I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve posted any actual bits of Augira, so here is a fun little excerpt from Chapter 29. It’s from Evie’s POV. Remember, she’s the blind girl with the mysterious past? Oh, yeah, and she has visions of the future. This may not stay in Chapter 29. Her vision may need to be moved to a much earlier part of the book to build backstory, but it’s here for now. Those changes will be in the revision process. As always, leave me your thoughts, impressions, questions – anything. Enjoy.
It was Renna.
“Praise the Almighty!” Evie breathed, hearing a sigh of relief from Renna as well.
“I cut my foot,” Renna said, and Evie felt Light Torune leave her side to check on the injured girl. “There was a broken branch or something in the woods…luckily the canswort dulled the pain.”
Evie could hear the wince in her voice. She must be in more pain than she is letting on.
“Is it bad?” the blind girl asked.
Light Torune sighed. “It’s not good. There’s a deep puncture wound, and I think some of the wood may have splintered off and is lodged within.”
“Can you put weight on it?” Light Torune asked.
“For now, yes,” Renna replied. “But I suspect that we need to hurry. The canswort won’t hide the pain forever, and I hate to think of the infection I could be getting right now, standing in this stuff.”
Evie nodded. She was about to stand up when a wave of dizziness overtook her. Her temples began to throb, and she sat down abruptly in the garbage. The words of Renna and Torune echoed in her ears, distorted and incomprehensible. She felt nauseated, pulling her head into her lap.
Please, Almighty, she begged. Not again…
And then she was floating, high in the air above a blood-stained battlefield. She could see smoking villages along the horizon, and body upon body littered the ground. The man who looked like the regis was there, riding through the corpses with a sick pleasure gleaming in his eyes, a cruel smile upon his face. He was called “Kortara” now, though few knew whether or not he truly was the same Kortara from before. All they knew was that he was vicious, and he showed no mercy. He was flanked by men in black robes, robes that looked identical to those worn by Disciples except different in color. They all rode horses through the carnage with disturbing indifference or enjoyment clear on their faces.
Evie recognized this vision, recognized this place. She was above the central plains in Alcostia, near the ruined city of Old Malbec. It took her a moment to remember that a city should be there, right where the men in black robes were riding. The roads and a few stones the only things left of the city, all of the buildings vanished. Or destroyed. The houses and inns, stables and shops, all seemed to have been cleanly demolished at the ground level and razed, but there were no ashes or timbers remaining, no signs of attack with fire or machinery of any kind.
No, this was a different kind of demolition, the kind that caused whole towns to disappear into nothingness. This kind of destruction could only be accomplished through the command of one thing: Auri.
This wasn’t the first time Evie had experienced this vision, yet every time, the wanton destruction that the regis – Kortara – wreaked on the nation using Auri took her breath away.
Her gaze was forced back to the riders. A body lying ten feet from them began to stir, and Kortara turned his mount toward the man. He dismounted in the single sweeping move, getting down on a knee beside the injured man on the ground. The fallen man wore no insignia – he was no trained soldier. Just a man trying to defend himself and his home. Now, he lay dying, bleeding out on the plains that had already absorbed so much blood, just a few hundred years before.
“What is your name?” Kortara asked, his voice pleasant and calm.
The man could only gurgle a reply, his injuries filling his mouth with blood.
“It is of no matter,” Kortara said dismissively as it became clear that he would get no answer. He suddenly reached out to grab hold of the man’s throat with a hand. The man struggled weakly as Kortara used his other hand to swiftly trace symbols in the air, pausing for only a moment before repeating the process. As soon as his finger stopped moving, the man convulsed once, then collapsed before him. Dead.
Kortara inhaled deeply, a smile of satisfaction on his face.
And suddenly Evie was moving, going higher above this wreckage, above this monster of a man, flying over the whole of Alcostia. She was taken south, to the burnt homes and ruined salterns that had once been Runin, along the coast, where men in black attacked and killed at will, up the Eastern side of the nation, watching image after image of death and destruction. Finally, the vision took her to the capital, to Malbec itself. Or, at least, what used to be Malbec. The palace was still there, pristine and imposing above the rivers’ apex. However the hills that were once covered with the sprawl of the city’s various buildings were pock-marked with burnt-out lots. Refuse piled up in the streets, and corpses sat rotting in the gutters. Frightened people hovered inside their windows as black-robed men patrolled the thoroughfares. Houses of the affluent appeared to have been ransacked, as had shops in which portable, saleable goods could have been found.
As swiftly as before, the vision took Evie up, higher and higher, until she saw not only Alcostia spread out below her, but also the neighboring lands of Bannen, the Rebaul Republic, and Mer’Caoi. The battle may have begun in Alcostia, but Evie saw the border towns of its neighbors bearing the tell-tale signs of destruction, black-robed forces advancing on the unprepared nations.
This was not a battle, not a war. This was a massacre. Kortara was able to Command Auri. His power was limitless, and his morals nonexistant.
And, in this vision, there was no one to stop him. In the center of the road outside the palace in Malbec, there had been a woman’s head on a post.
In this vision, Renna was dead. And Kortara was alive once more.