Where the Night Consumes

Where the Night Consumes

Blood of Eith, Book 2

Now Available

The journey of a lifetime continues in this epic dark fantasy series: perfect for fans of A.K. Larkwood and Victoria Aveyard.

When the lands they travel are as deadly as the enemies they face.

Bound together by friendship and the need to survive, the Wandering Sols loyalties are tested as their journey leads into the lands of eternal night. Evren Hanali, Gyda, Abraxas Kain, Arke, Solri Amet, and Sorin Trinity have no idea what’s coming for them.

Lured back to the Reino Terminan by the horrible news of her clan’s fate, Gayda finds herself under the thrall of the same unknown necromancer who now controls her undead kin. Her only hope is her new friends, but there are so many things she never told them.

Rescuing Gyda from a fate worse than death forces the ragtag team of adventurers to the very brink. But not only do the Wandering Sols have to save their friend, they’re going to have to confront a past that’s been haunting her and the secrets she kept. Their journey through the icy tundra is almost as dangerous as the enemies who are lurking in the shadows.

In the war against darkness itself, the biggest risk is exposing your secrets to the light of day.

Read an Excerpt

It was the dead of a long winter’s night, and Evren Hanali was singing.

The tune, and the half elf that sang it, were entirely out of place. The shadows of the night were thick and grasping as they clung to the towering pine trees of the Enrial Wilds. What little moonlight crept from behind the heavy blanket of clouds illuminated the thick layer of ice covering the needles and ground. Ice and snow crunched under her feet, a bow empty of arrows dangling leisurely from her hand as she walked deeper into the Wilds.

“Take to the stars ye lost soul of water,
Where your salt laden spirit cannot falter.
Oh, spirits to ash, and bones to the thunder,
We wait for the day our souls meet in wonder.”

Evren’s voice was wobbly and untrained. Pleasant, and it carried far through the crystalline forest, but wasn’t the type of voice to grace a tavern or stage. It was the voice made for lulling children to bed, for special lovers in the dead of night, for the kitchen when there was nothing but flour and sugar beneath her fingernails.

She was not that type of woman.

“Leave behind your home of salt and the sea,
Forget the ending of life you didn’t foresee.
The Bond that holds us has never been stronger,
I wait for the day our souls meet in wonder.”

Ice covered branches snatched at Evren’s heavy cloak, but snapped musically as she pulled away. Her breath clouded in the air in white puffs, caught silver by the moonlight. Behind her, something in the trees stalked her.

“Swim in a sea of stars and ride waves of wind,
Your brilliance in life such death cannot dim.
Just don’t forget who waits for you under,
I cherish the day our souls meet in wonder”.

The words left her lips in a last puff of air as she stopped in between two pines. Her throat ached from the cold and the song, and she took a soft gulp of air. She could start all over and keep walking. A fourth time through couldn’t hurt much besides her patience. She kept her body loose as she leaned against the tree and closed her eyes.

The smell of pine and ice filled her nostrils. The darkness behind her eyes was not so different from that of the night surrounding her. Plenty of dangers lurked in the shadows, but her fear of the dark had long since been trumped. The Yawning Deep had a gloom unrivaled by anything on the surface.

Besides, one could not hunt a hunter.

A twig snapped.
Evren kept herself still. It wasn’t behind her anymore. It was circling. She kept her eyes closed and started to sing again.

“Take to the stars ye lost soul of water.”

She’d sung these words for so long they were losing all meaning. The Vasa funeral song felt numb on her lips. But there was something in the steady rhythm that kept her calm. It kept her fingers from twitching towards her quiver, bristling with arrows. It kept her stiff legs from bolting into action.

It kept her still. The perfect bait.

Her borrowed words lilted across the frosty wilds, and she kept her eyes closed. Evren could hear the crunch of ice beneath its feet and could picture it watching her, circling her, and waiting for the right time. She ignored all her instincts that tried to drive her away. To nock an arrow and join the hunt as predator, not prey. She licked her chapped lips. She could do none of that.

Evren leaned her head back against the tree’s cold bark. She forced herself to focus on the music, on the smell of the earth around her. She wouldn’t be afraid.

She took another deep breath, a new verse on the tip of her tongue, and then stopped. Thick silence descended over the forest, unbroken by creaking tree limbs of cracking ice. The air smelled less of pine needles now. It smelled of rot.

Something warm and wet dripped on Evren’s cheek. She forced her eyes open.

Nothing. Nothing but ice laden branches and chipped bark. But she could smell it now. She could feel its hot breath on her face. A moment too late, she saw a sliver of its fangs shift in the air.

The ice wraith’s invisible body slammed into Evren from above. Jagged claws dug into her shoulders and dragged her to the ground. Snow and dirt flew up around them as Evren tried to roll away, and her bow slipped out of her grip. The wraith clung on stubbornly and pinned her by her shoulders to the ground. Snow slipped into her armor and down her back. The wraith hissed in her ear, a tune eerily similar to what she had sung earlier. Mocking her, taunting her. As it had countless others before.

Evren fought back her panic as it crawled up her throat. She brought her arm up to keep the invisible beast back. Its neck strained against her arm. She could feel the vibrations from its throat through her layers. She was already shaking from excretion, but the wraith was stronger. It was winning. She could just make out the shimmering outline of its fangs; several inches long and sharp as daggers. Inching ever closer to her throat.

Evren let its throat go and slammed her wrist into the wraith’s mouth. The fangs cut through her armor like butter, and white hot pain laced through her as the teeth almost met bone. She swallowed back a cry of pain. It was better than her throat.

She could use this.

Her blood rushed down her arm, and the coppery scent filled the night. She watched with evening breaths as her blood coated the wraith’s mouth. It dripped down its neck, tangling in its matted fur. A spike of adrenaline shot through her. And she smiled.

Evren ripped her arm out of the wraith’s mouth and, with the same arm, elbowed it square in its bloody jaw. It reared back, snarling with bubbles of bloody foam at the corner of its mouth. She took her brief window and kicked her legs at the wraith’s stomach. She rocked backwards and rolled onto her feet, a steadying hand still on the ground.

The wraith had recovered, and she could see its translucent spikes along its spine bristling in the frigid air. It paced back and forth in front of her. Her bow was behind it. She was eye level with it still, and her veins were humming with the special kind of fire she welcomed during fights now.

The tense moment between two predators could’ve lasted hours for all she knew. But one of them needed to crack, to blink. The wraith started hissing the Vasa tune again, and a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold ran down Evren’s spine. She could’ve sworn she saw it smile.

She waited for it to pace again, all the while singing its song, before she lunged at the bow behind it. Quick as lightning, it lunged at her. She pulled back at the last minute and took off in the opposite direction. The wraith screeched with frustration, and the bounding footsteps behind her let her know it was following.


Her arm was stinging as she ran through the woods, the wraith hot on her heels and her bow getting farther away with each step. A calculated risk she hoped she wouldn’t regret later. She didn’t have her knives on her.

Evren skidded on some ice and grasped a tree trunk to swing around and continue her momentum. Seconds later, she heard the tree crack and groan as the wraith slammed into it. The midnight forest blurred past her eyes in shades of grey and silver. The cold air stung her lungs and throat, and her arm throbbed with every footfall. But she was grinning like an idiot anyway. If the wraith could see her face, perhaps it would’ve turned around and ran back. Perhaps it would’ve made the smart decision and waited for her to come back to it. Instead, all it tasted was her blood, and her running away was far too tempting.

The trees thinned out suddenly into a small clearing barely lit by the moon. Evren ran to the opposite edge of the treeline, her voice raw and piercing as she screamed,


She turned around just in time to see the shimmering, bloody outline of the wraith leap at her. Then, as it was twisting in mid-air, a lasso snagged around its neck and yanked it backwards. It yowled in pain, its claws digging into the metal reinforced rope lassoed around its neck.

Behind it, a dark-haired elf kept the rope taunt, his eyes not moving from the wraith’s writhing form.

“A second pair of hands, Sol?” Abraxas yelled into the trees.

There was barely a murmur of movement before a large net made of the same rope came down on the wraith from above. Its screams of outrage echoed throughout the previously silent Wilds. Evren looked up to the treetops and couldn’t contain her grin as the pale blonde dwarf waved at her from above.

“Quite an entrance there!” Sol nodded to Evren’s still bleeding arm. “You alright? Need a healing potion?”

Evren shrugged. She barely felt her arm now. “Maybe later.”

Sol climbed down from the ice slick tree nimbly as Abraxas tied down the wraith. It snapped at his hands and feet, but the old elf was quicker than the beast. His scowl showed more annoyance than anything.

“If we don’t quiet this one down, it’ll bring its brother.” Evren looked at the darkened trees. “Who’s got the potion Professor Elend gave us?”

Sol shrugged her shoulders and gave Abraxas a questioning look. His frown deepened, and he put his foot on the rope to pull out a large bottle of glowing blue liquid. “Evren’s got butterfingers and you would lose her head if it wasn’t attached. Honestly, did you think I would let anyone else carry it?”

Sol started to argue, but stopped herself before she could. It was no use when he was right more often than not.

Abraxas let himself smile. “Now, let’s keep the net on this one while I put him to sleep.”

Evren and Sol shuffled into position and kept the net and rope tight so the wraith couldn’t move much beyond some mild thrashing. Sol wrinkled her nose at the blood on its mouth but said nothing as Abraxas carefully pried the wraith’s maw open and got the potion down its throat. No simple task, but the potion was highly potent. Even a splash would’ve been enough. Eventually, the beast stopped struggling, and they could loosen the rope.

“Is it snoring?” Sol whispered.

Evren grinned and watched the shimmering outline of the wraith’s stomach rise and fall. “Sounds like it. Maybe we should take some of that potion tonight?”

Abraxas tucked the half empty bottle into his cloak pocket. “It’s made for beasts, not us.”

“Yeah but . . .” Sol looked back at the wraith and then at him. “Just a small drop? It’s so damn cold up here, I can’t sleep! My toes ache!”

“You have your toes still attached?” Evren laughed.

“Not for long!”

Three months in the mountains of the Reino Terminan, and none of the Wandering Sols were getting used to the cold, except Gyda. The part giant woman could walk out in the snow with little more than her small clothes on and complain that it was too warm. Evren knew cold, but so far north where the nights were far longer than the days and the ice never melted was more than she bargained for. Of course, it was their own fault for braving the mountains in the dead of winter. Not that they had much of a choice, since no one else wanted their help elsewhere. Tropical vacations would have to wait.

They gathered up the ice wraith by tying its four feet together and securing a soft but strong muzzle over its mouth. Their last one had woken up halfway back to the outpost, and the result had almost been ugly. Professor Elend, a short and balding human, liked the wraiths alive and had only paid them half for the dead one. Evren still considered the job well done.

“Fifth one,” Evren grunted as she tied off the last of the rope. “Think he’s got enough for his work?”

“I don’t care if he does, no amount of coin is worth it at this point.” Abraxas rolled the wraith onto a tarp and gave them each a rope. Dragging the two hundred pound beast through the Wilds wasn’t fun, but it was easier than carrying it.

They pulled forward, following Evren’s highly visible tracks and blood trail back the way they came, with only small grunts of excretion between the three of them.

“How do you think the others did?” Sol panted. Her feet dug into the slippery ground with every passing step.

“They’re fine,” Abraxas said. “If the wraith followed Evren over Sorin, then they’re just bored.”

Large groups terrified the quiet wraiths. They were mostly scavengers, but would pick off lone hunters and wanderers if they had the chance. And they loved singing. It was a strategy they’d been using for the past few months in the Wilds. Split up into threes, one always plays bait to get the wraith interested, and then leads them to the other two. Sorin, Arke and Gyda had less muscle between the three of them, but they’d had the most luck catching the creatures. A part of Evren was just giddy she’d gotten the wraith this time.

They moved back through the forest, Evren leading them back to the spot where the wraith had jumped her. The signs of a fight were obvious. The churned up snow and earth, drizzled with Evren’s blood, wasn’t hard to miss. She could see the wraith’s claw marks on the tree she’d leaned against and shivered again. She’d beat these creatures time and time again, but that didn’t make them any less dangerous.

“Hold a moment, I dropped by bow.”

Evren dropped her rope, and Sol sighed in relief. She was a talented fighter and a hell of a diplomat, but the ex-noble was not used to menial labor.

Evren crossed the battlefield to the spot where she remembered her bow being left. She could see the prints where the wraith paced and kept her cut off. Beyond that, the snow was empty.

She slowed to a halt and knelt down. No other tracks besides hers and the wraith’s. The imprint of the bow was still visible in the snow. But it was nowhere to be seen.

She looked up, but the tree branches were empty. She circled the battlefield, and past the trees she recognized, before coming back empty-handed.

Abraxas frowned at her. “Where is it?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. There’re no tracks but maybe one of the others got it and are holding it for me.”

Things went missing in the Wilds all the time. Just because Evren wanted to spend the rest of the night combing the woods for her bow didn’t mean it was a good idea. People could go missing too.

She picked up the rope again and, without another word, they headed to where they’d left Gyda and Arke.

The terrain of the Wilds wasn’t easy, but this part of the Terminan was a shallow valley that didn’t get deep snow like the rest of the mountain range. Evren would take steep trails and jagged rocks over deep snow any day. She kept her breathing slow and even, even as the cold air made her lungs ache and she felt numb. Beside her, even Sol couldn’t keep up her useless chatter. And Abraxas was always quiet during a job.

They worked like that for a while until a familiar battle cry broke the silence and made them all freeze.

“That’s Gyda,” Evren said, worry knotting in her stomach.

“Could they be dealing with the wraith’s twin?” Sol’s voice was barely above a whisper.

“It shouldn’t be following them at all. Even if it heard our wraith’s capture, it makes no sense for it to travel away from us and attack others.”

Ice wraith behavior was simple. It was something Evren had memorized at this point. No wraith would bother with potential prey if their twin was in danger.

Abraxas let go of his rope without a word and drew his sword. “Something else then. We’ll come back for the wraith.”

He took off toward Gyda’s battle cry. Sol shrugged and did the same. Evren winced and followed with as fast of a jog as she dared. The ground was slippery now, and she’d be little help, wounded and weaponless. But she couldn’t ignore the cold pit in her stomach. Something was very wrong.

She raced after her companions, dodging past trees and leaping over boulders. The sounds of battle grew closer.

They ran into a clearing eerily similar to the one they’d left. Only this one held the stench of decay and death. Two dead bodies laid at Gyda’s feet as she stood between Sorin and what looked to be two other men. But they were weaponless, and their skin was grey and peeling off in places. With a sickening feeling, Evren realized she could see frost covered bones peaking through their dead skin. Ice coated their matted hair.

On the other side of the clearing, Arke stood on top of a boulder and held his spellbook in the air. The goblin bared his teeth at the two figures clambering at his feet. He tore a piece of paper from his book, and as he crumbled it into his hand, fiery runes sprung up in the air. They swirled around his fist until they formed a flaming sphere in his palm. He hurled it down at the figure, who soundlessly stumbled back. The fire didn’t catch on their clothes, but the smell of burnt flesh filled the clearing.

“Took your damn time!” Arke shouted as he noticed them.

Abraxas wasted no time descending on the figures. He slashed at the one Arke had burned and chopped its arm clean off. The figure didn’t even flinch. It turned to Abraxas at a frightening speed, its slack jawed face and empty eyes brimming with a strange, ethereal light. Abraxas took a shocked step back. Evren wasn’t sure if she imagined the fear in his voice.

“Undead!” he cried. “Aim for the hearts!”


The air suddenly felt much colder than before.

Abraxas drove his sword through the Undead’s chest. The same bluish green light pouted from its wound. He twisted his sword in further, reached in and pulled something out of the creature’s chest. Its heart. He tossed it to the ground and smashed it under his heel. The Undead, and its strange light, fell away. The light left the corpse and took to the sky, leaving it hollow and lifeless.

Arke and Abraxas took the next Undead together. Evren turned to the last one, who had Gyda on the defensive. Her shoulder was bleeding, but her great sword was steady. It wasn’t something she was used to seeing, but while her face was furious, her eyes betrayed an icy fear. Anything that made Gyda afraid was enough to turn Evren’s stomach.

Anything that made Gyda bleed normally just pissed her off.

Sol drew her daggers in swift elegance. Before Evren could blink, she was across the clearing and had struck one of Gyda’s Undead three times. The creature turned its attention towards her, its glowing eyes somehow following her quick movement. It reached out to grab her, and Evren saw claws of ice at the tips of each finger. A swift cut from Gyda took both the head and the arm off. Sol drove her daggers into the Undead’s chest and stabbed until the light left the corpse and it fell to the ground. The next Undead found Gyda’s blade through its chest.

The last Undead fell as Evren raced across the clearing to Sorin. The human was curled up at the base of the tree, his brown eyes wide with fear as he stared at the corpses in the snow. She settled down beside him, checking through his many layers for wounds but finding none. His heart was beating so fast she almost couldn’t feel the beats at all.

“I thought it was a wraith . . .” Sorin’s voice was unsteady and far too soft. “I led them right to us, I thought . . .” He broke off, covering his mouth in horror.

“Sorin, look at me.” she took his face in her hands and ignored how cold his cheeks were. “Look at me.”

His eyes finally broke away from the corpses and back to her.

“You’re okay.” she promised him. “We all are. Take a breath with me.” She took a deep breath of cold air and let it out slowly. Sorin nodded and did the same. It took him a couple of tries to calm down his erratic breathing, but after a while they were in sync and his heartbeat had calmed down to normal.

She dropped her hands from his face. “Better now?”

He nodded. “Yeah, just . . . I didn’t know, Evren.”

“It’s okay, you couldn’t have.”

She looked back at the rest of the party. Some wounded, all shaken. Undead weren’t something they’d expected. That was something for Melkarth and Vernes to deal with. It was why everyone in Etherak burned their dead. They hadn’t had an issue in several centuries. And there had been no reports of walking corpses in Wilds ever. If there had been, no one would willingly go.

Evren turned her gaze to Gyda, who was holding her sluggishly bleeding shoulder. “Are you alright?”

She turned to look down at Evren, and while her expression didn’t change, she could’ve sworn her eyes softened. “It’s just a scratch. Corpse got lucky.”

“I’m sorry, Gyda.” Sorin struggled to get to his feet. Even with his lanky legs, he was a good foot shorter than her. “I didn’t mean to get you hurt.”

She looked at him quizzically. “You did not hurt me,”


“You did not.” she repeated firmly. She tapped the edge of her sword against the corpse. “It did. Stop blaming yourself.”

It was the same conversation after every battle, just with a different person. Evren eyed Sorin carefully. She watched him nod and wiggle further into his heavy cloak. His eyes were distant. He wasn’t even looking at the corpse anymore.

Something happened every battle now where Sorin would freeze up, or stumble and almost get hurt. One of them would have to step between him and danger. Evren had done it, as had Arke and Abraxas. And now Gyda. Each time, Sorin apologized. She wondered what he was sorry for. Most of their injuries, if they had any at all, were minor. None of them had the heart to hold a grudge, either. In their darkest moments in Serevadia, Sorin had been the glue. He’d changed after Heliodar had killed him, but who wouldn’t change after that? There were nights Evren wondered if Abraxas’ magic had brought him back whole, though. Tonight, as he shivered and shame melted off of him in waves, she wondered again.

“What happened?” Sol asked, turning to Arke as he jumped off the boulder. His fur layers nearly swamped the three foot tall goblin and waddled as he came up to Sorin.

“Fuck if I know.” He shrugged. “Thought we were layin’ down a trap for another wraith. Got three deadies instead.”

Abraxas toed one over and used his sword to dig into the dried rib cage. “These undead are . . . different.”

“How?” Evren asked.

“For one, they shouldn’t be so nimble in this weather. And that light,” He shook his head, and looked north where the light had disappeared. “I’ve never seen that before. The Undead in Vernes didn’t hold light like that. This is new magic.”

“Great!” Sorin’s tone was cheerful, but his voice was hollow. “Some crazy mage hiding in the mountains sending corpses after us. Just great.”

“But they burn their dead up here,” Evren said. “Everyone in Etherak does for this reason. Where’s he getting the bodies?”

No one had an answer for that. Not until Gyda knelt beside the closest corpse. She stuck her sword into the ground and let her hands hover over the body for a moment. Her face was unreadable. With a tenderness someone like her shouldn’t possess, she pulled a tattered scarf off the body. The air was still, but the scarf was so threadbare and thin it fluttered in her hand, anyway.

“A clan weave.” Gyda’s voice was barely a murmur. “These . . . these are my people.”

Evren sucked in a breath. Her eyes found the other bodies as the others did the same. Each had the same type of scarf. One had it around their head, like Gyda herself wore. There was little hair to cover, and Evren could barely tell that it was female.

Abraxas stepped forward and knelt opposite to her. Even without his plate armor, he still held himself like a soldier. In the soft moonlight, he looked older than his five hundred years. “Are you sure?”

She nodded, her fingers tightening around the scarf.

“What do you people do to the dead?”

“It varies. We’ve never had to burn them. No one desecrates the fallen like this. It’s wrong.” She looked back at the other two corpses. “They are not laid to rest. They cannot join their families now. It is . . .” She took a breath and closed her eyes to compose herself. When she opened them again, all softness had vanished. “Barbaric. Whoever is doing this is stealing people from their families. We have to find out who.”

“I agree,” Abraxas nodded. “But not right now. We’ll return to the outpost and get some rest. Maybe some more information. Then, we’ll go from there. So long as everyone agrees.”

No one spoke against it, but Evren could feel the unease radiating off her friends. Monsters and beasts were one thing. The Undead was another. There was a reason Vernes was so widely hated by Etherak, and its use of necromancy was a major part of that. In Melkarth, powerful Undead ruled in part. It was because of them that Eldridge could never conquer the kingdom. Undead were simple to take down in theory, but in swarms they were impossible. And every necromancer was different. They’d be walking in blind.

Evren looked at Gyda. She never met her gaze, but she knew she was watching her. Her head bowed a little, and she tucked the scarf into her belt. The hollow look in her eyes wasn’t one she enjoyed seeing. She’d wipe it away now if she could.

But only what laid beyond the Wilds could do that. And Evren knew Gyda would go, with or without them, by her side.