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  from Angel from the Underworld by Jo Carter

Chapter 1
Elisia, the Underworld

“I will not do this any longer,” Odette hissed at the frail old man. “You were not born down here. You don’t understand what it’s like to never have seen sunlight, the sky, the stars… I am seventeen now, father. And I am leaving.”

Odette spun on the heels of her dirty bare feet and made to run out of her father Aymen’s hollow, before his councilman Frasar grabbed her by her bony arm and she was locked in his grasp, and then there was no escaping. Not yet, anyway.

“My darling child, how can you possibly miss something which you have never had? How can you long for something which you do not understand? Everything that we have done is for the safety of our people, and there is nothing that I care more about than your safety, Odette.” Aymen coughed and awkwardly readjusted his position in his throne of bedrock.

Frasar knocked the young girl to the floor at the bottom of the stone steps to where her father sat, watching his child in sorrow. “Aymen, my Lord,” Frasar said in his deep throaty slur. “Maybe it is best to just let this one go. You have four strong sons, any of which would make a far better heir than this flimsy little scamp. Do you really think that she is suitable to rule the Underworld if she does not even want to be here?”

“He’s right, father. Maybe you should listen to your trusted adviser,” Odette said with loathing as she looked at Frasar’s smug bearded face. “Xanos could be your heir. He knows all these tunnels like the back of his hand and he is only two years younger than me. He would be the perfect ruler for Elisia.”

Odette was right – her younger brother Xanos had never been interested in the world above, and he would make a great Lord for Elisia. The caves he had grown up in were all he ever wanted to know. He loved the way the stone tunnels curled round and lead to secret hidden hollows where he could hide alone for hours on end. And he loved the Vast Cavern where the entire lower population of Elisia sit together...



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