Sneak Peek: PRANA
Five years before “Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.”
Almorran magic stirred.
On the shore of the Eastern Network coast, where mellow beaches collided with tumultuous waves, waited Magnolia castle. The unfurling of white stone, so like a magnolia petal itself, caught Prana’s gaze.
The goddess of the sea frowned.
“How,” she murmured, low and quiet, “is it possible?”
Her dark, slanted eyes, set in a wide face, with wet black hair that dropped all the way to her waist, bobbed just above the top of the water. The ocean current formed a chair around her, keeping her steady in the water. It would have lifted her up to see better, but she hadn’t commanded such a thing. The sea read her thoughts, moving to her silent will.
At least it still listened to her.
Almorran magic rose in her thoughts again. A mistake, surely. Her oldest, most beloved magic system couldn’t be back in the land. Not now.
Yet . . . she hadn’t made a mistake.
Without a doubt, Almorran magic moved on Alkarran shores again—right here. In Magnolia castle, to be clear. She would know. The magic system belonged to her. Her favorite magic because of its deep consequences. In its long slumber over the past centuries, she had missed it.
No, her second darling.
The Dragonmaster magic, which enabled her to create her own hoard of dragon slaves, had been the favorite. Sea dragons were far more loyal and intelligent than the idiot mermaids she had now.
Her teeth clenched. Sanna Spence had destroyed her darling, something that shouldn’t have been possible without the counter magic.
Curse that hag forever.
Her goddess sisters, particularly Deasylva, loathed Almorran magic. Too dangerous, she claimed. Too selfish. A magic that steals the magical ability from one witch and gives it to the Almorran Master is a blight on our land.
Prana scoffed. Water droplets sprayed in front of her from the force of it.
Then again, Deasylva never had the stomach for dark magic. Didn’t tend to explore the depths of power it afforded. Dark magic was a powerful tool, in the right hands. Almorran magic took all the greatest aspects of dark magic and wove it into an intricate weave, with heavy requirements and grand expectations.
Two of Prana’s favorite things.
Prana forced her emotions to calm when the sea agitated into white caps around her. She calmed the waters with a touch, a thought. The demise of the Dragonmasters had been her own fault. She would never share a magic system with her sisters again. They had created their own versions of it, too similar to hers by half, which allowed the overpowering loophole that Sanna Spence had somehow manipulated.
Now, Almorran magic stirred in Alkarra again, reigniting Prana’s deep love for darkest intricacies.
When a surge of Almorran magic came from inside Magnolia castle again, Prana hissed. Her upper lip curled. Fuchsia appeared in the water moments before a mermaid surfaced. The mermaid had pale blue skin, set against billowing hair. Gills along their neck flowed with bright silver tones, all the way down their slender shoulders. They didn’t come up to the air, but hovered just below the surface of the water, pensive and careful.
“You’ve watched the castle as I commanded?” Prana asked.
The mermaid blinked twice. An affirmation. Mermaids didn’t need to blink, unless they were in the air.
“She hasn’t left?”
Three times. A negative.
Prana’s scowl deepened. “How,” she murmured, “has a witch found the book of Almorran magic? Why has the book not sought to return to me, as it should have?”
The mermaid had no answer. They transmitted no thoughts to Prana’s head, no images, the way mermaids typically communicated, which meant they knew nothing.
Prana drummed her fingers along her arms. Almorran magic loose in Alkarra after centuries of rest? Unusual. Unlikely to be a major issue, however, she’d take no chances. Since Sanna had destroyed the Dragonmaster magic, Prana tended to tread carefully. Deasylva, goddess of the forest, had given a very clear warning after the Dragonmaster magic was destroyed.
Any more issues?
She’d bind Prana.
With Deasylva’s presence so large in Alkarra, so expansive because of her forest, she could do it. She could prevent Prana from creating or using magic, to include moving around her ocean, commanding her creatures. No, for ten thousand or more years, Prana wouldn’t be able to do a thing. A bound goddess was trapped in a knotted prison, unable to free herself. The consequences extended long and far.
Selsay, goddess of the mountains, would help Deasylva with it, too. Selsay had always seen Prana as an annoyance, something to be dealt with. Though, it had been fun to rise to the occasion of Selsay’s bitter regard.
Against the two of them, Prana had no chance. Being bound for ten centuries was not something Prana would tolerate.
Not if she could help it.
Unfortunately, Deasylva was fond of witches, the nasty creatures. It created issues for all goddesses that Deasylva cared so much. Any witch that practiced the darker magicks could stir up an inter-Alkarran war, and war would awaken her fickle sister. If Deasylva awoke to trouble in her land?
That meant trouble for Prana.
“Keep an eye on the magic,” Prana murmured to the mermaid. “Patrol the rest of Alkarra, and place a mermaid at the juncture of every river and lake where they spill into the ocean. Have them in the flow of the emptying river, listening to the memory of the water as it flows past and into the sea. Analyze it for any mention or memory of Almorran magic. The water would remember something of mine coming back to life.”
The mermaid retreated lower, webbed hands out at her sides. An image slipped into Prana’s mind. Magnolia castle. The mermaid meant it as a question. Prana waved a dismissive hand.
“I will keep an eye on the castle. Do as you’re told.”
The mermaid disappeared.
Alone now, Prana closed her eyes. She reached out with her goddess heart, listening to the magic in the land. So much of it. Countless magical systems in use, flittering here and there. Deasylva’s. Selsay’s. Sarena’s. Her own. She felt them like fireflies, lighting up with each use.
No sign of Deasylva waking from her long rest, required because of her daunting presence on the land.
No sign of Sarena’s attention from the deserts of the West.
Selsay remained tucked into her mountains north of here, curled into herself, as usual. There was no threat to Prana from the mountains or the desert.
She sank back into the water, hair billowing around her. Away from the air, submerged back in her own world, she relaxed. Almorran magic in the land? This wasn’t a grand problem. Not yet, anyway. To reach its full potential, Almorran magic required more sacrifice and energy from the Almorran Master than any other goddess magic.
Almorran magic held to only one witch, which meant the witch was likely interested, but not serious. With no Almorran Priests apparent, a sole witch was hardly a full threat. When Isobel began to share the magic with other practitioners, then Prana should be concerned. Pulling Almorran Priests into the craft as assistants of dark magic would be a sign of advancement.
She would return, however, just to make sure. She may not care much for her sisters, but she adored the sea.
Unfortunately, her sisters knew it.
That’s what happened when you loved.
You gave everything for it.
Are you excited for PRANA? She is a goddess that you can't help but love. And hate. Simultaneously. Srsly tho.
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