Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve participated in the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where each week contributing writers share 8-10+ sentences from their latest projects. I got a new job, and while a schedule of 3 consecutive 12-hour shifts each week seems like it would give me more free time, that doesn’t seem to be the case as of yet.
Anyways, this week’s excerpt is from the newest book in my Heartsbane Saga of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, and it should be out later this week (my work schedule willing, of course!)
This snippet is from the opening prologue. Mihrimah is the daughter of the general in charge of a remote citadel.
* * * * * * *
Mihrimah half slid, half climbed down the rocky embankment surrounding the squat citadel of Yumurta. She’d traded in her characteristic purple abaya and matching headscarf for a khaki one, so that her clothing blended into the dry rocks and shrub around her; Babaanne had been quite adamant that she wasn’t to leave the citadel until her father returned.
Mihrimah had mentally rolled her eyes then and physically rolled them thinking about it now. It was bad enough that most of the men stationed at the citadel had been called to fight the wolfmen, as they called the bandits currently terrorizing the countryside, and that she was forced to stay behind. But to expect her to stay inside while her beloved Tevfik was leaving too? To not even allow her to say goodbye to him? No, she wouldn’t accept that.
Once she was down to the main road that led to the capital city of Haksuk—although road was too generous for what was barely more than a footpath—Mihrimah paused. She doubted anyone would notice her as she walked along, if any of the few women left behind were even to look out one of the citadel’s narrow arrow slits that barely passed as windows, but she didn’t want to take any chances. As soon as she was spotted someone would be sent to fetch her back, and she had to at least say goodbye to Tevfik.
* * * * * * *
And the rest of that scene:
She didn’t trust the tales of the wolfmen either. She didn’t doubt that bandits roamed the countryside but she did doubt they were as fearsome as the stories made them out to be. Men in wolfskins that cannibalized their victims? Surely it was an exaggeration to advance whatever the caliph’s agenda was. Nonetheless, she didn’t want to run across them.
Sticking to the trees and rocks alongside the road, she made good enough progress that she came across the soldiers from the citadel by late afternoon. Three dozen or so men walked in pairs or small groups, chatting and laughing. None seemed to be taking the emissary’s warning seriously, and none seemed to be concerned about leaving the passage undefended. Most likely her father hadn’t shared his concerns with the men, predominately young soldiers from small villages all over the Caliphate of Tema who were unfamiliar with the caliph’s constant scheming.
One man, however, walked alone at the rear of the column. Tevfik’s head was down as if studying his feet, but Mihrimah knew he wasn’t paying any attention to the dirt he walked on. She grinned as she picked up a small rock and pelted him neatly between his shoulder blades.
* * * * * * *
About Little Amethyst Ababa:
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.