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Excerpt from Sword of Neamha

My first novel, Sword of Neamha, was published this past week as an e-book on Smashwords. You can enjoy an excerpt now. 🙂

I did not see Aneirin moc Cunobelin until the next morning, when his horsemen came streaming back into the palisade along with the rays of the dawning sun.                 He dismounted, taking off his blood-stained helmet to reveal a tired face sweaty even in the cold morning air of ogrosan.                 “I owed you much before this last night, Cadwalador. Now I owe you more than I can ever repay. The lives of my wife, my sons, for all this am I indebted unto you.”                 He grasped my hand fiercely, tears shining in his dark eyes, his words embarrassing me. “I did not do it for your sake, my lord,” I replied with honesty. “I did it for my daughter’s sake, for the sake of my last link to the wife I lost those years ago.”                 “Why you did it matters not, Cadwalador. The deed itself is all that concerns me. Thank you.”                 I looked across the square at Faran. It had been nearly a year since I had seen her, and the changes in her saddened me, at the thought of what I had missed. She was well past her seventh birthday now, maturing more with every passing day. And she still remembered my face. That was enough.                 “Have you seen Margeria?” Aneirin asked, glancing once again in my direction.                 “Nay, my lord,” I replied. “Has she not come down to welcome you home?”                 He shook his head soberly. “No. I must go assure myself of her safety. Fare thee well, my friend.”                 It was two weeks after our slaughter of the Casse in the plains before Attuaca, that a lone horseman came riding into the town. I recognized him immediately as he reined up his horse in the square. It was Ivomagos moc Baeren, the emissary Aneirin had sent to Barae, High King of the Casse.                 He looked at me as he dismounted. “Take me to Aneirin,” he said soberly. I nodded, leading him into the palace of Attuaca. The Vergobret met us there.                 “What news do you bring?” Aneirin demanded, his voice anxious.                 Ivomagos remained silent, stripping off his cloak and casting it onto the stone floor. He turned away from us wordlessly, revealing a back that had been flogged with a whip, the flesh scored into fiery welts and blisters of clotted blood.                 “He ordered me whipped,” he whispered, his voice a low hiss.                 “What?” I heard Aneirin gasp.                 “I was scourged by order of Barae!” Ivomagos hissed out. “He said that there could never be peace between us.”                 He reached into his baggage and pulled out a long, finely-crafted sword. “Barae told me also to give you this, my lord. He said to be sure and keep it sharp, for the day when he comes to meet you draweth nigh. . .”
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