Here is an excerpt from Jargo.

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The big man struggled under the weight of the pack he carried. He had been forced to sell his horse in exchange for much-needed supplies and had been walking for many weeks with barely a pause for rest. He would have had to give up the horse eventually anyway. Its brand was too easily recognisable and he could not afford to bring further notice to himself. His large stature and flame-red hair made it difficult enough to be unobtrusive and after the first few months of travelling he had taken a knife to his hair, reluctantly and sorrowfully slicing it off inch by inch.

Fifteen years it had taken him to grow it. One hundred and eighty months before it had spread down his back and over his shoulders, flowing like a great lion’s mane. Over five thousand days it had covered his head, keeping off the worst of the chill, travelling with him through some long hard years, collecting the grime and dust of assorted villages, towns and cities. It had been bathed in the sweat and blood of countless battles, and lain strewn across the pillows of the beds of many memorable women. Women of low and high birth but always beautiful, intoxicating women. Women of many colours, creeds and races had run their fingers through that hair, marvelling that it was as soft and supple as theirs, and many times he had fallen asleep with his head upon their chests with his hair fanned out across their breasts.

He was a soldier and knew that there were times when one had to sacrifice something long held dear but he had had only one vanity - that glorious mane of hair, and it was with a feeling much like pain that he cut and cut and cut, watching the strands tumble to the ground.

He buried them beneath a mound of dirt and rocks then covered his cold head with the hood of his damp, woollen cloak.

He proceeded onwards, rubbing a hand over his face. Forced to cut his hair to disguise his looks he had been obliged to grow his beard out for the same reasons. Up the sides of his face it ran, thick and soft like fur, and from his chin it hung down fully ten inches - a great big bushy bird’s nest stuck to his lower face, all scratchy and horrid. A huge drooping moustache hid his mouth and he rubbed irritatingly at it, dislodging the crumbs of the previous night’s meagre meal.

He shuddered in disgust as they fell to the ground and were crushed underfoot. He detested facial hair. Everything he consumed became caught in it no matter how carefully he ate, and it concealed his very expressive mouth. What was the good of snarling and growling at people if they could not see his lips, he groused inwardly?

He shifted his pack from one shoulder to the other and cursed loudly as the muscles in his back gave way with a great groan. The pack thudded to the ground, landing heavily into a dirty mud puddle and was instantly soaked. He should not have been surprised. Since the witch had come into his life everything had gone downhill.

Working alongside the dark warlock had been good for him. He had risen from a lowly foot soldier to a general within a year and had had such plans, but now all that was ruined. Thanks to Leanora’s treachery.

“Stupid bloody woman,” he muttered. “What did she think she was playing at?”

He retrieved his pack and carried on walking.

Since leaving Kandar (all right, running away, he muttered inwardly) he had been moving in a south-easterly direction, avoiding populated areas where news of his actions might have reached. He was a wanted man and had learned from a wandering peddler that there was a hefty price on his head. Maranea’s new queen was after his hide for what he had done to her mother, the werewolves were sniffing about after him and though the elves of Erantialle did not seem interested in tracking him down and bringing him to justice their southern cousins were not feeling as magnanimous.

Finlea’s king was seeking him and had sent the Oleassa to hunt him down, and they were accomplished trackers. They had come dangerously close to finding him on at least three occasions and it was only owing to luck that he had evaded them thus far, but he could not keep counting on luck. It always ran out. Usually when you needed it the most.

He rubbed at his neck as though feeling the keen edge of an elven blade pressing against it. He turned, suddenly fancying that he could hear the thunderous roar of elven horses far away in the distance. He gulped and turned, stepping up his pace.

Though he worried about the elves, he feared more the vengeance of his own people. Humans could be more vicious than werewolves and as merciless as vampires. If the elves caught him they would likely imprison him, possibly sentence him to death but they would be slow to exact that final punishment. His own people would not be so slow, and they were cruelly inventive when it came to matters of punishment. The decision to put him to death would be made swiftly but the act itself would be a lingering one.

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Choose any of these links below to purchase a Kindle copy of Jargo.

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To purchase a copy of Jargo from Smashwords, available in various digital formats, choose this link.

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