Progress continues on The Triumph of the Sky. In celebration, here’s a little taste of the first book of the Dark Age trilogy to delight all you readers who love action.
The Bones of the Earth
Chapter 6: The Cave
All this Javor took in within a second, for crouching in front of the chasm was the proof of the story: man-shaped, but far, far larger. It was hideous, covered in a dull grey, leathery hide. Its impossibly wide, pig-like mouth was chewing something. Glowing red eyes shadowed by a stony brow glared at him with an alien expression for less than a heartbeat, and then it was reaching for Javor, right in front of him, filling his field of vision, roaring so loudly that Javor’s ears hurt. Its claw slashed at his head. Without thinking, Javor lunged forward, between the monster’s legs. The monster hit the cave wall and bits of rock flew in all directions.
Javor rolled and sprang up. If he had time to think, he would have been surprised to find his grandfather’s dagger was in his hand. The monster had Photius trapped against the wall. It seemed to be wary of his glowing staff, squinting against its light.
Javor screamed as fearsomely as he could and sprang forward, slashing the knife downward. He aimed at the monster’s back, but with agility surprising in such a large creature it twisted out of the way, and the knife bit into its arm. The monster roared again, a sound that froze Javor’s heart, and then with awful strength flung Javor across the cave. He rolled to the edge of the chasm. For a second, he felt as if he was going to tip over and plunge in; below was only a dull red light in a deeper blackness and a foul odour. He knew there was no bottom, only an endless drop that called to him; something in Javor’s mind yearned to lean over and fly into the chasm, to give himself to the infinite fall.
With a huge effort, Javor twisted away from the edge. He gripped his knife but the monster grabbed him in one huge claw and lifted him off the ground, pinning his right arm against his side. Its mouth opened, revealing row upon row of triangular teeth, and its hot breath stank.
Then Javor looked down, and saw that in its other claw the monster was holding the amulet—his amulet, the one his mother had inherited from her grandfather. But the monster’s grip tightened and drove all thought out of his mind. Javor struggled to breathe and his right arm felt as if it would break. The claws started to dig into his skin.
Javor’s focus narrowed to three brightly shining points: the monster holding him; the dagger clenched stubbornly in his trapped right hand; and the amulet in the monster’s left claw. Everything else faded, slipped back as if into a great distance.
That claw rose to maul him to pieces. Something in Javor’s mind called out, and he saw the amulet rise from the monster’s grip, as if it had jumped, and sail into his outstretched left hand.
The monster roared in anger and confusion. Javor felt a surge of strength from the amulet. The monster’s grip weakened and the claws no longer bit into him.