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.
Elowyn was startled out of sleep by a rapping on the door. She opened her eyes and looked up to see herbs and dried fish hanging from the rafters above her. She was lying on a mat next to an open hearth, and there was a large loom against the far wall. Her mother’s loom. She sat up and looked around. She was back in Tyroc. Morganne and Adelin were not there, and the knocking at the door was becoming more forceful by the minute.
Her heart jumped as a huge clap of thunder suddenly shook the cottage, and a torrent of rain began to dash against the walls and roof. She stared at the door, terrified. Had the apparition of Nevon returned to torment her? Or was something more sinister lurking on the other side of the door? Another crack of thunder erupted from the sky, then rumbled low and long like a throaty growl. As the thunder trailed off, Elowyn thought she could hear something sniffing and scratching at the crack under the door. The banging continued more urgently, now made by something much harder than a human hand. The intruder was no longer knocking, but trying to break the door down.
The coin! Elowyn snatched her pouch from its hook on the wall and held it tightly to her chest. She had to make sure the coin nestled within it was safe. She flung aside the heavy curtain that led to her mother’s sleeping area, prepared to face her wrath. But her mother wasn’t there. The cottage had vanished, and Elowyn found herself standing in a cold, damp place, blinded by sheer darkness. She reached her hands out and a rough stone wall greeted her fingertips. After a few moments of fumbling with her tinder box and a stump of candle, she managed to light a small flame. She was in the underground shelter that Einar had once shown her. The heavy door on the other side of the room was barred shut from the inside.
Another deep boom of thunder and the pelting sound of heavy rain filled her ears. Something was very wrong. So far below ground, surrounded by thick, impenetrable walls, she should not have been able to hear either. Besides, this place was no longer safe now that Braeden knew about it. Elowyn began to panic. There was nothing to sustain her here—no food, water, blankets or source of heat. What frightened her more was the thought of what might be lying in wait on the outside. Were the Hounds camped just above her, waiting for her to emerge?
“Einar!” She called out in desperation, clenching the coin tightly in her fist. “Where are you?” Elowyn’s strained plea echoed off the bare walls, met only by an empty, frightening silence. Einar was not going to come…not this time. She was utterly alone, and no one who could help her knew where she was.
Suddenly there was a slow, ominous tapping at the door. Elowyn refused to answer, silently pressing herself into the farthest corner of the shelter. The tapping turned to persistent knocking, then banging, then pounding, so hard that even the massive door of the shelter shuddered with the force of it. Elowyn covered her ears to no avail as the pounding grew louder and louder. Boom!
Elowyn finally woke with her heart racing. Her throat was dry, but the rest of her was drenched in a nervous sweat. A storm was raging outside; a real, mountain-made spring storm, not one conjured by Braeden. One of the shutters had come loose and was banging hard against the wall. She got up and managed to secure it even though her hands were shaking. Morganne and Adelin were enjoying a deep, peaceful sleep, completely unaware of the turmoil going on around them.