The Official Our Write Side (OWS) Summer Reading List is out, and I was so surprised to see that Journey to Aviad is on it! Fellow author Renee Scattergood also made the list with her Shadow Stalker series. Congratulations Renee!
So in celebration, this week I’m featuring an excerpt from Journey to Aviad, which is permafree as an ebook. If you haven’t read it yet, you can easily add it to your summer reading list.
This particular excerpt came to mind, as the horrific event it mentions also plays out in Into the Shadow Wood, but from a different perspective. Watch for my upcoming cover reveal and release date!
The caravan was slow and cumbersome, and strangely silent. The only voices to be heard were those of the younger children playing together in the carts. There was no singing, or storytelling, or idle conversation to pass the time as one might expect on a journey of that sort. All wore a haggard look—eyes red-rimmed, and expressions numb. Elowyn thought these people looked very much like animals stunned by a predator’s venom, stumbling about in shock and confusion, slowly and unwittingly marching on towards their inevitable demise. Elowyn realized that she probably wore the same expression, exhausted from lack of sleep, and unable to forget the image of the troll and the watchman being eaten alive. That moment in time kept replaying itself over and over in her mind, until the images became so surreal and strange that she wondered if they had really happened at all. She could almost convince herself that it had been a nightmare, except there she still was, marching along with a group of complete strangers, on a road she had never traversed before. If it was only a nightmare, she was still in it, praying desperately to be wakened.
When after a long day of walking the group finally camped for the night, Elowyn lit her own fire a short distance away. She was weary of the crowd and of feeling the weighty burden of everyone’s sorrows crushing down upon her soul. But she found that Morganne’s company was equally mournful. The fire had been fed and stoked many times before she would say anything at all, and even then she spoke with a broken voice.
“I never knew such things existed before today. Even had I known … I don’t think that I would have really understood without seeing. And as horrific as the trolls were, from what Gareth told us, the Hounds are far, far worse. I know in my mind that his word is true, but I fear that without seeing, I do not truly understand their danger either, and that frightens me even more than what I have just witnessed.”
Morganne grew quiet again for a few moments, and then with great brokenness said, “I am sorry. I should never have brought us. Nothing our mother could do would ever come close to the terror I saw unleashed by a single troll, let alone a Hound. It was wrong of me to think that I could make this journey, that you and Adelin were safer away from Tyroc. What I do not understand is why you came. You have seen a Hound—you were nearly slain by one. You knew the danger in a way that I could not, and yet you came.”
Elowyn gathered her thoughts carefully for a few moments, answering truthfully, “Tyroc was not so safe as you imagined it to be. Our cottage was no stronghold, and our mother no sure protector from danger. It is around Tyroc that the Hounds gather their strength. When they have overrun the woodlands, and Braeden has darkened the skies, who there would be strong enough to protect us?”