Our first official in-home critique meeting went really well last night even though one of our group was sick and couldn't make it. It's wonderful how much more in-depth our critiques are when we have more time and can discuss issues that encompass more than a single scene. Plus it feels like everyone is more relaxed with this informal setting instead of our normal meeting in a public area. As with anything new, there will be a learning curve at work here but I don't think it will take long to settle in.
In other exciting news, at least for me, I've received another wonderful 4-star review on Amazon for my book, and I've gotten e-mails from two other folks who are half way through reading and loving it. They said they would post a review also when done. Those made my day.
Today I thought I would post the prologue to my WIP, "Eyes of the Deluti".
Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.
Prologue~ End of an Age
Now was the time to finish this. Only Demitrios, the last surviving Deluti High Lord, had the power to locate and if possible, destroy the Dark Lord. He rode at the forefront of the Army of the North, an alliance he had forged between Northern Ogre, Mountain Wolves, the light-shifters of the Elintria and Humans. That alliance proved to be the turning point in a war that had lasted for decades. The Dark Lord of the South refused to acknowledge the intelligence and fighting abilities of the non-humans. For that reason, his entire army was comprised of humans, whom he treated little better than slaves.
The Army advanced steadily across the Plain of Sarglon and approached the Stagwood Forest. Ahead of them stretched an ancient, densely packed wood where the Dark Lord had established his final defensive line to protect his fortress at Bryhom. At the High Lord’s signal, the army positioned itself for attack with archers and mages to the front, followed by ogres, wolves and human swordsmen. The horsemen were positioned as rear guard due to their disadvantage in the thick forest.
As the first volley of arrows darkened the sky and fireballs launched by the human mages sped towards the forest, lightning strikes sent by the Dark Lord’s sorcerers began falling among the archers. Holding position, the mages and archers continued to provide covering fire until the wolves, ogres and Elintria assassins reached the edge of the forest. The swordsmen then followed to sweep through the forest in the wake of the non-humans. Riding among them, Demitrios provided as much protection as he dared but every death added to the burden of sorrow weighing on his heart.
His personal shield protected him from attack but did not block out the pungent odor of ozone and the sickly sweet stench of burning flesh. They had left behind a plain littered with the bodies of human and animal, but in the forest, Demitrios knew they would have the advantage. The wolves and ogre were formidable forest predators and the Elintria would quickly eliminate anyone attempting to hide in the trees.
A sudden immense gathering of power alerted him to the presence of his enemy and the shocked realization of the terrible mistake he had made. The forest was a trap. With the last of his energy he sent out a powerful mental command to the entire army to abandon the forest immediately. Face buried in the mane of his horse to keep from being swept off, they careened through the forest with the roar of an inferno pursuing them. Tendrils of smoke trailed from the burnt ends of the horse’s tail as they escaped through the western edge of the forest and ascended to a rock strewn meadow. The horse, lathered and trembling, stopped a few paces away from the body of a man slumped against the side of a large boulder. Demitrios fell from his saddle and stumbled over to his brother. The face of his twin was beyond recognition.
Compassion overwhelmed all other emotions as he gazed at the burnt and blackened body before him.
“Why have you done this to us Scorpios?” he cried. “Your lust for power has destroyed the last members of our race. The Council of Five gave up their lives by forging their spirits into the five Amulets of Focus that are now scattered throughout both continents. The Deluti are no more. You have placed the future of this world in the hands of the humans.”
The body of his brother convulsed, one eye cracked open and a hiss escaped through burnt and blistered lips.
“I can not. Regardless of what you have become, you are still my brother.”
Anger invoked by the senseless destruction and death his brother was responsible for rekindled the power of a Deluti High Lord in him. He rose to his feet and stood straight and tall.
“However, since you attempted to kill us all and took in more power than your body was able to control, I sentence you to live and suffer from those injuries and the knowledge of what you have done to our people.”
Demitrios walked over to stand next to his horse and stared at the smoking ruin that had once been the
. With a faraway
look in his eyes, he continued. Stagwood
“Many generations from now, the blood of the Deluti will return through the line of humans even stronger than before and our time on this world will come to an end. I have foreseen it.”
Back in the saddle, he turned his horse away from the broken body on the ground and whispered, “Goodbye my brother.” He never looked back.