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Meet&Greet – Commander Videl

Can you believe it’s time for the final (final!) Meet&Greet already? My, where has the time gone! Like every week there’ll be a complete list of all previous introductions at the bottom, just in case you missed any or want to revisit someone.

Before we continue, let me just say THANK YOU to everyone who’s read these every week and left feedback. I’ve gotten some great comments and have gained a better understanding of my characters as well in the process. Closer to the publishing date there’ll be some more character snippets, but that’s a little way off yet 🙂

Now, let’s not waste more time! The man I’m introducing today isn’t known for his patience or his mercy, as you’ll see if you read on 😉

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“Bring him in.” Commander Videl rose from his chair in the torture room, eyeing the many tools he had laid out an hour before. He had sat and waited afterwards, planning the many things he could do to his prisoner. His suspect. They needed answers, and there was no better way to tickle them out of someone than by torturing them.

The hot iron sat ready in the fire, the pincers still had skin flakes and blood dried on them from the last man whose fingers he had broken.

A smile slithered across his face. King Aeric would have answers before long. He might even hear them screamed all the way to his throne room.

The Commander cursed under his breath, frustrated by his restrictions. He couldn’t allow this man to scream loud enough for King Aeric to hear him begging for mercy. Their King, his King, was soft and too lenient. He would never allow the means which were necessary to run his country as he wanted.

No, he would need to be careful. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy himself.

The door creaked open as two White Guards dragged the prisoner into his chamber. Accused of murder, ruining crops across Rifarne, and directing bad luck to people who didn’t deserve it. The people had accused him of being a vile sorcerer, a servant of evil, yet he looked like nothing as much as a filthy peasent to him.

Commander Videl spat in his face.

“Let me go, m’Lord! I’ve done nothin’!”

Ignoring his pleas he walked over to his tools, gesturing at the still empty chair. “In here.”

His men dragged the prisoner over to the chair. He tried to resist – they always did, it was part of the appeal – but he was no match for his well-trained soldiers.

“Please! M’Lord! I got children at home, a pregnant wife!”

An excited grin reached his eyes as he picked up the first tool. The man was terrified, knowing fully well that he wouldn’t leave this room again.

“Tell me why you did the things you did.” A long time ago he had tried to keep his voice calm and be professional, but those days were long gone. He was excited and let it show. There was no point giving people like this dirty street rat hope. They didn’t deserve any.

“I didn’t! I’d never hurt anyone!” The sound of the first finger bone snapping sent shivers down his spine. He had tortured his first prisoner like this, many years ago when he had been a new soldier to the White Guard. It had remained his preferred method ever since. Sentimental reasons, perhaps.

He watched and waited for the man to stop writhing in his chair, screaming loud enough for every other prisoner to hear their own inescapable fate echoing off the walls.

Teasing, Commander Videl brought his tools up close to the man’s face.

“Tell me what I want to know, or I will have to pay your family a visit. Who can scream louder, I wonder? Your youngest child or your wife?”

The man went pale when he realised that the threads weren’t empty.

“Please. I don’t know anything! I’m loyal to King Aeric, I-”

The snapping of the second finger was too good to stop. He broke the third for good measure.

It seemed the prisoner really wasn’t an evil sorcerer after all.

“I believe you.” The man cried with relief until he saw the hot iron smouldering in front of his eyes.

Whether he had been accused correctly or not didn’t matter. They always knew something, and he would squeeze every last bit of information out of him.

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Again, thank you for taking the time to read these every week <3 Your support means the world to me and it’s been amazing to see some of you feeling for my characters already. There are more main characters, of course, but I wanted to keep some surprises for the actual book at least 🙂

Previous Meet&Greets: Rachael, Cephy, Cale, Aeron

For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

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Meet&Greet – Aeron

It’s time for the second-to-last character introduction already! Oh my, how time flies when you’re having fun! <3 This week I’m introducing you to an evil sorceress who only wants the worst for everyone 🙂 This would make a half-decent prologue as well, but forget I said that. It probably won’t happen.

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The world needed to end.

This awful world of disgusting beings, smiling and laughing and mocking the power she commanded. They feared people like her, people with the gift of magic, without knowing anything about it. As far as they knew they had no reason to fear her, yet fear came easily to them at the mere mention of her name.

Today she would give them that reason they so desperately appeared to crave, and they would squirm like trodden-on worms in the dirt before her power.

Aeron drew the sleek blade across her arm. The metal was cold to the touch, at odds with the warm blood which began to trickle down her skin until it flowed freely. It burnt, her veins screaming in protest as the wound went untreated.

She walked along the outer circle which she had prepared earlier, her blood drawing the needed line behind her as she went. The sacrifices inside were cowering from her and shielding their eyes, whimpering as they tried not to upset her any more.

Her head was beginning to spin from the cut, but it could wait. The more blood she had for the ritual the better.

“Get up.” Not willing to test her patience all three sacrifices rose to their feet at once. Smiling, because she loved to see the fear in their eyes, she ran her tongue across the pulsing gash in her arm. There was nothing in this world or the next that could beat the taste of fresh, hot blood – she should know, she had tried everything.

Aeron focused on the source of the magic within her, calling it forth with as much ease as breathing required. Dark shades and slivers of threatening black mist rose from the incantations she had spelled out on the ground.

“Come to me.” The candles in the room blew out, leaving her to stand in darkness as the spirits indulged her.

Her sacrifices cried out at the sudden change, causing her to shudder with the anticipation of what she was about to do. Stepping as swiftly as the dark shapes around her she moved onto her sacrifices, and slit their throats one by one. Her feet warmed at the sudden flood of blood.

“Come to me!” Her command was heeded immediately. She absorbed the blackness around her as she spoke the ancient spell, welcoming the cuts it left on her body. Little hidden promises all over her figure, reminding her of the deal struck.

She desired the end of the world, and she would get it.

She always got what she wanted.

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Watch this space for more character insights! Since there’s only one left now I guess you won’t have to watch out for long. Next week I’ll be introducing you to the Commander of the White Guard, who hunts those with the gift without mercy and tortures people in his spare time 🙂 (my book is full of lovely people you’d want to have tea with, see?)

Previous Meet&Greets: Rachael, Cephy, Cale

For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

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Meet&Greet – Cale

It’s the third week of my little character introductions already!! Today we’re going back in time a little. When you meet the boy from this little snippet in the book he’ll be 25 – here, today, he’s roughly 10-years old and his sister is two years younger. The events below were an important changing point in their lives, and are mentioned briefly in the book – I thought those of you who buy the book might enjoy reading about it there and recognising it 😉

But enough talking, let’s get on with it! Allow me to introduce Cale to you – and his little sister Ailis 🙂

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“Cale, listen to me.” Sitting on her knees so she could look into his eyes, his mother looked terrified. Tears stained her usually bright eyes, which were now rimmed red and swollen. Next to him Ailis held onto his hand, unwilling to let go.

“Who are they, Mama?” His own voice was shaking. The haunted look in her eyes told him everything he didn’t dare ask. He had to be strong. For his own sake and his sister’s. But maybe if he knew who they were he could get revenge one day.

Her eyes softened when their father walked in, carrying heavy wooden planks to barricade the front door. The smell of burning wheat was heavy in the room – the men carrying strange red banners had set fire to their fields as they had arrived, torching everything they could reach.

“The men you saw outside know your father and me from back home. They-” Her voice caught in her throat, and Cale felt sick.

“They are bad people, son. They are after us, but you two can make it. Leave now, and don’t-”

“NO!” He felt hot angry tears sting his eyes, not caring whether his father approved or not. A man doesn’t cry, he always said. Cale didn’t care. Not this time.

His mother’s eyes had taken on the pleading look he knew so well. Usually she just asked him to clean his hands before dinner. This didn’t compare to the simplicity his life used to have.

“Go ahead, darling” she said, looking at his father. “I won’t be a moment.”

He nodded, and bent down to their level next to her. Gently, because it would be the last time, he kissed their foreheads, told Cale that he was the man now, and left through the back room with the same haunted eyes as his mother.

“Sweetheart – Cale, Ailis – please. Do this one last thing for us?” He wanted to protest but found that he couldn’t. He had always loved his parents’ honesty. They had never lied to mask the pain of a scraped knee or a cut , but right now he wanted to believe that everything was going to be all right.

Next to him still holding on to his hand Ailis cried, clutching her stuffed bear to her chest with her elbow.

Finally, he nodded.

“You make us proud, my love. You make us both so proud. Now hurry. Don’t look back, and don’t let go of your sister. You’re in charge now, Cale. Ailis, listen to your brother.” His mother’s small frame was shaking with the effort of holding her tears back. There was nothing else to argue about. It was time to leave and be strong.

Quickly she pulled both of them into a last tight hug, before giving them the same kisses their father had given them only moments ago.

“Now run. Get as far away from here as you can.”

“Come, Ailis.” His little arms were already beginning to build muscles from helping his father carry and chop wood. Helping out with other farm chores had put a certain strength into his young body, too. Ailis resisted, but was no match for him.

Screaming and crying, Ailis held onto him as he led her away from the farm as quickly as his feet could carry him. They knew the farm better than anyone – if they were quick and hid in the crops those men hadn’t burnt they’d make it.

The cold ringing of steel and dark threat of battle cries sounded through the air and carried over to them. None of the voices sounded familiar.

Screams replaced the eager boasting. Cale smiled hearing it. At least his parents weren’t going down without a fight.

The sounds of the nearby struggle had motivated Ailis to run without needing to be dragged. Cale led her away from the fields, into the nearby forests. Thick smoke back the way they came told him that their house had been set on fire, which could only mean one thing for his parents.

He didn’t stop running until the view of their old life was forever hidden beyond the trees. There was nothing left for them to go back to now. Ailis was all he had left, and he had promised his parents he would look after her. He was in charge now. It was his job to protect Ailis.

He wouldn’t let anything hurt her for as long as he lived – and then, once he was old enough and could swing a sword, those men would pay.

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Watch this space for more character insights! I’m still undecided about next week’s post. Who would you rather be introduced to? An evil sorceress who lives for slaughter? Or a Commander who thrives on torturing people?

Previous Meet&Greets: Rachael, Cephy, Aeron

For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

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Meet&Greet – Cephy

It’s the second week of my little Meet&Greets already! This week you’re meeting my main character’s ‘sidekick’, for lack of a better word, Cephy. Cephy is twelve years old when the book starts but in this little short she’s two years younger. Enjoy! 🙂

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Cephy

Keeping one eye on the door and one eye on her hands, Cephy called a small but comforting flame into being. From downstairs her mother’s screams carried up to her, accompanied only by her father’s shouting and the thud as his hand connected with her mother’s exposed skin. She desperately wanted to help her mother, but there was nothing she could do. If he found her with fire in her palms he’d flay them both alive, and then what good would that do anyone?

Trying not to cry, she swallowed back the hot tears forming in her eyes and the heavy, accusing lump in her throat. If only she was stronger – like a knight, maybe! Then she’d make sure he’d never hurt her or her mother again!

But people like her could never become a knight. She was cursed, just like her mother. Her father only kept her alive because her mother had begged him, had sworn to the Gods that Cephy would keep her curse hidden. Instead, when her father was out blind from drinking too much, she taught Cephy what little she knew.

Her father wanted her to believe it was a curse, given to her by the devil himself. Her mother said it was a gift, something she should be proud of rather than ashamed. It was easy to believe her father when she saw his reaction to the tiniest contained spark, but her mother loved her. He never had. She chose to believe her mother.

Careful not to let any sparks go astray she focused on the comforting flame in her open palms. She could make it grow, if she wanted to, and even set fire to snow if she wished it. Her mother had shown her how, last winter. She still had bruises on her back from when her father had found out, and her mother still carried a terrible scar on her right cheek.

Focusing on the fire, she moved her hands apart from each other, and made the flames dance from one palm to another. A small smile found its way onto her lips – ashamed of herself she made the flames and her smile disappear and got up, dusting herself off as she walked back to the door. Downstairs her father was beating her mother, while she sat up here and hid like her mother had begged her to do. There was nothing she could do, but she wished things were different. She wanted to help her mother more than anything, stand between them and protect her, but he was much stronger than she was. He would only hurt her worse than ever, and her mother would feel worse knowing that they had both gotten injured.

Not that it mattered. He always got around to beating her sooner or later. For now, hiding was all she could do.

So she sat back down on the dust-covered floorboards, and let the tears fall while her mother screamed for help.

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Watch this space for more character insights! Next week you will meet the devoted leader of the revolution, Cale.

Previous Meet&Greets: Rachael, Cale, Aeron

For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

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Meet&Greet – Rachael

As promised, from today on every Thursday I’ll introduce a different character from my upcoming book Rise of the Sparrows to you. Since this is the first Meet&Greet I’m starting with my main character, Rachael. So, without any further words on my part, I’ll let her do the talking and show you a day in her rather dark everyday life 🙂

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Rachael

Rachael watched the shadows in the dark alley ahead of her as she carefully picked away at the hard, stale loaf of bread a woman had thrown at her feet. It had been a while since she had this much too eat. If she rationed herself properly it would last her for a couple of weeks, maybe more than that.

She squinted as the Shadows moved slightly. Someone had followed her, but it was too dark for her to see clearly. It wasn’t another orphan or a homeless man. Most of those were about as clumsy and as noisy as a startled rat, and would never be able to hide this well. This was someone else, maybe more than one person. Someone used to preying on the weak. It didn’t matter whether they were after her stale bread or her. Either way, she would be on her guard until the prowling shadows were gone and it was safe to close her eyes again.

With a filthy piece of her hole-riddled shirt she rubbed the blood away, which had dried just under her nose and on her upper lip. She could taste it still, from when her nosebleed had been worse than this. Her insides still hurt, too. The last nightmare had been particularly bad, causing her to thrash around on the hard cobblestone floor and bruising her nose on a small rock which had gotten in the way. At least this one hadn’t involved her. It had just been some rich business man from somewhere around the corner, who had been robbed and murdered along with his wife on his next business trip. The roads were dangerous these days for people like him. If he didn’t want to die he shouldn’t leave the village. It wasn’t like she could have told him or his pretty lady. The last time she had tried that the village had united against her, demanding a public burning. She had only escaped by a piece of cloth from her blanket, which she usually wore as a coat around her shoulders and which a villager had gotten a hold of. It was only half its size now, but it was still better than nothing.

There, more movement up ahead. Finally her followers revealed themselves, stepping out of the dark alley like another one of her nightmares. Two men, probably in their mid-twenties, with sticks and disgusting grins on their faces. There was no doubt about it now. They weren’t after her bread.

They wanted her.

She watched cautiously as they approached, not once taking her eyes of their filthy glares. Many years ago those very same men would have caused her to run, but now she knew better. Running would only cause them to chase after her, as starving wolves and little rabbits did.

Instead she waited, preparing herself.

“Ye’r right, Johnny. She’s a pretty one!”

“What’d I tell ya, eh? Ye grab her, I go first.”

She watched as the first man walked towards her, far too sure of himself. This seemed to be true of all people, she had found. When faced with an orphan who was living on the dirty streets they always thought themselves superior. They never expected her to strike back and defend herself like only a life on the streets could teach someone.

Rachael waited for the man to pull her up by the wrist, then twisted his arm around and kicked him between the legs.

“Bitch! You whore!” Standing awkwardly with his legs bent at painful angles he came after her again, only for her to duck away under him and give him a kick in his back. With a muffled grunt, he crashed head-first into the cobblestones. “What are ye standing there for!”

Called out of his stunned silence, Johnny launched himself at Rachael. He was stronger than his friend, and a good bit taller than her, but she had no trouble taking him out just as easily. A good, hard kick between the legs, another blow to his stomach, and he went down like one of those pretty dolls the girls in town carried around with them.

With both men lying on the floor, cussing and holding their injured pride, Rachael picked up her old blanket and stale load of bread, and left them lying there as she slipped back into the shadows and into another alley. By the time they came to she’d be long gone, and they’d have trouble finding her again.

So what if she was homeless? So what if her parents had died, and she didn’t live in a fancy house like all those other spoiled kids? At least she could look after herself. No one would take what little food she had. No one would take her.

It was a promise she had made to herself years ago, and it was a promise she intended to keep for as long as she lived.

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Watch this space for more character insights! Next week you will meet a little girl named Cephy, who likes to play with fire 😉

Other Meet&Greets: Cephy, Cale, Aeron

For all other Excerpts from my book or other related information, take a look here.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

7 Comments