Sorrow Part 2: The Burned Earth – second in the epic fantasy series

Sorrow Part 2: The Burned Earth is now available from Musa Publishing. This is the second in the epic fantasy series about the mysterious child, known as Sorrow, who is the last survivor of a little known nomadic tribe in the heart of Temeria.

Sorrow’s tribe was wiped out by unidentified raiders. The reason for this is not immediately clear, but it may have something to do with the fact that they are reputed to be the most ancient people in the World Apparent, and so descended from the very first people to crawl from its primeval ooze.

As the world slides into chaos, rumour quickly spreads about the child, and those seeking to cease power will stop at nothing to be the first to take possession of him. The real significance of the boy, however, is yet to be discovered. The race to find Sorrow has begun.

The future of the realm is at stake, but the stars are about to align…

Excerpt:

“Old instincts came to the fore, forged by his years on the streets, and he managed to spit in Asu’s eyes. Asu squealed in disgust and his grip slackened a little, allowing Bail enough leverage to butt him on the bridge of the nose. It was a feeble enough hit, but angered Asu enough to raise himself, knees straddling Bail’s chest, and rain punches down on his face.

One of the geldings stumbled as his left foreleg vanished into a pothole and snapped like a twig. He screamed and collapsed, dragging down his traces and causing the animal behind to lurch and tumble onto his flank. The remaining pair, doomed by the weight of their fallen team-mates, also went down in a tangle of thrashing limbs and writhing bodies.

Asu and Bail were thrown clear as the chariot bounced on its side and slewed into the wriggling mass of horseflesh. Bail rolled expertly when he hit the ground and escaped with cuts and bruises, but Asu was not so skilled or lucky.

General Harsu’s former concubine had come to rest on his front, and gave no sign of life when Bail struggled to his feet and limped over to inspect the body. Breathing hard, Bail drew his knife and kicked Asu in the ribs. No reaction.

Bail didn’t care to check if the boy was still breathing or not. He reached down, grasped a handful of Asu’s dust-sodden hair, yanked his head up and drew the knife across his throat. There was a brief exhalation of air, a torrent of hot blood, and Bail let the head fall forward. One more for the worms to eat, and the second he had killed that day.

“Busy morning,” he muttered, wiping his knife on Asu’s hair before slotting it back in its sheath.

Bail took stock of his injuries. His face was swelling up with bruises from the beating Asu had given him. One cheek and the side of his neck were dripping with blood from the whip, and there was a sharp growing pain under his right knee where Asu had kicked him. He was not in a good way, and to make things worse, he hadn’t been paid for his betrayal of Harsu.

He looked around. The chariot must have carried them at least a couple of miles, because there was no sign of the treaty tent or the battle they had left behind. There was no sign of anything much at all.

Bail swore, and cursed his luck. The chariot had deposited him in the Burned Earth. The dreadful wasteland stretched in all directions, grey and rocky and featureless, with only the distant mountains of the Jabal Kish to break up the monotony.

The horses were goners, their backs and limbs broken and crushed beneath the shattered bulk of the chariot. Meat for vultures, and Bail would be also unless he found some shelter, food, and water. All things the Burned Earth was famous for not possessing.

Sighing, he knelt next to Asu’s body and began to search it for anything useful.”

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