Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Air, book one of the WaterLord Trilogy

Here's a quick excerpt from Book one of my fantasy series: Air!


“Mages!” The captain’s harsh voice oriented Nathan, and she appeared out of the rain, her hair plastered to her scalp. She kicked the sword further away angrily. “I have ordered the soldiers below deck, so you must solve this. What is going on?” 

Sam looked fearfully at her. I—” 

A high pitched scream stopped him. Conversation abandoned, they began to run toward the sound. He sensed Sam using magic, a shielding technique. 

The woman screamed again, and as he turned his head toward the sound he was suddenly hit with a thick, warm liquid, and the coppery scent of blood filled his nostrils. Something thudded nearby and he froze, suddenly terrified, almost uncaring of the blood that now stained his clothing and dripped off his face. Someone had been attacked beside him, and he hadn’t seen it. Why couldn’t he see anything? He took a step back, preparing to run the other way. His whole body vibrated in fear, the calming mantra forgotten. 
“Nathan!” Sam suddenly appeared beside him, and grabbed his shoulder. “Focus, you idiot!” Why could he see Sam clearly through the rain? “Nathan, put up a shield! She needs help!” 

The rational idea made its way into Nathan’s panicky brain, and he did so. Calm came over him once the rain no longer struck, and he drew in deep breaths of dryer air to relax. He could see clearly in the radius of the shield. He realized he was covered in blood, and told himself to ignore it, extending his shield to cover more ground. 

The shield was incredibly difficult to hold with the rain pounding it, and he only maintained it for a second before pulling it back to cover the bare minimum. He saw a person fallen in that instant, a woman who lay prone, her eyes open in shock and a hand over a gaping injury on her side. Her sword, too, lay beside her, as though she had never even attempted to lift it. 

A long distance attack, then. The shield would be useful, if he could defend against both the rain and whatever had occurred. He told himself to be detached. He couldn’t afford to panic again. 

“Clarise!” Sam bellowed and ran to the fallen woman’s side, nearly falling on the watery deck. “Clarise, what was it? Talk to me, please!” 

The captain narrowed her eyes and moved to help, or perhaps just to get information from the injured woman. 

Nathan tried to extend the shield over her and at the same moment some force skittered alongside it, a red line appearing on the captain’s side and doubling her over.

She gasped and lost her footing. Blood dripped on the deck before she leapt back to her feet. His shield had saved her, but she still staggered with the injury. “To the right!” 

She gestured with her sword, and Nathan extended his shield to cover the area where she pointed. He thought something brushed it, but it vanished. 

That unnerved him. Whatever they fought knew about magic and had dodged out of the range of his shield. It wanted the cover of the rain. He held the shield, looking around, as the captain held her ground. She bled onto the deck, but stood resolutely on her feet. For a moment, everything stood still. 

“Damnit, cover more!” She screamed at him, her voice almost breaking with the effort of yelling, or perhaps pain. Nathan complied. 

Nathan barely saw the movement as his quickly expanding shield uncovered the man. He was unarmed, and moved impossibly fast to escape the shield, but the captain moved to intercept him even faster. 

Her sword slashed at the same moment that a spike of water beneath her feet toppled her. The sword missed and she went down one knee, the blood from both wounds mingling with the water beneath her. She did not move to get up, her chest heaving. In the moment that they stood there, Nathan was so stunned that he dropped the shield. 

The man was naked, and had long brown hair that fell down to his waist. He was tall, though not quite as tall as Nathan, with defined muscles that signaled dangerous predatory strength. He had almost no expression, as if attempting to kill a captain was a matter of course for him. One of his eyes was a milky white, the skin around it whitened, attesting to a previous burn. The other blazed blue. 


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