Just wanted to share a sneak peak of what I've been working on. I've reached approximately 13,000 words in this second installment for the series. I'm actively trying not to spoil anything from the events of the The Embers of the Past, so I ended up cutting this snippet out of one of the scenes to share with you guys.
Hope you guys like it!
A sudden knock on the oaken doors of his chamber seized Azat’s attention. Before he could call out and say that he had not dressed, the oak doors were cast aside with a thunderous clamor. Azat made to shout an obscenity, but found his tongue silenced when a pair of enigmatic figures practically glided into his chambers.
One side-long glance informed Azat that both of the mysterious beings were not of mankind’s blood, but borne of some other species that he had only heard in long-forgotten myths about the west.
A pair of incredibly lithe figures elegantly strode across the breadth of the chamber with subtle footfalls in sync with one another. Azat thought their whipcord physiques inhuman, even for the legends he had read in mythic tales as a child. Both of the elves stood one head over Azat, yet they lacked half of the girth of Azat’s own midsection.
Each of them was garbed in the same attire of doubled-up leather armor stained in dyes the color of red wine. Satin robes of lilac and lavender cushioned the armor from underneath, and yet either elf seemed insubstantial in their presence. Leather boots that came up to their knees fit their minute calves rather snugly. Lengthened tabards of satin emerald cloth folded over their thick belts and fluttered around their ankles.
Both of the elves seemed to share their features with one another. Each was alabaster and youthful of skin. Their complexion glowed so intensely in the moonlight that they almost seemed ethereal. They fixated Azat with eyes of obsidian ringed by amber. Both twins were born of lustrous onyx hair that cascaded down the length of their bodies in perfectly kempt streams.
Otherwise perfect complexions were marred by some form of ritual scarification. Unfamiliar runes and symbols were painstakingly etched across their faces in vertical patterns that mimicked the flow of a written language. Each chiseled rune was minute and always accompanied by a trail of several more.
The enigmatic figure on the right inclined her head by the merest fraction to inform Azat that she addressed him. She spoke in morose tones, though she wore the brightest smile upon her mauve lips.
She began to recite a lyrical mantra for him.
“Before the blossoming of the earth, the cold light of the void consumed…
“Before the first burst of light from the stars, the barren dwelled in the nothingness therein…
“Before the cycle of rebirth, our gods were birthed from the womb of timeless eternity…
“Impermanence and violence are the destiny of their children…
“For from the barren soil was all life nurtured, and from the void was every god born…
“And into barren crypts and the all-consuming dark must all mortals return.”
Her twin on the left cocked his head by the merest fraction as he addressed Azat. He began to recite his own mantra.
“Before the first tyrant slew his kin and crowned himself with their discarded bones,
“Were not all minds borne of sentience and destiny not fated for royalty?
“Oh, what has befallen my kindred?
“For what mind borne of sentience is not a child of the gods?
“A tyrant has stolen away the crowns of my kindred.
“Swear an oath of vengeance,
“Shatter the shackles of bleak destiny,
“Break the chains that bound our blood in servitude,
“Steal away the crowns of tyrants so that all minds borne of the gods may become what was promised since time immemorial.”
The female twin on the right sketched the most graceful bow before him. “Have you rested well, Child of the Gods? Have you found some semblance of peace for yourself? Have you found that the Gods have changed you?”
“What my elder sister means.” Her twin made no other movement, save to study Azat in minute detail. “Do the throes of your death still seize you? Do the damned souls of the deceased howl at you from the Palace of Miseries and Sorrow?”
Azat considered both of them, confounded beyond all reason. “Both of you pulled me from out of that beautiful afterlife? If I could have called it home, I would have lived the rest of my reborn days beneath the palm trees of the myriad oasis. I’d have walked an eternity across the bright shores on that opal sea. Neither would I have cared if I was alone for the rest of my days.
“An introduction.” The elder sibling interrupted. “My kindred know me as Oni Raziya. My kindred know my younger sibling here as Oni Khalan. We are of the Qimbri Clans, and of the Genesis of Durwaith specifically…” She trailed off. “Who might you be?”
“Qimbri Clans?” Azat muttered to himself. He realized that the Qimbri Twins waited for a prompt response. “I am known as Azat. Wolf of Old Myria and God-King’s Hound. I care not for titles, so take your pick.”
“A contradiction.” Raziya quipped. “What warrior would swear himself into the service of two powerful kingdoms and divisive lords? Perhaps you were the former and have become the latter?”
“Now I am neither.” Azat arched his brow in Raziya’s direction. “It’d be more accurate to call me kin-slayer and arch-betrayer in these dark times.”