Title: Creatures of Fire
Author: J.B. Brooklin
Series: Sariel Baldwin Series
Published: February 17, 2013
Number of pages: 212
Word Count: 69836
Cover Artist: J.B. Brooklin (Cover copyrights: Ring of Fire © dvarg #34150031 – Fotolia.com, the dancer © Alexander Yakovlev #34413982)
She is a half demon, oblivious to her true nature.
He is a demon set out to avenge murder.
Together they are hunted by the one person she thought she could trust.
Separate they may be able to save each others lives.
“Creatures of Fire” a tale about power, ambition, responsibility and trust.
New York – Paris – Dschinnanya (the world of the demons)
“Wow!” Sariel stopped, hearing the door close at her back. Today the city of Dschinnanya was not deserted but crowded with demons and other creatures. And that was not the only thing that had changed; the inside of Abu Ayub’s house should have prepared her for what she saw but somehow it was different to see it. Yesterday’s town had transformed into an Arabian city with packed mud replacing the cobbled streets and Moorish buildings in place of the old town houses.
The demons populating the streets were mostly dressed in burnouses. The women covered their heads, and some even wore veils to hide their faces. And then there were a number of beings Sariel could not identify. Some looked like Ioni, and some totally different. All of them could be mistaken for humans but on closer inspection the different skin and set of eyes, as well as their unusual hair coloring, gave them away as some kind of prenatural being. The most beautiful ones, at least in Sariel’s opinion, were the tall, slender creatures with hair like spun silver. Morroks. The name was whispered in her head. That’s what we are called.
With a start Sariel looked around. It was disconcerting that almost everyone, except for herself, was able to read thoughts. But this time it was even more eerie. This time a voice was talking in her head.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am about to go crazy.
Morroks are half-fairy, half-elves. And you are not crazy, the voice told her.
Someone was making fun of her, but Sariel didn’t see the joke. Instead, panic began to rise in her chest. How was she supposed to survive in a world where everyone could enter her head? Without her being able to put a stop to it?
“I am sorry, that was very rude of me.” One of the so-called Morroks bowed in front of her. When he straightened, Sariel looked into the face of a man, so beautiful he could have been an angel. The long silver hair fell in waves down his back. A dark blue burnous set off eyes that were sky blue.
“You are new to Dschinnanya and I couldn’t resist answering the question that was so clearly written on your face. Don’t worry; I cannot read your thoughts, but I can put them into your head.” He smiled.
“That is not very reassuring,” Sariel said. “How did you know that I am new here?” she added.
“Oh, everybody knows about you and the reason you came. As soon as someone crosses the border to Dschinnanya, the ruling demons are alerted. Coupled with their ability to read thoughts there is not much you can keep a secret here. But please, I must ask your forgiveness. I entered your mind without permission and I have not even introduced myself.” He bowed again and put his right hand over his heart. “My name is Jazni.”
“Nice to meet you, Jazni. I am Sariel, but you probably already know that.”
“Sariel! What a beautiful name.” He smiled again, transforming his face into such an ethereal beauty that it was hard to look at him. Sariel felt herself blushing. I have to stop that, she thought. It was embarrassing and she wasn’t a little girl anymore.
“Considering that you are new to Dschinnanya, may I offer you my assistance?” Jazni asked.
“That is very kind of you. But no, I’d rather...there is a lot I have to do.” With a face that was practically burning, she turned to Tamiro, who had settled at her feet. “Come on,” she said to the panther, as if a wild animal would obey her bidding. To her surprise Tamiro stood up, stretched, and began to lead the way, just as he had done yesterday.
“I see you already have a guide,” Jazni murmured, looking thoughtful at the panther. “How very interesting.” With that he melted into the crowd.
“Damn. I need to know more,” Sariel grumbled while trying to follow Tamiro without losing him between the many creatures. They were all heading in one direction, sweeping her and Tamiro with them. In the distance Sariel could see a bazaar. So that is where everyone is going. Stalls heaped with fruits and vegetables, vendors selling everything from pots and pans to clothes and fabrics were lining the street.
Startled looks were thrown her way, whispers accompanied them, and Sariel started to feel uneasy. The demons parted when they saw Tamiro, clearly wary of the large, wild cat. But as soon as they spotted her, the expression changed to something menacing; hostile even. Everyone appeared to know why she was here and what she had done to bring one of them into an abominable situation. If not for Tamiro, they might have expressed their hostility in a more violent fashion.
“It’s a good thing that they are afraid of you,” she told Tamiro, wondering why Jazni hadn’t shown any fear of the animal. I am not afraid, Jazni’s voice said in her head.
“Damn.” This time Sariel spoke her thought out aloud. She stopped and looked around but could detect no sign of the Morrok. Certainly she would see his tall figure if he was here somewhere?
Thoughts know no distance. As soon as you think my name, I can hear what you are thinking.
“Great—another mind reader.” Sariel grimaced. No problem, she thought, I will simply not think about Jazni, I will ... Laughter rang through her head.
J.B. Brooklin is a German author. Having lived abroad for several years in the US (Oregon, California, Florida, New Jersey), Spain and the Seychelles the writer recently returned to her home country and started writing mystery and fantasy novels.
When she is not writing, her husband, twins and her cat are keeping her busy.