Knights of LightBy: Kristen Pham
The Conjurors Series
The dreams were never exactly the same, but they usually began with Sanguina’s terrified eyes, life draining out of them the moment before Valerie saved her. Then the ecstatic burst of power that she released in a torrent she could barely control.
Finally, a sinking into darkness. The most frightening part was the emptiness inside her that was in stark contrast to the connection she had with all of life seconds before, when she had channeled her magic to save her enemy’s life. It was a familiar, abandoned loneliness that she had run from her entire life.
The next part of the dream was different every time. She had a choice—give in to the blackness or fight against it. Sometimes she let herself dissolve into the darkness until there was nothing left of her, and with that came a kind of peace, finality. Other times, she struggled back toward light and life. This choice required monumental effort, but it also led to the knowledge that she wasn’t really alone anymore.
Always, no matter what she chose, she knew that she had traded something incalculably precious for Sanguina’s life, but she didn’t know what it was—some of her magic, years of her life, a piece of her soul? Then came the pain, emotional and physical agonies that mirrored each other. Even though she knew it was coming, she couldn’t stop herself from moaning.
“Come back, it’s okay, you’re safe now,” Thai’s voice pulled her from the dream. Every time the nightmare had swept her away over the past four months, he was there, pushing her sweaty hair back from her forehead. His eyes were deep brown pools of sympathy.
Whatever she had given up, it was worth it for that moment.
“Feels a lot like paradise,” Valerie said, skimming her hand through the cool sand on the beach in Half Moon Bay, California. The chill in the air stung her cheeks, and she tipped her head back to soak in some of the warm April sunshine.
“Agreed,” Thai replied, and he gave her the little half smile like they shared a secret.
Even though for the past four months, Valerie and her twin brother, Henry, had technically been hiding from the evil Fractus, they were the best months of her life. They had been camping with their close friend, Thai, at a remote site, spending their days walking the beaches, learning about their powers, and plotting their next move to travel from Earth to the Globe, a world filled with magic.
“I’d like to stay here forever,” she admitted.
Thai’s eyes were warm when they met hers. “Me, too. But you know how important it is for you to go back.”
She shrugged. “I’m fine.” She was better than fine. She was happier than she’d ever been, which left her questioning if she really wanted to return to the Globe, a world that had been created in the center of a black hole for magical beings called Conjurors. A world she’d had to try to explain to her newfound twin. A world he, too, would soon have to call home.
She had tried to explain to Henry what her friend Cyrus had explained to her. Many centuries ago, magic had existed on Earth, but some chose to abuse their powers and enslave humans who didn’t have the gift. In order to protect those without powers, the rest of the Conjurors—the good ones—created the Globe and forced everyone with magic to leave Earth. Rules were put in place to prevent anyone born with magic in the future from using their powers.
The problem was, every now and then, someone—like Valerie—was born with too much magic. On Earth, that could make you very sick, and ultimately you could die. Such people had to be transported to the Globe where they could use their magic freely and live a full life. That was what had happened to Valerie six months ago. She’d traveled through a portal to the Globe, which was separated from Earth with a barrier so that no one with magic could ever return. But Valerie somehow broke that rule when she came back to Earth to save her brother’s life.
“You may be okay now, but that might not last. Remember, I had to watch you almost die when your magic was too strong,” Thai reminded her, his forehead creased with worry. Then, so low she almost didn’t catch it, he added, “Worst three minutes of my life.”
He was staring into the surf with a familiar brooding expression on his face, and she decided to change the subject. “It’s a stupid rule the Conjurors put in place in the first place. Why repress everyone’s magic on Earth?”