Monday, 19 May 2014

Monday Morsel: Double Bind - An Excerpt from 'In the Company of the Dead'

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

* * *

‘It seems to me,’ she said, her voice soft, ‘that both obligations may not be met simultaneously. You must break one. That you cannot control. What you can do is choose which. It is in your hands to decide which is more important to you.'

He looked at her with tired, sore eyes. ‘That’s it? Just decide which oath I will break? So much for honour and loyalty.’

‘It is the only logical way,’ she said simply.

Lyram grunted. ‘When it’s you doing the choosing, come back and let me know how it turns out for you.’

‘There is no time for you to wallow in self-pity,’ she said, voice sharp. She straightened from her nonchalant lean against the wall, assuming a deceptively relaxed stance, but one from which she could respond to any threat immediately. ‘We have mouths to feed, men, and women, and children whom you have decided can no longer be saved by your surrender.’

His head jerked, and he scowled at her over one shoulder. ‘Isn’t that what you wanted? Me not to surrender.’

‘What I want is no longer relevant. You have decided. And now there are more decisions to make. I don’t suppose you learned anything useful while you were skulking around the enemy camp?’

Stung, he swivelled on his buttocks to face her, keeping the blanket tight around him. Really, he’d have preferred to be left alone, but she had barrelled her way in past Everard while he sat drying before the fire. His soggy clothes still hung from various pieces of furniture around the room.

Ellaeva faced him without any sign of discomfort in her face.

I am just another job to her. Bitterness welled up at the thought, though he wasn’t sure why it should matter.

* * *

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've temporarily had to shelve it while I work on Stalking the Demon, the sequel to Confronting the Demon. If you'd like to sample more of my writing, check out the free short stories available on this site.

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.

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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A M Guynes-Annikka Woods said...

I love the phrase "swivelled around on his buttocks" for some reason. It's a very apt description but this just sticks with me. I love this scene.

unrulyian said...

Interesting and compelling right now. I would probably be interested in reading more. Thanks for being brave enough to share your work in progress.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Thanks for reading! I'm glad you found it compelling.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I had to go back and read it to see what you mean, but you're right, it is apt - you can totally see someone with a blanket clutched tight about them spinning slowly on the spot so as not to dislodge what covers they have LOL

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