Because I have a day off and am feeling overly excited about working on this latest rewrite of Quest for Salvation, I have decided to share an excerpt! I hope you enjoy it!
I shrieked as the ground beneath my feet gave way. Tomis shouted in panic. His voice was vague beyond the sound of crumbling earth. I expected the falling to go on forever, so I lay stunned when I hit bottom.
“Lacey!” Tomis cried, peering down through the hole.
It took me a moment to catch my breath. “I’m alright!”
“Thank the Mother. Stay put, I’m going to get help!”
His dark silhouette disappeared and all was silent. I rolled to my knees and looked around me. As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I was struck by the austerity of the chamber. The ceiling had failed in several places, caving in and leaving dirt and snow scattered about the floor. Winter sunlight filled the holes and gave enough illumination to make out most of the chamber. It was long, but not very wide or tall. Plain stone columns lined the walls, some of them cracked or otherwise damaged. One had completely toppled over, and had smashed through a wall. There was an apse at one end of the chamber, and I had fallen close to it. What was at the other end I could not see and I didn’t want to venture that far from the hole to find out.
The apse, however, drew me with irrational curiosity. It was raised from the rest of the chamber by two shallow steps and an altar stood there, the only furnishing in the entire chamber. Upon the altar was something, hidden beneath a tattered cloth. I grasped it, but it disintegrated to dust in my hand. Taking care not to damage the artifact underneath, I brushed the dust away and revealed an ancient tome.
The Book was like a shadow given form, drinking in light and sharing none of it back. It whispered to me, indistinct as voices in the night. I knew that I should not touch it, that Rayal would be cross with me if I did, but I could not stop myself from reaching out. At my touch the Book burst to life, glowing bright Crystal-blue and illuminating not only the apse, but the vastness of the chamber. I recoiled in shock and stumbled back, down both steps.
“Stupid, Lacey!” I scolded myself.
The glow dimmed to a less threatening intensity. Its whispers became words, or so I assumed, but I could not Understand them. With marked resilience, I approached the altar for a second time. Again I stretched out my hand and this time trailed my finger tips across it.
“Lithandrine,” it seemed to whisper in greeting, though the sound was not one I heard with my ears, but my mind. I did not fear it. My whole body felt light, free. I flung the Book open.
I had not considered what might happen, what I might find, but what did happen defied any expectations one could have. Every page was glowing Crystal, thinner than any parchment-paper I’d ever seen and with a fluid quality. Upon opening the book, symbols in silver-white flew across the page, etching themselves into it. All the while it whispered, “Lithandrine,” a greeting turned into prayer.
“Lacey! Lacey, can you hear me?”
I jerked and slammed the book shut, muffling the whispers. “Master!” I called, racing back to where I’d fallen. “Master Forwith, I think I’ve found something!”
Let me know what you think and have a happy holiday, for all of us United States citizens!
Take care, fellow travelers!