Step 1: Survive the ritual. Step 2: Protect time. Step 3: Hide in the dark forever.
Would you risk destroying the universe and all of time to save your first love?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The series started when I moved to TN in 2005. I had written a thriller with these lovely characters and was in the re-write process. When I moved to TN I fell in love with caving. I asked my characters, Brandy and Susan, “What would you do if you were cavers?” and a new book was born. That book, called ABSOLUTE DARKNESS, was published in 2018. Together, they found the character Alexander basically living in a cave. He’d been there for 10,000 years. I had to find out WHO he was and WHERE he came from and WHY he was so tragically falling in love with Linears (mortals, like you and me). My editor put a note in that manuscript that asked a simple “what if?”. I asked that what if —and uncovered the origin of Alexander in this new YA novel WHEN DARKNESS BEGINS.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters appear. In my first book I put names of friends on them just so I could keep the characters straight, and I’m horrible at names. But this book, When Darkness Begins, those characters were all themselves. I gave them weird pre-historic names and asked them who they were. Eterili literally appeared as I was writing. Her death-rattling anklet of teeth appeared, actually. I had to follow her for a while to realize I was writing in her universe and needed to respect that.
Having been around animation for so long, we’re taught to observe. See the nuance of people and things. That training helps me see gestures that some people have, how they hold their head, how one side of their mouth turns down in a frown when they smile, how they talk, etc. Those details do stick with me and I sprinkle them into the characters.
Chapter 21 The Way
Eterili stood and waited. She kept the balance, tipping the scales this way and then that so the Vechey continued forward and maintained the timeline, harboring her secrets through eternity.
It was the way.
The way she had designed over hundreds of thousands of years. Though she had been born many times, she remembered all of her lives. Many were short lived. She would return over and over into this world, this time, this universe, each time remembering her lives before. This current life was the one in which she had done most of her work, maintaining the timeline to be her way.
In this life, she had traveled the continents when they were nearly one mass. She and her siblings had emerged from her tribe as ones who experienced time differently than all others. When she had been born the nights were long. She realized from observing her siblings die painful deaths in their teens, she would be unable to walk in the day when she reached maturity.
The tribe cast her and her mother out. They retreated to a northern cave alone.
Eterili did not blame the tribe. They were limited in mind and understanding. Her mother did not understand what Eterili or her siblings were and died a Linear’s death in a cold, ice- covered cave.
The day Eterili discovered her ability to endure the sun was the day her Linear mother had died. They hid in the ice-cave as she became a teen and Eterili scavenged food for her mother during the evening. She watched her mother waste away, nothing more than a heap of bones and skin piled on a fur.
Eterili, when she was young, watched her older siblings become intolerant of the sun. One by one, they had grown weak and hid indoors from the daylight. They had not been as strong as her, had not spoken or become aware as early as her. They were Linears in Eterili’s eyes and she had learned from their mistakes. They were Linears with Vechey traits—that was all.
Before Eterili and her mother had found the ice-cave, all the siblings one by one had walked into the sun and died. At first, they had burned darkly. Their skin split. Her mother tried to sooth their pains. They spoke nonsense, as if to spirits around them. Eterili, who even at a young age, saw through time and knew there was nothing there. They had gone mad. She took their canines when they had died and created her anklet of teeth. From previous lives she knew who she was and how she needed to feed. Her siblings and mother were her primary food source, though they were none the wiser.
She sat in the cave alone, after her mother’s death and pondered what to do next. She had grown used to waiting. Eterili sat in the shadows of the cave watching the daylight outside. With a soft thump, a clump of snow and ice fell from the opening of the cave. This allowed the sun to penetrate the darkness and fall upon Eterili’s arm. She stared at it fascinated. Her traits and strengths varied from life to life, but this version of her life was unusual. Stronger.
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