After thinking it over for a while, I’ve decided to upload part of the first chapter of The Spyglass And The Cherry Tree. It hasn’t been edited yet by anyone other than myself so it
may will change drastically before publication! I’d definitely be interested to hear your feedback in the comments below. There may be more information to come in the next few days with a cool trailer poster that I’ve designed primarily to keep me focussed!
The army of Goblins stretched away to the horizon. They were scrambling forwards, climbing over each other in their eagerness to rush the waiting army of men. The frosted grass underfoot was soon turned to mud as the clawed feet churned and kicked away at it. Their quarry were still small on the horizon but the foul creatures were doing all they could to cover the distance quickly.
Waiting for their attack were a vast army of men fronted by hundreds of mounted cavalry and backed by thousands more foot soldiers stretching to the rear. Row upon row of men stood to attention beneath banners of every colour and design. Each one was waiting, ready for the command from the front; from the tall girl sat proudly in the saddle of her strong warhorse. She was no more than a teenager and her wiry frame didn’t seem strong enough to support the heavy armour that she wore. Long, ginger hair flowed from under her helmet and danced in the fierce wind that swirled around the battlefield.
Around her, snow started to fall with a softness that seemed alien against the raging noise of the oncoming Goblins. Where it settled on the warm hides of the horses it melted with a soft hiss but it was starting to settle in drifts against the trees at the edge to the woodland that flanked the battlefield on both sides. The woodlands that were to be their refuge if all went wrong. They were being cut off from their only salvation by the failing weather.
Thousands of men at her side. Thousands of men rapidly called to arms from all corners of her empire. How many could she rely upon if the fight went south though? How many would flock back to the darkness if her plan failed? She knew that she had some good men around her, men that she had fought with for years. For the rest though, she knew she could nothing but hope.
The Goblins were close now. A pallid mist hung above their steaming bodies as they tore through the icy air. The Goblins didn’t feel the cold, the girl had been told. As she flexed her fingers to take the edge of the chill, she wished she had their blood in her right now.
They were close now, she knew it was time. The girl screamed her defiance at the oncoming wave of darkness and allowed her spear to drop into her saddle. Her call to charge echoed through the legions at her command and, with a mighty roar, she led the cavalry forwards at a gallop.
A wall of green rose up as they drew closer, each Goblin climbing on to the backs of those in front in a desperate bid to wrench the mounted soldiers from their saddles. The Goblin weapons were largely old and worn but they still looked sharp in the dawn light. From this distance their chattering cries and unholy screams merged into one incoherent noise. She knew there was only one way this could end. These demons needed sending back to the hell from which they came.
The floor vibrated to the pounding of horseshoes hammering into the earth. The girl felt her horse slip on the frozen earth and strain every muscle to keep its balance. Suddenly they were on top of the Goblins and the girl thrust her spear forwards and straight through the chests of the first column of enemies. She cast the spear aside, weighed down by the spiked bodies, and drew her sword. It shone in what little light there was and she felt the power course through her arms.
A Goblin came at her from the side and she managed to drop her shield in time to take the blow before removing the head with her sword. Another had its throat opened with the tip of her blade as it jumped, screaming, towards her face.
Enemy after enemy fell beneath her until, from nowhere, a crossbow bolt smacked into the neck of her horse. She felt it tense and thrash around beneath her, its muscles moving like a sack of thick snakes. With a loud whinny it fell to the ground throwing the girl clear at the last minute. She slipped as she tried to scramble to her feet but that split second was all it took for her enemies to fall upon her. She felt their claws and teeth scratching against her armour before her helmet was pulled from her head.
Looking up through her forest of matted red hair, the girl saw two pools of emerald green punctuated by deepest darkness. She saw the eyes blink slowly and the head pull back from hers. She saw the Goblin raise a rusty sickle high above its head before bringing it swinging down towards her neck.
The blow never came.
Just as the blade should have been making its terminal mark, Willow Thistle found herself jolted from her dream and onto her bedroom floor, her hands groping at her neck. She was sweating again and was completely tangled up in her quilt. These dreams were becoming more common. She was having them practically every other day now.
Willow looked at the alarm clock on her bedside table. 5am. Still too early to get up. She shook her head clear and allowed herself to drift back to sleep.
Here Be Goblins!