The final book of BlackMyst, The Third Power, is done. Finished. Complete. Fulfilled. Buttoned up. In – The – Bag!
Below is a short sample chapter from early in the novel:
BlackMyst: The Third Power – Chapter Three
On a crowded street in Haverton, the charred remains of the building crumbled before her like leaves from a dying tree. Tabitha watched as four men with ropes pulled down the last remaining wall. A dingy cloud of ash and debris exhaled outward as the black skeletal framework toppled to the ground.
With the falling wall, so fell Tabitha’s heart. Her tavern was destroyed; her business, gone along with her life savings. She had put everything into that building, eager to start a new life in Haverton after Tarrine, the town that she’d loved, had been decimated by General Akkrid five years ago. Now it was all gone, torn from her by the boy, Fritz, who had come to her as a friend. Fritz, who in one visit, had both pledged to help her by offering to share his reward, should he find the missing Dagger of Torrill, and then set her tavern ablaze using the very dagger he claimed to seek.
Tabitha shut her eyes as the plume of ash washed over her. She had hoped there would be something left to salvage; some small piece of her past that she could cling to. But there was nothing. “I am cursed,” she told herself. She considered her options. In the days since the fire, she had spent her last coins on food and quarters at the inn near the edge of town. The few “Havertons” she had come to call neighbors had taken pity on her and helped her as they could, but she wouldn’t remain here as a charity case, like one of the street urchins that lingered at the back door of her tavern; her tavern that now drifted through the town in a black haze. Tabitha looked around at the crowd that had gathered, black ash dancing around their heads. So many people, who had never before visited her tavern, now come to see it demolished. Well you can all take a bit of it home with you now. Stuck to your lungs! She smiled, even as tears traced lines down her dusty cheeks.
And so her cursed life now stood at a crossroads. She could either grit her teeth and literally dust herself off; try to find work someplace in Haverton. Perhaps she could tend bar at the Inn, or take a job in the laundry. Or she could simply leave Haverton behind and start anew in another town, another life.
Truly, Haverton held nothing for her now. Oh, the town was nice enough, she supposed. It was peaceful and quiet, not counting for recent events. She had assimilated quickly to life in Haverton. Her business had struggled but she had definitely made a home for herself here. Now everything was gone, torn away before her roots had barely taken hold.
“Lady Tabitha!” A voice called from across the road, rousing her from her melancholy. “Excuse me, dear, are you Lady Tabitha?” It was an old woman, covered in colorful shawls and walking toward her leaning heavily on a tall stick; her voice quivered slightly as she made her way closer. . The fabrics that covered her head bore the bright colored patterns that were typical of those worn in Haverton. “Are you Lady Tabitha?” she asked again, her voice faltering.
“I am, dear woman,” said Tabitha, “although few, if any, have ever called me, Lady.”
The old woman laughed, sparking a coughing fit that caused her to bark weakly. The poor wretch, Tabitha thought. The last place she should be is here, breathing in the ashes of my shattered hopes and dreams. “The man over there asked me to give this to you,” the old woman choked. She held up a parcel of blue cloth; perhaps a blanket, or a cloak of some kind. It was folded tightly, and then tied and knotted with narrow rope so as to appear as a package. The woman held it out to Tabitha, her hands also wrapped in fabric. “The dear gave me a silver coin to bring it to you. Wasn’t that nice?”
“Who was he?” Tabitha asked, accepting the bundle. “What did he look like?”
“Oh, regular looking fellow,” she said. “He didn’t say who he was. He wanted to remain anonymous. That’s what he said.”
Tabitha looked down at the package in her hands. “Anonymous.” What a strange thing.
“Farewell, Lady Tabitha!” Tabitha looked up. The old woman was gone! She scanned the streets around her. In a flurry of color, Tabitha spotted the woman across the way. She was dancing more than walking away into the haze, her walking stick twirling at her side. She called out behind her, “Farewell Lady Tabitha, until by chance we meet again!”
Tabitha watched the strange woman until she disappeared completely from the darkening road. She looked down at the tied bundle in her hands. “Anonymous.” She said the word again as she fingered the knot that secured the rope around the package. She reached down and unsheathed the knife strapped to her leg that she wore constantly since the chaotic events of the past week. Awkwardly, as she was unpracticed with a blade, she sawed against the rope on the package. At last, the binds snapped and fell spiritlessly to the ground at her feet.
Cradling the bundle in one hand, she carefully unfolded the cloth with the other. It did appear to be some sort of cloak, but why would someone send her such a thing? She continued to unfold the fabric and soon felt the rigid weight of something concealed within. She pulled at the folds, deeper and deeper to reveal the hidden object. Finally, she cast off the last gathered bit of the cloak. Her eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat. Her eyes reflected the shimmering green shine. Immediately, she knew who the package was from.