“The Oracle” by KB Hoyle
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A year ago Darcy Pennington had no real friends. A year ago she’d thought that magic only existed in fairy tales. A year ago she would have laughed at the idea of other worlds.
Then everything changed when she’d visited Cedar Cove Family Camp and stumbled into a magical gateway to a world called Alitheia.
It is the summer before freshman year and Darcy and her five friends have come back to Cedar Cove Family Camp and Alitheia. This return is bittersweet because her elusive purpose in the magical realm continues to evade her. Egged on by Tellius, the boy prince she is prophesied to marry, Darcy rebels and impulsively “petitions” an entity called the Oracle and requests it give her information as to her purpose. In order to receive her answer she must travel to the Oracle, and so she embarks on a journey along with her friends and Yahto Veli, the nark. Too late she realizes her selfish entreaty has thrown the entire outcome of the prophecy itself into question and endangered everyone. Uncertainties mount between Darcy and her companions as they fight their way through enemy territory to locate the Oracle, and an unwelcome visitor from Cedar Cove adds a layer of mystery that none of them are prepared for.
But the perils of the quest are nothing when compared to what lies in wait for her in the lair of the Oracle. There is a cost associated with every question asked– a cost that may be far greater than Darcy is willing to pay. And someone may choose to make the ultimate sacrifice to free her from it.
Camping in Australia is rather different to how it is portrayed in the novel “The Oracle” by KB Hoyle - well at least it is different as far as my limited experience is concerned. This fact however does not limit my enjoyment in “The Gateway Chronicles”, of which “The Oracle” is book 2. I grew up on the Narnia Chronicles and was always a sucker for an alternate universe and a fantasy world of mythical creatures. I’ve been lucky enough to read both of the first two books in the series; the first book was a great introduction to KB’s writing style, the setting of Alitheia and the many astounding characters and creatures that are found there. The second book is awesome... and tonight I’m going to share with you an excerpt from the novel.
“The Oracle” an excerpt chosen by KB Hoyle
They charged forward. The night was dark as pitch, but they dared not light a torch to give away their position. Terra and Lupidor led the way, and the narks brought up the rear, all of them needing less light by which to travel.
Darcy was tempted to curse every time she tripped and stumbled as she clawed her way through the forest growth, but she refrained, foolishly fearing Yahto might take up her mother’s promise to wash Darcy’s mouth out with soap. She was contemplating a more intelligent way of expressing herself when, without warning, her feet fell away beneath her. She cried out as she slipped down the side of a moss-covered embankment.
“Whoa, I’ve got ya!” Tokala said. He’d caught her arm just before she’d fallen all the way down. He made as if to set her on her feet, but a howl issued behind them, not far away at all. “On second thought,” he muttered, putting his shoulder into her middle and hoisting her up. “Come on, everybody, let’s move!” he called insistently, jarring her as he jumped down the embankment.
Lupidor! she called. How close are they?
Close, he answered. But . . . they have been distracted by something! I don’t know what it is, I—
His voice cut off as coldness descended around them like a fog, and Darcy felt a jolt of terror rip through her stomach. Something much worse than wolves, she feared, was upon them.
The forest went silent, and then they heard it: hundreds of wolves crying out with painful, terrified howls that echoed around them like ghosts.
Darcy grunted as Tokala slung her roughly to the ground.
“I cannot fight an enemy I cannot see!” he cried, and he put steel to flint to light his torch.
Tokala’s torch sputtered to life, revealing darkness, utter and tangible, surrounding them like a cage. They could hear the wolves, but they still couldn’t see them. Black fog curled around their feet, lapping against their skin and chilling them like ice water. The fog above was held only momentarily at bay by the flickering of Tokala’s light.
“What—is—this?” Dean chattered. “It’s—so—cold!”
Darcy shivered, more from fright than from the cold. An unnatural terror had invaded her bones, and she wanted to simultaneously dig a hole to hide in and run for her life. It took all her willpower to stand up and cast out her link, seeking to touch the minds of the wolves, not to talk to them but to locate them.
“The wolves,” she breathed, balling her hands into fists to keep them from shaking. “They’ve stopped. They’re . . . terrified!”
“No kidding?” Perry sounded as though he was trying to joke with her, but the hollowness in his tone belied his true mental state. He was just as afraid as she was.
The torchlight wavered. Tokala’s hand was shaking, and he stared at it in horrified wonder, as if he had never seen himself react that way before. The darkness above them continued to descend.
“What is this?” Tokala echoed Perry. His handsome face was pale as a ghost’s in the wan light. “Is it tsellochim?”
“No,” Yahto’s voice sounded out of the darkness. “It is something worse. No tsellochim has an aura this strong.”
“Then . . . what? Tselloch himself?”
“I don’t know,” Yahto responded with a slight tremor in his voice.
With a hissing sputter, Tokala’s torch went out and darkness fell. The fog touched her head, and Darcy took a deep breath.
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