[This is the heroine, Caliphany] It had been little over a month since Galadin and I had met. The Festival of Peace would be over back in Leogard. The month of Inver gave way to the month of Feyth. Autumn’s chill settled over me as I ran down the road leading west out of Faewood. The road rose gradually toward the mountains. Night fell, and I depended on the roadside torches to light my way until the road narrowed at its entrance into the mountains.
In the darkness, I scanned ahead and saw nothing but the faint outline of road. Behind, I saw nothing but the lights of Faewood below and the edge of the light thrown by the last road torches. I dropped concealment, pulled my cloak around me tightly, and continued on my way.
When it became too dark to see the path, I stopped and looked around me. I thought about summoning a flame in my palm to light the way, but I decided it might be too bright and could give away my location. A faint blue light shone under some tall trees. From my botanical studies, I knew it to be the iridescence of Alder mushrooms. I picked one of them, turning the mushroom over to reveal the glowing gills underneath.
“Luminae aldero si,” I chanted, waving my hand over it.
The light intensified just enough for me to see the road ahead, and I smiled. Holding my new light source in front of me, I shivered at the vastness of the mountain forest. Owls hooted somewhere overhead. Something scampered nearby. I trembled. To my right, a footpath veered off the main road. I took a deep breath and ventured down the path, hoping to find a village eventually.
After a long trek, I came to a clearing. No sign of civilization. Instead of going further, I decided to make camp. Never in my life had I slept outdoors. I gathered up some dry wood and placed it near a fallen log. The mushroom light finally faded, but soon the light of blue fire in my palm lit up the clearing. I flicked a small burst of flame into the wood, and before long, I had a warm, crackling fire.
I was quite proud of myself, though beyond the perimeter of the fire’s light, total darkness closed in. Sinking down onto the ground, I rested my back against the log and wrapped my cloak as tightly around me as I could. When my stomach rumbled again, I remembered the evynfruit. I took it from my satchel and bit into it, savoring the tangy, starchy flesh. It didn’t take long for me to devour it. I had just wiped my mouth with the hem of my cloak when I heard a noise behind me.
I froze. It was very subtle, just a small crack of a twig. Then another. Flipping around, I unsheathed Galadin’s sword and crouched behind the log. Whatever was behind me was too close to hide from. I’d have to fight it off. I tried to remember everything Galadin had taught me about sword fighting. My hand shook as I clenched the heavy weapon.
Behind me came a growl, on the other side of the fire. I flipped around again. My heart threatened to leap from my chest. I was surrounded—how would I fight off more than one thing? The growl in front of me grew louder. I held the sword with both hands; my arms shook violently when I saw the reflection of yellow eyes.
I sneaked a peek behind me, behind the log. I saw nothing, but thought there might be more of whatever it was. Turning my attention to the eyes in front of me again, my breath caught when it came charging. A wolf rounded the fire, then leapt straight at me. I held my sword aloft, hoping to impale it. As it landed on me, I toppled over, and it yelped. But, the sword hadn’t even pierced it. I stared at its limp body. An arrow stuck out from the wolf’s side.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Excerpt from "A Ranger's Tale"
My first novel, to be released February, 2011. Enjoy this excerpt. More on the way!