Brightly Woven

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken Read Free Book Online

Book: Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alexandra Bracken
Tags: english eBooks
before me, and for the first time I saw the horrible scars that he had kept hidden beneath his hat. The right side of his face looked as though some wild animal had mauled it—his eyelid had melted down his cheek, and the deep, redlines continued across his face to where his ear should have been.
    His free hand took mine again, and I couldn’t pull away.
    “What—?” I choked out. I squeezed my eyes shut against the smoke. The air smelled of ash, of fire. I forced my eyes open again, but I was no longer in the tavern. I was in Cliffton, in the village marketplace. I recognized most of the faces as they ran past me, past the soldiers who were dragging families from their homes. Mr. Porter screamed for them to stop, to spare his house, but the soldiers threw the torch on the building’s roof anyway. And I screamed, too; I screamed until I couldn’t get enough air into my chest. The nighttime sky, usually so clear over Cliffton, was nothing more than a haze of orange. The world was dizzy and awful. I clutched my necklace in my hand, a wave of nausea passing through me.
    With my free hand, I felt in my dress pockets for something sharp. A new blast of fire flew past my head and sent the strange man sprawling to the floor. That magic could only have come from a wizard.
    “North!” I called, waving the smoke away from my face.
    I felt a pair of arms wrap around me, but I wasn’t about to be taken by a soldier that easily. I kicked and clawed at the fabric of his uniform, screaming, “Let me go!” I screamed again. “North!”
    “I’m here!” he said, and I felt the arms around me tighten. “Stop, stop, it’s not real!”
    It had to be real—I saw my father and mother and Henry; I saw the swords and horses. The ground was shaking with the force of soldiers stampeding through the village. I couldn’t force the smoke from my lungs or stop the pounding in my heart. I squeezed my eyes shut again, praying this was nothing more than a nightmare.
    It must have been; I opened my eyes again, only this time it was to North’s face and the sight of a clear sky behind him. Dellark, somehow I was back in Dellark—but the ground was still trembling and the roar that I had attributed to the horses was actually the sound of the stone buildings and bridges grinding against one another.
    North used the fire, I realized.
    “Wait here!” North shouted, dragging himself to his feet. I pushed myself off the ground, narrowly avoiding the patrons fleeing the tavern and surrounding buildings. The wizard pushed through them, heading straight for the quaking buildings. He ducked inside and emerged a moment later with our belongings. He threw them in my direction.
    “We need to go!” I yelled, my voice still hoarse. “It’s not safe!”
    “Not yet—” North’s jaw set in a line of determination, and I saw him ripping his green cloak from the others. He set it flat on the ground, pressing his hands hard against it. The green cloak faded into the street. I watched, mouth open, as the tavern and buildings around us stopped moving. It lasted only a moment. When the tavern began to moveagain, he dug his hands harder into the ground, with more insistence.
    North caught my eye for a moment, then he nodded, once, twice, and the green cloak reappeared on the ground, caught beneath the loose rubble. I pulled the loom and my bag to my chest.
    I scrambled to my feet, pushing my hair out of my eyes, and then North was behind me, pulling me toward him. I didn’t have time to move; he wrapped his black cloak around us, up and over our heads, and blocked out the image of crumbling stone.
    “What—?” I choked on my own words, my heart dropping again into my stomach. We were sliding sharply downward, the air buzzing and singing. The world went dark around us, but there was no more fear in my heart.
    Ah , I thought, feeling the first brush of tingling warmth as we fell into the unknown. Magic .

CHAPTER THREE

    I didn’t have time for another

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