Excerpt: Firstborn

It’s Excerpt Day!

I just came off another book release and posted a lot of excerpts from Dolor and Shadow and Lorlenalin’s Lies. These are excerpts I haven’t released before, and decided to declare today Excerpt Day and share them with you!

 

So here is excerpt #1 from Dolor and Shadow

 

Dolor and Shadow Front Large (I received 3 sizes of this file)

By the twelfth apple, Rune was able to take up the fruit and keep the Beast from stirring. The tension was there. He felt it wanting to fight, but Rune had maintained the strength to keep the Beast at bay, allowing him to draw the threads of light.

With the contents returned to Kallan’s pouch, he made his way back to Astrid who had remained in the clearing.

Taking up the reins, Rune looked to the west.

He was under stocked and less prepared than usual for the situation. With Kallan’s dagger and no shoes on his feet, he was in no position to track, let alone venture into battle. But he had only a few hours before Kallan’s trail went cold and mid-day was long since passed.

I’ll make weapons along the way, he decided.

The Beast raised its head. He felt it too: the draw and want of the light and much stronger than anything from the apples.

Withdrawing Kallan’s dagger, Rune sank to the bushes out of sight.

One.

The Beast within paced hungrily, aching for the pull with more vigor than before.

Steady.

Rune located the primary source of the Seidr nearby. The energy it exuded riled the Beast, forcing Rune to focus his efforts on holding it back. The Seidr source shifted faster than anything Rune had seen before. But the Seidr from that single source pulled at the Seidr lines fused to the earth and the air. Where the Seidr source moved, it left a trail behind, making it difficult to track its location, and the moment he found it, it moved again.

The Beast snarled. And Rune turned, knowing his opponent was too fast long before the cold blade touched his throat and Rune held his breath, waiting as a dark voice spoke:

“From the threshold of Death’s door where Raven loves the Crow,

Take his outstretched, withered hand. ‘Release,’ he calls. ‘Come forth’.”

Rune breathed and shoved the blade from his throat while laughter broke the forest’s silence. “Bergen!”

“You looked like you were going to piss yourself three ways sideways,” Bergen chuckled.

Rune ran a hand over his face, wiping away the beads of sweat before sheathing Kallan’s blade.

“There isn’t time for this,” Rune said. “Where’s your horse?”

“Hey!” Bergen called. “Where’s the queen?”

 

* * *

 

“There’s food here and flint,” Bergen said, pulling the saddlebag from the black mare and handing it over to Rune. “A few swords and knives are secured to Zabbai’s saddle. I picked them off a band of Men a day back.”

Rune looked up at attention. “Men? In Alfheim?”

Bergen nodded. “Their weapons are forged with impure iron. They’ll break, but it’s something.”

Rune ignored him and fastened the sword to his side.

“What are you doing, Brother?” Bergen asked.

“I’m going after her.” Rune said, looking over the Dokkalfar blade and securing another set of knives on his belt. “Let me have your boots.”

Without question, Bergen pulled off his boots and tossed them to Rune.

“Do you even know where they’ve taken her?” Bergen asked.

“By the few tracks they left, they went west.”

“Midgard,” Bergen said.

“It shouldn’t take more than a moon.” Rune pulled on Bergen’s boots as he spoke. “Not sure yet what I’m dealing with. They’re on foot, but…” Rune’s thoughts trailed off. “Ride back to Gunir. Take the throne in my stead, and here.”

Rune pulled off his signet ring and thrust it at Bergen, who threw his hands into the air.

“Whoa,” Bergen exclaimed. “You know I can’t afford to tarnish the disrespectful reputation I’ve been honing for centuries. What would Torunn think if she caught me being responsible with that?”

“Fine.” Rune jammed the ring back on his finger and studied the longsword on Bergen’s back.

The Seidr source that had awakened the Beast with such hunger, the Seidr source that drew from all other lines around them as it moved with its keeper, came from the blade on Bergen’s back. Until now, he had never detected the amount of energy stored in its core. When Bergen arrived ages ago, dismissing the longsword as something he had picked of the Dokkalfar, no one had questioned it. But not even the Dokkalfar make blades like that.

“Give me your Firstborn,” Rune said.

Bergen’s eyes were set aflame. “You can have the boots off my feet…”

Rune frowned.

“…the shirt off my back…”

“You never wear shirts.”

“…the pants off my hide,” Bergen offered.

“No, thanks.”

“You are not taking my Firstborn,” Bergen declared.

Rune scoffed. “You didn’t pick that off a Dokkalfar, did you?”

Bergen went pale.

“Later,” Rune said. “I have no time. Give me your bow.”

Bergen gave him the bow without objection.

“The quiver,” Rune said.

Bergen obliged.

“And your pipe,” Rune said.

Bergen made a sound like he had swallowed a cat. “You’re killing me here,” he said, but handed over his pipe and some leaf.

“If I’m not back by the next new moon, come find me,” Rune said while he fastened Bergen’s quiver to his belt. “Tell no one that you’ve seen me.”

Rune pulled himself onto Astrid and steered the stallion west.

“Hey!” Bergen called once Rune had eased Astrid into a cantor. “What am I supposed to tell Torunn?”

“Do what you always do!” Rune called not bothering to look back. “Compose one of your stories.”

 

Nothing Found

 

About the Author: Angela