A quick excerpt from SHADOW OF THE RAVEN, which I’ve pushed back a few days to give me a little more time to edit – available next Friday 3/22.
This is from the beginning, where Araven is noticing that the world is changing around her.
Lately, Araven had felt…uneasy. She knelt at the edge of the garden by a monstrous nettle bush and began cutting the thorny brambles with a small knife. Her senses were sharper, her perception greater than it had been, and Araven could feel anticipation coursing through her.
This morning, she had seen the first signs of the marks. Just a tendril, a slight swirl of black against the creamy skin of her hip, but unmistakable. A witch often took millennia to come into her powers, and the markings were signs of the transition. Eventually they would spread to cover her body in an elaborate tattoo, a map of the future and the past, and a warning to those who would challenge her.
Araven knew that her mother would tell her that the appearance of the marks was an indication that it was time for her to take her place in the world. Her mother’s markings had only just started to appear before the attack – had it happened a week later, no mercenary could touch her. As it was, Araven had to rely on the few precious memories she had of her mother’s instruction, and then decide the best path for her own future.
The truth was, she had no desire to “take her place,” in this world or in another. This new perception was frightening, and Araven could feel the turmoil in the world outside her precious woodland sanctuary. Great powers were rising, and she could feel the imminence of great civilizations and leaders who would change the world.
She could sense the gods’ preoccupation as the balance of power shifted – in the cavernous halls of Odin and Freya, in the lofty towers of Zeus and his raucous family on Mount Olympus, and in the mysterious gods to the south, Osiris and Set and the deities who claimed the desert people. Normally, they left each other alone, focused on their own concerns, with an occasional thought for the mortals who worshipped them, but as the world changed, Araven could feel the great Powers That Be turning curious eyes on the world below.
Araven shuddered and stood with her basket of nettles, breathing deeply and letting the cool comfort of the forest fill her. She didn’t want to leave her world, to choose a side and become some deity’s pet in the conflict that she was sure was on its way.
Coward, whispered something deep inside, and she pushed it away. The problems of the outside world were none of her concern. She would spend her life tucked safely in the forest, amusing herself and avoiding the dangers of getting involved with the passionate magical community.
And if she was lonely, so be it. Araven had Nifl, and she would have to be content with that. Something electric shivered through her at the thought of touch – aside from her own hands, Araven had not felt the warmth of skin since she’d come to the woods. Nifl offered gentle affection as only her shadow could, but Araven had begun to wonder about the pulse of a heartbeat under warm, living flesh. She found herself staring, curious, when men came to her with requests, wondering what their females experienced with a man over them, inside them. What was it like?
And…that’s all for now…:) Might have another excerpt Friday, so stop by!