Today, I present to you the very first excerpt from Nevermor! This has been edited a little, but not a lot, so go easy on me. Think of this as a teaser trailer, if you will. I’m not going to be too liberal with these excerpts, but I do want to give you a taste and hopefully you’ll be as excited as I am about it. =)
Read on and meet your main characters! (This is not the beginning of the story, but a section from within – just so that’s clear.)
Except from the upcoming novel Nevermor
Copyright Lani Lenore 2012
Wren was imagining the gentle sound of waves on a shore, rocking her to sleep. It was peaceful for a while with the water sighing as it rose up beautifully and collapsed on itself, but as she continued to listen, the wind became a roar in her ears, whipping around her in curling gusts. There was a sound of thunder in the distance, grumbling lowly in the heavens, and she knew that a storm was not far away.
She woke up with her face in the sand and her gown feeling damp around her legs. This sensation was new. Tiny grains stuck to her face, and she passed her fingers over it to brush off the grit, and then sat up with a start, blinking to focus on her surroundings. It was night; the moon was enormous above her, taking up most of the space in the sky.
Where am I?
Wren was certain that she’d fallen asleep in her bed at the home. How could she have woken at the beach? She hadn’t even been to the ocean in years – not since she was very young, and certainly before her parents had cast her off.
I must be dreaming. Yet everything around her had such vibrant life. The waves were tossing on the sea which stretched out for miles ahead of her. She could smell the salt, feel the bite of the wind nipping at her. Wren shivered, rubbing her bare arms to generate heat. The moon’s eerie blue glow covered everything, allowing her to see down the shoreline without need of a lantern.
She looked around, down the beach, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else, and she might have scolded herself for being out in the middle of the night. The beach was empty – with good reason – and she was alone…
Then she heard it – the familiar sound of the reeds playing that haunting melody. It was closer now than it had ever been before, and she knew it was the same song she had been hearing in her sleep for the past two nights. It was calling her nearer to it, and how could she disobey now that it had brought her this far?
Wren began to walk down the shoreline, her bare feet pressing into the firm, wet sand. The eerie notes of the flute drew her closer until she saw the dark silhouette of some precarious boulders, topped by a small glowing light that drifted to and fro like fire flickering in the wind. She felt that she had seen that light before.
That was when she saw him for the first time. He was only a dark shadow sitting atop the rocks, but she knew that the he was the source of the music. When the song stopped, she knew he had seen her too.
He slid down and landed on the sand so agilely that she didn’t hear any disturbance when his feet touched down. He approached her in the moonlight, and as he did, she was gradually able to make him out.
Who is he? She wondered and yet, while she was wary of strangers, she could not help going nearer to him. Maybe he could help her. He could at least tell her where she was so she could get back to the home.
They stopped a few feet from each other, and she saw that he was around her age, and was only a little taller. His face was hidden partially by a hood, and as Wren looked him over, she realized how unusually he was dressed.
He was in doeskin pants and dark leather boots that reached to his knees, but strangest of all was his long coat that was made entirely of waxy leaves, sewn together in rows. The hood was of leaves as well, the points jutting out around his face like sharp teeth. The coat came down in a V toward his waist, and he wasn’t wearing a shirt underneath.
Wren nearly blushed to see the flesh of his bare chest, firm and strong, but she was much too fascinated by him to look away in embarrassment. Before she was able to look back at his hidden face, however, she saw the sword at his hip, lashed to a belt of vines. She was startled by that, and instinctively took a step back.
“Please don’t hurt me,” she said, holding up her hands as if to show that she was unarmed. “I have nothing.”
He didn’t respond immediately and she found herself wondering if he even spoke English. Clearly, he was not from the city. He looked positively wild! She determined to herself that this was what he was – a wild boy – though how this could be so with the gray city spanning so far, she couldn’t say. Would a boy like this even know how to speak? Wren wondered these things, but she got her answer when he shook his head, still giving her a hard stare.
“I couldn’t hurt you if I wanted to,” he said as if she should have known it. “You’re not really here.”
“Look,” he said, pointing at the ground. She looked where he directed her but didn’t understand what he was showing her at first. All she saw was his long shadow, stretched across the sand beneath the light of the moon – but it was alone.
I don’t have a shadow, she realized. It was true. His was there and, since she was standing in front of him, hers should have been there too, but there was nothing. Wren looked all around herself, but there was no shadow to be found.
“They don’t attach themselves to the dreamers,” he said.
“They…what?” His words were so ridiculous that she didn’t understand them. She felt she should correct him. “Shadows don’t attach to things. They are already attached.”
Clearly she thought that she knew more than he did about this, but he didn’t back down.
“That is a Mimic,” he corrected her, pointing at his shadow, which didn’t move – except as he moved. “It’s an imp that attaches to a host.”
He said it so matter-of-factly that she had trouble doubting him.
“Is it dangerous?” she asked dumbly, silently hoping that he was right about one not seeking her out.
“No,” he told her. “It’s just damned annoying sometimes.”
He looked at her accusingly, and she got the impression that he was talking about her instead of the shadow. Was she getting on his nerves? But she hadn’t done anything.
“Well, I’m glad I don’t have one then,” she said, her nose in the air. Who did he think he was, insulting her like that? They had only just met.
They stared at each other for a few moments in silence, but Wren was not ready to back down from this. He didn’t seem to know how to take what she said, so he laughed.
“You’re funny,” he said, but that only insulted her more.
As she was preparing her argument, he pulled back his hood to scratch his head, thus revealing himself to her. She could see his face clearly now, and this did not help her choice to be angry with him, for she hadn’t failed to notice that he was handsome – in an unkempt sort of way.
His hair was lightened by the sun, untamed and windblown, cut at several different lengths and sticking up all over. There were two streaks of red paint – at least she perceived it to be paint – trailing from his cheekbone and disappearing somewhere between his smooth chin and the square of his jaw. She could see now that his eyes were blue, set in a tan face, and in his amusement, he was smiling attractively at her with surprisingly nice teeth.
There was something about that grin that made her almost forget who she was. She had to try very hard not to smile back.
“If I’m not here, then what am I?” she demanded to know, holding her ground. “You said ‘dreamer’…”
“This is your dream self,” he explained. “You made it past the sea of dreams to find this place, but your body isn’t really here. You can see Nevermor, but you don’t belong in it.”
Nevermor? Was that what this place was called?
“Nevermore?” she asked, for that was what she assumed it to be.
“My home,” he said, holding out his arms as if to present it to her. “It’s the place where dreams go.”
Wren thought all this was very unusual. She knew she was certainly dreaming now.
“I didn’t expect to find someone like you,” he mused thoughtfully, pacing across the sand. “It’s very strange.”
“Who are you?” she asked him. Shouldn’t he have introduced himself by now?
He turned back to her, frozen for a moment as if that was a forbidden question that she shouldn’t have asked.
“I don’t have a name,” he told her. Wren wasn’t sure why, but she thought he looked a bit confused by her question. Was it that difficult?
“Well, they must call you something,” she insisted.
“You know them?” he asked her suddenly, but she didn’t understand.
“Never mind,” he said with a shake of his head. He laughed again and Wren didn’t know why he was amused.
“They call me the Rifter,” he answered finally. “That’s all.”
….Ta-da! It’s really not much in the long-run, I know, but it’s a nice little glimpse into the story, and you get to see the characters.
What do you think? Did this help you feel better about the names and let you see them as new (but similar) characters? Feel free to comment on what you read. =)
There is still a lot more story to go, but as far as progress, I have passed 28,000 words, so I’ve put a nice dent in it. Still pressing on!
*Please do not take this text and use it anywhere else without my permission, though do feel free to share the page or reblog it if you’d like.*