So I haven’t mentioned this in quite a while and I admit I have not touched it for editing. I am still on the side of being worried about my editing skills, more so than my worry at my skills of story telling.
But I thought I would share a little piece of Nyssa’s tale. This is from the first chapter, though not from the beginning, just a little scene that gives some a taste of what the Shadows of Avalon stories have in their heart, celtic mythology, magic, and strong characters. It is the beginning of Nyssa’s Tale and there is so much to come after this little encounter. I cannot say how excited I am for the rest of the story to be read because I truly believe it is an amazing tale. And I hope you enjoy this little snippet, raw and unedited and begging me to give it attention.
“Aoife, Aoife, Aoife.” Tonight Nyssa did not call the words loudly, they were more of a whisper, forced from her throat as she began to get cold feet. The sun had set half an hour ago and it had taken her this long to find the courage to call the woman’s name and make her decision known.
“You have made a decision?” Aoife asked as she appeared. Though it was clear from the fact that the woman had called and the haunted look in her eyes that she had indeed made her decision and what that decision was. Aoife wondered if she had been given the choice, she did not remember and it was only an idea wondering not a passionate curiosity. She did not care one way or the other, she simply did not know the answer to the question.
“I take his death on to me and give myself to your mistress’ task.”
“The deal is made.” Aoife clapped her hands. The yard grew dark as a storm seemed to come up around it. The wind grew fierce but left the two women untouched.
Nyssa stumbled as the shrapnel exploded out of nowhere and into her body. She staggered falling hard down onto her knee, the pain of the fall inconsequential to the agony she already suffered. She lurched sideways, unable to cry out, to take it back. She had never known pain like this.
The world seemed to slow down, time ticking by so slow each moment gave her a lifetime of pain to feel and endure. Blood seemed to fill her throat and she gurgled still trying to find words to make this stop, to renege on the deal. She tried to breathe and began to drown instead as she collapsed backwards. It had taken seconds but it felt like eons had passed as she suffered.
“I forbid this.” Myrddin screamed the words into the swirling maelstrom of power that surrounded the yard. He stepped into it with no fear for himself only that he was too late. Behind him four others followed, hair and clothing whipping around them though they did not react at all. All eyes were firmly fixed on Aoife, none of them friendly looks.
“The deal has been made, the ritual begun. There is naught you can do about it.”
“The deal is forfeit, there was no full disclosure. Your mistress knows better than this. I cry foul.” Myrddin waved his palm and Nyssa froze as if he had paused her in frame and in fact that was just what he had done. “This deal is forfeit.”
“The deal is made, the payment in progress, you have no voice here.”
“I am the voice of Brighid.” Myrrdin thundered, his hand coming up to lock around Aoife’s throat. “I am the voice of truth and revelation and this deal is forfeit.”
“She still fades even with your touch brother.” Gwyn looked up feeling Nyssa’s soul wavering at war in itself; to fight or to flee. Auta moved to the ground beside Gwyn, her hands palm down moving over Nyssa’s bleeding body no more than an inch from the numerous wounds. After a moment she turned her head back up to look at Myrddin, tears in her eyes and frustration in her voice.
“I cannot heal her, the magic must be reversed.” As Auta spoke Aoife moved and threw her backwards away from the girl. A moment later Gwyn landed beside her. Aoife was not a large woman but her strength came from her mistress. It was her mistress that spoke now, Aoife’s eyes glowing a dark red as if filled with blood. Her skin had an eerie sheen of darkness to it, shadows seeming to dance across her skin.
“I have made a deal and claimed this girl as my own.” The voice which came forth from Aoife was deep with age, it had none of the frailty of the crone and all of the power and wisdom.
“We defy your claim.” Lance stepped forward to stand beside Myrddin. He was joined by Adrian and then the two women once they helped each other back to their feet.
“By what right do you think to defy me?”
“By right of power.” Myrddin called in response to the Dark One’s question. His voice echoed with his own power. “Brighid cries foul to this deal.”
“Arianrhod cries foul to this deal.” Auta slipped her hand into Myrddin’s.
“Herne of the green wood cries foul to this deal.” Lance clasped Myrddin’s hand in his own and then Gwyn’s creating a line before the Raven woman and her Mistress.
“The lord of the Hunt cries foul to this deal.” Gwyn squeezed Lance’s hand and took Adrian’s in her other.
“And Arawn cries foul to this deal. The soul of the boy is his and he will not be denied.” Adrian’s voice rumbled across the yard as the storm of power around them reached a frenzy.
“A new deal.” Auta stepped forward as her mistress spoke through her, dropping Myrddin’s hand as she moved. He almost reached for her again before he realised that the Goddess was within her. “Dark sister, a new deal then, let the girl know the truth of all things before your bargain is completed, if she still will give her soul to your keeping when she knows all then we will relent.” Auta stood toe to toe with Aoife, shoulders set strong, her face as cold and hard as the woman that she looked upon.
“You will allow me her soul if she still makes the choice, I have your word?” Aoife’s gravelly voice asked, her eyes looked to Auta first and then through to the others.
“You have my word.” Auta replied. The others added their agreement.
“Very well, show her what you wish.” Aoife stepped back away from Nyssa to the edge of the circle, her dark hair being caught up by the winds she had created and their combined power had made stronger.
Auta sagged as Arianrhod withdrew her voice once more, almost stumbled. She had never been touched by the Goddess she had pledged to before. Adrian’s arm circled her waist and kept her standing as Myrddin dropped Lance’s hand and moved to Nyssa’s side, pausing only for a moment in hesitation about going to Auta’s side. He knew how she would be feeling right now but Adrian would tend to her, Myrddin had another task. He placed his hand upon Nyssa’s brow down on one knee at her side.
“Truly I am sorry for this.” He murmured the words so she would know even if she could not hear them and truly he was very sorry for the truth he must give her as he had given painful truths to so many before her. The truth was often more painful than a lie but in the long run one hoped became the lesser of the two evils. He closed his eyes and let his spirit mingle with hers, the power of Brighid and let her see the truth of the man that she was ready to die for. He did not pick what Nyssa saw, that was not his place. But he saw the scene play out just as she did and he felt her heart break.
Wesley’s arms framed the woman’s head as he moved above her, his lips brushing against hers as she writhed beneath him, her body moving to match his thrusts. It could have been any time at all but Nyssa knew it to be recent, his arm bore the tattoo he had gotten a week before he had shipped out. A star, he said because she was his shining star to always follow home. The woman’s fingertip traced it and somehow Nyssa just knew that she had been told the same thing. They moved together as two very familiar with each other. All the illusions of love and happiness fell away. Nyssa wanted to beg for this to be a trick to stop the deal but she knew it was truth. The knowledge broke her heart, she had been willing to give everything for this man, literally give up herself to let him live. And for what so he could use more women the way he was using this woman, the way he had used Nyssa, so he could lie and cheat and the gods only knew what else.
“No deal!” Nyssa roared the words in her mind and the vision fell away. She was back in her body, the pain still real and overwhelming.