An Excerpt from
Book one in the Grimoire Trilogy
The door swung closed behind Kara, the click of the latch echoing through the vast space and announcing her with a boom. The echo continued for several minutes, even as she began her walk towards a pedestal on the far wall.
It was exactly the hall that the drawing had shown her: dozens of pillars supported the roof in diagonal rows that had nothing but darkness between them. A pedestal glowed from its place on a raised platform about a hundred yards away, its body carved from rich orange amber. A hole had been cut through its center, and a rounded hourglass glimmered in the open space.
She kept to the light as much as she could, shooting side-long glances into the shadows which clung to the pillars. A huffing breath came from the darkness; it was a wheezing sigh that made her hair stand on end. She focused her mind on her palm, bending the heat which raced through her veins until a small purple flame erupted in her hand and shed its flickering violet light over the cracked pillars that supported what must have once been a great temple.
She walked quickly, but the room was still. Quiet. Tense. The shadows between the dark columns grew longer, darker, and deeper the closer she came to the hourglass.
Feet shuffled along the dirt-covered floor just beyond her vision. Something growled. A sharp screech, like nails on metal, made her jump. Dust lingered in her nose and tickled her sinuses, but she held her breath until the urge to sneeze disappeared. Whatever these things were, they could make noises; she would not, in case they were looking for a reason to attack.
Hot air wafted over the back of her neck in an unnatural stream, but she did not stop or glance behind. She was fifty yards away from the hourglass, now. The scraping became more frequent.
Forty yards. Growls bled into grunts.
Thirty yards. The shifting became the swish of creatures pushing one another.
Twenty yards. She could see the defined edges of the hourglass, now. All of the sand had pooled in the bottom of the curved glass, which reflected the golden flush of the amber around it. She was close enough, now, that its glowing light illuminated her shaking hands.
Her pulse raced. Her breath was unmanageable. Fear told her to run towards it, run! and she could no longer dominate the impulse. She sprinted for the pedestal.
It was a mistake.