Every Friday on my author Facebook page I will be featuring a sneak peek from one of my books. Read it on my blog to get a longer version! This week’s excerpt is from Ancient Voices: Into the Depths, which was just released in November.
For two days Elowyn barely moved, and ate only when Morganne forced her to. Morganne, and even little Adelin, tried their best to comfort her, but no consolation ran deep enough to reach her pain. Morganne finally made her dress and brought her out into the tavern for dinner, hoping that the change would begin to bring her back into the living world.
Elowyn watched the few lonely souls sitting at scattered tables around the tavern. Their mood was somber and pensive like her own. She was not the only one in mourning. She picked at the food placed before her, despite Morganne’s pleading that she eat something. She usually enjoyed Idna’s cooking, but all of its flavor was missing. She watched slow curls of steam rise from a bowl of stew, shifting and swirling until they dissipated into the air. She pursed her lips, blowing ripples across the surface of the broth that caught flashes of firelight. The steam gradually stopped rising, and the stew grew cold and thick. Just looking at it began to turn Elowyn’s stomach. She pushed it away to the far side of the table and sighed.
Bane abandoned his favorite table to come sit beside her. He said nothing at all, but there was pain in his eyes. Elowyn sensed in him sorrow for these fresh wounds they were bearing together, but also old, scarred-over pain that he must have carried with him for a long time. She did not know why, but his silent presence beside her was the first bit of comfort she had felt since that horrible day in the garden. He slid his untouched mug of ale in front of her and raised an eyebrow. Elowyn declined with a shake of her head, but appreciated the gesture all the same.
He picked up the mug, raising it high and looking upward into the rafters for a moment. He took a long swig, then slammed the mug down onto the table so hard that ale splashed onto the table and everyone in the room jumped. Giving Elowyn’s hand a strong squeeze, he suddenly stood to his full height, wiped his beard clean with his sleeve, and charged out of the tavern like a gathering storm. Elowyn did not know where he was going, but with the slam of his cup, he had changed the mood of the room. A couple of the men peeked out of the tavern door after him, and all began to whisper amongst themselves, wondering what Bane intended to do.
Elowyn tore off a bite from the hunk of bread still sitting in front of her. She dabbed at the butter and put the whole thing in her mouth, letting the soft bread and the butter melt together on her tongue. Not so terrible, she thought. She was hungrier than she had realized. A little more bread, and a sip of almond milk. She suddenly craved the simple strength they would bring back to her young body. But her stomach quickly filled, and as the fire’s heat warmed her skin, she grew tired again.
“I want to go back now,” she said softly. The brief hope flickering in Morganne’s eyes faded away as she took her sister’s arm. She looked on Elowyn’s uneaten food with frustration, not realizing what a victory that little bit of bread and almond milk had been.