Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

Free copy left
You can read our best books
MariaVSnyder would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Night Study (Excerpt)

By MariaVSnyder All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Fantasy


After a day and a half of hard riding, we reached the location of Leif’s disappearance. A few hours of daylight remained.

Janco dismounted and examined the ground. Ari and I allowed him to do his tracking mojo while we walked the horses. They had set the brutal pace. Patches of sweat stained their coats. Their nostrils flared as they caught their breaths. Once their breathing smoothed, we watered and fed them. By this time, Janco had finished his investigation. He stood in the middle of a number of scuff marks on the right side of the road, scowling.

“What did you discover?” Ari asked him.

“It wasn’t a typical ambush.” Janco pointed to clumps of grass and dirt between two trees. “Somebody went to considerable trouble to stage an accident. They overturned a wagon and made it appear as if it was stuck.” He strode closer and crouched down. “And here’s evidence of a freaked-out horse.” Janco straightened. “They knew their mark.”

“Janco,” Ari warned.

“I’m trying to be dispassionate. Leif’s my friend, too.”

I concentrated on the information and ignored my emotions, which threatened to let that voice of doom speak. “Why do you think it was set specifically for Leif?”

“`Cause of the elaborate setup. Being a Sandseed horse, Rusalka would have alerted him of people hiding in the woods.”

“Unless they were waiting downwind,” Ari added.

“Not this time of year. The prevailing wind direction is from the west.”

Ari and I exchanged a glance. Impressive.

Janco huffed. “Ya know, it’s not all…tracker mojo. There’s a lot that goes into it. And there’s some good news.”

My heart jumped. “You know where he is?”

“I wish. They headed west, but the road’s surface is too hard packed and well traveled to distinguish their tracks from all the others.”

“The good news,” Ari prompted.

“There’s no blood.”

“That makes sense if he was taken by the Cartel. They wouldn’t want to harm him until he refused to join them.” And my stubborn brother would probably never agree to work for them. Which meant we had a limited amount of time to find and rescue him before The Mosquito bit.

“Another thing about the setup is they knew Leif would be on this road at a particular time,” Janco said. “Who else knew his location, other than Master Irys?”

“Bain and the Councilors, who might have informed their aides,” I said. Plus all the people who bribed the aides for intel. In other words, too many.

“Janco said they continued west. We didn’t pass them on the road, or else Rusalka would have smelled Leif. Is there another road that branches off this one?” Ari asked.

I considered. “There’s a shortcut about a day west of here that leads to the main southern road. That route follows the western edge of the Avibian Plains, but they could have veered off into Stormdance or Greenblade lands. And they have a three-day head start.” Frustration welled.

“That’s also the way to the Jewelrose lands,” Ari said.

If Bruns Jewelrose is dumb enough to amass his magician army in his own backyard,” Janco added. “I doubt he’s that stupid.”

“What’s our next move?” Ari asked.

Guessing would get us nowhere; we needed reliable information. I stifled a groan. My earlier mistake—the one that had led to us sitting in a cell wasting time for five days—returned for another kick of recriminations. “Fisk.”

“But if he knows where Leif and the others are, why doesn’t he tell the Council?” Ari asked.

“For the same reason we don’t trust the Council,” Janco said.

“And the reason is?”

“They’re ineffective idiots!”

“He probably doesn’t have any proof,” I said. “These are wealthy businesspeople who have a great deal of influence and power. Fisk has probably cobbled together bits of information from his sources and determined what’s going on.” At least I fervently hoped so. “We need to talk to him. Let’s go.” I stepped toward Kiki, who grazed nearby.

Ari grabbed my shoulder, halting me. “No.”

“But time—”

“We haven’t slept in over a day.”

“We’ve been resting for five days.”

“A few hours is all we need.”


“Leif’s clever. He’ll play along, knowing we’ll come rescue him. But you won’t be able to help your brother if you’re exhausted.”

I peered at him. He’d gone from using we to you, meaning me. “Let me guess, Valek—”

“Doesn’t have to order us to protect you. You are family. That goes beyond orders.”

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, MariaVSnyder
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

neil101: The best story I have read online in quite some time. The casual violence is tamed down with easy going wit. It reads like a Joe Abercrombie novel .Looking forward to more. Thanks.

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

internathunal: I was held captive by your sense of style. I would love to see more from you. I enjoyed this immensely.

Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...

RubyScars: I absolutely love your story! It killed me when I finished, I read it all at once and then it stopped at the epic cliffhanger! Uggggggh. But, that said, it just means that you have done such a lovely job. I am so in love with your complicated characters, and even the ones I didn't like you slowl...

Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...

More Recommendations

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."