We are only single-digit days away from the release of Storm Warrior. The first snippet was the prologue – an emotional flashback to Abbey’s mom. Today’s excerpt is the beginning of chapter one.
Let’s get right into it, but before we do, I promised you another clue to what this story’s about. Here it is:Â
The Foggy Day glided across the water and raced toward her target, propelled by a powerful wind.
â€œSheâ€™s turning!â€ Elliot called from the crowâ€™s nest.
Abbey shielded her eyes from the sun and gazed in the direction Elliot was pointing. It took her a moment, then she saw it through the spray. Sure enough, their target was angling toward port. Tempest Chaser, the stormship theyâ€™d been hunting for the last three days.
â€œSet us three degrees port,â€ Captain Syd shouted.
â€œAye!â€ a sailor called in response as he made the adjustments to the wheel.
Abbey marched to the quarterdeck, where her captain stood. Sydâ€™s arms were crossed as she watched over the crew carrying out their well-orchestrated dance.
â€œThink theyâ€™re angling back for a fight?â€ Abbey asked Syd.
The captain didnâ€™t take her eyes off the ship in the distance. Â â€œNot if theyâ€™re smart. Running wonâ€™t do them much good either.â€
Tempest Chaser was a mid-sized stormship, one that held no special renown. It was one of the many ships in the fleet that spent most of its time sailing the fishing routes, making sure they were safe for the fishermen and women.
Her captain was an older man who had spent much of the last few months complaining about the state of Holdgate to anyone whoâ€™d listen. He didnâ€™t approve of the fact that the city had turned on its most favored son, Tor. He didnâ€™t like that theyâ€™d given Thunderclap, the flagship of the fleet, to an underachieving, easygoing captain like Roy. Most of all, he hated the Barskall Storm Callers who had recently been brought to the city, and he was indignant that the Holdgate fleet was actually using some of them on the stormships.
So when Tempest Chaser hadnâ€™t returned from their latest voyage and a handful of villages along the southern Kaldfell coast had reported devastating attacks, it wasnâ€™t difficult to put two and two together.
Captain Syd spoke, her voice thick with disdain. â€œStorm Raiders. I thought we were done with this idiocy.â€
Abbey chuckled, but there was no joy in it. â€œIf there was one thing I learned in our travels, it was that idiocy wasnâ€™t the private property of Captain Tor or Dahlia. Itâ€™s a widespread affliction, and those who have it are all too happy to share.â€
Syd nodded toward the bow of The Foggy Day. â€œCheck on our Storm Caller for me?â€
â€œAye, Captain,â€ Abbey said. As she walked to the other end of the ship, her eyes scanned the deck, appraising her crew. She was happy with what she saw. They were working hard, quickly and diligently going about their tasks. The pre-battle energy practically crackled in the air, yet they remained focused.
It was a credit to Captain Syd, and to the crew themselves. Theyâ€™d been through a lot together, this ragtag bunch. Theyâ€™d fought Barskall and Stone Shapers. Now they were back on the Kaldfell Peninsula, and things had come full circle. They were home and fighting Storm Raiders, just like the good old days. It was almost enough to make Abbey smile.
Sheâ€™d been to three of the villages these assholes had raided. Sheâ€™d seen the devastation theyâ€™d left in their wake, and sheâ€™d spoken to the families of those they had killed. Abbey wouldnâ€™t be smiling until this was over and done with.
Sheâ€™d almost reached the causeway to the foredeck when Olaf stopped her.
â€œHey, Abbey, did you tell Dustin my idea?â€ His eyes were so big and hopeful it almost made her laugh.
â€œJust to be clear, your idea was that he not destroy them with storm magic, right? That he get us in close, and we try to board them?â€
He nodded eagerly.
â€œNo, I did not tell Dustin that idea. Because itâ€™s horrible.â€
If he was insulted by her comment, it didnâ€™t show. â€œOkay, yeah, I can see why youâ€™d think that. But we need to show these guys that Storm Raiders donâ€™t get off easy. I mean, a massive wave and itâ€™s over? We need to strike fear into their hearts. And nothing strikes fear like a warrior with a flaming sword rushing at you.â€
Abbey shook her head. After everything theyâ€™d been through, Olaf still thought battle was a glorious game. She almost admired his ability to keep his Holdgate ideals.
She put a hand on his shoulder. â€œListen, Olaf, I know youâ€™re excited about your magic abilities, and you want to put them into action.â€
â€œThey basically turned the tide at the battle in Ammaas,â€ he interjected.
She decided to let that one go. â€œIâ€™m sure youâ€™ll have plenty of opportunity to strike fear into your enemiesâ€™ hearts with your flaming sword, but weâ€™re going take care of this the most efficient way possible.â€
He gave a brisk nod. â€œUnderstood.â€
Abbey turned back toward the foredeck, pleased at how well heâ€™d taken the decision. The Olaf of just a few months ago would have argued his point, and probably challenged her to a fight over it, too. Heâ€™d come a long way, though it had helped that every time they did fight she knocked him on his ass.
As she reached the bow, she slowed her pace. Sheâ€™d learned not to surprise Dustin when he was stormcalling. The task took total concentration, and surprising himâ€”especially before a battleâ€”could throw him off his game.
She spoke in a soft but confident voice. â€œHey, Dustin, what are you up to this fine day?â€
He sounded a little distracted when he answered, the way he always did when he was stormcalling. â€œNot much. Sailing on a stormship. Catching some sun. Hunting Storm Raiders. The usual Tuesday stuff.â€ His voice grew more serious. â€œThese idiots are showing us their portside. Nice big target. I think itâ€™s time to stop chasing and start playing rough.â€
â€œYou know I like it when you talk that way.â€ Abbey crossed her arms, settling in to watch the show.
â€œCareful,â€ Dustin said distractedly. â€œElliot will get jealous.â€
Abbey didnâ€™t think that was very likely. Things had remained frustratingly platonic between them since their return to Holdgate, despite every sailor on the ship knowing there was a mutual attraction there. It was starting to annoy Abbey. â€œLetâ€™s stay focused on the battle and leave my love life alone for the moment.â€
Dustin grinned. â€œWhat love life?â€
Without another word, he closed his eyes and tightened his grip on his staff. Almost immediately dark clouds appeared over Tempest Chaser, and the air grew thick with electricity. A lightning bolt crashed down, striking the mast of the stormship. It was quickly followed by a second. Then a third.
Abbey let out a soft whistle. â€œLooks like all your practice is paying off.â€
Not long ago Dustin had considered calling lightning his weakness in storm magic, but heâ€™d made a point of changing that. The mast of Tempest Chaser was in flames.
He opened his bluish-green eyes and nodded toward the other ship. â€œHey, what do you say I bring us in close? Iâ€™ll bet the crew would love the chance to finish these idiots off personally.â€
Abbey frowned. â€œOlaf got to you, didnâ€™t he?â€
Dustin couldnâ€™t hide his smiled. â€œI have no idea what youâ€™re talking about.â€
Abbey just shook her head and told her crew to prepare for battle.
That’s it for this snippet. See you in a couple days for number three.Â