It’s no secret I’ve labored over editing my first novel for some time. Since joining Jerry’s Guild in 2016, the need for ferocious self edits is constantly hammered into me. If anything shouted, “Cut me down!”, it was my 132,000 word manuscript.
So to prove to my loyal blog clan that my nose remains steady to the grindstone, here’s a special treat for you.
Below is the Revamped Epilogue from Rise of Betrayal. If you haven’t followed me since this blog’s inception (or just need a reminder), here’s the original Epilogue from 2014.
I hope you’re pleasantly surprised.
Svava rubbed the heel of her hand against her chest over and over. Rawness the only sensation driving her thoughts from insanity’s brink. The circular hut where she, Jorunn, and the other abducted women were kept, grew fetid with the blending of human excrement and the close press of too many bodies bathed in soot, sweat, and blood.
Gritty stone scraped her back as she slid down the wall to squat on the packed-earth floor. Arms and legs milled about her—a sea of limbs—always moving. Moaning, whispering, quivering, the noise an eddy to drive her mad.
Svava cringed. She ducked her head below her shoulders but could not hide from the chaos. Eyes squeezed shut. Red! All she saw stained red. Erik! Oh! Erik! Slain! The cursed Irish! The bastard branch of the Dal Cais! Murderers!
How? How could they cut you down? They made me watch! “He’s dead! He’s dead.” Svava rocked on her heals, rubbing her breastbone harder and harder. “My Erik is dead.”
“Shh!” Jorunn pinched Svava’s wrists in her cold, unrelenting grasp. “Cease this! You will rub the flesh from your bones, woman!” She bent low, her mousy brown hair hanging in limp strands before wild eyes. “Ja! Your man is dead. So are many from our great longphort. A time to mourn them will come. But not now.” She gave Svava a violent shake. “Now we must think of ourselves.”
Svava sniffed, shaking her head. Erik—his head—they severed his head. They cut him down!
“Listen to me!” Jorunn’s fingers dug into Svava’s wrists. She shook Svava’s fists in her face. “We are enslaved now. The Dal Cais, they’ve brought us to Cashel—to their king. But you! You can speak to them. They are your people. You can gain us leniency.”
Coldness snaked round Svava. Hatred creeping in with icy tendrils to pierce her heart. “They are not my people!” She wrenched her hands from Jorunn’s grasp. “They took all from me. I can never forgive them. Never!”
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