Check out this Sneak Peek of the Rise of the Fomori Prologue!
Prologue: Vision of the Past
“Ah, our esteemed leaders, come to check on us lowly wretches out here in the trenches.”
“Watch your mouth, Bres,” Fand snapped.
She flipped her long pale hair over her shoulder, sitting outside her tent on the mossy ground, one hand holding a stone, her sword laid out before her. Bres lingered near, next to a broad leafy tree, his shoulder-length hair pulled into a ponytail. His eyes, brown with an odd red tint, glazed over Fand. The knife in his hand carved back a layer on the small piece of wood he whittled.
Fand’s attention had been drawn to two men dressed in leather armor a short distance away, who had barely exited a large official tent and were deep in conversation. One man, tall and stiff, spoke with an unyielding intensity, a golem attached to his upper right bicep. The other, who stood with a more casual air, sported a red dragon. Their rich reddish-brown leather was smooth and polished. Fand ran a finger over her own cracking, dirt brown cuirass covering her front.
“Oh yes,” Bres said, not glancing up from his whittling. His leather armor also appeared a little worn and was the same light brown color as Fand’s. “You wouldn’t want such favored guests to discover what it’s truly like out here. Keeping all those palace faeries safe so they can sit in their nice cushy position and act like they’re the honored heroes—Do you think they find it all that taxing? Come on Fand, you know you’re worth ten of them.”
The corners of Fand’s mouth twitched. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” She nodded toward the two men. “They are the Sons of Tempest.”
Bres paused and looked toward the men. “Are they now?”
She nodded. “Slayers of the demon horde at Mystic Rune. Victors over the great Vampiric Challenge and retrievers of the Glaive of Light from the Lair of the Dragons.”
Bres recovered. He studied Fand, who watched the newcomers. “Thought they’d be taller.”
Fand shook her head, setting the stone in her grasp aside as her lips curled upwards. “Still think I’m worth ten of them?”
“Easy to make a name for yourself when you carry extra protection,” he said, tapping his bare arms, “and have the right lineage.”
Her smile faded.
“We both know you are one of the best soldiers here,” he said. “But even if by some miracle you performed an act of valiance and bravery that got you into the king’s guard, there’d always be that separation. You’d always be that special case. There’d always be that doubt over whether you belonged there.”
Fand tore her gaze away from the two men, rubbing the skin of her own bare arms. “Who said I’d take a place among the king’s guard even if they offered it?”
He gave her a flat stare, and Fand matched his gaze with unflinching eyes.
“I hadn’t realized how much you enjoyed the constant battles and stench and death,” he said.
“Or that the life expectancy of a faerie guarding the outer realm for all those cushy faeries is a fraction of what—”
“It is an honor to protect our realm. If not for us, chaos would reign.”
“Honor,” Bres spat. “This afternoon we are going up against a horde of faerie-eating ogres. Either they will slaughter us or we will slaughter them.” His jaw clenched once before adding, “I hear they have a dragon.”
“Fand.” Both Fand and Bres turned at the sound of the new voice. A woman dressed in dark armor with three feathers notched in the shoulder stood several paces behind them. Her braid hung past her shoulder blades, the sides of her head shaven. “I wish to speak with you.”
Fand stood, picking her sword up off the ground and dropping it into the sheath on her belt. She and Bres bowed to the woman and the two women walked away together, leaving Bres staring after them.
“Since when are you spending time with that instigator?” the woman asked Fand.
“Bres? He’s harmless.”
“Hmm.” The woman didn’t appear convinced. They walked past tents and soldiers lounging about. Rocky stone peaks covered in gray forbidding clouds loomed over a deep forest beyond their camp.
“We’re going into battle. Lately, you have gotten a little reckless,” the woman said.
Fand stared straight ahead, an unyieldingness in her step. “I do what the situation warrants.”
“Like when you took on an entire flock of wyverns by yourself? You almost got torn to bits.” Her sharp tone didn’t mask the pride on the woman’s face.
Fand’s chin raised. “I was distracting them. The company was pinned down. I look out for my own.”
“I know you do. You make me proud. But Fand, I see you like my own daughters.” She shook her head. “Maybe more than my own daughters, and this time—this time please watch out for yourself.”
“I will, Aunt Uaine.”
Fand glanced back at the Sons of Tempest talking, now farther away but still within her line of vision. Arius and Dramian. Without warning, a dragon appeared, large flapping wings spread out and rough red scales covered its body. The two men climbed onto the dragon and it took to the sky.
Fand sucked in a breath. “They’re leaving? They are not fighting with us?”
Uaine followed her line of vision. “The Sons of Tempest? Did you expect them to? They have their own mission. We can handle things here.”
Discontentment crossed Fand’s face as she watched them soar away.
A messenger approached. “My Lady.” The faerie bowed. “The ogres are on the move. You are ordered to split your division into forward and rear segments and to move to the front, taking the foremost position by the left bank of the shining stream.”
“Tell General Corrigan it shall be done,” said Uaine.
The messenger bowed.
As if on cue, fleshy creatures came down from the mountains, charging toward the faerie army. Fand’s shoulders tensed. They towered over the treetops. Feet pounded the earth and gigantic maces swung, tearing trees from their roots then launching them at the line of faeries. Dirt sprayed as a large tree crashed right in front of the lines where Fand stood. Like an electric current rushing through wire, a shock of nervous fear shot through the eyes of the faeries waiting. Several shifted in anxious anticipation.
Fand’s face grew grim as she watched the oncoming ogres.
“You know this fight was wholly avoidable,” Bres said from beside her.
She gave him a look that clearly questioned his sanity.
“I speak the truth. Those ogres are only angry because we have restricted their territory.”
“We have been more than generous—”
“Generosity isn’t enough when you used to have the entire world to roam around. Not to mention, if we hadn’t given up our powers, this fight would be over in seconds. You know that’s true.”
Fand gripped her sword and turned on him. “That’s treason.”
But Bres pointed toward the oncoming foaming, roaring figures, maces and axes tossing trees aside like kindling.
“You can report me if we both survive,” he said, his face a shade of green.
Rise of the Fomori will be available May 30th! Preorder your copy today!