This audio introduction of the book “Mirrors of Castaway Time”, presented by the author Douglas Arvidson, gives an exciting peek into the story of Book II in The Eye of the Stallion Series.
Then, as the flames leaped upwards, it seemed that instead of the twenty torches the men had lit, there were forty, and then a hundred, and then more. Sonoria turned around, and then around again. Mirrors had been set next to each torch—wide, multifaceted mirrors that hung on chains and turned in the wind, reflecting the blazing light in a thousand directions, igniting the top of the hill with red-yellow fire. And in these mirrors, among the flashing, spinning light, she saw glimpses of herself, wild-haired, tall, and gaunt, gripping a sword in one hand and a shield in the other.
Then there was someone else reflected in the whirling glass. A warrior approached her. She turned toward his image, but the mirror turned with her and he disappeared. Then he was there again, behind her. She spun around, her sword slicing the empty air.
She heard a grunt of effort off to one side and leaped away. A blade passed by her head and as it passed, she swung at it with her own sword. There was the deafening sound of steel against steel. She twisted on her heels in the opposite direction, swinging the blade at ten warriors at once. Her one blade became a thousand, the ten warriors, ten thousand. Yet her sword had struck true. There was a small yelp, and a thousand warriors, all identical, staggered away through the blazing light.
She stood ready, her sword and shield up. She waited, while around her the torches spread their infinite flames in infinite reflections among infinite images of herself. Then two warriors approached, and as they entered the field of flames and mirrors they became a thousand different warriors, and then those became countless as they approached her through the burning light.
She turned toward one and he dissolved into a mirage of shimmering fire. The other attacked from behind her. She watched as his sword descended in a high arc, an arc repeated a thousand times. At the last moment she raised her shield. The impact of the heavy blade drove the shield down onto her and she fell to one knee and a thousand warriors screamed victory and charged forward out of the faceted glass.
But as they closed, the power of the reflections diminished until he was just one man, one warrior, facing her alone in one circle of light. He swung his sword; she easily deflected it with her own, then, without stopping, stepped in towards him as he came at her. Her sword against his and her shield up against his face, she lifted her foot and brought it down hard against the side of his knee. With a scream of agony, he collapsed in front of her.
At that moment, the other warrior was on her. She saw his face and tens of others just like it, in the dazzling brightness. But this warrior did not have a sword. Instead he held a bow, an arrow notched and pulled back taut, the bow bent nearly double. At point-blank range, he released it. Sonoria had only an instant to prepare herself for what must finally come: the arrow ripping into her body, the agony of breath torn from her lungs, the last sensation of a quick and painful death.
Instead, though, there was the sound of shattering glass and a dark hole appeared where a mirror had been. The warrior now was also confused and could not tell which image was the real Sonoria. Where there had been a thousand, now there were a hundred. He notched another arrow, raised the bow, aimed, and shot. Again Sonoria waited for certain death and again there was the shattering of glass, and again the diminishing of reflected light.
For a third time, the warrior strung an arrow into his bow, but this time he hesitated before releasing it. Sonoria saw another movement. A small figure appeared next to her. It was Astral. He handed her the lance. The warrior released the arrow. Sonoria fell to the ground and felt it pass above her and travel off into the night. She stood, raised the lance, aimed at one of the ten warriors struggling to notch another arrow, and threw the lance.
There was the soft chukking sound as the tips of ten spears penetrated the leather armor of ten warriors and then passed into their chests. With a surprised grunt, they all toppled backwards. Sonoria picked up her sword and ran at the nearest mirror and smashed it, and then the next and the next. As she did this, the light of the torches faded until just a flickering, red-orange light illuminated the top of the hill. She looked down over the Horde. They were silent; not a murmur came from ten thousand lips.
She heard a voice behind her. “Well done, First Concubine, though I’m not surprised. Not a bit.”