Unmade (Unborn #4) by Amber Lynn Natusch

Prologue





The building shook with the impact of an unknown force. White marble fell from the ceiling beside me, crashing to the floor at my feet. The room I had called home since I had arrived within the Hallowed Gates was disintegrating around me, and if I did nothing, it would soon be my tomb.

As I dodged the falling debris, chaos erupted in the halls outside. The sounds of shouting and wings unfurling echoed into my room beneath the closed door. I ran to it, wanting to join the fight against whoever was attacking, but when I turned the handle, the door would not move.

With every punishing blow that shook the ivory tower I found myself locked in, I tried to rip the door free, but my efforts were in vain. Whatever magic held me in could not be overpowered by brute force. Or lightning. Or fire.

As the room around me slowly turned to rubble, I darted for the window. It, too, proved to be warded by some strange magic that felt foreign to the touch. But glass was a liquid, and with that in mind, I tried the Dragon’s fire once again, channeling it at the massive window that spanned the height of the opulent room hemming me in. The magic struggled against my attack, then finally gave way. A hole large enough to squeeze through presented itself, and I quickly stuck my head and shoulders out. I had not yet called my wings because I knew they would not fit, which left me in a precarious position. The fall was long and perilous—and barely far enough to call my wings in time.

But that reality was quickly eclipsed by the scene playing out before me.

Light Ones peppered the sky, cutting through plumes of smoke. Explosions continued to shake the buildings of the Hallowed Gates, and the glass I was perched upon cut through my leathers with every attack.

Darkness swallowed everything in sight, and I knew I had but one choice: escape, or face whatever force was upon us. Thoughts raced through my mind. Where had my mother gone? Was the reason she left related to this attack? Were my brothers safe? My father? Oz? Or had the Dark Ones overtaken them and somehow broken through the Hallowed Gates to defile the very place they had once called home?

There was but one way to find out.

With great effort, I pushed my body through the glass and immediately free-fell toward the ground below as I forced my wings to come. With every passing second, I grew closer and closer to death. Just as the ash-covered quartz below came into view, my wings burst forth, and I shot back up into the air. Visibility was non-existent, but I circled the grounds I had seen upon my arrival, calling out for my mother.

The mother I had only just met.

“Do not fret, Khara,” she had told me as she had rushed me down the sunlit hall of the ivory tower. “We will find a way to fix this—all of it.” Her smile had been so full of hope. “This will be your room for now. Please stay here until I return. There is something I must check on quickly, but once I am finished, I’ll be all yours. I have so much I need to tell you—so much I want to hear.” With her beaming smile intact, she had slipped out into the hallway and closed the door behind her.

That was the last time I had seen her.

And as the war in the Hallowed Gates waged on, I wondered if it would be the last time I would ever see her.

As I wove through the fray, my wings clipping debris and buildings and possible falling angels, a voice cut through the din. A dark and ominous voice. One that knew my name.

“Khara…” it called from everywhere and nowhere, from over and under and through me. It was a trap that ensnared me, caging me in as I tried to outrun it. “Khara…”

“No!” I shouted back at the one whose name I dared not speak. “This is not real!” I shouted back at him as I searched my mind for his presence. Trying to focus on the feel of him as it had been when I had helped to force him from Aery’s mind.

But I found nothing, and my heart felt true fear as it never had before.

Phobos had penetrated the Hallowed Gates.

With no sign of my mother and no knowledge of how to defeat the fear god, I did the only thing I could think of—the thing I knew Oz would have been screaming at me to do had he been at my side where he belonged.

Get the fuck out of there. Live to fight another day.

So I did as his memory bade me and shot toward the gates, leaving the shadowy melee behind me. I flew through the broken entrance and never looked back. But I could feel the eyes of the fear god on me.

And I knew that time would not be the last.





1





I flew over our decaying Detroit neighborhood, headed for the Victorian with a desperation I had never known. It only grew when I saw smoke in the distance. As I neared, my chest seized and my heart raced. I landed in the street at the curb of our lot. What I found awaiting my arrival was nothing short of total devastation.