First of all, I'm really, really excited to bring this eBook to you. It's a project that has been very near and dear to my heart, and I hope you'll love it just as much as I do. With that said, here's an excerpt of chapter one of Finding Hope (Warriors of Aralan book IV)!
If you liked this you can download it here.
Rhoslyn gripped her bow tightly as she raced through the forest, leaping over moss-covered logs and causing the world to whip by in a blur of brown and green. As she crested a rise in the forest floor, she paused briefly to catch her breath. There! Her fist tightened around the well-worn handle of the bow as she watched her quarry leaping nimbly down the sun-dappled hillside in front of her. Without a second thought she plunged after it.
Several minutes later she was forced to halt her helter-skelter rush and try to breathe quietly. Her prey had finally stopped its flight in a secluded hollow, ringed all around by bushes. With trembling hands Rhoslyn reached over her shoulder and drew an arrow out of the quiver strapped to her back, never taking her eyes off the magnificent creature.
The doe stood erect, ears swiveling back and forth as she tried to figure out which way the invisible menace was. Without a sound Rhoslyn nocked the arrow to her bow and drew it, forcing herself to breathe more slowly so the shot wouldn’t go awry. Carefully, taking her time so that she would be sure to kill the creature as painlessly as possible, she let her breath out in a silent sigh and relaxed the fingers holding the string.
Time seemed to slow down as Rhoslyn watched the arrow hurtle towards its target, and she felt a brief moment of sorrow for taking the animal’s life. But then she gasped. From out of nowhere a second arrow appeared, and they both pierced the doe’s heart.
The doe gave a mournful cry somewhere between a wail and a scream, and Rhoslyn shivered, but then the creature crumpled to the ground. The fourteen-year-old girl started out of the underbrush in order to examine her prize, then turned around and scanned the surrounding forest. “Bradyn, you know I saw it first!”
Grinning mischievously, Bradyn stepped out from the shrubbery not five feet from where Rhoslyn had been standing when she’d taken the shot. Over his shoulder was a bow, and the fifteen-year-old strode along jauntily, red hair standing out like fire against the surrounding greenery. “You’re getting to be too good of a hunter, I couldn’t let you steal all the glory again.”
Rhoslyn rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “Oh, right. And whose idea was it that I should learn to hunt deer?”
Bradyn knelt to examine their trophy and held up his hands, still smiling. “Fair enough. I’m just glad there’s at least one girl in the entire village that has some smarts.”
Rhoslyn began a half-hearted search of the ground behind the doe, where their arrows might possibly be imbedded. “What about my sister Aldyth? She’s the most level-headed person I know.”
“True, true,” Bradyn conceded as he slit the deer’s throat so it could bleed properly.
Rhoslyn finally gave up when she could find no trace of the arrows and joined him, pulling out her own skinning knife. Together they gutted the deer and then tied its legs to a long, sturdy branch, which they then hoisted onto their backs to carry home. The meat was for Rhoslyn’s family, and they trudged the distance back to Linfort with dogged determination.
When they finally arrived at the cottage on the edge of the small village, they were startled to hear muffled shouting from inside. They deposited their load behind the house, and took a trip to the well where they got enough water to clean up a little. When they had done that, they approached the house again.
Rhoslyn was worried. Sometimes her parents fought, but not this much. Branwen and Quintin actually got along a lot better than most couples she knew, so this made her wonder if entering the house to announce their successful hunt was a very good idea.
Bradyn also seemed worried, as evidenced by the shadow in his blue eyes and the lines of worry on his forehead. If he was concerned, she knew there was a good reason to be.
Rhoslyn stopped in front of the wooden door and took a deep breath before she turned the latch and stepped inside. Instantly she realized that the fighting was not between her mother and father, but between Quintin and… who were these people in her home? There were two grown men about the same age or older than her father, and a tall, straight young man that only seemed to be a bit older than she and Bradyn. The three strangers had squared off against Rhoslyn’s parents, although Branwen and the young man seemed to want to distance themselves from it.
“I didn’t kill your wife!” Quintin was shouting, “Darren did! So if you have nothi—” he broke off abruptly when Branwen tugged on his sleeve and nodded to the two ashen-faced young people standing in the doorway.
Rhoslyn’s father was not only tall, he was big and strong of muscle, and fittingly his favorite weapon was the battle-axe. So when he was roused it took considerable self-determination to bring himself back under control. He swallowed several times and blinked, nodding to Rhoslyn and Bradyn. “Please leave us, we’re just having a little… discussion.”
Rhoslyn nodded, turning around with a final lingering glance at the strangers in her home. To her surprise she found the young man’s icy blue-eyed gaze resting on her thoughtfully.
Unnerved, Rhoslyn turned and pushed past Bradyn to the outdoors and out of the confines of the heavy, fear and anger-laden atmosphere of her family’s home. When both friends were back to where they had left the deer, they knelt and began to skin it and cut it into pieces.
Several minutes passed in silence, and then Bradyn voiced the question that seemed loud even with no one speaking it. “What was that all about?”
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 to Jesus. Feel free to look around, and enjoy your stay!