Welcome back to another installment of the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP.
Last weekend I took I detoured to a mom-related microfiction, and this week I’m back with another excerpt from my upcoming-ish release, book 3 of my Heartsbane Saga: Little Amethyst Abaya, which is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in a world of Vikings.
This excerpt is from the first chapter, skipping ahead just a teeny bit from the last snippet I posted. Brandulfur, who suffers from a nasty curse that’s left him disfigured, is napping while waiting for a messenger to arrive with an update on the cure. Protagonist Nyah is reading one of her library books in the courtyard. Domnhall is Brand’s foster brother and also the guy Nyah has kinda hooked up with.
* * * * * * *
Because of my spot in the courtyard, I was able to hear the rider as he entered the compound. Feeling a bit of remorse for putting Brand in a mood earlier, as my sister Payton had described it, I figured I could at least let him know that a messenger was here, so I set my book aside and went to find him.
He was asleep in the bedchamber he shared with Domhnall, wearing only a pair of linen breeches. Angry blisters and red welts covered his broad shoulders and muscular torso, distorting the blue runic tattoos that decorated his skin, and his breathing was ragged and labored. I’d noticed that he frequently snuck off in the middle of the day under some pretext or another. I’d asked him once if his curse was painful, and he’d shrugged it off. Egwu had made him an elixir that eased the pain, but apparently nothing had been done for the accompanying fatigue. I almost hated to wake him, knowing how hard he pushed himself to appear healthy and that he probably needed this rest. But I also knew how important the doctor’s visit was, especially as we were making preparations to return home. Brand had extra weight on his shoulders; his father and who knows how many others at court had also been cursed and were depending on Brand to return with the cure.
* * * * * * *
And the rest of that scene:
“Brand?” I said softly from the doorway.
He let out a very undignified snort but dinnae wake.
“Brand,” I said more loudly.
He stirred but still dinnae wake.
I crossed to his side and shook his shoulder. “Brand, wake up.”
His hand darted out and grabbed my wrist as he bolted upright. I yelped at his hard grasp.
He dropped my arm and glowered at me. “What do you want?”
“A messenger is here.” I rubbed my wrist and glared at him. “Next time I’ll just let you sleep.”
“I’m sorry.” He dinnae sound sorry. “But you shouldn’t have crept up on me like that when I was sleeping.”
“I dinnae ‘creep up on you.’ I merely nudged your shoulder, and you attacked me.”
Now he did look almost apologetic. Almost. “Did I hurt you?”
Before I could answer, he gently took my hand in his, turning my arm so that we could both see the red fingerprints he’d left. He winced.
Domhnall came into the room. “Fahim sent me to find you. As anxious as you’ve been, he was concerned you might be dead since you haven’t appeared.” His gaze went from Brand’s shirtless torso to my wrist in his hand. “Is everything alright?”
* * * * * * *
About Little Amethyst Abaya:
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
With Heartsbane nearly decoded, Nyah finally knows the curse Prince Brandulfur suffers from and how to cure it. But when she and her friends travel to get the needed serum, a powerful caliph takes them prisoner and offers an ultimatum: a suicide mission to rescue a general’s daughter and enough serum to cure Brand’s whole court, or indefinite imprisonment in his castle.
To add to the peril, she soon uncovers a plot by Brand’s archenemy that will pull the known world into a battle between religions and cultures, with Brand at the heart of it. It seems so fantastical, no one will believe her.
But that’s never stopped Nyah before. With no one to trust, she’ll have to cast her lot in with the worst of the worst, and maybe, just maybe, at least some of her friends will make it out alive.
Little Amethyst Abaya is the third book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings.
Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:
Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.
Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.
Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.
Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.
Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?