Wow! I’ve already picked up a few followers. Thank you for choosing to follow me. I hope to keep fairly active on this blog. I may not post every day, but I’ll try to post fairly regularly. I’ve been playing around on here for the past couple days, getting this page set up. I tweaked my “about” profile a little today. I think I’m fairly happy with how this page looks, for now at least. So I suppose I should return my focus to working on my book some more. As a thank you, I’ll share a snippet of the book I’m working on. You’re welcome to share your thoughts on it. (Note: I retain all rights to the fragment I’m posting)
(Excerpt from Chapter 12 of A Goddess Awakens)
Once Wren returned the flask to the bag, she stood up and chanted a quick spell. The resulting brief flash of light startled a squirrel rummaging in some nearby underbrush and sent it scurrying up the nearest tree to chatter in alarm. When the light faded, Wren’s human form had been replaced by a falcon.
The bird stretched its wings, flapped them a couple of times, then launched itself into the air.
Leaving the small forest clearing where she had stopped to rest, Wren flew south, following a well-traveled dirt road toward Maarkess. She stayed high up in the sky to avoid detection, in case she had been followed from the temple, although she had not noticed anyone following her.
She flew until late afternoon, then found a small clearing to take a brief rest in and eat a quick meal of more jerky and dried fruit washed down with a few swallows of water. Then she resumed her falcon form and took to the air again.
As dusk approached, she spotted something on the road a ways ahead of her. From her position, it looked like a bunch of ants on the road, but she knew it had to be a group of people, and they seemed to be moving rather quickly, most likely on horseback. Curious, she headed towards them while slowly drawing closer to the ground to get a better look.
As she got closer, she could see it was indeed a group of about a dozen men on horseback, riding single-file and at a brisk gallop. Wren flew a little ways ahead of them and alighted in a tree near the road so she could get a better look at them. As they drew near, she made note that they were soldiers dressed in armor, and their faces held looks of intense determination. She also picked up from them a sense that they were more than ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
Wren focused her attention on the lead rider, whom she assumed to be the leader of the group. He had dark hair sprinkled with spots of gray sticking out from a helmet with a long tail of white hair seemingly sprouting from the top of it. A short, neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard covered his craggy face, except for where a scar ran down his left cheek, from the corner of his eye to just above his chin. Unlike his fellow soldiers, though, this man had a look in his dark eyes that spoke of eager anticipation mixed with blood-lust. She did not like the look one bit, and felt very sorry for whomever the man’s target was.
Then Wren took notice of the second rider. Instead of armor, he wore a dark green priest’s robe with its cowl up to cover his head and face. Even with her sharp falcon eyes, she could not see his face clearly, though she got the impression that it was not human. The rider grasped the horse’s reins tightly with gloved hands, as if he was not comfortable riding the beast.
Wren had a bad feeling about the group and their presence on the road to Maarkess. So, as soon as they had gone a little ways passed her location, she flew after them, determined to find out more about them and their purpose.
Wren followed the group of soldiers until just after nightfall, when the lead soldier, the one with the scar on his face, called a halt and sent a couple of his subordinates to find a place to camp. Wren settled in a nearby tree to watch. The two soldiers returned a few minutes later and led the group into the forest. Wren followed them to a clearing not far from the road. She perched in a tree near the edge of the clearing, where she could watch them unobserved – all night, if need be.
The group tended to their horses before fixing a couple of small campfires, then split up between them for a quick meal. Afterward, some of the soldiers left the fires to lean up against trees to sleep. Others remained by the fires for a little while, sharing stories and flasks of what Wren assumed was liquor of some sort, before also retiring for the night.
The green-robed person, after tending to his horse, forsook a fireside meal and instead sat down beneath a tree at the very edge of the camp. Wren watched him for a while, but all he did was just sit. He kept the cowl of his robe up, so Wren could not tell if he slept, or just watched the camp.
The scarred soldier watched over his men for a while, then assigned a few of them to keep watch over the camp at intervals during the night. Then he also retired to a tree to rest. Wren could hardly believe her luck when he chose the tree right next to hers.
The young mage watched the camp for a couple of hours, then felt herself growing drowsy. With nothing interesting happening in the camp, she thought it was probably safe enough for her to take a quick nap. She was just about to tuck her head under a wing when the man with the scar stirred and began to mumble in his sleep. Curious, Wren watched him.
“At last,” he mumbled, his hand unconsciously reaching up to touch his scar. “You won’t escape me again, Lorenathalus. I will finally punish you, you filthy traitor.”
The man drifted back into sound sleep. Wren stared at him, confused by what she had just heard. He obviously held a deep, personal grudge against someone. Someone he considered a traitor. That was understandable enough. But the name he had said, Lorenathalus, had not sounded like a human name. Perhaps it was elvish, she mused. But why would this man being calling an elf a traitor? That made no sense to her.
Then a thought crossed her sleepy mind. She knew an elf. One who went by the name Loren. Could that be a shorted form of Lorenathalus? She was fairly certain it was. Which would mean…
Wren was not too sure what all it would mean, except that it probably was not good. But what she did know was that it meant Loren was in trouble. She rather liked Loren, based on what little she had seen and heard of him through the mirror, and she had to warn him and the others.
As quietly as she could, she flew from the clearing and back to the road, heading for Maarkess as quickly as she could.
In her hurry to leave, she did not notice the green-robed figure watch her leave.