It is amazing how much our characters become a part of us. This became very apparent to me yesterday as D.W and I were hard at work editing book 3 of the Necromancers’ Pride Saga – Storm of Shadows.
The chapter we were going over dealt with several characters we care for very deeply. So, I thought it would be nice to revisit an excerpt from book 2, Tides of War, that features them, and one in particular, our friend Harper. This did not make the final cut, but it is nice to look back and see how far the characters and story have developed.
“I heard it,” Harper said.
“Came from the north, this time,” Rogen continued.
“No,” Harper stated, turning to look at Corwyn. “I think it came from her.”
The silence that followed echoed off the walls of the cave as surely as her words just had.
The snow had fallen steadily in the hours since Corwyn, Eryk and Rogen had returned from hunting Corwyn, Harper and Rogen were all gathered around the meager fire. They were chewing on the remnants of the tough, salted meats that Old Sten had packed for them prior to leaving the Skinners’ Outpost. Velladriana was sleeping in her bedroll along the cave’s rear wall, wrapped in her thick cloak. It was Eryk’s turn to keep watch, so he was positioned out amongst the trees that hid the entrance.
“If you don’t mind going over it once more, Harper. I am just trying to understand,” Corwyn said.
“So am I,” Harper responded. “It is as strange for me to explain as it was for me to witness.” She took a deep breath. “You had all been gone for at least two or three hours, as best I could tell, and everything was normal. Velladriana was actually being a bit talkative, which as you know, is a rather big deal.”
Corwyn nodded. He knew it was, indeed.
“Then, she suddenly grew silent. Which in and of itself was not odd, I just thought she had finished speaking, since she is given to abruptly stop. Then she began to mumble. I looked at her, and … her eyes, she had a distant, vacuous look in her eyes.”
“That was when the mumbling got louder,” Corwyn interjected, trying to help her by adding details she had already shared.
“Yes, louder and clearer. She was saying, ‘Stop them. Stop them,’ over and over. Then, and this is where it really became strange, her eyes glazed over, becoming virtually white.”
“And she began chanting,” Rogen added.
“Chanting and gesturing, yes. Her arms wide in the air. She was speaking in a tongue that was foreign to me. She started to shake. I went over to her, but after hearing what happened to you when you touched her back at the Post, I opted not to touch her.”
“A wise choice,” Corwyn said. When last he had endeavored to touch Velladriana in a trancelike state, he was nearly thrown through a wall.
“So, she was chanting and shaking,” Haprer continued, “perspiring as if she had run the entire length of Bronell’s Ridge. And that is when … the thunder rolled.”
Necromancers’ Pride ~ (deleted excerpt)