Today's Teaser Tuesday comes from author Katie Thornton!
Enjoy & Comment!
The Lands of Ayrenia was once a place that flourished with Magic until the Cataclysm, an event that eradicated all Magic. Three hundred years have passed since, and the gods seek a way to bring Magic back into the dying world. They choose Braelyn, a young girl, who is captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a gladiator house. Born to a warrior clan, Braelyn uses the skills her father taught her to rise in the ranks as a gladiator in order to earn her freedom. If she survives, the gods have great plans for her.
The next few days were quiet in the village on the coast, with a few visitors to the Inn and very good catches at sea. There was rain one evening, followed by very thick fog that came rolling off of the ocean and settled over the village. The fog was still there in the morning, making it difficult for the children to concentrate with the sword practice.
“Let us go down to the beach,” Braelyn told the children. They laughed as they made their way carefully down to the beach. Some of them chose to play around in the water but the rest chose to build sand houses. Braelyn was in the water for a bit, until she thought she heard what sounded like an oar dipping into the water. She turned to face the ocean but could only just see a few feet before her.
“Out of the water,” she whispered to her friends, waving her arms to get their attention. They quickly did as she said and they all waited nervously on the beach watching the water. Beyond the barrier of pointed logs twenty feet out they could just barely see the outline of the barrier itself.
Braelyn focused on the water, listening. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of oars in the water and men cursing.
“Go alert the village,” she whispered to her friends. “Jack and Jon, go. Be quick.” She watched as the two boys ran off up the beach. “Meg and Ryan, go to the docks quickly!” Those two left at a run as well. To the remaining four she told them to head for the blacksmiths where there were weapons that would need to be passed out and most likely used.
“What about you?” one of the girls her age asked her as she turned to go.
“I will stay here.” Braelyn pulled a dagger from her boot and ushered her on. The girl ran as Braelyn went over to a sand dune to hide behind.
She did not have to wait long till she heard a scream from the water where someone had met badly with a pointed log. Braelyn heard curses and then someone said, “This village is more prepar’d for water ‘tacks than them other ones.”
“Quiet, you lout! Sound carries in the fog!”
Braelyn rolled her eyes at the incompetence of the pirates as she noticed that the fog was thinning. She could finally see the longboat that the pirates were in on the other side of the barrier, and there was a man literally stuck on the point of one of the logs. Blood dripped down into the ocean as the man squirmed in death throes, only sinking himself deeper onto the log.
Braelyn heard shouting from the location of the dock and then heard the crash of the dock falling apart.
“Something’s happened to our ship!” one of the men in the longboat exclaimed. “This village is not like any of the others.”
“Just ‘cause they’re ready for us doesn’t mean we can’t take ‘em,” another man said.
She heard the creak of logs being moved by hand and she turned back to the ocean. There were men in the water moving the logs to allow the longboat and another behind it full of men through. Twenty pirates came onto the beach and headed up the path to the village. Braelyn followed through the long grass just behind them.
She heard shouting up ahead and then saw many of the pirates stagger back with arrows in their chests. The other pirates drew bastard swords and advanced only to be met with the steel of the villagers. The blacksmith was among the villagers and he fought with his giant hammer, smashing in heads and breaking arms that came near him.
“Back to the beach!” one of the pirates yelled out when he noticed fire from near the dock that he realized was their ship. A bell tolled on the ship which seemed to signal that they indeed needed to retreat so they took off at a run. Braelyn headed back down to the beach along with them, but when she reached the beach she was ahead of them and she did not hide in time.
“Well, lookie here.” One of the pirates saw her as she tried to duck down behind a dune. “A villager brat!”
“Might as well get one, than none,” another said as they advanced on her. One of them reached out to grab her but her dagger flashed in her hand and cut off a couple of the man’s fingers. He screamed in pain and fell backward as she slashed at another who jumped back and into the other man who pulled him down with him. Some of the other pirates came to their comrades’ aid and surrounded her whilst the others rushed to the longboats.
The pirates yelled curses at her as she warded them off with her dagger. She caught flesh a few times, and punched quite a few where it counted. There was an opening in the circle that she took advantage of; she thought she was clear of them when someone grabbed her hair and yanked her back. She let out a yelp as he pulled her up by the hair and then cursed as someone yanked her dagger out of her hand.
“Hurry it up!” a pirate from the longboat yelled to them. “There are people coming to the beach and the ship is waiting!”
“You have caused quite some trouble, girlie,” the pirate holding her hair told her as he shook her roughly. “You should have stayed hidden, ‘cause you’re gonna be in the Shadows soon.”
Someone tied her hands and ankles quickly, and then she was thrown over someone’s shoulder before they headed for the longboats. Braelyn heard yelling from the beach as she was thrown into the longboat, and she looked up to see villagers coming after them, yelling her name. She kicked and wriggled out of the ties on her hands and punched one pirate in the nose as hard as she could, hearing the sickening sound of the nose breaking. The man fell over the side of the longboat and did not attempt to get back up: cartilage from his nose had gone into his brain killing him.
Braelyn grabbed hold of another pirate’s bastard sword and pulled it from its sheath in one swift move before disemboweling the very pirate the sword belonged to and pushing the man into the water. She turned on the other pirates but was not quick enough to avoid the blow to her head that knocked her out. She sank down amongst the viscera from the last man she had killed, and she knew nothing else but darkness for quite some time.
Katie grew up with a love of reading, and started writing in her early teens. By the time she was done high school she had written a novel. She went to Wilfrid Laurier University in the Archaeology program to become a Medieval Archaeologist. The knowledge she gained about the Classical and Medieval world she used to incorporate into her writing. She lives in a small town in the township of Howick, the County of Huron, Ontario, Canada. She is very happily married to her amazing and loving husband Jason. She has an adorable son Daniel, with another child on the way. They have two cats, Orion and Andromeda.
She loves reading and writing, and getting her feet dirty. She hates the cold, worships the sun, and likes sundresses. She likes all animals. She loves life, and is looking forward to the future.
Fantasy novels is what she enjoys most, in what she reads, and writes. It's an escape. All of her heroine's have a part of her in them. She created the Lands of Ayrenia to be a Magical world, where anything can happen. Keeps you on your toes. Wanting more.