I’m trying something new by posting my first serialized fantasy story, “A New Kind of Warrior,” on the free writing site, Wattpad. Part 1 goes up today. Check it out here:
It’s a 6-part story and subsequent parts will be posted on Fridays and Sundays between November 17 and December 3. Read all of Part 1 below the description and the jump below.
Lindal has been chosen by her god to be the lone girl among her people’s caste of divine warriors, giving her the power to sense and shape the natural world around her. Now fate leaves the last chance of salvation for her people in her hands. She must protect a sacred fragment of their god against a ruthless invader. But as the land dies around her and her power wanes, her only hope lies in seeking help from an unexpected and dangerous ally.
Vegar is dead. He was the last of the old warriors, those who had faced the Dark Ones when they first invaded. I say old, but he only saw twenty six sunbreaks. Scarcely any of his comrades had seen more.
That leaves just me and Egrin. And the thralls, all six of them. But I am the one that matters. I am the only one sworn to a fieldstake. Egrin’s eyes watch me carefully as I creep to the edge of the tree line, looking out over the sloping expanse of long grass and the mountain that lies beyond it. He must be testing me in his mind, stewing over whether he is a fool to follow one who has seen three less sunbreaks, and a girl no less. It may not seem right to him, but the warrior’s path is the one that was chosen for me, and I shall walk it.
“It is too open, too bright,” Egrin says, tugging on my shoulder. “We should not cross till nightfall. The Dark Ones do not like the night. It is known that they lack souls to light their way.”
He says this as if I am new and unblooded. I have fought my battles, though in truth, I have never faced the Dark Ones. Neither has Egrin.
The crack of thunder in the distance makes me look past him, into the dense multitude of trees of our Blessed Scion’s Great Old Forest. The rumble of thunder always accompanies the Dark Ones’ sorcery and it draws closer, though not close enough for us to hear the screams of the dying and maimed of our people.
“Our Blessed Scion set down this task,” I say. “We carry with us a part of His Holy Essence. You know this will save us. We need only be bold and find our mettle. We will cross now. Have Faith.”
I put a hand on his shoulder to reassure him, but he is no quiescent thrall. He resents this, but I know he will do as I ask. His Faith in our God is strong as well.
At my command, the first thrall moves across the grassy slope at a low crouch. He opens his mind to me so I can peer through his eyes as he searches for every dip in the terrain, every patch of scrub to hide in. Once this meadow might have been teeming with goats, rodents, and other small animals, but the war has driven all away. I watch through his eyes as he steals a glance to the valley far below. Down there in the distance, packs of Dark Ones sway to and fro like ants. If we can see them, they can see us. I urge the thrall to make haste. At last, he reaches the ridge beneath the mountain.
Egrin nods and moves forward with the other thralls, swords and spears drawn. I hesitate. The way seems safe. We have not been detected. But for the briefest moment, I sense something I cannot quite grasp, even in my mind.
They move from hiding place to hiding place across the meadow. They are careful to keep one thrall at their centre, guarded on all sides. He is the one who bears the Holy sapling on his back. I look behind me and then to the left, down in the valley, but no Dark Ones approach. I follow at a brisk pace until we are all gathered in the shadow of the ridge. Safe.
That feeling gnaws at me again. Everything is as it should be and yet . . . there is nothing. A nothingness, a void. I feel the spirits of all the trees, the grass, the rocks and the soil, but there, just down the slope in the thicket, I feel nothing. The Dark Ones have no souls.
The others sense the danger in my mind as I discover it. They have their weapons ready and seek hiding places. The crack of thunder. One of the thralls crumbles in agony, felled by a Dark One’s spell.
The time to hide is at an end. We must strike the enemy. Or die.