I've been doing a lot of writing and I can 'see' the end of "Under the Ember Star." My pace as slowed but I know the end is in reach and I have a pretty good idea of what has to happen and when. There's still going to be some feeling my way through. In the meantime, I thought I might be lazy today and post a scene from my first novel, from Cold in the Light. I'm still very proud of this book. Kargen, who is mentioned in the scene below, is probably the best villain I ever created. I believed when I finished it that 'everyone' would love this book. You know, I still think that. Or at least I think they should. :)
Kargen's war-band followed swiftly along the scent trail of their leader, moving like an animated wind through the forest, flowing around tree trunks, leaping over fallen logs, rushing as quick as air through the night. They passed a ruined helicopter and the torn bodies of humans, one of them without a head. But they did not stop.
The kill-smell on each of the dead bore the mark of Kargen, and it injected enough of a stimulant to quiver their war-spikes and raise spines all across their heads. It made them run faster, and faster, down hills and up, until they crossed a road of bare ruts through the dark woods.
The band's warriors no longer cared about the strange odors underlying their leader's scent pattern. Blood and violence made too heady a perfume. It overwhelmed any reservations they might have had. Kargen killed, and because of that he led. They only wanted to join with him in hauling down the prey, in tearing it to froth. Their teeth hurt with the thought.
Then, as one, the band slowed, came to a drifting stop in a meadow where wild flowers of purple and white bloomed. A wetness flared their nostrils, the raw signature of a not too distant stream. And painted among the wet were the threaded fragrances of Kargen and the Mother and of humans. And, too, of a place.
A killing ground.