Read a Chapter is *NEW* added feature at As the Pages Turn! Here you’ll be able to read the first chapters of books of all genres to see if you like them before you buy them. Today we are featuring the young adult fantasy, The PureLights of Ohm Totem, by Brandon Ellis. Enjoy!
Title: The PureLights of Ohm Totem
Genre: YA Fantasy
Author: Brandon Ellis
Purchase on Amazon
It was nightfall. A snow leopard walked toward a split in the river. The wind howled against her body as fur clung to her skin. She leaned into heavy gusts, digging her claws deep into the earth, keeping herself upright. Her eyes were mere slits, protecting her from flying dirt and ash swirling violently in the air. The once lush, sacred land was now burnt to black cinder. Smoke rose from the ground, wildly spinning in harsh wind. The old dwellings, formed from earth and fallen branches, were mostly gone—turned to embers.
She stopped near the river’s edge, facing the mountain range to the west. The mountains stood like black silhouettes amidst dark gray clouds. She turned her head to the north, sensing a group of eyes hidden behind a shadow of trees. They were watching her.
The snow leopard closed her eyes, then took a deep breath. A flicker of light flashed above, casting shadows from clouds, trees, boulders, and smoke across the land.
Opening her eyes, she sat down on her hind legs, folding her long tail over her paws. She stared patiently ahead. More than just instinct had led her here.
Another strong gust of wind lashed against her body, making her grip the earth even deeper. She closed her eyes again. An instant later the wind calmed, allowing her to let go of the charred earth. She looked at the night sky as the gray clouds parted—one half flowed north, the other half south—revealing a star-filled canopy above.
Suddenly she winced. A large comet raced across the sky, painting a crystal-blue streak among the stars above the mountains. Her eyes intently followed the blue comet as it slowly vanished into the western horizon. Then she nodded to the sky, as if communicating with it in some mystical way.
The snow leopard dropped her gaze, eyeing the ground in front of her paws. A rolled up scroll, which wasn’t there a moment before, lay in front of her. Placing her paw on one end of the scroll, she nudged the opposite end toward the river with her nose. It rolled out, revealing gold paper thickly outlined in black.
She stared into it. A word formed, then more, until the scroll was filled with words. It read:
Two children from a forgotten land will purify the energies, bring back the old ways, and unite the PureLights once again, putting an end to the coming Shiver.
~ Windstorm Prophecy
She removed her paw from the scroll, nosing one end closer to the other, and rolled it up. She gently grasped it between sharp teeth, then stood on all fours. She sniffed the air. Danger was near.
A burst of wind buffeted against the snow leopard, slightly unbalancing her. Closing her eyes, the wind slowed to a slight breeze. Opening her eyes, she turned and slowly walked to the east, passing several mounds still smoldering from the fires that had once engulfed them.
She looked north, feeling a group of dim eyes burning deeply into her snowy pelt. She knew they’d killed before. She knew they wanted to kill again.
Continuing to walk eastward, she came to a large dwelling mound half-burnt to the ground. It gave off heat, but little smoke. She sniffed. It was empty of life. She glanced once more at the ruined land and a pain of sorrow sank deep within her. Everything around her was dead. Her friends. Her family. Everything.
Lifting her head, she stared to the north once more, narrowing her eyes as she studied a thick fog hovering in a stand of sparse trees in the distance. Still clutching the scroll, she gave a loud moan and watched the fog for several more moments, waiting for a reply.
Turning to leave, she noticed something on the ground. Something important. Fresh tracks. She sniffed intently—panther scent. Her head jerked, her eyes widened. He’s alive and he was here only moments ago. Why didn’t she sense him?
Just then she heard several yelps. She turned to face six white wolves walking cautiously toward her. Their fur bristled and their ears were pulled back. They advanced toward her with low growls. It was a display to induce fear, one that was wasted on the snow leopard.
Backing up slowly, the snow leopard moved her head from left to right, studying each wolf as the group began to surround her. The closer they came, the tighter she held the scroll. Suddenly she stopped, surprising and confusing the pack. Their usual slaughters involved a chase.
A flash of light appeared silently above. The pack looked up as the light changed from white to crystal blue, sending a hue of color against the land, then it slowly faded away. Something about this omen told the pack that tonight’s prey was different, something they’d never encountered before.
The pack leader glared at the snow leopard as he let out a loud, throaty growl, saliva dripping from both sides of his mouth. The wind from the north picked up just as the leader crouched and leaped at her with bared teeth.
She easily side-stepped the attack. The leader landed directly on the spot she’d just occupied, swiping in vain at empty air. Another wolf sprang. Her back was to him, but she spun out of the way and swatted his backside, sending him further along his planned course. His outstretched paws gripped the earth as he landed, stopping him just inches from a burnt tree.
The snow leopard sat down, calmly looking back at the leader, then exhaled as she placed the scroll on the ground. She licked her paw, wiped her forehead, and picked the scroll back up. She blinked softly, purring. She seemed content with the situation.
The leader pulsed with adrenaline as he jumped at her again, thrusting his feet outward, hoping to knock her over at the shoulders. She crouched, twisted toward him, deftly moving directly under his body just as he was at full height. She flipped on her back, facing her belly to his, briskly planting her feet on his stomach, pushing firmly in the direction he had jumped.
The wolf, surprised, landed much further away than intended, and lost balance, somersaulting head over heels as he yelped with pain. When he stopped tumbling across charred earth, he shook his head, flinging dirt and ash from his fur, then sprang to his feet. He gave a high-pitched growl, signaling the pack to form a line in front of the snow leopard. Growling in unison, they obeyed. The leader barked an order and one by one they attacked her.
And one by one they missed.
The snow leopard shook her body like a wet dog, then sat back down on her hind legs, waiting for the next attack.
The leader signaled for the pack to regroup. They formed another line, standing to the east of her, blocking a throng of trees that formed the outskirts of an enormous forest.
She stared longingly beyond the pack to the forest’s edge. They knew it was her only escape.
She looked up to the night sky as a thin set of clouds whisked by, uncovering a full moon. Her brow crinkled in worry. She must find the panther. The wolves crouched low, ready to attack. This time it was the whole pack all at once.
The snow leopard had had enough. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Instantly, the growls stopped and six thuds echoed through the air. She opened her eyes. In front of her, the wolves lay on their sides, breathing deeply, looking as if they were sleeping comfortably in their dens.
She bowed her head, and then with a flick of her tail sped off toward the wall of trees to the east. Just before entering the forest, she stopped and put down the scroll. She nudged it open, peering into it again. She glanced over her shoulder. The wolves were still asleep. She closed and picked up the scroll and looked up to the night sky. Blinking softly, she purred in gratitude for the scroll held in her jaws. A moment later she leaped forward into the thick forest, vanishing into shadow.