The following passage is an excerpt from the prologue to an epic fantasy novel I am working on. It is just the first page or two, but I wanted to get something up this weekend. It is unedited, in its raw state, but I am open to (even hoping for) some comment or critique if anyone wishes to give some. Hope you find it at least a bit intriguing
The gaunt man crouched in the tall grass, indifferent to the steady drizzle of rain falling on his bare shoulders and back. Next to him lay a dappled foal, newly dead, steam still rising from its opened body cavity. Slowly, with great care, the man dipped an obsidian stylus wrapped with gold thread into the downed horse’s slowly draining ichors, chanting in low guttural growing sounds as he raised the stylus to his right arm to continue the tattooing he had been working on since so long ago.
The horse blood laid down beneath the man’s skin like a living fiery thing crawling around and up his arm with a warm glow. Above, the sky ran with veins of the same glowing, crawling orange against a dead black background, darker than the man’s skin, but not much. Below the sky, a tall grass plain ran golden to all horizons. Nothing else existed in this place but the man, and what once was a fine young pony.
The man himself was a riddle. One could not say if he were old or young. His appearance seemed to change slightly as one looked upon him, morphing from old to young, strong to weak. To most he seemed to exist in shadow, just out of focus, like looking at someone standing in front of the rising sun. His skin was dark; weathered deeply, wind raw, chapped and calloused. He wore only a yellowed linen cloth about his waist. The cloth had the look of once being very fine and embroidered with gold, but long wear had reduced its finery to near rags. He was small, slight enough of build to be afraid of a stiff breeze, but there was very little fear left in this man. Very little he did not control, either directly or otherwise.
The man had no hair, none on his head or on his body. Only the tattoos. Up his legs, beneath the loincloth, across his chest and down his right arm. Everywhere the man could reach except for his left arm. A grand work in progress, a great investment in time and horseflesh had gone into the flesh art. Great power can come from such things, or great waste. All things with intent, with purpose, believed the man. Soon the right arm would be done. Soon he would conjure a new mare, pregnant and near to term. Nothing existed in this realm he did not bring to being.
The mare would birth the final foal, a roan this time. She would nurse the small, wobbly thing for a while, building its strength. The grasses here were very rich, wonderful for raising horses. When he could feel the foal’s power in his soul, in his essence, he would complete his artwork. By then the boy should be ready, he thought. By then, the long incarceration he had submitted to would be at an end, he felt in his bones the truth of it. He could feel the boy’s power, sometimes, like one of his foals. He had been watching, checking his progress through the years. Yes, soon it would be the time of action once again.