Welcome to another installment of the Tuesday Teaser. I'm jumping back over to Into the Darkness today, since over the weekend, I received a lovely critique on it from the BookLife Prize in Fiction that (among other things) called Into the Darkness a "sword-and-sorcery extravaganza" that is "plotted well with a complex back-story that emerges gradually". You can read the full critique here.
And now, back to our hero Aeryn and her mysterious shadow.
Excerpt from Into the Darkness Chapter 5
Aeryn crossed her arms over her chest. “You’ve been following me.”
Defiance planted itself on the girl’s face. “How do you know? Wouldn’t you have seen me if I was?”
The girl raised an eyebrow. “Maybe I’ve been here all along. I could be a nymph. If you get me down, I’ll grant you three wishes.”
Aeryn guessed the girl to be no more than ten years of age, and her hair and face could use a good wash. She wondered how the girl got into the Black Caverns on her own, and why she was there. Then, something on the floor caught her attention.
“Nymphs don’t grant wishes, djinn do,” Aeryn muttered.
She picked up the object that had caught her attention and held it up. “I’ll hazard a guess and say this had something to do with your little invisibility act.”
The girl’s hazel eyes shifted to look at the torn leather bracelet in Aeryn’s hand. “What is it?”
One of Aeryn’s eyebrows rose. She admired the girl’s pluck. Telling lies seemed second nature to her. The silence between them stretched on, and Aeryn grew impatient for the girl to drop the act. She turned away.
“Wait,” the girl called after her. “Alright, yeah, I followed you. Don’t just leave me here, please.”
Aeryn turned back. She knew she could not leave the girl on her own. She sighed and pulled her sword loose from its sheath again; she sliced through the webbing holding the girl. It broke with a crack, setting the girl loose to crash to the stone floor.
“Don’t try to catch me or anything.” The girl glared up at Aeryn.
Aeryn knelt down and cut the rest of the girl’s bonds. She looked the reed-thin girl in the eye when she got up and asked her, “What do you suggest I do with you?”
A smile full of charm fell into place on the girl’s face. “I’ll just come with you.”
Aeryn asked her, “Am I apt to end up with a knife in the back if you do?”
The girl frowned. “Where am I going to go? I’ve already gotten lost once, and you saved my hide. I’d call it rude to stab you after that.”
Whether she wanted one or not, Aeryn now had someone else to look after. “Alright. But don’t get underfoot, don’t stray, and don’t get into any more trouble. Understand?”