“Happy New Year!”
* * *

“Nice picture.”

Ellaeva immediately crumpled up the drawing and stuffed it away, looking up into the oily smile of Drault as he set two tankards of ale on the table. His breath stank as he leaned over the table; they weren’t his first drinks of the evening. His dark red hair was pulled back in a neat queue, no doubt courtesy of the nervy man who served as his aide, and he was dressed far too finely for a back-country inn like this. The Gaylbrath tartan alone screamed his identity, and he wore both kilt and plaid with a snowy white silk shirt. Then again, she had said the more pomp the better.

She swallowed a grimace and dropped her eyes, unable to find it in herself to offer a smile. A man like Drault would only take it the wrong way anyway. “Your highness.”

The prince sat down uninvited, as princes tended to do, and pushed one of the tankards towards her.

“I am waiting for Lyram,” she said.

“You speak very familiarly of a man who only recently hired you.” He looked at her sideways over the top of his ale as he drew a long draught. When he set the tankard down, an unpleasant, amused smile twisted to his lips.

Ellaeva curled her hands under the table to stop from punching him in the nose. It was already slightly crooked from when Lyram had broken it, after Drault had insulted Lyram’s dead wife. That urge to hit him was, she realised, entirely understandable.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a fourth draft, and as such won’t be perfect – while the bones of the story are there, enough to give you a glimpse into the tale of these characters, I typically do at least eight drafts so you can expect a lot of polishing to occur between now and release date.

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On the Edge of Death

All the Left Hand of Death wants is something to call her own, but is the price too high?

Ellaeva, the fated avatar of the death goddess, is desperate to track down her missing family but the trail is decades old. Instead, she discovers her battered and bloodied sister priestesses driven across the Jerreki border on pain of death. Ellaeva must turn aside from her personal quest to investigate the murders, only to find her parents have been taken into the heart of the conflict.

Lyram Aharris, favoured son of the royal line of Ahlleyn, is the only living person she trusts to help her infiltrate the enemy stronghold and uproot the horror they find there, but their chequered past threatens the mission. Accompanying him is his crown prince, the one man Lyram wants dead above all others.

Now Ellaeva must face down the darkness in her soul before a dark god is brought into the world.

At the boundary of life and death, all oaths will be tested.