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.

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The abbess looked up at her. Age had shrunk the old crone, but eyes still sharp and alert regarded Ellaeva from a network of wrinkles. ‘You be careful with the Aharris boy. I’m not so old that I forget the flutter a smile like that can put in a heart.’

Ellaeva fixed her with a hard stare. ‘According to you, I’m already beyond remembering my vows.’

The abbess shrugged. ‘An ill-thought out insult. I don’t like you, and I don’t have to like you, but that was unfair. This is… by way of apology. A man like that is dangerous in ways you might not yet understand. You’re young, but you’ve also not yet been out in the world long enough to know the true temptations of a man.’

Ellaeva waved a hand, dismissing the matter s she crossed to the altar. She drew the silver sword of Ahura and placed it so it crossed the altar at a perpendicular angle, right through the middle, with the hilt pointing away from her. ‘He is too old. And I swore a vow.’

The knowing eyes of the abbess bore into her. ‘You got those two things the wrong way around, girl.’

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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

Wrong Way Around

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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