Monday, November 7, 2011

Ja'ek Hollow

Ja'ek Hollow, one of the main characters. Flip this is old. . .

An Excerpt


I'm very excited to be writing again! So excited I had to share a bit. This is a short excerpt from Chapter Three of book one. You of course are not expected to understand exactly what's going on, since this is right in the middle. But enjoy anyway!
This is also likely the longest excerpt I will ever post.
Solar Kingdoms Trilogy: Vol I, Crown of Ashes
Chapter Three
A Prince Should Wear Red
Roary woke with a groan. His head was pounding and he ached all over. Slowly he opened his eyes and tried to focus, only to find his face was practically pressed against a wall. He put a hand to the wall to push himself over but he stopped. There was a bandage wrapped around his hand. He shifted a little and pulled his other arm out from underneath him to look at that hand. It too was bandaged.
The pain was gone from them, he realized. That was interesting. He shrugged it off and rolled over, grunting as his stiff muscles protested. As he turned his feet touched the cold metal floor and he lifted his head to look, wincing some. They’d taken his boots. Why had they taken his boots?
He groaned and put his head back down. Once he was on his back he blinked a few more times trying to get his eyes to focus better in the dim light of the tiny room.
As they did so he felt his throat tighten. “Oh Sun and Stars,” he croaked. The room was indeed tiny. It was completely smooth metal, walls, floor, and ceiling. He could just make out the outline of a door, but there was no handle on this side. Worst of all however were the two wrist manacles hanging from the ceiling, right in the center of the room.
Despite his suspicion, and arguably valid fear, that he was very soon going to be hanging from those things, he couldn’t move. Whatever sleeping spell had been used on him had been a strong one. His body still felt weak and heavy. Turning over had been an effort in itself. Standing up would likely only land him back on the floor, with fresh bruises.
It took only a few moments of lying there to realize he just wanted to sleep still. As uncomfortable as he was on this cold metal floor, his eyes were so heavy. But he was on a strange ship and Ulverick only knew what was about to happen to him. And what of the Queen? Was she alright? Or had that pirate done something to her already? The thought made him queasy and it jolted him awake again. He turned over and grimaced, feeling more pain rush his head. On his hands and knees now he pressed his forehead to the cold floor, steadying himself before he attempted so push himself to his feet, intending —though it might be useless— to pound on the door and demand to know where Queen Avalette was, to know what was going on. Only he got halfway to his feet and his head spun violently. The floor rushed up to meet him again and he lost himself in a wave of blackness.
His next awareness was of a booted foot turning him over. “You really shouldn’t have tried to stand up on your own,” that slightly grating voice was the last thing Roary wanted to hear upon waking.
“Get your bleeding boot out of my ribs,” Roary snarled, reaching a hand out to try to push the man’s leg away. It didn’t end up being necessary, as the man complied, stepping back but staying bent at the waist over Roary.
Roary squinted up at him, scowling to see that the man was smirking, making his dark moustache quirk. He just looked arrogant.
“I really have to speak with you,” the man said. “It’s a matter of dire importance.” He stood up straight and flipped his ridiculously long braid over his shoulder. The bloody thing hung to the bottom of the man’s calves!
“Really?” Roary asked. “Go for it. Clearly I’m not going anywhere.”
The pirate nodded and turned around, speaking, “Tashe, Malcom.” The words were clipped and his tone implied an order. Roary tilted his head up a bit and squeaked, much to his horror, as he found that the men, both very large, ugly brutes, were coming straight for him. They lifted him up as if he weighed no more than a child, pulling his arms above his head. They snapped his wrists into the manacles on the ceiling and then let him drop.
He jerked, feeling a pain in his shoulder as his body pulled down on him from where he hung. He tried weakly to put his feet beneath him and he managed, but holding himself up took such a great effort he wasn’t sure how long he could do it. At least his feet were actually touching the floor.
“Thank you,” the dark haired man said, waving his hand dismissively. The two men exited the tiny room, the bigger one giving Roary a nasty grin before he moved out of sight. “Now,” the pirate said, straightening his elbow length, black leather gloves slowly. He didn’t take his eyes off of them, didn’t look at Roary. “I have this sneaking suspicion you’re more than you appear to be my young friend.”
“What does that mean?” Roary asked and finally the man looked up at him. He dropped his hands and clasped them behind his back eyeing Roary with deep concentration, and suspicion. Why he had any reason to be suspicious was beyond Roary, but the idea that this man believed Roary had done something to him, perhaps personally, however untrue that was, made the sick feeling in Roary’s stomach begin to grow.
“It means,” the pirate said, “that you did something back in the cargo hold of your flyer, that you shouldn’t have been able to do.” He cocked his head. “And that, my friend, can only mean one thing.”
Roary watched him, not daring to speak, glancing every few seconds to the man’s sword hanging at his hip.
“Are you listening to me?” the man snapped and Roary jumped, making the chains rattle where they held him. “Answer me, boy.”
“Yes,” Roary rasped. “I’m listening. What did I do?”
To Roary’s surprise the pirate actually chuckled softly, and it sounded genuinely pleased. “You don’t know? Interesting. You used a calling spell, Mister. . .?” he leaned forward a bit, waiting.
“Lancer,” Roary muttered. “Roary Lancer.”
The pirate leaned back, nodding, grinning widely. “Very interesting.” He reached up and stroked his short beard as he began to pace very slowly in front of Roary. “Roary Lancer. . . Alright.” He stopped again. “I’m Ja’ek.” He almost sounded companionable as he introduced himself. Roary was truly beginning to wonder if he was really as masochistic as he appeared or if he was just out of his mind.
Unfortunately it was likely both.
“Ja’ack Hollow. Captain Ja’ek Hollow.” He seemed oddly bored with that statement. Roary just waited. He didn’t care what the man’s name was, he just wanted out of these chains, and he wanted to go home, safely, with the Queen.
The pause drew long and Roary looked at Ja’ek again. “Why am I chained to the ceiling?” he asked, glad to hear that some of the raspiness in his voice was leaving. Sun and Stars, but he could use some water.
“Because,” Ja’ek said simply. “I want you to be. Back to the point. You used a calling spell.”
“What of it? Are you going to punish me for it? Because then you’ll likely have to punish ninety percent of the population of anywhere you go.”
Ja’ek smiled again, it didn’t reach his eyes. Roary lifted himself on his feet again, trying to keep the manacles from digging too deeply into his wrists, all the while watching the pirate's face as he spoke. “If I were punishing you for that, indeed I would have quite the mad agenda. That’s not the case though, luckily for both of us. Though, I must point out,” he held up a finger, pressing it to the little dip between his chin and lower lip thoughtfully, “that if that was my agenda, and if I went to Versiah, I’d only have to punish the Royal family and their close relatives.”
Roary’s brows drew down. He knew what Ja’ek was referring to, despite the fact that he had led a fairly sheltered life until he’d begun working on the flyer’s. And even then, he was caught up in his work and he didn’t venture out much to talk or meet people. His crew had given him odd looks on occasion when he’d cast spells and Selnam had actually brought the issue up once when Roary had recharged the core of the New Moon himself. “Only the Royal blood of Versiah can do magic, Captain,” Selnam had said. He hadn’t sounded accusing, only cautious.
“I’m half something else, Selnam,” Roary’d snapped back. He knew very well only the Royals of his race had the gift of the Power. But he’d claimed the truth. He was not full blooded Versiah’n, so it made sense that he had the gift. He just looked Versiah’n, which was good for him. Because if any of the Shesetirinean’s found out what else he was, many would find any excuse to have him executed.
Selnam had said nothing after that, and Roary had decided it was best to not use his magic gift in front of anyone if he could help it. They became suspicious. He knew what they were thinking, and it was insane!
He had a sneaking suspicion that this Ja’ek fellow was thinking exactly the same thing. That had to be set right before it got out of hand.
Before he could speak though Ja’ek went on, putting his hand behind his broad back again, “You’re Versiah’n, Roary Lancer.”
“Well done,” Roary said sarcastically, resigning himself to wait a bit before he set the man straight.
“You used the Power. You shouldn’t be able to do that unle—”
Roary cut him off, aware that, that may get him into more trouble than he was already in, but given the subject he couldn’t help it. “I am not the Prince of Versiah,” he snapped. Ja’ek’s sharp brows rose, making him look like some kind of exotic predator, an almost ugly one.
“Really?” Ja’ek’s dubious tone bordered on outright irritation. “You talk like you’ve been accused of being him before.”
“I have,” Roary said. “And I’m not him.”
“What makes you so sure?” Ja’ek cocked his head. Now he looked thoughtful again.
“My being Versiah’n and being able to do magic is no proof. I’m half of another race, therefore it’s perfectly feasible that I can use the Power. I was raised on a farm on the moon of Rhein. I’m not a prince.”
To Roary’s horror the man’s face split into a grin wider than any Roary had seen from him thus far. “Oh, but you are.”

Sunday, November 6, 2011