Wednesday 3 July 2013

Thorn Witch

Welcome to the third Xeroversary. A slightly different, quieter, more introspective affair this year. Every day this week I'll post an extract from one of my works in progress. A little something to whet your appetite for the future, I hope.

Thorn Witch takes place in a fantasy world, with science fiction elements. There are a couple of stories set in the world so far, and tomorrow you'll see part of another one. I've not entirely decided on a name for the setting yet. Possibly 'Kingdoms' or 'Seven Kingdoms' although both of those are a little generic.

I find it interesting that I came up with this world, I know authors have had similar settings in the past, but I've generally not got on with them... Ho hum, so goes a writer's fickle imagination.

Thorn Witch barely scratches the science fiction side. In fact, you could place it entirely within fantasy if you chose. It was difficult to pick an extract without giving more away than I want to just yet, so here's a snippet from the beginning. Prince Robert has sneaked out of the castle for a morning ride without his personal guard and is just approaching the city gates...


Robert cursed under his breath as a squat figure, broad with muscle, strolled out from the gatehouse into his path.
"A fine morning, my lord."
"Indeed it is, Captain."
Duncan, Captain of the Guard. His stocky build, ruddy skin and short, thick beard led to rumours of dwarf blood. His brutal reputation, emphasised by the vertical puckered scar emerging from either side of his eye patch, kept anyone from asking. He had no obligation to take a shift on the gate, but he was never one to lead from the back, and his men respected him for it.
The captain made a small show of looking back up the empty street, "And how are Cameron and Lachlan?"
Robert's personal guard.
"It seems Lachlan's birthday had them deep in their cups last night and they have been slow to rise this morning."
"I should lend you a couple of men."
"I have Dream," He patted his steed. "I have Nightmare," He rested a hand on the pommel of his sword, "they have seen me through war."
"And in war you had a company of knights too."
"Come, Duncan, we both know there is nothing within a morning's ride that I cannot handle."
"Nothing expected, certainly."
"You sound like my mother."
Duncan growled, "And I will have to answer to her."
"No, I will. Cameron and Lachlan will. You are the fearsome Trollblight, King's Axe, not even my mother would dare reproach you."
Duncan shook his head, "You have the arm of a warrior and the mouth of a diplomat. Your father would be proud. The queen, however, has never shied from speaking her mind, and I have been the target of her reprimands more than once."
"But not for many a year. And, remind me, was that not because you would encourage father to sneak out and hunt trolls with you?"
"It may have been."
"And I am merely going for a morning ride, it carries not one tenth the risk."
The captain glowered at Robert with his good eye, and then he smiled wryly. "Ha! It seems I have been bested. Very well, my lord, ride on." He stepped aside and bowed.
Robert returned the bow as he rode past, "My thanks, good captain."

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