Ellaeva sat in the withdrawing room, contemplating a decanter of wine weighing down one corner of the map. The thud of Galdron’s receding boots still echoed around the small room. The room’s shadows deepened as the sun sank toward the west, and the chair held her close, like a nest cradling a baby bird, or a man comforting his lover.
The wine reflected a deep ruby red in the dying light. The colour captivated her, called to her, like a siren on the rocks beckoning a sailor, with a forked tongue promising impermanent oblivion.
For tomorrow she would arise and remember; deep below the castle, the enemy sappers still tunnelled.
The sally had failed, the explosives planted in the wrong place, or not deep enough. Men had died for no gain.
If she succumbed to the lure of the wine, tonight would be painless, but tomorrow held no change, except she would be an oathbreaker to boot, and one who might need to call on the forbearance of her betrayed goddess.
* * *
Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first 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 the final version to bear little resemblance to what I post here.
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More about In the Company of the Dead
Son of a duke and third in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after striking his prince – but when the castle is besieged, he fears the prince means to remove him more permanently.
Hope arrives in the form of the Left Hand of Death, the woman bound to serve the goddess Ahura in battle. But the priestess has not come for the siege – instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the god of decay.
Within his stone prison, Lyram must fight to save himself from both political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, his greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.
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