Mite of a Hero

She was barely a mite of a thing. Standing on the edge of the torn battlefield, the child looked even smaller. Bloodstained grasses scraped her bare feet and the hem of her coarse dress.

I didn’t see her at first. I might have missed her completely but for the tawny hair that blew over her shoulder as she took the first step from the safety of the trees. It twisted like a banner in defiance against death.

Dust, ashes, and Elyon himself. What was a child doing in this mess of fragmented nations and proud lords?

I’d been sent to escort a hero from the lands of the living. Hundreds of men had died already in this battle. Thousands. I’d lost count an hour before. There’d been plenty of heroic deeds, but no soul marked as the hero I was to aid.Mite of a Hero

I wasn’t even supposed to be here. I escorted the more common, precious souls. The mothers who died in childbirth. The fathers who rushed into burning buildings to find the children I’d already whispered away.

I never asked to be on a battlefield with blood and grime and severed limbs on all sides. I wasn’t Death. I was only her assistant, comforting those who I could.

The child took another wavering step. I squeezed my eyes shut. She’d be trampled in moments. Someone, see her. Pull her back to shelter. Please, for the love of pity.

Except no one sees a child when the stakes of each action are life or death. Soldiers swept around her like a wave around stone, ebbing and surging, and somehow she still stood. She didn’t cry. Didn’t smile. Just looked, with that pale face and those wide eyes.

No, not looking. Searching. It was a wonder she even saw in the haze of smoke and dust and parched, burnt air.

That’s when I noticed the light on her fingers. It was only a flicker of silver, with a hint of green. Maybe that’s why I saw it.

Men raged and fought over money and land while a power none of them could purchase stood among them in bare feet and dusty rags. A child holding more strength than the armies combined, yet small as a star-blossom growing among the giant trampling feet of men.

She froze, one hand tangled in a strand of her hair. Her gaze locked on a single soldier who staggered back as a bolt slammed into his shield. He kept his feet easily. A simple footman. Burley and covered with leather armor. A thick shield hung from one hand, a mace from the other. He was only another man, fighting for what he couldn’t understand. Another life about to be cut short.

The child dashed toward him.

Someone, please

No one saw her. Only cowards turned from battle and today there were no cowards.

A second arrow followed the first, thudding against the man’s shield, then a third, piercing through to his arm. He swayed, like so many others had that day. I only remember because of the girl.

The fourth arrow lodged in the man’s chest. He crashed to his knee and wrenched it out with a scream.

And somehow, as he fell, the girl was there. Her tiny hand clung to his shoulder as if she could keep him upright. Light sprang from her fingers, spreading across the man.

In the light were pictures.

I could see her huddled alone in the gutter of an abandoned village a week earlier as soldiers marched past. On and on and on, until one man paused—Elyon bless you, soldier. He’d swept her into his arms. Fed her. Tended her. Left her safe at the camp when he marched out before dawn to fight.

He’d forgotten about the child he’d saved. It was one rescue of many. Another life pulled from the shadows before he met death himself.

Except she hadn’t forgotten him.

The soldier faced Death on the battlefield, face twisted in pain, but Death turned away.

The light from the child’s hand flickered out. She crumpled to her knees. Such a small thing in her rescuer’s shadow. He didn’t see her huddled behind him. All he saw was the blood on his hands. He felt the healed skin where a mortal wound should have been.

He’d heard of miracles on the battlefield, I imagine. But as the enemy charged and he stumbled to his feet, he didn’t know he left the miracle behind; a miracle drained of the power she’d used to save his life.

He never knew what he abandoned when he charged to the rescue of his own commander.

The archer who loosed another bolt as the soldier sprinted into the fray only knew he missed the man who’d survived his earlier blows. He didn’t know his bolt lodged in the stomach of a child as she crumpled soundlessly to the blood-soaked turf.

I sprang forward, barely conscious of any urging. A child. A hero.

The one I was sent to escort.

My cheeks were damp as I sank to my knees beside the crumpled form. She was the husk of a flower now, nothing more. Silver wrapped the battle, shielding it from sight until only I and the child remained.

She opened her eyes on this side of the rift. In the battlefield, the child had breathed her last.

“Hello,” I whispered.

Her small brow furrowed. “Who are you?” The voice was thin, sounding of birds and silver bells.

“A friend.” I held out one hand. “I was waiting for you.”

She wavered, then her fingers brushed mine. They were cold.

She blinked once. “Why?”

My hand closed over hers and I drew her close. “Because. Elyon remembered you.”

She crumpled into my hold. I swept her up, holding her close as I turned away from the invisible battle.

In my arms, she trembled. But when I looked down she was smiling.

COVER REVEAL: Healer’s Bane

*skids in and crashes against wall*

*steadies self*

I’m alive, and still busy. Maybe too busy, but so what?

Anyway, I launched Shadowkeeper two weeks ago. There’s a giveaway going on right now. And…

I HAVE THE COVER OF HEALER’S BANE FOR YOU!

I told you all back when I revealed Shadowkeeper‘s cover that it was one of my favorites. I wasn’t lying, but this one is even better.

And I have a ‘secret’ for you. While Healer’s Bane is another novella, it is going to be published in paperback!!! Finally.

I’m very excited about that. Smooth and shiny and all the rest.

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Kynet hadn’t planned to be in the forefront of the rebellion. That was her brother’s hobby—rallying the people. Plotting against the leaders. Running into dangers she’d have to negotiate him out of.

That was before the Poisoner tried to kill her with many profuse apologies.

That was before she survived, her hands glowing with a strange power she didn’t understand.

With her new ability to heal, Kynet is convinced the rebellion will only doom them all. Taking the people’s pain on herself is a better and all-around safer way. After all, what is the comfort of one worth, compared to the others who can be saved?

Or will it matter at all as her brother lays plans to end the decades of fighting once and for all?

Not only is Healer’s Bane paperback, but it stands alone. I will get back to Legends of Light, but this takes place in another world with completely different characters.

The best part?

It comes out in little over a month. March 29th, to be exact.

*grins*

Excited much?

Right. You want to see the cover. I suppose…

1548951212

*grins even wider*

I am so looking forward to this release.

In the meantime, feel free to preorder the book, add it to Goodreads, and do whatever else you might want to do.

Add to Goodreads

Preorder ebook

(paperback preorders will be coming)

Well? What do you think?

SHADOWKEEPER is Here!

I’ve talked about it enough the past month.

In fact, I’ve talked about hardly anything else.

But…

Shadowkeeper is here, peoples!!!

1

Death can die as easily as any other man.

Cedra has kept her sister safe for years. None of that changes just because Pethra got herself kidnapped by Death himself.

Claiming the questionable aid of Death’s weary older brother, the Shadowkeeper, Cedra forces her way through mist and shadows in pursuit of her hapless sister. But Death wants much more than he has revealed.

A wish that will splinter her and Pethra’s world no matter what she chooses: death, or a chain.

Loosely inspired by the stories of Hades and Persephone and Castor and Pollux, Shadowkeeper will sweep you into a world of wavering mists, shadowy passages, and the love of two siblings fastening them with ties stronger than Death himself.

Order now for $0.99 ONLY

Also, guys. I’m trying to do something here, and since I can’t clone myself 100 times I need your help. I want to sell 100 copies of Shadowkeeper today and tomorrow.

It seems like a huge goal, but I think it’s doable. Last time I tried to sell 50 and got 30+. But last time I was selling the book for three times the price (a whopping $2.99. Imagine that. *evil laugh*). This time it’s a mere dollar which is like… less than you’d spend for nearly any snack.

The reason for this goal? If enough of you buy the book in a short enough time it goes up in Amazon algorithms. If it goes up, other people see it who don’t know about me and get it. I get to claim readers and spread my base of minions. And it goes from there.

So, if you want to help me get up to 100 sales in the first 48 hours, click here! Then feel free to share this article with those of your friends who you think would be interested in a story about Death and sibling love, mingled with powers and hints of mythology.