I’m working on the sequel to Sword and Illusion, Sword & Incantation. I don’t want to give much away about the first book because it’s been out for just a few months and I don’t want to spoil anything.
The second book centers around Greenblade, Prince Varian’s daughter he didn’t know he had, and her struggles to find out who she really is. This is the first scene of the book as it is so far. I assume it will change as I haven’t finished the first draft yet, but here’s a taste of the book
Germian, husband of Arrowbreaker, looked at the limp, dirty lamb in his arms. The soft once white fleece was now matted with dried blood and the smell of dung and mud which surrounded it told the farmer the story of the creature’s struggles.
The dumb animal had gotten stuck in a bramble bush near the rock outcropping at the edge of his land. Somehow, in struggling to get loose, she had twisted herself in the branches and broken two legs. When Germian found her, he’d known she would never survive.
One of the brutal truths of working a farm is that animals died. Germian didn’t like it, but like many other truths of life, he’d come to see it as necessary and sometimes good. The death of an animal often meant the difference between some child going to bed with a full belly or not.
As he walked through the snowy yard near the barn, he thought about the best way to salvage meat from the lamb. A smile played on his lips as he imagined a nice stew with some of the vegetables growing in the planting house.
He rounded the corner of the barn and stopped. Greenblade, his daughter, who was just over sixteen years old, was on her knees under the kitchen window of the house.
She was working on a small flower bed she’d started, hoping to get something to blossom. Their ice world’s growing season was too short for most ornamental plants, but her ability to coax even the most sensitive vegetables to flourish had given her confidence that she could do more.
Why did she have to do start working on it today?
Germian should have continued into the barn because his hesitation gave her the opportunity to notice him.
“Father, what happened to the lamb?” Greenblade stood and wiped her hands on her pants. “Is it alive?”
He looked at the immobile creature in his arms and considered lying to her. Wouldn’t that be better, in the long run? Surely, the Holy One would forgive a small lie to protect his daughter’s sensitive heart. He didn’t want to give her hope that the lamb would survive only to watch her pain when the creature did perish.
On the other hand, she was a Sarl first born daughter, and while she showed little aptitude in war skills, she was too young to pretend that death was some pretty fantasy story about floating off to live with the Crystal Spirits. Maybe it was better that she face the truth.
“I do not believe she will live much longer,” he said. “She is badly injured.”
“I will get your salve. You can save her.” Greenblade hurried into the house.
With a sigh, Germian went into the barn. The lamb was not going to survive the night no matter how much salve he used on the wounds. Another brutal truth of farm life is often animals that played in the sun one day graced the supper table the next.
He laid the lamb on a pile of hay. Greenblade hurried in and handed him the jar of salve.
“I will keep her calm.” the girl said. “She’s probably scared.”
The lamb didn’t move or show any sign of distress but Germian nodded. “Probably in pain as well.”
He rolled up his sleeves and knelt beside his daughter. She put her hands on the creature’s head and body and began murmuring whispered words of comfort.
Germian took some of the salve on his fingers and began massaging it into the largest cut on the lamb’s side. The bleeding had stopped and dried blood mixed with the salve to discolor even more of the wool.
As Greenblade continued to stroke the lamb gently, her father couldn’t bring himself to tell her he felt no heart beat nor any evidence of breathing. Surely, she could feel those same things herself.
Wiping his hands on a nearby rag, he said, “We need to go to the house and start getting supper ready for your mother.”
“Can I stay here a little while longer? I want to offer some prayers.”
As much as he loved his daughter and admired that she thought of the Holy One nearly all the time, he knew tonight her prayers were better offered in a different direction. However, the tears shining in her eyes made it impossible for him to deny her this small request.
“Do not be long. There is much work to do.”
Arrowbreaker, his wife, was in the kitchen peeling some apples when he walked in.
“I was going to do that.” Germian went to the water bucket and washed his hands.
“You were in the barn with Greenblade and a lamb. What happened?”
Briefly, he told her what he and their daughter did in the barn.
She set the knife on the table. “She is going to be so hurt when the lamb is dead tomorrow morning.”
Germian picked up a piece of apple and stuck it in his mouth. “And by then it’ll be too late to butcher it.”
“Is that what you are thinking about?”
“No. You know that, but we have to be honest. We could use that meat later in the season.”
“I know.” Arrowbreaker went back to peeling apples. “Let us just get through this meal and worry about tomorrow then.”
What do you think?