Another–short–excerpt from Eruption for your enjoyment today (or this weekend). This one, describing the arrival of the feared Zebulonian army into Alvinoria. Let me know what you think about the mood, the imagery. Do you think it captures well the illustration?
The Yerlayan Plains – 11 Dodecimus
Snowbanks that had never heard the cries of beaten varagoths tore off the forever stretching northern flanks of the Mountains of the Sagr. The Illustrious General of the Eternal Zebulonian Army cursed Zebula for having forced her to use the stupid animals. Fortunately, no one was buried underneath the unforgiving snow—this time.
Once that morning and twice in the past three days, the snow had been precipitated from the mountains’ slopes to bury tents and carts and beasts and men, but fortunately no women. Of the ninety thousand males she had been allowed to bring, some thirteen hundred and seventy had perished so. That meant there were now fewer of them to be sacrificed to the Alvinorians before the Janarae spent their energy overcoming their adversaries. Her Janarae, fortunately—all one thousand five hundred of them—were fine. The loss of the carts was not a frustrating problem for her, but it meant that some of the males would be sleeping in more cramped quarters.
The general spurred her Snow Voran forward and galloped to the top of an overhang, dropped to the ground and looked toward the north where lay the Yerlayan plains—their entry into Alvinoria.
She knew very little about these people, and what she had learned, she had gathered from her encounters with King Juur no’Duur of Yerlah; from the few villages and towns they had passed and rested in on their way here; and from the few males Queen Zebula’s Strike Team had brought back from Alvinoria for the Queen’s Eternal Advisor to study.
Her experience with King Juur no’Duur of Yerlah—she scoffed at the thought that a male could be a king—had left her deeply troubled. Zebula had treated the male as an equal and had agreed to his demands that the males among his people remain free from bondage in exchange for his assistance. The decision had been made under recommendation by the Queen’s Eternal Advisor, who had convinced the queen that supporters in the enemy nation should not be enslaved, no matter their gender.
But Zenara intended to rectify things once they had achieved their goals.
The general turned her head back toward her army. She took a frustrated breath, frustrated not just because of the freezing winds in the Pass, which burned her nostrils, but because she knew many of her Janarae also questioned the rationality of leaving any of the enemy’s males free; that it might give their own males the wrong idea.
Just now, another frightening chorus bellowed at the back of the line. It appeared three varagoths were struggling to pull the heavy loads around the bend. As had happened earlier, their bellows caused another avalanche which should have buried them all. Fortunately, her Janarae were ready this time, and two of them used a kinetic Binding to arrest the snowslide. The sudden packing of the snow on the slopes caused a deafening boom to spread across the Pass.
The Illustrious General of the Eternal Zebulonian Army repressed a groan, kicked her snorting Snow Voran forward and rejoined her officers at the front of the line.
Tribunes Zaria, Kella, and Prota pointed toward the northern end of the Sagran Pass, all three doing so with mixed emotions on their faces.
In her throaty Zebulonian dialect, Tribune Kella, Commander of the Kinetic and Shutsha Company, holding a looking glass said with evident disdain, “Our ally’s army. It is there. Waiting for us. Do you think to attack or to greet us?”
The general replied, “Probably to greet us…unfortunately.”
The tribunes laughed a mirthless laugh.
The general heaved a heavy sigh, and her scowl deepened as she looked again at the distant Human army. If I can manage it, I will leave behind only death and nightmares, and no males anywhere except the slaves following us. With that, Zenara spurred Kai forward, hoping to reach the Yerlayan plains before nightfall. The voran’s rhythmic footfalls resonated with a foreboding quietness in the deep snow.