Thursday First Lines: The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan
Ethenielle had seen mountains lower than these misnamed Black Hills, great lopsided heaps of half buried boulders, webbed with steep twisting passes. A number of these passes would have given a goat pause. You could travel three days through drought withered forests and brown grassed meadows without seeing a single sign of human habitation, then suddenly find yourself within half a day of seven or eight tiny villages, all ignorant of the world. The Black Hills were a rugged place for farmers, away from the trade routes, and harsher now than usual. A gaunt leopard that should have vanished at the sight of men watched from a steep slope, not forty paces away, as she rode past with her armored escort. Westward, vultures wheeled patient circles like an omen. Not a cloud marred the blood red sun, yet there were clouds of a sort. When the warm wind blew, it raised walls of dust.