READ THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS: The Souls of Us (THOU Trilogy, #3), by Sydney Paige Richardson
The tale of two sisters ends this Tuesday with Sydney Paige Richardson's highly-anticipated third book in The Halves of Us Trilogy, THE SOULS OF US.
A single way, a single heart. A single being, broken apart.
Pre-order your copy here in time for Robinson's release day on Tuesday, May 26th!
The Souls of Us (THOU Trilogy, #3), by Sydney Paige Richardson
The battle has ended. The Sights have vanished. Aura is dead.
Adie and the survivors returned to Giriveen in hopes of rebuilding, but they are stricken by Adie's secret deal with Wendelone when she comes for payment. Auralee returns to the tower, planning her vengeance for Aura's death. But when hidden tunnels within the tower unravel secrets, and the truth about the darkness on Thindoral, Auralee questions her position.
When true evil seeks them, the sisters are forced to come to a truce. Together they discover the wicked truth of the original curse and its creator, proving there is no hiding from Fate.
Hypnoa's warnings hold true. Remember, a curse is deadliest when it is laced with love…
Auralee ran through the halls of the tower. Her heart thundered in her ears. “Jihnim?” She screamed until her throat burned as she ran from floor to floor.
No one. No one is here!
I’m alone. Her vision blurred as tears pooled in her eyes.
Mother is dead.
A hollowness built inside her, growing with the empty halls of the tower that surrounded her. “Jihnim?” she called out again. “Where are you?” Her voice lowered to a whimper.
This time, voices responded. They whispered in her head, coming in and out of focus. Smoke rose from her skin as a heavy heat pumped through her veins.
Auralee looked at her hands, as a blackness grew from her fingertips, spreading across her palms, weaving up her arms like a web that faded as they neared her shoulders. She trembled.
The whispers collided, creating a chorus of fear that made her heart feel as though it would burst from her chest. She tried to focus on their words, but each time one felt like they made sense, it fell away into the song of the others.
Then, it was as though the fog had lifted, and the voices became clear, growing louder, calling her name.
Her hands covered her ears, but it was no use. The whispers became shouts, telling her what to do. “Kill them.”
“Punish them,” another voice cooed.
Auralee massaged her temples.
“Listen, Auralee! Kill them! Kill them all!”
Auralee screamed back at them, the veins popping in her neck as blackness took over her eyes.
The voices disappeared.
The heat vanished.
Her gaze fell to her hands—her pale skin had returned.
The tower was quiet, except for her heavy breathing.
What is happening?
The moment the cell door shot open, she had transported herself to the top of the tower. But it was empty. Of course it was. Mother had gone to alternate Thindoral!
She tried again and again to transport herself to alternate Thindoral. But her powers wouldn’t take her there.
She called on the Sights, but nothing responded. Not even Jihnim.
Defeated and lost, she neared the bottom floor of the tower. The two front doors creaked open, beckoning her.
“Auralee,” a whisper returned.
She narrowed her eyes as she approached them, her dress shifting into black leather pants and halter. A sword appeared at her side.
As she cleared the door and exited the place that was once her prison, hot, dry air met her. She inhaled, closing her eyes.
“Auralee…” A voice on the wind danced around her.
She exhaled and ran toward the whisper. The stone wall that once surrounded the tower had vanished, but the black forest had not.
The trees had overgrown, reaching toward the tower as though they were trying to feed off the power that grew in its walls. The roots twisted and knotted together, weaving in and out of the ground in shapes that taunted her.
She ran past them.
She ran past the sudden trails that appeared, ignoring their taunts as the whisper still called her name. Branches swatted at her cheeks and tangled in her hair, but she didn’t care. She struck at them with her sword as she cleared her own path.
The whisper called her. It sang her name, growing louder as she ran as though to tell her she was heading in the right direction.
Her foot caught a branch that slithered along the ground, planting her face-down into the dirt.
She lay still; a sob escaped her as she pushed herself up, sitting on the ground and rubbing her jaw. The metallic taste of blood filled her mouth, and red sparks surrounded her jaw, snapping it back into place and sewing up her busted lip.
A crackling sound moved around her as the roots on the ground continued to shift, nearing her. They encircled her, swirling and twirling. She froze as some went underneath her, working together to lift her to her feet.
A soft, airy voice emanated from behind her. “So good to finally meet you.”
She turned as the roots stilled.
There stood a creature with long, flowing white hair that came to her hips. She was naked, her skin painted with indigo, sapphire, and cobalt that swirled together, forming circular patterns across her limbs.
A smile inched across her face as her large white eyes narrowed. “I’m?”
“Wendelone.” Auralee gulped. “My mother spoke of a voice like yours.” She held out her hand, her sword flying up from the ground to her grip. She pointed the silver tip at Wendelone. She started it all!
She lunged forward, her blade ready to pierce Wendelone’s heart. But a force stopped her, freezing her mid-thrust. Her face scrunched, and she growled as she continued to try and plunge forward, to no avail. Auralee screamed as Wendelone smirked at her.
“I think that’s enough of that,” Wendelone said.
Auralee suddenly jerked forward, and her sword disappeared. How did she do that? She glared back at Wendelone as she circled her. “What do you want?”
“Silly girl,” Wendelone pouted.
“Are you going to kill me?” Auralee’s heart leapt in her chest as she spoke. Every inch of her wanted to run back to the tower. Back to the place that had once confined her.
Wendelone neared, bringing a long white nail up to Auralee’s neck. “I could slit your throat right now and take everything.” She sighed, her hot breath pouring onto Auralee’s skin. “But alas, that is not what I’m here for.” She snarled as she stepped away.
Auralee eyed her. “What?”
“I’m here to help you.”
It’s a trap. “What makes you think I would accept help from you?”
“Do you have a choice?” Wendelone grinned.
“What do you mean?”
Wendelone glanced around. “Well, you seem to be alone. Lost.”
Auralee’s brow furrowed. You’re alone. Mother is dead. Jihnim is…
“Seems like you could use my help.”
Flashes sprouted from Auralee’s fingertips as she contemplated creating a new blade and jamming it into Wendelone. Mother said never to trust her.
But Wendelone was right. She was alone.
No Sights. No Mother. No one.
Maybe she knows what happened…
“It’s a shame Aura died.” Wendelone walked toward the roots and branches that continued to twist and shiver around them. One slithered toward her palm, sliding along her skin like a snake.
“How are you doing that?”
Wendelone tilted her head as she pet the branch with her other hand. “I’m not doing it. It’s you.”
Auralee looked at her hands. What? “How?”
“You don’t even know how powerful you are. You could do so many things.”
Auralee shivered despite the warmth. “What do you mean?”
“The branches are responding to you. They know what you want… just like the darkness inside you knows.”
The blackness returned to her fingertips, ripping through her, soaring across her skin as fire to a dry piece of wood. Red flames led them, dancing along her forearms.
Wendelone neared her. “You’re capable of more than you could ever imagine. If you just allow it to become a part of you.”
Sparks danced in Auralee’s eyes, taking over the emerald that once shown through. The whispers returned, calling to her, softly speaking her name. She swayed with the sound of their voice. “I just don’t want to be alone.”
“You know what you must do,” a voice stronger than the others called out. “Kill them!”
Auralee shook her head, looking to Wendelone. “What?”
“I didn’t say anything.” Wendelone sauntered around her. “You know what they did to your mother, don’t you?”
Auralee’s jaw clenched.
“Use your powers. Ask them to show you.”
Auralee rubbed her lips together as she inhaled. She bit the inside of her cheek. “Ask them?”
“Let them know what you want to see.”
Auralee nodded as she looked at her hands, flames nipping at her skin. She felt no pain, just a soft heat—like when Uni shone down on her during midday. She opened her mouth to speak, her throat dry. “Show me Aura. Show me how she… how she died.”
The roots and branches around her converged, scratching against one another as they spun and created a sphere in front of her. Black clouds fell away from her fingertips, spinning through the air and seeping into the roots.
A silver liquid pooled in the center of the ball, covering it and creating a giant spherical mirror. It rippled and stilled. A burst of light fired from the center as a crimson bolt shot out.
Auralee lifted her hands to her face until the brightness dimmed.
The scarlet light illuminated Wendelone on the other side of the sphere, making her skin appear violet.
An image of Aura appeared, moving across the sphered mirror. Auralee’s eyes widened as they glistened with tears. Her mother held the Rokis in her hand, and a blade in the other that she pressed against Adie’s neck. Their mouths moved, but no sound came.
Auralee reached toward the mirrored projection, stroking the hair of the woman who raised her.
Her eyes shifted to Adie’s outstretched hand, reaching into the void beside them. A sword flew across the room and into both Adie and Aura.
Auralee cried out, tears streaming down her face. A pain pierced through her heart as though she were there.
With the twist of Adie’s hand, the weapon left them and they both fell to the ground.
Auralee watched her mother whisper. Aura’s eyes met hers briefly, as though she knew Auralee could see her.
A bright blue light burst through the room, bringing Auralee’s attention to Adie. The Rokis landed on her chest, and Adie’s laceration disappeared.
“Her wound… it vanished?” How can that be? I saw the sword go through her! Did the Rokis heal her? How?
She stepped away from the projection as dark clouds oozed from Aura and faded.
Adie ran out of eye line, and the tower crumbled. The mirror zoomed in on Aura’s blank stare. Blood trickled from her mouth and her cheeks grew sunken, like the life had been drained from her.
Still beautiful. Aura reached toward the mirror as the tower crumbled over Aura, and the entire image receded.
Only a mirror remained.
Auralee eyed her reflection as it smiled at her. She frowned as its eyes shifted black briefly before returning to jade. “Why did you want me to see that?” she asked Wendelone as she continued staring at her reflection.
“You know you wanted to see it. You wanted to see what they did to her.”
The silver mirror rippled as it shifted to black clouds that slowly entered back into Auralee.
“Do with it what you will.” The roots slithered between Wendelone as they returned to the ground.
The blackness remained on Auralee’s hands as though someone had taken coal and streaked it across her fingertips. Small flames crept at the edges of where the darkness met her paleness. The image of her mother’s blank stare and the blood trickling from her, burned Auralee’s eyes.
They killed her.
“Kill them,” the voice whispered in her mind.
Auralee shook her head. The heat returned to her veins, and a pulse moved through her.
“If you accept it, it will help you.” Wendelone pointed to her palms. “Accept it, and the Sights will return. They will be under your command.”
Black lines crept in the corner of Auralee’s eyes, nearing her irises. Jihnim.
“You can make them pay for what they have done.”
Auralee turned sharply to Wendelone. “How do you know where the Sights are?”
Wendelone grinned and clicked her tongue. “My, my. Aren’t you a curious one?” She walked to the nearest tree. “I’m only telling you what I know to help you. That’s all. Aura struggled with the powers at first, too. But I can sense you are stronger than her. You will have control in no time.”
The roots of the tree bulged, growing upward. A crackling echo moved around her, mimicking the sound of bones shifting into place. Auralee cringed.
Appendages grew from the root system, expanding into an arm that had elongated fingers. At the top of a long neck, glowing red eyes appeared, meeting hers as a shriek resounded.
Wendelone turned behind the tree. “They’ve been waiting for you.”
Foolish girl. Wendelone chuckled as she stepped into the tree. Her heart quickened as she waited to see the light on the other side.
They will never put you in a tree again. She calmed as soon as her surroundings shifted. Heat nipped at her feet as she walked across the dry desert landscape of Vadim.
But Wendelone ignored it, a smile growing across her face.
That was too easy.
She’s more reckless than her counterpart. Eager for power. Eager for revenge.
Wendelone leaned over, bringing her hand to hover just above the sand.
A black root broke free from the fractured earth, shifting and cracking as it grew. Red eyes met hers as it took the form of a shrieking Sight.
“This is going to be too easy. Awaken the others. Make sure they are ready.”
“Don’t forget; a deal was made. Her mind is one we can’t fully take,” the Sight whispered.
Wendelone clenched her fists and snarled. “The deal won’t stop us. Her mind may not be up for grabs like Aura’s was, but her quest for revenge will end her. That’s what we focus on.” Wendelone growled as the sand beneath her feet turned gray. “She’ll go after Adie, and they’ll kill her for us.”
The Sight nodded.
She smiled. “Tell her to make her way to Giriveen. It will soon be time.”
Everything is falling into place. They can’t stop us now.