Wednesday, November 19, 2008

xcerpt from The Henge Betrayed -- Flight

Flight Janet Lane Walters
Mundania Press
Rating PG

* * * * *

He removed the scrying cup from one of the cloak’s inner pockets. The need to know burned. He filled the cup, then sat cross-legged and held the cup in his hands. Once more, he stilled his thoughts and rippled the water with his breath. He thought of his parents. An image formed. He saw the spiral staircase and the wall that contained the inner chamber. Of his parents, he caught no sign, but the hidden room was sealed against invasion.
He released the image and sought further. This time he wanted to see what passed beyond the walls of the henge.
Pictures rose in rapid succession. Men mounted on war steeds, their single horns polished to a silver gleam, followed scores of foot soldiers to the first wall. The secret gates opened and the army entered the gardens of the henge.
“Who has done this?” His question caused the water in the scrying cup to bubble. A distant figure grew larger. On a rise at a great distance from the henge, a man stood with his arms wide. The sides of his black cloak spread like wings. Bran shivered for the man resembled one of the carrion birds that feasted on the dead.
The water in the scrying cup stilled. Bran saw the man’s long pale hair and skin and knew this enemy wasn’t from the lowlands. He was a dom of highland birth.
The dom raised his head. His pale eyes bore into Bran’s. He sees me. Bran’s heart beat a staccato rhythm. He tore his gaze from the face he’d never forget. His hands shook and the scrying cup fell. Water splashed across the cavern floor. Fear erupted inside him. Had he betrayed his siblings? Did the enemy know where they were?
He looked at the torch and saw it had nearly gone out. With a fresh one from his bundle, he touched it to the dying flame. Then he knelt beside Ash. “I’ve lit the fifth.”
She stretched. “Then Let us go.”
Ash woke Jay. Bran touched Ky’s shoulder. “Time to go.”
A spatter of flame zipped across the rocks. “Sorry. Did I burn you?”
Bran pulled her to her feet. “You must learn how to be awakened without singeing people.”
“I only react when someone rouses me. There’s no problem when I’m not disturbed.”
Before they left, they filled their flasks in the pool. “How long before we can sleep?” Jay yawned through his words.
“Two torches,” Ash said.
Bran shook his head. “We’d better keep on as long as we can. Papa said not to tarry.”
The others nodded. “This way.” Ash strode around the pond.
Bran saw three gaping holes. “How will we know which is the right one?”
“In two, the air leaves. We’ll use the one where the air enters the cavern.
He was glad she’d come this way before. Otherwise, they could wander forever. She must have heard his thought because she grinned. He answered her smile with his,