Stonebearer’s Apprentice by Jodi L. Milner

Stonebearer's Apprentice

Stonebearer’s Apprentice by Jodi L. Milner (Shadow Barrier Trilogy Book 2)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.8 MB

No monster has ever set foot inside the stronghold of Amul Dun.
Until now.
A traitor hides within its walls with orders to destroy Katira, her father, and the world they have sacrificed so much to save.
Wrothe is not as defeated as everyone believed. She plots her revenge even while banished to the other side of the shadow barrier.
Amul Dun’s only hope lies within a dying man’s last words.
Katira’s only hope lies in mastering the power of the Khandashii. Without guidance, it will kill her. Her apprenticeship tests not only her strength and courage, but her determination to do what is necessary as well.
If she fails to master her power she won’t be able to protect the people she’s come to love against Wrothe. She can’t let that happen, not again.

She grabbed the solid wooden bucket. Maybe this was a rat. Maybe she was letting her imagination get the best of her. All the same, she wasn’t going to face whatever it was empty-handed. Papan’s oft repeated saying came to mind, ‘to do nothing is death.’ She refused to do nothing.

She stepped back, putting more space between herself and the sound. Half the long hallway separated her from where Papan sat studying a stack of papers Bremin had delivered that morning.

Even on bright days, this hallway faced away from the sun and tended to be dark. Shadows puddled around the base of each thick curtain bordering the windows. Another nail scratched on the tile, louder this time. Shadow hounds couldn’t come here, it wasn’t possible.

Possible or not, a shadow broke free of the wall and crossed the brighter shaft near a window, followed by a second. The glint of sharp teeth caught the light as they passed.

Fear’s icy nails dragged down her back. She’d faced such hounds before. These were creatures of magic and could only be killed with magic. She was defenseless.

The closest hound gave a low growl. This was no fantasy conjured up by her mind. The hounds were here, in the tower, hunting her.

She stumbled backward, desperately needing to get further away. ‘Help! Papan! Somebody, help!’ Her shout rang off the solid walls filling the space.

The first hound leapt for her. She dodged away, swinging the heavy bucket at its face. The bucket passed through the hound as if it were no more than smoke, useless. It would only slow her down. She dropped it and bolted away from the hounds, away from Papan, feet pounding against the tile. The skittering of claws followed her, drawing ever closer.

A hound leapt up with a snarling growl and snapped at her arm. Its teeth grazed the skin, leaving a stinging line as she jerked away.

She kicked at it. Her foot passed through the creature like smoke.

‘Papan!’ she yelled. ‘Help!’ This far away she feared he couldn’t hear her through the thick door.

The second hound rushed forward, snarling and snapping at her ankles. As she jumped away, the first knocked her to the floor from behind. She scrambled to get to her hands and knees, to crawl away, to keep those snapping jaws from reaching skin.

‘Papan!’

This was it. She pressed her head into her arms, trying to cover herself and keep them from getting to her face and neck. Teeth sank into her exposed arm, biting down and ripping the skin.

Katira screamed at the sudden sharp pain and swung her fist, this time making contact. It let go with a yip. Enough time for the first hound to dive in and bite at her other arm. It grabbed and pulled, shaking its head back as if she were nothing more than a rodent it was killing to eat.

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