If you’re looking for my Hot Heroes post for HD Thomson’s blog hop, you can find it here!
Sneak Peek Sunday is a weekly blog hop in which writers are challenged to post six paragraphs, no more and no less, from a published work or work in progress and then invite other writers, readers and random bloggers to read, critique and comment. Visit their site by clicking on the button below for a list of other participating writers and share the love! Today’s Sneak Peek is from Meoraq’s first chapter in The Last Hour of Gann. Obviously, it contains one major spoiler, but if you’ve been reading my other snippets from The Last Hour of Gann, you probably suspected the colonists from Earth weren’t going to land safely on planet Plymouth after all, so yeah…big burning tower of fire that Meoraq sees in the distance? The wreck of the first deep-space starship, The Pioneer. And that is all you need to know, so read, enjoy, and don’t forget to let me know if you want to enter my Gann Giveaway!
In the city of Xheoth, in the state of Yroq, in the world and the hour of Gann, a pillar of fire rose up in the east, reaching like a desperate hand to heaven. It was a cool night, but not a cold one, and rainless although the wind was strong over the city, and so there were many who saw this miraculous sight. Uyane Meoraq, Sword of Sheul and well-honored in His sight, was one of them.
He supposed that was a smallish sort of miracle in itself. He spent enough time under the open sky that, given his leisure, he preferred a closed hall for his evening meditations. But the hall was engaged this night for the young initiates of Xi’Xheoth to take their oaths of ascension and so Meoraq took himself to the rooftop courtyard instead. He saw the fire that he might otherwise have never seen and therefore, there must have been some significance to the vision meant only for him. He meditated upon that as he watched it burn.
The sky had been filled with omens for many years, they said, but this was the first Meoraq himself had seen and he was a Sheulek—God’s Striding Foot—who had spent most of the past twelve years in the wildlands. And this, this was far more impressive a sign than the occasional glimpses of light or colors that some claimed to have seen behind the ever-present clouds. For hours, that blazing arm strained upwards and its many fingers grasped at salvation, but though it fell with each strong gust of wind, it always rose again.
Behind the low walls that separated the temple’s courtyard from those of the city’s ruling Houses, Meoraq could see smaller flames spark to life as braziers were lit, until it seemed all Xheoth had come out to see. As a man who often went many days without seeing another living man or hearing any dumaq voice but his own, sights such as these still had power over Meoraq. He admired the city as he admired the fire in the sky. Walls a quarter-span thick, now alive with lights, formed a perfect ring around the protected fields where cattlemen and farmers labored. In the daylight, from this same vantage, he would be able to see the lush colors of living crop against the dead wastes of the world outside the city walls. But at night, on this night, the fires of so many braziers seemed a wondrous proof of life, a miracle in itself, and as precious as any burning pillar Sheul had sent to be seen.
Meoraq bore it a grateful witness, keeping his own company as the rooftop over the temple-district filled with on-lookers. Although they kept a respectful distance, every backwards glance showed Meoraq more priestly robes: acolytes, monks, scribes, oracles and even the young candle-wards came to stare until it seemed there could not be a man left in the rooms beneath his feet.
Hours passed, each one marked by the tolling of bells throughout the city, not quite in sync with one another. It began to rain, dampening not only the fields below—the sweet, green smell of freshly-wetted manure billowed up at once and Meoraq breathed it in, still thinking of fields, of farms, of life—but the enthusiasm of many of those watching. Braziers all across the city roof began to gutter and die, breaking the perfection of the ring they had so briefly formed, but some stayed regardless of the discomfort. Meoraq was one of these. There would always be rain and he would always have days when he had to walk through it and nights when he had to sleep in it, but this fiery arm might never come again and he still had not determined its meaning.