Just a quick note on the state of Book Three of the Akiniwazisaga.
“Into The High Places” is in the final stages of editing and formatting. Barring any interference, the desire is to release by Labor Day.
As a little thank you for your patience from not getting it out in July, here’s an excerpt from what’s to come:
1. Beyond the Bounds of Law
Brother Finn looked back through the branches of the forest and down the path they had climbed to leave the Eitrfjord. Far in the distance, the last sliver of Lake Wanashiabinoogi shimmered, begging him to turn back. Finn stared at the bright flickers on the deep blue of water, palms sweating and his heart began to pound for a brand new reason.
“Just one more step, Bergie,” Finn muttered.
“All it would take is one more step, the lake would disappear from sight and my skoggang breaks,” he said to his ever faithful companion who only panted in reply. “I would become fredlause, you know? Unprotected by the law, any man who desired to take my life could do so without fear. Just like a wild animal… no reprisals… no feud… no trial. Only justice served.”
Glancing further down the trail at the small ad hoc company with whom he had thrown in his lot, Finn was still astonished with his reasoning. He gave Bergamot, his mastiff , a bittersweet smile. She waited patiently under her heavy packs.
“Such is my life,” Brother Finn said with a small snort. “Why should I even care about breaking my obedience to the Kyrkja so much? They were the unjust ones, but yet I remain chained to their ideas and authority regardless of its perversion,” he complained to her.
Misty sunlight sliced up the shade of the thick forest into glittering magical shafts. A still voice whispered in his mind, “The needs of the Forsamling are far greater than claims of the Orthodoxy. The purposes of God are grander than the vision of a few petty men in comfortable palaces.”
Brother Finn nodded a few times with the wise words that came from somewhere deep within, drew a cleansing breath through his nose and resolved to serve both his Lord and his Tign. Turning his back to the lake, Finn began descending the deer trail. The act completed his disobedience to the laws of man. His fate rested in the hands of God and Visekonge.
Far down the slope the group headed toward the sound of a babbling brook. No one had noticed Finn’s personal struggle or failure to keep up. Their long climb out of the Eitrfjord made them grateful to have a downward slope that quickened their steps. Finn could no longer see the rest of the party through the foliage but heard their voices echoing through the trees. They were much too loud for Finn’s comfort. Who knew what else could be listening among the curtains of green? He and Bergamot rushed to catch up. As the slope grew steeper, gaps in the canopy showed they were rapidly descending into a series of interconnected valleys. The white and gray peaks and palisades of the Ondeandkorgfjell fanned out before them, ominous and beautiful.
A branch cracked above and to his left. Finn had just enough time to see Friar Amr flying at him from out of a dense cluster of spruce with a bloodcurdling grin on his face. Brother Finn could not bring his harpoon to bear on Amr’s attack in time and was bowled over with a loud whoof.
Thyrnir charged out of some dense brush, barrelling down the grade. Bergamot wheeled on Thyrnir and growled, intercepting the other dog’s attack, knocking him down with her superior size, using her packs like armor. The two dogs tore at each other in a frenzy, while both their masters slashed and blocked each other in a blind tangle. Friar Amr’s strikes missed by a hair’s breadth with the barb of his harpoon but struck soundly with the blunt end. Brother Finn fought to gain distance from this savage attack.
Then just as quickly as it began, Friar Amr and Thyrnir vanished!