This week begins a brand new Tuesday Teaser, feature my current WIP, Angel Blue! Angel Blue, an urban fantasy romance, will be a serialized novel, separated into five episodes. So I may be a little sparing with my teasers the next few months pre-release. However I know y’all will love this as much as I do. Angel Blue is the first novel in an ongoing series titled Seven Deadly Sins. It’s been a passion project of mine the past ten years and was the book which started my writing career. More on that later 🙂 Happy reading!
Angel Blue: Episode 1 Teaser
It began, as with most things great and terrible, with the promise of war.
Snow fell lightly between two armored soldiers. One carried a single torch, the only light in the wilderness stretching out between the mountain slopes. The second soldier was shorter and as frozen as the everlasting forest fathers which stood vigil around them.
“What are you waiting for, Commander?” The second soldier shifted in place, his chain mail grating against plate armor. “Our orders were to finish them quickly. Do not tell me you are unequal to the task, old friend.”
The first soldier did not reply, other than to glare coolly at his companion. Had they not been life-long friends, indeed, he might have considered a swift death for daring to question him in front of their men. More than old friends, they were brothers, and all the first soldier could think was how quickly time was passing. Time they had in ample supply, yet what was the cost, if his brother could kill so easily and without remorse?
His brother had the sense to bow his head in submission at least and did not question him again. They turned to face the castle. In the few minutes since they first brought their small band to stand ready in shadows beneath the outlying forest, the sun dipped behind the rising snowcapped peaks. The dark land waited in unearthly silence.
His heart pounded and a cold sweat chilled his neck as he prepared to issue the order.
Still the first soldier waited, studying the outlying defenses one last time.
The castle they preyed upon stood out amongst its surroundings. Half of it had been built against the face of one of the greatest and mightiest of the surrounding mountain range. The castle faced a forested plain that laced its way between more distant peaks to one side, and a sheer cliff overlooking a warmer hidden valley on the other. It was a symbol, a testament to the might of the Chosen who had built it upon the backs of Lesser slaves. House Eanna was unlike any of its kind.
This band of soldiers had fought many wars together. The first soldier handpicked them to carry out this dirty task, believing it to be no different from the others. All manner of terrors they had and would commit, in the name of a greater cause.
Bile rose to the back of the first soldier’s throat and his free hand tightened on the pommel of his longsword.
“We must not tarry.” The second soldier broke the silence again. “We shall lose the element of surprise if we wait another moment. Come on!” Impatiently, the shorter soldier grabbed the torch from his friend’s hand and began to run, brandishing a longsword with his other hand. “Watchers! Arise!” he called from over his shoulder.
The band of soldiers came like thieves in the night, like angels of death bringing judgment upon the fallen, their lithe forms scrambling over the castle’s outer walls, their movements so silent not even the dead could have heard them.
The few torches already lit by the night watch about the fortress’ outer walls were moved from their stands, carried away by the shadows. The soldiers split, but the brothers worked together to silence any guard they encountered with quick work of their short blades. They pressed up against opposing pillars and the first soldier began to count under his breath.
None of the night’s watch caught wind of the invaders, not until their guts were pierced with foreign blades. The torches from the outer walls were carried and spread with aid of the mixture three of the small band had brought from their superiors. The foul-smelling substance would burn faster and longer than petrified pine and soon the great monument, that everlasting structure, was ablaze.
The count ended and the brothers peeked from their perch atop the inner portcullis.
This is not war, the first soldier thought as he watched the wall of flame rise, this is slaughter.
The wind rose, sputtering the fire but not even the angry howl of the approaching blizzard could dispel this inferno.
Almost as soon as the silent attack began it was finished.
The brothers watched their men flee the inner courtyard and scale the walls, firelight reflecting off their plated armor.
“That is the last of them. Come, we have finished it.” The second soldier clapped his brother on the shoulder.
The first soldier watched a moment longer, flinching at the sound of the first screams. Upon his brother’s repeated urgings, he at last joined in retreat. Away they fled from the howling inferno through swirling sheets of white snow, until the shadows of the great giant fir trees hid their slithering forms from all sight.
The first soldier stood nearest to the tree line, the same tug at his gut rooting him, tying him to the land and the madness. There was no honor in the murder of innocents. The repercussions for this night would undoubtedly resonate in the years to come. He had no doubt neither his brother, nor the other men would easily forget his hesitation.
All thoughts of potential punishment for his disobedience were swallowed by the screams of the people trapped inside the castle. Hundreds of voices rang up in a single chorus of flame and terror which gave way to unearthly wails as the human-like shells fell away.
“Come along you fool!” The second soldier had returned without his torch. “We cannot tarry here.”
The first soldier stared at the flame of death burning before him and did not respond to his brother’s urgings. He faintly heard him call to the other soldiers, and then from behind him once more.
“If you will not come, then you can rot here and Eru help you if you show your cowardly face again!”
Once he was alone he sank into the snow and wept. Something hard inside of him cracked irrevocably that night, as he listened to the cries of innocents that would haunt him the rest of his days. For hours, he watched as the castle supports cracked and crumbled to pieces, as the flames charred stone and mortar and blackened the sky.
Like all things great and terrible, it began with a vow that was the remaking of him. It began that night with an act of war that would be waged over millennia to come.
to be continued…