Here's a special excerpt from my eBook A Light in the Shadows. This is fifth book in the Warriors of Aralan series, and is available for download off Amazon. I hope you enjoy!
Several agonizing hours passed, largely in silence. Allister worked to loosen the ropes around his wrists, but each time he thought he was making progress one of the slavers noticed and tied them tighter.
Despite this, Allister kept trying until they came in sight of an imposing wooden stronghold. The building material alone made it unusual. The four walls consisted of logs made to stand on end and sharpened at the tops to keep others out and the slaves in. When they drew near, the lead slaver hailed the men in the guard houses on either side of the enormous gate, and they were granted entrance.
As they passed through the gates, Allister heard them close with a shuddering bang, and fear swept over him anew. They were trapped! All around the interior of the stronghold men and women slaves hurried on their errands, filthy and tired. On both sides of the compound were two long, low buildings built much like the stone cottages in the rest of Aralan, except that Allister knew they weren’t cottages. The sounds of blacksmithing came from inside of one, and the many windows in both shimmered with heat.
He didn’t have long to figure out what the buildings were for before he, Rhoslyn and Bradyn were hurried towards a yawning black hole in the ground. It must be the entrance to the tunnels the men had talked about.
Suddenly Rhoslyn appeared to faint.
Allister couldn’t believe it. Rhoslyn had never been one for fainting, so why would she start now? Suddenly he caught the slow grin spreading on Bradyn’s face, and he understood. Rhoslyn hoped to trick them into thinking she had died long enough to be disposed of outside the stronghold, where she could escape and get help.
The next instant his hopes were dashed when one of the slave traders gave Rhoslyn a savage kick, causing her to gasp in pain and open her eyes. “C’mon, get up,” the slaver growled, “We haven’t got all day. It’s not the first time someone’s tried that trick.”
Feeling like the situation was more hopeless than ever, the three were made to march into the entrance of the tunnels.
Fear deeper than any Rhoslyn had ever known nearly paralyzed her feet when she stepped into the cool darkness of the tunnels, and she flinched when a hard-looking man materialized out of the gloom.
“More slaves to work in the tunnels,” the lead slaver announced.
“Good, good,” the man murmured approvingly, circling the three. Finally he stopped in front of them, stroking his short beard in thought. “The girl can help the other women load the wheelbarrows with Pretiosum ore down Tunnel Three, and the red-head can take carts to the surface. As for this one…”
Rhoslyn watched Allister stand tall and gaze back at the man, steely-eyed. Suddenly Rhoslyn’s fear drained away to be replaced by a startling rush of outrage. How dare these men call them slaves. How dare they pin a human being’s value to a number of coins. How dare they treat them like livestock, with no hearts, no feelings, no hopes and dreams!
Before Rhoslyn quite knew what she was doing, she had thrown herself at the man and begun kicking and biting. He fell back under the onslaught with a shout of surprised pain, but seconds later three of the four original slavers seized her and threw her against the opposite wall where she huddled, feeling empty and cold.
The man wiped blood off his lip where she had made it bleed, trembling with wrath. He grabbed a coiled whip off a small table against the side of the tunnel, and began unwinding it with startling rapidity. “I’ll teach you a lesson you won’t soon forget!” he hissed, eyes flashing with rage.
Rhoslyn sucked in a sharp breath, an image of Allister’s back after he had been whipped darting through her mind. The stripes had been an awful red, and still painful over a week after he had gotten them. Anger gone, she could only feel distress.
“Hold her over here,” the slave master’s order snapped like the crack of the whip he was about to wield.
Allister stepped in front of Rhoslyn, and though she could see his hands trembling, his stance and the set of his shoulders suffered no argument.
The slavers stopped in surprise, waiting to see what the command of their better would be. The man slowly lowered his whip, eyebrows raised. “No?” he echoed, adding a menacing note to the simple word.
Allister lifted his chin a little higher, and though Rhoslyn couldn’t see his face, she knew he was looking the man in the eye. “I won’t let you,” he answered levelly, though at the end his voice caught.
“Really? Now that’s interesting, I thought you were a slave.” The man’s surprise had disappeared, and a controlled desire to harm another permeated his attitude.
Allister made no reply, only stood his ground and maintained a lifted chin.
The man’s next command sounded harsh, like iron being pounded into a sword. “Hold him still. These noble hearts will be taught a better lesson if he’s whipped for her transgression.”
Rhoslyn was stunned when they seized Allister and turned him around to face her. Their eyes locked, and despite the relevant darkness Rhoslyn saw a single tear slide down his cheek.
Rhoslyn wanted to cry out how sorry she was, but something in his eyes kept her mouth shut. He had known what the consequence of his rebellion was going to be the moment he set foot in front of her. She had no right to say anything—he was paying her debt. But that still didn’t keep a whimper from finding its way out of her throat.
Welcome to Katelyn Buxton Books! I'm a Christian author and blogger, with a passion for writing stories that are not just enjoyable, but also lead people closer to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!