From Thanksgiving until Christmas I will be sharing some excerpts from "The Reaper's Seed," both Book 1 and Book 2 to entertain, to tease, and hopefully entice some of your to give the story a try.
"The Reaper's Seed: The Sword and the Promise," Chapter 1:
The boys slowed their pace as they arrived at the small gathering, catching their breath as they began to observe all who were present. The group consisted of a range of ages. Though it was mostly men, the women and children there were given the seats closest to the fire. Quietly the boys made their way around to a long, flat rock set at the base of a tree where an old man sat at the head of the group. There beside him, they took their place on a log at either side.
In a soft voice he welcomed them. “I am pleased to see you both here. I trust your uncle’s directions served you well. Did you have any trouble finding your way through the woods?”
“No, sir,” the older of the two responded quickly. “We did quite well along the path. It wasn’t hard at all.” He beamed at the chance to give a good report of himself.
His younger brother made sure to join in the response, though it was an echo of what had already been said. “No, sir, we had no trouble at all.” He was still out of breath as he pulled his hood up over his head tightly and shifted in his seat. In the light of the fire, an unsightly scar on his neck became visible. Having worn it since birth, he had made a habit of wrapping his hood a little tighter than was necessary to hide it from view.
“Bravery begins in the small things,” the old man said. “Not many boys your age come to these meetings.” His long gray hair swayed in the breeze, which was stronger up on the hill, and his beard moved in rhythm with his words. “Very well. I am proud of you both.”
“Thank you, grandfather,” the older of the two replied. “We just can’t wait to hear you tell the Story. We have never heard it told at Hill Top before.”
“Well, Corred, tonight you will. The Story makes us who we are and gives us direction for the future.” Turning to his other grandson, he placed his large, calloused hand on his head. “Androcles, it is also time you learned what all men must know.”
Androcles smiled widely, content just to stare up into his grandfathers eyes for as long as he could.
Waiting for the group to continue gathering, the old man sat with his arms resting on his knees, patiently warming his hands by the fire. His broad shoulders hung low in such a position but it was clear by their width that he was not lacking in physical strength. The cloak he wore was one of distinction, set apart from his ordinary dress, for he was a wise man, once a warrior. Less remarkable were his shoes, made of animal skins and wearing thin near the toes. A long sword lay at his feet. Its leather and metal scabbard was adorned with various carvings, and the butt and hilt were bright silver. The handle was fashioned from a type of dark, grainless wood that appeared timeless, not at all worn by use. As he sat observing the crowd fondly, his heavy brow shaded his eyes, which were only revealed by the flicker of the flames before him. His whole appearance spoke of old age, except his eyes. Though the face surrounding them was weathered, wrinkled and scarred, his eyes were young and bright, as if the years he’d lived had only deepened their color.
The light of the fire danced also among the branches of the tree that hung over the group. Its twisted form marked the landscape, standing alone, scarred by lightning, abandoned to the sun. Apart from the vines that climbed the base of its trunk, it had not a single leaf to rustle in the wind, but its roots were as firm as rock, part of the hill it stood upon.
The old man called the group to attention. “Thank you all for coming,” he said with a nod. Trying to make eye contact with as many as possible, he greeted them, some by name, but all with, “Peace, be with you.”
He was greeted in turn. “Peace, be with you, Creedus Corred.”
Corred took it all in, crossing his arms over his knees. Pulling his hood up onto his head where it hung loosely, the light of the fire revealed the whole of his face. He not only shared his grandfather’s name, but his features, and most of all, his deep blue eyes.
Looking around at the group and then back at his grandfather, his mouth half open, Androcles, on the other hand, looked very little like his grandfather. With green eyes and curly blonde locks, he was short, even for his age. Brushing some hair from his eyes he leaned forward to get a better look at his grandfather’s face.
When the group had fallen silent again, and all eyes were on Creedus, he began . . . . .
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