Souls of the Dark Sea
Saga of the Outer Islands; Book 2
A. F. Stewart
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Published: September 13, 2018
From the depths, darkness is rising…
Something ancient and powerful stirs beneath the sea of the Outer Islands. A creature strong enough to challenge Captain Rafe Morrow, God of Souls, for control of the dead and the survival of the living.
Still reeling from the aftermath of his battle with the Goddess of the Moon, Rafe and the crew of the Celestial Jewel find a mysterious shipwreck and strange tales of bones. Tasked by a new ally to find answers, Rafe stumbles on long-buried secrets shrouded in the shadows of the Nightmare Crow.
Now armies of the dead ascend from the ocean. And their master is not far behind.
Set sail on a new adventure with ghosts, gods and sea monsters!
The sound of her breath swallowed by silence. Her tranquillity. Then, a flutter of wings echoed in the distance.
She shivered, unexpectedly alarmed. Nothing should be able to trespass in her hallowed place without her knowledge. She stared into the black abyss with a tinge of anger and trepidation. “Is someone there? Reveal yourself! This is my domain, intruder!”
“Calm yourself,” a voice replied, with more flapping of wings. “I’ve come to talk. No more than that, Bevire.”
Bevire inhaled sharply at the mention of her name. The darkness shifted, slithering, matching her uneasy mood. “How do you know me? How did you find this place?”
A soft chuckle sounded. “Darkness is my home, Bevire, as it is yours. And you shouldn’t whisper secrets to your shadows. Sometimes there are creatures listening.”
“Eavesdropping you mean,” Bevire snarled, curling her fingers into fists. Around her, the darkness swirled.
“Perhaps a bit. But the darkness and I are friends. Friends sometimes share secrets.”
“But I have no secrets,” She bit her lip against the lie. “And even if I did, you are not my friend.”
“I’d like to be. Wouldn’t that be nice? To have a confidant? To be able to share your worries and fears? You have fears, don’t you? About those terrible dreams that have been disturbing your slumber?”
“How did you…” She stopped, letting the rest of her admission go unspoken.
“I can feel your fear. The darkness can feel your fear. I want to help. I want to ease your troubles. Talk to me. Confide in me. Let me help you.” The voice from the shadows spoke in a soothing, gentle manner like a friend.
Bevire closed her eyes. She wanted to scream, to deny, to send the unknown creature away, but she suddenly felt tired, lost. Alone.
“You are not alone. Not anymore.”
“I—I don’t—” She wanted to protest, but having someone know, finally know, felt good. She whispered instead. “Yes, I am afraid that…my dreams will come true.”
“Ah. My poor dear.” More gentle, sympathetic tones and then, “You are wise to fear. Your dreams hold truth. Especially that dread you hold of one particular person.” A space of silence fell. Bevire shook in consternation before the voice added. “I can help you with that, help you rid yourself of your fear. Of your enemy.”
“An enemy?” Bevire recoiled at her most intimate thought. She lashed out in denial. “I have no enemy! Who do you think threatens me? Tell me!” She shouted her haughty words but knew no lie would hide the secret name in her heart. A name that shouldn’t be there. She held her breath as she waited for the voice to speak it aloud.
“Your brother. God of Souls.”
A pause, with only her rapid breathing to break the quiet. Then, “I’m listening.”
“Excellent. Let me introduce myself. I am the Nightmare Crow.”
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Character Spotlight: Captain Rafe Morrow
Hello, I am Captain Rafe Morrow, and I was asked to tell you a bit about myself.
Well, I was born Morrannan, the God of Souls, with all the magic and duty that entails, into the worlds of the Outer Islands and the Seven Kingdoms. While I am indeed a god, these days I wander the mortal realm, in command of the best ship on the seas, the Celestial Jewel. She’s a magical vessel, and my crew and I are the keepers of lost souls and of the After World realm. We’ve been through many a harrowing adventure together and I couldn’t wish for a better crew.
For the longest time, our undertaking was to rescue the souls of drowned sailors from the sea monsters of my sister, the Moon Goddess, but lately, things have changed. Those monsters don’t roam as much, but new threats have come to take their place. More and more, the world of the gods has intruded into the Outer Islands, a world I thought I left behind when I was exiled from my former home on the Isle of Shadows.
I suppose I should talk about that a bit, my former home, and my family. I may not look it, but I am several centuries old, and quite a bit of that time was spent on the Isle of Shadows, home of the gods, or in the After World of the dead. Both places are connected, a part of each other, as are all the otherworldly realms.
I spent my youth without many friends, although my sister, Manume, Goddess of the Moon, and I were close then. What I am, what I can do, made people afraid, I suppose, and they avoided me, but I take my powers over life and death very seriously. I would have never hurt anyone. However, what’s done is done, and I lived my early years as somewhat of an outcast.
Perhaps this is why I had such a fascination with mortals instead of gods, and why I began making frequent trips to the mortal world. Unfortunately, this also became the excuse my father used to exile me about four hundred years ago, but it all worked out as I love my new life here in the Outer Islands. Although it did lead to my biggest regret: the falling out I had with my sister, Manume. Those wounds still hurt, but are healing now.
And what about my family you ask? Well, I have four sisters. Two full blood siblings: Manume, the Goddess of Moon, and Bevire, Goddess of the Night and Shadows, and two half-blood siblings: Lynna, Goddess of the Sea and Aryna Goddess of the Wind.
I also have an aunt, Cylla, Keeper of the Gate in the Isle of Shadows, as well as an uncle, Krodon, and several cousins. My grandfather is Ulerne the Hunter, my mother is the Goddess of Death and my father is Reis, Sovereign of the Gods.
As for me, I like a little adventure, with my ship under my feet at full sail and the wind at my back. And when it’s all done, to relax in the shelter of a quiet night on calm seas with a fine glass of wine or a shot of rum. Come and join me, a night sail is always better with company.
**** Other Book In The Series ****
Free companion prequel story: Sea Bound
Book 1 ~ Ghosts of the Sea Moon
A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home.
The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion.
As an indie author she’s published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.
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