The following is an all new story — a Lost Tale of sorts — set in the world of the Watchers of the Light that was first revealed in Among the Shadows. Readers of AtS will have met Milena before (and this story takes place after the events of AtS). Those who have not crossed paths with this Arc Maiden are about to learn why the Darkness fears her. Enjoy…
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The mysterious Nan Madol is in the news, due to attention from a television show. These ruins of a forgotten city on the island of Pohnpei have long been the center of myth and legend. In one of the opening scenes of Awakening, sequel to Among the Shadows, Ethan, Milena and Kyra, are vacationing on the ancient isle, but they find something unexpected in an empty tomb. A brief excerpt from the forthcoming Awakening…
Next to Ethan, Milena put her hands on the boulder. She closed her eyes, and cleared her mind with the box breathing she learned when training with her katanas. The energy began to surge within and she felt it intertwine with Ethan’s.
“On three. One…two…three.”
She opened her eyes, lit green from within, her husband’s burned blue.
“It’s moving!” Kyra yelled…With a little help from gravity, and more from their strength, they rolled the boulder out of the way…
Kyra turned the light on the darkness, chasing it away. “There are steps going down into another chamber.”
“Let me have one of those.” Kyra handed her father his flashlight and he started down. As soon as Ethan reached the last step, the light reflected off a crystal pyramid, twice the width of the boulder, but no taller. It sat dead center in the room, nearly filling it. The low ceiling added to the claustrophobia as Milena and Kyra joined Ethan. Krya approached the pyramid and reached out her hand.
“No, wait!” Milena yelled, running for her a moment too late.
Kyra’s palm pressed on the crystal and light swirled within it, illuminating the room. The walls shimmered and vanished. The tomb, the ruins, the island — all of it — had been replaced by a dusty, vast plain under a blazing sky. Haze obscured the jungle covered hills rising in the distance. Shadows passed over the ground.
Kyra looked into the sky and screamed.
Read how their adventure began in Among the Shadows and look for Awakening coming in 2018.
No class or book on writing ever skips the quintessential topic of beginnings. Few other things do writers lose as much sleep over. There are endless lists on how to start a story and how not to start a story. Yet, as with everything, this process becomes easier the more it is put into practice.
In Among the Shadows, the Prologue was rewritten three times — with the first two being recycled back into the book elsewhere. With Book 2, Awakening, the Prologue has come together much quicker and appears more set in stone. Of course, this doesn’t mean it won’t change as the book progresses. In any case, I will share it here, to give a taste of what is to come. This isn’t a final draft and more refinement of detail, pace and tone is in order.
This is also a good exercise in finding the right balance in detail. This Prologue is, to a large extent, pulled from history (some of the queen’s words verbatim). Enough detail to paint a picture in the reader’s mind of the scene and time, but not so much that it sounds like a history lesson. Sure, an Egyptologist might want more or quibble with changes, but most readers want a living scene in their mind.
So here is a little preview of the continuing War Among the Shadows:
The Look Inside feature has been activated on the Amazon listing of Among the Shadows. Take a peak at part of the Prologue (it be nice if they cut the excerpts off where the chapter ends…maybe the rest will appear here) and see how it all begins…
A new excerpt from Among the Shadows:
The wild men were too frenzied to notice or care that it was a woman who approached them at a steady pace. One, though, wondered why she didn’t look the least bit afraid, and why her eyes radiated in the fading light. Unfortunately, his fear didn’t overcome his momentum.
Kyra easily deflected the first blade and thrust the other katana into the man’s neck. She pulled it out and turned to block another. He at least made another swing before she wrestled the sword from him and slashed him with her second blade.
This all before the first attacker hit the ground.
Another ran at her, only to be pummeled into the ground by Scout. Two others were almost on him with their swords when they screamed in pain and hit the ground face first. Arrows stuck in their backs. Knights had chased the wildmen, wondering who fought them in the moonlight. A woman appeared out of the light.
“Are you another from the portal? Another Watcher?” They asked her, nervously eyeing the cat as it approached Kyra.
“I suppose I am.” She wiped the blades on the ground. “I came here looking for my mother. Saken took her, and I mean to take her back and show him my mother’s blades.”
“Saken is dead. Your mother saw to that. They left for the portal. That way, where the beast went. It is not far.”
“Come, Scout, this isn’t over.” Alice hadn’t strayed. Kyra mounted her and paused to catch her breath for but a moment. A terrible strength had been awakened in her.
She liked it and she didn’t.
The war has begun.
And now, a first-look excerpt from Among the Shadows:
The Righteous One unsheathed a blackened dagger that Solana swore had a subtle red glow. This wasn’t time to sit by like a distressed princess. These men had almost killed her and still intended to do so. No time like the present to stir things up a bit. Their drug had all but left her body as she drew the ripples of energy through her body to her fingertips. Dust began to spin on the floor beneath each hand, rising to them in a swirling column. Soon torrents of air tore through the doorway, forming a cyclone around her. Her hair whirled; her eyes burned green. One man tried to shoot as Solana approached them, but she sent the bullets back into his chest by blasts of air she commanded. Her opponents had never imagined such a terror as they shouted and cursed in their native tongue. They turned to run, but the vortexes of air she threw reached them first, lifting each off the ground and crushing them against the wall. Falling into a crumpled heap, they didn’t move.
Ethan attached an octagonal beacon to the wall and pressed a button on the device. A red light began to flash. He looked at the man on the floor. His breathing was labored. “A little something to hurry you on your way to the Dark One.”
The final moments of the Righteous One’s life were about to slip away. No inkling of remorse could be found in the dying man’s eyes, no longer veiled. In a final moment of clarity, he spoke carefully and slowly.
“The worst evil you can imagine is but a shadow of what lies conspiring, hidden and unseen, waiting patiently to emerge and spread its suffocating malice. I am nothing compared to what is to come.” His eyes froze, vacant and still, and the last breath left him
Darkness fled from the room.
“That was a bit disconcerting,” Solana said, with a shiver. The weight of oppression had vanished. A crossing through the veil.
Now Ethan was quiet; his gaze didn’t flinch from the vaguely outlined road. What he had done – what they had done – no doubt ran through his mind. In hers, it made her feel alive, but would it always? She could see that Ethan had been through so much more.
“Here it comes,” he said in a whisper.
Solana looked through the broken rear window of the truck. A streak of fire fell from above. An explosion reached into the sky and a rumble moved across the desert. Poetic justice it was.
No one could hide from the Light.
Among the Shadows breaks through the veil August 2016.