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Sand of Bone – Chapter 4

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013.  My apologies for the delay on this posting; sometimes life goes sideways.

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 4

Raskah had barely sent his discreet courier—bearing his latest commands to the commander in Ebon Stronghold—out a side passage to avoid being seen when word came that a pair of Blades had returned from their desert foray.  Iron rod in hand, he swept down the stairs before sharing the news with his bloodkin.  Both Blades, still dusty from travel and smelling of horse, knelt when he entered the audience chamber beside Court.  Blade Hita rose first; she’d been a member of Raskah’s cadre long enough grow comfortable.

“You may go,” Raskah told her.  “I’ll hear the report from Riner.”

He smiled at Hita’s confusion, and the embarrassment that pinked her cheeks.  If she was to be paired with the newest recruit to his cadre, she’d best remember to set a more respectful example.

Blade Riner didn’t rise—didn’t even raise his head—until Hita the clatter of her iron-edged boots faded, and Raskah said his name.  The Blade looked up and met his gaze directly.  It was how the man balanced deference with confidence that pleased Raskah.

Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 4

Sand of Bone – Chapter 3

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013. 

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 3

Not even the midday sun, nigh hot enough to crisp supper’s bread on stone, burned as hotly as Shella’s anger.  She strode from the Blade compound, satchel hitched over her shoulder, and entered the city of Prime without breaking stride.  People on the street, shoppers making daily purchases, vendors hawking their wares, workers on errands—all stepped aside when they saw her approach.  More than a few murmured, “The comdar is angry.”

Though twenty-seven comdars held permanent residence in Prime Stronghold, everyone knew which comdar was angry.  Shella’s temper was as well-known as her expertise in the training arena.  The latter had garnered a large degree of indulgence for the former.

Had her temper learned to be as cunning as her sword, she might have been promoted to commander a decade ago.  The night she’d figured that out, she drank herself into a fury and hacked the hostel’s main bar to pieces before her companions could drag her out without getting themselves maimed.  Come morning, she’d had a magnificent hangover, an impressive bill from the hostelkeeper, a month of barracks confinement to endure, and a cool acceptance of her stunted career.  Her armbands of comdar’s copper would never be elevated to commander’s bronze.

Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 3

Sand of Bone — Chapter Two

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013. 

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 2

Fear slammed her from sleep already tormented with dreams of her brother.  Syrina clenched her teeth against another cry, and grabbed at her throat to tear away the sensation of fingers digging beneath her jaw.  Though she drew her knees to her chest, invisible fists hit her gut and left her struggling to breathe.  Another blow fell, then another.  She stifled her cries in the thin straw mattress, beat her fists against it as if she could drive away her non-existent attacker.  Her cry rose into a wail when heat lanced deep into her shoulder, tearing flesh and muscle from bone, stealing breath and sight and sound and thought—

It stopped.

Her body throbbed with the memory.  She let herself sob as the ache settled deep in her bones, then she sat up and hung her head between her knees.

Syrina knew better than to search for blood or bruises to prove the ordeal real.  Twice before she’d awakened to a beating, and each time had nothing to show but the memory.  She’d screamed for help the first time, only to be told that no one had entered her chamber and no marks could be found.  The second time had been worse than the first, but the result had been the same.  The surgeon had gone so far as to suggest—carefully, and in low whispers—that she had perhaps kept herself in solitude too long.

In any other place in SheyKhala, the merest intimation that one of the Velshaan might be unstable would see the offender arrested, flogged, and then caged in a wagon destined to be fed to the sands, or abandoned to Exile Stronghold.  But the surgeon was already in Exile, just like she was.  Only by beating him, starving him, or locking him in the underground cells could she make his life much worse.  So Syrina had given him sharp thanks for his concern and dismissed him.  She didn’t speak of it again.  But this nightmare…  Hallucination… Continue reading Sand of Bone — Chapter Two

Sand of Bone — Chapter One

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013. 

Chapter 1

Raskah watched from the shadows, one sandaled foot resting on the stone bench, his back braced against the rough mudbrick wall of the barracks.  The fierce afternoon breeze pushed into the shade, through his pale linen robes, to parch his skin.  Here, where the land sloped toward rocky plains, and no protective walls hid the wind-scoured landscape, few niceties blunted the desert’s true severity.  More and more over the last year, as the mood within the palace grew colder, he looked forward to the hours he could spend here in the Blade compound.  He’d never be able to join in their training—nor would he want to—but appreciated watching the Blades sweat and drill and bleed on his behalf.

Continue reading Sand of Bone — Chapter One