Still fiddling with the last minute bits and bobs: the map has been sorted, the acknowledgements are done. But the back cover blurb is still being tweaked, as is a ‘teaser’ for Book 2.
Book 2 starts 15 years after Book 1 ends. This is what I have chosen (I think):
The story continues.
Silvana – The Turning
Fabiom travelled on foot, for he could make better speed than with the donkey cart, yet Fairwater had never seemed so far away. It rained incessantly. The two nights it took to make the journey he passed in roadside taverns, pausing only long enough to get some sleep and dry his clothes. He ate on the move; walked, ran, walked, ran. Eventually the river widened into the estuary that led into the sea.
Set atop the highest hill, built all in white marble, the royal palace overlooked the shining city – though Fabiom had neither time nor inclination to be awed by the splendour. He went up to the palace immediately and requested an audience with Prince Ravik, even as he rinsed his hands in the red marble basin of the palace heart room.
Ravik was entertaining a diplomatic delegation from Malandel who had arrived only that day, but he left them and came to meet Fabiom in a small comfortable ante-chamber.
“Fabiom! This is a pleasant surprise. More pleasant than the other surprises I’ve had sprung on me today, for certain! There’s new trouble brewing in Gerik, I fear, or so my sources tell me. But – something’s wrong. What is it, my friend?”
“What sort of trouble?” Fabiom demanded. “I’m sorry, my lord, I forget myself. It’s just . . . no, I must know. What trouble?”
“Rebel forces are massing, even in the towns. Robstrom’s name is being spoken openly once more. There is talk of a new order, even if it must be achieved by civil war. That’s what I have heard. Now, tell me what has brought you here, Fabiom.”
Ravik had sat down and he watched Fabiom pacing towards the window, to stare down onto the city and out to the ocean beyond.
“Lesandor is in Gerik. I can’t believe, no, I don’t believe you sent him there. Yet he was given no option. He sailed from Windwood, with your youngest son.” Fabiom turned to look at his prince. “His mother fears for his safety. Gerik – Gerik could destroy him.”
The colour had drained from Ravik’s face and briefly he covered his eyes. “I know that!” he hissed. “It isn’t even my venture. Norgest has organised it. Larse his son – step-son – is in command. It’s a trading voyage. Believe me, Fabiom, there is no way I would have sent Lesandor to Gerik. He should have been on board the Spikenard, which sailed for Varlass six days ago. Raidan should be with him, I had intended them both to go to Varlass. Raidan was away in Rushford on my behalf. I sent a message to him there to go to Southernport and take ship, I told him they should go together. But why would he think that meant to Gerik?” He muttered the last, almost to himself.
Fabiom slumped down on a settle. “You may not have sent them, but please – bring Lesandor home. My lord, I’ll do anything. . . .”
“No.” Ravik held up his hand. “You need offer me nothing, Fabiom. You’re my friend. Even if you were not, I do know enough about the people of this land not to send such a one as Lesandor to Gerik.” He paused and shook his head. “Just as my sister knows it.”