Alright, here it is, the next part of the book excerpt that I posted last month:
In that instant, Bar-Reuel felt a strong presence in his mind, as if someone were shuffling through his thoughts and memories, adding to some, destroying others entirely. At first, his mind was in utter confusion, and he wanted nothing more than to sleep, but suddenly he saw a pattern in the chaos: they were taking away his memories of Korina and the boys!
Desperately, Bar-Reuel fought to hold onto his memories of his wife. If I can just remember who she is, he thought, I can find her when this is all over and we can be together again! Fueled by this thought, he brought forth an image of her face from his remaining memories and concentrated on it with all of his might. His mind clung tightly to every detail: the curve of her cheeks, the shining white of her teeth against her tanned skin, the smile on her lips, the sparkle in her deep brown eyes, and her lush, black, flowing hair.
Suddenly he felt an overwhelming pull, as if someone was trying to split his head apart by yanking his hair. The memory of Korina flickered and blurred, but Bar-Reuel rallied all of his strength and brought her back into focus. The pressure in his mind shrank back at the rebuff, then fled altogether, leaving Bar-Reuel tired and dizzy. But even as he sank to his knees, a feeling of victory warmed him from within. He had not forgotten her! He whispered her name, feeling it roll off of his tongue: “Korina”.
Then, as if in response, a woman screamed from the bedroom. The fog within Bar-Reuel’s mind cleared in an instant, and he leapt back to his feet. Jared was no longer standing in the doorway; instead, a tall, muscular man stood guard. As Bar-Reuel turned and began to run toward his wife, the man lunged forward and caught him around the ankles. Helpless, Bar-Reuel plunged to the ground. His head was just far enough forward that he could see around the corner into the bedroom, and what he saw remained with him for the rest of his life.
Jared stood over Korina, his hand outstretched as if he were about to cast a spell. Korina was cradling the babies, who were wailing loudly, but her face held an expression of resolute courage. “You will not kill us, Jared,” she said, almost as a command. “You cannot, not in front of your brother.”
Jared glanced at Bar-Reuel, an intense hatred burning in his eyes. “You’re wrong,” he growled.
This can’t be real, Bar-Reuel thought, confused. My brother would never do such a thing. Then an unbidden torrent of memories filled his mind. Bar-Reuel saw Markus as he had been, a good-hearted but immature younger brother. Bar-Reuel remembered how he, Jared and Markus had fought side by side in the special forces of Her Majesty’s army, holding tightly to their high ideals of peace and justice for all. He recalled Markus’ bitter betrayal, a shocking outpouring of the jealousy and anger that had been festering inside of him. At last, Bar-Reuel thought of all of the damage that Markus had done to the cause of the kingdom since he had joined the enemy, and of all of the pain that it had caused him to see his brother fall away.
The grip of the past released Bar-Reuel after an instant, leaving him with one desperate thought: Jared has turned, and Korina is truly in danger! He began to kick furiously at the brawny man pinning his legs, but the strong arms responded by pulling him back, away from his wife and his murderous brother.
“Jared, how could you?” he screamed, thrashing and grasping at anything that would slow him down. “You were the strongest of us all! You vowed that you would never turn! Stop! Don’t do this! Don’t kill my wife!”
By now, Bar-Reuel had lost sight of the bedroom, but he could hear his sons crying. Then he heard Korina shout, “Jared, my sons are bound to me! If I die, so do they!”
Bar-Reuel lay still, listening for any sign that Jared would choose mercy. “So be it,” Jared spat.
In that moment, Bar-Reuel’s world stopped. Every beat of his heart seemed to last an eternity, and everything seemed still and silent. All he knew was that soon, his wife and sons would be gone to him forever. Then, a single word thrust Bar-Reuel into a new existence altogether…
TO BE CONCLUDED