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.
The darkness around me was so thick, it seemed to cling to my skin like stench-filled scum from a stagnant pond. It was soaked into my hair, my clothes. I was breathing it, allowing it to work its way in and through my body. I had eaten from its sickly bounty to supplement our meager provisions. It pressed my mind near to madness, stoking the fires of my inner violence, my anger and hatred toward Braeden and those who had wronged me—far beyond the desire for mere justice. Would any bath be able to wash me clean again? Would any purity of air be enough to draw the darkness from my body, without leaving a residue of its horrors behind to torment me for the rest of my days? If one day I chose to accept my commander’s prayers on my behalf, and actually believe that there was a force of good stronger than all of this misery around me, would it even accept me?
There were still many hours of daylight left when I realized the wood had become darker than it ought to be. It was almost as if we had hit a thick cloud, or a black fog, rising up from the ground, penetrating everything. Alaric paused, not wanting to press deeper into it, but my commander became excited. His eyes were wide, and fixed into the darkness ahead. A smile crossed his lips. I could not tell if there was anything lucid behind it, or if he had finally crossed over the threshold. He slowly drew his sword. The rasp of it pulling away from the sheath seemed alarmingly loud. Anyone who could hear that sound would recognize it. I lifted my bow and readied an arrow against it in response to the tension pulling his muscles tight. I feared that in his crazed state, he might suddenly turn on me and force me to defend myself against him. Alaric no doubt had the same thought. He watched our commander nervously and withdrew his weapon also. But in all the battles we had fought together, however hopeless they were, I had never seen his hand shake upon the hilt as it was shaking now. Something was about to happen.
Through the haze, I saw a red-yellow glow. A torch? A distant fire? I squinted, trying to distinguish form from shadow, but everything was muddled and in motion. Two red lights appeared, like burning coals; then two more, then four more. I heard a low, threatening growl that set my heart racing. A smoky howl lifted up, hanging suspended on the air as though it was a living thing of its own. My blood chilled and a heavy sense of dread came over me. Hounds. My greatest fear upon entering this wood was that we would encounter them and their master. This was their domain, and as far as I knew, no man who had stood against them in battle had lived to tell about it. They were circling us, surrounding us, just as they had surrounded Nevon. And it was too late to run.
Meet Einar for the first time in Journey to Aviad, now FREE as an ebook.
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