Children of the Shadow and shiny things

A friend suggested I make pendants of my book covers as a way to promote them. So I did, and they’ve done fairly well at craft fairs and things (you can find them on the drop down bit of the buy section) There is a pendant of three of the book covers, and one of the demon, and a charm bracelet of the Shadow Seer books, and I’ll be making one for the whole series. Uk shipping only at the moment though. I’ll be selling them, and my books, and various other things at Scardiff in October (horror convention in Cardiff) and craft fairs here in Swansea.

And, I’ve been working on the Children of the Shadow. I had a lot of trouble getting the start right. Going back and forth between whether Candale should be rescued, or a prisoner, for about two years, and I finally decided to merge the two! So simple, and so far, seems to be working. And so here it is, as a taster!:



They put me in a cell while I was unconscious and then they locked me in.

I woke with a pounding headache and a mouth as dry as the desert, my limbs heavy and leaden and my thoughts sluggish. For a long time I could only lie beneath the thin covering, shivering, barely aware of anything beyond the pain in my skull and the trembling of my limbs, always on the edge of sinking back into the darkness.

But, slowly the sludge began to ease and I began to become aware of what was around me and to realise, I didn’t know where I was.

I was lying on a straw pallet on the ground, I could feel the icy cold stone of the floor through it, covered in a thin blanket. Beyond the bed there was a covered chamberpot and nothing else, just bare stone walls of black and grey. The only light was patchy and grey, seeping in through the bars on the windows. A heavy looking wooden door was the only way out.

A cell. I was in a cell. But I had no idea how I’d gotten here.

Think. Think.

Think . . .

And it hit me like a lightening bolt and my stomach twisted, bile burning in my throat. I scrambled from the bed, but my knees buckled beneath me, before I could take one step, plunging me down onto the icy cold floor. And there I emptied the contents of my belly, trembling, as tears burned in my eyes.

One night, in a tavern room in Isarn, a group of men had burst in and they had killed Arnin, the Tracker who had become my friend, and taken me prisoner. If I closed my eyes, for just a moment, then I was back in that room, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, the wet, ripping sound of sword meeting flesh filling the silence while somewhere, in the dark, Arnin was screaming . . .

I spat, to clear my mouth of the last of the watery vomit, wiped my grubby sleeve across my lips and struggled to my feet. The dark grey walls swung around me dizzyingly for a moment and then they settled back into place and I stumbled across the bitterly cold floor to the door. Of course it was locked, but I raised my hands in clenched fists and pounded on it as hard as I could.

β€œHello?” I cried, in a voice that croaked. β€œIs anyone out there? Hello! I . . . I don’t know where I am . . . Please . . . ?” Silence swallowed my words and the pounding of my fist and the world was starting to spin again. I turned away and went back to the pallet, curling up beneath the thin blanket.

I was a prisoner. Locked away in a cell, just like the prophecies had told me I would be. Just like I’d feared since Talira, a seer I’d met on the way to White Oaks, had told me that she’d had a vision of me locked away. Teveriel, my best friend, had tried to convince me that just because it had been seen it didn’t mean it was going to happen, and that I shouldn’t let it shadow my life and my decisions. But, here I was. Just as Talira had said.

I sank deeper beneath the thin blanket, blinking back tears. Could I have done anything differently? Could I have avoided this? Could Arnin . . .?

I’d runaway from home to visit the Seer’s Tower in Idryan, but I’d not really had a choice about that. Ellenessia, the shadowy demon who visited me, the one who had cursed my family line and was responsible for what I was, had insisted on it. All so that I would learn that she was responsible for the death of Mayrila, my birth-mother, and not myself as I’d feared. On leaving the Tower my friends and I had been taken prisoner and I’d been separated from them by Arnin the Tracker, on the order of Nyvin, my doctor who had been sent to bring me back. We had gone to Isarn to wait for a ship to take us back to Carnia, and now I was here.

If Arnin had been allowed to use his magic to shield the room we were staying in, things would be different, wouldn’t they?

Or if King Ryckst had allowed us to stay in the Palace, even though Arnin was a mage which was illegal in Idryan, then I would still be there, and Arnin would still be alive.

Or . . .

Or would this have happened anyway?

Did it even matter? I was here now, the question was why.

I had enemies, I’d always known that. And in the Spring I’d learned that I, as the Shadow Seer, had specific enemies, the Order of Culdenth Hyun who wanted to kill me before I could speak too many of my visions. And they had certainly tried, poisoning me, using magic against me, but I wasn’t dead, I was very much alive, the icy chill burning into my bones, was certainly proof of that. So, it couldn’t have been them so who? Did I have other enemies that I didn’t know about? Or could it just have been a simple kidnapping for ransom? We had been so careful to keep who I really was a secret, but that didn’t mean that someone hadn’t guessed the truth. But, if they did know who I was then they had to know that to take me would be to bring my grandfather, a king, and his all might after them to find me again. Even if he paid the ransom, he would stop at nothing to find them and see them punished. King Ryckst would too. He would have to. He couldn’t let it be known that he couldn’t keep a foreign prince safe in his own city.

So, perhaps they hadn’t known who I was and just thought that I must be important, because I’d been hiding in my tavern room, not mingling with anyone else.

Oh, gods, what would they do when they found out? What if they decided that the best thing to do would be to kill me? I would just disappear and my family and friends would never know what had happened to me.

Or they could just leave me here to slowly starve to death . . .

The grey walls of the cell started to swing around me suddenly, blurring together. I couldn’t breathe. A cold iron vice had closed around my chest and was slowly squeezing all the air from my body. I tried to breathe, to force air into my lungs, but the vice just tightened.

And then darkness swallowed everything.