Last week, I showed off the cover for Dragon’s Fall. My publisher tells me the book is being formatted and will be ready for the printer soon. For me, this is the hardest part of all, waiting for a finished book so I can share it with all of you!
While we wait, though, I can give you a peek at the first pages of the novel. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the beginning of Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order.
From the Memoirs of Alexandra the Greek:
In my experience, there is nothing more terrifying than being sold.
My parents, brothers, and sisters were slaves to a landowner near Athens. His sons had pursued their own interests in the city and, when the landowner died, they decided to sell his farm along with all his possessions. The farmer treated us as well as any slave owner treated his chattel. Even so, I vividly remember the night he came and took my sickly baby brother away. Mother held me close and told me that it was for the best even as tears glistened on her own cheeks. Listening as my brother’s pitiable cries receded into the distance, I knew the farmer was going to leave him on the hillside for the wolves.
I sobbed into my mother’s breast and trembled. I was scared for my brother, but for the first time, I really understood what it meant to be the property of another. Laws in Greece governed the treatment of chattel, but as long as a slaveholder wasn’t outwardly cruel, they could do as they pleased with their property. There were stories of slaves from neighboring farms who had been forced to work out in the wind and rain until they were so sick they had to be put out of their misery. There were also stories of willful slaves who were beaten so their spirits would be broken. How could the farmer’s actions be deemed cruel when wealthy Athenians were encouraged to leave their own sickly children to the wolves just as the farmer had done with my brother?
I was named Alexandra in honor of the Macedonian who ruled our land at the time of my birth. There were slave owners who might have seen that as a presumptuous name for a slave to give his child – especially his female child. However, the farmer believed that my father was paying respect to the king and allowed his choice of my name to stand.
The farmer’s youngest daughter taught me the basics of reading, writing and music. Even though it was not uncommon for slave owners to allow their servants to be educated, there were plenty of slave owners that would not have bothered with more education than was necessary for a slave to perform their duties.
The landowner was good as slaveholders go. However, the cries of my brother have haunted me all my life and I never forgave the man for what he did to my brother. The problem of being sold was that I could be given over to a man I would hate even more. I had no more control of my destiny than my tiny brother did when he thrashed helplessly in the farmer’s arms all those years before.
There was a flurry of activity over the next few days. The land was divided between the men that owned the adjoining farms. My older brother and sister were sold to one of the farmers while my mother and father went with the other. I wanted to stay and work the land, but neither of the neighboring farmers seemed to have interest in me or my skills. As I understood, each of the farmers had already purchased as much as they could afford. Instead, one morning an unsavory man who wore too many rings on his fingers and adorned himself in purple robes arrived at the farm and told me to pack my belongings.
“Who are you?” I asked. “What gives you the right to give me orders?”
The farmer’s eldest son stepped up next to the man in the purple robes. “He is a trader from Athens. You will do what he says.”
My heart sank. I was being given over to a slaver. Listlessly, I packed my few belongings, then sought out my mother and father and hugged them good-bye.
The slaver led me to his small horse-drawn cart. He told me to put my belongings in the back. The cart was only big enough for one rider. He climbed aboard and instructed me to walk alongside. As we made our way along the gravel road toward Athens, I turned around and looked back at the farm with tears in my eyes. I saw my father and mother waving at me. As I raised my arm to wave back, I felt the crack of a whip next to my ear. The slaver scowled at me and bellowed for me to keep up with the cart. Shoulders slumped, I turned around and followed him to the city.
If you can’t wait to find out what happens to Alexandra, the first act called “Gorgon in Bondage” which serves as a standalone novella and tells about her adventures in Greece is available from the following sources: