Wednesday, September 5, 2012
WOOT! Welcome to the Release day tour of Witch Born by Amber Argyle, sequel to the fabulous Witch Song. I'm so thrilled to be participating! I've got a fun day today. This morning I've got the Great Chapter Link-up and a swag giveaway. This afternoon I'll post my reviews of Witch Song and Witch Born. Onward!

~ABOUT WITCH BORN~
Author: Amber Argyle
Released: TODAY by Starling
Brusenna thought it was finished. She defeated the Dark Witch, saving the Haven Witches from imprisonment and death. She found love and a place to belong. She was wrong. Haven is not the sanctuary it appears to be. Even love is in danger of slipping away like water through cupped hands. 

Some things can't be saved. A new threat merges with the old as the Witches’ dark history begins to catch up with them. Only Brusenna knows the extent of the danger and how to stop it, though doing so might cost her everything.  Including her life. Will Brusenna be required to make the ultimate sacrifice?

~About Amber~
Amber Argyle grew up with three brothers on a cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountains. She spent hours riding horses, roaming the mountains, and playing in her family’s creepy barn. This environment fueled her imagination for writing high fantasy. 

She has worked as a short order cook, janitor, and staff member in a mental institution. All of which has given her great insight into the human condition and has made for some unique characters. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Physical Education from Utah State Uiversity. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and three small children
TWITTER / FACEBOOK / BLOG / WEBSITE

~The Great Chapter Link-Up~
Welcome to the "Great Chapter Link-Up". Or at least that's my dorky name for it here on the blog. 6 fantastical blogs are all featuring a chapter from Witch Born! Visit all the blogs and read the first 5 chapters! What now?! YES! Anyway, here on my blog I get to feature...Chapter 4. Read on!

Chapter 4 ~ Earth Song
A cold trickle of rain dripped through Senna’s soaked hood and slid down her back. Wishing she’d left her long hair down, she shivered under her heavy cloak. Thunder grumbled in the sky. Lightning stabbed the sea beyond Haven’s high cliffs. Senna used the brief illumination to glance back at the long line of sopping-wet Witchlings trailing behind her.

“Come along. The storm will only remain this strong for an hour at best. We mustn’t dally.”

Senna had to resist the urge to strangle Drenelle. She’d left Joshen for this. All because the Head insisted they commune during a storm. Something about the earth opening up to receive the rain, and therefore opening up to them as well. She also claimed the earth came awake at night.

So here they were, traipsing through Haven in the middle of the night. In the pouring rain. Drenelle and the other Heads believed the attackers were gone. Senna suspected at least one was still out there. The whole outing was utter madness.

It wasn’t like Senna needed to slip into a trance to feel the Four Sisters—Earth, Water, Plants, and Sunlight—all around her.

As the class finally reached the Ring of Power, the clouds parted briefly, revealing the crescent moon.
Four was a sacred number for the Witches. There were four phases of the moon in direct opposition to each other—half moon, crescent moon, gibbous moon, and full or new moon. Four seasons. Four Sisters or elements. Four Creators who’d formed the world by combining their mastery of their respective elements. Four Discipline Heads who were patterned after the Creators to administrate over their respective elements.

Drenelle peeked out from under her umbrella. “Perfect. This is all going perfectly. All of you spread out. Make yourselves comfortable.”

Comfortable? Sopping wet in a lightning storm. Under a tree. Comfortable? More like suicidal. But Senna kept her thoughts to herself. In Drenelle’s earth lessons, they mostly identified rocks, meditated to map out valuable deposits, identified soil composition, and studied earth-tremor detection and reduction.

Tugging her hood further down, Senna did her best to arrange her cloak so it protected her from the damp grass, then leaned back against the smooth trunk of one of Haven’s trees, which managed to keep a little of the rain off her.

“All right, everyone,” Drenelle said in her most soothing voice, which reminded Senna of a cawing crow. “Dig your feet into the earth. Spread yourself into it like a seedling, sending forth roots—searching, feeling, being. Send away your conscious thoughts. Feeling the earth does not happen in your consciousness, but deeper, in your unconscious mind. Let yourself flow with the natural rhythms, like sand slipping between your fingers.”

There was no way Senna could keep her bandage dry, which meant after Drenelle’s class, she’d have to suffer through another of her mother’s scoldings. Grumbling, Senna untied the laces of her boots and slipped them off. Despite her sour mood, she couldn’t help but be drawn into the earth. Much as she hated to admit it, Drenelle was right. The Fourth Sister was more open during the storm, like the earth expanded upward, stretching to receive the rain, even as Senna extended down.

While Drenelle was still droning on, Senna was already deep within her unconscious mind, flowing with the natural rhythms of the earth. Her connection with the Four Sisters allowed her Witch senses to travel further and deeper than she’d ever gone before.

She heard something…something far away. She shifted toward it, but no matter how fast she moved, the sound grew no closer. She paused, frustrated. And then she remembered what Drenelle had said.
Like sand slipping between your fingers. Senna stopped chasing the sound and imagined her soul as a grain of sand, sifting wherever the wind or the rain or the earth willed. Imagination became reality. Her soul pulled out of her body.

It should have been frightening—terrifying, even. But it wasn’t. It was liberating.

Smelling the wind all around her, she twirled on the currents like a handful of dandelion fluff. The wind set her down gently. She opened her eyes to find herself caught on a mountaintop. She stood immovable as the peak. Her soul was buffeted by wind and rain, yet she was not afraid. All was as it should be. As it would be for eons to come.

But her soul was not as patient as a mountain. She allowed herself to sink into rich, dark earth with the rain. Deeper, where precious stones lay like lumps of sugar. She reveled in the darkness, in the pressure and stillness.

All her life, she’d searched for this kind of communion—this sense of belonging, of oneness. She’d never felt more complete. More at peace.

From far away, she heard the sound again. It was music. Deep-throated drums and echoing horns in a song that was seductive with a texture so cavernous she’d never reach the end of it. Senna swayed to the rhythm, her throat aching to sing.

So she did. She wasn’t conscious of the words she sang, but the music paused as if listening. After half a heartbeat, it started up again, its rhythm melded with hers. Delighted, she sped up the tempo and lifted her pitch. The music matched her.

She cast her senses wider, her heart full of wonder and her voice eager to find something else. She explored, dancing with the Four Sisters as the music swirled around her, teasing her with its beauty.
And then she slammed to a stop against some kind of block or barrier. She held out her hand. Colors rippled outward where she touched the barrier. The music hummed beneath her fingertips. This was Witch made. And if a Witch made it, another Witch could unmake it.

She tipped her head, listening to the faint tinkling song until she had it memorized. She sang again and the song changed to match hers. The barrier faded a little, like darkness before the dawn.

Best not to completely destroy it. After all, she only wanted to see what was beyond it. Smiling, she passed through the weakened barrier. She cast about, looking for landmarks as Drenelle had taught her. An island surrounded by briny water. A shore in the distance with mountains. Change the mountains out for hills and it was eerily similar to Haven bordering Nefalie. But Senna’s body was so far away, an ocean away from where she sat in the pouring rain and—

She froze as the sound of the music changed. Earth song squeezed and pressed against her. She gasped and listened hard. And then she understood. Witch song was all around her like pelting hail. And not just one Witch. Hundreds of them. They were singing against her.

But that was impossible. There couldn’t be hundreds of Witches outside of Haven.

Was it because she’d damaged their barrier? Confused and frightened, Senna fled back the way she’d come. She opened her eyes to find herself standing in the center of the Ring of Power with no memory of having moved there. Her hood was thrown back, rain streaming down her face. Whatever she’d experienced had stirred up a savage fear, awakening instincts that overrode rational thought. She tipped her face into the rain and sang.

Haven lift up thy stakes,
Winds a path to make—

A stinging pain spread across her face. Her hand to her cheek, Senna stumbled back in shock. The earth trembled all around her.

Hand raised for another slap, Drenelle stood before her, chest heaving. “Who taught you that song?”

Senna suddenly grew conscious of the mud squelching between her bare toes. Bewildered, she searched for some kind of explanation. The Witchlings were on their feet, their expressions stunned. 

Feeling the perfect imprint of the woman’s hand, Senna dropped her head. “I— What song, Head?”

Drenelle scrutinized Senna like a dead spider in her tea cup. “Don’t lie to me!”

Senna opened her mouth, but the right answer refused to fill it. “Head?”

Drenelle seemed to remember where they were. She pointed to three Witchlings. “Go find the other Heads. Tell them to meet me at the Council Tree.” They pivoted and started away. “Run!” Drenelle shouted. The girls sprinted through the storm.

Drenelle gripped Senna’s arm and hauled her through the Ring and towards the largest tree on the island. Its buttressed roots were so wide and tall it would take a rope to climb them. The Council Tree.
Senna’s heart seized in her chest. “What have I done wrong, Head?”

Drenelle squeezed her arm so tight Senna winced. “Inside.”

The Discipline Head swung open the ponderous door between the two widest roots. Before them was a wooden desk set just in front of a set of spiraling stairs so smooth they appeared to be made of liquid frozen in place.

Mistin started out of her chair. Her eyes widened, and she shot Senna a concerned glance. The small Apprentice was the closest thing to a friend Senna had on the island.

Drenelle hauled her up the stairs, her footsteps heavy. At the top was a circular hallway with five doors. Drenelle marched for the largest door, directly opposite them. Inside was a crescent-shaped room with warped windows fitted between rifts in the tree. Bookshelves lined the walls.

Coyel sat beside the well-bricked-in parlor stove, a book in her lap. She looked younger with her blonde hair hanging loose down her back. “Brusenna? Drenelle, what’s this about?”

Drenelle started pacing from one side of the room to the other. “I don’t want to explain it three different times. We’ll wait for the others.”

Chavis came in moments later. She swung off her cloak and set it on a hook beside the fire. Today, her graying hair hung in twin braids. Senna nervously eyed the pistols Chavis never took off.

Drenelle shucked off her dripping cloak and threw it on a hook by the fire. Her wine-colored skirts were damp around the edges. “Where’s—”

Another voice overrode hers. “This better not be more idiocy about mining deposits in the middle of the Darkwell Sea.”

“There’s enough precious stones there to buy a whole fleet of ships!” Drenelle tried to growl, but it sounded more like a spitting cat.

Prenny went on as if Drenelle hadn’t spoken, “I was in the middle of creating my Ioa potion after Brusenna stole my last batch. It takes months to prepare. And I had to leave it in the care of a trembling Witchling. If that girl ruins it—” Prenny’s tirade stumbled to a halt when she finally noticed Senna. “What’s the Sprout doing here?”

Senna folded her arms across her chest. “I had to have that potion to save all of you from Espen.”
Coyel rolled her eyes heavenward. “Drenelle, is this about the earth tremor we felt earlier?”

Drenelle turned her scorching gaze from Prenny to Coyel. “Brusenna started to sing the Relocation Song. We’re lucky I stopped her before she moved us.”

Chavis sat up straighter. “She what?”

Senna knew she’d sung something forbidden, but she still didn’t know what. “The words were just there!”

Ignoring her, Chavis dropped into a chair. “And the island began to respond?”

“That’s impossible,” Prenny said as she held her hands over the stove. “Even a Seventh Level couldn’t make the earth shift. Not alone. A song that powerful takes hundreds of Witches.”

For the first time, Senna noticed that Drenelle looked rather pale—almost frightened. “I heard it.”

Every Head was silent. Senna moistened her lips. “I—I don’t know what’s happening.”

Coyel’s over-bright eyes fixed on her. “You began the song that moves the island.”

Senna took a step back. “I— What? No. I was only meditating on earth, like Drenelle said. And I heard music. It was so beautiful I sang along. And then I became frightened and the words came to me.”

“You heard music?” Chavis repeated with an undercurrent to her voice Senna didn’t understand. 
Anger or fear, or both.

Coyel laced her fingers over her stomach. “Did anyone teach you the Relocation Song?”

Senna shook her head. “I was just frightened, and words were there.”

“Frightened of what?” Prenny asked softy. She’d opened the grate and was staring into the fire. It was almost as if she were speaking to the flames.

Senna studied the oldest Head’s profile. For a woman in her sixties, Prenny had amazingly few wrinkles—probably because she knew of potions to diminish them. “You wouldn’t believe me,” Senna finally replied.

Her face flushed from the fire, Prenny studied Senna with a hard expression. “I might.”

Senna took a deep breath and told them everything that had happened in the Ring of Power. They listened without interrupting. Drenelle slumped in a chair, Chavis wore a grim expression, and  Prenny stood stiff and unmoving beside the fire.

When Senna finished, Coyel’s expression revealed nothing. “Is it possible for that many Witches to gather without our knowledge?”

Chavis blew out a breath. “Surely we would have felt such a thing through the Four Sisters—every time they sang together, the elements would have shifted.”

Drenelle sniffed. “Are you certain you didn’t just fall asleep?”

Senna didn’t bother answering.

Coyel rubbed her neck. “Foreign Witches would explain how two men entered the island uninvited and would relieve of us of finding a traitor.”

Senna bit her lip. “Can’t you strip the Dawn Song away from the other Witches?”

Chavis snorted. “We need a name or the actual person to banish him or her.”

Coyel sighed. “All right, Senna, we’ll take care of this. You go on home.”

Senna paused. “I’d like to help.”

Coyel smiled tightly. “Remember your place, Apprentice Brusenna. From now on, please remember that a Witch’s song is also a weapon. Best not to do something if you don’t understand the consequences.”

Her head hanging, Senna nodded.

Coyel motioned toward the door. “Please don’t repeat the song. We don’t want the words to become common knowledge. And don’t tell anyone about what happened tonight.”

Senna nodded again and had to stop herself from running out the door. As she started to pull it shut behind her, she heard Drenelle’s high voice. “You’re just going to let her go?”

“It’s begun.” Senna just caught sight of Prenny turning away from the fire. “I tried to warn you.”

At the old woman’s words, Senna froze and left the door open a sliver.

Coyel groaned. “I had hoped Senna would be spared.”

“You should tell her,” Chavis said softly.

What are they talking about? Senna wondered.

Coyel straightened to her full height. “Absolutely not. No matter what transpires, none of us can tell Senna. We all agreed to this.”

Chavis rubbed her forehead. “It’s not fair. She’s just a child.”

Prenny rested her hand on the Head of Water’s shoulder. “We’re not going to let her die.”

Die? Senna held her hand to her mouth to keep from gasping and alerting the Heads to her presence.
Prenny seemed to shake herself. She reached for her cloak. “I have a potion to tend to.”

The four women rose to their feet.

Senna backed away from the door, her mind numb with shock. Knowing they would come out at any moment, she pivoted and ran down the smooth steps two at a time.

“Brusenna?” Mistin called as she shot past the secretary’s desk. “What’s wrong?”

Senna didn’t pause. Didn’t even turn around. She just threw open the door and sprinted across the now-deserted Ring of Power.

Whoa. Awesome, right? Want to read more? Go to Clean Teen Fiction for Chapter 5. Want to back track?


~GIVEAWAY!~
It's a truth universally acknowledged that you can't have a blog tour w/out a fun giveway. Okay, well you can but it's more fun with one. Well I have one! Yay! I got some gorgeous signed bookmarks & stickers for Witch Song/Born from Amber and I'd love to give away my extras! One winner gets the swag, and the other will get an EBOOK of Witch Born! (If you still need to read Witch Song, it's $5 at the Kindle Store).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And that's it for Part One of my stop on the great Tour! Come back this afternoon for me reviews! Don't forget to enter the giveaway, visit Amber and tell her hi (and maybe happy dance with her since her book is released), and stop by all the other awesome tour stops! Happy Singing!


4 comments:

  1. I have not read it yet but would like to. Looks really interesting:) Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I haven't read it but i think it's awesome, it feels interesting. :) I love reading books that are super cool :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Erika - You'd like it! You're welcome!
    Gemmy-Totally is! :D Highly recommend!

    ReplyDelete

Heyo! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I love to hear from my awesome-sauce blog readers. You just made my day! I try to reply to every comment I get so if you have a question check back later! Or just link me up to your blog (if you have one) and I'll visit you! Have a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day! <333 Inky

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