The Demon of Hagermarsh by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus [Exclusive Excerpt]June 19, 2019
Sir Yaden #1
The Demon of Hagermarsh
– Excerpt B-
a Virasana Empire novel
by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus
Colin led them through the quarter, roughly following the cliff line, until they left the last houses behind and there was nothing ahead of them but craggy cliffs that went on until the whole world disappeared in a grey haze. Low, stringy grass grew up to a few meters of the actual cliff face, where all growth had been washed away by the spray and nothing but grey rocks remained.
For a moment, they walked along in silence, enjoying the unusually clear view of the ocean stretching away from them. Sure, the water was almost the same colour as the sky, and one could hardly tell where one began and the other ended, but it was nice to have a view at all for a change.
The difference from Lagoona’s seas was striking. The ocean around Agami was blue-green with turquoise linings, calm most of the time and – at worst – a little choppy. Here on Leichnam, the sea was lead grey and savage with its high waves. And yet, both were beautiful in their own way. It made Yaden wonder what it would feel like to be able to touch water with his powers. How its incessant movement had to feel utterly different to the calmness of earth and stone.
The silence between them was comfortable. Not like the awkward silences when he had to attend social gatherings and didn’t know how to take part in small talk. Yaden felt almost sad when Colin broke it.
“Alright, here’s a good spot to start looking. So we are gathering keesel crabs. They are crustaceans like scribba, but round with two small feet at each side and pincers at the front. They are as grey as the rocks, and when they sit down and tuck their feet under them, they look like a pebble, so they are tough to spot.” He looked around and bent down, picked up a small rock and shook it. “See, that wasn’t one,” he said with a chuckle and let it drop again. “The easiest way to tell if they are rocks or not is to shake them.”
Yaden looked out over the cliff side. He had no trouble sensing what was rock, so everything that wasn’t had to be a crab. And there were a lot of them. This would be easier than he had expected.
He picked up the crab sitting right next to the rock Colin had picked up and it immediately tried to nip him with its pincers. “Like these?”
Colin laughed. “Yes, exactly.” He held out one of the cages to Yaden and he dropped the crab in. “They cut through cloth,” Colin explained, “but their pincers aren’t strong enough to get through the wire.”
That didn’t stop the crab from trying valiantly.
Colin picked up another one, and this time got a crab, too. They made their way along the cliffs’ edge, picking up more crabs along the way, with Yaden unerringly picking out crabs until Colin gave an exaggerated huff.
“That is so uncanny!”
Yaden froze in mid-motion of picking up another crab. Had he angered Colin? Or had he gotten so carried away by this new sport that he had risked his cover?
“Picking crabs must be your secret talent,” Colin conceded with well-amused defeat. “You know what? I’m not going to make a fool of myself any longer. I’m going to carry the cages and you’ll do the collecting.”
Yaden didn’t mind. So they continued for another stretch, while Yaden made sure to pick up a pebble every now and then to keep up appearances.
“Your Master Darios was impressive yesterday,” Colin remarked after a while, “looked like he actually knew what he was doing with his fork. Was he a soldier or something?”
Yaden looked up from the ground and shrugged. “I don’t really know. When I started working for him, he had just moved to my home town, Scherbenbrunn. No idea what he did before, but he sure knows how to run a shop and make money.”
“Whatever his story, I’ll definitely feel safer when the next scribba decides to go on a rampage.”
“Have you ever fought one?”
“Twice. Well … once, to be honest. The first time, I was so confused by the alarm siren it took me ages to get my boots on and my fork through the door and to find where it was. It was already dead when I arrived. That was a smaller one. The other one…” Colin took a deep breath. “I wish I had been slow then, too. It was huge and angry and everyone was stabbing at it and shouting and slipping in the rain. I thought it was a miracle we didn’t stab each other, but Fergus later said we all did well since nobody got killed or mortally wounded. I had nightmares about it afterwards.”
Yaden tried to imagine what it had been like. He had battled nature more often than he could count, but before becoming a Lotus Knight, he’d never spent much thought on fighting other people. Combat training had been at the top of the Lotus Compound’s list of things he needed to learn. While he had received some training by now, he still hadn’t been in a real fight. His teachers kept telling him that keeping a cool head was the most important thing and they all seemed to expect him to panic when someone was actively trying to kill him. He tried to trust in their judgement, but he had trouble believing them. How could fighting a squishy person be more frightening than standing in the heart of a raging blizzard with nothing but your will separating you from instant death?
But as with all second-hand knowledge, he would have to wait until it happened to see his own reaction.
We hope you enjoyed your time in the Virasana Empire.
Yaden’s adventures continue in
Book #2 The Windmines of Bora Bora
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