Daniel And The Serpent’s Abyss by Nathan Lumbatis
INTRODUCTION—Sons and Daughters Series Synopsis
Fifteen-year-old Daniel never believed he’d have a normal family, much less become a part of God’s. Now, after two quests to find the Weapons of Power, he’s met God face-to-face and fought the Enemy in various guises. There’s little Daniel wouldn’t believe at this point. His next quest will take him to the British Isles, where he and his companions hope to save their friend, Raylin, and find the Abyssal Staff. There’s just one problem: saving her will require a descent into the Abyss itself—the Enemy’s lair. How can they hope for Raylin’s salvation when the Enemy has control of her mind and they are in his home territory? Daniel has no idea, but he trusts his faith in God will not prove vain. Surely, after all the divine intervention during the last two quests, God wouldn’t abandon the companions without help. Right?
Daniel and the Sun Sword, Daniel and the Triune Quest, and Daniel and the Serpent’s Abyss are young adult, Christian fantasy novels exploring forgiveness, faith, spiritual warfare, and the reality of divine sonship. The recent release is the recipient of the Spirit-Filled Fiction Award.
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EXCERPT FROM DANIEL AND THE SERPENT’S ABYSS BY NATHAN LUMBATIS
Seren raised her fiberglass bow and pulled the string back to the corner of her mouth. She waited a moment until the wind, hissing through the trees near Granny’s house, died down. “Watch, my young students, and learn from the master.”
She let the string snap forward, sending an arrow in a smooth arc straight toward the bullseye. Five wobbly concentric circles were painted in white on the side of a makeshift target made of old bales of pine straw and boxes piled six feet high.
“That’s how it’s done.” She flipped silky, blond hair over her shoulder and sauntered past Daniel, tossing him the bow as she passed.
“That’s how it’s done,” Daniel muttered, imitating Seren’s voice. “‘Master’ my foot.”
Seren whipped her head around and drew herself up to her full height. At eighteen, she wasn’t quite as tall as Daniel, despite being three years older. Her lithe frame and piercing blue eyes nevertheless spoke of authority and fierce intelligence. “What was that, Daniel?”
“Nothing. Here goes!” Daniel nocked an arrow and pulled the string back. As soon as he felt his hand touch his cheek, he let it snap forward. The arrow sailed through the air and hit just outside the outermost ring. He looked down at the bow. “I think there’s something wrong with this stupid thing.”
“There’s something wrong with the archer,” Seren replied flatly. “You just need to practice more.”
Daniel handed the bow back to her. “Oh sure, I’ll squeeze it in between sword practice, homework, chores, and saving the world. How’s six Tuesdays from never sound?”
Seren ignored him and turned to Ben, who was sitting at the base of a tree reading through something on his phone. “Your turn.”
Ben pushed a curl of black hair out of his eyes and stood. He slid the phone into his back pocket before taking the bow from Seren. “Daniel. Arrow, please.”
Daniel trotted to the target and yanked the arrow out of a pine bale. He hurled it like a spear toward the ground in front of Ben.
Ben jumped back in surprise and immediately transformed into the Triune Shield.
Daniel doubled over in laughter. “Skittish much?” he roared between guffaws.
Ben’s defensive and angry voice shouted from inside the shield where his body was outlined between the three intersecting rings. “You get shot and killed by the Bolt of Pestilence and see how skittish you are. I need my feet, in case you haven’t noticed! Geez. Next time hand it to me like a normal human, you dweeb.”
“Duh. Practice arrows aren’t sharp,” Daniel replied, wiping tears from his eyes.
Ben returned to normal in the next moment and stooped down to grab the arrow. “Oh, okay. I’ll just use you for target practice then. Stand still.”
“Just shoot. I want to see how terrible you are.”
“Bet I can at least hit inside the rings.”
Daniel snorted. “It’s harder than you think. But sure, give it your best shot.”
“Thanks for your confidence.”
“You guys are such children,” Seren said, both hands on her hips. “Can you go five minutes without trying to one-up each other? Just shoot!”
“So pushy.” Ben raised the bow and drew back the string in one smooth motion. Since coming back from his quest to retrieve the Triune Shield, he’d been practicing martial arts with Daniel. The activity had added muscle to his wiry, thirteen-year-old frame, but he was still lanky. He waited a moment while adjusting his aim and let the string snap forward. The arrow sank into a box just outside the bullseye. “Hey, look at that, Daniel!” Ben dropped the bow to the ground and pointed both index fingers at the target. “Look how terrible I was. Oh, wait. That was you. I actually hit the target. Boom.”
“Hey, I hit the target, too,” Daniel retorted.
Seren reached down to pick up the bow and dusted it off with an irritated glance at Ben. “Outside the rings doesn’t count, Daniel. Ben, can I see your phone for a minute?”
“Hear that, Daniel?” Ben cupped a hand around his ear. “Outside the rings–”
“I heard. Shut your trap.”
Ben flashed Daniel a smug grin as he moonwalked toward Seren and handed her his phone. “Here. What do you need it for?”
She promptly dropped it in the dirt and kicked it around a little.
“What–what are you doing?” He dove toward the phone and grabbed it before Seren could kick it again. “What’s your problem?”
“Oh, I thought we were playing the Drop-Other-People’s-Belongings-In-The-Dirt Game. No? My mistake.” She raised the bow and brushed off the dust toward Ben.
Ben growled something under his breath and shuffled back to the base of the tree while Seren resumed target practice with a satisfied grin.
Daniel sauntered toward Ben and heaved a contented sigh. “Ah. What goes around comes around. Right, Ben?”
Ben grunted and focused on his phone.
Daniel lay down and ran hands through bushy, brown hair before resting them behind his head. The air felt cool and crisp, and the woods were beginning to change color. The forest floor behind Granny’s house was carpeted with recently fallen leaves, making a mottled bed for Daniel as he stretched out his long legs and gazed at the sky. Glimpses of vibrant blue peeked through a net of dark gray and brown branches, dotted with the autumn oranges, reds, and yellows of leaves yet to fall. A brisk wind blew through the trees and into the open windows of Granny’s tiny, ivy-covered house. Memories came to life within the shadows of the curtains, and Daniel found himself replaying his, Ben, and Seren’s time in India. The quest had been six months ago, and that meant six months since they had seen Raylin.
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AUTHOR BIO—NATHAN LUMBATIS
Nathan grew up in the woods of Alabama, where he spent his time exploring, hiking, and dreaming up stories. Now, as a child/adolescent therapist and author, he’s teaching kids and teens how to redeem their stories using Biblical principles. He still lives in Alabama, where you will find him with his wife and three kids every chance he gets.