It has been awhile since I did a snippet post. I thought maybe, since I am spending all my time editing lately, I’d let you in on a few little tastes of what is to come in this final chapter of the Minstrel’s Song series… so, without further ado, a few glimpses into what I’ve been working on. A “back-page pass” if you will! As an added challenge, I shall attempt to share snippets that do not spoil anything, either in this story or in any of the previous books!
The man stood straighter. “What sort of help, exactly, do you require from me?”
“I… I need a place to hide,” the girl stammered out the words. “I… I thought perhaps your people could take me in, or give me a place to stay.”
“Why do you need a place to hide?”
The girl’s shoulders slumped. She looked up mournfully.
“My parents died when I was young. My guardians consider me a drain on their resources. They want to marry me off to a man much older than me. I’ve heard that in other lands a girl can make her own decisions about such matters. I want to travel to those places. Please, please help me. I would rather die than marry the man they have picked for me.”
“Is that so?”
“It is,” she whispered. She was like a caged animal ready to attack, but also frightened to walk through the door should it open.
“This is nice,” Dylanna commented.
“Almost like old times,” Kamarie said.
“Almost,” Oraeyn chuckled, “except we’re not outside in that rain. We’re not hungry, wet, cold, or lost, and there are no enemies chasing us. Except for that, it’s exactly like old times!”
Kamarie chuckled. “You left out being terrified out of our minds.”
The room filled with laughter and the stories began, spilling out one at a time as the friends reminisced over the many adventures they had shared.
The entrance of Blackwing Cavern was truly impressive. The building was fashioned from hewn stonework supported by massive tree trunks. Instead of simple thatch, the roof was comprised of slate tiles, and as Oraeyn looked up, he did indeed see a medium-sized dragon curled around one of the large stone chimneys that soared into the air. The door to the Cavern was large enough to allow easy passage to even the largest of dragons. He stood in the street, feeling a bit at a loss. There was no knocker or bell-pull that he could see, and there was no way for him to open the door. He could bang on it for seasons and never be heard inside. For a moment, all the trappings of kingship melted away and he was merely a man before dragons.
“If you want to go inside, you can use the ward’s door,” a quiet voice sounded next to him.
Oraeyn glanced down at the speaker, a young girl. Before he could ask what she meant, she pointed shyly to one side of the building. Looking where she was pointing he saw what he had missed before: a human-sized door on the side of the building. He looked back at the child and grinned ruefully.
“How did I miss that?” he chuckled.
She giggled and clasped her hands behind her back. “First time seeing the Cavern?”
“Yes,” he admitted.
“It’s big,” she did a little dancing step, her feet unable to remain still. “We’ve mostly gotten used to it. You here for the trial?”
Pain drifted through Brant’s awareness in a red haze. He struggled to gather his memories. He remembered giving council to his older brother. Yes, Ky often discussed matters with him and seemed to value his advice. It had been Brant’s idea to ride out to the Border Patrol two days past. The men had needed a symbol of strength, and he had persuaded Ky to let him go.
The seheowks had attacked without warning, and in far greater numbers than anyone had expected. Fighting with a ferocity that the aethalons had never seen them exhibit before, they swarmed over the Border Patrol in an unstoppable and overwhelming flood of destruction. Brant looked around the scene of the battle again. The entire Border Patrol had been killed.
Blood seeped from the wound in his side and even as he put his hand up to cover it, he knew it was fatal. Blackness surrounded him and as he fell to the ground he wondered what would happen to Llycaelon now. Oddly, a stray thought crossed through his mind that this could all have been avoided. His conscience pricked him, telling him that this was not the way it was supposed to be. It was too late now, he thought, as darkness crept up, obscuring his vision. Time had run out, and he was so tired.
“Ky,” he whispered regretfully, “I’m sorry…”
“You should know by now that history can be changed and lies can be told to keep secret what must be protected.” Kiernan Kane’s voice was deadly serious. “Many of the histories you know do not tell the whole story.”
“I don’t understand.”
Kiernan Kane leapt to his feet. “And there is not time to explain. There is not enough time for anything these days. I have delayed longer than I ought.”
Oraeyn blinked. “But why now? How can you be sure that the staff even exists after all this time? What if I fail?”
“You will succeed.” Kiernan popped the last bite of apple between his teeth and grinned around it.
“Even if you said I wouldn’t succeed, I’d try anyway.”
“I know. Fare thee well, King Oraeyn. We shall meet again on the field of battle.” Kiernan lifted an arm and disappeared.
Whew! That was harder than I thought it would be! Finding nice little passages that don’t give away too much took some hunting.
So, what do you think?