As the July Blogswap Trail comes towards its conclusion, I'm sharing a host of extracts and related stories from The Last War, the first book in The Noukari Trilogy. Today's extract comes from Chapter Two, where we first meet Asha in her confrontation with the leader of the new-found religion of the Noukari, Apius. Enjoy!
CHAPTER TWO EXCERPT
Apius has become aware of the glances that he has begun to attract from those living within Genem. Those he knows look upon him with reverence, acknowledging him with a bow or other prostration. These he responds to with simple platitudes, blessings in the name of the Animex, furthering belief with each word.
But there are still many within Genem who have yet to accept, and to them his robed figure brings equal measures of suspicion and hatred. They do not yet recognise his position, and the influence it brings. He is not blind to the sideways glances, the baleful eyes, the naked curiosity that surrounds him. But he knows that he needs this as much as he needs his followers. Curiosity leads to questions, and questions to answers.
And there is only one answer they can reach.
What is it about him that inspires this reaction, he wonders? Is it his manner, his confidence, the doubtlessness of his belief? The fine robe he wears, woven from the fur of the rare Pilur, separating him from the multitudes? The staff he bears, fashioned into the shape of a wooden sceptre?
The greeting disturbs his train of thought, and he sees an eager and pallid figure striding in his direction. The lady bows before him, but her eyes stare into Apius's own in a manner he finds disconcerting. The stare is fixed, unwavering. He can sense her eyes questing, silently asking something of him. He does not break the moment, but looks back with equal intensity. Finally her eyes separate from his, and she looks across at what he assumes to be her home.
'Yes, my sister?'
'I have heard much of your words, and wanted to speak to you.'
'Of course. You have questions for me?'
'Yes, many questions.'
'I shall be pleased to hear them, sister.'
'Good.' She rises to her full height, any obsequience now evaporated. 'Why do you build a temple?'
'Why? Such a simple question. We build it as a place to worship...'
'That is not what I mean. I wish to know what justification you have.'
'The question is clear, brother.' She spits this last, no longer conceding to his rank. 'There is much to do here in Genem. The people live in ramshackle while you greedily stockpile wood and Adipus for your grand temple.'
'Greedily? Rest assured, sister, there is no greed involved. The temple is not to be my home!'
'It is not being built for me, nor my Hasban. It is not being constructed for our neighbours. It is an indulgence for you and the cult you are gathering around you.'
'Cult? It is no such thing. I simply look to spread the word of the Animex. What people take from them is their own choice.'
'They are your own words, Re'Nuck. Remember that. If the Animex are so powerful, I have no doubt they would speak for themselves.'
With her piece said, the woman heads back to her rustic home, her Hasban ushering her across the threshold. She spits on the floor in Apius's direction before heading into the residence.
Shaken, Apius heads back to his own hut with all the dignity he can muster. His only relief is that there were few present to see the outburst.
To find out more about The Last War, visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00YQICMHQ