Excerpt from THE EMPRESS OF VENTRA:
A familiar smell started to fill the air. Rhiannon stopped and closed her eyes tight. The smell of earth and roots and blood wafted across the opening. She opened her eyes and stared at what lay before her: her nightmares realized. The huge tree began to whisper. It was such a faint hum that she was not certain it was there at all. Slowly it became more evident. As if her dreams had been mere rehearsals, her body answered to the call of the tree as it had hundreds of times before.
Slowly she stood before the tree, her eyes were wide, and she began to tremble. She felt Zellan’s hot breath on her shoulder and without looking away, reached behind, grabbing tightly onto the reigns in a desperate attempt to deny the call she was forced to answer. The stallion proved to be an unwise choice for an anchor for he moved with her, almost pushing her, as they were drawn closer.
The twisted trunk sat in its place as if to mock her and an amber glow started to burn within the tree. The light grew brighter, and a golden mist crawled across the muddy forest floor. Luna pinned her ears back and growled, long, sharp fangs framing a feral smile.
The tree began to burn brighter, and she became afraid, but could not move away. Curiosity bade her stay as a familiar feeling sprinkled her soul like an old childhood memory now long forgotten. A heady, dull scent hung in the damp mountain air becoming overpowering as it coated her skin and tongue.
Fear began to recede, replaced by a feeling that this was something she should know, like the words to a well-known song whose name she could not recall. An overwhelming urge to touch the light clawed through her being. Slowly she edged forward, ignoring all rational thought. Like the bitter cold wind calls the winter to come along, Rhiannon continued her path toward an intimate, well-known course.
As though lightning had struck again, she was blinded by a searing light, and a low rumble battered her ears. In an instant, thousands of memories of her life on a Montana cattle ranch exploded in her mind leaving a jumble of brightly colored images swimming within her. Time had stopped, and as each image grew old, she knew they were gone forever.
When all the images were gone, she quietly left that place and flew over the Earth. She was awestruck by its raw beauty and perfectly round shape. As it, too, faded from sight, she drifted farther and farther away into a darkness that could not be explained. She felt as though she were being pulled towards something. A place she could not resist, nor did she wish to.
Onward it drew her into its bosom. And then she saw her: the woman who danced in her dreams. The woman she was convinced was the image of her long dead mother. “You’re almost home, my love,” the woman whispered, and then her world went black.