Legends of Lightning, book two
“Blood seems to be the only thing flowing in this Realm. The day I found out the truth of who I was, was the day I died.”
“Sometimes you must die so you can be re-born.”
Esther escaped the horrors of Castle Rose, but at a cost. Believing her lost guide is still alive deep in the bowls of Adam’s dungeons, she aims to save him, but the other Huntsman are not so sure he’s alive… Desperate to rescue Oisin, Esther makes tempestuous allegiances with dangerous foes. Walking a fine line between enemies and allies, life and death, she rages war against the monsters of the Hidden Realm.
Esther’s journey continues in this heart wrenching sequel as she navigates the politics and grudges of ageless Queens. By night, she’s haunted by what she’s seen fighting in a war that was never hers. What she’s done to survive in the Hidden Realm will haunt her forever and she’s terrified of losing herself in the darkness without a star to guide her. Will Esther be able to save Oisin and the lands before the shadows of her mind overtake her spirit?
Found lost in the woods July 1995, Harrington Wisconsin
Estimated age 5 years old
Adopted by James Li Wan and Hachi Wan
James Li Wan (1939-2020)
Family of Chinese descent, second-generation immigrant
Hachi Wan (1944-2008)
Family of Taiwanese descent, third-generation immigrant
Occupation: Librarian & Realm Walker
Physical Characteristics: Round face with almond shaped eyes, deep brown irises, and raven black hair, 5’0” tall.
What is your favorite color?
Blue. It reminds me of the sky and the dreams I used to have of flying and being free.
What is your favorite food?
My mom’s mapo tofu. I have the recipe, but it took me a few years to get it right.
What are your favorite hobbies or past times?
I love reading, that’s why I became a librarian. When you’re reading you don’t have to commit to being any one thing; one day I can be a detective, or a space cadet, and the next day I can learn about ancient cultures. And when I’m reading, I can leave myself and forget about life, and how awful it all is.
What is your most treasured possession?
There’s this notebook, after I got to the Hidden Realm, Oisin filled it with maps. He marked forests were enchanted and which roads were full of bandits and which ones were safe. During my escape from Castle Rose, it got wet, now most of the pages have water damage. The just ink runs across the wrinkled parchment, in some places you can actually see the different colors, like a melted rainbow. I keep it tucked away in my waistband. It’s damaged, but it survived, and it’s all I have of him. Well, this and the dress he gave me, but that’s stored away at Grey Keep.
Do you tend to take on leadership roles in social situations?
No! I think being in a leadership role is the worst. You get tons of people staring at you and then you have to make speeches, the whole idea makes my head hurt. That reminds of this one time when I was working at the library. They were looking for someone to train the volunteers, I hid in the storeroom all day so my manager wouldn’t ask me. It’s not my proudest moment.
Do you care what others think of you? Why or why not?
I’ve never really given a shit to be honest. I don’t care what other people do with their lives or hold stock in what anyone else does, so why should I pay any attention to their opinions of me? As long as no one tries to make me do any public speaking, we will all get just along fine.
Do you tend to argue with people, or do you avoid conflict?
I hate arguments. Everything about them is awful, they’re loud and frustrating and nothing ever gets resolved. It’s a waste of energy to argue with anyone, I try to avoid it whenever possible. Actually, I just try to avoid people in general.
How do you deal with stress?
Admittedly, not very well. I usually try to avoid it or run away from it. I used to lose myself in novels or I would just try to ignore the situation and hoped it would go away. That hasn’t been working out lately…I’m trying to do better.
What is your best memory so far and why?
It was August 2008 and my summer softball team had just lost our last match, but I didn’t care because my mom was there. She couldn’t always make it to my games because of her hours at the hospital, but this time she was there. After the game my parents took me and my friend out for ice cream, I got strawberry with sprinkles like always. That was the last time we all went out together before mom had her heart attack.
What is your worst memory so far and why?
You’d think it would be the day my mother died because I was so young, it was terrible, but dad and I were able to get through it… and then maybe you’d think it would be the day my birth parents were killed, but I have amnesia and don’t remember any of it. No, my worst memory so far is the day my father died.
I’d been having nightmares, terrible terrors that made me wake up screaming. Then I woke up with wounds from one of my dreams, I went to go see him and he told me the truth about how I was adopted. Two hours later the nursing home called me to say he was dead. After that I felt like I had nothing left, and I started running. I ran into the Hidden Realm to get away from my life and from all the pain…I feel like I haven’t stopped running since that day. Everything that’s happened in the Hidden Realm, it all feels like a butterfly effect, and I feel like I’ve been helplessly watching my life spin out of control since then.
If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be and why?
I wish I had gotten to know my birth parents. I mean, I love my parents, my adoptive ones, but ever since I found out the truth, I can’t help but wonder who they were. What were they like? Do I look like my mom or my dad, am I like them at all? I have so many questions that I’ll never be able to get answered.
Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?
I believe in great love and kindness, and I’ve seen how it can affect people’s lives. But I don’t believe in something as implausible as soul mates, at least I never used too… Being around magick and finding out you have a prophecy written about yourself, it makes you question a lot of things.
For who or what would you die for?
After seeing what I’ve seen in this realm, after facing true evil, I can say I would die if it meant stopping that evil. Or, I would die for Oisin, to get his out of Castle Rose. He’s a good and loyal man, he didn’t deserve that fate. He never should have sacrificed himself to save me, and I’ll do anything to rescue him.
Are you able to kill? Under what circumstances do you find killing to be acceptable or unacceptable?
Of all the things I thought I could possibly be in my life, I never once thought I would be a killer—I don’t even eat meat. Then I was thrown into a land where monsters from the deepest shadows roam free, and I had to a lot of terrible things to survive, include killing. At first, I was just killing the monsters to save myself and others, then I realized my actions were causing people to die too. Even if I never laid a hand on them directly, but they’re still dead because of me and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for that.
Do you trust anyone to protect you? Who and why?
I trust Oisin to, and he has in the past. I would trust him with my life a thousand times over. And every day that he’s still in Castle Rose, I regret not trusting him sooner. Things would be so different now if I had.
Other that Oisin, I would trust most of the Huntsman, especially the ones from Grey Keep: Windsor, Tyron, and Davon. After I came to the Hidden Realm the Huntsman kind of became my family, I trained with them and they pushed me to my limits and made me stronger. That’s the type of bond that can’t be broken.
Who would you turn to if you were in desperate need of help?
I don’t usually turn to others, I have a bad habit of keeping things to myself until they explode, or just running from my problems all together… I need to work on that.
What is your biggest fear?
Not being good enough. I never had anyone looking up to me for anything before, and now all of a sudden, I have an entire land of people watching me, expecting me to save them. I’m not hero, how am I supposed to save these people? Do I even have the strength to do it…
Thank you, T.R. Slauf and Love Books Group
About the Author
I have always been torn between two halves of myself; one half revels in all things scientific and longs to explore the secrets of the universe, while the other half finds solace and excitement within the arts. After much debate, I started my career path in STEM; after I graduated college and started working full-time, I soon discovered this was not a good fit for me. I began interviewing for other jobs and exploring my creative hobbies again when my congenital heart condition required me to have another open-heart surgery. In the months before my operation, I became determined to finish my first novel (I had started and abandoned several over the years) and eventually I was able to begin a new path as a novelist.
Now I am happily living in the city of Cincinnati with my spouse and am proud to share my novels with you! I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed bringing it to life. I am eager to hear your thoughts, please leave reviews, follow me on Instagram, or contact me directly. I look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.