Excerpt from my NaNovel….

I take my 300 where I can get them. The following not quite supposed to make sense outside the context of the novel. Nevertheless… behold.

Moonlight spilled through the shredded drapery, which fluttered softly in the autumnal breeze, casting long, wavering shadows across the floor and over the motionless figure of the king, like avaricious fingers attempting to pull the corpse into the black.

Gideon stifled a bitter curse and settled for a sigh of resignation as he pulled his hand from the rapidly-cooling body. They were too late.

“Blood and sand; if that idiot had just listened, he’d be alive right now!” Jaster growled quietly.

“There’s nothing we can do here now. The counter-revolution must learn of this immediately if they’re going to react in time to prevent all-out war.” Gideon replied in a low, steady voice.

Jaster nodded. “Shall I arrange a messenger?”

“No. News of this nature demands a more personal touch. I think it’s time for the counter-revolutionaries to meet their benefactor, don’t you?” Something faint and warm reflected in his tone as Gideon stood and strode to the window, examining the ledge outside. It was no more than two hands in width and was slightly longer than the window was wide. However, the hall was as old as the kingdom itself and built of stones that had weathered the ravages of nature and time itself. The gaps between the stones were enough to form rough handholds… if the climber in question feared neither heights nor unfamiliar surface and could make a vertical descent of four stories in the dark. If, for example, they happened to have earned their living scaling masts and climbing ratlines sailing for the Pirate King.

Whether he was reading Gideon’s mind or reacting to his comment, Jaster’s reply was the same: “You’re insane.”

Gideon attempted a grim smile as he brushed away some of the larger shards and then tugged his gloves off with his teeth and tucked them inside his cloak. “Follow me, and mind the glass.”

With that, Gideon stepped onto the ledge, turned around to face the inside of the hall, then crouched and began to lower himself down.

Jaster swallowed a moan, his eyes flitting to the door as if hoping the guards would catch them before he had to follow through with this ludicrous plan. When none appeared, the younger man slunk to the window sill and looked down to see Gideon deftly and carefully picking his way down the wall, strong weathered hands finding impossible holds and ledges in what appeared to be flat stone.

Jaster, of course, was not a novice in scaling buildings. It simply wasn’t his preferred method of transportation – especially with the situation so dire.

Nevertheless, he took a deep, steadying breath, squared his shoulders, made his way out onto the ledge and began to climb. Jaster was particularly careful as he lowered himself down, because no matter how good a climber Gideon was, both of them would be in trouble if he lost his grip and began to slip down the wall.

Toes seeking firm footing, Jaster flattened himself against the wall and with quick, measured glances that allowed himself to see the next ledge down, yet not all the way to the ground, he descended hand by hand. His shoulders ached in protest and his fingers began to numb against the stone. What had been a pleasant breeze from inside the hall was a piercing wind outside. Suppressing a potentially fatal shiver, Jaster focused instead on mechanically forcing his limbs to go where they needed to return him to solid ground in one piece.

At long last, his feet reached out and kissed the dirt instead of unfeeling stone. Jaster fell back in relief, laying on the ground a moment to savour the sweet feeling of earth beneath him.

However amused he might have been, the older man nudged him in the side with his foot. “On your feet, Jaster. If you thought that was tough, we have a long ways to go yet.”

The redhead swallowed a groan and peeled himself from the ground. Swift as shadows, they fled to their waiting mounts and began racing the dawn as it broke over the Western capitol.

The king was dead.



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