Alright, this isn’t funny. Who gets writing block on day 3 of 30?
The last two days have been exceptionally exciting and in some ways overwhelming, so maybe my mind is not wholly focused on my writing. But I will not let this stop me! Book three shall be completed!
Here is a snippet for your enjoyment (if you are intrigued by this sample, you can learn much more about what these characters are up to by volunteering to be a reader/reviewer for book one of the Storms Trilogy, out December 19. Advance copies are still on offer in exchange for reviews):
The man was named Tayon and he was ageless. Tall and regal in his movements and demeanor, he glided rather than walked, although that was all an illusion, because even though the Fay were a far different race they were made of flesh and bone as much as Fifer. His skin was colourless, and his hair pale, but his eyes shone bright and intensely green. In that sense, Fifer had always resembled them more than her sister, or mother. Although she was tanned of skin her long hair was the colour of sand, an unlikely shade for a woman of the desert.
Wind howled through the cave’s mouth and Fifer shivered. Tayon wore clothing of wool and leather: tall boots, breeches and shirt in black and gray, and a long cape of white fur. Impressive finery for a man who claimed to have been a fugitive for a decade, the woman remarked although she did not know what or from whom he had been escaping.
“Welcome,” his voice was low and melodious.
“Why have you called out to me?” Fifer was not so easily wooed by attractive men; she had always possessed a suspicious nature. “Before you speak, remember that I can leave as easily as I arrived. Do not flatter me, or try to seduce me with empty promises. Every race lies and cheats and I am very adept at seeing when someone is not telling me the truth.”
“I am pleased,” the beautiful face lost its dreamlike smile, the virtuous look about his eyes. “I do not much enjoy that song and dance. We have called you here because we need you.”
Fifer did not respond to his goading statement. Of course they needed her, the question was for what. The quicksilver armour that slithered over her skin was icy; all Fifer had to do was think it, and the legless spirit with an egg for a head who seemed perpetually at her side breathed heat into the flowing metal, which lit up with the colours of a flame. Tayon’s eyes widened ever so slightly.
“Do you know how I did that?” Fifer smiled. She rather enjoyed knowing that she had power that he coveted.
“I believe I understand,” it was his turn to smile knowingly. “But no, I cannot see the spirits that you command.”
“Then how do you know of them?” She kept the surprise from her calm tone.
“It was not the Fay who were able to summon you here. You answered the call of a being that may very well be even more ancient and powerful. It is he who found us after we were driven out of the desert and he who thinks that you are the most powerful among us.”
“Remember what I told you about flattery, Tayon.” The corner of her mouth rose slyly, her voice was flirtatious. She was toying with him and he had no choice but to play along. Fifer rather enjoyed being in control, although she felt that she had had few opportunities to do so in the past; she remembered being led, never commanding.
“I am only relaying his words.”
“Then I will speak to him directly. Why is he not the one to greet me at the entrance?” Fifer was intrigued. She had only come face to face with a Fay twice before, and on both occasions she had been indisputably aware of the great power that they possessed; she knew of no other race of power gifted save the northern barbarians and the desert Aestus, and the Fay had never bowed down to either.
“That will not be possible, you see, he is banished and resides deep under these mountains. He is able to relay few messages, but you will not be able to simply chat with him. I will have to do for the time being.”
Fifer raised an eyebrow incredulously. Tayon grinned revealing perfectly white teeth.
“So I presume that your master wants to be set free from his earthly prison? To what end?”
Tayon opened his mouth as if to compliment Fifer on her deductive reasoning, but quickly remembered himself. He shook his head with a self-deprecating smile on his pale lips before answering.
“You must understand that he is not our master, nor does he wish to be yours, he is only looking for an alliance. You see, the northern lands were his once, and they were filled by his spirits until the northern race, the Desmen, learned to communicate with these beings and convinced them to do their bidding. Their priests and priestesses drove the most powerful spirit of all deep into the mountains’ foundations, where he remained with his most loyal and powerful servants. Now that he has found us—and learned that we can shape physical objects with our gift, he wants to return. If we assist him he will reclaim the north for himself and the desert will be ours again. A neat little arrangement.”
“It seems far too simple. You unleash a powerful, ancient spirit and he will use his army of monsters to decimate all the races but your own and then gift you half of his bounty?” The man was clearly more pretty than he was intelligent, Fifer thought.
“It would seem that way, but for one small detail.” Tayon’s smugness was unflattering. “We are limited, few as we are and cannot release him without a source of power. You are our source of power, and you are evidently capable of controlling the spirits that have been spewing forth from the crevice that we have managed to tunnel. If you side with us, you will aid us in releasing this being from the earth and then, once he has purged the lands of the lesser power gifted, you will command the spirits to ensure that he keeps his word.”
Fifer laughed, the sound resonated through the cave’s mouth.
“Your plan is flawed. I have no use for the Fay, nor do I care much for ruling over an empty desert. I have a grievance with one man and once he answers my summons I will be rid of him; vanquishing an entire race seems messy and unnecessary.”
“In that you are mistaken, you need the Fay more than ever.” Tayon bore into her eyes with confidence. “You hold great power, yes, but you are limited by your body and without our help you will not last long under the weight of the great power that you carry inside of you. You are human, Fifer, your body will age and decay and one day you will turn to dust never having tasted what it is like to be a being of true power.”
Fifer was motionless. Were the spheres not enough? Arkadius had told her that she could not withstand their power; the notion that he was right caused Fifer’s anger to rise in her chest like a great swell of boiling water.
“You can achieve your full potential, Fifer.” Tayon’s voice was quiet and even. “Join us and I will show you how you can shed the frail part of you, and you can become a Fay in the truest sense.”
His voice surrounded her. She was a Fay child, yes. Their blood had always coursed through her veins. But she was more besides; the symbol engraved on her shoulder meant something, it defined her much like her green eyes, but Fifer could not remember its meaning or gauge its worth.
“Why are you so keen to decimate the Aestus.” Fifer kept her voice level. “Enslave them, make them do your bidding. To kill them all seems like a waste of potential.”
Tayon considered her a long moment.
“The Fay have no desire to rule, Fifer. We only need a source of nourishment to survive. We can live for a thousand years or more, unless, of course we are killed.” His face darkened as though he were reliving the events of centuries past. “It is no coincidence that the Aestus’ weapons can kill the Fay, they were made for that very purpose. The Fay used to be numerous and powerful, treated like gods in the days so long gone that no other race remembers. We had no need to hunt then, we would receive willing sacrifices from the people of the desert to feed on, but the Aestus learned to temper steel and tried to destroy us. They drove us out of our homeland and into hiding.”
Fifer felt a stirring in her gut that she could not put a memory to. Was it excitement or dread?
“We have learned from our mistakes,” Tayon concluded, “so join us and you will be reborn into the being that you were meant to be.”