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CURSED The Hunger Inside by Casey M Millette


Cursed: The Hunger Inside 
Publisher: Parliament House Press 

  A war rages between kings and clans for centuries, their nations split and their kingdoms fallen. Caught in the midst of poverty and bedlam, twenty-year-old Aldor faces a choice. Should he leave home and start his life anew, or stay and protect what little he has? Aldor has only made one friend in his life and has never seen a legendary creature before. As soon as he steps beyond his door, he finds himself an outlaw, hunted by creatures of pure fantasy. Forced into joining a team of misfits in a race to recover a sacred, lost stone, Aldor finds unexpected friendships and adventure. But just as things start to look promising, disaster strikes, wielding the unexpected and the terrifying! Aldor's life will never be the same as he struggles with true feelings of fear, loss, love, and suffering for the very first time 



 It hurts. There isn't a way to describe a stab-wound that justifies it, so that'll have to do. It was a close call – being pinned down to the floor like an insect to a ruddy scientist's board, nor was it an experience I'd recommend. If it wasn't for Jethro, once the metal entered my skin, it would've been over within a heartbeat. Glimpsing Farthan's smirk but unable to hear his words as he screeched—a brittle sound—was enough for me. It’s been days.
 Days since the bloody squeals of arrows, chains, and pullies… like the gateway to hell started, and I’d be lying if I’d told you it hasn't been pandemonium. It’s hard to remember where we came from or where we’re going, King Jethro, the troops, and I as we cower between the only thing between us and Farthan: a rock wall not a meter thick. Every time the sun is snuffed out, we see nothing; rock behind, death ahead. Having Farthan gut me like a fish last night made me wonder – There wasn’t anything else. The rest of the narrative was splattered with far too much blood for comfort. Crimson stains seared away the rest of the lettering like a burn charring flesh, little droplets here and there dotting the i’s for Rowan as a favor. It was the last thing the man had written since the demolishing of Bishopthrope Citadel. Like most stories, good had won in the end. Shortly after Rowan’s death, King Jethro had been able to rally his troops to victory against Farthan and the army he'd bred himself. Orcs hadn’t been used as an asset of war since ancient times, but Farthan had figured how to change that quickly. The library was a greasy place. That's probably the reason why Aldor never got into books. He hadn't thought it possible for firelight to look sticky, but the torches lining the walls of the dungeon-like athenaeum certainly did. Books. Crackling. Papercuts. Old ladies. Ugh, definitely not the best place in the world. Aldor closed the script gently and shoved it behind the counter again. Two things got him the special privilege of having access to the real archives hidden in the library: being Rowan's son and having Prince Jonathan as his best friend. Some people argued that Aldor was only Jon's friend because of the benefits, but seeing as Aldor didn't have the guts to interact with anyone else, that speculation dissolved quickly. A good eighteen years had come and gone since his father had passed away, and now all Aldor could do to be sure Rowan existed once was stare at his blood drippings that dotted the manuscripts. Despite the wounds carved into the teeth of mountains and the marks searing the moors, it was like Eldoran had fallen asleep. Orcs hadn’t been seen in nearly two decades and civilians were off their guard. It was like a curtain that had briefly encircled the world was thrown back. No one second-guessed another’s intentions, the smog of war rendered the north completely untouched. His heels slapped the library floor, the echo of his footsteps strangely satisfactory as he strode through the corridors. The light poured in now and poked his eyes, having to adjust to the brightness of the world above ground. Aldor was pleased to say that he had more to life than studying ancient scripts. Aldor lived in Dagon, a northern agricultural realm, for longer than he could remember. Glen, his nurse from infancy, told him so. His world was composed of the empty plantations stitched together by hedges and nothing else. The hunger for change burned in his belly whenever he saw the guards ride into the forest that enclosed the tiny bubble he called home. He hated it. He hated the feeling because it couldn’t be contented. His head was too busy to notice much of the market, so all the faces, sounds, and sights were only smears of memory. The market stood in a vast, cobblestone square, circled by dense forest on all sides. The Castle is a bit monstrous with gargoyles to match, looming several thousand feet high, its spirals tickling the sky's underbelly. Shops crowded around a dense sea of bodies and noise. There were no gaps between the stalls. The mingling smells of sweet blood from the butchers, sweat, and spices could've been overwhelming if Aldor wasn't so used to it.
 “Oi! Watch it!”
 Aldor dipped his head apologetically, slipping through people making him stagger. “Sorry, sorry!” He slunk along the edge of the town and out of way, moving into the forest. Noises of a different life set apart from the turmoil of the city enveloped him as he shifted into trees. It was soothingly dark, the harsh eye of the sun cast a glare on the trees which absorbed it into a dense canopy. The forest, though mostly feared, was often taken for granted as a sort of protection. It kept things out. The natural wall was thick, and no one ever ventured in there—except for Aldor, Jon, and the king's patrols, which was a rare thing to see in these days of plenty. The blue thread of the river gushed through the woods nearby, slicing Dagon neatly in two before moving on to join the River Everlasting farther down. Parts were more lax than others, and that was exactly where Aldor found him. The heavy sword on his belt made Jon look more intimidating than he really was. He was a princely figure. Literally. Jon hated being the king’s grandson, but that wouldn’t stop his ceremony of becoming admiral. A ceremony which was to take place that night. Aldor was proud of himself because he hadn’t forgotten. 
 The Hunter Inside Spotify Playlist 
Find Out More About CaseyMillette
About the Author 

Casey M. Millette, sixteen, has been into writing since she was five. Her love of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia has inspired her to write the Cursed series. Casey lives just outside Atlanta, Georgia with her family and cat, Hudson. 
You can follow her on the Casey M. Millette Facebook page, Instagram, and her website: www.caseymmillette.com.

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