Reign of Ash Release and Mother of Shadows

Meg Anne has always had stories running on a loop in her head. They started off as daydreams about how the evil queen (aka Mom) had her slaving away doing chores; and more recently shifted into creating backgrounds about the people stuck beside her during rush hour. The stories have been there, they were just waiting for her to tell them. Like any true SoCal native, Meg enjoys staying inside curled up with a good book and her cat Henry… or maybe that’s just her;
sunburns hurt! You can convince Meg to buy just about anything if it’s covered in glitter or rhinestones, or make her laugh by sharing your favorite bad joke.
She also accepts bribes in the form of baked goods and Mexican food.




“You will damn us all.”
Kiri Helena Solene thought her trial was over.
She was wrong. Prophesied to be the
strongest of her kind, Helena is still coming to
terms with the depth of her power and what it
means to rule.
Unfortunately, there’s little time to learn.
“Without the tether you will fracture.”
As her soul mate, Von is Helena’s balance. Too
bad he’s missing. When he disappears, her
tenuous hold on her magic begins to slip.
Helena must find Von, and soon, or risk losing
control completely.
If only she knew where to look.
“You have a choice before you.”
A malevolent force has risen; threatening the
lives of Helena and those in her Circle. What
they don’t realize is that without Von she will
become the thing they most fear. How do you
choose between the people you’ve vowed to
protect and the one person you can’t live
How do you choose when there’s no choice at


The figure in the center moved forward. Long skeletal fingers appeared from the
bottom of its sleeves to lift the hood back to reveal its face. There was a startled gasp
behind her, but it was the only sound in the entirety of the clearing. Even the animals
had decided to make themselves scarce for this particular meeting.
Helena couldn’t blame them. The Keepers were terrifying. There was no other
word for the beings that stood before her. The other two followed the lead of the first
and removed their hoods. She swallowed thickly, silently wishing they would put them
Their faces were gaunt, hairless, and a white so pale, she could make out the
pulsing of purple veins beneath the thin skin. Their eyes were pits of black and their
mouths were stitched shut, thick black cords woven in a crisscrossing pattern along the
length of them. The only distinguishing marks between them were the swirling tattoos
that covered almost every visible inch of skin. The markings were a deep navy blue, but
as Helena stared at them, they seemed to shift and move in a serpentine fashion.
Without conscious thought, Helena decided the only way to get through this
encounter was to brazen it out. “It would seem that Miranda got the looks in the
Behind her Kragen and Ronan snickered with appreciation, while she saw
Timmins close his eyes in dismay. Miranda’s own lips curled in an approving smile.
“Kiri, may I introduce you to the Triumvirate,” she said by way of introduction.
“These are the oldest of the Keepers, those who have sworn their loyalty to the realm
and have shaken off all vestiges of their past lives in order to lead and offer guidance
without any of the bias of mortality.”
“One could argue that it is mortality that allows for the most valuable of
guidance,” Helena murmured.
“Our Kiri is wise,” the voices hissed in her mind. It was hard to discern any type of
emotion, but Helena could have sworn she sensed amusement.
“You will have to forgive my ignorance,” Helena replied, “I had not realized the
head of the Keepers would be gracing us with their presence.”
“Nor had I, Kiri, or I would have better prepared you,” Miranda said drolly. There
was a hint of censure in her voice, as though she was not pleased by the appearance of
the Triumvirate.

The figure in the center tilted his head to the side as though examining her. 
“Perhaps it is us who should ask your forgiveness. We were merely curious to see whom
the Vessel would be, after carrying the prophecy for so many years. We could not miss
an opportunity to meet the woman who is responsible for the fate of the Chosen.”
“No pressure,” Ronan muttered.
Helena raised an eyebrow in response, “I hope that I have not disappointed you
after such a long wait.”
“You are more than we allowed ourselves to hope for,” the voices echoed.
Helena shivered at their response, not feeling overly comforted despite the
“Seeing as we are all aware of the prophecy how is it you think to help us?”
Timmins asked. It was the most outright disrespectful she had ever heard her Advisor
and Helena turned towards him in surprise.
The Keepers’ faces turned towards him in unison. “You know of the Mother of
Shadows, of what will befall the Chosen if the Vessel becomes corrupted, but you know
nothing of the Corruptor. Nor what it will take to defeat her. We merely offer
information… and a choice.”
“A choice?” Helena repeated, her eyes snapping to the central figure.
There was a slight dip of its head, “There is always a choice, Kiri.”
“Convenient,” she bit out, her stomach twisting inside of her.
“Our words will be for you alone, Kiri, if you wish to hear them.”
Helena swallowed back her fear and stepped towards them, “Very well.” As she
spoke, all three lifted their hands towards her.
“Helena!” Darrin cried out in warning.
“Kiri!” the others’ voices echoed, the whistle of blades being drawn sounding
behind her.
The black pits where their eyes used to be began to glow scarlet. Helena could
not look away, drawn to what she saw within the fiery depths. As one, the Triumvirate
touched her. Helena heard someone scream and had the distant thought that it might
be her. There wasn’t enough time for her to consider the notion further because she
was already falling.

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