Here's a sneak peek of White Stag Trials Chapter 2: Hearts in a basin. You can read the rest of the chapter over on Channillo here. Curious about what Channillo.com is? I wrote about it on my Things I Use page. That's all for now, please enjoy and leave me a comment to let me know what you thought!
"Welcome all, to The White Stag Trials!" The man that addressed the hunters stood above them on a decorated balcony. He wore a robe of red silk and golden thread, a golden crown with red stones of various shades adorned his head. “Hunters of Emberden, it is my great pleasure to have you all here today,” the royal lowered his arms to the balcony and leaned out over it. “Hunters,” he paused and frowned, “Please remain calm.”
Fin turned his gaze from the figure above to the ones around him, none of the hunters looked calm. Many gripped weapons, others various types of hunting beasts, but all of them - including Fin - held a throbbing heart in their hands.
“What have you done to us?” Snarled a hunter to Fins right. Fin noticed the hunters form becoming smaller, shifting from whatever it had been to a more human state. Next to him was another going through a similar reversion, both had arms covered in gore and over sized canine teeth shifting back into place in their jaws.
“Watch your mouth dog-man,”A hunter in bone white armor turned and struck the speaker in the face, “This man is our King, Aiden Pyrekin of Emberden.”
“Ain’t ours,” spat the hunter who had not spoken at first. The hulking man raised his now bloodied gauntlet to strike again, “Touch me or my brother again and I’ll give you the bite too, see how much our king cares for you then.” He bore his teeth and glared.
“That’s enough of that!” The king announced, “Lycankind you are welcome to stay and hear my offer, or you can leave at any time. The choice is yours.”
After a few moments of no one moving, the man in white armor spoke up, “Why are we here my king?”
“Each of you hold the answer in your hand. When you held the heart of the White Stag, you accepted an invitation to the trials.” He motioned to a young man behind him, who responded by coming to stand by the king’s side. “This is my son, Ashen Pyrekin. He wishes to learn the art of hunting, and being the father I am I wish for him to have the best instructor.”
“I have no interest in babysitting.” One of the hunters spoke up, many agreeing in grunts and cheers.
“There will be a reward of course,” The king said silencing the crowd, “the winner will become Master Hunter of Emberden, earning them a place in the court with all the riches and privileges that come with the title and responsibility.” He smiled as the crowd quietened, “I will be upfront, the trials will become increasingly difficult, each with their own set of rules. The possibility of some - if not many - of you dying is quite real. Please evaluate the risk before you decide.” He turned and disappeared through the archway behind the place he had been standing.
A tearing sound pulled Fins attention behind the group....