I’ve gotten lots of e-mail asking for more hints about the next novel, so let me send out a couple short teasers. These are somewhat random excerpts that might be a bit dark in some cases, but I didn’t want to give away too much.
Excerpt #1: Excerpt from the Prologue – we are introduced to a very temperamental Demon Lord
In this region of the Abyss, the temperatures always bordered on freezing. Even so, the air was thick with wet mist. Malphas stared up at his master, who sat high atop his throne of blackest stone. Singeing waves of heat seemed to emanate from the Demon Lord’s skin. The repentant demon would call out to him, but he did not wish to provoke more of his master’s ire. For the time, Lord Sammael simply stared into the distance, refusing to acknowledge his general’s presence.
Finally, after what seemed like a long wait, Sammael directed his attention to Malphas. “I have learned that a new wizard has entered Trimoria,” he said without speaking. His voice, inky and coarse, erupted as if from within Malphas’s head. “You will find out how such a thing was possible.”
Malphas strode to the throne and knelt at his lord’s feet. The black scales of his knees rasped against the stone floor. At twenty feet tall, the general usually towered over his minions, but kneeling before the immense black throne made him feel utterly insignificant. Where he would normally cause all who looked upon him to cower, General Malphas found himself cowering at the feet of his master.
“But, my lord,” Malphas said in his gravelly voice, “how can that be? I thought you arranged for the purging of those who followed Seder.”
The temperature in the cold, dank chamber climbed rapidly as the Demon Lord’s rage bubbled to the surface. Lesser demons in the vicinity burst into flame, disappearing into greasy puffs of acrid smoke.
“Don’t ever mention my brother’s name again,” Sammael commanded. “I will not hear it spoken by the likes of you.”
Excerpt #2: Scene that shows one of the “bad guys” in action for this book
“Maybe if you have the money to hire two of us,” the man said darkly, “I can collect the fee and we can be done with the transaction now.”
Dominic shook his head, surprised at the sudden lucidity of his uninvited guest. “No. Bring your friend. I need to make sure you are the right people for the job.”
The man looked around the room, squinting in the dim light. Slowly, he worked his way into position between Dominic and the door. He looked much steadier on his feet now. His drunkenness had utterly disappeared, as if it had all been a ruse. He sneered conspiratorially. “You might reconsider that decision.” The man pulled a dagger from his belt and expertly flipped it. “No one would hear a thing.”
Dominic laughed as his newly acquired powers surged through him, spurred on by his fear and anger. In weaving the invisible threads of energy that crackled before him, he grabbed the intruder with an unseen force. The assassin’s dagger and mug clattered against the uneven wooden floor. Dominic stood and raised his hooked hands. In the movement, the intruder was raised from the floor by the web of power surrounding him. With a smile, Dominic flicked his wrists and slammed his captive against the wall with a wood-splintering crash.
“You know what?” he said patronizingly. “You are right, my friend. Nobody will hear anything that happens in this room.”
Dominic clenched his fist, causing the web to tighten around his captive. The man grunted at the sound of his own bones cracking. A stench permeated the room as the would-be assassin involuntarily emptied his bowels. Anger burned deliciously in Dominic as the life dripped out of his victim. The fear his victim felt was like a potent wine. It accomplished more than any amount of drinking ever could. It made him happy.
Excerpt #3: An excerpt from the Patriarch of the Riverton family talking with one of the dwarven leaders
Jared suddenly noticed the crowd that had gathered to stare at him. “Let’s go inside and have a drink.” Jared shuffled Silas back toward the bar and out of earshot of the crowd. “If I can successfully work with this ore, I want to talk more about arranging a trading agreement.”
On the threshold of the tavern, someone in the now dissipating crowd began to complain. “Bah, I thought he was going to zap the dwarf.”
“Shut up, Phineas, before he zaps you!” said another man.
Silas laughed as he held the door open for Jared. “After you, my Lord Zapper.”
“Very funny,” Jared replied dryly. “Keep it up and people will start calling you Lord Sizzlebeard.”
As they sat down at a table against the wall of the smoke-filled tavern, Silas stroked his thick red beard and smirked. “I hope you realize that I was teasing, Lord Sensitive.”
Jared rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know you were, you fuzzy-faced, ale-soaked anvil-banger. I am not particularly worried about what people say.”
“I think I am going to like working with you,” Silas said with a laugh. “Now let’s talk about what you came for.” The dwarf pulled out another chunk of the strange ore from his front pocket. “You have to understand this stuff is cursed and revered by the dwarven smiths. It is terrible to work with. Nearly impossible to melt or refine. I seriously doubt your forges can get hot enough.”
Jared smiled. “I am not worried about the heat.” He held up his hand, sending arcing filaments of sparking energy bouncing from one finger to another.
The dwarf’s eyes brightened. “Ah yes, how could I forget. If you work that demon’s metal so easily, I think you will find lots of interested dwarven smiths volunteering to help you. The metal, once refined, is extremely strong. So strong that we tend to favor it for our mining tools.”
Sorry if this was more of a tease than anything else – July is when the book is released. I hope you folks enjoy it. Lots more where that came from.