The revisions to the second book in my series of fantasy novels was so great that I decided to split that book into three separate books. So the third one is now the fifth book in the series, which is finally complete and will be released along with the new Ghost Ships trilogy (books 2-4). I'm also in the process of re-designing the covers of all the books in the series and they will reflect a more Celtic flare. I'm really excited about this project. Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the upcoming book, The Windrider Prophecy, the fifth novel in The Traveler's Saga fantasy series. Enjoy.
Chapter 3: Mysterious Message
A smoky cloud of fine gray sand chokes the air in the narrow passageway, making it difficult for Brianna to catch her breath. The granules hover lightly around her, clinging to her face and clothes, irritating her dry, reddened eyes and lodging stubbornly inside her now sensitive nose. A reservoir of tears creates yet another obstacle, impeding a clear path to the dim glow of what appears to be a small lantern at the other end of the corridor that now shines as brilliantly as a star through the well of murky tears. A quick and hard blink splashes this profusion of burning liquid over her swollen lower lid, spilling it out onto her cheeks and carving a river across her dust-laden face. The mixture of salty tears, dirt, and fresh blood trickles across the cut in her lip as she tries to regain her balance. It reminds her of the horrible metallic-tasting broth that was served as an appetizer at a banquet held in her honor during a diplomatic summit with the Cú-Raeth and Sídhenar leaders shortly after she became the Bodeccan Sovereign Commander.
As the dust finally settles around the displaced rock at her feet, Brianna kicks her assailant with fervent determination, hurling it against the uneven wall of the unsuspecting corridor. Despite its relatively small size, the impact of the rock against her face could have rendered her unconscious if it had struck her more squarely on the top of her head. Instead, it introduced only a mild throbbing pain on the right side of her forehead, scraping the skin raw on her temple and narrowly grazing the corner of her eye before catching the corner of her mouth. For now, she’s escaped danger, but the looming threat of larger rocks caving in around her still poses a risk to her safety.
The stagnant atmosphere resembles that of a newly unearthed tunnel in the Wastelands near the Hanging Forest of Dar G’Lem, just close enough to a water source to persuade the stench of microscopic growth to seep out from behind the rocks. After having been sealed up for centuries, the tomblike tunnel now releases an explosion of rotten air like a burst of bad breath from someone who’s been awakened after a very long slumber. Brianna reels slightly as she breaths the disgusting odor deep into her lungs, its toxic effect rendering her nauseous.
Steadying herself, Brianna tries to hold onto the walls of this claustrophobic passageway as she carefully makes her way toward the lantern. The light draws her closer with an inexplicable pull like a moth to a flame. Unable to control her movements, she continues on, despite shaky legs and unsure footing, wondering all the while why she would be in a place like this. Her confusion about the location of this strange tunnel, however, takes less priority over her curiosity about the source of the light. As she gets closer to the chamber with the light, a faint female voice rises above the hum of flowing water buried somewhere underneath the stone floor. Again, the threat of impending doom becomes overwhelming and Brianna tries to concentrate on the source of the barely audible message.
“Vestronar ésta en perivartús . . .”
The ominous phrase spoken in an unfamiliar language baffles Brianna. As the Traveler, she normally has no trouble at all understanding other languages, but this seemingly ancient tongue eludes her. The mysterious voice fades behind the walls of this tiny room that surrounds the light, leaving her again in silence. Perched atop an intricately carved stone pedestal, a meager flame dances to the rhythm of the flowing water, now visible to the left. High above her, sharply cut blue crystals glisten under the clear flow of pristine water that spills over the top and cascades down a stepped aqueduct around the edges of the room. As though the water knows that its purity looks out of place in this ancient setting, it bids a hasty retreat and disappears through a tiny opening that sucks the water down like a storm drain. In its wake, a stale breeze sweeps across Brianna’s face from the right, above the fountain’s outlet. Straight ahead, just past the flame, a pair of enormous doors stand between two massive standing stones. She imagines that at some point, this magnificent chamber must have been part of a grand entrance to whatever lies behind that gateway.
While she tries to imagine what the place must have looked like in ancient times, Brianna again hears the voice of the enigmatic woman muttering something before it fades away. She still doesn’t recognize the language, but senses that she’s just been given a warning of danger. As she searches for the source of the message, she hears a more familiar voice calling out to her, repeatedly trying to gain her attention by calling her name.
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