Hey everyone! For this week’s Work-In-Progress Wednesday, I’ve got a selection from Bane of Ashkarith. This is the most recent work that I’ve finished. I’m working on finalizing some edits and other supporting material, but the plan is to have this book out and launched sometime next month.
The whole unedited piece is available on Wattpad, but the edited, revised work will have some new chapters and has been given some serious editing. I’ll let you all know more details on the launch once I have them figured out. For now, here’s an excerpt of what I’ve been working on for my newest book.
Kaidan Tadegan straightened for a moment, pausing in his work. He wiped the sweat from his brow and craned his neck to see over the hill’s rise. The rest of the dig crew was still working on the opposite side of the hill. Stretching, he picked his shovel back up and returned to digging into the side of Dubarin Hill.
He worked with fervor but also with care, not wanting to damage anything. The sun glared down on him, roasting him alive, and he wiped the back of his neck with a cloth. Nothing had rewarded him for his labor yet, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t. Perhaps he might find something on this side of the hill to answer the questions they’d come here to answer.
He took a deep breath, the musty scent of freshly turned soil filling his senses. Well, even if they never determined whether those who had clashed here were the old gods, they’d at least proven that there had been a battle. That was something. They could hold their heads high when they spoke to the king of Argos about the dig, and when they returned to the Society of the Learned, they’d have something to report.
The hole he was digging had turned into an open-roofed tunnel that sloped gradually downward as he went. Perhaps he’d gone a bit overboard. But he had a good feeling about this area. He could feel it in his bones. There was something here. He just had to find it.
At around seven feet down into the side of the hill, his shovel struck something with a dull thud. He tested the soil with the tip of the shovel, trying to determine what it was. When he shifted some more dirt, he saw a flash of white under the sun. More bones?
Kaidan knelt in the hole and brushed the loose layer of dirt away. The bleach-white bones of a corpse glared up at him in the harsh rays of the sun, dirt still packed around the majority of the remains. He hadn’t found any bones on this side of the hill, and he’d begun to think the battle hadn’t raged this far. Perhaps they just hadn’t dug in the right places. It seemed they’d given up too soon.
Kneeling down on his knees, he brushed the dirt away and grabbed a trowel, gently clearing packed clods of dirt and loose soil away from the corpse. When he had, he backed further up the slope and sat on his heels, staring down at it.
Inside the tunnel, the bones of the corpse rested. Time and worms had rotted through the clothing of the deceased individual. The slender facial structure of the skull and the tiny stature indicated it was a woman. He frowned. Who is this? They hadn’t found any women’s corpses in the battlefield. What was this one doing all by herself out here?
A book lay locked against the corpse’s chest, her skeletal hands clutching it to her even in the rigor of death. He leaned down, seeking to pry it from the hands of the skeleton. The hands wouldn’t budge. Kaidan put his hands on his hips. Destroying the corpse wouldn’t do. Too disrespectful to the dead. He’d have to try a different angle. Jumping down into the hole again, he tried to slide the book out of the corpse’s grasp.
This time, the hands relinquished their prize, and he stared down at the book’s unmarked leather cover, which was worn with age and crusted in dirt. A quiver ran through him, and he grinned. What treasures of knowledge did this find contain? He took a closer look at it, rubbing at the dirt on the corners before pausing in his attempts to clean the item. The leather binding was in remarkable condition for the age of the corpse.
He glanced back at the bones. Far too old for the condition of the book. So how had the skeleton come to be clutching the book in the tight grip of death? He clambered back up to the mouth of his open-roofed tunnel and sat down, dropping the book beside him. What secrets did the skeleton hold that she would never share now? His mind whirred through the possibilities, and he glanced down at the book. Perhaps it held the answers.
Well, that’s all for this week. Be on the lookout for updates on my Facebook page and on here about Bane of Ashkarith as I finalize the details for it!
As always, feel free to share excerpts for your own work-in-progress in the comments below. Feedback is encouraged between those of you who choose to share here, but please keep all feedback respectful and constructive!