I know it’s been a long time in coming, and I apologize for the delay, but I’ve just released ‘ Feeding the Gods.’ The epic-fantasy novel continues the adventures of Grae Barragns, brig in the Laraytian Standards, and of Black Murrogar, hero of Laryatia and the former Champion of Nuldryn. Like the first book, Feeding the Gods alternates between Grae’s squad of soldiers and Murrogar’s mob of lords and ladies. I’ve included a teaser excerpt below to get you in the mood. Enjoy!
Murrogar already had a fire going when Lojen sent his gaze through the gaps in the forest canopy. The old hero been up an hour earlier, chasing the fat, waddling birds in the pre-dawn dark and slaughtering four of them. A party that had required five boar and three stags to feed could now feast comfortably on four plump birds.
He had slept fitfully, expecting an attack during the night. An attack that never came. It was the first night without a death. He should have been pleased, but he felt only a vague sense of dread. He ran a whetstone over the duke’s sword.
After the meal, Murrogar got the nobles moving. It was hard work. They were in agony, every one of them with sore muscles and many with gashed, blistered feet. But Maeris was somewhere to the south and Murrogar wanted to get to Maeris more than the travelers wanted to complain.
The duke approached. “I’d like you to speak with the others about decorum.”
Murrogar grinned. “Decorum?”
“Yes. The others are not addressing me as Your Grace anymore. And they are being sloppy when they eat. Wiping their hands on their clothing and such.”
“You’re right, without question.” Murrogar laughed. “They’ll be chewing with their mouth open before long.”
“This is a serious matter, Murrogar. Decorum must be upheld. When we get back to Lae Duerna I plan on giving a speech on this subject.”
“Are you truly speaking to me about manners?” Murrogar asked. “Here in Maug Maurai?”
“Decorum must be upheld,” said the duke. “It is the soul of nobility.” He leaned forward and, with a sideways glance, whispered, “I saw one of the ladies spit. Can you imagine? She spat like a sailor. No. We won’t tolerate this. We cannot. We cannot.”
Murrogar stopped walking and stared at the duke for a long time. The man didn’t meet his gaze, only shook his head and glanced back at the others. “Decorum must be upheld, Murrogar. Without it, we are nothing but savages.”
“Of course, m’lord,” Murrogar spoke slowly.
“You’ll take care of it?”
“I will,” Murrogar replied. “We’ll get those bastards in line.”
The duke nodded and walked off after the duchess. Murrogar watched him go and exchanged a look with Thantos.
“I think this forest has knocked a couple gems from his crown,” Thantos said.
They followed the great stone ridge for fifty yards, the nobles without shoes stepping from stone to stone to save their bleeding feet from the twigs and burs of the forest floor. The ridge curled to the right and when the group turned the corner Murrogar stopped so quickly that Thantos, who was talking to him, spoke into mid-air for two more steps. Everyone fell silent, except for Sir Wyann, who laughed and took off his helmet.
Yawning against the curve of the ridge was a cave. A gaping, ten-foot-high, toothless-mouth of a cave. For Wyann, no blythallow or palace had ever looked so beautiful as that crude, dark cave there in Maug Maurai.
Murrogar looked closely. No vegetation touched the rocks. He scanned the forest. Every other inch of Maug Maurai was covered in green. But the rocks of the cave were untouched by grass or ivy. Not even the carpet moss wanted that cave.
“Safety!” cried Sir Wyann. “We can hold off the Beast in there.” He had taken one of the birch torches they made on the hilltop two nights earlier, and he drew it out now, struck it alight while Murrogar studied the cave.
Murrogar shook his head. “No. We keep moving.”
The nobles hesitated, their gazes creeping toward the cave. Sir Wyann turned on Murrogar, his face creased so tightly that his eyes were nearly lost beneath the blond brows. “Are you mad?” He pointed to the cave. “That’s shelter! The first decent shelter we’ve seen.”
“Yup,” Murrogar motioned to the nobles with his hands, ordered them to continue walking. He eyed the cave again. There were no tracks outside. No leaves disturbed.
Sir Wyann stepped closer, grabbed Murrogar’s arm. “Why? Why?”
Murrogar grabbed the knight by the top of his breastplate and shook hard. “Because that Beast cuts us off from every hill, ridge or hole that we’ve seen. Because it let us come here. Because that cave don’t look right. Because I don’t like it. And we’re not going in.”
But someone had already gone in.
Thanks, all of you, for your continued support. I look forward to reading your comments about Feeding the Gods. And stay tuned here, on my blog, for more upcoming announcements on future work.