Release day is finally here! There’s lots to celebrate this week, including a contest later on in the week, so stay tuned.
Today, I have an excerpt for you – the prologue:
I live here among them, waiting and watching. They do nothing now and have remained motionless for over a century, but I watch them all the same. We have come to an understanding, a mutual respect. I study them still, though I know more about them than most.
Before we settle into our story, I ask that the mortals among us come closer. Yes, that is much better.
A few of you have some knowledge of this place, for it is not so unlike other places you may have been. Shadow Wood is old, almost as old as I am. I have lived out the centuries here, although duties call me elsewhere from time to time. Most of these castles have fallen from the hands of kings and queens and have been turned into retreats or museums. Shadow Wood, however, remains privately owned, as it always must. I know you can understand the many reasons why. Shadow Wood is more than a mere castle; it is a sanctuary.
We shall talk more about the castle itself later, because that is not why we have gathered before firelight tonight, is it? Each of you came here to hear the tale, and so shall it be. But first, let me tell you more about them. Ah! They are magnificent in presence and in thought. You have seen them, hmm? Of course! How could you
have missed them on your way in? You would be surprised how many people go on with the hustle of their daily lives without noticing a single one.
Amazing when you think all one has to do is look up! While those mortals living in the outside world may shudder or look upon these creatures with disgust, I see past that, straight to their inner beauty and purpose. Yes, I realize that trait is to be expected from me—I am their creator, after all. Among those I created was Praesus, the one with the power to unleash the others. That was hundreds of years ago, when mankind felt safer with the demon angels to watch over them, to protect them and their dwellings. Since then, the gargoyles have been cast in the stone images of humans, animals, and things beyond a sane mortal’s darkest imagination.
Humans know these creatures as grotesques or gargoyles; I know them as silent witnesses to the passing of mankind’s conscience and of time itself.
But that was long ago, when humans had a different sense of right and wrong. While I am not here to judge, the gargoyles are. They still judge by old standards, and there is no way of changing them.
I welcome all of you to Shadow Wood and wish you a most pleasant visit, but if you are to stay for long then there are things you must know. There are things here you will not find in the mortal world. Take care not to leave the path on your way back to your room. You might also find it best not to roam the halls alone at night.
Come. As it grows dark and the winds howl among the trees, the stone walls, and along the hallways, as the shadows grow thick with those who visit and live here, it is time to tell the tale.
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