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 my upcoming novella, Into the Shadow Wood, which is expected to be released this spring.
From my belt I untied a small, worn cloth bag with the name Elowyn stitched across the front. It still gave off a light fragrance of herbs and flowers, though that scent was finally beginning to fade. The memory of the young girl who had given it to me did not. She had unwittingly been caught up in this quest just as I had. It was she who had discovered Nevon’s lost helm, bow, and arrows, and had read the signs of his final struggle written across the forest floor. Without her, we never would have known what had become of him. Her near death encounter with one of the Hounds had driven her into my path, and though I saved her that day, there were other things I could not protect her from. What she found, and her dealings with me no doubt left some unintended wounds on her tender soul. If it were possible, I would have wiped them all away and preserved her child-like innocence for a while longer. She had thrust the bag into my hand on the day we parted ways; a gesture of affection and forgiveness. It was the day we prepared to enter this evil wood.
What she had given me was a protection pouch, filled with dried plants and herbs that were supposed to ward off evil spirits. Many people wore them without thought, and such bags were quite common, though I had never really believed they held any power. But there was something special about this bag. Not that I had any delusions about its effectiveness against malevolent spirits—no bag of herbs would be any match for the depth of evil that resided here. It brought me comfort just the same. The floral aroma helped my mind escape to a better place; to gardens I had once known in less trying times, before the Sovereign had died and Braeden had taken his place…to meadows full of colorful wildflowers, waving greeting to me on a warm breeze. It helped me to remember the blue sky, and the sounds of the ocean, the spray on my face and the sun’s warmth on my skin. It helped me remember a world worth loving. A world worth saving.
It had become all too easy to believe that the Shadow Wood’s persistent darkness was the only thing that remained, that everything else had been swallowed into the empty void of its insatiable belly. But that common, simple little pouch was the most powerful reminder to me that it was not true. My commander had his prayers to ground his sanity. This was my connection to reality. Something real that I could feel, and smell, and grasp in my hand. And with it always came to my mind the image of a girl’s rapt little face, peering up at me with wells of blue that so readily spilled out the depths of her soul—joy, hope, forgiveness, and pain. Everything. If I could just hang onto that, there might be something left of my own soul to save if we ever escaped the Shadow Wood alive.
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JOURNEY TO AVIAD
The Wind Rider Chronicles Book 1
Threatening clouds and fierce storms besiege the city of Tyroc. More frequent and powerful than ordinary storms, young Elowyn, a weaver’s daughter living in the outskirts of the city, senses something disturbing and unnatural about them. READ MORE
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