I'm almost done! I have one final scene to write and then off to my critique partners for their eagle eyes!
I can't tell you how long I searched on the internet for a handsome picture of a bard! They're all cutesy, old, or dorky. But not this one. This is what my bard looks like:
Bard by ~mythicalfanclub on deviantART
Here is an excerpt from the story. This happens right after their village is attacked by a fire drake.
..."When I climbed out my window, I entered complete darkness and skin biting cold. Smoke from the dying fires blackened the sky, obstructing the moon and stars. I fumbled down the trellis and picked my way through the dimly lit streets, catching light from the late night candles flickering in the windows of the few houses left standing.
Kicking my way through piles of burnt wood and broken glass, I traveled through the sleeping village. Still warm, the ash singed the bottom of my boots. I risked melting the leather soles, but the drake attacked three times since the last full moon and I didn’t doubt that it would return soon. I needed to take the most direct path if I was to reach the House of Song by the first rays of morning light.
The forest whispered a warning to me as I passed and I blocked the thought of wolves. I’d picked up a fallen soldier’s blackened sword from the rubbish and I carried it as a reassurance against the pack. I was three years older since my last dealing with the bright eyed beasts and had grown from a plump girl into a lady with a lengthy reach and extended gait. The thought of their ridged backs and thick fur shouldn’t have frightened me anymore, but it did.
An owl hooted from the bows of the evergreens and I continued my silent trek. The more steps I took, the more I doubted that he would come back with me at all. My idea became increasingly ridiculous the farther I traveled and I wondered if I’d gone mad. Distant howls careened from where I’d trespassed. It was too late to go back.
I took off into a sprint, branches whipping at my face. I caught the gleam of a silver eye in the shadows and I panicked, running too fast to carve a decent route through the underbrush. My sweater snagged and I tripped and fell. My head whipped around, but no paws climbed upon me. I was alone in a clearing. I’d climbed high enough to rise above the village smog and the moon shone down, illuminating my path. The sky was a slate expanse, twilight verging on morning dawn.
Out of the distance, I heard a deep humming, a droning bass that rumbled my stomach. I knew the wolves would come no further. I was in the music’s realm.
Picking my bruised body up, I jogged toward the sound.
Deep within Ravenwood, on the crest of a hilltop, stood the House of Song. It sprawled from the earth and trees like it was carved from nature itself, its cast iron gates threaded with ivy and periwinkle and smooth stone towers mirroring the treetops. The humming grew louder, as if they were aware of my presence and I held my breath as I opened the gate.
A melody, sweet as a lullaby in summertime drifted up and soothed my fast beating heart. I followed the sound though a rose garden with a mossy fountain gurgling in the center. Summoning courage, I called out my lost love’s name, “Arlen Gray.”
A shadow moved at the far end of the garden and a man emerged from the roses.
“I knew you would come.”
Just as I’d grown fair and lithe in the last three years, so had he. Standing a foot taller than I remembered, and leaner as well, he wore a tailored cloak of indigo, covering a tight fitting leather tunic and high boots with silver buckles. His hair fell in a swish of ebony, tapering off around high cheekbones with eyes of sparkling blue. A lute was tied to his back, the bridge carved in wooden swirls. He’d done well for himself. He was a vision of strength and grace and here I was, standing raggedy and bloodied at his footsteps with ash and soot in my golden hair.
“We need your help.”..."
I'm so excited to finish and send it in. This anthology tracks all of the submissions and you can see how many they've chosen and how many they are considering, so it will be neat to watch how it develops.