Hello again readers! As we move into this Christmas season, the release of Axtara – Banking and Finance draws ever closer! The ebook will, to my delight, be out before Christmas! I’ll have an official date and open pre-orders as soon as I have the final cover! Oh, and once again,
we hope you laughed at the pre-sketch mockup if you found this via Twitter or Facebook and saw that MS Paint image (it’s been replaced, so if you missed it, tough)!
So, to help prepare you readers for this awesome day, here’s another preview of what’s coming, a companion to the first special look at Axtara from a week age. Save where that preview was an excerpt from Chapter 1 about Axtara leaving her home, this preview is from chapter 2 and finds our young dragoness arriving at her new home in the remote kingdom of Elnacier … the place where she’ll be opening her new bank.
Axtara – Banking and Finance will be releasing soon! In the meantime, hit the jump for your second look!
She was lower now, barely a hundred feet above the treetops. The second clearing was like the first, full of brush and what looked like a large number of berry bushes of some kind. But the third …
That’s it! She let out an exuberant “Yes!” as she spotted the simple cleared path, the creek on one side … and most importantly of all, the large door set square in the front side of the rocky hill. Her door. To her house.
She voiced an excited squeal and threw her wings back, going into a steep dive and laughing the whole way. The clearing rushed up at her, and it was only in the last moments that she unfurled her wings wide, beating them in great gusts to slow her descent.
Then she was touching down, her claws settling on smooth gravel with a faint crunch of shifting rock, her heart pounding even as she folded her tired wings against her sides. Directly in front of her were wide glass windows—the glass imported at great expense from the central kingdoms—and a large, warm wooden door.
Her door. Her windows.
My home, she thought, staring at the front door with wide eyes. My very own home. All mine. She could feel her breath coming in shorter, quicker gasps, and not just because she was tired from her flight. This is it. This is it!
For a moment she simply stood there, basking in it. It wasn’t quite how she’d pictured it in her head, and even though she’d constantly admonished herself that it naturally wouldn’t be exactly as she imagined it, it was still somewhat interesting to see what the differences were.
She’d been picturing trees atop it, for one. Even though she’d known that there wouldn’t be, that the architect she’d hired had said as much, and she’d even had to pay for the removal of the trees and stumps that had found purchase on the rock, just so that they wouldn’t continue to grow and run the risk of bringing her roof down.
She’d expected more bare stone across the front as well. Instead, the space around her doorframe and windows was home to quite a bit more wood than she’d expected. Though the garden boxes beneath each windowsill were just what she’d been hoping for, if empty. She’d fill them later.
The door was a different shade of wood than she’d imagined too. Much darker, with streaks of red in it. The lock was sturdy and large, as was the handle. Perfect for a dragon of her size. Both were made of steel, durable and tough against both wear and tear and any would-be thieves. Polished, they stood out against the wood like beacon lights on a mountaintop.
She liked it.
The biggest difference from the image in her mind, however, was the conspicuously empty spot above and to the right of the door. There, a metal signpost was anchored in the rock. Anchored, but empty, lacking any reason for its existence.
Yet. Axtara smiled as she saw the empty hooks. She’d requested that the builders not put the sign up, since they’d be finishing before she arrived, and instead leave it just inside the door. It wouldn’t do for prospective customers to arrive before she did, after all.
But with that thought she could already see the front room she’d asked for through the large window. And looking was not enough.
She felt her wings quiver—with exhaustion or excitement, she wasn’t really sure—as she reached for her chest-satchel, undoing the bronze clasps and hunting for something with her talons. She found it almost immediately, unsurprising considering that she’d been looking at it longingly just that morning when she’d devoured her breakfast. A heavy metal key that matched the bright, silvery coloration of the lock on her front door.
Fighting back a nervous swallow, key in her claws, she stepped forward. Up onto the large stone front porch. Up to the wide, heavy, wooden door. She took a quick, furtive breath, and then slid the key into the lock.
There was a heavy thunk as she twisted it, and then, breath caught in her throat, she reached out and lifted the handle, hearing an answering click from deep within as it gave.
The door swung outward on silent hinges. For a moment Axtara stood in complete silence, gaze sweeping across the inside of her home … and then with a shout of joy she bolted past the door, laughing and spinning in a circle as she took in the whole front area.
It was homey. It was roomy. It was colorful in all the right ways. It was perfect.
It was hers.
She came to an excited stop, laughing and carefully shucking her luggage from her back and chest. This is it! She turned her head in every direction, trying to take it all in at once. This is mine! My home! My bank! It was almost too much.
She slowed, folding her wings back against her sides with an excited tremor. It was even better than she’d imagined. The builders she’d hired had captured all the details perfectly. The wooden moldings around the edge of the room, evocative of her uncle’s bank, were both ideal recreations but also just slightly different, the details taken from what histories she could find of design and tradition in Elnacier. The rest of the room was furnished lightly to look comforting and warm, with what she’d been assured were comfortable wooden chairs and a large sheepskin throw in the middle of the floor that had required the lives of several sheep. The floor itself was made of richly-colored wood—no self-respecting dragon lived on cold stone anymore if they could help it, and when the snows came the stone would indeed be cold—which had been polished to a fine sheen.
Oh yes, she thought as she caught sight of herself in the polish of the boards. The builders did quite a good job.
The entry, of course, was only half of the front room. The space she was standing in was roughly oval in shape, determined mostly by the contours of the stone the cave had been formed out of. A few feet in front of her, the walls narrowed slightly, the floor rising in several small steps to— “My office.” She said the words aloud as she moved up the steps, claws clicking against the wood. “It’s … perfect.”
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at Axtara – Banking and Finance! Axtara will be flying into your hears before Christmas, so get ready!