ELISETTE is the second book in the CloudKingdoms series and is available from Desert Breeze Publishing. There are four books in the series: Caishel is already available; Tazia will be available on 21st February 2015 and Zaeyen on the 21st August 2015. All the books are set on the planet Hejmen and concern women from the individual dukedoms, each with its own Duke's castle flying in the sky.
Merchants and ordinary folk live downside. There are also the Eos, the indigenous people of the planet who have evolved to the point of spiritual beings, although their young are solid until they reach adulthood.
Elisette, usually known as Lise, is the stepdaughter of a northside farmer but when her stepbrothers begin to take an interest in her, her mother sends her away to Lan to find a job in one of the merchant's houses. Thanks to Capet Sard she gets employment as a nursemaid to the Duke and Duchess's children in the sky castle. Capet Sard and Lise fall in love, but when Sard is called back to his home in Rak, Lise is left in Lan. Rumours abound regarding Sard not returning and also an arranged marriage. Lise leaves Lan and journeys to Rak but all sorts of unpleasantness cross her path until she believes Sard and she will never be together.
With a sigh Lise closed the door and trudged upward. After a few more steps a white, wispy creature appeared on the stairs above her. The feet of the creature didn't touch the floor as it floated gracefully toward her. Her stepfather had scared her with tales of evil spirits inhabiting the island offshore from Landon. Lise hadn't believed him, but now her assuredness had been shaken and her body shrank back against the bare stone wall.
The spirit came abreast of her and stopped. Large limpid eyes turned in her direction. Her breath caught in her throat. Could her stepfather's tales be true? Would this being take her soul from her leaving her an empty husk?
Hello. The spirit's green eyes smiled at her, although its lips didn't move.
"Hello," Lise gasped in response.
The spirit nodded and continued down the stairs. Lise sagged with relief and hurriedly continued her climb before the full impact of what she'd seen registered in her mind. The being's lips remained still when the eyes smiled, and they had not moved when it spoke. The words had come directly into her brain!
Lise ran up the rest of the stairs and flung herself through the door on the next landing. Relief flooded through her when she recognized the nursery floor. Once through the nursery door she closed it behind her and leaned against the plaswood panels, trying to catch her breath.
"Mercy child, whatever's the matter?" Keva looked at her, concern written all over her face.
"I sa-saw," Lise stuttered, trying to pull her thoughts together. "I saw a spirit on the stairs."
"A spirit?" Keva's face cleared and she smiled. "You must have seen one of the Eos. They regularly come to visit the Duchess."
"Eos?" Lise had never heard of any Eos before.
"Wherever do you come from, child? I thought everyone knew about the Eos. They live on the island over the horizon from the harbor. They're the people who were here before our ancestors arrived on Hejmen."
"You said they were friends of the Duchess."
"Yes. They became friends after the Duke inherited Lan. The Duchess got lost and the Eos found her, but they needed help which the Duchess provided. Ever since, they've been welcome in the castle and the Duke protects their island. Nobody's allowed to land unless they're specifically invited by the Eos."
Lise didn't know whether to trust Keva's explanation or her stepfather's regarding the strange being on the stairs. She wisely remained silent. On her first day as nursemaid Keva didn't need to have any more doubts about her.
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