A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘excerpt’

Quest for Salvation – Prologue

I read a lot of articles and blog posts that bash prologues. Sometimes, they have really good points, other times the points are off the mark. For my part, I think liking and disliking prologues is akin to liking or disliking apples – some people like them and some people don’t. I like them sometimes. I’ve read really awful prologues, and I’ve read really amazing prologues. I think the skill of the writer has as much to do with it as the opinions of the reader. I sometimes write prologues, and sometimes don’t (sort of like how I sometimes like them). For Quest for Salvation, I have a short prologue. Let me know what you think about it, even if you’re in the anti-prologue camp. I always love to hear what you think!

    My life is coming to a close. I can feel it creeping in on me, the way dawn creeps upon the horizon. In my heart I know that this death comes too early, but I don’t know what I could have done to prevent it. I stand by the actions that brought me here. I cannot imagine having done anything differently. Leaving all of those people to suffer would have killed me even sooner.

    I’ve faced death a hundred times, and still I fear to die. Even when I thought I had nothing to live for, I refused to give in. Maybe, if I am lucky, this death will not be so horrible. If I am lucky, some piece of me will be reunited with my love. If I am lucky, all that I have done will be remembered by someone. Anyone.

    That is why I’ve set my mark here, why I am writing all of this now, after so much time. I’ve tried before, and failed, but this time I must finish. I do not want to be forgotten.

    Listen to me, rambling on about being forgotten. No one will ever find this record, at least no one that can read it. But maybe, someday, it will be in the Book, and in the Book I will live on.

    Mother Anja give me strength this last time, to set down my words for eyes to read.

    My quiet life took on a new path one day in early summer. It was the day my fate was sealed, in an ancient city at the base of a mountain.

Again, let me know what you think!

Take care, fellow travelers.

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Chapter One Excerpt

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!

Chapter Five Excerpt

This is an excerpt from chapter five of  Dragon Spirit. Enjoy!

When we entered Nicondre’s stateroom, the talk died. Everyone else had already arrived and taken their seats. Now they turned to examine me, different levels of surprise ranging from mild distaste to hearty welcome on all of their faces. It took all of my will not to edge behind my cousin and out of their view. What had I been thinking to come here? There wasn’t even a place for me.

It was Nicondre who recovered first and rose to retrieve another chair from the open sitting room behind him. One of the diplomats retrieved a set of dishes from the drawers beneath the table and, after a few minutes of shuffling, an extra place was set. Miah was seated across from the prince and I next to her. To my other side was a well-dressed nobleman who looked rather worse for the wear.

Dinner began with pea soup and polite small talk. Miah engaged in conversation with the woman on her other side and my nobleman neighbor was exchanging pleasantries with Kozaken, leaving me to focus entirely on the soup. I looked up once at the mention of Ohmlaur to find Prince Nicondre frowning at me. I hastily dropped my eyes again. By the time the main course arrived, everyone had gotten over the shock of my appearance and were sharing heroic tales of hunts gone awry or expeditions to foreign lands.

“I once traveled to the Athwyn Hills of Salvyn and let me tell you!” a man down the table exclaimed, setting his knife on his plate with a clang. His pronunciation of the Hills’ name made the man beside me cringe, and I realized that he must be originally from Salvyn, even though he spoke Ibvailyn well. Had Vahn taught him? The man down the table went on. “The people there are the strangest I’ve ever encountered! They paint their faces and chests to look like scales. Some of the women even shave their heads and paint their scalps! They worship myths – some half-human creature called Rikar or something and its beast mate!”

“How horrid!” a woman said in disgust.

“And that’s not even the worst of it, but I’ll spare you at the table! They’ve never even herad of the Path. The Council of Salvyn lets them govern themselves. Those people don’t even know they’re part of the Empire!”

“The Empire is doomed.” Miah’s voice rang in my ears.

The man who’d been speaking leaned against the table. “What’s that?”

“The Ibvailyn Empire is doomed. Death spawned it, death will take it back. Its people will drown and burn and drown again. And it’s your fault,” she snarled, swinging an accusing finger up at the prince. “You’re as much to blame as they are! They had no right!”

Miah sprung out of her chair and lunged across the table, scattering dishes and spilling goblets of wine. Her foot caught my chin and knocked me sideways into the Salvyni nobleman. The woman on her other side shrieked. The room was in chaos. Kozaken pulled the prince backwards, brandishing a short knife at Miah as she scrabbled across the table.

Without thinking I seized my cousin’s ankle and yanked her backwards, toppling onto the floor and dragging her down on top of me. She thrashed out of my hold and spun, grasping my tunic in shaking fists. She snarled down at me, her face contorted in a way I’d never seen before.

“Wicked woman! You try to kill me! You should’ve died already – you should’ve been drowned at birth as Trader’s used to be!”

In horror I squirmed out of her grip, aided the nobleman striking her from behind. She whirled on him, hissing.

“Miah!” I shouted. “Stop this!”

She paused and twisted around to look over her shoulder at me. “Miah. I am Miah.”

“Yes,” I said, levering myself to my feet.

She rose out of her crouch. Around her the dinner party withdrew. She swayed. “Lacey?”

It took all my training on the Path to step forward and steady her. She looked at me from beneath lowered lashes, an animal smile parting her lips.

“You’re going to die,” she whispered.

My grip tightened on her and, with strength I did not know I had, I hauled her from the room. She struggled against me but I did not let go until we reached our cabin. I pushed her inside and then leaned in to catch the door. The look on her face stilled me.

“I am going to kill you.”

I slammed the door shut.

Take care, fellow travelers!

Excerpt from Dragon Spirit

The following is an excerpt from chapter four of my manuscript. The working title is  (as you can see) Dragon Spirit. Enjoy!

In the light of the stars I made my way to the docks. The streets were quiet, even the merry-makers had gone to bed. Everyone wanted to be there in the morning when we set sail.

Only the Simea was docked. The other six ships were at anchor in the calm waters made by the harbor walls. Those were the walls for which Ruslaht was famed. I gazed out at the ships and wondered at them. I saw only the beauty of their sleek shapes, not the mathematics behind their design. Could these vessels truly carry us across the Edges?

I leaned against the stage that had been constructed for the morrow and breathed deep the smell of the sea. I had known the scent my whole life, first in Ohmlaur and then here in Ruslaht. Would it be different when only a few planks separated me from the waves? I glanced behind me at the dark city. Would this change in my absence? How could I leave knowing that I might never come back?

The answer was simple. I would go because of the people. They did not even know they were in danger. I had seen what fear could do to a person, seen Tomis break under its weight. I would do my part to save them. For them, for my Tomis, I would go.

I turned back to the harbor. There were no ripples on the water, the stars were painted on the glassy surface in a poor recreation of the sky above. The ships were silent, waiting for the life their occupants would bring.

I shook my head, a wry smile blooming on my lips. Tonight they were just ships, but tomorrow they would become the prince’s fleet.

Take care, fellow travelers!

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