This week’s teaser if from my Blade Breaker, the first book from my newest series, The Shadow Wolf Sagas.
This is the introduction. I spent far more time polishing this section of writing than I did with the counterpart in Bloodlust: A Gladiator’s tale. While I am proud of how it flows and invokes Ragnar’s character, I still think I can do better.
My focus here is in avoiding the use of ‘I’ statements and trying to convey character through simple actions. I wonder though if it would have been better, in both cases, to start with an action scene.
You be the judge.
The wolf dream again. Snapping awake, heart drumming, with that mournful howl ringing clear and close, and my hand twitching toward my weapons. There was no rush of feet, no blade descending in the dark, only familiar silk sheets and warm bodies. Listening intently, my ears drank in all of the sounds of the old stone house and the streets outside.
The noises that now came to my ears were as familiar as my own breath; quiet, throaty laughter and the clink of glass from a late night revel at the Royal Red, a winehouse three houses down. Beyond that, the jingle of metal rings and the thud of booted feet announced a pair of the city watch rounding the corner at the end of the street. Beside me, my housemates, the women called The Twins were deep in sleep’s rhythms, undisturbed.
There were other ways of detecting threats; my sense of smell is nearly as keen as that a wolf. The heady scents of perfume and my bedmates filled the room, with undertones of weapon oil, leather, and expensive, fragrant wood. In contrast, the air coming through the armoured shutters was surprisingly pure, as clear and crisp as ever it was in Myrrhn, with only a hint of smoke and nightsoil, not yet congested with the morning fog. The most dangerous scent that caught my nose was that of a sewer viper stalking rats, but it was too faint to be anywhere near.
Without any unusual noise, nor any scent out of place, my sense of alarm faded.
The wolf dream has always been a call to action in my life, perilous to ignore. It heralded many important events, and once even spoke of my death. In Nordan Lands, the sound of wolves, calling to each other as they ran down their prey, was as commonplace as morning birdsong. Some men read fortunes in those calls, as the old Archaens claimed to read the entrails of birds. The dream could not be ignored; something was afoot, but what could the Lord of the Black Wolves want from a disgraced exile like myself?
As my thoughts began to drift Eiskra shifted, making a soft sound burrowing under my arm. Her skin was warm and silken smooth, and her scent both familiar and divine.
“Sleep, old wolf,” she whispered before her breathing took on a steady rhythm once more. Her words and touch put me at ease, and sleep one again took hold.
I dreamed of wolves again, of course, and demons in the shape of wolves. I hunted with them once more, adding my voice to their song.