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I am here to tell you that I’m finally near reaching the end of my first edit for Heir to a Lost Sun. I have another round of edits after this one but I wanted to share my opening scene that has reached its final draft. Whether you love it or hate it, I would love to hear from you. All feed back is welcome (and yes, I know I could be opening myself up to a can of worms saying that, being that this in the internet:P).
I have learned a lot on my journey editing this book and think I’ve found a system I will use for the next book I edit. I’ll probably do an actual blog post on this experience and what I have learned and how I put it into practice and how you can do the same for your book (assuming you’re a writer), but suffice is to say, there’s a lot of opinions on the editing process out there on the internets. I know, I tried them. But in the end, you have to find what works best for you.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this excerpt and spend a moment to provide feedback so that this humble new author may learn from it:)
HEIR TO A LOST SUN
Semira watched her father Arden emerge from the gaping black mouth of the tunnel and wondered what he would think if he knew his beloved daughter meant to kill him. Liana, her younger sister, followed and they waved to her as they approached.
Arden passed his torch to Liana then held up what looked like a playing card, thin, metallic, with no discernible use. “You have been gone a month. Was it worth it?” Semira asked as they stopped in front of her.
He put the item back into its protective case. “Our Vision Dreams never told us what it does though I am confident once we learn what it is our journey will have not been for naught.”
Semira scowled as he mentioned the Vision Dreams. Like Semira, her family were Scions; heirs to the forgotten past but unlike her, they shared Vision Dreams that she never received.
They have found it. The item must be destroyed, the voice in her head raged.
The voice had first come to her after a terrible fever three years past. The best healers in Sunholm, Semira’s home village in the dark regions of the Nether, could not save her and believed she would die. She lived and as she recovered, the voice began to whisper. At first she had mistaken it for her own thoughts, but soon came to realize it was something separate from her; a mysterious presence that lurked in the inner recesses of her mind.
“What’s with the frown?” Arden asked.
Semira grimaced. She had not meant to let her father see her bitterness. “I’m glad you’ve returned, father.”
He gave her a long look then stepped forward and embraced her. “I know you’re upset at me for not taking you. It was dangerous heading that deep into the Nether and I didn’t want to endanger both my girls.”
That was not why she was angry and they both knew it. It was because Semira did not share their Vision Dreams which meant she was not one of them. That was why he did not take her. Something caressed her soul. You are special, young one. You do not need the dreams. You will save us all.
He pulled away and kissed her on the forehead. “I must leave you now and meet with the Librarians so they can study the artifact and learn what it does. We will talk later.” He patted her on the head, took back his torch then moved off toward the village.
Liana hugged her next and did not let go until Semira hugged her back. “Are you alright, sister?” Liana asked as she let her go. Semira stared at her a moment then nodded.
She hated her sister. Semira had once been her father’s favorite until Liana had her first Vision Dream. Oh, Arden loved her still, of that she was certain, but he was also disappointed in her and in time his disappointment had led her to hate him. Worse still, she despised herself most of all for being different to the other Scions and not sharing in their Vision Dreams.
“I had another dream last night. This time, no other Scion was with me,” Liana said. “It was of a woman with white hair and gray eyes. She stood on a jagged precipice above a lake of fire and wore a glorious set of shining white armor and had a metallic bird perched on her shoulder. Broken human bodies lay all around her and hideous machine beasts tore them apart. It was horrible.” Liana stepped back a few paces. “The strangest thing of all was, she looked like you.”
“Yes, but you have red hair and blue eyes.”
“What do you think it means?”
Her sister shook her head. Like most Visions Dreams, their meaning was open to interpretation. Semira jumped as an armored hand slapped her on the shoulder. “Wrynric, you scared her,” Liana said.
The old, bearded warrior laughed and embraced Semira. The feel of his chain armor on her skin was cold but comforting. “I missed you,” she murmured into his chest so only he could hear. He had been like a second father to her and was the one she once turned to for comfort, until the voice in her head had taken that role. These days he was away on patrols or scouring the Nether with her father for strange artifacts so they rarely spoke and the closeness they once shared was gone. Like many who lived in Sunholm, Wrynric was not a Scion but lived with them as part of the Covenant of the Lost Sun. Of all those she planned to kill, she thought he would be the hardest.
They must all die for they mean to destroy us all.
“I brought you something,” he said and rummaged through a pocket. “I found it in the Dead City where we found the artifact.”
The young Librarian Erinie came and stood next to him and nodded her head in greeting. Semira forced herself to be civil and nodded back. Erinie did not like her and she did not like Erinie but the least they could do was pretend they did not want to strangle one another.
Wrynric put an egg-shaped object with faded markings on it in her hand. “Screw it open,” he said.
She rotated the top half of the object until it popped off, revealing an identical shaped object inside. It was a little smaller than the one around it but had the same markings. “The next one opens too and the next. They get smaller and smaller,” Liana said.
Semira closed it and put it in her pocket. “What is it?”
Erinie gave her a lopsided grin. “I think it’s a child’s toy.”
Semira gave her a withering look and fought the urge to slap the other woman across the face. “Come on, we need to get to the Library,” Wrynric said.
“I have something I need to do first,” Semira replied. “I’ll see you all at sixteenth hour.”
They said goodbye and headed toward Sunholm. Liana lingered a moment to hug Semira again then raced after them. Semira watched them until they had disappeared through the torch-lit metal gates then spun on her heel and stormed away. She walked through two small limestone chambers filled with sharp stalagmites and passed half a dozen side tunnels before she found the one she sought. The tunnel was devoid of torchlight and slick with moisture but she was more sure footed now than the first time she had followed the directions of the voice in her head down it. She had walked it dozens of times since then and did not miss a step.
When she reached her destination, she waited. Minutes later the scuff of a boot made her aware that the man in the darkness had arrived. His voice spoke softly into her ear, “Have they found it?”
“Where are they taking it?”
“To the Library.”
There was a harsh intake of breath from somewhere behind her but she stood motionless and unafraid. Tell them you will help them. They must retrieve the item and kill the Scions. When they succeed, you will have saved us all.
“I’ll help you.”
“How will you help us, Scion?”
“Do not call me that,” Semira snapped. “I am no Scion.”
A brief pause, then, “How will you help us?”
“In two days time, I will kill the guards at the gate. When they are dead, begin your attack.”
“I need time…” She swallowed a lump in her throat, “To prepare.”
“You would betray your own?”
Semira saw red, “My own? They’re not my own. I am nothing to them. I do not share their Vision Dreams. I am no more than what stands here in the darkness before you.”
“They love you and you love them.”
They do not love you. They pity you and make fun of you behind your back. Your own mother disowned you.
What the voice in her head said was true. All of it. “I may have loved them once, but no longer.” Her voice almost broke from the effort of casting those she had lived with her whole life aside. “I will kill the guards and you will attack. Retrieve the item, whatever it is, but leave my family to me.”
The man was silent for so long she thought he had left her there then he spoke. “If you do this, there will be no going back. Do you understand?”
“I do. When they are all dead I want to join you.”
She heard laughter. Female laughter. “Who is here with you?” Semira hissed.
A torch burst to life in front of her and she covered her eyes until they adjusted to the light. Around her stood two dozen black-clad figures. All looked female except the tall one who stood six feet tall in front of her, two short swords sheathed at his waist.
“Who are you?”
“You may know us from the old tales. We are those who hunted the machine worshipers and extinguished their Sacred Lights. They think us dead but we only slumbered.”
She studied them. They reminded her of something she had been taught in one of her dry history lessons in the Library as a child. “You’re the Knives of the Divine Dwaycar.”
“Good girl. You may have a place among us if we succeed.”
You will succeed. You will stop the prophecy from coming to pass. You will save us all.
Two days later, as promised, Semira had killed the guards at the gates and watched the slaughter of those she had betrayed. She would not let herself weep for them for she had done the right thing and the pain would pass. A black-clad woman emerged from the burning village, her eyes reflecting the flames. Her gloved hand pointed toward the Library, “The survivors have fled there. Come sister, and finish what you started.”
Semira took the sword the woman offered and followed her toward the Library, the smell of burning flesh heavy in the air. It was time. Time to kill all those she once held dear. Arden, Liana, her hateful mother Meridia and the stalwart warrior Wrynric.
Remember, what you do will be for the good of us all.
“What I do, I do for myself.”