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Chapter 1 (Sample)

Darkwood

 

 

   “Side Ho!” – The big man bellowed as he raced past me, his coach loaded down with anything imaginable. He could’ve been hauling carrots or carrying gold.

   On the North Road, caravans traveled regularly and you never knew what were the contents of the mammoth wagons.

   For three days now the caravan drivers had been shouting at me. I have yet to understand why. You could feel a caravan coming for miles, then hear it roaring down on you and finally smell it coming. If all that swayed no person from moving out-of-the-way, what makes them think screaming “Side Ho” would?

   From each caravan, I have also heard every possible form of profanity and disparaging remark screamed over the noise of the carts passing. I guess they have never seen a woman walking alone on the North Road. Though I find it impossible that everyone but me owns a horse or has the coin to book passage on the convoys headed to greater profits.

   Caravans were wonderful when I was young. Living in a small town like Overwatch, the caravans were both a lifeline and our only break to the boredom of settlement living.

   Caravans that rolled into town would bring all sorts of new sights and smells and wonderful treats to try. Often loaded with new foods, such as Chark, which is a wonderful deer jerky from the Sapphire Dwarves of Kinghold. Or sometimes they had this flatbread with all kinds of spices in it, which came from the City of Silver. Although I don’t know how that’s possible, as the Elven city closed to outsiders before my birth.   

   But my favorite came all the way from the Tinker gnomes across the mountains and into the great forest. It was a wonderful treat. The cookie was soft and had cinnamon in it. Though we rarely got more than one, I know I could have eaten a hundred in a single sitting.

   The best the caravans brought was the Songweavers. The Songweavers who would bring us tales of the outside world far beyond our tiny little hamlet they would sing beautiful songs about warriors and heroes and lovely elf maidens. They would spin stories about great dragons or wars and even the dark elves of the underworld.

“DW Johnson is a gifted writer, and I’m impressed by his debut novel. He has an eye for character development and action, keeping the plot moving along and the pages turning. The Xenkur Chronicles is off to a great start with this debut novel. I’m looking forward to the rest in the series. Strongly Recommended!” – Sky Rae