This is the first pages of one of the books I’ve started writing. I would have posted the prologue, but I couldn’t find it. You all should read it and let me know if it’s worth finishing. Any comments or feedback would be lovely!
The shadows from the torches danced hellishly against the stony walls. The giant’s steps echoed down the dark hallway as he lumbered, his steps so big that he was essentially dragging her to keep her by his side. His vice-like grip on her shoulder tightened, drawing a squeal from her lips, which she tried to suppress. The giant grunted in amusement. A fetid smell reached her nostrils, just as a hand reached out from the darkness and snatched her wrist. She did nothing this time to suppress the scream that had formed in her throat as she pulled her arm back from the skeletal grasp. As her eyes adjusted to the dim, she saw that the hand was not a spectre, but was connected to the body of a man that looked to be on the edge of death. His watery eyes were sunken deep in his skull, and his emaciated body was supported by the filthy bars he was behind. A gutteral sound came from the prisoner’s throat, as though he was trying to speak, but was to exhausted to form words. She felt a second of pity for the man before she was yanked further down the hall. Her heart began to beat furiously as she realized there were many more bodies in cells on either side of her. Abruptly, the monster next to her stopped, and she blinked her eyes several times, waiting for them to adjust to the sudden brightness. When her mind understood what her eyes were seeing, her chest tightened as though she had been punched in the gut, and she tried desperately to take a breath. Her mother’s hands were chained and she hung slightly suspended so that the weight of her body made the chains dig grotesquely into her wrists, turning her hands a dark purple, Her beautiful hair had been shorn off, leaving her bloodied and naked body completely exposed. Fairon shrieked and tore herself from her captor’s hold, running to her mother. Completely oblivious to everything around her, she wrapped her arms around her mother’s legs, trying to lift her enough to put some slack in the chains binding her. Her tears mingled with the blood that made her hold slip, and she looked up at her beloved mother helplessly.
“What is this? What an undersized runt of a plaything you have brought me, Kamus. I shan’t be able to do much with this one.”
The voice was purely evil, and it sent a chill to the deepest part of Fairon’s bones. She turned, and met the fascinated gaze of a man holding a barbaric-looking whip. She wiped her eyes and met his look with a defiant one of her own. He raised an eyebrow and took a step forward.
“Then again, there might be enough fight in this one to amuse me for a moment.”
Fairon was rooted to the spot in fear, but she bit her lip to keep from crying out, even when she felt the whip like a bolt of lightning streak across her back as she protected what was left of her mother…
Fairon jerked awake and took a deep breath to calm the frantic beating of her heart. Her bedclothes were twisted around her and soaked with sweat, and she stood up quickly to rid herself of the restricted feeling. She looked out the window and saw no hint of the sun’s awakening. No, she thought, there will be no more sleep tonight. She slid out of her nightgown and into her everyday garb, suede leggings and a rough-spun man’s shirt, the collar of silver she wore tinkling softly as she did so. The riotous mass of curls on her head she yanked a brush through; swiftly and efficiently working the hair into a braid that hung past her waist. She tied it off with a leather strap and pulled her boots on, grabbed her bow,then silently slipped through the cabin and out into the night.
The cabin sat in the middle of a clearing , along with a humble stable and a large corral. The forest surrounding the clearing was dense with trees and wildlife, and Fairon listened to the night’s music as she made her way to the stable. The night was clear and the moon shone brightly, so Fairon didn’t bother lighting the lantern that hung near the door. She stepped into the first stall and was greeted with an affectionate whinny by her horse, Sango. She slid her arms around his neck and breathed in the scent of horse deeply. The smell had a calming effect on her, and she relaxed slightly as Sango nuzzled her.
“Good morning, my Lovely. Sleep evades us both, hmm?” The horse nodded his head as if in agreement. “What say you to visiting an old friend?” She led Sango out of the stable and closed the creaking door quietly. The she grabbed a handful of darkest black mane and mounted the horse with the ease of a lifetime of riding horses. She leaned down, running a hand up the stallion’s glossy neck lovingly, and whispered into his ear. The two had been paired together for so long, they seemed as one as the horse obeyed her whispered command, and they rode into the trees on a path they both knew well.
As the horse followed the well-worn trail, Fairon tried to push the disturbing images of her night terror out of her mind, so she turned her thoughts to the old friend she was going to visit.
Bavrone had been a figure in Fairon’s life for as long as she could remember. When he was young, had been the King’s Bard during the rule of King Worlent, his days filled with spinning tales and singing songs of battles past to the court. His talent for weaving a heart-stopping story was impressive, but the politics of court and the celebrity that came with his position were not to his liking. His nights became dedicated to the study of herbs and medicines, something he had dabbled in before coming to court. Gossip spread that the Royal entertainer had become a healer, and soon he was overrun with nobility requesting cures for various ailments. Celebrity had once again got in the way of his plans, and he relinquished his title as King’s Bard, returning to the highlands of his youth. He had spent his next years concocting new healing potions and selling them to whoever found him. His fame had kept him in business for many years, until he mischeviously started a rumor that he had expired. Occasionally, someone would come looking for the fabled bard-turned-healer, and he would treat their illness; their payment being that they remain silent about the fact that he still lived.
As a child, Fairon had been completely enamoured with the old man, her every waking moment spent at his side. He had been old then; his bent back seeming to carry the weight of the world, yet he moved with a quickness that belied his age. His eyes were buried beneath heavy wrinkles and even heavier eyebrows, but when Fairon looked into them, she saw someone her own age. He had taught her everything about potions and ointments, all the while reverting back to his bard days, regalling her with intriguing tales of great battles and lost loves. In Fairon, Bavrone had found something he had never found in all his years at court; and audience who was enthralled with his tales who cared not a wit about politics or notoriety. By fulfilling his ambition, he had become quite a substantial factor in Fairon’s education.
Sango broke through the tree, and the moonglow gave Fairon a perfect view of Bavrone’s dilapidated cabin. One would never guess by looking at the exhausted building that the man who lived inside had once entertained kings. Fairon smiled to herself as she had the thought, and dismounted. Sango wandered a few steps away, searching for something to graze on. Fairon knocked on the rickety door, but got no response, so she gingerly pushed it open, cringing as it screached in protest. She had urged Bavrone numerous times to repair the door, as it was hanging only on one hinge, but Bavrone had dismissed the idea with a wave of his hand and the response, “If somethin’ ur somain wants tae gie in, they will if it’s fixed ur nae.” Fairon made her way easily thought the cabin, undaunted by the familiar messes that made up the decor. Herbs and vegetables hung drying from the rafters giving the room a rich, organic odor. Shelves of jars and viles lines the walls, and in one corner a brightly-colored bird blinked expectantly at Fairon. She drew some seeds she had collected on her ride from her pocket and offered them to the bird. It quickly took them from her outstretched hand and gave a satisfied nod.
Mumbling came from behind a table covered in plants. Fairon bent down to get a better look at the source.
“Having troubles, Old Man?” she said teasingly.
“Thes pest years ife lived in peace an’ noo fowk come tae test mah patience.” The wizened face peeped above the table for a moment. “Some plants Ah need can scarce be foond near haur anymair. Aam tay auld tae be traipsin’ in th’ wey o’ see ‘at some hen can keep ‘er guidman frae strayin’. Bavrone straightened. “Keep heem fat oan guid food ,Ah say, an’ he’ll be tay lazy tae wander.”
Fairon laughed. “Ah, but what good is a fat husband too lazy for love?”