excerpt from exile

If there's ever a series, I'd like to call them EXILE, EMISSARY, and EMPEROR.  We'll see. Gotta sell the first one yet.

Here's an excerpt, basically pulled at random. Draken and his small company are on the hunt for a minor princess named Aarinnaie, who attempted to kill the Queen. Draken has promised to track her in order to get at the bottom of the plot, but after an attack from a hooded horseman, he suffered an injury and Aarinnaie has disappeared. The players are Draken, our hero, Tyrolean, a captain under him, Jaim, a necromancer, and Atia, his companion.

         “Good, you’re awake.” Jaim and Tyrolean strode in and shut the door.
Tyrolean dropped down on the bed next to Draken. Creases of exhaustion narrowed his outlined eyes. “A Va Khlar merc took Aarinniae, I think. He left their symbols in the woods, and a good blood trail. Chased them to River Erros, but they were gone. We’ll follow as soon as you’re able.” His shrewd gaze took in Draken’s state. “Not this day, I see.”
Draken struggled to as sit to prove him wrong, but the Captain had to grasp his forearm to help him. His head throbbed in protest at the new position. He tried to make his mind form a coherent thought. Elena had mentioned that name. Va Khlar.
“Are you certain it's Va Khlar's people who took her?”
“I was third in command at Reschan after I made horse marshal," Tyrolean said. "Four horrible Sohalias I spent in that pit of a town. I know Va Khlar signs well enough.”
“What are they?  Va Khlar.”
          “Not what, but who. He fair owns Reschan, and he’s no loyalist to Elena, nor the Brinian Prince,” Tyrolean said. “Calls himself a trader, but the ‘traders’ who take his name do anything for coin, even kill.”
            “And you think he’s at the bottom of the plot against Elena?”
            Tyrolean nodded. “Unlikely coincidence that Aarinnaie was rescued by one of his men.”
            “The princess would make a valuable member of Va Khlar’s clan,” Jaim said.
            “Should she decide to join,” Atia said. Tyrolean gave her a questioning glance and she went on. “She went with him, truth, but it doesn’t mean she’s joined them. Perhaps she’s a prisoner; perhaps she felt she had no other choice.”
            “All right. Here’s a thought,” Draken said. “Perhaps Aarinnaie didn’t know he’s Va Khlar.”
            “By your account she went fair willing,” Tyrolean said. “So there are two alternatives. Either she’s gone with him in full knowledge of what he is. Or. . .”
            “Or she’s been abducted and doesn’t even know it,” Draken finished. And she from a wealthy royal family, too. She'd fetch a handsome ransom. Except...“Aarinnaie has some sort of hold on the man she rode off with,” he said. “She stopped him from killing me. That doesn’t sound much like prisoner behavior.”
“Then maybe Aarinnaie hired him.” Tyrolean was rubbing his face red with a wet cloth, scattering tiny droplets across his leather-clad knees. “All that aside, consider this difficulty:  as Gallant, your word is law. By keeping you from your given task of returning Aarinnaie to her father, Va Khlar’s man insulted Queen Elena as if to her face. You can't let this pass. My guess is that Va Khlar is behind the insurgency, but damned if the four of us can best him on his own ground in Reschan. We need troops, and quickly.”
Draken rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth and chin. He was in desperate need of a shave, and, despite Atia’s ministrations, a hot, soapy bath. Bruche shifted his perspective and the internal, phantom movement made him nauseous. He swallowed, willing his stomach to settle. “What might Aarinnaie's father do when Va Khlar’s asks for ransom?”
“He’ll hunt them like the dogs they are and give them a death to be reckoned with,” Tyrolean said. “And if the Prince discovers you were mixed in it, he’ll come after you next. You let her get away.”
            Draken’s foul mood and throbbing shoulder caught up with him. “Well, forgive me. I was distracted with trying to not get killed.”


Beth Partin said...

It's cool to read this in its new form and find names I recognize, like Elena and Bruche.

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