Remember this is the first draft. Things may change. They may not. I may just decide to rewrite it as a musical with dance numbers and audience participation(the first 3 rows may get wet)...okay, maybe not. My point is that there may be some editing needs that haven't been addressed, mainly because nothing in book 2 has been properly edited yet. If you see an issue, feel free to point it out, but the purpose of this post is simply to reveal a little of what's to come in the story.
So, here's an excerpt from Chapter 1: Recaps And Broken Kneecaps. Enjoy!
There was only one little problem.
Actually, that depends on either your definition of “little” or your capacity for sarcasm.
Currently, I was being shoved roughly into a wall of rough stone that lined the interior of Galius’ basement. I could feel the skin of my forehead break open as it snapped back from its collision with the wall. My body crumpled to the ground, the side of my head now rebounding off the stone-tiled floor. There had been no chance of catching myself or breaking my fall with my hands tied tightly behind my back to the point of cutting off blood circulation, my fingers long since numb. The front and side of my head were not numb, however, and flared with pain.
The dank air of the basement gave me a chill as I lay there helpless, securely bound and gagged on the floor. I couldn’t smell a thing over the odor of horse and saddle leather on my baggy white shirt and tan pants. My malodorous clothing reminded me that I hadn’t properly bathed in days.
Aside from the bare stone walls, the only features of the room were a simple wooden chair in the room’s center, a tall iron safe in the back corner, and stand lamps in the corners which gave me plenty of light to realize how much trouble Til’ and I were in.
Speaking of Til’, he had been shoved down onto the nondescript wooden chair in the center of the room. To his side, a burly brute in a worn brown tabard pressed down on the diminutive Kolarin’s shoulder to keep him from rising. Til’ was also gagged. He wore a white shirt under a brown jerkin with black pants, his clothing dirtied from our involuntary trip to Byweather.
Til’, not one to be forced into anything, struggled against the bonds of his tied hands, kicking at the brute beside him. The brute simply backhanded the poor little guy with his free hand. Til’s head snapped forward, his long raven hair whipping in front of him.
Til’ twisted his hanging head to the curly-haired brute, his large silver eyes burning with anger. With a sharp twist of his head, he forced the filthy gag from his mouth. “You’ll regret that, you two-bit, halfwit, Duncil-blooded, goat farming—” Til’s insult was cut off by another backhand, this one to his face and splitting his bottom lip. Duncil is the god of bastard children. Silly idea for a god in my opinion. Silly or not, though, Til’ deserved credit for the use of such a god in his curse.
Taking a cue from the fearless Kolarin, I tongued the similarly dirtied gag from my own mouth. “Leave him alone,” I rasped, my throat raw from having nothing to drink since being magically knocked out by wizards a day and a half prior. My hunger was a whole other issue.
“You better listen to him,” I continued hoarsely. “I’ve seen him take on worse than you, Lily Pants.” My taunt was answered by a violent kick to my stomach by the grime-faced thug who had shoved me into the wall. Yeah, at this point I still hadn’t learned to keep my big mouth shut. Actually, at the time of my writing this, I still haven’t learned that lesson.
I tilted my head towards the man who had kicked me, feeling blood trickle down my face from the split skin of my forehead. The double vision caused by my fall made me see two of his greasy, crooked-nosed face. His oily hair was only slightly less dirty than his tatty leathers. Dirty or not, his arms were as big around as my legs. If anything, the other brute—who I will continue to refer to as Lily Pants—was even more muscular. His exposed arms were proof of that. I hadn’t been lying to him, though; I had seen Til’ fight eldrhims and live to tell the tale. What was a simple thug compared to that? No matter how tough these guys were, it was hard to be scared when we had both dealt with eldrhims, wizards, and a dragon. Granted, we hadn’t been nearly dehydrated and starving during those times.
Well, I say that it was hard to be scared, but I must be one to take the hard road since I was pretty much scared out of my mind. Not scared for myself, but for Til’, Sal’, and Max. I couldn’t do a thing to help them, and that drove fear deep into my soul. I decided to shut my mouth for the time being and put all my efforts into thinking a way out of our current mess.
Before the cogs of thought could even start tumbling in my hazed mind, I heard two sets of harsh footsteps slapping down the stone steps into the basement followed by the slamming of the hidden hatch that opened from the room above. I lulled my head back to see Galius and the third brute who had abducted us, a hazy halo surrounding their bodies as my double vision slowly drew into focus.
Galius, as always, exuded about as much arrogance as Rembren, the god of arrogance. Seriously, there’s a god of arrogance. His blue velvet coat rested over a highly brocaded shirt. The fabric stretched taut over his paunch of a stomach that overlapped the top of pleated black pants. His receding black hair and pointed goatee were as meticulously manicured as ever, glistening with styling grease, but his eyes were sunken and his face even more pale than before. It looked like Galius hadn’t been able to sleep very well with the threat of losing his money and power looming over his head. That threat was one of my own doing by keeping the dragon egg’s luck from the bastard. Galius had been a lowly beggar before obtaining the egg, and without its magic, he was faced with the possibility of going back to that life.
The brute behind him was tall, a head and a half over my moderate height. He was clad in clean but broken-in leather armor over a shirt of mail. His boots came up to his knees on his leather-clad legs and a sheathed longsword hung from his hip. His hawkish eyes and stern features gave him a look of silent danger, his shaved head helping to encourage that look. Starting on his temples before swooping under his dark eyes and down the rest of his face, various swirls and tribal patterns were tattooed in black, stopping just below his chin. His posture was slightly relaxed, though from my training in swordplay and hand-to-hand combat, I could sense that he could have his sword drawn and in adept use in the span of a breath. In other words, if I were to guess at his name, I’d figure it to be Mess With Me And Die A Slow, Horrible Death.
It turned out to be Bill.