Welcome to another week of the Sassy Saturday Blog Hop. Except, it's technically no longer a blog hop. Jasmine Walts, the founder, decided to discontinue it last month (December 2015) due to lack of participation and her own lack of time to promote it. However, I like the idea of it so I'm going to continue with my own excerpts.
The purpose of the blog hop used to be showcasing excerpts from our novels about kick-butt heroines. Every Saturday is a new post. If you want read more about it, the link is here.
The monsters here put up more of a struggle than the ones outside. The giants were badly injured regularly, but only until Anuzat's human healers mended them. To Tiza's delight, they couldn't work fast enough to fill the ranks so Basilard allowed her to fill in. Even shorthanded, the giants, humans, and camels of Anuzat's Caravan fought off the monsters with little help.
After leaving the stomach area, they entered a zigzag with more branching paths than Eric could count. Different breeds attacked and Basilard lectured on their abilities and the best way to kill them while Anuzat's group provided visual aids. She told the non-combatants to look for the southern exit. Eric struggled to track their progress; getting lost down here would be worse than a monster attack. They traveled deeper still and the Fog grew thicker. Eric's charm warmed his skin and he took it off. No wonder these are so cheap . . . monsters are everywhere in places like this.
Time passed and in the darkness the caravan was attacked by another threat; a foul odor. An unholy mixture of melted rock and waste and dried blood mixed with the Fog. Bird poop is nothing compared to this . . . Another two hours came and went.
“Mercenary Leader, do I get my money back if you don't do anything?”
Another hour passed. Tiza let out a long, bored, sigh and let her sheath drag on the ground. It stirred the now knee-level Fog. She couldn't even watch the giants fight if nothing attacked. Then she saw Eric anxiously checking pillar shadows. She grinned. Quiet as a mouse, she sneaked up behind him and shouted in his ear. He jumped three feet straight up, spun, and brought his staff down on Tiza. She blocked with her targe.
“Chill, Dimwit, or you'll wear yourself out.” Eric glared.
One more hour and the caravan entered a wide-open chamber. No pillars could be seen nor were there any sky holes to illuminate them. This deep in the caverns, only glowing crystals lit their way. Anuzat's giant employees put on sunglasses and pulled large rocks from out of their packs.
The rocks lit up the area. Rocks charmed to be floodlights; I wonder what kind of spell is used. The giants spread out in a circle, dropped their burdens, and sat down next to them. Anuzat's human employees set up camp: building a fire, pitching tents, and giving food to the giants.
Basilard accepted a meal from one of the humans and sat next to Anuzat. “You already seem to have capable guards in your giants, so why'd you hire us? And I find this very relevant to my job.”
“I live by rules, Mercenary Leader, and one of them is you can never be too careful.”
“Then why'd you hire novices?”
“Squad Five Senior for a bargain; why pay for three regulars when their mentor is all I'll need?”
“You've done your homework.”
“As would any merchant worth their salt.”
The novices sat nearby. Tiza dropped to the stone floor, but didn't eat with her usual enthusiasm. “I don't believe it. I thought escorts would be exciting, but this is even duller than mowing that guy's lawn. At least then we were doing something.”
“You should consider yourself lucky to be so bored,” Nolien said. “You'd be terrified if you actually met a C class.”
“Why!?” Tiza demanded. “‘Cause I'm a girl!?”
“No,” Nolien said, surprised at her barbed tone. “Only fools are fearless.”
“Well, I'm not a fool, but I'm still not scared of anything!” Tiza yelled.
“All right, all right, you're not scared of anything.”
With a look of triumph, Tiza finally dug into her meal.
Why is Tiza so determined to be strong? Or, at least, make others believe she's strong? He knew he shouldn't bother; girls were complicated and even if he guessed right, he'd have to ask her to be sure. I probably wouldn't live through that. The question nagged. It was a puzzle and he liked puzzles. This one's going to drive me insane. So he focused on his meal instead.
The rock lights shattered and the caravan was plunged into darkness. In the dim light, Eric could see blue-brown wolves rushing their position. Xethras! The pack surrounded the caravan and attacked in groups. One engaged while a second bit their ankles and a third ripped their throats out. The perimeter was broken at once. Monsters are mindless!
“Looks like you won't be bored after all, Tiza,” Nolien said grimly, his staff in hand and already glowing. The fighter said nothing. All she did was grip her sword and stare.
To learn more about Tiza and A Mage's Power, visit Tvtropes at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.
A Mage's Power, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, are available for purchase at