The thrilling conclusion to the award-winning fantasy trilogy that began with A School for Sorcery...As Gray Becq is about to discover, there are fates worse than death. It has been a full year since his escape from the Dire Realm. A year since a fellow student--having used his powers of sorcery to league himself with dark forces--betrayed him. Locked him away in a world beyond time, a world of unspeakable evil and unbearable tortures. Had it not been for Tria Tesserell and her extraordinary powers, he surely would have died. Now he almost wishes he had.For no sooner has Becq adjusted himself to the familiar surroundings of The Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted than a series of horrible accidents occur. Suspicion falls on Gray. Could he have brought a demon back with him from the Dire Realm? To find the truth, Gray will have to confront the most powerful demon he has ever faced: the demon that lies within. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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January 01, 2005
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Excerpt from When the Beast Ravens by E. Rose Sabin
Rehanne was excited, and eager to share that excitement with Gray. Summer break was over; a new school year was about to start. Her last year. She anticipated that it would be a good one for her. She hoped it would be good for Gray as well. Last year he'd been so moody, so often depressed, but she resolved to do all she could to help him regain his formerly sunny nature--starting with a cheery greeting as soon as he stepped off the bus that was due to arrive in less than an hour.
She had come a day early to fix up her room, greet her friends and catch up on their news, and relax before plunging into the daily routine of classes and study assignments. Her new roommate, Chantal Navarese, had gotten in this morning.
Rehanne had expected to room with Petra Stratigeas, her previous year's roommate. She and Petra had gotten along well; she scarcely knew Chantal. But she learned that each of the third-year women had been assigned a second-year roommate.
Rehanne had seen her new roommate only briefly. When the younger girl arrived, Rehanne had left Chantal to unpack and arrange her things and had gone off to spend time with Petra.
When the time approached for Gray's bus to arrive, Rehanne returned to her room to freshen up before going tomeet him. She was greeted by the sight of her roommate on hands and knees, rump in the air, face near the floor.
"What are you doing, Chantal?"
The girl swiveled around and peered up through the long blond curls that had fallen in front of her face. "I've lost a good diamond earring. You've got to help me find it."
"Sorry, I don't have time. Gray's coming in. I have to meet the bus." Rehanne went to her dressing table and picked up her comb.
Chantal straightened and brushed her hair from her eyes. "Be careful where you walk," she snapped. "You could step on it and break it. I've got to find it. It's very valuable--and it's not mine."
"Whose is it?" Rehanne asked, not really caring but trying to show some interest for politeness' sake. Her mind was on Gray, not her roommate's predicament.
"It's my mother's--a family heirloom. And ... and she doesn't know I have it." Tears spilled from Chantal's hazel eyes. Her long lashes closed and opened like butterflies' wings. "Please, please help me."
If the foolish girl had stolen her mother's valuable earrings, she deserved to suffer. But the tears aroused Rehanne's sympathy. Chantal's distress seemed genuine and deep. Rehanne glanced at the clock. The bus was scheduled to arrive in five minutes, but it always came late. She could spare a few minutes to help her roommate. She didn't want their year together to get off to a bad start.
"How big is the earring? What does it look like?" As she asked the questions she got down on her knees and searched around her dressing table and desk.
"It's a small silver filigree crescent with the diamond in its center," Chantal replied. "Here, I'll show you the other one." She scrambled to her feet, went to her dresser, and took a small object from a silver tray, held it out for inspection.
Rehanne caught her breath. The description had been accurate but had not captured the earring's delicate beauty. She touched the tiny crescent with the tip of her finger, admiring the intricate silver lace that cradled the gleaming, many-faceted diamond.
The missing earring had to be found, but it could have rolled anywhere; the light was poor, and the floor held the summer's accumulation of dust. Blast Chantal! How could she have been so careless?
They searched and re-searched every inch of floor, pulled apart the bedding on both beds, looked through dresser and dressing table, emptied drawers. Every time Rehanne protested that she must leave to meet Gray, Chantal's wails persuaded her to stay a little longer. Her hands were dirty, her face was probably as smudged with dust as Chantal's was, her skirt was wrinkled from crawling around on the floor, and her clean white blouse had lost its freshness. She was thoroughly disgusted with Chantal, and with herself for yielding to the girl's entreaties.
"Are you positive you lost it here in the room?"
Chantal answered with an emphatic nod.
"Tell me what happened."
"I wore the earrings to lunch. I wanted to impress ... someone."
The coy admission would have amused Rehanne had she been in a better mood. Chantal's unrequited passion for tall, handsome Kress Klemmer was well known.
Her brow furrowed with the effort of remembering every detail, Chantal continued. "After lunch I came back here to write my parents, to let them know I got here safely. I didn't have time last night. I took off both earrings, put them in the tray on my dresser, and sat down at my desk to write. I'd written one page and started on a second, when I spilled ink. I couldn't find a blotter, so I ran to the washroom for asponge, came back, cleaned up the ink, and had to rewrite the second page. When I finished the letter, I was going to go mail it. I went to put my earrings on. And I could only find one." She walked to her dresser and stared at the single earring in the tray. "The other one is not in this room. Someone must have come in and stolen it while I was in the washroom."
"Chantal, that's ridiculous. Who would steal one earring? They were together; a thief would have taken both of them."
"Well, it can't have disappeared into thin air. If no one took it, it has to be here somewhere. We've got to keep hunting."
"There's nowhere else to hunt." Rehanne looked at the clock and gasped. "Gray must be here by now. He'll be wondering where I am."
She rushed from the room, furious with her roommate for detaining her and with herself for having wasted so much time. Gray had tried to be cheerful in his letters through the summer, but she could tell he was still depressed, still floundering with no sense of purpose. She knew, too, how hard it was for him to trust people after what happened.
But he trusted her. And she'd let him down. Not a good way to start their final year at Simonton School.
Gray walked through the double doors, stopped in the foyer, and set his suitcase down. He took a deep breath, inhaling the familiar stale smell, feeling the dust-dryness of the place. The bare wood floor was scuffed and dirty; the low-watt bulb in the ceiling fixture scarcely penetrated the gloom. Simonton School hadn't changed.
He'd expected Rehanne to be waiting when he got offthe bus in front of the school. But maybe she hadn't known when he'd be arriving. He picked up his suitcase and entered the formal parlor. The uniformed peace officer lounging against the wall just inside the door was an unexpected sight; usually the Millville authorities ignored the school.
The peace officer glanced in his direction and looked away, his gaze roving about the room. He showed no interest in Gray, yet Gray found his presence unsettling.
Veronica, the school maid, scuttled past him, a short, plump woman with eyes like raisins. "Ignore him," she muttered without stopping.
Trying to follow that advice, Gray scanned the faces of the few students who sat chatting in the parlor. Three young women, two young men, all unfamiliar. First-year students, looking very young and more than a little scared. He should talk to them, encourage them. He knew how daunting the first days at Simonton could be.
He did not speak to the students. Instead, his gaze wandered to the portrait hanging on the wall over the mantel--a portrait of a young man in the dress of the past century. He had always found it depressing, with its dark wood frame, the subject's red hair dull against the dark background, face partially in shadow. It seemed odd that the artist had chosen to paint his subject in such somber tones, with so little highlighting.
He felt a kinship with that youth for whom the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted was named, who perhaps had been so darkly painted to reflect a darkness of spirit. So might a present-day artist capture Gray on canvas.
But he was dawdling, hoping that Rehanne would come. Headmistress might be able to tell him where Rehanne wasand why she hadn't kept her promise to meet him. He might as well report in and get his room assignment.
Not that he was eager to settle in. He regretted coming back. No, Simonton School hadn't changed.