Bride of Fire Teaser
I've been very quiet recently.
So updates, I've been doing rewrites as I wasn't happy with the start of the 'Bride of Fire' (working title), as my BFF pointed out it seemed forced and I couldn't warm to the hero (if I'm not pulling for him how can my readers?). I'm now scribbling away madly in a first draft of the new begining, happy that it's a much, much stronger start and allows the characters to develope more.
Below is a teaser with the prologue to help set the scene, ENJOY!
“Your highness quick, there is not much time.”
This was directed at the young woman ahead of me swallowed from head to toe in a dark brown cloak. There were a handful of loyal guards at our front and back as we hurried down the narrow path clinging to the mountain side. I swallowed hard and I tried not to glance over the edge at the sheer drop. Slowly we edged our way down through the swirling mist, each step seeming surreal as I placed one foot in front of the other. I felt like I could barely breath. This wasn’t happening, my shell was calm and composed as I screamed within my skin and my fires spiralled inward.
There was so much blood. Shock, I realised inanely, the shock I’d read about ladies suffering so often. Bits of rock crumbled beneath our feet and echoed solemnly as they bounced down into the abyss. My eyes fixed firmly on the brown cloak in front. My cousin striding proudly, if sedately forward.
“Watch your step Empress.” My cousin proudly led the way, her head held high, though her eyes were as unseeing as mine, fixed in a painful seeing stare. “We must hurry.” Thallenth whispered in an urgent hurried tone and we picked up the pace ignoring the peril of the cliff, fearing what was behind us more than the long drop beneath us.
“- horses are waiting at the bottom, all fast and fleet.” Thallenth whispered urgently, “You will go to the south through the jungles with myself and my best men, we will guard you with our lives -”
“-what about my cousin?” The new empress asked tiredly, rubbing her glazed eyes.
“She will go north and over the waste lands.” He answered curtly but uncomfortably. She stopped dead in her tracks and I almost ran into the back of her.
“The waste lands are a death trap and they won’t think to follow.” She rushed out in a hush, an edge of hysteria to her voice until she took a steadying breath and reigned it in. “I should take the northlands.” she finished steadily.
“No!” Thallenth said emphatically. “You are too valuable to our people to risk.”
It went unsaid that I wasn’t too valuable, even after it had been drilled into me for years that I was a unimportant, but to hear it from Thallenth’s lips, a man I’d known for years, it still stung.
“Nymira and two others will leave a clear trail and carry the sword.”
“I am not separating from the sacred sword.” My cousin snapped, her dark eyes flashing.
But she would separate from me.
“The sword and heir must be separated until you can produce the white flame and lead our people. We need to divide their forces. If they know that both the empress and the sword have gone south then they will concentrate their forces and there is little chance of escape for yourself,”
“With my cousin being the bait.” She spat in a harsh tone.
“This is war and sacrifices must be made.”
As long as the heir was safe there was no need for a spare. I glanced furtively over my shoulder the fine hairs on the back of my neck starting to prickle.
The shrill screams of the dying vibrated within me. My family.
We didn’t have time. If we were to leave, we had to leave now. Striding forward I crouched at my cousin’s feet in a gesture of respect and subservience - oh how that word stuck in my throat.
“Cousin I will go north and carry the symbol of our people.”
I raised my eyes and gazed beseechingly at her, my hands clenched tight at my sides to stop them from shaking. “I swear I will guard the sword with my life and await for your return to bring it to you. I am strong enough for this cousin and if sacrifices must be made then I will be the one to make them.”
Taking me by the shoulders she forced me to my feet and embraced me in a hug. Gripping me tight like she might never let go or like she might never see me again, and she might not… still she hesitated.
“We don’t have time to argue Highness, we must go.”
Tears gathered behind my eyes and I saw my own watery reflection in my cousin’s eyes as we accepted our fate to be parted, the decision hanging like a chain round her neck.
Desperately I reached out and we clasped wrists. “Live free.” she whispered.
“until the day…” I replied, forcing the words past the aching ball in my throat. I couldn’t say ‘meet again’, I didn’t think that was in my cards. We were torn from each other and I was thrown upon the back of a horse as tears blurred my vision. The last two descendants of the Throne of Flames riding hard in opposite directions. Goddess only knows what fate awaited me.