The very observant will note that the progress bar for draf 4 of CURSE OF A DARK GOD has moved. Here’s the opening, although I’m sure it will change. We’re on our way, folks.
It was well past midnight, and they were deep in enemy Fir-Noy territory. There were eight of them: Talen, Sugar, River, and five of Shim’s soldiers, all of them staying back in the deep moon shadows at the edge of the wood, crouching low in the dry autumn weeds that had not yet been eaten down by the village livestock. They had to be careful. Talen, Sugar, and River all had sizeable Fir-Noy bounties on their heads. And even though they wore weaves of might, being multiplied didn’t make their flesh impervious to arrows and blades.
This vulnerability had been made abundantly clear to Talen in his training. In addition to his many fine bruises and the finger which had recently healed from a break, he wore a bandage around his arm where a soldier had cut him in practice two days ago with a spear.
The night shadows of the clouds played over the moonlit fields and houses and road that ran through the village of Plum. The village where Sugar’s father had been killed and her mother taken and beaten. The village where the Fir-Noy had burned her life to the ground. The village that was their destination.
Purity, Sugar’s mother, had hidden valuables there. Weaves and maybe a codex of lore. Talen and the others had been tasked to steal into the village and retrieve the items, right under the noses of the sleeping Fir-Noy.
Except this wasn’t right. They were supposed to have come out across from the ash ruins of Sugar’s old house. “I think you’ve brought us to the wrong end,” Talen whispered to Sugar.
“No, I’m just coming to get what’s mine first.” Sugar pointed up the road to the entrance of the village.
Talen followed her finger. The Fir-Noy here had begun to build a wall around their village. A wooden palisade atop a mound of dirt. But she wasn’t pointing at the half-finished wall with its timber supports still showing like bones. She was pointing at a tall pole that had been erected at the gate of the village. Something had been fastened to the top of the pole. Talen peered closer and saw a skull shining pale in the moonlight.
“That’s your father’s, isn’t it?”
“You’re going to help me,” she said. “He deserves better than that.”