“One Shots” are short stories or scenes based on one of my novels. Today’s featured shot is the opening scene from a WIP called “Redundant”, a prequel to my YA historical fantasy”Summoned”.
March 1, 1501
Neala McCasey stood by a roaring fire, ram-rod straight and itching for a fight. She’d get one that night, by hell, she would. Strong hands, yet beautiful, graceful, feline-almost, reached to the towering flame as if to draw the heat toward her and rob it from her husband who stood nearby.
“It can’t happen like this,” Barr said. “I won’t permit it.”
Her shoulders stiffened in an automatic response to denial. The warrior surged forward to crush its opponent. “But it’s already done. I’m with child.”
Neala’s eyes unfocused as she listened inside to a small voice, an echo of one not yet born. One to come.
“Don’t touch me,” she said.
Barr halted a step from his wife. She tossed her long, black hair and straightened.
“Neala,” he whispered, “this isn’t right. Two children born of our blood can’t exist in tandem. Think what storms they’ll bring.”
“Quinn’s not enough – you’ve seen it, how he holds back. He needs another to sharpen his skills. Another to draw out the fighter. He needs a worthy opponent.”
“You give this child nothing but pain. No hope for a future.”
“Yes, but Quinn will strengthen. He’ll have the destiny that’s owed him. My Quinn will be High King.”
Barr brushed his hands down Neala’s powerful arms. “My love, it’s not too late to undo this. Stop this abomination now, before it takes on life, grows and strengthens.”
“It is too late. He speaks to me even now.” She paused and smiled. “His name is Arden.”
Quinn lingered in the darkness a safe distance from his parents, yet close enough to catch their intense conversation. How much trouble he’d create if caught wandering the lodge, but the dream had awakened him and he was scared. He shuddered when the sing-song voice rang out in his head again.
Quinn spun and knocked an urn from its pedestal. Already well trained though just seven years old, his quick reflexes kept the vase from crashing to the stone floor. He set it upright and turned in a circle, seeking the source of the voice.
You are a silly one.
Laughter filled his head and he squinted as if to see the dark shapes in the room. Then he struggled to slow his breathing. Fear. When had he ever known this emotion? Wasn’t he designed for war? Created to rule this land? He wiped his brow and straightened.
“I am warrior.”
As am I.
Did the shadows move? Quinn struck out in the dark, but his hand passed through empty air. Perhaps he’d spent too much time training that day. Perhaps this was the cost of preparing for war.
I’m coming for you, brother.
He dropped to a crouch. Terror knifed through him. Sweat beaded on his forehead. How could this be? He was the Only, the Destined One. How was it possible for another to exist?
That’s right. Of two, one must die.
Quinn closed his eyes as dread settled into his soul. The druids had foretold his own birth, but they had also whispered the longings of the Redundant One.
And now I too have a destiny to fulfill…
If you’d care to read more, Summoned is on wattpad. Thanks for visiting!