Mists of Paracosmia Prologue
The Vindor sequel will be released this coming Monday! For those of you who would like a sneak peak, here’s the opening to Mists of Paracosmia:
The mist was like none they had ever seen—thick and heavy, with a dull sheen like nickel. It seemed to sense the company’s presence and withdrew a little, revealing the dark silhouettes of round tents.
A young woman with straight red-brown hair dismounted her horse. Tendrils of mist reached out for her silk slippers, then pulled back.
“Selena, be careful.” An old warrior with a deeply creased face and a wispy beard leaned over his horse. “That’s no normal fog. I would not touch it.”
“Don’t breathe it in,” added the bald lieutenant beside him.
The young woman nodded. She covered her nose and mouth with the sleeve of her white gown and stepped forward. “Is anyone in there?”
Silence. No sound of human life. Even the birds in the forest around them had gone quiet.
She stepped closer, shuddering as the cold mist touched her feet. “Is anyone in there?” Selena called again, her voice trembling. “Anybody? Is everyone all right?”
“There!” called a soldier. A dark shape appeared in the mist, beginning as a small blurred shadow and taking form as it came closer. Several of the horses nickered and drew back.
The shadow now had a definite shape. A little boy of about six appeared on the edge of the village.
“A child,” Selena called back to the company. She turned to him. “Are you all right?”
The boy, his face still obscured by the mist, nodded slowly.
“What’s your name?”
“Caldwell.” The voice was startlingly clear.
“Caldwell,” Selena repeated. “Are your mother and father all right? Is anyone hurt in there?”
“Get away from there.” A hulking shadow appeared behind the boy, and an arm pulled him back into the nickel-colored fog. “Go back home, Caldwell.”
“Boath?” Selena called.
The large figure stepped forward, and the mist pulled back to reveal a heavyset man with a reddish beard.
Selena sighed in relief. “Boath. You had us worried.”
The man raised a longbow and pointed an arrow at Selena. She opened her mouth but made no sound.
A cry came from one of the soldiers behind her. “We’re surrounded!”
Selena turned to see Greyhawk Huntsmen stepping out from between trees with their bows drawn, leaving no escape route for the small company of horsemen. She raised her hands into the air. “Drop your weapons,” she commanded her men, and swords and arrows clattered to the ground as she turned back to the leader.
Boath did not lower his arrow.
“Boath, what is this?”
“How do you know my name?” he demanded. “And what business does a strange company like yours have with our village?”
“What do you mean? It’s me! Don’t you recognize us?”
“We spoke a fortnight ago.” Selena’s voice broke. “Don’t you remember? I was there at the council with the Otterclaw and Deerfoot, and with the Houndsfang the week before that.”
“What are you talking about?” Boath lowered his bow, and the other Greyhawks did likewise. “Who are the Otterclaw and Deerfeet?”
Selena hesitated, trying to understand if she’d heard right. “The Greyhawks’ allies. The other Huntsmen clans in these woods, united against the threat of the Ravensblood.”
“Other clans in these woods?” repeated one of the Huntsmen behind her.
“What are Greyhawks?” asked another.
Selena’s hands trembled. “I-I don’t understand. Is this some sort of joke?”
“You’re the one speaking nonsense,” Boath said. “And you still haven’t told us who you are. Are you Otterclaws?”
“No, I’m Selena.”
She swallowed. “Selena, Guardian of Vindor. I’ve been here before.” “Vindor?” Boath chuckled, and some of the Huntsmen did likewise. “I’ve never heard of such a place. What is Vindor?”