OK, it's that time, folks!
Note before you plunge: this preview is DRAFT COPY, subject to polish before it is finished; and anything posted here, please, remains here. If you wish to share, you encouraged to post a LINK to this page. Because the work is not yet published, and copyright remains with the author, I'd appreciate having this fine point of ethics respected. Also if you haven't read this far in the series: WARE SPOILER!!!
Also realize: it was the very DEVIL to find any wee part that wasn't a major unveiling - enjoy!
------first sneak preview------
The flung dagger sheared through leaves and air, snicked through a hank of mussed white and chestnut hair, and struck with a thunk in a tree trunk a scant finger’s width from the Mad Prophet’s left ear. The napping spellbinder startled awake and shrieked as his recoil grazed against the blade’s edge and scraped tender flesh. Dakar scrambled erect, fingers pressed to the bleeding nick.
“Cosach!” he yelled, and added a mouthful of epithets ripe enough to scorch flesh at ten paces.
The heckler his language reviled slid soundlessly from the autumn blushed tangle of Halwythwood’s greenery. Tried beyond patience, he reached past Dakar’s shoulder with a braw fist and retrieved the quivering steel from the oak’s bark before the hackled victim stopped swearing and turned the weapon against him.
“You were meant to be guarding the trail to the cove!” Cosach sheathed the knife in disgust. “An ill wind over your grave site and send your spirit to Sithaer for slacking. The whole world could have put to sea while you snoozed. How dare you run my scouts ragged while you nod off at your post!”
“I didn’t!” Dakar dusted damp leaves off his backside and glared with a spaniel’s long suffering injury. Hard weeks in the wilds tracking elusive quarry may have left him as ragged and sunburned as any man in the chieftain’s war band. Yet the violent flush that swept his dimpled cheeks shouted his sheepish embarrassment: in delinquent fact, he had not been trance focused for scrying.
Cosach exploded. “How under sky can that wee snip of a woman creep past my sentries for perishing weeks? We should have picked her up straightaway. Nipped her in flight the moment she poked her nose into free wilds territory.”
“She doesn’t want to be found,” Dakar snapped. And no wonder: caught in the wrong hands, a simpleton knew the mistake might bring far worse than her death.
That moment, a third voice chimed in with a flattened town accent. “Elaira hasn’t been seen because she’s expertly trained not to ripple the land’s flux.” Silent as anyone forest bred, Iyat-thos Tarens eased from the foliage behind: which rash approach nearly saw him impaled upon hot tempered steel for an unsanctioned trespass.
“Damn you, man!” Cosach bristled. He ran his cleared sword back into the sheath, shoulders bunched with irascible fury. “Try that folly again and you’re likely to bleed! Deservedly, too. Why can’t you whistle the signal, first?”
“Because I don’t cheep like a wren,” Tarens remarked with insolent humor. “At least I couldn’t satisfy your cranky huntsman.” The crofter propped his broad-shouldered frame against the huge oak, thumbs hooked in his belt and broken face split with a grin. “His fellows threatened to spit me, as well. Warned me not to pucker my bungling lips, or I’d be taken down as a Sunwheel spy. Why are the lot of you testy as snakes? I’d be grateful that Arithon’s woman can fend for herself, weighed against the vengeful list of his Grace’s enemies.”
“She’s Koriathain, which makes her exceedingly dangerous! Jieret never met her, isn’t that so?” The caithein’s contentious challenge showed teeth. “Well then, there you are, I’d stake my right arm my blood ancestor’d have silt his own throat before he relied on her compromised loyaties.” That issue quashed flat as a stomped rat, Cosach’s impatience fixated back upon Dakar. “If I find out you know where she is, I’ll pulp your dough face through the back of your skull with my fist.”
Dakar cringed, his kicked puppy submission quite spoiled by his furtive glance sidewards. Cosach missed that deceit, distracted himself by the cheep of a wren from the underbrush.
The inbound scout’s covert signal was stressed, even to Tarens’ stone ear pitched too shrill for the piping call of a songbird.
The breezeless air welded the chill wait with tension until the breathless runner shoved out of the scrub. Flustered and sweating under his buckskins, the runner skidded to a stop. “She’s slipped past us.”
“Again!” No need for a name to rekindle annoyance. “Dharkaron Avenge!” Cosach fumed, “She couldn’t!”
“I suggested she might.” Dakar rammed forward, jostling Tarens’ parked interest. “If you hadn’t dismissed my pointed counsel, Elaira’s not merely woodwise. She studied her craft at initiate depth under White Haven’s adepts.”
“You’re a slippery wee eel, for an ally,” groused Cosach, then spat. “Be careful. You’ll face the score for handing my men the blind chase. The bay shore’s four leagues from here. Smell the salt on the wind? She’ll be swimming, already, the scheming witch!” He bulled past, waved the winded scout to his side, and ducked into the gloom beneath Halwythwood’s tangled canopy. “Speak up! Quick! I’ll hear your full report on the move.”
But such juggernaut haste went nowhere fast: Cosach walloped into a tree bole head first. He swayed. Yellowed leaves showered down as his knees buckled. He keeled over and measured his length, the proud tail of his clan braid sullied with twigs.
The scout swore in awe and knelt to examine the goose egg on his chieftain's brow. “Daelion Fatemaster’s witness be damned! Our high earl's belted himself unconscious.”
“Has he?” Iyat thos Tarens regarded Dakar, standing a half step behind with innocent hands linked at his back. “You didn’t!” he scolded.
“Tweak the flux? Yes.” The Mad Prophet ambled forward, nonplussed. Wall eyed and wary, he dodged the riled scout,
and stepped over the hulk of the caithdein his nasty prank had thrown over. “Well, you have to agree. The brute’s tongue is insulting. Worse, his pesky distrust of my motives has become a blistering thorn in the arse!”
Tasked by the glare of the appalled the clan runner, the fat little spellbinder shrugged. “Come along. Or stay, though I daresay your coddling touch isn’t warranted. His nibs is unharmed. He’ll regain his senses more than a bit sore. Kindly put, you may wish to be elsewhere.”
Thanks Janny - I have been lurking for a while watching for a sneak preview ;-)
Only early but nice to see how they are all getting along.
Wonderful. Thanks, Janny!
Saw your Tweet and RAN (figuratively speaking) over to read. Thanks for the peek!
About time Cosach got it between the eyes! Go Go Janny!
That's a great bit, Janny! It's also nice to see Dakar with a bit of skill, bless his fat dimpled hide.
Thanks Janny that was awesome, can't wait for the next sneak peek
Love it, Janny! Thank you so much! It is nice to see just how far Dakar has come since we first met him.
I am so glad I checked by! Thank you Janny :-)
My belated thanks, too. So belated that it's almost time for another?
Ooh ooh - have I found a typo?
Tasked by the glare of the appalled the clan runner, the fat little spellbinder shrugged.
Tasked by the glare of the appalled clan runner, the fat little spellbinder shrugged.
Either way...I can but live in hope of a proof reading job on "song of the mysteries"...:-)
Now back to work then a little rereading later tonight of Initiate's trial (have only read this once to date).
From Janny's post above:
Note before you plunge: this preview is DRAFT COPY, subject to polish before it is finished;
Am curious...."Stonewall" at the beginning of yon snippet is:
a. What Cosach feels like he ran into when he wakes up;
b. What our wonderful Tale Spinner offers to us when we think a snippet will grant us insights;
c. The considered/proposed chapter title; or
d. All of the above. ;-)
Interesting question. Here's a partial answer for you. Direct from (the never failing, always accurate and reliable)wikipedia:
Stonewall: Figurative use
a verb meaning "to refuse to cooperate, especially in supplying information, by talking a lot" (as used in "stonewalling", notably in the contexts of behavioral communication, law enforcement and politics).
So based on the snippet itself, I would go for chapter/subchapter title.
Thanks for the sneak preview Janny! Very much appreciated.
Ah, Raelene, aren't you clever! ;)
Aye, welcome from me too.
Though I was kind of partial to answer 'B'...
I know I am a bit late to the party, but I finished my first read of Initiate's Trial only a few weeks ago.
Anyway, thanks a lot for such a great snippet! I was grinning throughout my read. Let's hope the three of them (who I shall from now on call The Trio Infernale) stay in each others company for a while longer because their bickering is pure comedy gold. Not to mention that they show a fascinating dynamic.
Also, I found that Cosach reminds me a bit of the s'Brydions (well, mostly Bransian), what is great because I miss them a lot!
Agree with you Ipso. I too enjoyed the s'Brydions. Will you bring them back, Janny?
Is there a release date for this yet? Eagerly looking forward to more.
Going into withdrawals, here!!
And yes, long time no post. Sorry about that.