Apostle of Asphodel--Coming Friday!



Well, The Asphodel Cycle is almost completed. *sniff* Tamsen and Brial's story is coming to an end. *sniff* So here's a little bit of a teaser to get you guys ready! You can read an excerpt at both my website and at the Aspen Mountain Press website. But for those of you who follow ye olde blog, here's a special snippet just for you.

The Asphodel Cycle 4: Apostle of Asphodel

Coming July 3, 2009 from Aspen Mountain Press!


***


Brial had tumbled out of the way when the severed head fell to the floor. He ran to join Wilden, who was chopping away at the snake’s midsection. The two mages showered fire down upon the beast, keeping up a steady barrage of magical attack.


Rage boiled up within me once more. I could taste it, fiery and caustic against my tongue, as I watched my loved ones battle against this cursed beast of the underworld. It was only a matter of time before someone was hurt or killed in this fight.

Lamashtu sets her traps well. She knows only too well what the death of any of these would mean to me, or what my own death would mean to the world of the Elves.


Rage consumed me, twisting in my soul like a living thing, until my hands shook with fury.

At that moment, the snake’s huge clawed hand swiped along the floor, upending all four warriors with a massive blow. The remaining heads shrieked triumphantly as the hands reached for the closest prostrate form.


Brial.

My vision dimmed as if someone had dropped a veil over my face. The magic soared gloriously from the pores of my skin to shimmer like an aura of silver in the blackness of the cavern. The magic had never felt like this before.


Always before, it felt different from me, a separate and distinct area where I could sometimes go. Now, it felt like part of me, a living part of me like my skin or my hands but with a mind of its own. I felt its connection to my mind and my soul, feeding from my fury as it flew from every particle of my body. A light hum sounded, building as it drew strength, and the snake turned its heads to me, distracted.

Within seconds, the magic had control of me. Everything was obscured through some strange mist. I did not care.


This was a new Tamsen, neither the half-human Countess nor the half-Elven Queen. I was a scion of the magic, a daughter of the power granted and tended by the Virgin Huntress, who confronted one of the dreaded denizens of the earth with a fury tempered by cold decision. I raised my hands and with a thought lifted everyone back to the other side and safety. Deprived of its prey, the monster bellowed in rage, the four heads thrown back as they howled at the ceiling.

“Tamsen! No!” Brial shouted. He struggled with Anner and Wilden, clawing to get back to the higher plateau of the temple cavern.


My gaze returned to the infuriated monster stomping toward me, its heads snarling and dripping acidic saliva, the huge claws twitching as if preparing to rip me in two. I let it approach while the magic simmered within me, telling me without words that it was almost time.

The creature stood over me. As the mighty hands dove down to hook me, the magic swelled.


The low hum escalated into a deafening roar as the power within me rushed out in a flood. The monster stopped, its heads reared back in surprise.

The magic I bore swarmed from my hand, flying at the monster with a whoosh.


The bolt of energy impaled the great snake at the base of its necks, shearing a hole through scales, flesh, and bone. Blood and venom exploded from the gaping wound, raining down upon the already slick floor with a sick splattering sound.

The monster screamed once; the terrible sound echoed from the vaulted cavern with a reverberating cadence that sent more loose rocks tumbling into the pit far below. It fell backward, one clawed hand tearing desperately at the massive statue. With a grinding sound of ripping rock, the great figure of Lamashtu sheared away from the obsidian walls, following the snake to the floor where it exploded with flying shards of stone. The creature writhed once or twice more, before succumbing to the mortal wound the magic dealt it.


I stood over the body of my fallen enemy, the magic subsiding into the well of power within me. Slowly, the veil faded from my eyes until my vision was once again clear and unobstructed. The corrosive venom was beginning its work on the statue, and I watched as the form and features of the seven-named witch goddess melted into a puddle of indistinguishable sludge on the floor.
I turned then to regard the stunned faces that peered at me from the opposite plateau. In the last seconds before the magic ebbed from me completely, I heard myself say, “So thus shall all the abominations fall when the power of the apostolate is unleashed.”

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