The Rose Shield – Goddess in the fog

goddess-image2

The Rose Shield is my 4-book fantasy series. The first book, Catling’s Bane, will be released in March. Yikes!

I’ve been introducing the main characters for the past few months. You’ve met:

Raker, the man who hears voices in the fog
Catling, a six-year-old with a rose birthmark around her eye
Whitt, the boy battling crajeks in the swamp
Gannon, captive in the belly of the Wandering Swan
Vianne, an influencer who tortures poor Gannon
Kadan, a boy who contemplates death when faced with his future

Meet the Goddess
(Raker’s voice in the fog is no longer simply a voice)

Raker poled the raft through the narrow channels, wandering his way toward the floating village deeper in the swamp. Morning mists hovered as a forbidding sky scudded eastward, promising sheets of rain. The goddess caressed him, twirled in languid circles, veils of dew flowing from her arms like wings.

She stroked his back with a fingertip. “Your indifference is as disputable as your madness.”

“Am I mad?” he asked.

“No more than you’re indifferent.” She laughed and spiraled behind him, arms encircling his chest.

“I care nothing for Ellegeans, for their tiers or their power.”

“Yet you care for her,” the goddess whispered. “Your destinies are entwined.”

Raker didn’t reply. Catling sat cross-legged at the raft’s lip. Her fishing line trailed in the glowing wake. Scraps of her previous catch baited her hook, luring in yellow-scaled pippets and the blue suckers that trawled the bottom. Jafe mended the holes in the planking and named the fish as she pulled them in, teaching her which to keep and which to toss.

The goddess interrupted his deepening silence, “Gannon’s departure stung, not his reasoning, which she understands, but his failure to bid her farewell. Another rent in a tattered life. Don’t you see? Those private tears blurring her vision are for more than this one man. He’s unearthed old bones, marked another passing, another etching on her burial stone of betrayals. Her allies are strangers, her masters concerned only with employing her skill.”

“What’s her skill?” He put his back into poling them toward the channel’s center. Jafe glanced up at him with a quizzical grin. The rafters believed him mad, and he never felt a need to explain.

“She will tell you her secrets if you ask.” The woman’s lips touched his earlobe, striking a flint to his desire.

Something tugged on the girl’s line, and she tugged back, hooking it. With a yelp, she flew off the raft into the channel. Her head disappeared. Then she broke the surface, sputtering and splashing, the luminescence marbled by stirred up mud.

Raker’s pole dropped to the raft. Three steps and he leapt into the channel beside her. His feet pushed into the ooze, and he stood, water licking his throat.

Still in her hand, the line strained. A snouted head reared from the water, blowing a breath of spray into the humid air. “A crajek!” she cried.

“Waterdragon,” Jafe shouted over the excitement. An opalescent fin sliced through the air. “A yearling.”

“Don’t release it.” Raker caught the back of her underdress as the creature pulled her farther from the raft. He grabbed the line that slid through her fingers.

She clutched Raker’s shoulder, kicking to stay afloat. “A waterdragon?” The creature’s rayed wings fluttered frantically at the surface, its wide fluke slapping the water.

“We need to free it.” Raker gently pulled the yearling in. Catling swam for the raft as Jafe poled it closer.

Something brushed Raker’s leg. A razorgill if he was lucky. Birds cawed overhead, the banks stirred and water rippled. “Crajek!” Jafe yelled.

“Get her out,” Raker barked. His hands wheeled faster. The waterdragon flailed, its scaled neck craning sideways, long tail coiling and churning the mud. Despite its small size, it matched his strength. Spined fins slashed the air, flinging water in his face.

“Raker!” Jafe grabbed Catling by her garment’s shoulders and plucked her from the water.

Raker hauled on the line. He glanced toward the banks, on the lookout for predators. Gods drifted toward the spectacle. The goddess hovered above the waterdragon, delighting in his heroics. “Your blood spills,” she warned.

“Give me time,” he growled.

“Raker!” Jafe pointed down the channel “Crajeks sinking.”

“Do you trust me?” the goddess asked, kneeling on the water’s surface, her gown of mist spreading like spilled milk, hair spiraling above her head. Jafe held the pole ready to strike.

“Do I have a choice?” Raker grabbed the wing and worked the hook. The waterdragon reeled, squealing. Its spiked head bashed him in the jaw, cutting his cheek on his teeth.

Nearer the bank, another pair of knobby eyes blinked and a head the hue of wet bark sank beneath the surface. Jafe shouted, “Crajek, Raker!”

“Goddess?” Raker murmured, ready to let go and scramble for the raft.

“Do you trust me, my love?” she persisted.

His gaze snapped to her face, the daring smile, the eagerness flickering in her eyes. “Yes.”

She flew through him into the luminescence. He gasped at the sensation. The waterdragon ceased its thrashing. Raker exhaled and worked the hook, ignoring the whorls of movement purling around him. The crajeks failed to attack though they surely tasted his blood.

The hook’s barb tore a gash in the fin and slipped free. Raker let the wing go and the waterdragon dove. In one smooth movement, he spun to the raft and leapt. Jafe snagged the back of his trousers and hauled him up.

“The crajeks.” Catling pointed to the water swarming with greedy beasts.

Jafe shook his head and slumped down, the pole across his knees. “I’ll never understand your kind.”

86 thoughts on “The Rose Shield – Goddess in the fog

  1. Steph McCoy says:

    Can hardly wait until March.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent. And I love the first three lines of dialogue. Brilliant! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. reocochran says:

    I like how this shows the characters working together. Ian thrilled the young crajek is in this. The goddess shows her fun and teasing side. Off to work and boy! I need to come back and read, Diana! 🙂
    The editing post was great! “That” is one of my oft repeated words and I have been less vigilant. I admire your tackling four books at the same time. One step at a time!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erika Beebe says:

    Beautiful passage. She’s a lovely character in the book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve chosen the perfect excerpt to pull the reader into a new series. This was a fantastic read. How exciting! I envy you being able to put out a new book two weeks apart. Pat on the back, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Antonia says:

    I love your book Diana! It will be the end of February before I am done, but I will finish sooner if I can. Congratulations!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Annika Perry says:

    Wow, Diana, how do you bring the fantastic magical world to such an immediate intense reality?? I was carried away with this excerpt, the characters and the wonder of the water-dragon. Good luck for March!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annika! It’s was fun writing a goddess that only Raker sees and hears. It creates some interesting dialog at times when people think he’s talking to them and he’s really talking her. Ha ha. I’m glad you enjoyed the scene and thanks for the great comment. It’s getting there. 🙂

      Like

  8. Kev says:

    My goodness, Diana. Hope you saved something for your book talk. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Has this series been previously published, Diana, or is this brand-new material?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As always, I’m impressed and a bit green with envy and also learning so much from each of your posts. This excerpt is full of action and hooks and makes us all want to read your first book of the series. Your work ethic and productivity is non-paralleled. Kudos! Congrats!! YOU are a writing goddess!! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gripping scene. Vivid and intense. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great scene, Diana! Love the tension. Can’t wait for it to come out. Thank you for sharing! Have a great writing week!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. An awesome read. I am going to order this as soon as it is available and I will read it as soon as my Mom and sons let me get a look in.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. […] today I exchanged comments with Diana at Myths Of The Mirror and Bridget at The Happy Quitter about our life partners who are … shall we say … […]

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Christy B says:

    Beautifully written, my friend! Wow, the release of the first book is almost here 🙂 Woohoo!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Steven Baird says:

    Beautifully written and mesmerizing, Diana. Looking forward to this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love it Diana! Really gets the reader in. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. C.E.Robinson says:

    Intense, well written scene, Diana! I felt as if I was in the boat, and the water, it was so real. Happy Valentine’s Day! 💗 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What an exciting scene for the new introduction! I finished book 2 of the Soul series, as I promised myself on Sunday. I can’t wait to continue reading ALL of your books and series, including this one. Happy Valentine’s Day Diana! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Val Boyko says:

    Ooh … so suspenseful and exciting 💛
    Happy Valentines Day ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What a mesmerizing scene. Enchanting. Outstanding word choices – I really liked this one ” Another rent in a tattered life”
    Best wishes for your March release

    Liked by 1 person

  22. tpolen says:

    You really roped me in with this excerpt, Diana – and waterdragons? Yes!!! Good luck on the new release!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Fantastic Diana.. and look forward to showcasing it in March.. in the Blogger today. hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Joanne Sisco says:

    A very intense scene – I felt like I was in the water with Raker! I loved the line “another etching on her burial stone of betrayals”. If only we could really bury our betrayals and disappointments!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Good luck in March, Diana! How exciting — and so was this scene! Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Beautifully written Diana, well done my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I loved the gown spilling line that was lovely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Bernadette says:

    Wonderfully written and usual and the story just keeps getting more mesmerizing. A best seller for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

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