Here is the prologue of The Tragedy of Whitehall, the fantasy novel I’ve decided to work on as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2012. I’ve long had the concept for this prelude novel to a fantasy trilogy, which is in turn part of a larger fantasy series that I’ve yet to come up with a satisfactory name or tagline for. I’ve previously posted the prologue for another, earlier book in this series. See that post here.
I figured it was time to make some real headway with my fantasy series so I chose to work on this novel for NaNoWriMo. Hopefully I can get it done. In the meantime, enjoy this first look …
He would escape at last. That creature known as Ardwyad had run from the last battle. He’d seen the Queen’s general fall and the charge of Whitehall’s soldiers up the hill. In the tumult, he’d slipped away.
Why should he risk his hide? He was not of Danann blood. His kin were native of this land. Here long before Dananns and Yorkists set foot on these shores. They’d killed his family. Slaughtered them for land and rights that were not theirs for the taking. He would have been left to die, an innocent babe abandoned to starve in the wilds, but for the Elder Queen. She had heard his mewling and, on finding him in some burned out hut, had taken him in her arms. She had raised him as one would a pet.
He’d grown into a wiry man, given the duty of protecting she that was the Danann’s present Queen. A fiery woman he’d grown to love, though he despised her race. In thinking of her now, feeling a twinge of guilt in leaving her behind, he stumbled ere long into a rank of soldiers.
They seized him easily. He’d had nothing but a dagger on him. Two of their number dragged him through the woods and back to their camp. There, he was chained and thrown in with other Danann prisoners.
He huddled against the wood of the pen, keeping away from the other ragged captives. He prayed for death but feared he would see a new master, a Yorkist one. How foolish he had been to let his mind be distracted by her!
Then—he knew not how much time had lapsed—he thought he saw her. His fiery Queen appeared like a vision in the enemy’s camp. He shook his head. The haze in his mind cleared, and he saw her truly. She was no vision. She’d been captured just as he, and now the Yorkist soldiers let her along to their general. Perhaps there was hope …
“Maire Ni Ciaragain!” he cried.
He thought he saw her turn her head. Her eyes looking toward him. Could she see him? He was but one face among many staring at her through the wooden stakes. She seemed to hover a moment, but then the soldiers pushed her along. Behind her, he saw the soldiers dragging three young men, her sons.
That was when Ardwyad saw a true vision. A scene of utter horror. Vengeance stalked the streets of Whitehall and blood would spill. A young man staked to a tree and his heart ripped out. A young woman ravaged and left bleeding with stumps for hands and no mouth to speak. A mother devoured the flesh of her womb. Carrion crows circled the feast. And then, the barest glimpse of a smoky dawn that portended a war greater than that between Danann and Whitehall.
Ardwyad gasped for breath and hunched forward. He set his forehead against the cool damp earth. Then he wore a crooked smile. He would be free at last. But first, he would have amusement …
Stay tuned for more about The Tragedy of Whitehall and the fantasy series of which it is a part.
This prologue excerpt is copyrighted material. Please do not reproduce or use without prior permission from the author.