Well, since everyone else has a Teaser Tuesday, I thought it was time I went for it. After all, who doesn't love a good bandwagon? Am I right? ;)
So, without further ado, here is a sample from Legacy of the Empress. Enjoy!
The nightmares had been coming more and more frequently since the moon's turn, each more vivid than the last. Astrid's hair was sticky with sweat when she put a hand to her brow. Images of a torn silk dress lingered on the edge of her mind as she smoothed the sheets down over her linen shift. She shook her head, the last remnants of the dream, whatever it was, leaving as quickly as they came. I've stayed too long. Tomorrow I will finally be free. Sleep did not find her again.
The morning started the same way all Astrid's days started since her father died. The wards outside the tower door thrummed as the servant bringing her food approached. A pocket opened in the darkness before the door and allowed the castle servant access to the rectangular sliding panel, just large enough for a tray to be passed through. Her eyes were bright as she watched the trembling hand pass the food through and then snatch itself back to the safety of the hallway.
"I suppose Mother told you all I was mad ages ago," she said to no one in particular. Anything so they would fear opening the door for me. Astrid turned her head away.
After the servant scurried off, she listened at the door to make sure no one was near, then pried up the loose stone in the floor. She carefully removed the book and the lock of hair beneath it and spent the rest of the afternoon reading and pacing her tower room.
That night was different from all the rest. The air seemed to crackle with anticipation, as if the stars themselves were waiting for something to happen. Astrid felt the hair on her arms stand up as she opened the book on her lap. Her hands ran down the ancient leather binding and then over the first page, and she rejoiced in the familiar warmth beneath her fingers. My old friend. The side of her mouth curled up in a smile. At first the pages remained blank, but then slowly, as she stroked them, letters began to form, drawn up through the page by her touch. Here we go…
All of her hope lay in this moment. She'd found the book hidden under one of the stones of the tower's floor in the first year of her imprisonment. I toyed with the idea of prying up the floor one stone at a time, finally dropping down to the stairway below and making my escape through the castle. She smiled grimly at the thought. I was a child then, and anything seemed possible. Prying up the stones with the handle of her spoon, she discovered a secret cache. In the hole lay a small bit of silk, a lock of yellow hair, and the book.
I remember the first night I held it in my hands; it was as if a voice was whispering in my mind. She was only nine years old at the time but was already a voracious reader. As the princess of this kingdom of Taleria, she had studied with the best tutors gold could buy. Fascinated by history and the lives of the previous kings and queens, she would stay up long nights with her father, talking about the older days when magic had been more prevalent. In those days, he told her, the True Magic had been an art many admired and sought after. He once even hinted that his own mother had studied the magics before she died.
“Your mother would be very angry if she knew we were talking about this, you know,” he’d warned her. “She doesn’t want us to have anything to do with the magics. She thinks all this is just superstition for the folk in the cities. You would have loved my mother, though. An extraordinary woman. You could almost feel the magic coming off her sometimes,” he touched her chin, his eyes crinkling in a smile. “When I was a lad, she told me that the magics were what kept this kingdom beautiful, what kept the darkness from closing in. She used to set wards up around us at night, keeping the castle hedged in by a cage of light. It was as if she wove a pattern in the sky. It was breathtaking.”
Astrid had looked at the stars and wondered what kinds of patterns she could weave, if only she knew the way.
The stars. Astrid began to speak gently, almost inaudibly, and the stars outside the tower window began to flicker, slowly at first, then faster and faster until the night sky shimmered. She stopped, taken aback. Slowly, she began again, eyes fastened on the night sky. As she watched, small lines seemed to draw themselves out, connecting the shining bodies, knitting them together into a net of pure light. A voice inside her cried out in shock. It is working!
I hope you guys enjoyed this bit of my book :).
Thanks for sharing all of your awesome teasers with me, and have a great night!