Novel excerpt — Prologue

Here is the opening to my fantasy novel project, which I am calling (thanks to a friend in my cohort at school that is waaaaaay better at titles than I am) THE BLOOD OF THE WINDMAKER. Any feedback is appreciated!

Heave.

The slow, heavy intake of breath sounded like wind whining through blasted rock; ragged windpipes searched for air until flayed lungs could expand no further. The man shuddered, like an icy breeze had just assailed his bare shoulder blades. In reality, the shiver was anticipatory. He waited for the moment to come when his lungs would cease to take in air. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. Mount willing, soon.

The quiet heaving of his chest was like the movement of the deck of a ship. Erratic, yet slow and mellow. No storms here, just a quiet struggle for balance, a struggle against the pull of the waves. This feeling sparked memories of easier days that reminded him of the sky.

He didn’t want to open his eyes. Every day was the same: darkness would greet his gaze whenever he ventured to peek into the cold cellar where they kept him. Every day, the darkness loomed impenetrably around his tired body, but sometimes he imagined he could see the ceiling, high above in this underground sepulcher. Imagination was a funny thing.

The symbol carved into the inside of his wrist burned, but that was nothing unusual. Nothing he couldn’t push to the corner of his mind. However, the glowing chains caressing his body also lanced his skin, and those lacerations were harder to ignore. The fetters that bound him to the stone floor in a spread-eagle position were the only covering for his naked body. The burns snaked across his chest, shoulders, arms, thighs. Another everyday occurrence. The pain never really went away.

Another breath snaked into his throat, down to his lungs. With it, he felt the ship, weaving in and out of the waves. His ship. The current buffeted him to and fro on the wind. His chest tightened as he felt that one breath consume him, control him. The chains glowed brighter for one hot second, and he bit back a scream. No one would hear him, but the vocal admission to his pain would prove that they had won. His mind strained as he struggled to keep the ship connected to him steady. A storm was coming, but so was she.

Hurry, woman, he willed silently, still grimacing in pain. The chains still glowed. So bright, like light shimmering from a blue sky he tried to remember.

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