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M. H. Mayfield
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Author of The Rains of War
Author of The Rains of War

869 followers
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What would you do to save the ones you love?
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For those who haven't seen the 2nd edition of The Rains of War...
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The Rains of War just reached 50 downloads on Smashwords! Thank you 50 times!
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The Rains of War (digital) is available and free until September 5th! The coupon code is: BS97C.
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The countdown begins...
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I am happy to announce that formatting for the digital version of The Rains of War is now complete! Still waiting to hear the actual release date, but I can tell you it will be very soon.
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The final countdown will soon begin! The Rains of War is being prepped for the digital format, with the print version soon to follow. Stay tuned!
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Ready for another taste of my debut novel The Rains of War? Keeping reading...


Chapter One
Year 573, New World
Month One, First Season
March




I was beginning to worry about Miyanna.

Dirt and moisture matted her straight, black hair. A faint redness encircled her almond-shaped eyes. The chill in the air hung about us like a cloak, making her deep, chesty cough a concern.

The pace we had been forced to keep was agony for Miyanna’s weak joints. I’d expected more complaints, but all she’d really done was to fiddle with the sleeves of Papa’s old canvas jacket hanging down past her hands, when she wasn’t scratching at her jeans. I knew she was uncomfortable from so many hours in the saddle, but I thought it best to ride a bit further before stopping for supper. The route I’d mapped out was far more protracted, but better roads weren’t worth the risk. At least we’d not run into any flooding from the previous season.

Eros pulled to a stop, setting a hoof on a chunk of rock before choosing another spot. Rays of evening sun cut through the gloomy foreboding of clouds like shards of stained glass. I scanned the thick parapet of trees on each side as we trudged through mud left from last night’s drizzle, the sweet mixture of rain and sap prominent in the cold March air.

Finding a dry place to bed down and make a fire would prove difficult. Hopefully Miyanna would be able to make it to the Campbell Hills before needing to stop. The dry seclusion of one of their overhangs might also offer a fair amount of security.

Night would come all too soon.

~~~~~~~~~~

Warmth floated around us as we nestled inside our makeshift burrow, bellies stuffed full from the brown hare I’d trapped. Our horses rested in silence near the mouth of the cave, just inside the dark blanket I’d hung to trap most of the heat and light from the fire, even though the night was fairly well lit with stars and a half moon. The rhythmic tribal dances of the shadows born of the small blaze soothed me.

Miyanna had stayed inside, occupied with her wee bag of polished rocks while I had gone out hunting. I was apprehensive about leaving her, but we’d nearly depleted what we'd brought with us, the need to travel light notwithstanding.

The floor, as it were, pressed against my back, but wasn’t altogether uncomfortable, at least compared to some of the places I’d slept before. Miyanna seemed to be doing fair enough with my sleeping pad stacked on hers for extra comfort.
We stretched out a bit more than arm’s length apart, yet stayed within range of the fire’s heat. I had just begun to doze off when Miyanna’s soft voice drew me back.

“Kyrie,” her voice was barely a whisper. “Am I different?”

My eyelids rebelled against the laborious task of opening, but finally complied. She was staring out into nowhere, deep in thought. “Why do you ask that?”

The corner of her mouth pulled back a bit. “Everything is hard for me.”

She looked over at me, so I smiled at her. “You are good at lots of things. Some things you’re even better at than I am.”

Her voice rasped when she giggled, a slight rattling in her chest. “Like singing?”

I stuck my tongue out and crossed my eyes. She laughed out loud, but then quickly sobered. “Sometimes I wish I could be with Mama and Papa. In Heaven.”

My chest tightened. “I’m glad you aren’t.”

“At least they’re together now.” Her hazel eyes flashed sparks of emerald in the firelight. For a brief moment it was as if the veil lifted.

I scooted my sleeping bag next to hers. “It’s getting colder, and the fire will die out soon.”

Her head popped up off her pillow. “It’s 18 degrees Celsius. I checked my thermometer whilst you were out, but didn’t bother your soldier maps.”

She’d been vigilant in monitoring the temperature since we set out, determined to contribute. “Thank you for remembering to check. Did you put your vitamins away after supper?”

“Yes. I heard Mama say that hundreds of years ago there was a medicine that would make DownSyn go all away.” Her sentence was punctuated with a cough.

I yawned, my eyes tearing. “What do you reckon?”

It was a moment or two before she answered. “I think I’m fine the way God made me.”

Her back felt warm and soft pressed against mine, snuggling as we did when we were children, the scent of Mama’s peppermint lotion strong on her skin.

“Mi?” I reached behind me, resting an elbow on top of her arm. “Do you remember the song Papa used to sing?”

She nodded, clearing her throat. A higher, huskier version of our father’s clear and perfect pitch echoed off the stone walls.

Hush-a-bye, baby,
The night winds are sighing,
Go to sleep, baby
The crickets are crying;
Sleep ‘til the dew
On the green grass is winking,
Sleep ‘til the morning sun,
Wakens you winking…

As she sang, I closed my eyes and found myself back home with Papa sitting by our beds, pipe in hand, his rich baritone voice guiding us to our dreams after one of his stories.

Warm in their wooly folds,
Lambskins are resting,
Soft in their swaying beds,
Birdies are nesting;
All through the night,
In your cradle lie dreaming,
‘Til the bright sun
Through the window comes streaming…

When she finished, the sweetest words I’d heard in a very long time reached out to me.

“Good night, Kyrie. I love you.”


© M.H. Mayfield. All rights reserved.
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After you check out the trailer for my novel The Rains of War, look below to read an excerpt. More to follow!
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Here's a sneak peek of my soon-to-be released novel The Rains of War!


Prologue
Year 572, New World
Month One, Third Season
November




Nicholas gazed through his study window at the storm clouds draped across the sky.

Steam billowed from his morning tea as he watched the painful stir of Edinburgh below, a torrential downpour battering the city without remorse. The threat of flash floods was too great to ignore when commuting on horseback, even within urban boundaries.

The rains of the Third Season had not been the worst the Alban Region had ever endured. Most of the damage as of yet had been limited to the southern coast. After years of abuse, the old levees in London finally surrendered to one of the recent hurricanes, leaving the roads more like canals. No great loss there, he thought.

Nicholas blew into his cup before taking a sip. His Minister of Resources was due in less than an hour to sort a few things before their meeting with the Ambassador of Trade for the European Union. If they were finished by half two, he could spend some time with Morgan before the St. Andrew’s Day celebration later in the evening. As the ambassador had been instructed to accept whatever Nicholas offered, their negotiations shouldn’t take long.

A sharp rap on the door caused him to start, a drop of tea escaping onto his fresh trousers. His cup clacked hard against the glass-topped table when he set it down before jerking his jacket from the back of his chair and shoving his arms into it.

Silk tie in place, he called out. “Come!”

A young blonde in a dress blue uniform came round to stand beside him, holding out a small slip of paper. “Prime Minister Payne, this just arrived.”

He perused the familiar handwriting, careful to keep the smile from his lips as he read. “Where are they being taken?”

“To the Cauldron, sir.”

She reached to take the message. He kept a firm grip and locked eyes with her. “Instruct Lachlan to begin the interrogations.”

“Yes, sir.” She nodded. Her footsteps echoed quietly as she saw herself out.

Rain torpedoed the window as if nature itself were attempting to reach through the glass, then all at once subsided. Dark clouds pulled back to reveal a dull, grayish-blue hidden behind them. After a moment of relative calm, the faint tattoo of raindrops started up again.

He picked up his cup from the table and cradled it in his hands. Providence had ordained him the liberator of humanity; the Prometheus of mankind. With such a task before him, Nicholas knew the end would more than justify the means. It would define them.

He blew into his cup and took a sip, then looked out over Edinburgh and smiled.


© M.H. Mayfield. All rights reserved.
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