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Free Tuesday! 300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway

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Good afternoon! Here is today’s portion from Tears of Min Brock. We’re still in Chapter 1, The Moon King. Thanks!

Morning came too soon, and she groggily climbed out of bed. She tiptoed quickly across the cold planks and threw on her brown tunic. Woven from a thick cloth, it resembled a floppy bag more than it did a dress. It was the required outfit of Hetherlinn as ordered by the Oracles, creating uniformity and squelching individualism.   She often wondered if the other nations had to dress similarly.

She pulled her wavy cinnamon-colored hair out from beneath her tunic and it fell past her shoulders. Her eyes looked like morsels of dark chocolate that reflected a fiery heart, and her smile was inviting, while a few freckles—sprinkled like nutmeg—adorned her creamy cheeks. Although Elabea was an attractive girl, she did not consider herself pretty. In fact, aside from an occasional compliment from her mother, many in Hetherlinn, especially the widow Mithe, insulted her on a daily basis. As a result, she accepted their demeaning comments as true.

Slipping on warm wool stockings and then her boots, she quickly strapped a thick leather belt around her waist. With it snug about her, it at least gave her the sensation of wearing something more stunning than a sack.

She stepped to the square opening in her floor. The warmth from the kitchen fire below embraced her while the aroma of breakfast porridge made her stomach rumble. She descended the rickety ladder and the rungs creaked with her weight.

“Mother,” she asked as she dragged herself to the table near the fire. “Did you see anything last night?”

“No,” Areall answered dully as she scooped porridge from the large black pot. Like everything else in their cottage, the fireplace was simple and primitive by order of the Oracles. Rough in places with some cracks here and there, it was anything but elegant. Black soot covered the stone, rising up to the thatched roof.


Free Thursday! 300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway

tearscover_w_spine-copy.jpgThanks for checking out my post! If you’re new, I’m posting 300 words from my War of Whispers book, Tears of Min Brock, twice a week, thus the 300 x 2. If you’d like to start at the beginning, check out the “300 x 2” category section of my blog. Thanks again for taking the time. And now, here’s the conclusion to Chapter 1, The Moon King

 

She pushed away her blankets and found herself once more at the crack, staring out into the moonlight. The warrior hovered in the same place, but this time, the sight of him sent peace coursing through her veins.

The steed rose and boxed the air with his front appendages, and in a silvery flash, they disappeared into the deeper of shades.

Elabea stared, mesmerized by their flight.

Lying back down, she knew that sleep was out of the question, but not because she feared his return. Her imagination simply could not leave him be, so throughout the night, she examined every possibility as to his identity.

Being restricted to her village by the Oracles, she was limited to information beyond her border. Nevertheless, she quickly reasoned he was not from any of the surrounding nations. Already concluding that he was not from Ebon or a creation of the Cauldron, she was led to another question, one that went against the teaching of the Oracles.

Could he be from Claire?

The idea stirred her fantasies to the wind. High within her imagination they swirled, like snow on a zephyr. Sleep finally came, but before she drifted off, she felt the need to bestow him with a title.

The Moon King.


300 x 2 Fantasy Book Giveaway

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Well, I didn’t have time to get this posted this morning. Here is the continuation of Chapter 1 of Tears of Min Brock…

 

Nothing.

If not a raid, she wondered with a sigh of relief, perhaps it was my father downstairs.

Quinn often drank wildeberry wine well into the night, and in his inebriated state, sometimes hurled objects across the room followed by his curses.

THUD

This time, the sound came from outside. Gathering her courage, she peered through a crack in her shuttered window.

Lances of silver-blue moonbeams crisscrossed Hetherlinn while the trees strained against the windstorm and hindered her vision. Suddenly, the trees mysteriously parted, as if sensing her need for an unencumbered view.

Floating above the communal fire was a warrior and his mount that glowed like the moon. He turned and looked at her cottage, number seventeen. Elabea gasped and retreated into the shadows.

Did he see me?

Fearing the worst, she pulled her quilt close and sat perfectly still, hoping the ghost-like warrior would soon be on his way. She tried not to worry, but worry she did.

He’s definitely not an Ebonite. So where’s he from?

She fretted, straining to hear any more sounds, wondering most of all…

Why is he here?

Finally, she found an answer that made her eyes bulge with fear.

He must be a monster from the Cauldron!

Flashbacks from her countless trips to the oak with her friend, Galadin, began to fill her with panic. The Oracles, she gasped. He’s come to punish us for climbing the oak!

As quickly as that notion lit her anxiety on fire, another thought, one that involved reason, cooled her like water. We’ve played in the oak since we were five summers of age. Surely we would have been caught before now.

She relaxed somewhat, but was still frightened by the creature looming beyond her cottage. She tried to push his image out of her thoughts, but her will was not up to the task. In fact, the harder she strained, the more engraved his face became.

And what a face! Like dancing fire in a wintry sky!

Her curiosity, a trait she was noted for, joined her inner fray, and soon, her fears were overruled by a desire to take another peek.


300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway 02

Thanks tearscover_w_spine-copy.jpgfor checking in! Here’s the conclusion to the prologue and the start of Chapter 1. Hope to see you back on Tuesday!

 

The oak stretched its long limbs toward the mighty warrior and his mount, and it swayed in the wind, cheering their arrival. Both warrior and steed glowed as if a full moon resided within, while streams of blue light fell like shooting stars from his flowing cape, and a long sword was strapped to his side. The warrior’s face was his most captivating feature, ablaze with color like fire in a wintry sky.

The warrior, in turn, gave the regal tree a formal bow, acknowledging that their reunion had been long overdue. He admired the tree’s far-reaching branches and towering height, recalling a distant time—as if in a dream—when the children of Allsbruth climbed it in hope of hearing a whisper.

Defeat in the Dark War with Ebon and the Cauldron changed all of that. Now, villagers of Hetherlinn avoided the oak and even banned their children from it as well.

After all, swirling within the whispers were stories from the nation of Claire. Even though such tales could lead to freedom, the price was more than they were willing to pay. So they accepted the restraints of the Cauldron’s Oracles, bowed beneath Ebon’s military rule, and vowed to never listen to the whisper again.

The enigmatic warrior turned his gaze toward the sleeping village of Hetherlinn. Their tiny cottages sat in the shape of a crescent moon around the town’s communal fire that, at this time of night, was just a faint glow. Despite the hamlet’s small size, it was the epicenter of defeat in the Dark War. Sleeping inside cottages number seventeen and seven were the men whose actions at the battle of Min Brock continued to shadow the nations with despair. The warrior let his gaze wander from their homes, for he was not sent to question their allegiance or even punish their failures.

His was an altogether different mission.

Retrieving his crossbow from his back, he notched one of his bolts. Wrapping a white parchment around the clear crystal shaft, he secured the message with a thin strip of leather. Raising the weapon to his shoulder, he aimed and sent the bolt zipping through the air. Seeing that it struck its mark, he repeated the process again and again. Satisfied that he had accomplished his task, he darted through Hetherlinn, blue-silver beams disappearing into the deepest of shade.

Chapter 1

The Moon King

 THUD!

Elabea awoke abruptly.

“Who’s there?” she gasped as she pulled her covers close.

Although only fourteen summers of age, Elabea had seen her share of Ebonite night raids. Even so, she would never get used to warriors barging in while her family slept. Herded gruffly out into the night, they would be led to the communal fire with the other villagers. While Ebonite commanders took roll call, the warriors harassed them: spittle and curses flew; blades threatened children and women; kicks and punches landed on the men. Elabea quickly learned that the census was merely an excuse for Ebon to flex their military muscle.

She scanned her bedroom’s shadows for any sign of a warrior.


Free 300 x 2 Fantasy Book Giveaway

Tears_of_Min_Brock_Cover_for_KindleThanks for checking out my 300 x 2 Giveaway!

Starting today–Tax Day–I’m going to post 300 words from Tears of Min Brock twice a week: Tuesday and Thursday.

The idea is simple. You invest the time to read my blog and you’ll be rewarded with a free book. Okay, not in that I’ll mail you one, but in the sense that my 300 word snippets will amass into a digital blog book.

At the heart of all of this is my desire to connect with you, the reader, in a manner where sales and stats and ratings and what-have-yous don’t color our conversation. Honest.

Enough blah-blah.

Here’s Book 1 from the War of Whispers…

Tears of Min Brock

Prologue

The winter moon glowed ominously. Unusually large and ghostly blue, its sapphire beams dotted the landscape while long shadows crisscrossed the nations.

Despite midnight’s stillness, despite the frigid night, something wonderful—perhaps even magical—stirred.

A breeze.

Leafless trees swayed to its touch, awakening from a dream, and yet, the breeze did not bring a snowstorm or even clouds for that matter.

It simply carried the subtle scent of a flower.

A tulip.

The great oak took note of the phenomenon from atop its knoll, straining with all its might to turn into the wind. Unlike the other trees that encountered the warm breeze, the oak’s sweeping branches danced in the moonlight, for it had been waiting patiently for this moment for many summers.

The breeze became a zephyr and the oak bowed to its might, all the while searching the midnight sky for his anticipated return.

High above in the northern hemisphere, a thread of silver coursed the blackness, and the oak knew this was not a comet or even a falling star. It watched the argent light fly southward before falling from the sky, knowing it had disappeared for a reason. It was on a mission of secrecy, and none of the nations, especially Ebon, could know of its arrival.

Nevertheless, the oak knew the course it would take, and imagined it zipping over the Gilden Sea whose cresting waves were but a blur of sapphire. Next, the tree pictured the silver beam zooming inland and racing across the vast Gilden Plains.

Nearing the border of Allsbruth, the nation the oak called home, it descended to the treetops. Swooping around mountains, darting over the River Arrgient, and twisting along winding roads, the silvery beam flew for the rendezvous with the oak. Approaching the hamlet of Hetherlinn, it slowed to a stop and hovered above the knoll.


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