I am so close to wrapping up the first draft of my first heroic fantasy novella THE PRINCE OF GRAVES. A good deal of revision and editing await me afterward, of course. With the holidays upon us the most realistic time frame for the release is now January. That’s two months later than I wanted, but a late release is better than no release at all. As soon as I get the draft into the hands of some beta readers I’ll be jumping back to SHADOWS AND BONES. So in the mean time please enjoy this (very rough) excerpt. As always, constructive feedback is very much appreciated.
Excerpt from THE PRINCE OF GRAVES
Dayhoral was a young wizard by Frey’s reckoning. While some gray hair littered his short brown hair and beard, his appearance was youthful. This was particularly so when observed standing next to his master, Layarax the Great. As the Magus stepped forward into the war chamber, Frey motioned for all save Vraim to leave.
“What sign, Dayhoral?” asked Frey. “Our spies have confirmed your vision. The enemy has crossed the mountains, but we no longer have report of them. Can you conjure up another vision? Or tell us my brother location?” Dayhoral’s look was gaunt as he sat upon a stone. He wore a thick brown robe tied at the waist with a simple leather belt. Mud caked his boots and ran up his leggings and robe.
“I fear no new visions have I seen,” he exhaled. His voice was exhausted, and his eyes red from fatigue. “Yet I can say that when I dreamed the first vision, the enemy swept out of the north like storm clouds, straight toward Ceremane.” Frey turned back to regard the black clouds moving his way. They were now crowned with lightening.
“Dayhoral,” asked Frey thoughtfully, who after a moment looked at the wizard. “Do you believe as Revhalom? The coming of the Prince of Graves?” Dayhoral kept his silence but his eyes darted to the northern horizon.
“My lord, I’m no prophet. And in all respect due to the elder Revhalom, neither is he. Yet many of the prophecies of the Scrolls of old are being rapidly fulfilled, and all seems in place for the coming of the Prince of Graves.”
The distant air murmured a low, rhythmic thunder. Frey stepped forward out of the alcove. While pregnant black and gray clouds were sliding south from the great mountains ahead, the prince knew the quiet rumble was not issuing from the sky. Prevost cast a nervous glance at his liege.
“Gods,” swore Frey. “They only crossed the mountains two days ago. Could they be upon us already?” Dayhoral and Prevost joined him and peered at the thickening wall of clouds. “Are they truly riding the clouds, as in your vision?”
“The armies of the Necromancers are surely under dark enchantments,” replied the wizard, folding his hands into his robes. “The mortals in their ranks will perish with such forces pushing them on, but not before they finish their mission.” Frey turned an angry eye toward Dayhoral.
“We will not let them. Tell me, wizard, will your magic be able to aid us?” A clap of thunder rolled suddenly, and the cliffs trembled. Dayhoral reached a hand out to the cliff face as if to steady himself. A sound as of a heavenly whip cracked in the sky, and arcs of white lightening danced across the clouds.
“I will do what I can. With Layarax and Revehelom upon the plains, I’m alone. Pray that whatever necromancer aids this army is the lesser wizard.” Frey looked Dayhoral over critically, but not unkindly. Then turning back to the north he listened as the sound of the rhythmic thunder from the ground started to blend with the chaotic thunder from the sky.
“I’ll keep my prayers to myself, wizard. Find yourself a place to watch the battle. It is nigh.” He turned to his left and down the steep cliff trail. In the dwindling light he spied Captain Vraim, who was watching him intently. Frey raised his right hand, held it for a moment, and then brought it down quickly. Vraim drew his sword and raised the hilt before his face in salute, and then turned.
“To arms! To arms!” he called, spurring his horse as he galloped to and fro to ensure their forces were in position.