It’s been far too long since I’ve contributed to this blog and, for that, I apologize. I’ve been hard at work on the second novel in the Reflections of Shadow series and, even after a lot of revision, it’s still a work in progress.
I thank you all for your patience, however. And, in the spirit of sharing, I thought that I’d leave you with a few passages from the first chapter from my second book… WORLDS SUNDERED.
Brochathain – Year One of the Renaissance
It was midday in the Sios Mountains, but the cliffs were shrouded in an oppressive darkness. Above the range, the sky was lost behind a nebulous armour of roiling black smoke and ash, impenetrable to even the smallest rays of sunshine. For days, the noxious fume had been spewed into the air by the volcanic peaks lining the wild northern coast of the continent, and it was now being driven southward by the raging mountain winds.
The only source of light was the fiery glow of the distant rumbling giants. It bathed the cliffs, and the smoky ceiling above, in hues of dark crimson, flaring every now and then with demoniac fervor. The air was alive with dreadful anticipation as the gloom crept along the broken spine of the continent. Tremors shook the earth, and flurries of ash were tossed back and forth in the air by the sharp eddying mountain currents. Like a good herald, the ash obscured everything but the increasingly-frenzied peaks from whence it had sprung, eagerly foreshadowing the impending calamity…
As if in orchestrated succession, the rumbling volcanic giants suddenly roared to life in a horrifying crescendo. Great spouts of molten rock and tephra surged skyward and rained down upon the world below, exploding with meteoric fury. Hot magma bubbled up from the mouth of each peak and cascaded down the sides of the rock face, covering the mountainside and the steppe below beneath a smouldering blanket of death.
Even after so long, the world still devoured itself.
The tremors accompanying the eruptions shook the entire mountain range, opening several long jagged fissures in the rock. The earth trembled beneath the onslaught of the violent geographic upheaval, unable to resist the transformation that reshaped the landscape yet again.
As the worst of the volcanic tremors subsided, however, the world was rocked by another – much more terrifying – quake. From nowhere and everywhere, the familiar tremor shook each fractured continent and every living creature the world over. Although it was brief, its effect was instantaneous and devastating.
The distant mountains, which had only just erupted in smoke and flames, hissed in complaint as plumes of hot steam now mingled with the dark ash clouds overhead. The still-molten volcanic rock had disappeared – in the blink of an eye – beneath a shimmering layer of ice, which had manifested suddenly and encased the peaks. Fire and ice now fought for supremacy, and the rock beneath bore the brunt of the battle. Sharp thunderous cracks echoed across the landscape as the range shifted and buckled beneath the onslaught of the unnatural climatic change.
For all its fury, this was not the first dramatic transformation to reshape these mountains, nor would it be the last. For, such was the chaos to which Seteris – its lands and its civilizations – had been subjected since the world had been shattered beyond all recognition.
Sitting on a bluff, high above the world below, Bruadair Kearn dangled his feet over the edge nervously. He watched the distant volcanic peaks return to an uneasy slumber, knowing that danger had actually been averted by this most recent divergence.
“We were lucky,” he said, wiping the cold sweat from his brow, a small smile tugging at his wide mouth.
“Yes, we were.”
The smile fell from Bruadair’s lips upon hearing the familiar gravelly voice.
Was it really too much to hope that he would be left in peace this time?
With a small sigh, he shook his head to clear it, conjured a facade of amusement, and turned to face the man who’d spoken.
“It’s good to be us,” he said.
“I couldn’t agree more.”
The man, who stood a few paces behind him, smiled back at him, a perfect reflection. His face was gaunt, weathered, and filthy. Keen, deep-sunken brown eyes gazed fixedly at Bruadair from beneath a tangled mess of bushy black and grey hair. His few remaining yellow teeth peeked out from behind a similarly bushy beard. The man was so thin that he looked as if the buffeting mountain winds might blow him over at any moment. His clothes – an old shirt, torn trousers, and a ratty-looking cloak – hung loosely from his skinny frame. Despite his ragged appearance, however, Bruadair knew, all too well, what hidden strength he possessed.
“By the Reaver, is that what I look like?” he asked, wrinkling his nose in disgust.
The man looked down at himself, and then back to Bruadair.
“It would seem so.”