When an Arach raiding party attacks a wagon train and moves on to take on the next town, Dannon is part of the out-riders who must clean up in their wake. The dead girl on the wagon is just one of many reasons he doesn’t like spiders, or the elves that ride them.
The Soul in the Sword is a short tale of fantasy battle, which will be incorporated into An Anthology of Blades.
It is available as a stand-alone story from Smashwords, and will soon be available from Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.
First Page: The Soul in the Sword
The spider reared, raking down with its forelegs. Allun threw himself sideways, dodging the blade-like spines of one leg and blocking the other leg’s cutting edge with his sword.
The spider lunged after him, wicked fangs flashing, their points gleaming dully in the dawn-light. Allun rolled from beneath them, turning to face the beast and its rider again.
The spider’s rider raised his lance and sliced at the man below him. Allun tried to parry the deadly thrust. His sword flashed up, splintering the lance’s wooden shaft.
His success was short-lived. The lance’s leaf-shaped blade had already smashed its way into his chest, ripping its way through his heart and lungs and making his arms numb with shock. His sword dropped into the grass as his arms fell to his sides.
The spider’s rider looked down at his body, and Allun saw the creature’s lips curl with scorn as his sight faded. With a careless shrug, the rider threw the broken shaft of the lance onto Allun’s still body and turned his beast away.
Allun had been one of the last to fall. The livestock were scattered and some of the wagons had already been put to the torch.
The rider surveyed the damage and drew another lance from across his back. Only raiders moved amidst the carnage. He led them from it, shouting a war cry as he went.
A ray of sunlight lit the burning wagons behind them but they did not look back. Rising smoke carried news of their deed to the sky and they did not care.
The raiders sped on, blood and war paint mingling. Dawn was fading and they had far to go.
* * *
Amidst the wreckage, Kurjasta wept. She was dead and it had not been her time to die. The heat of a burning wagon blackened her fingers and she fell away from her body with a sudden clatter. The abrupt parting from her flesh, the shock and pain of death and the jarring as she hit the ground drove her into darkness and forced her to sleep.
* * *
It took the outriders most of the day to answer the alarm call of the smoke. When they reached the devastated wagon train the carrion crows had already begun their work.
END OF FIRST PAGE
If you would like to read more, The Soul in the Sword is available from Smashwords, and will soon be available from Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.