The Cantor: A Legion of Pneumos Novella

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Summary

One life at an end, another just beginning. Chaos looming in the distance. Keira Altman was perfectly happy with her life, thank you very much. It may not have been perfect, what with her flighty mom and her endless parade of lousy boyfriends. But Keira knew what she wanted, and heaven help anyone foolish enough to get in her way. Then one night on a winding mountain road, Keira and her mother are both killed and everything changes. Ripped from her own world, Keira wakes to find herself in a country called Loren, brought there by an ancient order called the Legion of Pneumos. Shrouded in mystery, the Legion is charged with battling chaos in all its forms, no matter the cost. What's more, it seems Keira herself may have a role to play in this cosmic struggle. That is, if she’s willing to claim the title of Legionnaire. But before she can master the forces of chaos, she must first learn to trust her grounder, Danny, and the peculiar connection they share. But will the price of fighting chaos prove too high to pay? See where the journey began in this exciting prequel to Chaos Looming, Book One in The Legion of Pneumos series.

Genre:
Fantasy / Adventure
Author:
HBReneau
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
13
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Prologue

Rain on glass, windshield breaks.

Screeching tires. Headlights.

Screaming, prayers, and crying. Pain.

Keira ran, crashing through the forest, branches grabbing at her hair and tearing at her clothes. She blinked tears out of her eyes as she collapsed heavily against an old oak, clutching it as she tried desperately to gulp down air.

Instead, she vomited nothing but bile.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and straightened, shielding her eyes to see through the dense forest. Where were they?

She ran, the flashes of memory coming unbidden.

Rain. Tires. Headlights.

She stumbled, her foot stubbing against a half-buried root with a sharp pang that coursed up her leg. Her knee raked against a jagged stone as she fell. The urge to scream rose, catching in her throat. She bit her lip to quell it. Digging her nails into the moist earth, she felt the tears fall unhindered.

I have to find them.

They’d been on their way to a dance recital for her little cousin, Molly. It’d been raining, and she’d nodded off, only waking when they slammed into the highway median. They’d hydroplaned, spinning in circles. She remembered the shine of oncoming headlights refracted in rainbow arrays through the raindrops on the windshield. There’d been a crash, metal on metal, then stillness and the sickening feeling of falling. Down, down, down she went.

Screaming. Crying. Pain.

Where was she? Where were the others? Had she somehow been thrown from the car? But she’d been wearing her seatbelt, hadn’t she? She couldn’t see any road from here and thought she might barf again. She closed her eyes and leaned her face against cool earth, listening to the sound of running water.

Water!

Hadn’t they driven over a river last night? Keira thought they might have, but she couldn’t be sure. Her brain felt fuzzy around the edges. I have to get to the water, she decided. An icy drink would do her good, at the very least. There had to be somebody, anybody, who would help her find them. She lurched to her feet and tried to run again, but her wounded knee was having none of it. So she limped as fast as she could in the sound’s direction. She saw stars and grasped wildly at trunks and vegetation, lurching from side to side as her balance faltered. Finally, she emerged into a clearing.

The river she’d heard before ran right through it, and she could just make out smoke in the distance. Then she saw him, a lone figure standing at the river’s edge, shading his eyes as he gazed across at her.

Oh, thank God!

She tried to call out and wave her arms. But her voice was a raspy croak, almost inaudible, and her legs seemed unwilling to move even the shortest distance. Her knees buckled, and she braced herself against a tree. He must have seen her, though. Yes, she was sure now that it was a he, the sun glinting off his tall frame and cropped, sandy-colored hair.

He was walking toward her now, hands outstretched, as if approaching a deer that might bolt at any second. Keira didn’t feel capable of bolting anywhere at the moment. Her head swam and black specks colored her vision. The weight of her head seemed enormous, and she thought briefly about how much she’d like to lie down. He was saying something now. His mouth was moving, but her ears felt stuffed with cotton balls, and she couldn’t make out the words.

She felt herself sway and half-decided, half-conceded to plop to the ground. The man ran toward her now, brow furrowed in concern. Strange. Exhaustion washed over her, and she closed her eyes.

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