Excerpt from Brother Fox and the Worm’s Bane

Hello again!

Here are a few words from another of the short stories I’ll be collecting soon. This one sparked me to write The King under Mountain (also coming soon), and it’s the companion to “Eagle Eye and the Worm of Shirith,” which you can read by clicking there.

So. Here’s the excerpt. I’m excited to show you. Enjoy!


The scents of honeysuckle and jacaranda mingled on a sweet breeze; the stars sparkled down between blooming magnolia boughs. Fairies skimmed the surface of an ornamental pond, and the black water reflected their twinkling trails of colorful sparks. Overhead, clouds drifted lazily across the white face of the moon.

Fox lurched through the dark garden, cradling his left elbow, trying not to cry. He couldn’t be gentle enough with his arm, see out of one eye, or breathe too deeply. He staggered across a delicate white bridge curved over a decoratively-snaking stream. His goal lay just around the bend in the cobbled path, on the other side of the yellow rose hedge: Falcon Eye’s cottage.

He couldn’t remember the first time he’d come here. This probably wouldn’t be the last. The huntsman had gentle hands for his injuries, and kind words for his deeper hurts. He never felt as if Falcon Eye might be disappointed in him. He hobbled past the yellow rose hedge and up the path. The cottage was cloaked in deep shadow and silver light: the moss and flowers growing wild on the roof, the rough-looking boards on the outside with bark still on them, spoke of safety. There was no smoke from the chimney on a warm night like this, but the pale glow of a mage-lantern shone from every window.

His eyes burned so fierce with relief that he couldn’t see out of the good one, and he nearly tripped over the stool by the front door and the unassuming figure that sat on it.

Eagle Eye.

Fox didn’t know what to think of Eagle Eye just now. He could hear Father again, saying coldly that he’d never be anything more than a disappointment if he let a little boy snatch the Wormsbane title from right beneath his nose—but Eagle Eye wasn’t a child, not for much longer. And he’d saved Fox’s life in that cave.

“Your Highness!” Eagle Eye said now, surprised, overturning the stool in his haste to rise and bow.

“Please don’t.” He didn’t deserve to be bowed to, let alone by Wormsbane. “Is your father here?”

Eagle Eye bit his lip. Fox didn’t wonder why. What he must look like! “No, Your Highness. Come in.”

Fox stepped into the huntsman’s little cottage. He managed to kick the door shut behind him. It wouldn’t do to have Snake or Cat— But the twins were dead, burned to a crisp in the Worm’s fire. “Where’s Falcon Eye?” he asked, his voice coming out strained.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” Eagle Eye said, very softly, like he said almost everything, kneeling in front of a chest. “He went out this afternoon. Hunting. He hasn’t come home yet.”

“I thought he always took you with him.” The God, his arm! It felt like a backfired spell had struck through it—worse.

“Your Highness?”


“I can help you, if you want. My father taught me. But it’d probably be better if you sat down.”


That’s all for now! See you next time!

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