Updated: Jul 10, 2019
As promised, in honor of the final manuscript upload and its subsequent approval, below is another excerpt from Destined, the first book in the Circle series and my debut novel (official release: still on schedule for 1 October). For those of you who have already pre-ordered your copy, thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! And now, without further ado, I present excerpt number two.
Green sunlight filtered through the dark forest canopy. The three travelers knew they neared a shore, for they could smell the brine on the wind, but the forest had them turned about and walking in circles. They wore thick, brown robes of a coarsely woven fabric, with hoods draped over their heads. Two of them wore curved knives at their hips, and the third clutched a gnarled staff in her bony, pale hand. By the time they eventually reached what they hoped would be a town, they were disappointed to discover merely another uncivilized gathering of pathetic huts, no more advanced than the last group they had stumbled across in the dark wood.
When they left it was another smoking ruin.
“These simple creatures begin to bore me,” one of the travelers said. He was tall and muscular, but his sickly-pale skin and flat, black eyes hinted at the rot within. “We should return to our own realm. At least there we speak the language.”
The second traveler sniffed derisively. “There is nothing in this dull place for us to learn,” he agreed. He was slightly shorter than the first, but of equal build and with the same sickly pallor.
“Brothers,” whispered the third traveler, “the light here—this air—is so much purer!” She threw wide her pallid arms and twirled round in a circle, laughing coldly in the dim, green light. Stopping her dance as suddenly as she started, she announced, “I would rather stay.”
“The light you adore hurts my eyes,” the second traveler remarked.
The sorceress laughed again, then brought a finger to her lips in a gesture of silence. Dropping her gnarled staff, she hunched to the ground, motioning her brothers to join her. They hastily obeyed. “I feel something…different,” she whispered, her black eyes narrowing. “Something out of place. There is one here who is an outsider, one from another plane.”
“Did one of our own follow us?” the first traveler asked.
“No, it’s not like us,” the sorceress hissed. “Something older.” She sniffed the air, clutching her staff again to her heart. She stood, one languid, furtive movement. “The outsider is not far; let us find it. Perhaps there will be the answers we seek.”
“Yes, let’s,” agreed her brothers.
The sorceress bolted through the forest, following the otherworldly trail of power as a wolf follows blood. Her brothers raced after her, their curved blades hacking at the low-lying branches that tangled their path. The scent of salt and brine grew stronger as they pursued the outsider, and when suddenly they reached the edge of the forest, they skidded to a stop. A stony cliff stood before them, the raging sea stretching beyond to the horizon. On the edge of the precipice lingered a woman unlike any they had yet seen, neither among the peoples of their home world nor among the primitive forest tribes in the land they presently wandered. The woman was tall and robust, a quiet strength emanating from the core of her being. She was neither particularly dark nor particularly pale, but somewhere in the shades of brown between. Her thick, black hair was braided into a single plait down her back, and she wore a simple yet elegant dress in a shade that blended with the sapphire sky against which she stood.
The sorceress in the shadows whispered excitedly, “Brothers, can you feel her power? She is filled with magic, overflowing with it! I have never felt power such as this before.”
“Then we should take her power for our own to rule all of Daem,” the first traveler said.
His sister grinned, replying, “Yes, but not yet. If we follow her further, perhaps she will lead us to others of her kind, and then we can have all of their magic as well. Enough magic to change our hideous world into something grander, something of our choosing.”
The powerful woman turned, emerald eyes piercing the shadows of the forest where the travelers hid and watched. “You do not belong here,” she called. “You should go back whence you came.”
“You do not belong here either,” the sorceress whispered into the twilight.