Tag Archives: in the company of the dead

Monday Morsel: Desperate Rescue – An Extract from In the Company of the Dead

Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead.

* * *

His horse struck the other animal’s shoulder, hard enough to rattle Lyram’s teeth and knock the attacker’s horse off stride. Lyram swung his sword, the blade whistling through the air, and the enemy rider flung himself out of the saddle. Lyram’s mount surged past the now riderless horse in a thunder of hooves. Cursing, Lyram hauled on the reins. The horse swung about in a wide circle.
The young woman had stopped to watch the spectacle. Though the soldier had crashed to the ground mere feet from her, she watched with a calm expression as he climbed to his feet. Turning, the soldier saw her, and reached for her with his free hand.  
Horror squeezed Lyram’s chest tight. He was too far away to make a difference. She brought one long-fingered white hand up in a gesture of – what? Supplication? Forestalling? Defence? The soldier seized her by the wrist, and with her other hand she reached out and touched his chest.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.

If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.

More about In the Company of the Dead:


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

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.

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Floor Plans of Caisteal Aingeal an Bhais: The Castle from In the Company of the Dead

Caisteal is Gaelic for castle and ‘Aingeal an Bhais’ is Gaelic for the angel of death, or more simply, Death. I’m not sure that putting them together like that produces an end result of castle of the angel of death, but it doesn’t really matter – the people who named the castle are not Gaelic, more… inspired by the Gaelic, and the castle’s name isn’t necessarily intended to translate literally in Gaelic.veroxybd.com

Whatever it means in this world, in the (as yet unnamed) story world it definitely means Castle of the Angel of Death.

I’ve been working on the floor plans for some time, and now here they are. There is a sub-basement which I’ve not bothered to draw, it mostly consisting of subterranean caves used as a midden which must be periodically emptied. I’ve drawn the basement, but not included it here, and the second floor consists only of the gatehouse.

Caerlaverock has a moat, as well as what is believed to be a second outer moat which is now dry. For the purposes of Caisteal Aingeal, I’ve changed this dry outer moat to protected pasture inside a second larger wall. At the time of In the Company of the Dead, this second outer wall has fallen into disrepair and is indefensible. However, it still provides significant protection to the castle because, although it cannot be defended, it is in good enough repair that it would need to be scaled. This outer wall is within bowshot of the inner wall, which means any force attempting to climb it would be easily picked off as they climbed. This also means any attacking force can’t camp within the outer wall.

A force well-protected by shields can still enter via the ruined gateway, but of course this narrow approach bottlenecks the enemy, and essentially limits assaults to the front wall of the castle. Trying to circle around to attack the rear wall, or indeed even the back half of the side walls, would be an exercise in futility, merely exposing soldiers to continued rains of arrows, and lengthening the lines of retreat.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.

Monday Morsel: I Couldn’t Save Her – An Extract from In the Company of the Dead



Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead. Today we’ve got a longer extract than usual. Enjoy!


* * *

Everard seized his waving arm. ‘You still can’t go! What if it’s a trap? What if she’s a spy? You said yourself the enemy will suspect it – what fools would we be to discount the chance? And a Tembran, at that? If what you tell me is true….’ He lowered his voice, even though his words were circumspect. ‘If it’s true, what better way to lure you out?’
Lyram spread his hands. ‘I cannot stand here and watch them take her. I cannot lie awake at night, wondering what fate might await her. I must at least try.’
‘Then send someone else!’
Lyram thrust a foot into the stirrup, and swung into the saddle. He pulled the plumed helm from his head, and thrust it at a solder. ‘Your helm, man.’
The horse danced under him, sensing the nervous excitement, and for a moment they juggled helmets until Lyram had the man’s unadorned one upon his head. He looked over his shoulder at the castellan. ‘Have the longbowmen form up on the battlements, my lord. In case I need cover.’
Everard almost danced on his toes. ‘In love with death, I said. You’ll be the death of us all!’
Lyram turned the horse, the clatter of hooves drowned out by the rattle of the portcullis. Galdron burst from a door at the far end of the courtyard. The soldiers ran the portable bridge out, placing it atop the burnt timbers and shoving it to the other side of the moat. Lyram clapped his heels to the horse’s flanks. ‘I couldn’t save her!’


* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.

More about In the Company of the Dead:


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

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.



Monday Morsel: Kiss in the Night – An Extract from In the Company of the Dead


Блоки погреба

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.

If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Monday Morsel: Siege – An Extract from In the Company of the Dead



Welcome to the Monday Morsel feature, where I share short extracts from the first draft of my adult epic fantasy/fantasy romance, In the Company of the Dead.

* * *

Men appeared in the gaping gate of the old ruined wall, a mere dozen or so, with bows slung over their shoulders. Lyram pulled the eyeglass from his belt, goosebumps prickling his skin. Not bows; crossbows. And there, in the trees behind the crossbowmen, the horses they must have used to arrive so quickly. They began pulling the weapons from their shoulders and winding winches.
The messengers scattered at sight of the crossbowmen. Speed was their one hope, their mail useless against a quarrel, but crossbows were slow to load. Lyram leaned forward, clenching the battlements with his free hand, and the eyeglass pressed almost painfully into his eye socket as he willed the horses away.
One of the riders jerked, the impact of a quarrel throwing him out of his saddle. The horse shied violently, but the man’s foot caught in the stirrup, and the horse dragged him out of sight.
          A murmur of dismay rose from the watching soldiers. Lyram clutched the eyeglass tighter, sweeping the scene to try and find the other two riders.

* * *

Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of March. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella Confronting the Demon.
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.

More about In the Company of the Dead:


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

Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.

As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.

Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.