Today I’m so happy to be part of the Summer Author Blitz, hosted by Belle Whittington & Tabatha Perry ! I’m happy to host Samira Bellisimo, author of the book Beyond the Darkness. She did a guest post for my blog!
Queen Evita and King Ceron Vioras have been brutally murdered. Their four children, believed to also be dead, have escaped. After ten years, they return to their kingdom to find a world that is corrupt, centered around their father’s death, and run by the man who killed him. Their people have been led astray for far too long. It is time for the Vioras to lead them out of the darkness, and reveal what lies beyond it.
From the author:
My favorite element of Beyond the Darkness is my favorite element of life: the collaboration of beautiful and unique characters. Here are my characters’ stories:
When I was alive, I was a king. I put my people’s interests before my own. I loved my family. I still do. After my beautiful wife and I were murdered, we watched over our children to keep them out of harm’s way. Now, our children are grown. I have allowed them to enter harm’s way just enough to be returned to our kingdom and to learn their roles in this world. Now that my children are in our kingdom once again, I trust they will lead our people. I will guide them along the way, counseling and advising them through dreams. They have much to teach through both actions and words. I trust my people will learn from them.
I love my children with all my heart. As I watch them grow up by husband’s side, I know they have made us very proud and will continue to do so. No matter what happens in life, they always dance.
I am the oldest child and the only son of Ceron and Evita Vioras. When I love someone, I love them with all my heart. I suppose that’s why I’m a wolf; I am loyal to my pack.
When I was thirteen years old, my life changed forever. My mother called me to her. She led me out of the house to make sure my sisters would not hear our conversation. Her eyes were full of tears. She told me one of our subjects planned to murder us. She told me she and my father were the ones this man was really after. She told me their murders were unavoidable at this point; that if Cherape didn’t kill them, his followers would; that if they left Cherape would find them; that if Cherape found them with my sisters and me, none of us would be spared. She told me her and my father’s only concern now was keeping my sisters and me safe. She told me to leave with my sisters that night, lead them to a remote place in the mountains where no one could find us, and to never return home.
I wanted to find a way to save my sisters and my parents. Logically, I knew I couldn’t, but in my heart, I have never accepted that what I did was my only option. My siblings, my parents, and I all gathered together. My parents told us how deeply they loved us, and that my sisters and I needed to leave for a trip but they would join us as soon as they could. After a tearful goodbye, I took the supplies my father had packed for us, and I left with my sisters, knowing my parents would be dead by morning, and telling my sisters that everything was fine. All was going according to plan, but the oldest of my little sisters seemed to know something was wrong. We were already deep into the forest. We were already out of sight. We needed to keep going. Then, a mare’s whinny echoed through the forest. Victoria knew it was mom’s. She ran back through the forest, toward our home. I morphed into my wolf form and ran after her, but I did not catch up to her in time. I seized her as she reached the forest’s edge. I threw my hand over her mouth before she could scream. We were both horrified by what we saw. Our home was on fire. Our parents were being stabbed to death. As hard as she fought to run to our parents, I pulled Victoria back into the woods. I tried to explain to her that our parents could not be saved, and that trying to save them would get us all killed. I told her our two younger sisters, Cassie and Aiyanna could not know what we witnessed, not until they were old enough to handle it. She reluctantly understood. We returned to our sisters and continued our journey to our new home. Confiding in one another is how Victoria and I survived that tragedy. Because of this, we are very close.
After ten years of going undiscovered in the mountains, I thought I had fulfilled my promise to my parents. I thought my sisters were safe, but we have been found. Cherape’s men discovered our sanctuary. After a fierce battle, they captured and imprisoned us. My sisters and I worked together to escape our imprisonment. Once we escaped, we saw how are people are living now. We knew we could not return to the mountains. Our people need us now more than ever. Now, we live among our people. Some of our people recognize us, but most of them do not. We have made new friends who have generously opened their homes to us, Jason Conner, Vitalia Sonomi, and her 5-year-old son, Nicholas. Vitalia and Nicky recognized us immediately. Jason believes we are human refugees. Victoria and I have been staying with Vitalia and Nicky. Cassie and Aiyanna have been staying with Jason.
Ah, Jason. I fell in love with him the moment I met him. As stressful as this whole situation is —knowing my family is under constant threat yet again; knowing my people do not recognize me and seem to despise me for some strange reason— Jason makes everything better. I feel an immense joy around him that I haven’t felt since mom and dad died. He makes me feel alive, but he hides me. He never wants me to hold his hand when people are watching. He doesn’t even let me call him “Babe” in public. I don’t understand the condemning looks we get when I break these rules. Most of all, I don’t understand why Jason doesn’t see in him what I do: a kind, loving soul. He doesn’t seem to like who he is, and it breaks my heart. All I want is for the people I love to be safe and happy. I get frustrated because this is not so, but my sister keeps my hopes up. I want peace to come at no price. Victoria reminds me that peace will come with change, and change will come with revolution.
I am the eldest daughter of King Ceron and Queen Evita Vioras. As all members of the royal family are, I am a shape-shifter. I morph back and forth between my golden eagle form and my human form. I am the only living healer in my family. This trait of mine allows me to feel the physical and emotional pain of anyone I touch, and heal their physical wounds instantly. While this allows me to understand my friends, my enemy, and my people, the limitations of this gift frustrate me. I am able to instantly heal the physical wounds of those I love and those I do not know, but emotional wounds, I cannot heal, at least not instantly.
There is a great deal of pain around me. My people seem to have forgotten who they are. They seem to have forgotten who my family is. They seem to have forgotten the values we stand for and how deeply we love them all. I try to tell them, but they do not recognize me. If they listen to their heart, their heart will tell them who I am. But they are listening to someone else now: Cherape.
In dreams, when I speak to my father of my frustrations, he tells me to keep my faith in our people. He assures me they will learn. I believe this, and so I continue to teach my people.
Cherape has a special talent for triggering my mountain-lion-temper. He has turned our people against us. I thought it was bad enough that he brutally murdered both my parents, but now he’s telling our people what we want from them. He tells our people we want them to turn against each other. Those of our people who don’t recognize us turn against us. After a day of being yelled at, insulted, and spit on, I was literally thrown out of a shop all because my dress was a little low-cut. The people here don’t know I’m royalty. Just because I’m loose, they think they can treat me like dirt. They think they can treat my brother like dirt too, and don’t get me started on that. I can understand people attacking me ‘cause I say what I think and what I think isn’t always nice. But my brother; my brother’s a nice, caring, wonderful person. He’s only been with one guy who he’s been in love with from the start, which is how people say I should be living, but look how much good being dedicated to one guy has done for my brother. I’ve slept with quite a few men, but I wasn’t using any of them. Each of these guys just seems to think that my family’s abandoned them and that we don’t love them, and I want them to know that we do love them but I’m not so good with words… I actually fell for one them, Matthew. Ironically, he’s one of Cherape’s guards, but he can’t stand Cherape any more than I can. Since I’ve started dating Matthew, I’ve been faithful to him. I don’t get to see him very often, but when I do he makes me feel happy in a way I’ve never been happy before. He’s as sick of the pain and suffering in this place as I am. We’re going to take this kingdom by storm.
I am the youngest daughter of Ceron and Evita Vioras. I was very young when they were murdered. My siblings remember the event more vividly than I do. I remember that I loved my parents. I still do and always will. I remember they taught us be respectful and to live in peace and joy.
My siblings and I have returned to our kingdom. We returned in an unpleasant way, but now that we are here, we are making the best of it. Our kingdom has flaws now. Our people lash out at times, but I know they are just scared, and in time they will find love to be more fulfilling than fear. Many of them appear to despise me for some reason. One woman told me the color of my skin makes me an untrustworthy person. You see, my form other than my human form is that of an artic fox. As an artic fox, in both my human and animal forms, I am light in the winter and autumn, and I am dark in the summer and spring. As strange as my people behave at times, I see the beauty in each of them. I have grown particularly fond of the young son of a dear friend of mine, Nicky. I do what I can to keep a smile on that precious young face. The children of my kingdom know I am royalty. I feel they are too. The spark of light that shines through me, shines through them brighter than any adult I have ever met. With time and patience, I know this light will shine through all my people.
Thank you Samira!
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