Today we bring you an extract from Fireblade’s Vanessa Finaughty, from her latest release, Wizard of Ends, Book 1.
Lashlor awoke to terrified shouts outside the cabin. He shot up in bed and looked across the room as Queen Narraki sprang from her bed. Lashlor joined her at the window and scanned the darkening forest.
“Shouldn’t one of the guards be here?” he asked, frowning.
The queen glanced around the room as if to double check they were alone, her brow furrowed. “Yes.”
Lashlor grabbed his bow and quiver. “Stay here, My Queen, and latch the door.”
He stepped outside, closed the door and waited to hear the latch slide across.
More shouts came from the trees, and Lashlor made his way towards the sound, hastening his steps when the yells became more urgent, then halted when the two Guards of Ends came into view.
Nashel and Kanar stood back to back, sweeping their swords in front of them in an attempt to keep at bay the pack of hound monkeys that surrounded them.
Lashlor counted seven of the creatures. Hound monkeys usually travelled in packs of ten, for some odd reason. It was possible, but unlikely that three hound monkeys from the same pack had been killed so close together that replacements had not yet been found for any of them. Unlikely, for the ferocious beasts stood man height on all fours, and, with the torso of a hound and the neck and head of a monkey, complete with sharp curved teeth and deadly claws, if fear alone didn’t kill you, they most certainly would. The fact that Nashel and Kanar had lasted this long was either testament to their renowned skill, or the hound monkeys were playing with them, as they were sometimes known to do.
Lashlor loosed an arrow, striking one hound monkey in the side of the head. It fell, writhing. Its pack eyed him hatefully, and two slunk away from the Guards of Ends, fixated on Lashlor.
Where were the other three pack members? Lashlor looked around nervously as he backed away from the hound monkeys, raising his bow again. He killed the closest one mid-spring, then threw himself aside as a second launched itself at him. He dropped his bow and reached into his boot for his knife. He used it for cutting herbs, but it would do nicely as a weapon too.
“Wizard! What are you doing? Save yourself – and us!” Kanar shouted, jabbing his sword at a hound monkey that got too close.
Lashlor kicked the hound monkey in the head as it attacked again, then screamed when it bit through his boot and shook its head viciously, tearing off the boot’s heel. He shoved it away as it took a swipe at his face, but it grabbed him in a bear hug. They grappled, and he stabbed it in the side of the head three times before it stopped moving.
A glance at the Guards of Ends showed they were still surrounded by five hound monkeys. Lashlor wasn’t surprised they hadn’t killed even one – the creatures were expert hunters – then again, so were the two men.
“Behind you!” he yelled as a hound monkey, clearly deciding that play time was over, leapt at Kanar’s back.
Kanar had only half turned when the creature was upon him, and he went down, sword flailing. Nashel made to help him, but two hound monkeys sprang at him and he was forced away from his comrade.
Release date: 23 October 2014
Note: From 24 October, Book 2’s price will go up to $2.99