So 2016 is finally put to bed and for one I say good riddance. A tough year by most accounts, but as with almost everything I find value in the ups and downs. Tomorrow is a promise. A gift I look forward to with fervor. I realized that toward the end of the year I fell back into a defensive setting and, well, what’s the point in that? Offense is needed if I am to continue my success, so offense there will be.
I am currently 60k words into book four of the Sleeping Gods series: Through Darkness Besieged. This is has been my favorite series to write, by far and I look forward to crafting more as the story develops. I am also a quarter of the way through my first War Priests novel: The Children of Never. Those of you who are familiar with me will recall that my original short: The Purifying Flame won 4th place in the Writers of the Future contest a few years back and launched a new world unlike any I have done. The follow up: Curse of the Witch Queen was released late 2015 in preparation for the coming book series. Since today is a new year I decided to make the Witch Queen free for the next week on Amazon. Enjoy the snippet below and swing by to get your copy now. And as always, read on my friends, read on!
They followed the winding trail up the side of the blue stone cliffs, twisting around and up until cold breath blew in tiny clouds. Quinlan wrapped his thick, blue cloak tighter around his shoulders. He didn’t remember the last time he’d made this journey. War priests seldom found reason or opportunity to leave the castle. Now that he had both, he suddenly found the urge to return to the walls and take his rightful place among the one hundred almost overpowering. Frowning, the war priest continued the climb.
Their efforts were rewarded when the trail emerged into a massive cavern dug into the mountainside. The domed ceiling stretched nearly a hundred meters, exposing the true depth. Watch fires and torches lit the walls and vaulted ceiling. Scores of men and women moved about. Most were merchants and businessmen. A small platoon of fifty men, dressed in the boiled leather armor and colors of the Mistwell militia armed with short swords and half spears maintained order in the cavern while merchants stored their goods and horses. All commerce in Mistwell was performed in the large marketplace the commerce guild established generations ago in the rear of the cavern. Quinlan had no business with merchants. His task was far more severe.
The war priest slid from his saddle and handed the reins to Donal with instructions to stable and feed them. Donal obeyed unquestioningly as any worthy squire would though his youthful eyes couldn’t help but wander over this new wonder. Mistwell was always seen from a distance, ever just out of reach. Quinlan left Donal brushing down the horses and storing their tack. The sounds of a dozen different languages being spoken at once assaulted his hearing while his stomach grumbled as the scent of roasting meat and fowl wafted under his nose. The experience ended far too quickly for his liking but he had a higher duty to perform. He took his place beside Brother Quinlan at the cavern mouth.
“Mistwell can be both wondrous and dangerous, young Donal. Best to be wary up here in the clouds. Not everyone respects the blue and silver of the war priests, especially when they think they can get away with it,” Quinlan cautioned with a low voice.
Donal swallowed the small lump forming in his throat and nodded meekly. “Yes, Brother. Are you expecting trouble?”
Quinlan regarded his young squire momentarily before breaking into a grin. “When can a war priest not? Come, we must see the Administrator. Time is of the essence.”
They marched towards the narrow bridge spanning the chasm between the mountains and the first in a series of floating islands that comprised Mistwell. Donal looked down, against his better judgment and saw only clouds with the faintest specks of verdant greens far, far below. The bridge itself must have been hundreds of years old, or so he thought. Quinlan futilely insisted the local engineers inspected the hundreds of bridges connecting Mistwell daily. That didn’t take away from the fact that the bridge looked entirely unstable to the young squire.
People stepped aside as the war priest and his squire stepped onto the bridge. Respect for the blue and silver was universal throughout the Free Lands. While evil lurked in every corner of the world and brave men and women constantly protected the innocent, the war priests kept the ancient Omegri at bay. Even the lowest of the order garnered respect. Quinlan ignored them. Focused on his task, he strode confidently onto the bridge, Donal in tow. The squire moved with decidedly less confidence. Quinlan grinned as he listened to Donal whisper a short prayer as the bridge rocked gently beneath his boots.