Monday, June 16, 2014

Excerpt- 6.17.2014

As promised, this is the excerpt post for this month.

Today's excerpt comes from my serial novella currently available on Amazon. It is split into four books:

One- The Tale of the Little Bird
Two- The Tale of the Jade Cat
Three- The Tale of the Boy Who Would be Emperor
Four- The Tale of the Bird Who Would be King
 
Each book is then divided into four sections that mirror each other in concepts and flow:
Part I: The Oath
Part II: The Path Behind
Part III: The Path Ahead
Part IV: The Narrowest Path

Each book focuses on a particular character and each part focuses on the same thematic elements for that character. For example, in each book, The Oath details how each character has taken a vow that drives them and brings them all closer to the endgame. I won't go too much into the gritty parts of the story because I wasn't you to discover for yourself.

With that said, I present to you, The Tale of the Little Bird: Part I: The Oath:

His death began late in the day as the sun dropped below angry clouds. As night fell, he still walked the path of death, but he sent many along the narrow path ahead of him. Through all the twilight hours and into the dark, they set swordsmen against him. Like waves crashing against the rocky shore, they threw themselves at his blade. With each wave, he took another step towards death. Oh, but it was a tiny step and he did not walk it alone.

That day, my world turned red. The death of my master set me upon a path towards vengeance, towards retribution. He knew his journey down the narrow path would not be long. In his wisdom, he ensured that he traveled that path alone. He spared me. He sent me away so that I would survive. So that I could carry on our quest, our vow.

Earlier that day, before my world upheaved, I tended to our nets in the river far from our sanctuary. I spent the greater portion of the day and previous night lying in our salmon nets to prepare for the coming winter. As I stood waist deep in the water securing the nets and poles I felt the river steal my warmth. The cold fingers crept into my depths and I feel as though I should have taken it as an omen of the darkness to come. Pushing through, I finished the task at hand and started a fire to bring warmth back into my body.

Reaching into the folds of my tunic, I pulled the last of my bread out to eat. Knowing that I would return soon, I supped on the remainder of the bread and washed it down with a swallow of water. As I laid back to relax and enjoy my break from my lessons, I found an uneasiness creep into my mind. No matter what technique I tried, I could not bring myself to a clearness of mind. It almost felt as though I left an important task undone, but I could not place it exactly. Finally, abandoning my reverie, I began the journey home. The sun had just begun its downward journey as I set my feet towards our hidden sanctuary. I did not know what awaited me upon my return.

I came to the fork in the path; one road led to my home, the other to the nearby village. I noticed markings that hinted others had passed by headed in the direction of the sanctuary. While this normally would not alarm me, I saw the telltale signs that these travelers attempted to hide their passage. To the untrained eye, there would be no sign of any persons headed in the direction of the sanctuary. I took the path toward home, with an anxious heart.

As I ran up the long hill to our home, a loud crack of thunder rose to meet me. At that moment, I knew fear. Not for myself, but for my master. I knew that unknown warriors set themselves against him, and I knew that they could not bring him low with blades so they turned to powder and shot, ghost weapons. Cowards’ weapons. Yet still, in spite of their weapons, he fought valiantly, against all odds, against all men, but in the end, they were too many for him. Finally, his long journey to the shadows neared its end, but his murderers still did not know victory. In the end, their courage failed them. When I found him, he lay at the edge of the narrow path, and I saw his attackers fleeing into the night. They feared his spirit might arise and slay them. Cowards all, leaving their bloody work undone, for my master still breathed. They had no honor.
Leaning over him, I held back the tears for a Nightwatch does not cry. I lifted the mask off his face and looked over his battered and broken form. The mask stuck to the blood that quickly caked on his face. His eyes, set deep within bruises now, peered into mine.

“Master…,” I whispered.

“Do not speak,” he began, his speech surprisingly clear, “I have much to speak of and little time. I know not who has slain me; they bore no mark I know. If they are my enemy then they threaten our Lord… My death would only serve my master’s enemy… the warlord…
“You must foil their schemes, whatever they may be… You must protect Lord Akana… You alone can do this.”

I replied, “Master, I cannot. I am not a full Nightwatch. My training is incomplete…” He silenced me with his cold dark eyes and continued.

“Listen, my young bird, your path is hard but it is not the path to vengeance… Harden your heart… Swear to me that you will not kill in my name… That you will not avenge me…” His grip on my arm became as iron and he continued, “Swear that you will spill no blood for me… that you will think only of the safety of our Lord. Your loyalty is to him alone.”

“I swear.” I felt like a millstone had been tied to my neck and I was cast into high tide. The weight of my vow tugged at my soul.

My master took one last breath and whispered, “There is a scroll. I have sealed and hidden it with the Wolf's Blade. Take the scroll to our Lord…” and with those words he slipped away to his ancestors and damned me to walk the dark and narrow path.

End of part one.

I hope you enjoyed. Currently, the novella is still in serialization, and as I have mentioned previously, I am almost to the half way point of the novella. I am in the editing phase of The Jade Cat Part IV and it should be posted soon.

If you enjoyed the above excerpt, please consider purchasing the novella for $0.99. Once the purchase is made all future updates to the novella will be free.

Thanks for reading. Please like and share.

Until next time,

-Anthony-

If you have any questions about copyright information or reproduction of this excerpt please check out my copyright page.

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