05/19/2013 Post (about midway through the 1st chapter – the following ones are sequential unless noted): He reached the edge of the field and halted in shock. A gray-haired female with a sword fought his three newest guardsmen. They had always been the best in their weapons classes—only the arms master or himself were able to defeat the three consistently.
About to command a halt to the three-against-one fight, he changed his mind. Even though the men topped her by a head and had a longer reach, the female held her own without breathing hard. He folded arms across his chest and stifled a smile.
She would give a Guardian-trained swordsman a challenge! Clovis moved around the outside of the practice ring for a better view. His lads didn’t have a chance.
05/26/2013 Post: He wasn’t sure if he could best her. They had maneuvered her so the sun shined in her eyes, but she still out-fought them. Each of the men bore several gashes on their uniforms, although none were bleeding. She’s holding her strokes! Clovis scratched his chin, hiding his smile.
The last time he’d seen anyone with such skill had been fifteen years before, during the Battle of Stryker Pass when the Rangers came to help the remnants of Galdona’s army stop the barbarian advance. Their leader, Ranger Dryn, was a mage and took command of the defenses. Could it be?
06/02/2013 Post: This woman executed the fighting forms Wind over Water, Song of the Wolves and Dance of the Plains, with such speed and skill, even though he knew what came next, Clovis had difficulty following the flash of her blade. The movements disarmed red-headed Jace and brought her close enough for her sword-hilt to land solidly against his skull. A kick to the mid-section doubled Ryne over, and flipped his long blond hair over his eyes. She followed through with a dagger-butt to his head. He sent a puff of dust skyward as he sprawled on the ground. A quick pivot put her face to face with Vane, a light danced and flashed across Clovis’ view, blinding him.
06/09/2013 Post: When the flickering ceased, the woman lowered her left shoulder, luring Vane closer in anticipation of her next move. Instead of the expected, she dropped her sword and strode forward, inside his guard, and slammed a fist into his square jaw with a crack even Clovis heard. Her last opponent collapsed like a felled tree.
Bystanders groaned and muttered.
The woman bent to retrieve her weapon, and a star-shaped pendant on a silver-blue chain swung free of her tunic, sparkling and flickering in the fading rays of the setting sun. Recognizing the source of the light he had seen during the fight, Clovis’ gaze flew to her face. He stepped forward, the familiar scent of lilacs, Dryn’s tell-tale, wafting past him. “Dryn, you old battleaxe, it is you! How the blazes are you?”
06/16/2013 Post: His welcome became a grunt when he jerked back and attempted to dodge her swing—knowing the minute her blade moved, his reaction would be too slow. The tingle of her magic shielded his neck from the sharp blade, and he gasped in relief.
“Clovis, you’re still the same blunder-head you were fifteen years ago. Never, ever distract me when I’m in a sword fight unless you want to part with a piece of your body. Remember, the fight is not finished until the victor’s weapon is sheathed, or everyone is dead.” Dryn rammed her sword home in its scabbard.
“Blunder-head? You weren’t calling me that back then,” Clovis objected.
06/23/2013 Post (skips to 2nd chapter): The unease sparked by Elion’s visit had intensified while Kai slept, reaching a point where his stomach roiled with fear. With a quiet sigh, he kissed Alyssa’s forehead, grateful she remained asleep. Donning his trousers, tunic, and pulling on soft ankle high boots, Kai stoked the fire to banish the chill of the night, and hoped the absence of his body heat wouldn’t wake his wife.
On his way to the tower, he extended his perception and touched the minds sleeping nearest: his children and grandchildren–all rested peacefully. Broadening his search, he touched the minds of servants, the sleeping guards below, and sensed the alert ease of those patrolling the wall. Nowhere did he discern alarm or hostile intent. With a relieved sigh, he ruled out an attack against Wolfwatch. That knowledge did nothing to soothe his feelings, quiet his stomach, or slow his pace.