Legends II Extract

The Legends 2 coverFollowing on from yesterday’s news that Legends II is available to pre-order (digital version from Amazon, and you can get softback and hardback volumes from Spacewitch) I thought it would be nice to give a little sneak preview. The following extract is from my contribution, The Blessed and the Cursed.

Seven years at the monastery of Erod had taught Naldros much patience, but the continued belligerent ignorance of the wagon driver tested her sorely.

“The Creator brought everything into being,” the Castigator explained again, speaking slowly. “Dove and lion, rose petal and thorn, summer breeze and storm. Destruction and violence are nothing more than another part of the pattern the Creator wove into the fabric of the world. One can study war and know the Creator as well as finding the Creator’s will through peace.”

“But it’s murder, right?” insisted Markwell. He picked a scab on his chin with his free hand, idly flicking away the tag of dried blood. “To kill is evil, right?”

“What if I were to kill an evil person to protect an innocent?” asked Naldros. “Besides, we of the Order of Erod do not believe in an afterlife. We think of the Creator as Avenger, not Judge.”

“So we can do what we want while we live, is that it?” The driver looked dubious.

“Within the society and law we create and enforce ourselves. The Creator shaped us but he does not control us. It is only our fellow people and our own standards and conscience by which we are measured. At the point of death all that remains of us is the legacy of our decisions, whether barbaric, civilised or both.”

“And you’re civilised, right?” Markwell eyed the stocky priest with suspicion. “You get to decide which is which, right?”

“We all decide, each to his own morals,” Naldros said with a sigh.

She gave up trying to explain and lowered herself down from the riding board. Gaitlin waited a few moments for her to catch up.

“So, Castigator, how goes the philosophical debate?”

“Discussing the cosmic order and inherent morality with Markwell is as rewarding as exchanging gastronomic advice with swine,” replied Naldros.

“Forgive his ignorance, he has not had the benefit of our teachings and the time to contemplate and become one with the will of the Creator.”

“Forgive him?” Naldros darted a look across to Skaios on the opposite side of the wagon. “You are mistaken, the Redeemer is over there. I am the Castigator.”

“Very droll,” said Gaitlin. He was about to add something but stopped.

Naldros felt it too. The teachings at Erod steered a warrior to finding communion with the Creator, able to sense the subtle ripples of energy and fate that continued to echo down through the ages from the moment of the world’s birth. To be attuned to those waves was to touch upon senses beyond those of other folk, granting near-supernatural ability.

The call of a mountain thrush grated in her ear. To a lesser-trained warrior nothing would have been amiss, but to Naldros and his fellow priest-soldiers the artificial call was as obvious as a war shout. The moment Naldros detected it her conscious mind gave way to instinct. By the time the second bird-call sounded the knights of Erod were already responding to the coming ambush.

She turned and swung her foot-lance before the arrow left the shadow of the tree. Gaitlin moved as well, taking a step to one side, responding to the intent of his shrine-sister. The tip of Naldros’ spear slashed through the space where Gaitlin had been a moment before. The razor-sharp edge caught the arrow mid-shaft and sliced it in two, sending the pieces tumbling harmlessly to the ground.

There were more arrows than shrine-warriors. Some of them deflected the missiles, but the horses were each pierced by several shafts. One survived the first attack, wounded and thrashing in the traces against the dead weight of its companions, whinnying in pain and terror. Markwell wrenched the brake with one hand while trying to rein in the bucking horse with the other. An arrow took the driver in the chest and he pitched from the riding board with a deathly croak.

Naldros blocked the noise and detected the crack of breaking twigs, the creak of bending bow and a pant of breath. She broke into a run even as her eyes picked out the stocky bandit crouching in the bushes to his right. Their eyes met and Naldros recognised dread in her foe’s gaze; his hands were trembling and a fat tongue lolled over fear-dried lips.

Around Naldros the rest of the group was charging in silence towards the rocks and trees, drawing their short swords. Hastily loosed arrows whickered across the road, one of them finding Heiran’s throat, sending her crashing to the ground with a spray of arterial blood.

Naldros focussed on the swaying point of the nocked arrow pointed at her and subtly adjusted her stride, leaning to the left. The brigand’s shot passed by a sword’s breadth to the right. The priestess was confident she would be upon the enemy before he had time to fit another shaft to the bowstring, but her attention was drawn to the left, where two muscle-bound bandits broke from cover, shields and swords at the ready.

Without breaking stride, Naldros turned her attention to these assailants as other bandits charged out to meet the oncoming warrior-priests. She ducked beneath the first sword thrust, slipping her sword from its sheath as her spear slashed across the bearded man’s throat, parting hairs and windpipe with equal ease. The second man pulled his shield across to ward away Naldros’ sword with a clang, but this exposed his leg. The priest’s spear punched through the knee, sending the brigand crashing to his back.

Ripping her foot-lance free, Naldros parried the fallen man’s sword and kicked aside his shield. The Castigator dropped to one knee as she plunged her sword through the man’s chest. Straightening, flicking blood from the tips of both weapons, Naldros took a moment to judge the situation.

Hope you enjoyed that. If you want to read more, and the work of a host of talented writers, please pick up a copy of Legends II, at a special pre-order rate of £1.99 it’s got to be worth it.

Published in: on June 4, 2015 at 9:42 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just preordered from Amazon, cant wait

    Like


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