Since SFR Brigade Presents isn't running this month (we have a blog hop later in the month instead, excited about that!), I thought I'd run my own ‘Fantasy Friday's”, to show some excerpts from my few unfinished fantasy series.
Today I'm sharing an excerpt from the beginning of the first novel I ever wrote. This is one I still love, and go over frequently. It's rather different to my other novels. One day, I'll get it cleaned up enough to publish. Would love to hear what you think.
Elizabeth clung low to the mare’s back as the horses thundered across the sunbaked plain. The wind whipped her hair in front of her eyes and adrenalin surged in her veins. Without sparing a moment to look up, she knew that Digger was right beside her on Missa.
Clumps of rough, dry spinifex grass, the only cover on the bare land, lashed at the horses legs. They were raising a cloud of dust, but it wasn’t enough to hide them from the bandits following close on their tail.
Elizabeth flicked back her head to let the wind blow her short blonde hair out of her eyes and couldn’t help but laugh for the sheer exhilaration of it. Sometimes she wondered if they only reason she lived was for moments like this.
She risked a glance at Digger, and he laughed back, enjoying the wild ride almost as much as she was.
Their merriment carried back to the bandits pursuing them. Elizabeth heard their leader yell and spur his horse faster.
Though the bandit’s horses lacked the breeding and the conditioning of Elizabeth and Digger’s mounts, they were not afraid to use whips to make up for the lack. They were catching up.
Elizabeth leaned low over Riana’s sleek neck and whispered to the horse, who gallantly produced extra speed. Beside her, Digger kept pace.
Now Elizabeth could see the woods she remembered in the distance. But she knew they were not going to make it before the bandits, now cheering in premature victory, overtook them.
Elizabeth rose in the stirrups, turning slightly to look at the bandits. They were so close now that she could see their leader’s teeth, bared in as snarl. She transferred both reins to her right hand, then held up her left, concentrating hard.
It was difficult enough to focus her magical energy in Salenthia these days, being on the back of a bouncing horse certainly didn’t improve the situation, but her years of experience held her in good stead.
A glow formed around her upheld hand as she drew upon the energy within her, manipulating and bending it to her will.
The bandits paused, then as the glow intensified they all pulled frantically on the reins of their horses, trying futilely to turn. Without pause, Elizabeth threw the ball directly into their midst.
There was an almost inaudible boom when the ball hit one of the bandits, then a ripple of power expanded out rapidly to hit the rest of the panicking group, fading just short of the tails of Elizabeth and Digger’s still galloping horses.
Digger didn’t even pause to glance back.
Elizabeth spared one last fleeting look over her shoulder at the horses and bandits sprawled on the ground. A few struggled to sit up, but most were not moving at all.
Then they were in the woods, branches whipping past their faces as the horses slowed to navigate the obstacles in their path.
Digger slowed Missa to a walk to step over a fallen tree trunk and glanced over at Elizabeth. “I always wonder how you manage to stop that right before it hits us.” His tone was one of interested curiosity.