HELLO FRIENDS! TODAY WE ARE SO EXCITED TO BE HOSTING THE RELEASE OF "THE CALL OF THE DARK", BOOK TWO IN THE SEARCHING FOR EDEN SERIES! JOIN US AS WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS GREAT BOOK WITH AN EXCERPT, A REVIEW, AND WE HAVE A SPECIAL SURPRISE! EDEN HIMSELF GAVE US AN INTERVIEW! SO COME ALONG WITH US AND LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!
The Call of the Dark (Searching For Eden #2) by Kathleen Kerridge
reviewed by: Becky
Eden has left. Trapped in the wrong realm, his soul torn in two, Khari is a shadow of himself. Hunted and trying to save the Fae from humans who want them dead, Khari is desperate to cross back to his own Realm—to Eden. With his people relying on his skills, and a Divide as impenetrable as an iron wall keeping him out of his world, Khari fights to find peace with his past and the memories that plague his mind.
One question haunts him. Why did Eden leave?
In the Elven Realm, Eden faces trials beyond anything any life before has asked of him. Heartbroken, lost and at the mercy of a monster, he has to draw on his strength like never before—just to ensure he will see another dawn. An evil is stirring and maybe stopping it is beyond even the powers of the gods. If he is going to save the Fae and Humans alike from the wickedness that threatens, he needs to join forces with the one man he would rather see cast to the flames of Hell.
Sometimes, after all, the heroes are also the nightmares.
Oh boy did this book live up to it's promise! I am so moved and shaken by this story, it is like it happened to one of my family! A great author writes the characters so well they become like your family, so you feel the emotions of the book ten fold! Eden will break your heart with his heartfelt sacrifice, and Khari will break your heart looking for him. This book speaks to your heart of a love that will not be torn apart, and a bond that will not be broken, no matter who tries to break it! Thank you Kathleen, for a sequel worthy of the epic first book! *5 Stars*
AND NOW AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
The sound of an owl screeching pierced the air. Khari watched Takana hold one hand to her mouth, replying to the call, then he turned east and ran in the direction Airell pointed. He heard Ollie's hooves pounding the earth behind him. Weaving through the trees, his heart pounding, Khari followed the dents in the soft ground that screamed of hundreds of footfalls. Eyes searching for a sign of his brother, Khari ran. He was still halfway ready to turn back and grab Takana and Felicity, futilely wanting to keep the small baby with him. Under his protection. Safe and sound.
Takana, though, was the best warrior the realm had. The greatest Border Guard in the history of the regiments, Takana could take on armies and win. She had got the better of Khari a few times, and that was no small feat. Better he join Gray and protect Ellie, who—while magnificent with her sais, and Alex's daughter—was pregnant and vulnerable.
“Shit,” he whispered to himself, darting onwards. He spotted the artificial glow of a flashlight to his right and groaned, skidding to a halt for a second. He turned in a circle and watched the bobbing beams steadily get closer.
“Ollie,” he called softly. He vaulted onto his horse the moment Ollie caught up with him. “Come on. Find the others…”
“I see one of them!” a man shouted.
A flashlight beam caught Khari full in the face as the shout was taken up by others.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Khari hissed, wheeling Ollie around and slamming his feet to his ribs. “It?” he whispered as Ollie ran. “I’m not an it…”
A loud report of a gun split the night. Ollie staggered.
“No!” Khari screamed, jumping from the huge black stallion before Oliver hit the mulchy earth. “No! Ollie, oh…god, Ollie,” he cried, scrambling over to his fallen horse.
Khari turned his head and watched as Alex and Cole sped past where he knelt by his stricken horse, Cole screamed his wife’s name, face contorted by fearful panic.
“Gray! Gray, where are you going?” Ellie shouted.
“Khari, fuck,” Gray said, kneeling at Khari's side.
“Get to Ellie,” Khari said. He held one hand on Ollie as healing magicks pulsed through his veins and flowed into his beloved horse. “I’m fine.”
“They’ll capture you.”
“Like fuck, will they,” Khari said softly, holding the fingertips of his left hand to the earth. Snakelike tendrils of sparkling white energy threaded across the forest floor. Sparking and hissing with violent power, the lights raced up tree trunks and deeper into the ground. The air hummed and the scent of petrichor flooded the wood. Rain began to pour, soaking them all in seconds.
“Get to Ellie,” Khari said again. He looked at Ollie, satisfied the horse was healed. “Take Ollie,” he added, standing up. He picked up his swords, holding one firmly in each fist. H started to twirl them slowly as the power lit the wood. Lightning seared through the pitch black sky. Khari looked at Gray and toed off his boots to stand barefoot on the sodden ground. He felt the magicks flow through the soles of his feet. The earth started to tremble and trees began to move like so many soldiers in a faceless army.
Gray backed away, staring at him as he reached for Oliver's mane and tugged him gently into the moving illuminated trees. “Be careful.”
Khari looked away, watching the beams of the flashlights close in. He heard the engine of a vehicle, and knew without seeing it that it was an army truck.
“Takana!” Cole screamed.
“Cole! Take the baby!”
“To the King!” Alex yelled. “He is fallen!”
Khari held one of his swords above his head, directing the lightning. He watched as ribbons of electricity wrapped themselves around his sword, then his arm, and finally his body. It created a living armour of pulsing static. Energy he could drink into his pores like lotion. It set his senses afire with its blazing heat. He walked forward, stepping on the balls of his feet over the rolling earth. He could feel the shudders of the building earthquake through his soles. The trees flowed through the soft earth; sentinels to push back the tide of humanity. He heard screams, but could not tell if they were human or Fae.
All around him, guns fired and bullets raced through the air. The Fae were caught in a dragnet. Khari held his arms out to his sides, freeing the lightning and setting the world around him on fire.
This time, he knew the screams were not of the Fae.
“Run!” he yelled, spotting Airell being dragged away by Alex.
He spotted a movement at his side and met the moss-green eyes of a woman he had never seen before. Her skin was the brown of a walnut shell, and her hair was a tangled mass of root-like snarls, deep earthy brown, circled by golden vines of entwined ivy. An undeniably royal crown. She bowed her head slightly in greeting, held her hands up to the heavens, and called something in a singsong voice.
The trees stopped moving forward through the earth, and grew where they stood. They twisted and turned, growing tall. Their branches became hands, reaching and grabbing for the running army that had attacked them.
Khari nodded at the woman. He created a wind to blow magical flames forward, determined to force the soldiers back. She smiled, dancing on light feet, guiding her own army of trees to crush weapons and fight the attack.
“Go, my prince,” she sang, smiling at Khari. A light touch of her hand skimmed Khari's cheek. “See to your fallen. These Children of Men shall bide here no longer. Get you away from this wood, and ride hard. Ride fast.”
“Who are you?”
“It matters not,” she said. “Ride to the north. A day and a night shall see you safe, for a time. There is no true safety, but you shall be safer North than South. The Children of Men will not rest, but I can buy you time.”
“I owe you,” Khari said, bowing a farewell. “Thank you, Lady.”
“You owe me, indeed,” she said. “I will collect. Now, go. Get your people safe, and see to your king. He is harmed. There are many who need you to heal and pray for them.”
Khari gave the woman one last, long look and ran after Alex through the rain. Aware of the trees as they let out a loud cry, closing in on the soldiers who had sought to capture the Fae.
Hello friends, today we are here with Eden, from Into the Woods fame, we are so pleased to have him, and I have so many questions to ask him, it is hard to narrow it down to a few, but Will try very hard! Welcome Eden! Let's get started shall we!
Eden: Let’s! But be gentle, I’m a bit nervous.
Bec: I’ll be gentle, I promise.
1. Bec: It seemed as though you never fit in with the people in your town, Eden. Was it a relief, when you found yourself in the Realm of the Fae?
Mostly, if I’m honest, I was basically terrified. I had finally broken through a Divide that everyone had always told me wasn’t real. I mean, kids talk about other worlds and make up crazy things. I guess that’s what folks thought was going on in my head, when I’d talk about the woods being magical. You're right—I never did fit in with the others in my town. I’d never really fit in anywhere. I’m half Indian and I speak funny, as far as most of the other kids at school, then college, were concerned.
I lived in Alabama until I was eight, in a back-woods farming community. Then me and Dad travelled all over the place before settling in England when he got his job. So I had the Alabamian accent from home, a slight Indian twang from my mama and then I took on the accent of Hampshire on top of that. I sound like what I am—a mixture of all things and places. It never helped with fitting in. Added to that was the fact that I would answer questions that other people were just thinking in their heads, and hadn’t said out loud. I would have episodes, when I’d see flashes of things. Terrifying images of things that generally hadn’t happened yet? That sort of thing. It was hard to deal with, especially as I never had much of a clue what was going on in my own head.
By the time I finally managed to break through to the Realm of the Fae, the images I was seeing in my head were awful. My future was nothing more than a void of loneliness, then eventually death, after a life of never knowing anything. Never knowing love. That thought above anything else upset me the most. I had nothing in the Human Realm. I knew the voice in my head was coming from the woods and I thought, if I could just cross, then it might give me peace in my mind.
Once I was over the terror of being in another world, yes, the relief was overwhelming. It helped that Takana happened to find me before I could go into a full meltdown. I tend to flap and panic before anything else, and I was starting to think I’d found an empty world where I’d be even more alone than I was back home. As soon as I got past that and Takana assured me I wasn’t alone, all I could think of was that it felt as though I was home. Finally, I was in a place where I knew I belonged and that was like having a huge weight lifted from my shoulders.
Bec: I get the whole not fitting in thing, when I was younger, and still today, if I get stressed, or sad, I retreat into my world of music and books. I don't have to deal with anything that I don't want to when I am there, not exactly another world, but close enough at that time. I live in Alabama! In a small town in the country! Small world, or worlds ;)!
Eden: Very small, yeah.
2. Bec: What was the most important thing you took away from your first meeting with Takana?
Gosh. Wow, there's so much about that day that still makes my head spin, all this time later. It was all so insane, you know? I’d been wanting to get through to that realm since I was a kid. Right back when my daddy first moved us to England from Alabama. It’d been a dream, for so long, and there I was. It was so…
Anyhow, I digress. On the day I met Takana, I’d felt at my lowest and most hopeless. I was lonely and the damned gang from the Council Estate had been making my life hell for so long. I had them to cope with, like, all the time, you know? It was hard to cope with and, on top of that I was thinking I was going nuts. I was hearing a voice in my head. I was seeing glimpses of futures I couldn’t understand. Everything was so hopeless. I’d broken through the Divide, sure, but I was still alone and still lonely. I was still the weird kid no one liked, inside my own head.
Then Takana was there. Straight away, through my fear—terror, shit, man, I was terrified, I really was—I could feel the kindness in her. She was all in my face and kinda scary and intense, but so kind. I knew I’d made a friend. It all felt right, I guess. I took so much from just those first few moments, let alone the entirety of that first day and night.
Out of everything she gave me and everything I took away with me, the most important was a sense of renewed hope. A sense of belief in myself, because if the Fae Realm was real and she was real, then maybe—just maybe—everything else could be real too. She gave me the knowledge I wasn’t mad. She gave me the hope I needed to be able to believe in myself. To believe in my dreams. She gave me the hope that the voice in my dream—Khari—could be as real as everything else. That my dream could become truth.
She also gave me a healthy respect for the effects of rotgut whiskey on the digestive system, taught me to cope with hangovers and, not least by any means, several new and inventive cuss-words. I can call someone a ‘cabbage headed fornicating bastard son of a donkey’ in all the Elvish tongues, as well as German…but that’s another story.
Bec: Haha, that is a lot to take in and learn for one day! I loved Takana from the first time I met her, and it sounds like you did too!
Eden: I really did. It’s hard not to love her—she’s just great.
3. Bec: What is the thing that scared you the most when you first learned about Jaizel?
The knowledge I was going to have to face him. As soon as I heard Khari say his name, the visions of the future I saw changed and started to clear. It wasn’t so much any one thing Jaizel did, or had done. More that I could see what my future would hold. Knowing I had no real choice about the path I was going to have to take, if I was going to protect the people I loved—that scared me.
I knew, from Khari and Gray, how powerful he was. The fact he scared Takana was also enough reason to be shitting myself, because nothing scares Takana, you know? If she's scared, then it means big trouble. He was spoken of as though he's some demon. That in itself was disconcerting, because when a single man is feared throughout an entire realm, and has been alive for over a thousand years, then you’re not dealing with your average psycho, are you?
All that was going through my head. Then the rage. Oh, gods, the rage I felt, over what he’d done and the crimes he’d committed. I wanted to kill him and, before then, I’d never really wanted to hurt another person. I wanted to kill him and tear him from limb to limb. My fear was made worse because I knew I couldn’t. All of the futures I saw had him in it…we couldn’t kill him, but I couldn’t work out why not. He had a reason to keep living—I just had to wait and see what that reason was. Push down my fright at the future I was seeing and just hope that another way would become available so I wouldn’t have to face what was coming.
Bec: Well damn right you were scared! He is a scary guy! Evil through and through, I can imagine it was hard for you to listen to all that he had done and what he could do, knowing there was nothing you could do about it.....yet.
Eden: It was so hard to listen to, yeah. But I’m a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason,’ however hard those reasons might be to see at the time.
4, Bec: When was the moment you thought you might have bitten off more than you could chew, in the Fae Realm?
Daily, from the second I arrived! I couldn’t believe for a moment that it was all happening to me. I met Khari, then…wow. I thought to myself, “Is this really happening to me?” I’m just me, right? Just Eden weirdo from England. I was doing A-Levels and then, all of a sudden, I was having my throat cut open and…it’s still hard to think of that day. I hadn’t dealt with anything like I had to when the camp was attacked. I lost a friend. That was so hard. The shock took a while to sink in, but I still think of what happened. It still haunts my dreams.
So yeah. I think the reality of everything hit me then. When Gray found us, everything was sinking in and I realised that I was in deep. It was my last chance to walk away, but I couldn’t. The thought of walking and never meeting the voice in my head? No—I couldn’t do that. I’m pleased I chose to stay. I couldn’t imagine life if I’d chosen to walk away. The time I had to spend with Khari meant so much. It was all I’d wanted. Despite knowing I was in over my head and was going down a route that I wouldn’t be able to turn back on, there was no way I could have done anything differently. It would have meant not having Khari, even though finding him set everything that happened afterwards into motion. If I could go back, then I’d change nothing.
Bec: I can totally understand that, if ti meant that you would never meet the other half of your soul, there is no way you would go back and do things over again!
Eden: No way at all! Whatever the future holds, I would never change the way things happened.
5. Bec: Khari said he dreamed you and you said the same about him. Can you describe the first time you saw him when you were wounded? Did it feel like coming home in a way?
Oh, yeah. Very much so. I’d first heard him, in my dreams, when I was about nine. Maybe ten, but around that age. Even before that, I had a sense of someone else being at the edges of my mind. Like, I was never alone, but I couldn’t find the other half of myself. It was horrible. When I met him? It was like all my wishes had been granted. It helped that he was so goddamn hot, too! The way he just swooped in, swords whirling and going all ninja? Oh, hell yes…that was amazing. Even with everything that had happened, and the fact it felt like my head was going to fall off, it was one of those moments that define a lifetime. I saw him and just knew him. Immediately, in that second, my life snapped into focus and everything made sense.
When he touched me, that’s harder to explain. It was a connection, but so much more than that as well. If felt as though I’d had lightning run through my veins, setting me on fire. Khari always says it felt as though he’d been spun round real fast a few-hundred times and then expected to walk. Something happened to certain people, when they first met me and touched me, and it made them kinda faint. I felt it too, with Airell, Gray and then especially Khari.
Then he lowered the scarves he wears and…I still feel the same sense of wonder, even just at the memory of him. His eyes. There was nothing else for me, just his eyes and him smiling at me. Yes, it was very much a homecoming.
Bec: I can only imagine that depth of love and emotion. Meeting the one you were meant to be with for always, even when you are wounded, and knowing instantly that he was the one you were searching for, that is very much a homecoming!
Eden: It was a beautiful moment, despite the situation.
6. Bec: What was the most fun thing you got to show Khari when he came to the Human Realm?
The fridge and the shower, without a doubt. It was all fun, mind. Everything from a cell phone right up to an airplane. A switch that turns on a light, to a television—it was all brand new. There were times, in the first few weeks of him living in England, that I felt a bit like an anthropologist who had supplanted a guy from Medieval times into the modern world. He picked everything up quickly enough, but it was a constant source of joy to be the one to show him so much he had never thought of.
He loved the fridge, though. I would wake up in the middle of the night and find him gone—it happened a lot; elves don’t sleep all that much—and he’d be in the kitchen, just sorting through all the items in the fridge. It amazed him. I mean, he’d come from a world where he kept meat edible by smoking it and hanging it from the rafters, so to speak. Dried produce and dehydrated vegetables had been his staple diet, along with what he could hunt. So supermarkets and fridges were beyond magical to Khari. I took him to Sainsbury’s and thought he was going to hyperventilate!
In general, though, just showing him the world I’d grown up in was pretty cool. He learned to work computers, microwaves and all the simple things you and I would take for granted. Washing machines? That sort of stuff, you know? He learned to drive and fell in love with cars. He said it gave him a freedom he’d never known—he could just get in his car and go, if you can get that? He embraced everything in the world he’d longed to see and loved it all…and then, at the end of the day, a nice hot shower was always fun to share.
Bec: Haha, I bet it was! That is so neat that you got to share all that with him! I bet it was nice for him to know exactly where you came from and experience it!
Eden: The few months we had together, in my home and world, were some of the funniest and most perfect I’d ever known. To experience that with him was brilliant. We made some memories, that’s for sure!
7. Bec: Do you think you were born to be the saving grace of the Fae?
Yes and no. It’s a lot more complicated than that. I am the final incarnation of an original god. It’s a mind trip, I know that much. Eventually, one day, I’ll gain my full powers and then, who knows what might happen. But I’ve rested and slept for so long…it’ll take a lot longer than a few months—even years—for me to get to the pinnacle of power that could be my destiny. I came back for a reason, and that I’m back at the start of the End of Days can’t be coincidence. I would die to save those I love, I know that, but I don’t think I’m here, this time, just to save the Fae. I spent nineteen years believing I was human, before I found out I was some old and almost forgotten god—I can’t help but think there's a reason for that.
But on the flip side of that, I see the world the Fae have, and I see the world the humans have, and I feel so torn. They're so different, with technologies and societies so disparate from each other, that to choose is close to impossible, but my loyalties are to Khari and my new family. I don’t know enough, yet, to know what I’m really here for. Not outside of my immediate future, I know what that holds, although some of it is still clouded.
I’m not here just to save the Fae, though. Not just to save Khari, or his family. I’m not here for one person or one set of people. I’m here because something big is coming around the corner and it needs to be stopped. I hold the power to stop it, I hope.
Bec: Yes I truly believe you do, as do the people that have pledged their lives to help you and protect you. Man that must be scary to know your loved ones will die protecting you!
Eden: It’s a huge responsibility and a scary one, yeah. When one of the Fae swear an oath, it’s binding—so to know they’d protect you at the cost of their own life is insane, but at the same time, it’s an amazing bond to have with people.
8. Bec: Your fate is pretty uncertain when we leave you, I know you left to save Khari, and everyone really, how hard was it writing that letter?
Eden: It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Leaving the first real family I’d known and leaving Khari nearly broke me. It did break me. I had to try to let Khari know I was leaving because there was no other way forward, but I never wanted him to feel guilt that I was doing it to save him. I’d wanted to write so much, tell him all I could, but the words wouldn’t come. I had to leave him something. Leaving that letter nearly killed me, though—knowing what it would do to Khari, knowing I couldn’t tell him the full truth and risk him going with me. I wouldn’t have had the strength I needed, if he had been there, being hurt again by Jaizel.
Life is always a series of choices and decisions. I had to choose between my own selfish happiness and something a lot more important than that. It was crushingly difficult to leave and to write that letter, but I would do the same again, if I had to. With the information I had, at the time, I felt it was the only option I had and, honestly, if I had the same visions of the future and the same pathways open to me, then I would make the same decision. I couldn’t lose everyone I love, be the death of so many beautiful people, or have Khari destroyed. It was me or them—which was no choice at all…uncertain futures notwithstanding.
Bec: I get it, and that took a lot of courage to do what you did, and I know it broke your heart, I am trying to hold onto the hope that there is a silver lining for the next part of your story!
Eden: Well the path ahead isn’t an easy one, but I’m hanging on to my hopes and dreams. It’s not over until it’s over, as they say.
Bec: Thank you so much Eden, for being here with us, and talking about things I know are hard to remember, but impossible to forget! We wish you the best, and hope you accomplish what you need to do in the future!
Eden: Thank you very much for the chat! I really enjoyed myself.
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