I've been working like a madman on the second book in the Chronos Ring series, and I'm happy to report that it is almost ready for prime time. For now, though, I thought I'd simply post an excerpt from the book, which I hope readers will enjoy:
Despite his explanation, Matreen just continued to look at him like he was a useless sack of rotten potatoes that she was being asked to eat.
“I find it hard to believe my father thinks you will fulfill this prophecy,” she finally said.
“Well, I’m certainly not laying claim to it, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Lotus said. “Maybe your father sees something that neither of us do.”
“I know what I saw – you almost drowning in the river, almost getting washed away, and almost getting captured by Sentinels. An auspicious start for a prophesied deliverer.”
“Hold on,” Lotus said, a little miffed. “I just said that–”
Suddenly alert, Matreen made a curt gesture with her hand, cutting him off in mid-sentence as she ducked down low. Lotus followed her example. He still hadn’t really heard or seen anything that would make him wary, but he did feel a certain amount of tension building in the air.
After tapping his shoulder to get his attention, Matreen pointed. There, about a hundred yards away, he spied something moving through the trees. After a moment, he realized what it was: an airboat, similar to the one he had seen on the river. As he watched, he noticed that it was headed in their direction, with a Sentinel guard and an Enforcer on board.
Matreen grabbed his hand and, staying low, headed to a nearby tree that was exceptionally large – maybe eight feet in diameter at the base. Once there, they hunkered down, trying to stay out of sight. Releasing his hand, Matreen let out a soft sigh of relief.
After a few seconds, she inched towards the side of the tree and ventured a glance around it. Almost immediately, Lotus saw her tense up and understood what she must be seeing.
She slid back into hiding and whispered, “It’s headed this way.”
Instinctively, Lotus did a quick assessment and realized that they were at a distinct disadvantage. They had no weapons or armor, and thus lacked any offensive or defensive capability. Their best option seemed to be staying hidden.
Matreen evidently came to the same conclusion, because – after peeking around the tree once again, she began backing up slowly and gesturing for Lotus to do the same. As the front of the airboat became visible to them, they covertly crept backwards, using the radial shape of the bole of the tree to stay out of sight.
Their plan seemed to work. As the airboat went past their hiding spot, Lotus leaned around Matreen and saw the guard on board with his back to them, standing alone in the interior of the vehicle. The man didn’t seem to have noticed them, which should have been cause for celebration. Instead, something about the situation nagged at Lotus’ brain for a few seconds, and then it came to him like a bolt from the blue.
Alone?! Lotus shouted to himself. Where was the–
Klaxons going off in his brain, Lotus spun to his rear defensively without finishing his train of thought – only to find himself immediately snatched off the ground and then slammed into the tree that had been their hiding place hard enough to knock bark off the thing.
As he slid to the ground, everything went dark.