I turned in the second edit of my book to Standard Publishing last week. It is tentatively titled The Basiped Chronicles: The Long Night. Before that, we were calling it A Tale of Two Kingdoms. Regardless of what we call it, here is a small snippet of the first chapter. I can't share much of it online, but it's been such a part of what I have been doing lately, I wanted to share a little. It hasn't been finally edited yet, so even this will likely change some:
A flaming arrow buzzed through his gray stringy beard, barely missing his jugular. Head down and eyes closed, the old man sprinted through the darkening forest. His enemies pursued him on both sides. Guided by an inner quiet force, he blindly hurdled fallen logs and ducked his head just inches beneath low hanging tree limbs. The fiery darts assaulted him from all directions, embedding themselves into the outlying pines and firs as he sprinted past them.
Another flaming arrow reflected off the tail of his patched brown overcoat as if it were made of iron. The man sprinted faster, squeezing his eyelids tightly together as he ran.
He mumbled to himself as he flew along, “C’mon….c’mon. Get here already. I can’t hold on much longer.”
That’s when he heard it.
Tha-thud. Tha-thud. Tha-thud.
The sound grew louder and closer from behind him as he ran.
Tha-thud. Tha-thud. Tha-thud.
The man slowed to a jog. He opened his eyes for the first time in about an hour, turned to face his oncoming deliverer and smiled. As he turned he saw exactly what he had hoped for: his master, the warrior Prince of his Mountain Kingdom, barreling full force on horseback in his direction.
As the Prince drew near, the old man noticed fresh wounds on his master’s hands and arms. Bulging sweaty biceps bore the bloody slices of the enemy’s sword. Even his enormous white stead was wounded in the battle, with several simmering arrows still embedded in her hindquarters. The Prince wore plate mail battle armor, leather gloves and a plated helmet with an iron faceguard hiding his thick brown beard and long hair. He held his double-edged sword, called The Dunamas, in his right hand and the reins of the stallion in his left.
The old man stood mesmerized by his Prince’s approaching glory as another flaming arrow buzzed over his head. It wasn’t until the Prince said the man’s name that he again became aware of his surroundings.
“Pops!” the Prince yelled. He slid his sword in his scabbard and reached out his hand as his horse snorted. She sprinted at full speed toward the man. “Grab hold of my hand!” the Prince yelled.
Pops extended his hand. With one motion, the Prince snagged his friend and yanked him up to the rear of the horse. She never slowed her gallop.
“Hold on,” the Prince warned.
“Ho, Justice! Ho!” the Prince ordered his warhorse to halt and she promptly obeyed.
He intently surveyed the silent dark forest from her back. Then he screamed into the blackness, “Come out! Face your enemy and stop hiding like cowards!” At first nothing happened, but after a few moments the leaves and bushes began to rustle on either side of them.
“C’mon, come out now and show yourself,” the Prince spoke as if he were coaxing a housecat from its hiding place. Suddenly, a dark figure appeared in front of the Prince’s horse and to his right. A tall and menacing creature emerged, so black that he blended in with the night sky. He held a smoldering arrow at his side that lit up his right arm and thigh.
“Basiped?” he blurted.
“No,” said the Prince. “I am not. But I am their guardian.”
The dark figure snorted and kicked. He spat and muttered in an ugly unknown language. He lifted his flaming arrow, attached it to his bow and aimed straight for the Prince’s heart. Pops ducked behind the Prince in fear. With a twang, the arrow shot at the Prince. He quickly drew his sword, and sliced the arrow into two shards inches in front of his face. In a flash, the Prince dismounted and rushed his attacker. He suddenly beheaded his enemy with one arcing slice from The Dunamas.
more to come in March of 2010...