Dear Emily Gref,
Immortality isn’t a gift. Elsbeth desperately seeks mortal witches to end the isolation which follows her through every life, every death. But she’s traveled the world and hasn’t found another witch for centuries. After taking refuge in her old home in Salem, Massachusetts, Elsbeth breaks her biggest rule: trust no one who isn’t magical. Elsbeth lies about her motives just enough to a strangely familiar non-magic human, an Innocent, named Andrew to elicit his help in her search. Andrew in turn invites Elsbeth to a supposed magic festival where she discovers the cruel reality that warlocks hunt witches. Except when a warlock finds a witch, he kills her.
In fact, warlocks encounter no trouble uncovering witches under the leadership of Hopkins, Elsbeth’s old executioner, in his goal to slaughter witches for warlocks’ gain. Terrified at seeing her torturer, Elsbeth flees the festival but is kidnapped by Hopkins where he reveals she is the last; she alone maintains the balance witches are taught to provide for mankind. Only Elsbeth’s immortality prevents the extinction of witches, yet Hopkins vows to break the curse and kill her as a mortal.
Elsbeth must escape, prevent Hopkins from killing her a second time, and protect Andrew whom she put in danger by letting him close. If Elsbeth dies, witchcraft ends, and all that is humane and good in the world ceases. But in order to stop Hopkins, Elsbeth fears she’ll have to sacrifice her magical teachings and become the evil she hopes to prevent.
Complete at 83,000 words, THE FLAME WARS is a contemporary adult fantasy novel with series potential. Please find below the first 250 words of the manuscript for your consideration. Thank you in advance for your time.
THE FLAME WARS
I am cursed; I was saved.
Blue smoke, thick as ash, swirls inside my body. Dropped in the dew-covered grass, I clutch my chest, roll over, and curl fetal. Hot bile stings my throat. Come on, heart, pump. Come on.
The smoke drags through me, forcing a shout, then chokes my lungs closed. One minute I’m convulsing on a gurney in New Orleans, the next I’m here--always here. Reborn in Germany after each death, twenty-five years old and still searching.
Some lifetimes I live for decades, others only a few years before… Either way, no one mourns me. Letting anyone close isn’t an option.
Sweat coats my scalp as pain splinters across my ribs. Not a moment too soon, the tight weight lifts and thick hazy spirals exit my body, form a cone above me, and vanish.
Come on, heart. Beat.
Frozen as a corpse, I stare at a spotted falcon circling above. I’d cry his name if I could.
Finally, oxygen rushes in, and I gasp. Shaky moans come between coughs and gags. My heart thumps as I shiver on the frigid ground while blood retraces my veins. Each death is the same. Each death is different. This time a car accident, last time a… I don’t recall. Time distorts my memory.
Tremors jolt my torso as my temperature normalizes. Full recovery is inevitable, but takes time. Time I don’t have.
Every inactive minute equals time lost in my search for witches.