Because I promised, here’s a long excerpt from THE DAUGHTER OF CERRIDWEN, my newest project, a high fantasy novel inspired by Celtic and Welsh mythology. I like to explain it as SABRIEL meets THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES. I’m so excited to share a little more of this book with you and hope you love it just as much as I do! I’m so close to finishing the first draft and am one step closer to polishing it up for querying!
Shimmer and Burn
Rapid breaths fell from my from my lips
She struggled to her feet
Fracture patterns encircled her
Eye glued to the ground in shame, and in defiance
She didn’t dare look back
Until she was out of that godforsaken room
-Be my canvas, be my muse
Chapter 1- Amberlee’s POV
The collar was tight and binding around my pale, slender throat. I knelt on the ground, knees digging into the hard, crack marbled floor. The cold metal collar was fitted around my neck and welded in place, secure and unmoving.
The King sat on the throne directly to my left, hands hugging the sides of his perch. Though I wasn’t physically chained to the floor, invisible hands grasped my ankles and wrists. My long, russet colored hair fell down my back, my bright blueish grey eyes narrowing as squirmed. I had been dressed in a dark, blood red gown, with a deep, plunging neckline that left nothing to the imagination.
“You’ll be happy to know we have guests arriving tonight” he drawled, casting a glance at me. My eyes flicked up to him as he turned away from me, not paying any more attention to me. I took a deep breath, smoothing my skirts. The King didn’t look at me before he flicked a hand towards me and I rose from where I knelt. I inclined my head towards him, walking down the marble steps as his attention shifted to some courtier as I slipped from the room. I made my way to my bedroom in silence, internally groaning as three soldiers shadowed me, only leaving me alone once I entered my chambers. I slipped out of the blood red gown, letting it pool at my feet as I pulling my hair atop my head. I walked to my bed, running a hand over the preselected gown, made of pure silver. I sighed, dressing before I sat at the small oak vanity in the right-hand corner of my bedroom.
I let my hair fall across my shoulders, taking a silver backed brush to my hair. I left it loose down my back, securing a loose band of diamonds and lapis lazuli across my brow. I clipped a pair of raw sapphire earring into my ear, securing a matching necklace around my throat. The dress was sleeveless, leaving my pale and slender arms on full view, the fabric hugging every curve of my body. I clipped a pair of raw sapphire earrings into my ears before doing a once over, swiping ruby red color onto my lips and rosy pink onto my cheeks. I didn’t say anything as I exited my rooms to the guards who stuck to the wall, hands on the hilts of their swords, letting them escort me back to the throne room.
As we approached the massive oak set doors, I could hear deep rumbling voice from inside and it piqued my curiosity. I took a deep breath before signaling to the soldiers, watching carefully as they opened the door, not saying a word as I strode in the room, eyes only for The King.
“Amberlee” the way he said my name sent shiver up and down my spine, but I schooled my features, stopping just before his throne, sinking into a low, deep curtsy as I ignored the guests, eyes on the floor.
“My Lord” I answered, keeping my eyes on the floor as he stood from his perch, grasping my chin in hand and lifting my eyes to meet his gaze. He smirked as our eyes met, hands grazing my sides and it took everything in me not to vomit on his shoes.
“You look beautiful” he murmured and I seized as he twisted a stray strand of hair around his finger. I lowered my eyes as he finally focused on our guests. He let go of my hair, stepping around me to speak to our guests.
“It is truly an honor, Commander” he bowed at the stranger.
“The honor is all mine, Your Majesty” I turned around just as he bowed, revealing a shock of dark hair and slender neck. I met his gaze as he rose, piercing violet eyes staring back at my plain blue ones.
“Allow me to introduce the fated ‘Savior’, Amberlee Avery” the king gestured to me, pulling me forward with force. I was suddenly face to face with a tall, broad, and muscled man, with deep, grey eyes and dark hair. He wore elegant gold armor, armed heavily with a hand on the hilt of his blade. I stilled, looking to the ground.
“She’s quite scrawny, Your Majesty” his tone was light, lilting, and teasing. My face burned at his words as The King’s thundering laugh sounded. The King hand snaked around my waist, pulling me closer to his chest and I had no choice but to comply. I tucked my head closer to my chest as I stood there.
“Yes, you’re right, Commander. She could use some more meat on her bones” he squeezed my lower back tightly and I tensed at his touch. I saw him take note of it out of the corner of my eyes, casting my gaze down in shame. The King kept his arm around me as he walked back to his throne, allowing me to stand beside him, hands folded in front of me. I paid no attention to The King and the Commander as they spoke of meetings and battles past, leaving me out of the conversation.
I let my thoughts wander, thinking of the beautiful field just outside of the castle walls. I had only seen them once, from inside a carriage when I first arrived at His Majesty’s castle when I was four years old. I was almost eighteen now, my life much different than it had been fourteen years ago. I was always carefully supervised, almost never let out of my room, with the exception of parties or when we hosted guests.
The Commander was very important to The King, or so he said. He commanded all of his armies, spending the majority of his time on the battlefield, cutting down his enemies. He rarely visited and I had never been allowed to meet him before tonight.He towered over me, eyes bright and piercing as he conversed with The King, never acknowledging me. I just kept my eyes trained to the ground like a good girl, hands clasped in front of me as I stayed silent. The conversation continued on for only a few more moments before a maid came to collect me, to take me back to my bedchamber. I was glad to be released from The King’s grip and the Commander’s stare. I left quickly, the doors slamming shut behind me. I sighed as I began to move down the hall, following the maid in silence to my chambers.
She helped me from my gown and jewels, changing me into a nightgown before helping me step into bed, pulling the covers over my body and tucking me in. She blew out the small candle in the corner lighting the room up before leaving the room, closing the door behind her as quietly as she could. I settled myself into the array of silk covered pillows, hugging the thick, heavy comforter to my body as I closed my eyes, willing myself to sleep.It didn’t work. I couldn’t help but think of the Commander and The King, of what they were speaking about. It was clearly about me, if they had been leave the room and banished to my room. I didn’t like it when I wasn’t included. I knew who I was, I knew the power I possessed. I knew people feared me. I liked to think The King feared me, but I knew that wasn’t true. He thought he owned me and that bothered me. He was possessive of me, liked to touch me even if I said no. My opinion, my voice, didn’t matter to him. Every no was perceived as a yes. Every moment I tense, or cringed away from his touch was met with a punishment.
I knew I could fight back, knew I possessed the power to do so. I only had to have the courage to stand up against and I didn’t think I did. I was always taught that my powers, my magic, was never something to be afraid of. This magic was a part of me and it wasn’t going away anytime soon. It was something that took me a long time to accept.I had never been willing to let go of the past and that’s what had held me back all these years. I barely remember my life outside of the dismal grey walls of the castle walls, barely remembered the people who had raised me.
I had struggled with myself for long enough, under the rule of The King. I pushed past all those thoughts, turning onto my side as got more comfortable, closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep.
Chapter 2- The Commander’s POV
Amberlee wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I knew she was quite powerful, but she was small and scrawny, a tiny little thing. She was slender and pale, with long, curling red hair and bright blue eyes.I saw the way her arms and legs shook with every step, with every touch from The King. I saw the hammered collar, the way it tightened around her slender neck. I saw the grimace that was painted across her mouth. She cast her eyes to the ground, never able to look anyone in the eyes. The King had explained her magic to me months ago, over a feast in some far away land.
Amberlee Avery was unexpected in every way.
“She’s not quite what you were expecting, I take it?” The King clapped me on the back, a deep laugh resonating through him.
“She’s very small. Are you sure you’ve got the right person, Your Majesty?” I joined in his laughter.
“I’ve seen her in action, only once. I found her quite on accident, actually. I was passing through her village nearly fourteen years ago when I saw her. She was being harassed by some older boys and used her magic to beat them. If you can believe it, she was only four years old” The King’s servants poured us two glasses of wine as we sat at the large oak dining table.
“Do you train her?” I asked, taking a small sip of my wine as I reclined against my chair.
“No. She’s fully aware of her powers, but I don’t allow her to use them, under any circumstances” The King explained and I quirked an eyebrow at him words.
“Aren’t you worried that an instance will arise when she’ll need to defend herself?” I eyed The King warily as he began to eat.
“This castle has never been breached and she has the best protection possible here.
“Of course, Your Majesty” I inclined my head to him respectively, before beginning to eat myself.