SAMPLE CHAPTERS & ARTWORK UPDATES

Posts tagged ‘escape’

Snippet Time!

What I’m currently working on in the latest chapter of No’va.

*****

Its puce skin looked soft and moist from being in the humid climate. If not for a few sharp features and wings flinging even more mud at their faces, it might not have looked very intimidating. Another bubble brought several more into the air. One even carried its young, which clung to its underside and squeaked when the parent made any sudden movements.

Providence held his position, keeping himself between the men and harpy-demons. If he spoke to them, it came out in a series of clicks and sharp gurgles. Whatever the meaning, the creatures returned with threatening hisses. Soon the Healer began to back up where the men were standing. Slightly turning his head to peer over one shoulder, he warned, “Prepare yourselves.”

While the men just looked at one another and around at their sloppy situation, Jenario had his eye somewhere else.

“The water.” He nudged one of them in the direction of the island. “We can swim for it.”

The idea of swimming in swamp water was no more appealing than what suddenly swooped down at them. At a shout from Providence, the men turned to flee. Some of them ended face-down in the muck while harpy-demons clawed at those who still managed to keep their footing. There were at least twelve, with more on the way as Jenario noticed larger bubbles beginning to pop along the tunnel’s edge.

Like the others, Jenario kept his arms over his face when he was attacked. They came in pairs, effectively moving the men away from those who carried young. In between the chaos of yanking at his clothing, pinching claws and bites, he noticed those carrying smaller ones stayed back. There was no sign of Providence, though he caught a hint of green robe in between flapping wings and heard his commands to get as far from the tunnels as possible. Whether the harpy-demons actually attacked the Healer, he was unsure. At the moment, they just needed to find a way out, so Jenario took the one opportunity he had before a leathery wing gashed his cheek.

He dived. It came as a surprise that his boots got the traction they needed for the final push over the mound and down under the water. It was too murky to see, but he could hear several splashes from above as though the creatures tried to follow.

Jenario did not wait. The water was not deep, as his hand quickly touched a slimy bottom. Things that grew underwater slipped along his stomach. He could feel the bark of trees, or what he assumed were trees silently decaying in the dark. He found places to hold and started pulling himself along. Best to stay low, he realized. If they see any disturbance in the water, they might come back.

His thoughts drifted to the other men when muffled variations of dives came from behind. It was an oily sound, like slapping a thick soup. The cooks used to do that back at Mayla when they had just hauled in unusual looking shelled fish, fresh from port. They would slap their ladles across their hard backs in attempts to keep them down, just long enough for the pot’s lid to clamp shut. After the steaming process, they were then peeled and ladled into a thick stew. It had made a delicious impression on the council, who requested it more often than the normal broths containing just vegetables and beef. One would think a chef would not have needed an alchemist, but tasteful ingredients were always needed. Thus Jenario found himself called upon for food preparation more so than medicine, and he hated every moment of it. The very smell of his current pardictument was a good reason to despise becoming a culinary alchemist. A sudden flashback to himself pulverizing oil glands from a stinking fish corpse made his stomach churn.

He thrust up for a quick breath, unable to hold it any longer. The water did not fully break as quickly as a clear stream would have, so he received a mouthful of floating debris and muddy water. This set off a sputter of choking
gasps and hacks to clear his lungs. The gash on his cheek stung once in open air, sure it would get infected from whatever else sufficated in its muddy clutches.

*****

The image below might be something they swim in to reach the so-called ‘island’

swamp water

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Sample Chapter (Unedited)

End of Part II – that leaves 10 more chapters until completeion!

This is from the third book “Healer” in the Blue Moon Rising Trilogy

Abraham never realized how heavy a Black Wing was. Even for a half-breed, the weight of Corrigan’s wings nearly doubled Abraham’s task of prying the harpy from bed. With an arm around his shoulder, and being careful of the talons, Corrigan was finally pulled to a standing position.

“Think you could adjust yourself? You’re squashing me!” Abraham grunted under the harpy’s weight.

“You’d be dragging too if you had to stay in bed for months at a time!” Corrigan mumbled and blinked several times to clear his gaze. Carefully, he moved each wing to test their agility. The movement nearly sent them airborne.

“Save it for when we’re outside!” Abraham warned. “If Jenario comes up here, you’ll have to fly.”

Corrigan just snorted and allowed the young man to help him over to the balcony doors. “Took you long enough to figure the spell.”

 

Abraham breathed in deeply once the harpy’s weight was against the balcony wall. “Wasn’t easy. Only way to get his mind off magic was to bring up the past.”

“Add the horn to the mix, and you had your work cut out for ya, huh?” Corrigan sneered.

Abraham nodded grimly.

“Suppose I can’t complain. I’m out, and I thank you for it.” The harpy attempted an awkward bow, while still holding to the wall for support. It was not until the click of lock shifted his gaze past the young man and toward another standing just inside the patio doorway.

Abraham needed no hint as to whom stood behind him. In a single motion, he turned toward his father. “Fly….” he breathed.

From behind, he could hear Corrigan’s talons scraping over stonework. Though he kept a steady gaze with his father, the muffle of movement over the balcony wall confirmed the harpy had descended.

“I won’t let you take him back.” Abraham raised a hand in defense as he father stepped outside. A spell was already forming on his tongue when Jenario just shook his head.

“There’s no need for that.” He waved the comment aside. “Corrigan’s usefulness had long since run out.”

A thrash of underbrush below the balcony suggested the harpy had reached ground level. Although still weak, Abraham knew the harpy’s wings could still deliver a good blow. There came a distant crack of twigs and rustling leaves from the Black Wing’s entrance into the forest before all was still, save for the constant rumble of overhead thunder.

Abraham kept his distance as his father stepped over to the balcony wall. There came a chuckle.

“Expecting the horn, I see,” Jenario said softly, his gaze sweeping over the shadowed land. “But let it be known that it was my every intention to see him free.”

“By using others!” Abraham returned sharply. “I see how you work. I see how THAT thing works. It uses you the same way YOU use others to get what you want.”

There was a brief moment of silence while Abraham studied his father’s unusual cool attitude.

“I haven’t seen your assassin for a while. Did you finish using him as well?”

“Indeed.” Jenario’s change from relaxed pose to an intense stare-down caused beads of sweat to line the young man’s forehead.

What was i thinking? He thought, feeling the power drawing around his father. I’m not strong enough to stand up to him OR the horn. They’d obliterate me by mere thought!

A sly smile spread across Jenario’s lips, and the eyes lit with an inner flame.

“Now what purpose would that serve when you still have potential,” the horn spoke gently. “As for Nathanial…” A shrug. “Let’s just say, I sent him into early retirement.”

Abraham lowered his eyebrows in disgust. “Maybe my father doesn’t see you as a puppet master, but I do. And I was not about to see that Black Wing’s demise!”

“So you did,” the horn replied, that crooked a smile still upon his lips as he eyed Jenario’s son.

“And I will not allow myself to be used for your gain either.” The young man started to back away. When the horn said nothing, he turned and dashed for the bedroom door, only to find it locked. Heart pounding, he raced for the secret passage. Flinging aside the paneling, he stared stupidly at the dark void of swirling portal blocking his path.

In frustration, Abraham slammed the paneling shut and whipped around. His father had moved to the only exit the room contained: the balcony.

“As I said before,” the horn cooed, “should something happen to the harpy, YOU”LL be taking his place.”

“I’ll not be kept under your spell!” Abraham returned.

“Of course not. You’ll just undo it. No, I have better plans for you. But for now,” the horn turned away from the bedroom. “There’s a war about to rage, and I plan to attend its final outcome.”

“What war?”

“One your father has prepared so nicely.”

Abraham slowly ventured over to the doors once Jenario stepped back outside, only to find the space vacant.

The distinct sound of a four-legged animal clopping over barren soil drew his attention below. While only a glimpse of the unicorn was seen before entering the forest, Abraham could not help but feel trapped. Jenario had locked the door when he had entered, and a dark portal blocked the secret passage.

He leaned over the wall to judge how far he was from ground. The tower room was the tallest structure on the building. Just thinking about climbing down sickened his stomach, and he started to back away.

There was a whoosh of wind at his back, followed by loud flapping. A strong pair of hands gripped under his arms and lifted him out over the balcony. With a yelp, Abraham dangled helplessly in midair.

“Thought you might need a lift,” came the voice of Corrigan as the two sailed out over the trees.

“You came back?” Abraham glanced up, then swung his feet to avoid hitting a limb. “Watch it!” he warned, his legs pumping to keep from hitting anything.

“I can’t lift you any higher!” Corrigan called. “We’ll be landing shortly!”

“Not out here!” Abraham exclaimed as a streak of lightning lit the sky. “You’re going to kill us both!”

The Black Wing angled his descent, circling Jenario’s home in the process to look for a place to land. The storm cloud was intense, shadowing the land with its enormous size.

“Somehow, I doubt that’s his plan now, or we’d been long gone by now.”

“The horn mentioned something about a war!” Abraham shouted. “Do you think Keith knows?”

“We’ll soon find out,” Corrigan responded.

A fresh breeze signaled freedom near the borders of Sapphire. Even with the storm looming around them, the feel of Jenario’s power grew fainter. Holding tight to the feathering around the harpy’s arms, Abraham allowed himself to be carried, hoping and praying he could somehow play a role in stopping whatever his father had started.

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