Today’s Saturday Snippet is from “The Crimson League.” Book I in the Herezoth trilogy is on sale through Monday for just 99 cents, so make sure to grab it while you can. In this segment, protagonist Kora has a nasty nightmare the day she joins the resistance movement fighting against sorcerer-dictator Zalski Forzythe.
It took Kora hours to fall asleep. When she finally dozed off she dreamed she sat in a dungeon, her wrists shackled to the wall. The lieutenant who had whipped Sedder that morning walked up to her, his lips curled.
“Are you ready to speak?”
Kora’s voice was only a gargle, so she resorted to shaking her head as definitively as she could.
“I thought you might need some persuasion,” said the lieutenant. He looked over his shoulder and signaled someone to come forward. A masked stranger, also in uniform, stepped from the shadows, dragging Zacry with him, his sword against the boy’s throat. The lieutenant spoke triumphantly. “How’s this for incentive?”
Kora pulled against her shackles. Zacry’s terror-stricken eyes bore into his sister’s.
“Tell what you know about the Crimson League or he dies. You have to the count of three.”
“I’ll talk!” she screamed. “I’ll talk.”
The lieutenant nodded grimly. “Kill him anyway,” he directed.
Kora woke in a cold sweat as Zacry’s blood pooled at her feet. The ground was so hard, she thought for a moment she actually was in a dungeon. Then her panic subsided, her memory came back to her, and she knew she would sleep no more that night. She crept from the chamber and toward the front of the cave. Right away she saw a beam of moonlight, a single thin beam, and knew that someone had removed the top stones that blocked the entrance.
That someone was Lanokas, sitting near the ash pile. He stared into the night, or early morning now, a blanket wrapped about him to fend off autumn’s chill. A few feet away stood the pitcher he had gone to fill from the nearest well after dinner. He waved his hand at it with two swift, steady motions. It rose into the air and flew toward him.
“You’re telekinetic,” Kora whispered.
Lanokas jumped, glancing over his shoulder. He nearly spilled the water. “You’re awake,” he said.
“I didn’t mean to startle you. I just…. I couldn’t sleep.”
“You had a long day.” Lanokas motioned for her to take a seat beside him, near the remnants of the fire. Kora settled herself to the ground while he waved two glasses over from the wall and filled one for her. He offered the blanket as well, but Kora felt feverish, her heart racing as though she had run the distance between the cave and home. Home…. She mustn’t think of that. She used her bandana to wipe her moist forehead.
“Are you a sorcerer?” she asked.
“Not even close. A true sorcerer, who can use incantations…. They’re rare these days. Magic degraded through the centuries.”
“I’d heard that before,” said Kora. “But I’ve never met anyone with powers, powers of any kind.”