Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cover Art - Dragonsword, A Fantasy Novel

An Excerpt from Dragonsword, by Deborah Teramis Christian

Month of the Tiger

Spring 1369 C.R.

Nori­geo sto­ically watched the last embers of his mother’s pyre burn to the ground. The shrouded form of Kanato Miy­obi was no longer to be seen — her bier, the white funeral hang­ings, and the chrysan­the­mum petals that had decked it were all reduced to ashes. For the last hour Nori­geo and his lit­tle brother Eoshigi had stood along­side their father, Kanato Takata, as wail­ers cried in coun­ter­point to the mourn­ful flutes of the musi­cians. Eoshigi cried as well. Nori­geo pre­tended not to notice, and bit the inside of his cheek to stop his own tears from flow­ing. Takata was not so under­stand­ing: he cuffed Eoshigi once, embar­rassed that a samurai’s son should weep in pub­lic for so small a rea­son as death.

The cer­e­mony had taken place when the ris­ing sun painted a halo around Ling’che’s snow-capped peak. The moun­tain was said to be the home of Usembo, Dragon Lord of the Wind, invoked at funer­als to speed the depart­ing soul on its way to the outer spheres. It was chance that Nuri­don Estate, the Kanato moun­tain fief, rested in the foothills of Mount Ling’che. Nori­geo thought Father would be con­tent that Usembo was so near; instead Takata seemed unhappy that they could not con­duct the funeral in Shikoku on the seacoast.

There was no expla­na­tion offered for his dis­con­tent about the funeral. Nor was much expla­na­tion offered for his star­tling announce­ment afterward.

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