In honor of the December 1st debut of Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies, I have been asked to post an excerpt from each novel this week. These are teaser sections with no spoilers.
Luke privately wishes that he had stayed away from home for another year as he stares at the house in front of him. It is a narrow building of dark brown wood and white stone, which is topped with a steeple that has a single, circular window. A sturdy porch of ivy-cloaked oak surrounds the entire house. The area around the structure spans twenty yards in every direction with a few scattered trees casting shadows across the house. Standing in the front yard are four wooden dummies with their lifeless arms dangling at their sides.
“I remember these all too well. I wonder if grandpa still uses the same activation word for these guys,” Luke says, smiling while he approaches the dummies. He gently nudges the second dummy with his foot, leaping back when the arms reach for him.
Luke is still staring at the dummy when a brief shuffling behind him catches his attention. A grin crosses his face before he launches himself into the air and lands on top of the first dummy. Its magically animated arms try to grab the half-elf until he flips off its wobbly head. He barely hits the ground when a booted foot hits him between the shoulders and sends him tumbling forward. Luke turns in a crouch and leans away from a jab to his throat. He cartwheels out of range and lands on his feet where he can easily block the flurry of punches from his opponent.
“Couldn’t you say hello and offer me something to drink like a normal grandfather?” Luke complains as he is backed against a dummy.
“We can drink after you prove that you haven’t gone soft,” replies a bald, elderly elf dressed in a royal blue shirt and black pants. He is slightly shorter than Luke, but his body is a lot leaner. A wooden necklace with the crossed sword symbol of Uli swings from his neck every time he advances on Luke. The elf’s emerald eyes are locked in a chilling stare as if he is a cat stalking an injured mouse.
Luke pushes the old elf away with a sudden kick, but his enemy quickly uses his hands to spring back to his feet. It gives him enough time to snap off the arms of the nearest dummy.
“I’m still not good enough to beat you without weapons,” Luke admits.
“You may know your limits, but you still take on more than you can handle. I am called Talos Doubleblade for a reason,” the elf politely reminds his grandson. He promptly snaps off the arms of another dummy.
The forest trackers collide with the sound of clacking wood. Every time Luke tries to spin around Talos and strike from behind, he is tripped off his feet. Talos effortlessly blocks Luke’s attacks, as both of the warriors steadily become blurred whirlwinds of motion. Luke tries for a desperate thrust to Talos’s chest only to have his arm locked in the crook of his grandfather’s arm.
“Do you lose your arm or your head?” Talos asks. He raises his free arm for a blow to the back of Luke’s neck.
“Neither,” Luke growls with a grin.
To the surprise of Talos, Luke pushes against him instead of trying to pull his arm free or twisting his body to dodge the attack. Luke puts his free arm up to catch the incoming weapon while he has Talos off balance. A guttural snarl escapes Luke’s lips as he lifts his grandfather and attempts to hurl the old elf over his head. Talos calmly watches the sky and ground spin around him until he plants his feet firmly against the grass instead of landing on his back like Luke had planned. He can hear his grandson swear softly now that the boy is uncomfortably bent backwards with no way to escape. Without a sound, Talos flips Luke off his feet and bats him out the air with the dummy arm.
“Ouch,” Luke mutters with his face in the dirt.