Yes, a little under four years later, and another wild extract appears.
This time, it’s an extract from The Advent of Shadows, which is the sequel to my debut novel.
I’m doing my best to make as much progress on it as I can, and to any and all who have and will read the first entry in the series, thank you very much. I promise you the sequel will blow that one out of the water though. At least, I certainly think it will.
I won’t say much more, but naturally, there will be spoilers for the first book in this chapter. So if you haven’t read the first book, and you’re the type who hates spoilers, I highly recommend you don’t read this.
For those of you who are curious about what is in store for you, I already posted the synopsis for the sequel earlier, and below is the entirety of chapter three.
I put the first chapter at the end of book one as a preview for this book. And for readers of the first book, I think chapter three will be a good tease, as it shows my first time writing from the perspective of a character who never got any POV chapters in book one. Also, chapter two would put out too much plot information that I think would be better experienced in the actual book, rather than months before.
I also have some other book two stuff I plan on posting today, but I’ll leave that for later.
Till then, enjoy.
A PREVIEW OF THE ADVENT OF SHADOWS
(Everything below is subject to change)
When she was first ordered to be part of this assignment, Meilin hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect. Being commanded by a Senior to join an operation to the mainland was not something she expected to happen anytime soon, and perhaps if not for her decent display of knifework, it may have not ever happened.
But it did, and so here she was.
Meilin bopped across the bridge that led into the large fortress where the squads headed by Senior Rin had just fought.
She gazed around at the landscape. It was not exactly like she had imagined. Actually, it was nothing like she imagined. Her studies led her to believe the mainland was this lush land full of an abundance of life, albeit the Lenria side of her studies ensured to emphasize how this all masked the darker and more broken side of life on these lands. Yet these fields were all brown and dull-looking.
Regardless, Meilin had yet to meet any humans, and so until then she’d reserve full judgment. But there was so much to take in. So much going on every which way she looked. Even the small town that was beside this fortress was remarkable to her.
The way the buildings were all a similar design, all so neatly placed beside one another, and how the road snaked through, outlining a path from the modest town to the grand fortress.
But what really got to her, was the fact this was nothing next to everything else that was out there.
A human city must be a mad sight, is what she thought. Definitely got to see one of those soon!
Meilin jumped. She looked up ahead to see a face not unlike her own staring back at her.
“Hurry up,” Meihui snapped. “I don’t have all day to wait on you.” She stood in the massive doorway that led inside the fort, arms folded, and brows dipped.
“Sorry!” Meilin said before hurrying over.
As she entered the fort with her twin, she took in the large walls and the posh-looking furniture that was in some of the rooms. She would have thought that a fortress would have been much plainer, just a lot of stone and steel or something like that.
As she followed Meihui through the Fort, she realized she hadn’t the slightest idea where she was going. So, she asked.
“Where are we going, sis?” She spoke the words with enthusiasm.
Meihui glared at her. “Do not talk so loud. It’s not necessary.” She led Meilin through a door and onto an unnervingly dark stairwell. “The only reason you are even here is because you wouldn’t shut up about it. So, the least you can do is shut up now.”
Meilin smirked, holding back the hurt she all too deeply felt. This was how her relationship with Meihui had always been. Despite the fact they were twins, Meihui acted as though she were above Meilin, and it often appeared as if she was embarrassed by the fact they were related, especially in such a blatant manner.
Twin Lenria were a very rare occurrence, but there was no significance to their existence. There was only one other pair of twins in the Order presently, and they were much older than Meilin and Meihui. Historically, there had only been one other pair of Lenrian twins, and they both perished in the civil war.
As such rarities, Meilin often felt it was only right they looked out for each other and enjoy one another’s company as proper blood relatives. Meihui on the other hand, seemed to think such a notion was nonsense. She didn’t view herself as a twin. To her, it wasn’t Meihui & Meilin, it was just Meihui.
Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Meilin entered what appeared to be a dungeon. It might have been more intimidating if not for all lamps and Lenria present in the room.
High-Archivists, High-Paladins and even some High-Artisans were scouring the space as though investigating something. A couple of them were scrutinizing sheets of paper, whilst others were discussing the structure or observing the massive map on the wall. Two women were inspecting some kind of hole that was in one of the cell walls.
One grey-haired lady hunched over the table glanced up as Meilin and Meihui entered. Her shoulder-length locks rested nicely on her white tunic. For whatever reason, she was not wearing her navy robe, but her brands were on display just as well, and from those Meilin identified her as one of Senior rank, specifically a Senior-Archivist.
“High-Archivist Meihui,” she addressed, raising her right three fingers in salute.
The twins saluted back before the Senior eyed Meilin.
“Is this a family outing?” asked the Senior.
Meilin made a playful face. “Aren’t we all family, Senior?”
“Be quiet,” Meihui murmured.
The Senior didn’t give a proper smile, but there was a little tug of something at the corner of her lips. Meilin was satisfied with that.
“She is merely here to observe, Senior,” Meihui explained.
The Senior seemed to be looking at Meilin’s brands. “She is a Paladin. Should a High-Paladin not be accompanying her?”
“Naturally, Senior. I just–”
“You have a habit of taking things into your own hands, High-Archivist.” The Senior’s tone was harsher now, her eyes a tad more piercing. “Only those of High and Senior ranks are permitted to be down here. Bringing one of your lesser experienced sulira with you was not only foolhardy, but a blatant disregard for proper protocol.”
“Forgive me, Senior. I can escort her back upstairs.”
“No. You have wasted enough time. Paladin, you may see yourself out.”
Meilin looked at Meihui, but of course, Meihui just glared at her, as if it were Meilin’s fault that she was down here. It partially was but it was also partially Meihui’s fault for allowing it.
It’s not like I knew I wasn’t allowed down here.
Meilin just saluted the Senior and her twin before heading back upstairs.
She returned outside and just sat on the grass, uncertain of what exactly she was supposed to be doing. She only wanted to go with Meihui because she was bored, and because she was being nosy. She had a chance to go inside the fort and have a peek around, of course she was going to take it!
Bunch of good that did her. She still ended up being left out in the cold, literally.
Surely there was a purpose for her in all of this. She was friends with the Luxia, the bringer of light and all that good stuff. How was it that still nobody treated her special in some way? In all honestly, nobody really treated anyone particularly special in the Order, that was how the culture was. Still, it would be nice if for once she was a bit more acknowledged.
She never really put much thought into it, but Auria only managed to get down to the mainland because Meilin helped her. Well, it was Meihui’s plan, but Meihui only gave them that plan because Meilin had pleaded for her help to rescue Marria.
But Marria died anyway.
If she hadn’t given Auria that way to the mainland, perhaps that would have never happened. Perhaps Marria would still be living. But maybe then the Umbrisa would still be living too.
Meilin sighed loudly, resting her head on her hand as she watched the setting sun. Night would soon come. Night on the mainland. She’d never seen that before. Maybe it would cheer her up a little. She hoped so.
Meilin just watched the other Lenria who were busy doing things around the outside of the fort and in the nearby town. She saw a few flying back and forth, carrying things to and from the fortress.
She kept her eye on the large doorway to the fort, waiting for Meihui to come back out.
But she could only stave off the boredom for so long. Once she no longer could, she began walking around.
She headed into the little town, looking around for Auria, or even Parax or Senior Rin. But she didn’t see them. She reckoned it would be nice to have some friends to talk to right now, so upon seeing one girl she recognized carrying a bucket of water, Meilin approached her.
The girl was only a Varlet, but Meilin knew her face, and felt comfortable talking to her. She knew the bucket of water was likely to wash the clothes of a Lenria or two, and she remembered how annoying that task was, and how further annoying it was when someone interrupted you when doing it.
“Erm,” she started. “Sorry to bother you. I know you’re busy. I was just wondering if you knew where Auria is?”
The girl frowned. “She’s on the Isles,” she said, as if it were obvious. “She’s sick or something, I heard.”
“Sick?” Meilin repeated with a frown of her own. “How could she be sick? You sure about that?”
The Varlet shrugged. “Just what I heard.”
Meilin could see the girl urgently wanted to press on. “Alright. Well, thanks anyway.”
The girl just nodded and waddled off, forgetting to salute her superior. Or perhaps it was just because both her hands were full. Still, Meilin couldn’t shake the feeling it was a tad rude of the child.
She made her way back near the bridge to the fort. She was certain she was meant to be doing something right now. Everyone else was. Even that varlet. Yet here she was, doing absolutely nothing.
Usually that would be a good thing, a great thing even. But right now, it just made her feel useless.
Just then, she noticed Meihui coming out of the fort and heading towards her.
“Well, what happened?” she asked her. “Anything interesting?”
“What did the Luxia tell you of the dark mirror she found in the mountains?”
Meilin was thrown off by the sudden query. “Err… I-I don’t really remember.”
Meihui sighed. “So useless.”
The words were like a kick to Meilin’s heart, but she firmed it. “Well… I remember a little bit about it.”
Meihui narrowed her eyes. “A little bit being what?”
“How she destroyed it.”
“Everyone knows that.”
“Well… also what she said it felt like. And how the Umbrisa came walking out of it, and that when she destroyed it, the Umbrisa had not been destroyed with it.”
Meihui perked up. “Destroyed with it? What do you mean?”
“I don’t really know. I just know she said that.”
Meihui seemed to be in thought. “I think there is another one of those mirrors. Senior Odile thinks the same.”
Senior Odile? Is that who that woman was?
“If that is true,” Meihui continued. “That will most likely be an issue. I just heard that Auria is in the infirmary back on the Isles and Parax is with her. Whatever is going on with her may also be a problem. So, you’re the only person close enough to her who is nearby. They could simply question Auria, but Senior Odile said it would be best not to do so for the moment, and since I know you may know something, I suggested we simply get your input until it is a suitable time to get the Auria’s.”
Meilin rose her brows. “Wait, so you want me to help?”
“I have told Senior Odile that we need more information,” Meihui explained. “You may have some that nobody else present possesses. That is all.”
Meilin made a smug face. “So… you want me to help?”
Meihui glared at her for a moment before rolling her eyes. Then, with an audible groan, she walked away and back towards the inside of the fort.
Finally, she had something to do. Something only she could help out with. Maybe now she might actually be useful in some way, and maybe she would actually be recognized for it.