her forward,” ordered Queen Kallesa as she used runes to open a small built-in compartment at the altar’s base. Already the young wielder was pleading for her life, swearing she had always revered the Immortal Queen of Namira. Malie shook his head in pity. Her cries for mercy would do no good. He knew what was to come.

      “You would serve me better by keeping still my dear,” said Queen Kallesa, ironically cheerful as she attached an ancient looking armlet to the girl’s right arm. The guards in their deep-violet uniforms looked wary but didn’t dare let go of the struggling girl as the queen continued her preparations. They knew better. She activated a small fire rune on the bracelet, and for a long moment nothing happened.

      The frightened girl looked at the queen, hope dawning momentarily. Queen Kallesa held up a hand.

      “Any moment now.”

      “What—” the girl’s words were cut off and her eyes widened as unrelenting pain wracked her frame. She began to scream as the queen nodded, a satisfied smile on her face.

      “Place her on the altar and hold her in place,” she instructed. The guards darted to carry out her orders. Queen Kallesa waited as the girl experienced seizures so violent the guards strained to keep the wielder from falling off the altar. Pain tore through the poor girl. The bracelet began to glow. Finally, the seizures stopped, and the girl’s pained expression was replaced by a vacant look as her breathing slowed.

      The queen glanced at the timepiece on the wall and nodded. “Just like clockwork. Three minutes of fits and three minutes of gasping for breath,” she observed with a sardonic laugh. “This never gets old.”

      Malie watched the attendants waiting nearby. Though they were the clean-up crew, they still appeared uncomfortable with the murder before them. And yet none of them ever lifted a finger or tried to intervene. And neither could he.

      The young woman took one more gasp then went still in a way only a corpse could. Queen Kallesa waved the guards away, their nervous expressions now transformed into looks of hunger for the armlet, now glowing a golden brown. The ancient jewelry was now filled with the earth wielder’s element. The queen’s smile widened at the expressions on the guards’ faces.

      “Not today, my dear Specialists.” The two purple-clad guards dropped their disappointed gazes. Queen Kallesa chuckled, turned back to the girl, and tugged on the armlet. Her smile dimmed when she realized the jewelry was stuck. That was unusual. She tugged again, and suddenly the dead girl’s eyes snapped open, the orbs glowing white. The attendants and guards cried out in fear.

      “The prophecy will be fulfilled. She and the Three are coming for you! ” The dead girl spoke in a voice not her own.

      Queen Kallesa’s eyes widened, but she refused to let the armlet go. She tugged harder and began to wield fire in one hand. But before she could release the burning sphere, the light left the undead girl’s eyes and the armlet loosened, falling into the queen’s hand. She stepped back slowly as if expecting the dead body to speak again. She turned to face the others, her face a picture of rage.

      “What in the Abyss are you idiots standing around for?! Throw her useless body into the snake tank before I toss you all in there!”

      They hurried to comply as she put on the glowing armlet, her hands trembling softly. Once the jewelry was attached, the glow spread from the armlet, up her arm and through the rest of her body. Anyone watching closely would have seen the crow’s feet around her eyes disappear and her red, flowing hair shine from within. She smiled as the earth element renewed her, turning back the hands of time. The queen waited until the armlet stopped glowing before returning it to the rune-locked compartment.

      She turned back in time to see an attendant lift the heavy glass lid above Malie’s cage before dropping the body into the tank. There had only been one occasion when the attendants had been too slow to dispose of the body and Queen Kallesa had blasted one of them into oblivion. That had taught them to move faster.

      The alkynaia watched the attendants, motionless. He had learned early on not to attack her servants. There was no point…not yet anyway.

      “You must be very hungry by now,” crooned the queen. Malie turned his one baleful eye on her. “Come now, you’ll take a bite for me, won’t you dear?”

      The alkynaia just stared at her, refusing to regard the corpse that had settled on his coils. Moments passed and the queen’s smile slid off her face.

      “I wonder what would happen if I boiled you alive in your little tank?” The sea serpent only continued to stare.

      In the queen’s right hand an orb of fire appeared that gradually increased in size, and still the snake refused to be cowed.

      This is it , thought Malie. Just kill me, you miserable excuse for a wielder.

      “Your Highness.”

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