Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite for what you can expect to read in Forge of Time:
The throng murmured, many of its members turning to each other with furrowed brows, but the disturbance died down when the judge raised a hand.
“If you’re trying to incite unrest,” he said, “you’ll fail, and you’ll earn yourself a worse punishment. You should keep quiet, while you’ve only lost your tongue.” He signalled to the other two leather-clad thugs. “Arrest her.”
The men shoved through the mob towards her.
“What you’re doing is wrong!” she yelled. “If this is the kind of justice those blue bastards impose, they’re as bad as dark gods! They’re monsters!”
“Your heresy just earned you a death sentence.” The judge turned to the jailers on the podium. “What are you waiting for? Get on with it!”
Ashryn scrambled over the railing, and the crowd below surged aside as she dropped. She landed lightly, the hawk tattoo on her back tingling, and headed for the judge, people shuffling out of her way. He swung to face her, and the jailer with the hatchet quit the scaffold to intercept her. As he seized her arm, her golden snake tattoo glimmered, came to life and slithered up his sleeve. He released her with a yell and recoiled, searching his clothes for the viper that slid under them, its progress marked by a long, coiling bulge. The judge’s mouth flopped open and the other jailer stared. The youth wrenched free of his captor’s slackened hold and dived into the throng.
The spectators were agog as the first jailer swore and squirmed, hunting for the elusive serpent. He stripped off his jacket and flung it down, then grabbed at his chest as a gleam of gold vanished under his shirt. He yelled and ripped off the garment, spraying buttons, and the viper slithered into his trousers and coiled around one leg. Ashryn smiled as the brawny man yanked down his trousers and made a grab for the snake, which slid into his undershorts with a hiss. He rummaged inside his remaining garment, his face twisted with dread at the threat to his most sensitive parts, and she held out her arm before he resorted to extreme measures to evict the snake, doubtless to the crowd’s disgust. The shimmering viper reappeared on her skin and returned to its dormant state. The jailer groped around for a minute longer before realising it was gone, then turned his back and dragged up his trousers, darting her murderous looks as the onlookers tittered.
The judge closed his mouth and scowled at her. “So, you must be the sorceress I’ve heard about. Our gods will want to meet you, and yet… The tales tell of how everyone understands each other near you, but these people are still speaking their own tongues.”
“You know nothing, because you’re a moron! You’re a spineless lackey, too.” She raised a finger, making him blanch and step back. “You leave these poor people alone from now on.”
“Since you have magic, our gods will deal with you.”
“They’ll have to find me first, and I reckon I just gained the favour of the downtrodden masses here, so good luck with that.”Ashryn spun on her heel, and the crowd parted to let her through. The thugs who had been sent to arrest her stepped into her path, looking apprehensive, but the judge flicked a hand and they let her pass. Evidently he wanted to avoid another demoralising magical display in front of so many witnesses. Jeharad caught up when she was halfway back to the shack.
“What the hell was that?”
“How much did you see?”
“Everything; after you jumped off the balcony, I climbed up.”
“That was myth magic, for defence.” She smiled. “It was quite entertaining, huh?”
Jeharad chuckled. “I thought he was going to strip right off.”
“He might have, if I hadn’t recalled it.”
His mirth faded. “You shouldn’t have called so much attention to yourself.”
“Maybe not, but I couldn’t let them cripple that poor boy. I think the locals might help to hide us now, too. It’ll be beneficial to get in their good books.”
“I wouldn’t count on that. If they’re loyal to their gods, you’ll have made matters worse.”
“Who would be loyal to such barbarous gods?” she asked.
“Desperate people who know they won’t survive long without them.”