Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short excerpts from the first draft of whatever I’m working on – currently my adult epic fantasy, In the Company of the Dead, which is undergoing its first round of revisions.

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‘Are we safe?’ the priestess asked finally, as they approached the last of the iron doors and the limits of the seal Ellaeva had wrought.

‘So long as you stay within the cloister.’ Ellaeva stepped forward as the squeal of the last door’s hinges fell silent. The dark opening gaped before her. Beyond lay spectres, and Robruth, who may or may not be the Rahmyrrim, and Leinahre, who may or may not have poisoned her. And Lyram. With the crone’s admonition ringing in her ears, she could not forget him. Outside this place lay everything dangerous.

If I had to be a priestess, why couldn’t I be this type, living safe within a temple? Why do I have to be the one who faces all the demons in the night?

She never asked for this life. The decision had been made for her, when she was too young to understand. By the time she really understood the shackles binding her, they were too tight to be undone. A longing filled her, for all the things a young woman might have or hope for, and none of which filled her future. The sweetness of a first kiss. Simple laughter in the company of friends. The adoration of a baby gazing into her mother’s eyes. A man to cherish her. A mother’s embrace, lost so far in the past she had no memory of such an event.

Even just an afternoon carefree enough to pick flowers.

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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.

If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site, or subscribe to the newsletter to receive my novella, Confronting the Demon, and short story, A Magical Melody, free.

More about In the Company of the Dead

Everything Dangerous

Lyram already crossed a prince – now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.

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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