Enjoy this 3 minute read from Chapter 1 of my epic fantasy, The Veridian Wars.
This chapter is a 'author's cut', so the first half did not make the final book. I've posted it here for interested readers to enjoy some extra material.
Grigor tried to return to the scroll, an epic by Scholarch Apolos about the mythical heroes of Ancient Zraemia. He’d found it after his last battle, down in Galcia, in yet another border feud with the Saulads. The subsequent looting had been fruitful. But now his thoughts ran to Mal’s point. The night of daemons was about to begin. Or Darkenwynter, as his people called it. From his perch, Grigor held an excellent view of the snow-covered cliff that fell away to Nomans Lake. This was the northern most point of the Solan Realm, and while they knew something of what lingered on the other side of that lake, it had never been conquered. Those mountains remained outside even the Realm’s authority.
An hour before, their captain and the strange, thin man called Vicon who was leading this expedition had left them to go to the lakeshore. Grigor scanned the horizon – a squiggly line formed by the craggy peaks on the other side of the vast lake where mountains loomed like hunched trolls, as though guarding something precious. At this hour, with the sun sinking low, the mountain ranges were clear. Snow and ice covered them, like a dusky red blanket in the dimming light, growing redder with every heartbeat. Grigor slowly raised a hand, to do something he rarely did in the presence of others, but he was concealed beneath the shadow of the spruce, and his companions were busy taunting Mal again, or refilling paan pipes.
Grigor returned his gaze to the tallest mountain. He had a pretty good notion what that mountain was called, and everyone knew of the horrors that lingered there, according to legend. Swiftly, he lifted the eyepatch that covered the deep scar and empty socket where his left eye once resided, and moved the patch to the right. The scarred eye socket housed no eye, for it had been cruelly plucked when he was a child. The scar that remained was a hideous scab, worse than the long scar that ran along his cheek, adding to the overall horror that was Grigor’s appearance. Unlike Mal’s, it wasn’t a stupid ugliness, but one that terrified children and adults alike, more so without the patch.
Grigor allowed his unseeing eye to ‘see’ the mountain. He slowed his breathing for it took a while to switch sights, as he called it. Took concentration too, without the thrill of battle to aid it. When the sight finally came, forming in a blur of contrasting hues, he sucked a cold breath. The swirl of darkness, the pulsation, it spoke of power, and the unsettling thought of all those legends brought a distinct unease to his stomach. That was their destination, Grigor held no doubt. He replaced the patch, and regretted seeing it at all.
Grigor blinked as his right eye took in the diminishing light. The sun danced less than a finger above the jagged line of horizon. An icy breeze swayed the heavy limbs of the spruce as with the braids of his hair. Grigor let go a long sigh, suddenly feeling every bit the worn slave soldier he was. He should have been in the temple in the Capital this very moment, at dusk on the eve of Darkenwynter with the other Krell, not that he found any joy in being with his people, nor his Guardians. In any case, the Faith had prohibited gatherings of old tribes from within and without the Realm. All reverence to old gods was now considered high treason. They’d burned all Krell temples to the ground. They’d burned all of them. The Tanes, Vallics, Saulads and all other tribes were deprived of their birthright to pray to the gods of their people – a rite that hitherto had been permitted. There was now but one Faith, one sect – Duas.
The Veridian Wars is a standalone epic fantasy novel and is now available here: https://aderynwood.com/b/SW1p9