This story has no title so far…but that’s a common occurrence with me. The basic plot of this new novel goes something like this: Cato, the prince of Amrian, is sent into battle with one of the most legendary women of the age–Lady Taanit of Greenwater, a mistress of spells, poisons, and secrets. While he is away, darkness creeps up in the most unexpected places, and an ancient secret of the ghostly Underworld could destroy Amrian and every other country of the Overworld.
For this particular excerpt, the context is a bit difficult to explain. It takes place in the past of Sinopa’s life, before she becomes Cato’s leading captain of the army. At the time, she still works as a member of a Guild of spies and assassins. She has been sent out with fellow spy, Alsvid, on a challenging mission that forces them to seek help from the Either of the Underworld…
The whirling sound ceased, but the greenish darkness remained. Slowly, as Sinopa’s eyes began to adjust, she saw that they had appeared in a cavern of black rock that gleamed in the greenish torchlight. In the far distance they could hear the undulating wailing sound of some native monster. Alsvid hadn’t lost any of his morale, however, and he turned to Sinopa with the same pleased expression on his face. “Well? Should we go and find someone?”
“If we must,” Sinopa said stiffly, pulling her cloak more closely around her shoulders and keeping her scimitars close. Alsvid walked forward, winding through the passage until he emerged into the central chamber of the Underworld. Sinopa followed him, her eyes taking in the sights before her. This chamber was the heart of the Underworld, buried thousands of miles under the surface of the planet. It was carved out in a great irregular circle, delving down into the black depths until the Abyss itself took over. Around the chamber sprouted various tunnels that bored into the sides of the rock, winding to various destinations and miniature civilizations. Sinopa caught her first glimpse of an Either as they walked along the edge of the pit toward the gateway crowned in greenish gold on the opposite side. She appeared to be a normal human apart from her unnatural eyes and her blue skin as dark as night. Her hair tumbled in dark curls around her face. She eyed the two Overworlders in suspicion and stayed as far away from them as she could. Alsvid would have spoken to her if he thought it might not provoke an attack from her. All the same, they moved on around the great loop and soon came to the other side. The yawning mouth of the passage opened up before them, and they stepped inside. The walls were lined with gold reliefs; not gilded, but solid gold that depicted battles between the Either and the monsters of the Abyss. Their footsteps echoed horribly loudly around the passage and came back to haunt the ears of Sinopa and Alsvid. They came out into another small chamber that had been carved out in ages of the distant past. As the throne room, it was the second largest space in the kingdom of catacombs. All eyes turned to the intruders.
The Either king straightened in his throne of diamond, scrutinizing the two strangers who had so rudely interrupted the council meeting. He then recognized Alsvid, the young wizard who had been brought to the court by his son. The guards glanced hesitantly at the king, unsure if they should apprehend the strangers or not. The king waved them aside and his face broke into a smile. “Alsvid! It has been many years. What brings you here?”
Sinopa glanced at Alsvid, and back at the king. Alsvid stepped forward, though his voice would have been loud enough despite this. “I am here for a small request, King Ra’onyy.”
The king’s glowing eyes seemed to harden. “A request? What could you possibly need from me?”
“We simply need help accessing the Temple of Eldre Dager,” Alsvid replied as smoothly as he could muster.
The king shot to his feet, his dark hair and beard swirling around him in fury. The nobles broke out into frightened mutters in their native language, their eyes flicking back and forth between Alsvid and Ra’onyy. “A small request?” the king said in a dangerously quiet voice. “That may be the grossest understatement I have ever heard.”
“Your majesty, I–”
“Silence!” Ra’onyy thundered. “We will certainly not help you! That Temple was sealed ages ago by my ancestors to prevent Overworlders from ever releasing the horrors within every again.”
“I know that–”
“You know nothing, boy!” Dark energy was forming around the king’s fists in his anger. “You have been foolish to come here.”
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