K: The King’s Paladin Opening Scene

As I promised yesterday in the introduction to Ammadeus Maste’s interview, today’s excerpt is from The King’s Paladin, the third book in The Dark War Trilogy. I don’t know this one quite as well, I don’t have it fleshed out quite as well as the other two yet, but I look forward to further developing and writing it in the semi-near future.

Without further ado, here’s the opening scene.

Coraline ran down the hallway, heart pounding. Fear was mirrored in her kaleidoscopic eyes as she wrenched open the door to her mentor’s room. There he was, lying still and almost lifeless on the bed.

She ran to his side and clutched his arm. “Wake up!” she urged him, desperation filling her voice. “Please, you have to wake up!”

The man didn’t stir.

Tears spilled down Coraline’s face as she fell to her knees next to his bed, barely noticing the physician on the other side of the room. “You can’t die,” she whispered. “I’m not ready.”

“You can’t stay,” the physician said.

“I’m not leaving.” Coraline’s gaze didn’t move from her mentor’s still face.

“Your presence will do nothing to help Sir Eliot’s recovery.”

“I’m not leaving,” Coraline repeated, firmer this time.

“Please, Coraline. You have to leave.” There was compassion in the doctor’s voice, but also pleading for her to go.

She knew, as much as she hated it, that he wished to spare her the pain of watching Eliot die.

“He’s my mentor.” She was barely audible. “I’m not leaving.”

“I’ll get the guards if necessary.”

“Go ahead.”

The physician hesitated, to make sure she truly wouldn’t leave on her own, before heading into the hallway and waving a pair of guards over.

They came in and grabbed Coraline’s arms, dragging her up. She wrested one of her arms away, but the guard recaptured it a moment later and both guards tightened their grip.

A moment later Coraline felt a rush of power go through her. A cry ripped from her lips as she wrenched her arms away again, this time as if the guards’ hands were covered in butter.

She took Eliot’s hand, sobbing. He was dead.

“I’m so sorry, Coraline,” the physician said.

Coraline didn’t move, didn’t do anything to acknowledge that she had heard the doctor, just knelt, holding Eliot’s hand and looking down at his worn face. She was on her own.

A minute later a soft hand rested on her shoulder, bringing only minor comfort, and her best friend knelt next to her, mourning alongside her.

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