Preview of Book 3

18 Oct

Karia’s Path includes the first chapter of The Hall of the Prophetess, so people can get a feel for what comes next. And so here it is, so you can get a feel for it too:

CHAPTER ONE

The high-strung mare whinnied and pranced, her hooves clattering, as she slipped on the snow-covered ice of the frozen river. She tugged on the line Karia was using to lead her. Karia’s hands were so numb she almost lost her grip on it.

“Shh, Tsilinki,” she said. “Easy girl.” Her heart raced. She slipped a bit too as she stepped back to put a hand on the horse’s shoulder to calm her.

She heard a sharp crack behind them and looked nervously down the line from Tsilinki to Nebok. The big draft horse was usually rock-solid and calm, but even he looked skittish now. Or maybe he just looks that way to me because I’m shaking.

Karia took a deep breath. “Steady, Nebok. Almost there, big boy,” she called to him. Oh, great, I’m squeaking. That’s not going to help calm him.

She turned back and stepped forward, placing her feet carefully to keep from slipping. She was just beyond the center of the river, with perhaps forty feet to go to the safety of the shore. She felt the line to Tsilinki tighten and then go slack again as the horse began walking with her.

She thought, Nebok should be stepping forward now. That’s when she heard another sharp crack, then a crash and deep snort from behind her. She spun in time to see Nebok falling through the ice. Spinning threw her off balance, but she had almost caught herself as she saw Nebok trying to leap back up onto the ice; it just broke in front of him.

But Nebok’s leap tugged on the line from him to Tsilinki, pulling the mare from behind. And Karia, trying to steady herself, tugged on the line she was using to lead the mare from the front. Pulled from both sides, Tsilinki whinnied and reared, pulling the line away from Karia, but not before disrupting her precarious balance.

Karia’s feet and hands flew toward Tsilinki, and her behind landed hard on the ice, knocking the wind out of her. She gasped as she tried to take a breath in that tiny pause between when she hit the ice and the time it cracked, then shattered, and she smashed through. The current under the ice went up her cloak and it billowed into the icy water like a sail.

She grabbed in vain at the edge of the ice, but could not even slow herself as she was sucked through the hole into the frigid river below. She gasped for breath again, but got only water as the current swept her under the snow-covered icy surface of the river.

Want to read more? Soon. In the meantime, make sure you have The House in the Old Wood and Karia’s Path

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