I’ve never actually shared an excerpt from my novel before. It’s a little baffling to think; two years of blogging and the most I’ve ever posted about my biggest work have been angsty poems and passing mentions in writing tips.
Ah, I love the stench of first drafts in the morning. Without further ado, I present to you, in all of its unedited glory and with absolutely no context whatsoever, an excerpt from my novel.
Aleron remembered Mage saying how Highfeather looked as if it passed judgement on each traveller who crossed in its shadow. As the tower loomed high and blazing over him, he sensed its stony stare, felt it threaten to topple over and crush him for all he was.
Still ablaze. Still burning, but never fallen.
The fire crackled from the peak of the keep tower, casting the stonework of the walls in pulsing, red heat.
And that is where I must go, he thought.
It must’ve been raw instinct that rolled his joints and moved his limbs. He was mechanical in his dismounting of Dusk, systematic as he secured her behind a boulder and hitched his satchel over his shoulder. One foot met its mark on the ground in front of the other, and he carried himself to the fort.
The cold spot he had rode through left his mind numb, but as he passed under the entrance of the curtain wall he could feel the heat of the tower radiating on his skin. He was tired, so very tired, and the warmth only kneaded the worries in his brain, only made him long for sleep and forgetfulness.
He crossed an empty and overgrown bailey. In the night, the shadows cast across the yard by the fire were made long and lanky, like great arms stretching across the earth. The effect was nothing short of mystifying, but he was struck from his contemplation when a fist of thunder pounded the sky.
Up the tower, relay the spell, gather and feast, he thought.
The door that led into the main keep must’ve burned up three years ago, because all that was left was a pile of warped iron. Aleron stepped over the heap to pass under the threshold, and then he was swallowed by darkness.
He became aware of each hitching breath in his chest, and in the still black of the keep, he felt like the only living thing in the world. At first, all was silent and obscured by shadows, but then he heard something soft and fragile, like wind singing through glass. He stumbled through the dark after the sound until he saw a warm glow emitting past a crumbling wall.
He ran for the light, because he didn’t like the restlessness that set into his legs when he stood still for too long. He felt that if he were to keep to one place, then the specters from the smoke would leak into the tower after him. It was like a thousand ghosts were watching him, and he had to keep moving lest they seep into his mind.
He turned around the wall and found himself looking up a spiraling stairwell. The stone trembled in firelight, the source of which lay beyond his line of sight. But the thin music still whistled in his ears, high and begging him to hear more.
He climbed after the light, the warmth, the song. He climbed wondering if he was doing the right thing. He scaled the uneven steps, and he could hear everyone he ever loved warning him, fearing for him, anticipating his movements.
Be watchful, Aleron. Even I forget it sometimes, but you are still a boy.
I’m afraid of what you mean to me, Aleron. Because you’re a bird. And I’m a worm. And birds pluck worms from the dirt.
You brought me to Ferric so that I could change things. But I am in here, and you, whether you like it or not, have more power than all of us.
I’m afraid that you’ll drop off the map altogether.
Your enemy is whatever’s out there twisting people into Wraiths, making people suffer.
And then he was sprinting, tearing up the stairs, his heart leaping into his throat. And the sound, that spindly song was growing louder and shriller, and he ran with his blood coursing under his skin, threatening to shatter his veins. And he ran with his world, his only chance, clattering against his back, and ghosts were chasing after him, and heat building around him. And he hurt.
He breached the stairs and staggered onto the roof. The grating music pinched off into silence, but the heat from the rising fire engulfed him. The surrounding pinnacles stood ablaze, and the smoke was so thick that he could not see the stars.
The Three can’t save me now, he thought.
© 2016 Stellular Scribe
2 thoughts on “Highfeather — an excerpt from my novel”
Wow, this is so interesting! I definitely liked the end, where the tempo/rhythm of the piece picks up as he runs up the tower. Very good imagery overall. “Still ablaze. Still burning, but never fallen.” This was my favorite line. Very haunting and eerie.
Thank you so much! I’m glad that you were able to get something from it, even when so out of context!