For All in the Hope picks up right where Going off Dreams (book 1) leaves off. Nyx wakes up in the dark realm of Tartarus without her man next to her in bed. They had Xylo, the wicked Woodland Dryad prisoner until they discover that not only is she missing, Nyx’s man Tobar is missing too. Plus, another ally and friend, the Feung Phoenix Shifter and best friend of Tobar’s, Zhou is critically injured! There is a race against time to find out what happened and to rescue Tobar before those that want to destroy Nyx and her powers permanently turn Tobar.
In the Earthly realm, Eryn is still coping with the fact that she has to leave her family and everything she knows and loves. She struggles to keep the stress of the realms from shattering her realities. As mortal Eryn, she’s a daughter to loving parents, the bigger sister to her outgoing younger sister Lena, who is living with her, and she’s also trying to balance Ryan in her life. After Christmas, Lena’s ex fiancé makes another tragic appearance that will change their fates forever.
Back in Tartarus, Nyx comes head to head with the Darkness that wants to consume her powers. Just when you would think the battle is over, another sinister entity comes forward trying to claim her powers. Meanwhile she’s continuing to build her relationships with her friends and allies she’s made in Tartarus while also learning the capabilities of her powers that the Darkness wants to consume and wield for their dark purposes. Nyx discovers her qualities within the quests and becomes the deity that will bring light to the darkness.
Opening my eyes the images surrounding me were blurry and unfocused. Not knowing where I was, made me feel sick within the pit of my stomach and threatening to escape. My heart was in competition, feeling as if it were going to burst through my chest along with my breathing; it was catching in my lungs like knives.
Surveying the scene, items started making some sense. When my eyes focused, I could make out the dark room with the help of the soft glow from the lights above me. I knew I had returned. I was back in Arden’s Hut, something didn’t feel right though, I was alone. Immediately I moved my hand to feel the sheets on the bed next to me, only feeling empty fabric and coldness where I expected warmth.
My feet met the cool wooden floor as I searched the small quarters along with the connecting bathroom. He wasn’t anywhere, no note, no sign of him ever being there. My heart plummeted in a swan dive directly to the pit of my stomach, this felt all too real and familiar. The emptiness and dread, as if the darkness would swallow me whole was threatening to entrap my consciousness. Commotion from the hallway broke the threatening fear.
Not being able to hear what was going on; I crept toward the huge thick door. Carefully, I maneuvered my toes on the floor, not to wake the creaky boards beneath me. When I heard a familiar voice say “Get Nyx, we’ll have to tell her.” The knock at the door was a little shocking, making my already erratic breathing nearly stop all together.
Drawing a deep breath in I cracked the door peaking out, my eyes focused on the dark silhouette, light that was being filtered from behind her somewhere. As my eyes adjusted more I could associate the name with the being; Arden. She was one of the first entities I met here in this realm.
While it was dark and perilous there was a sense that there could be more, quite a weird sensation of both hesitation and promise. I knew there were threats possibly lurking in the shadows and yet I also had formed friendships and allies with some unique and wonderful beings here. While the threat was prominent I also felt secure and a sense of being home.
When I first met Arden I had seen her materialize on the edge of a mystical forest, which seemed like a lifetime ago. Her hair, black as the night that plagued Tartarus, and her eyes a mystic violet. She reminded me of a Native American goddess. She had the fighting skills of Qamait; goddess of war with the Nuxalk Nation. Her body looks sculpted like a well-trained assassin, fit with curves to draw any male prey. With her enchanted bow and her whip KiKi to aid in her quests, she was magnificent and wicked to witness in battle.
Arden was more of an older sister figure. Within minutes of meeting her I felt a sense of shared spiritual security within our devotion and dedication to those we hold near to us. Plainly put, I liked Arden. She was usually in better spirits though. Now her face was serious and worried which in turn worried me further and only added to my desperation.
Looking at her through the entrance to my bedroom chamber, the light flickered from the candles in the hallway flirting with her skin enhancing her natural beauty. She said, “Nyx, you’ll need to come with me.”
“What’s going on?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer as she walked up toward the main hall.
The main room in Arden’s Hut consisted of wooden walls that reminded me of the consistency and texture like beavers had whittled the wood. Complete opposite, the floors were smooth and reminded me of a clean chopped tree displaying its many rings of life. When you looked above you could see smoke escaping through a fashioned hide-stretched ceiling. In the middle of the room a roaring fire encompassed by rocks that protect the many pillows thrown about – to which Arden would resort to throwing at guests when the opportunity presented itself. Her hut was comforting and inviting; when you took a deep breath in you could detect all the wonders and smells of the forest, which to me were delightful. You could also tell that her home had been around for a long time. Arden is a direct descendent of the Arduinnian Clan, who are known as the Guardians of the Forest, direct descendent of Diana, goddess of the hunt.
Upon entering Arden’s main room, my stomach immediately wrenched into a horrid knot. Zhou was laying lifelessly on the floor. This made my insides crawl knowing how powerful a fighter he is. Immediately I started contemplating what could have caused this serious condition.
Arden must have been hurting even more so. She had developed a relationship with Zhou and this only increased my concern. Arden, the true warrior that she is, was being strong for everyone. A painful lump was pressing against my throat and my eyes were pleading to cry. If Arden was holding it together, so could I.
I always liked Zhou, and I was sad to see him like this. He was still wearing his electric dark blue pants, with an equally dark purple shirt, and with the red streak in his black hair made him look intriguing. I never understood his fashion statements. I respected him though, as a fighter, a friend, and ally. With Zhou’s New Age fashion sense, it made him seem like he wasn’t from this dimension. Tartarus was more of a realm set with foliage. His choices in wardrobe against Arden’s more naturalistic approach made them both look mismatched. Seeing them together usually made me smile but, not now—
Zhou was a Fenghuang, a shape shifting fire bird, more precisely a fiery phoenix. While he was very skilled in both his forms he is more powerful when he is in his phoenix form. He’s always eager for a fight. Zhou is like that big brother pulling you in to give you a noogie to remind you of the status quo. I’m afraid this time though, the fight won.
A healer Hikmat had his hands on Zhou’s forehead and chest, his eyes closed in concentration, meditating over Zhou’s lifeless body. I didn’t know Hikmat as well as some of the others in the room, I had met him only recently, and I knew he was a healer of sorts. He was a wizard when it pertained to plants, potions, and concoctions. He was a Tobar Segais like Tobar, meaning he possessed wisdom. His eyes stayed closed while his hands remained on Zhou.
Thinking of Tobar made my stomach dive even deeper. As if my stomach detached from the warm blood circulation within my body and plummeted toward the depths of despair— my mind reconnected with another concern that had me riddled right before seeing Zhou on the floor. Tobar, he was missing from our room and if Zhou was lying on the floor defeated… Tobar was an equal opponent.
Tobar was the one that introduced me into the realm. He was the one that my heart connected with and I felt drawn toward, like no other before him. A truly deep soul connection, without him next to me I felt as though a part of my being was missing. He had given me refuge from myself, I felt safe when I was with him. Without him, the danger lurking within the darkness here seemed more prominent and threatening.
With the thought of him not in sight intensified the sinking feeling that had pressed so deeply south. It began to rise more rapidly back up. I had to place my hand over my mouth to reel in my senses.
Arden kneeled down next to Zhou as closely as she could. She gently brushed her cheek against his in an intimate gesture. The room felt as if all the oxygen leaving vacuumed sealed the room, extinguishing the fire, and even the warm inside my body as I felt a sudden chill. Suffocating, I watched as she then placed her lips upon his with a soft wanting kiss. Arden’s eyes began to fill with emotion. I felt for her, as the tears sparkling against her skin escaped their confines and splashed against Zhou’s skin below. She placed her hands on his as she prayed silently.
Seeing her in such distress only made the situation feel more dire. I too bowed my head and closing my eyes.
Desperately I began to pray for Tobar’s safety and Zhou’s recovery. Please Lord, deliver Tobar back to us safely and lay your healing hands upon Zhou; as we so desperately need You now. I pray for those that have made their move against us. They’ll wish they had never been in existence once I finish with them…
My concentration broke off when Avlov and Enki joined us then. They both had bowls in their hands that contained some healing elements. Enki took Avlov’s and kneeled next to Hikmat on Zhou’s other side. Enki and I had only met recently as well. He was known as Lord of the Earth, meaning he had control over the elements and its constituents.
A Wieven, Avlov is also known as a Wise Woman. She has a vast knowledge of healing salves, rituals and how to use the elements for their benefit. She has fierce white eyes that match her white hair and almost a hipster outfit. I always liked Avlov because she wore converses.
The group that was working on Zhou, the healers, are much like those that wield magic. They can manipulate matter and they have a vast knowledge that helps them in their aiding processes. To watch them in action definitely feels like you were experiencing magic in a true form.
Touching my shoulder, Avolv broadcasted a message using her telepathy, “Nyx, I need to talk to you, please come with me over to the table.” Leading me over, she verbally asked “Have you seen Tobar?”
I was on the verge of tears, there was still so much that remained unanswered, and if Zhou was hurt—I could barely articulate “No, I woke up to an empty room, a cold bed and I couldn’t find him anywhere.” My chest flet like it was going to combust.
Arden had joined us and she put her hand around my shoulders to give me a half-hug “We’ll get these—”
But Avlov interrupted her and said, “I think we should get Nyx up to speed with what’s going on.”
Zhou began to stir making some noises and we all ran to his side. I felt so bad that he had to suffer so much. He opened his eyes and found Arden’s first, she took his hands in hers. Then he found mine and started to speak, weakly saying “I don’t… know… what… happened.”
Enki spoke up and said that Zhou had taken Xylo, the captured dryad we were interrogating, some refreshments for when she would wake up.
Zhou continued, “I opened her door… the next thing I knew I was… laying here.”
Hikmat told Zhou that he needed to rest. We gathered pillows as they propped him up, attempting to give him some comfort. Hikmat gave Zhou another potion, this time it was clear. What was it? How easily we were to trust. After he drank it, he smiled before his eyes closed and he was back asleep.
“So where’s Tobar?” I asked plainly.
Everyone looked alarmed. The sick feeling returned and now there was an alarming amount of pressure on my chest. I could sense something bad was coming. It was just around the corner, lingering there like a poisonous snake waiting to strike, taking me down with its dread and despair.
Avlov came to my side, she could be frightening to look at in the eye. Tobar mentioned before she was also known as the White Witch, I guess when you’ve been in existence as long as someone like Avlov has been, you can acquire a few nick names here and there.
She offered me some tea but I refused it, especially since I know how loopy her tea could make me feel. No doubt she added a little something extra to the liquid concoctions to help ease the soul in times of stress or high anxiety. Which would actually be great right about now but, I need my wit about me.
Arden came over to me and put her hands upon my shoulders again. Looking me directly in the eyes she said “We can’t find him.” My chest felt like it burst into flames. My body went limp, and I felt like I was falling. Everything went black.
K.E. lives in Maryland, which she refers to as “The Land of Mary”, with her faithful guard dog Bryan, her supportive parents, and their little brat-dog Sampson. She has deep-rooted morals and is very faithful in her beliefs. As a person born and raised in Maryland, she is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the Baltimore Orioles. When she isn’t writing, blogging, or spending time with those special characters in her head, she loves to watch her shows, to cuddle up with a good movie, or to spend time with her family and friends.
“After years and years of my mother telling me that I should us my talents and write, I finally listened!”
K.E. Nowinsky continues writing and plans to further the Going off Dreams realms as she dives deeper into the characters and will produce more content and books. The next scheduled work will be about one of her characters Arden and titled Arduinna: Guardians of the Forest, slotted for April 2015. She is also continuing Nyx’s quests in the next installment: How Otlen Prepares Eternity, expected to release late summer 2015.