Hi friends! Just wanted to make a quick announcement. I’ve finally set the release date for “Duck, Duck, Noose” (Bitter Ashes #4). Drumroll please….February 16th! Okay, so yeah, that’s only ten days from now. I’m not a great planner. Anywho, here’s a little chapter one teaser, written from Sophie’s view (she gets a few little scenes all to herself in this one):
“Are you telling me I’m stuck here with you?” Sophie growled.
James frowned. “I’m telling you that everyone else has disappeared. Those creatures are standing in there like statues, just waiting. They won’t talk to me.”
“The Norns,” Sophie mumbled as she rose to her feet. Whatever the Norns had done had knocked her to the ground. By the time she’d regained enough composure to look behind her, Alaric and Madeline were gone. As far as James was saying, Mikael was gone too, leaving her only the silent creatures to question.
“What do we do now?” James asked, sounding frightened. Sophie hated hearing that tone in his voice. She’d take the overly-confident, easy-to-hate James any day of the week. He stood tall, well muscled, and imposing, even with his golden, angelic hair. At one point he had lived up to his looks, despite the angelic part. An angel of sadistic destruction perhaps.
Sophie strode confidently back into the room with the Norns, flipping her long, black hair over her shoulder, trying to hide the fact that she didn’t feel entirely steady on her feet. She walked up to the nearest creature, one with little goat horns poking out of her head. The Norn didn’t acknowledge her in the slightest.
Sophie jumped up and down, waving her hand in the air in front of the Norn’s face as James joined her.
“I already tried,” he explained. “It’s like they don’t see us at all.”
Sophie grunted in frustration, then a thought came to her. “Aila,” she purred, knowing she would likely get far more information out of the blonde Viking than she would the Norns. Without a word she left the room, then began walking toward the entrance of the Salr. Aila was Mikael’s number two, and Sophie had no doubt he’d shared his plans with her.
James had to jog to catch up to her side. “But she went with the others. How will we find her?”
Not looking at him, Sophie raised a finger to tap her nose. “That won’t be an issue.”
James suddenly stopped walking.
Feeling increasingly irritated, Sophie spun on her heel to meet his astonished gaze.
“You’re going to sniff her out?” he asked incredulously.
Sophie sighed, then turned to start walking again. The old James would have been useful in this situation. The new James was little more than dead weight. Maybe if she hit him over the head again, he’d regain his memory. If it didn’t work, well, it would still be satisfying.
She reached the entrance of the Salr, and stared at a solid dirt wall. She shrugged, then pushed her fingers against the dirt, hoping that this entrance was somewhat like the magical vines back in Estus’ Salr. She held her breath as her finger sunk right through the wall. Next went her arm, and soon her entire body was encased in the earth. She had a panicked moment where she felt like she couldn’t breathe, then she was lying on her back above ground, bathed in soft moonlight. A moment later, James rose up beside her.
Sophie was up in the blink of an eye, stalking off into the darkness with James trailing behind her. She’d find Aila, and she’d make her guide her to wherever Alaric had gone. For the past five hundred years, she and Alaric had always saved each other. She wasn’t about to let him down now.