16. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! The first three chapters are available on Kindle Scout, so here’s something different. The start of Chapter Nine.
I’ll not labour on it too much, but this is about a quarter of the way through the novel, and is the first big external conflict. Emmy, Charo and Zecha find themselves in a lot of trouble when the Masvams finally arrive…
The air filled with harrowed screams. The screeches were punctuated with booming explosions. The stinging taste of panic tainted the air like sulphur as males and females clattered along the streets, erratic as snow on the wind. Emmy watched as females of all ages and sizes gathered, armed with any weapons they could lay their claws on. Some were middle-aged with thickening waists, wielding swords from long-ago days in the King’s army. Others, who had never seen military service, grasped clubs and kitchen knives, looking no less determined. Zecha disappeared into Charber’s house and reappeared with a sweeping bow and a quiver of arrows on his back. He motioned for the other male tenants and guests to go into the house. The females were already gone.
‘You’ll be safer inside,’ Zecha said.
Mr Charber nodded and herded the rest back into the house, bustling and clucking as if they were curious children and there was nothing to worry about.
‘We need to get to the apothecary,’ Emmy said, heading towards the crowd. ‘We should gather what we can. We can escape, head for the Wailing Woods.’ She passed her claws through her fronds, ignoring Charo’s blanch at the name. ‘We might be safe there for a while, at least until this passes.’
‘Emmy,’ Zecha said, ‘we could be killed trying to make our way through the crowd.’ He jerked an elbow at the swirling maw. ‘Only the Goddess knows how many enemies are out there, whoever they are.’
‘I think we know who they are, Zecha,’ Emmy said. ‘It can only be the Masvams. They’ve come at last, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.’
Zecha paled under his dark armour and nodded, silenced by Emmy’s logic. Charo gripped Emmy’s arm.
‘You’re right, Emmy,’ she said. ‘If we stay here, we don’t stand a chance. If we try to leave, we might be safe.’
With the weight of the others’ eyes on him, Zecha relented.
‘All right,’ he said. ‘But, let’s try not to get ourselves killed.’
The sky darkened. The streets pulsed with panic and fear as the trio wound through the swirling crowds. As they reached the end of Charber’s street, the vista opened into the large space of the Circle, and Emmy’s chest tightened. From there, they could see right down to the port. Clear as glass, there were the three towering Masvam ships, silhouetted against the inky sky.