Excerpt from Paladin’s Pride
“They also admitted they were responsible for using the gargoyles to spy on the academies,” Thalmar said. “Spying on a member school with intent to do harm is enough to arrest them. There is other information, but I ask you to lay swords before I share that.
“If you wish to leave before the swearing, do so now. No one will think less of you.” He looked around the room. “You were all brought here because you indicated your continuing alliance to the king at Brumonde’s summit. That alliance extends to his son. If any of you don’t wish to commit, I urge you to leave now, but your silence is expected on this matter. If you will stand for the king, then lay your swords.”
Thalmar nodded to the servant to open a fresh bottle of wine and begin pouring.
Brumonde was the first. He drew the great sword with the dragon’s eye ruby in the hilt. The gold streak in the center looked like an iris winking at him in the candlelight.
“The Dragon lays down for the King Rholand and Prince Steffan.” Brumonde said and kissed the blade. “Let this blade take my life if I betray this oath.”
No sword remained sheathed and no noble left the room without swearing.
Thalmar nodded with satisfaction. Everyone present stood with them and he doubted those who had remained neutral at Brumonde’s would declare one way or the other yet. They would wait to see how the winds blew before they chose a side.
He drew his sword last. “A Saevon lays down for King Rholand and Prince Steffan,” he said. “May this blade take my life if I betray my oath.” He laid the sword on the table with the rest of the swords. “Come, Lady, take our oaths.”
The stones in the hilt began to glow. A rich, blue aura rose from the center stone and drifted about the room. It intensified and hovered over each man, as if assessing him. When it was satisfied, it returned to the table and refined into a woman’s form.
The spirit was dressed in the old style with simple lines and a great belt of ornate metal links low on her hips. Her hair waved down her back nearly to her ankles, unbound aside from a simple circlet. The apparition was nearly solid, but remained blue as when it first appeared.
“I have examined each of you and accept your sacrifice. Let these blades take your lives if you betray King Rholand or Prince Steffan in this undertaking. As you have sworn A Saevon, so will you die.”
She smiled at them and pointed at the table. Magic crackled from her fingertips and leapt to the swords. Blue flames danced on the blades and swirled down to the hilts, setting each of the embedded jewels ablaze. The fire died down, but the swords remained encased with a blue glow.
Thalmar bowed to the apparition. “My thanks, Lady Enbryn.”
She looked at each of them somberly, her gaze resting on a few longer than the others. “By honor bound, my lords. Safe journeys to you and victory go with you. May the ladies wait long to guide you to the other side.”
Each man picked up his glass and toasted her. “By honor bound.”
She shimmered and faded, then sank back into the stone in Thalmar’s sword. The other swords ceased to glow when she disappeared.
While I don’t expect my writing friends to lay swords as it were, I am going to ask you to make a commitment.
This is our year. Many of you are very close to completion. Some of you are revising. Some of you are getting ready to query.
I am going to ask you know to take a vow. Make a vow to yourself to finish. Go the distance and cross the finish line. Do not give up. Call on your friends. Let us help you when despair seeks to be your companion. This is our year. Let us take the vow and complete the quest. No excuses. No remorse. Only perseverance.
Hold to the dream. Honor the dream. A Saevon, by honor bound because, as surely as the oath in Paladin, when we let our dreams die, so also does a part of us die.
Talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to the world.