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This excerpt is from my manuscript and features a swiftly moving thunderstorm on my cast. Please don't butter up the comments. If there is something you do not like, point it out. Enjoy!
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Oh Shit, Is That...
They approached the checkpoint at the tunnels.
A man in a cotton vest stood up from his chair and held out a walking stick to prevent them. His weather worn skin had a deep tan to it. Creases pulled at the corners of his eyes and mouth. “You heading up?”
“We are,” Valence said. “We have business in Huhrdek.”
“The Dwarves be having troubles up there. Best not to disturb them.”
“He said we have business in the city,” Gerad affirmed. “Do you need our papers, or will this be enough?” He flashed the sleeve of his doublet and the guard stepped aside.
“Sorry ‘bout that. Stick to the paths.” He pointed his stick over Valence’s shoulder. “Got a storm rolling in and you don’t want it sweeping you.” He eyed Melana and Kyona next.
“They’re coming with us,” Valence said.
“You sure about that?”
“I’m tougher than most of the men in this town,” Kyona said. “We’ve got it covered.”
“Whatever, I ain’t going to stop ya.”
Valence looked back to the rumbling clouds shifting toward the mountains. They were coming from the North. From Agress. He hoped that all was well in the kingdom they had left behind. They had left the king very near the grasp of Sevestra. The thick of clouds were moving frighteningly quick, if not by nature’s doing, then by something trying to impede their advance. The grays were shifting to black. Lightning illuminated the sky through the cloud cover and thunder followed on its heels.
Melana touched Valence’s shoulder and turned him around. Her lips quirked up at the corners with an earnest expression. “We should really move if we want to beat it.”
“Right,” Valence said. The sky lit up across the expanse of the land. Something did not feel right.
Valence led them up from the town, having been given a rope by the guard before leaving. Tying themselves together, the guard had said, would prove wise. Not long after reaching the top of the path, Valence secured their bodies together at the waist. The winds ripped at them, but the first Vessel lay in only one direction. Up.
One hour into the path, the clouds opened and revealed the brunt of the storm. Torrential rains pounded at them and made the walk more treacherous. Forks of lightning spread across the sky, thunder in its wake and shaking the very body of the mountain. Pebbles slipped down the side of the vicious steeps and crushed into the watery slide their path had become.
Valence paused. He wiped his face and ran his fingers over his eyes to clear his vision. He shielded a hand over his eyes and peered out across the plains. The wind churned and changed direction.
“We need cover,” Valence yelled over the rain. “This storm is not letting up anytime soon.” Unsure if his words had reached the group tied behind him, he shouted again.
Gerad looked out from behind Melana, his hand at his ear.
“We need cover! The storm—”
A massive growl hung over them and the rain pricked more like icicles on their skin. The resonating thunder drew near and lightning shot out from the clouds.
Valence glanced up, water stinging his eyes. Thick slabs of rock broke free from the mountain. Chunk after boulder cascaded down the slopes toward them and Valence yanked the rope.
They fought to run up the watery grave of the path, but to no avail. The slabs crashed down behind Kyona and missed her.
A second deadly bolt fired at the mountain. Chains leapt from cloud to cloud, idle in their charge, and struck down. The timeless attack of the storm, fed from nature and some devious means, had found them.
Water surged down the path. A harsh tug came at his waist and nearly pulled him from his feet, but Valence gripped to a rock. He stole a glance behind him. Melana had found something to hook into, her knees slowly giving away, but Gerad and Kyona were not as fortunate. They lay in the path behind Melana, being drowned by the mud and water.
A fierce charge of lightning snapped and freed an entire portion of the mountain onto them.
Gerad yelled back, waving his hand, but Valence could not hear the warning.
Melana screamed, her cheeks flushed.
The strain on Valence’s waist was released and he watched horrified as Gerad and Kyona slid down the path. Melana shrieked and reached out, but Valence snagged her arm and pulled her to his body. The slabs of rock crashed down short of them in thick bombardments and tumbled at their friends. Melana released one final scream, her voice scratched with agony, but their friends had vanished behind the torrent of water and rocks.