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Freewill

Freewill

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Freewill

évaluations:
4/5 (3 évaluations)
Longueur:
345 pages
5 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 11, 2012
ISBN:
9781476448398
Format:
Livre

Description

Freewill is a Young Adult slipstream novel that embodies both science fiction and dark fantasy, with strong paranormal romantic overtones. Within its pages a world comes to life, where mythology is real and evident in humanity's interaction with the ethereal Others. Ellie, once a human but now an Other (an empathic creature surviving in a fugue state, inside the otherworldly veil for over sixty years,) has been finding the strength to exist through her compulsion to be a muse; that is, until she meets Christopher. Christopher, a present day young man with the special talent to foresee the truth of the intangible Others, quickly becomes Ellie's heart's desire. Ellie and Christopher inevitably find themselves developing an unusual relationship, where touching one another can only happen in Christopher’s dreams. Unbeknownst to them, ever since Ellie's birth in 1922, destiny's hand, guided by mythical forces and fairytale lineage, has been pushing them into each other's embrace, while also potentially into the arms of evil Others called the Timoro, and into the sights of dangerous feuding organizations-- the Symboulio: the council of the ancient and divine, and the Symbio: the new world council of acceptance.

In this first book of the trilogy, the readers start to understand that Ellie’s transformation into an Other as an empath is exceptionally rare; only happening one additional time, over 2,000 years ago. Finally awakened by Christopher’s presence, if she does not build a connection to lessen the burden of feeling the world’s emotions she will cease to exist. Delving into a mixture of historical events, mythical manifestations, and folklore, the setting provides glimpses into familiar images that lull the reader into believing they know what may happen next ... but that doesn't account for Free Will.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Mar 11, 2012
ISBN:
9781476448398
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Elyse Draper, as a native Coloradan, brings a distinctive vision of the Rocky Mountains to life. When that sight is combined with her love of world travel, history, sociological sciences, psychology, and humanism, the outcome is a setting that spans the world and imagination. That aptitude when mixed with an educational background of law, philosophy, and French, brings the result of a fantastic yet realistic renaissance storyline, ultimately taking the reader on an exceptional journey.Working as a freelance journalist for Examiner.com, Elyse reports on the publishing world and supports Denver's local literary contributors as Denver's Author Examiner. Still living in Colorado with her husband and daughter, she is working on her newest speculative fiction novel. Coming in 2012, keep a look out for the next two novels in the 'Freewill' trilogy, 'Consequences' and 'Vindication'.

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Freewill - Elyse Draper

Freewill

By

Elyse Draper

Smashwords Edition

Freewill

Copyright © 2012 by Elyse Draper

Cover Art By

Elyse Draper

***~~***

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. The author is grateful for your appreciation of their work; although if you would like to gift or share this eBook, please do so by purchasing an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

***~~***

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to W. Freedreamer Tinkanesh, Jennifer Reece, and Lori Smith who helped me edit and revise this story, not to mention, patiently allowing me to use them as literary Guinea Pigs.

I am blessed by having amazing family and friends, all of whom give support freely with abundance of love -- in particular: my husband, Rob, my daughter, Cassie, and my parents Polly and Chuck. Thank you!

As I use music to help me capture the different personality traits of my characters, I want to thank, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Three Days Grace for their beautiful contributions to inspiration.

***~~***

The Freewill Trilogy is dedicated to those precious souls we have lost over the years. Those beautiful hearts, gone much too soon, who have, due to their absence, left the world a little less complete.

***~~***

Defining Freewill:

Some scholars say: that when it comes to decision making, -humans are the sum of their experiences and conditioning; thus freewill is an illusion.

While others say: when we are confronted by primal choices, the decisions that weigh heavily on our hearts, experience or destiny cannot predict the result … but our hearts can surmise the final outcome. When the judgment before us carries extreme perceived consequence, yet we still make the choice (whether resulting in action or inaction) -- that is freewill.

I hope you enjoy reading this story, as much as I did writing it. And I hope you can find your own definition of freewill along the way.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prologue- Tickhill, England

Part One- Ellie

Chapter 1- World War

Chapter 2- The Tickles

Chapter 3- Home

Chapter 4- Growing

Chapter 5- Routine

Chapter 6- Goodbye

Chapter 7- Scavenging

Part Two- Christopher

Chapter 8- American Others

Chapter 9- Alone

Chapter 10- Choices

Chapter 11- Family

Chapter 12- Bring the Pain

Part Three- Butterflies

Chapter 13- Returning Home

Chapter 14- Truth

Chapter 15- Aftermath

Chapter 16- Enlightenment

Chapter 17- Falling

Chapter 18- Con Artists

Chapter 19- Priorities

Chapter 20- Trust

Chapter 21- Other Motivation

Part Four- Lost

Chapter 22- Anger

Chapter 23- Future

Chapter 24- Confessions

Chapter 25- Forfeit

Chapter 26- Regret

Chapter 27- Defeat

About the Author

**~~**

Freewill

**~~**

Prologue

Tickhill, England

Three nights ago, the house shook with haunted grief. Tears were running down the window panes, and the heavens wailed. The Lord and Lady of the land were ill beyond healing, and stepping into the mist of here-and-beyond.

Creaking and moaning, the foundation spoke as a brisk wind pressed against the walls. The scent of ozone was carried on the fingers of fog as they stroked the doorframe cracks, searching for a way to enter the farmhouse. The clouds were so heavily laden with moisture that they touched the ground, encasing the brick and mortar, and blocking out the moon. Condensation was dripping from the roof, and then streaking down the glass. The air itself was crying, filled with magic and sorrow, and the enchanted universe within the mist came to life inside Edward’s dream.

He dreamt of his youth, of the world that he and his mother shared and of the characters inside that world. It was a gift that was granted through the heritage of his mother’s clan; and although, many clans around the world had the gift, it only manifested for a special few. Edward’s brother Richard was not one of those gifted with sight, but like most people he could sense the Others, if he tried.

Most of the creatures around the farm looked as if they had hatched from Edward’s ancient storybook of Celtic faery tales. Then there were the visitors, peculiar outsiders from distant lands, some dressed in silk scarves wrapped around warm, brown skin, and others that were so fair their skin looked to be made of pearl with blue veins tangled along the surface; no matter their motive, whether good or evil, they were all stunning and brilliant.

As a grown man, dreaming of his magical youth, looking back with love for his mother and the frighteningly mysterious world that they shared, Edward felt the mist change into something morose. On that night, swarming in his sleeping mind, the bright little bodies of the enchanted neighbors vibrated with sadness. On that night, they were overwhelmed by grief – and Edward knew that meant the land’s Lady was gone, his mum had passed away.

During the course of the night, there developed a strange knot of mixed emotions that blossomed into happier light. Anxiously watching his fluttering companions, his curiosity was finally satisfied as one of the faeries came to him, embraced his cheek, and said, We thought we lost the last Lady from your máthair’s clan -- save for your niece, Edward, a very special child, to carry the bloodline.

**~~**

Allowing the memory of that night to flow unhindered through his mind, as he and his brother buried their parents, Edward realized that forever their death would mark the day that his niece was born, sweet Ellie. Richard's tender soul, always so insightful, always so rational, was torn between sorrow and joy.

Edward’s little brother had to put any celebration aside to join him in mourning. When their father started to show symptoms, their mother sent away all of the employees; and after she became ill, Edward took over, refusing to allow Richard to come home. He couldn't permit Richard to possibly take diphtheria back to Patience, and their unborn child.

As the fear of infection was still alive in their childhood home, Edward sent his brother back to his wife and baby immediately after the service, not accepting Richard’s offer to help with the outdoor chores, or tending to the house.

Hoping to break his brother’s melancholy, Edward reminded him that he wasn't going to be alone; the family’s brownie would come out, eventually, to help. When they were young, their mum used to tell stories of their family's ties to the faery folk. Richard could never see the truth inside the tales -- that was a gift reserved for their mum, and Edward. As a consequence, Edward learned very quickly that boys don't talk about faery princesses to non-seers, no matter how beautiful the princess may be. While alone though, he never stopped talking to the farm's unseen guardians, he found peace with the keepers; they were his family too -- ancestors long gone, and mates of new.

The Others may have held the role of relatives, protectors, and friends, but they were never as dear to Edward as Richard. As boys, he would fool his younger brother, saying the brownie that lived in their attic would clean up his toys and books after he fell asleep. All Richard had to do was leave out bread crumbs at night, and by morning their room would be clean. Edward learned to clean very quietly then and reveled in Richard's smile when he woke. Being so much like their father, so very logical, he always knew it was his older brother doing the work-- still, he believed that Edward could see something enchanted, and playing along was Richard’s way of seeing the magic, too.

Richard, in time, outgrew the magic; as one eve, he refused to put out the crumbs, because the food would bring mice into their room. He didn't want the magic today either -- he wanted Edward to be reasonable, and efficient; he just wanted to lay their parents to rest. Before the clock could strike ten, they were following their separate paths; Richard was returning to London, and Edward returned to the only home he had ever known.

Belief can be a painful thing, persecuted, and demanding. Does seeing it for one’s self, and not through eyes blinded by innocence, make the knowledge easier to handle?

Entering the house, Edward looked at the worn wood of the floor, remembered the smell of his mum's Shepherd's pie, and listened to the wail of the banshee. She had started crying three days ago, when they had found that the land's master and mistress had passed in their sleep. The cry wasn't as he had expected; it was a call of anguish, yes -- but, also a prayer for safe deliverance. Edward understood that he should be thankful for the ability to believe in this world, where support comes from the most unlikely of places.

Starting a fire in the hearth, He hung a large pot of water to boil over the flame. The house was going to need a scrubbing, before allowing anyone to return to work. Looking out of the paned window in the front room, he studied the swirled glass, which held bubbles in its imperfections. The light outside passed through the flaws, seemingly shattered and fluid, giving the illusion of dizzy lines moving across the floor. Bewildered and broken, he wondered what his future would hold; something was coming that was more terrifying than finding himself alone.

Feeling similar to a wooden soldier, pulled around on a string, he fed the animals, cleaned the stalls, and pitched new hay for bedding. Going back to the house, with fingers cold and stiff, he went to work on the recently abandoned sickroom. Actually looking forward to the hot water, right off the fire, he plunged the scouring brush deep into the pot.

With hands that were raw from the hours of scrubbing, and knees that were aching from kneeling, he looked satisfied that the house was finally clean. Performing the last dreadful task, he held his breath, while carrying all of the infected bedding to a pit he had unearthed earlier. Tossing the fabric over the smoldering embers in the hole, a brilliant flame jumped to life. Fascinated, he took a moment to remember the strong, silent man who had cared for this farm, his sons, and his wife -- the powerful woman, who had loved them all unconditionally, and ruled the family with a silken glove lined in lead.

Smoke, warmth, crackling, the fire filled his senses as he turned to look out over the farm that was now his sole responsibility. A smothering fog rolled in from the moors, blanketing the countryside. The foreboding haze hid predator and prey alike. A change was coming, he didn't know what it was, but he could sense the shift.

Autumn in England, and he could smell the heather carried on the breeze. He sensed a vixen and her young kits hiding in a burrow, dug under the faery Queen Aine's elder Beech tree at the corner of the property. Looking through the mist, wood, and soil, he saw the fox was bringing her litter, voles for supper. The small ones squirmed and yipped as they crunched down, and tore apart their meal. He remembered cringing as a lad, using his sight to spy on the animals; nature could seem so incredibly cruel to a child. Edward soon came to understand that nature survived in a frail balance that, at times, could seem brutal -- but was, in fact, quite magnificent.

As the vapor on the ground swirled and rose, a howl escaped from a neighboring dog, and Edward witnessed the magic of Queen Aine touching the rough grasses, dirt paths, and gnarled knots of the elder tree. Inside of the shadows, from the nooks and crannies of folded darkness, the moon goddess called to her little people. Minuscule bodies glowed bright with vivid colors, and small wings moved, too swift for even his eyes to see. One Sadhe, of slender build, slid through the crevices of the Beech; her clothes were made from the same pale moss that grew on the trunk of her home. Growing to reach his height, her skin was pure cream, and her dark, wavy hair was pulled back from her temples by combs made from silver Beech twigs. He found himself smiling: she had not changed, not even a bit, in all the twenty-seven years that he had known her.

She had always watched over his ancestors, and had followed his mother to their farm from her childhood home in Knockainey, Ireland. Aine had taken a bit getting used to Edward; he was the first male born with the sight, in the family's history. As he grew, she had become a confidant, a desire, a love -- and he had freely given his heart to her. Under the watchful glow of Aine of Knockainey, goddess of the moon, and nature – she was their guardian and healer, and they had thrived. She had allowed glimpses into the enchanted veil beyond, and the secrets that resided within, whose whispers held the truths of her faith. A belief that everything in nature was connected; and they were all linked to the good and the evil in its entirety.

Aine's voice greeted his ears in the same pitch as the breeze, Edward, the Fae are remorseful for your loss. We come here today, to show our sympathy, grant you one wish, and then leave this land forever. There is something terrible approaching, Edward, resulting in a human war that will blend into our ancient battle with the wretched Symboulio. The hunters will use this time to perform a great cleansing that will affect us all. It will soon become too dangerous for us to stay here, out in the open.

What is it, Aine? What will happen?

The enchantment on this land will be tainted by an agreement you will make before the new sun has risen. Our foresight knows that you will not have a choice but to agree; so regretfully, we must abandon you in your time of need. I have spoken for you, vouched for your decency; the others promise not to punish you, as long as you continue to protect the essence of my elder tree, as a crossroads, a portal for lost souls to find us within the faery realm.

Growing up, with the ability to see, not only nature's horrendous beauty, but the charmed as well, had left Edward perceptive, and lonely. The women of his lineage had the gift of sight, and generations of blessed invisibility granted by Aine, as a protection from the venomous council, Symboulio -- but he was alone in his masculinity. His mother had told him fearful tales of the Symboulio's mission to cleanse the earth of enchantment. The hunting of those humans with the gift of perception, the mass slaughter of their elementals and faith -- to this day, as a grown man, even the mention of Symboulio made his stomach turn with dread. He could use rationale to admit that they were only human; though, knowing the brutality in the hearts of men made him fear for his enchanted family's future.

Sticking his hands in his pockets, he tried to hide their trembling, and wiped the sweat from his palms, Aine, don't leave -- I promise to never strike an accord with the Symboulio. You are my family, how could you believe I would do such a thing?

You will, dear Edward; for you will have no other choice. We will not be gone forever, and you will still see some Fae as they pass through the elder tree gateway. But, you must never talk to them, or acknowledge them in any way -- if you do, the protection of the crossroads will vanish entirely. Do you understand, Edward? The Symboulio will know; they will send the Timoro on the hunt to enslave and destroy us. You must never try to talk to us again. I know that this will be difficult for you -- you have already lost so much, and I am very sorry. Please, remember, Edward, what I have taught you: everything ends; though, nothing disappears entirely. She cast her pale eyes down to the fire pit behind him, and a tear rolled down her cheek. He yearned to touch her, just once.

Searching for something to say that might bring a moment's peace back to the heart that he had always cherished so deeply, he uttered, Our Richard had a daughter three days ago, Elizabeth. I don't know if she will be a seer -- I was hoping to introduce her to you, the way Mum brought me to you when I was a baby.

Please, Edward. We must leave before the Symboulio unleash their hunters. I can give you one gift for the future, but you must take it now. Speak it to me, while I am here -- for you will never see me again, after this day. Aine's lips parted as if she had something more to say, thought better of it, and pursed them together. Then taking a step back toward her home, she spoke softly, Your Elizabeth is going to be special, not a seer, but powerful enough to heal our wounds. You must protect her, Edward.

He was angry, bitter, and crestfallen, as he watched his Aine drift away. How could they throw him away as rubbish, for something he hadn't even done yet? Perhaps, he should have thought more about his wish; perhaps, he should have reflected on the future that would arrive, outside of his present pain -- but all he said was, I wish for Ellie to never know of the enchanted… He wanted to protect the child from this pain. He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth, but he could not take them back; so he tried to amend them. …not until, she holds a love that rivals ours. When that happens, Aine, you must promise to protect her as you have always protected my mother's people.

So be it, I promise; I will send the moon to guide and watch over her, my dear Edward. Aine stepped back into the tree as the mist faded back to the moor, and everything magical about his world, disappeared.

Dragging his withered heart back in to the house, he sat at the kitchen table that his father had made. Numbly, he listened for the banshee's song -- but she was gone with the rest. Looking at the waxed surface of the wooden tabletop, he studied the indentations from years of meals shared, and laughter given. Each flaw told stories of elbows holding the tears shed for loved ones, and cuts from when forks or knives were dropped in anger. Running his fingers over the wounds in the table, cut through the wax, but barely marring the wood itself -- he marveled at how it had withstood the years.

He decided that he must become like the table, molded, blemished, and dull on the outside -- with a memory of nature, beauty, and life, hidden in a hard, seemingly untouchable core. Laying his head down on his folded arms, he spoke out loud, to no one, I am this table. Then, closing his eyes, he found a defeated sleep.

**~~**

The fist that slammed against the front door wasn't unexpected, but startled Edward from his sleep, nonetheless. Shuffling his feet, he refused to move any faster as they pounded harder. The sun had set some time ago, and the house was only lit by the embers in the fireplace. Bringing flame to the lanterns that hung on the walls, he took one with him to answer the heavy knocking. By the time he reached for the handle, the hinges were rattling from the abuse.

Forcefully opening the door, he stuck his head out into the darkness, What in the bloody hell do you want at this hour of the night!?!

Mr. Tickle, Mr. Edward Tickle, I presume. My name is Esidor Scali, and as a representative of the Symboulio, I would like to offer my condolences for the loss of your parents.

Two men stood before him; one who chose not to speak, and the other, this Esidor, was as slippery as an eel. Looking down at the presented hand, and although, Edward could enclose it entirely inside his grip, he decided that he didn't want to touch Scali, dreading that he might find the contact cold and slimy. Thank you, Mr. Scali, for your concern. Now, if you don't mind, given the hour, I would like to return to bed.

When Esidor's companion placed his palm against the door, Edward couldn't stop his temper from rising. Irritation for their audacity, left him distracted for a moment, giving them just enough time to step over the threshold. You see, Mr. Tickle; we have some very important family business to tend to, which cannot wait.

Not allowing them to enter any farther, Edward set down the lantern, crossed his arms, and planted his feet. They seemed to appreciate the size differences, deciding not to attempt to move past him. Whatever business you may have, I believe it can be said from where you are standing.

Esidor sucked in his cheeks, obviously deciding how far he wanted to push, but the effect just made him look more like a rat. As you want; we can discuss your family's unique heritage from the open doorway. Rolling his eyes as if he was pacifying a difficult child, he put out his elbow and prodded his companion in the side. Offering a very telling motion indeed -- one saying they thought they were dealing with a sodding idiot. That was fine by Edward; he would carry on holding the advantage, as long as they kept underestimating his mental acuity.

Then donating another tell; Esidor clasped his hands together, letting them fall to cover his vulnerable area -- meaning he was feeling exposed as he carefully chose his next words. Your mother's ancestors used to be members of the Symboulio; then they inexplicably disappeared over a hundred years ago. Apparently, they changed surnames and locations many times, creating confusion for our archivists. Over time, we became quite efficient at tracing birth and death records; luckily we were able to find her maiden name in our registry. She was the last, remaining female in her line; imagine our excitement to see her obituary, and find that she had lived a good, long life.

He smiled wickedly, and brought his arms up, crossing them over his chest. She was the last, that is, until the birth of your niece, Elizabeth.

He obviously felt embarrassment, showing it through admission that the female line had remained hidden for so long, and defensive about Ellie's birth. He was poking at Edward to see what he knew; perhaps, to prove that the family was intentionally hiding from the Symboulio. Esidor wanted Edward to admit that he knew about the enchanted, and that the inherited sight had survived. I am glad that you were able to locate her after all these years; I'm sorry that all you found was her obituary, and not the woman. I shall send your congratulations on to my brother, Richard, concerning his daughter. Now; since nothing you've said is remotely business related, would you like to tell me why you are actually here?

Esidor stared up at Edward, holding eye contact, and acknowledging that they were at an impasse by pinching his brows together.

As the silent partner spoke, Edward could understand why Esidor had done all of the talking: thick and deep, the man's words dripped slow as tar. We know that you understand. Your mum could see things no one else could -- she was breaking code, by not working for us. You come from traitors, who hide evil beasts; we know you have the black magic monsters hidden on this land. We're gonna find them, and that will prove that mummy was a seer, and so is your niece. Then, we're gonna take this farm from you, and that new baby from your brother.

The anger oozing off of Esidor as he turned and hissed, Idiot! gave Edward the second he needed to gather his thoughts. Aine knew this was coming; they had moved away from the land to protect him, to protect Ellie -- but what decision was he supposed to be making; what was he going to do that would deserve the punishment of never speaking to them again?

Needing to hide the alarm from the idiot's admission, Edward quickly searched his mind for the proper reaction. Anger -- anger was the appropriate response to the threats. Breathing in and doubling his width, he glared down at the men, You come into my home, in the middle of the night, right after I buried my parents, to what? To make insane accusations about black magic, and then threaten to take my land, and kidnap my niece. Tell me why I shouldn't call the law, immediately following the beating you both deserve?

Esidor started backing up, pulling his partner along with him, only speaking again when they reached the other side of the threshold. Mr. Tickle, my associate is an imbecile as you can see. I do have some important information for you, concerning your family's unclaimed fortune, which is residing in the Symboulio vault in Paris. I would like to return in the morning, without this moron, to discuss this matter further, if I may?

Interesting -- introducing lost inheritance to a modest farmer, who just lost his parents. Apparently, mistakenly, Scali still thought the eldest Tickle, was a sodding idiot. All right, Mr. Scali, be here at 10:00 in the morning, sharp, and alone.

With that, he closed the door in their faces, and moved to the kitchen window, where he could watch them leave. They knew he was watching them as they climbed into their carriage, just as Edward knew that they weren't going to be gone for long. His guess was that he had a couple hours, at the most, before they returned with their enchanted hunters to search the land.

He blew out all of the lanterns, and let his eyes adjust to the darkness, while he layered on heavier clothing. Opening the front door, between the moonlight and his heightened sight, he might as well have been walking out into daylight. Moving as quickly as possible, he went to the barn and found his most hearty axe. Then grabbing a bridle and work harness off of the work bench, he went in search of Lady Una. Lady was his mum's favorite horse. A massive Scottish

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  • (4/5)
    This is a really difficult book for me to review. Honestly, I really did enjoy this book. . . but when you are at 30% of the story still wondering ” what the heck is going on” . . . you’ve got to admit it makes it a difficult book to rate. The story was intriguing, the characters extremely interesting but I have to say that now that I finished it I’m still not 100% sure where this story is heading. I also would like to explain about the characters but I’m afraid if I do give any kind of summary I will be creating a spoiler. There are dead people who aren’t really dead, mystical powers, really awesome dog protectors, and evil character...and they really are pure evil. All in all, I’m giving Freewill 4 stars. I am looking forward to the next book and hoping for a little more enlightenment.

    This copy of Freewill was given to me by Elyse Draper and We ♥ YA Books! group @ Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.