Because I am forced to be away from my home (and my computer, and all of my free time), I thought instead of giving another bit of Muramasa: Blood Drinker, I would give everyone a taste of what I wrote last year. This is the prologue to Moonsong, an epic fantasy story I began writing last year in pieces sent one at a time to the woman who would become my wife. Eventually the story grew so large (some 325,000 words) that breaking into volumes became necessary to pursue publication. The third I'm hoping to get to this fall, after I wrap up Muramasa.
The following bit I'm rather fond of. Since reading Eye of the World I've always liked the idea of starting off a book with a villain. This one is effective as because, just like in Jordan's classic, we don't get to meet the big bag evil guy right away in the main narrative. I hope it stimulates your hunger for more!
“Tell me, Vindrel, what is power?”
Sarthius Catannel turned his head away from the window for a moment to regard Claire as she stepped across the threshold to the small room overlooking the courtyard. Below his shock of blonde hair, his green eyes stared at her with the same vacant stillness as when she had met the man years before. Never a word to acknowledge her, his lingering look held all the wisdom she needed to understand. She felt a chill and drew her robes around her body tightly. She saw that the window was open. Just a breeze then, she thought.
“Power, sir?” Vindrel, the captain of the guard for as long as Claire could remember, stood beside Sarthius, his uniform of blue and green and as crisp as always. He was one of the few higher-ups of the military staff that had been kept on after the old count passed away, probably because he had no family to speak of, and therefore nothing at stake in the politics of court. She envied him.
“Yes, power.” Sarthius stared out the window as Claire crept up to stand slightly beside him. “What does it mean to have power? To be powerful?” She could smell the fire in the courtyard below, and understood what was taking place. She didn’t want to look, but knew somehow she would. In the end, she could not avoid it. Then the smell would get worse.
“Power…” Vindrel looked down for a moment. “Power is the ability to exact your will. To do what you wish.”
Claire noticed the flintlock pistol that Vindrel openly carried, in defiance of divine law. There were rumors that Vindrel was a Promethean, or as they called themselves, Somniatel. Watching him stare out the window with his familiar stone-cutting gaze, she believed he could, in truth, be a member of one of the strange highland clans that as much as worshipped the technological apostasies of the Dark One, even though they lived like savages in wilds of the world. If it was true, it explained much of his retention with the young count; Prometheans were valuable sell-swords, just as much for their uncanny skills as for their lack of ethics.
“A good answer,” Sarthius said, “but not quite right, I think. A woodcutter chops down a tree because he wishes it. Is he powerful?”
“He is to the tree,” Vindrel said.