This is still draft material, so will likely undergo an overhaul before it hits the virtual shelves (still planned for November). I really hope to look for beta readers toward the end of October.
THE PRINCE OF GRAVES, which is a prelude to my other work in progress SHADOWS AND BONES, details the culmination of three years of war between the kingdom of Valeot, the last of the Remnant Kingdoms that rose in the wake of the fall of the ancient kingdom of Maledine over 1000 years before the novella takes place, and the Necromancer Kingdoms. The primary characters are the sons of the king, four princes who lead the armies of the kingdom in what has shaped up to be the final effort of their enemies to conquer them. The aftermath of this conflict sets the stage for SHADOWS AND BONES, so although it won’t be necessary to read PRINCE before SHADOWS, it will introduce the reader to the world, the mythology, and some of the characters that play roles in the coming novel.
I’m still trying to figure out what to reveal at this stage and what to leave to the readers, so please forgive me if this excerpt is confusing. I’d love comments and feedback. Also, if you think you might be interested in reading a fantasy novella as a beta reader in about a month or so, please send me a message.
Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the sample.
THE PRINCE OF GRAVES
When the devils rise and the living wail
The dead reach out, cold and pale
The days of men shall falter and fail
Entombed forever beyond the veil
No hope, no rest, no power to save
The wicked day dawns as the noble day wanes
The light and life of the kingdom fades
When all kneel down to the Prince of Graves
* * *
Prince Frey sat upon his horse and watched from his perch on the cliff as three spies galloped up the winding switchbacks. They returned later than he had expected, and he was already preparing to move the phalanx without their report when a spotter called out that the spies were speeding in from the west.
“Tell Captain Vraim to come to me once he takes the spies’ report,” he said to his page, who immediately turned and scrabbled down the narrow path past a knot of archers who were settling into position. Frey frowned inwardly as he watched them signal to other archers on the opposite side of the wide passage his forces were currently fortifying. An entire phalanx of horsemen with seven squads of longbow men was arrayed at the spillway that was the only exit from the southern reaches of the Frost Lands large enough for the enemy to travel through. The land was essentially a dry, massive gully with steep, rocky walls rising starkly into cliffs and crags that offered a commanding view into the southern limits of the desolate hills of the lifeless land to the north.
An army foolish enough to advance from the north would have to come through this pass. But despite the wide, flat, and easily traversed ground between the ridges, to do so would invite carnage because of the way the steep walls would channel them. A brutal ambush would be easy to plan. Frey grunted to himself, and turned his horse carefully on the slender trail. He intended this ambush to be devastating.