Still don't feel sleepy but I expect if I lay down I'll zonk out quickly.
Here's the opening paragraphs of "Kodrus". I thought it best to expose it to the slings and arrows here rather than inflict it on the writers' community. I may put a longer snippet there later.
- "My Lord."
The man so addressed was Kodrus, self-styled Prince of Haft. He sat behind a low desk reading. His considerable height was not apparent until he stood. It was accentuated by the waist-length red hair knotted at the right side of his head in the fashion of this year. A black tabard overlaid his tunic of shimmering blue and he girded it with an incongruously utilitarian leather strap. His black hose fit closely and showed evidence of fine tailoring. His slippers of finest supple leather might barely be shoes at all.
As he stood, Kodrus asked, "Yes, Jace?"
Kodrus' liegeman, friend, a warrior of repute, stood near four hands shorter than his friend. Black, shiny hair marked him as a Southman, but his features bore the pale sensitivity, the long jaw, and the dark eyes of the North. "My Lord, war chariots approach the Cleft."
"Who are they?"
"None recognized their markings, Lord," said Jace. "They approach in great haste and in considerable numbers."
"Order extra men to the bastion. I go now to arm myself. I will join you at the Cleft as soon as I may. How many are they?"
Kodrus froze. Sixty chariots would empty the North of charioteers. Three warriors or four in each chariot, one driver, perhaps two for some of the larger vehicles, meant well over two hundred men under arms. No ten Barons or Earls from beyond the river could field such a force. No standing army on either side of the rivers could face them. Even the immense Southern Counties could not defend against them.