Into The Desert (Mariad Short Stories Book 1)

Book Cover: Into The Desert (Mariad Short Stories Book 1)

The desert consumes all who ride into it, draining life away to become part of its endless expanse. Despite this, when a young boy watches his father's murder it is his only escape route. He will change from a child into a man, seeking the vengeance that he now longs for.

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When you have a bird of your own, you must build up a bond with your hunter.”


The huge bird of prey sits on my father’s arm that clad in the leather glove that stops its massive talons from breaking flesh. It is a magnificent beast, and as we ride upward together I cannot help but admire its gigantic, black feathered wings that will stretch out and allow it to soar through the winds. It has a huge, hunched form that is not decorative or of beauty, for the eagle is not kept for this purpose. Instead, she has been trained through many weeks of flight to swoop down on the foxes and hares that dart across the vast plains that make up our home. Despite the hood that blindfolds her until the moment of the hunt, I know she can hear me. She tilts her head to one side inquisitively, listening out for my presence.

It is the first time I have been on a hunt with my father and we now ride up the dry slopes to view the plains from above. It is a cold, harsh landscape and we are wrapped in thick furs to keep out the freezing temperatures. We will return by nightfall else the darkness will take our spirits away.

My clothes smell musky, soaked in sweat, but I never notice it any more. Instead, I ride with my hands tucked into the wide sleeves that protect them from the bite of nature.

We keep her covered so she is not distracted.” Of course I already know what he tells me, having heard it before, but I listen patiently nonetheless, “You must never let your focus be lost else your enemies will strike you without warning.”

My father is a tall man, particularly so for my people, and my mother already thinks I have inherited his build. At ten this is only starting to show, as are the faint wisps of my first attempts at facial hair. I am proud to reach this age and happy that my father takes me hunting with the eagle for