Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Visit to Glodoria

     The following is an excerpt from a longer chapter in which Ecel is caught up in a vision of Glodoria (Gluh door ee uh) where he and King Shinar (Shin Are) are having a conversation about what lies ahead. If you enjoy these posts, please become a follower of this blog by clicking on the "follow" button to the right of the page. Thanks!

(Begin Excerpt)

King Shinar did not immediately speak, prompting Ecel to turn towards him. The King’s eyes became sorrowful, and he turned and walked back down the stairs. Ecel followed, patiently waiting, and not wanting to beg him to speak. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, King Shinar turned towards him, his eyes more kind than they had ever been.
“Look back at the succession of swords.”
Ecel looked and waited. He began to shift his weight from foot to foot. His hands lifted slightly then fell back to his side. Then he broke the silence.
“What am I looking for?” He prided himself on being observant, and he was frustrated that he wasn’t seeing something that must be obvious. His eyes shifted up and down the order of swords. He looked for a pattern or a commonality, but he saw nothing.
“How prominent is the sword you were looking at?” King Shinar’s words snapped Ecel out of his obsessive search, and he located the new sword.
“From here it is only slightly different than the others.”
“That is how you must see.”
Ecel turned with his hands opened slightly. “I don’t understand.”
King Shinar simply restated, “This is how you must see.”
His mouth opened slightly as he began to form his next question, but King Shinar placed his right hand on Ecel’s shoulder and immediately they were on the staircase adjacent to the sword. Ecel looked and saw that they were indeed back on the staircase. He glanced back at King Shinar, his eyes widened, but then King Shinar lifted his right hand towards the sword. Ecel turned his attention to the worn sword.
“This sword represents your greatest joy and your greatest pain.” Ecel turned again to King Shinar. He could somehow see both of these conflicting emotions in his eyes. The brink of tears in his eyes caused them to shine incredibly bright. Ecel looked deeper and he could see images moving. He looked closer and he realized that the images were people. The images looked familiar to him and he leaned closer, but King Shinar placed his hand on him to stop him.
“Do not look too deeply. These images have forged the steel of this blade and they have scarred its edge. They are images of the realm of Dakaria and the realm of Glodoria. They represent much pain and suffering as well as much joy and comfort. This is the way in which you must pass, there is no other way.”
Ecel could feel the sweat forming in his palms. He slowly wiped his hands on his clothes, and he swallowed the lump rising in his throat. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end as a slight chill ran down his back. He turned away from King Shinar and focused on the sword. Now the impressions on the handle seemed even more pronounced, and the tarnished blade seemed darker.
“What must I do?”
King Shinar was silent, but Ecel could feel him. As he looked deeper at the blade, he could see King Shinar’s reflection. Ecel stepped closer to the sword and focused on King Shinar’s reflection. The King’s eyes began to glow and Ecel placed his hand on the wall for support. He leaned close enough to the sword to see the King’s face in focus, and the King spoke.
“You will have to choose.”
Ecel waited for the obvious, but it never came, so he responded. “Between?”
Ecel looked at the reflection and saw the King look down for a moment, then with a heavy sigh he fixed his gaze on Ecel.
“Between what is right and the one you love.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dark Resurrection

Dark Resurrection

(It's after the final battle in The Awakening and Dagan is returning to the Eternal Caves with the
body of his dead master, Kairas. He encounters two would-be thieves and makes short work of
them. It's quite a gory battle, but I can't reveal everything. :)

Dagan surveyed the two bodies then returned to his natural state and began to load Kairas onto the horse. As he entered the cave, he was immediately comforted by the cool air. The altercation had raised his body temperature, and the drop in air temperature was a welcome solace. He continued through the pitch black, his large black eyes were perfect in low light situations. His horse was also familiar with the path that led to Kairas’ lair. As he moved along, he passed other cave entrances. The Eternal Caves were a dangerous maze of caverns that sometimes intersected and sometimes dead ended. Dagan had an hour’s journey ahead of him to the lair of Kairas.
He wondered if the new drakan general would make use of this lair or choose a different location to discuss strategy with his minions. Tactically, it would be hard to find a better location for it had never been discovered by any Evanescian, and in the event of an unlikely attack, there were literally hundreds of escape routes.
An hour later, he approached the entrance. The lair is a huge opening in the cave system, several hundred feet tall and wide. Smaller caverns off of the main cavern served as rooms where Karias would hold his meetings, and most of the walls in those rooms were blood stained from cloakans that had become victims of a frustrated Kairas. Dagan drew close could see the faint flicker of a torch light dancing on the rock wall ahead. This usually meant that the lair was occupied, but he wasn’t expecting anyone to be here. The army had disbanded after the battle at Braham Castle with orders to wait for a signal to regroup. Every Hive had scattered in different directions with the intent of pillaging the small townships of Braham Province. As he drew closer he could hear voices.
Perhaps some of the drakan lieutenants had returned here to discuss the next move. He heard one faint voice that became louder as he approached, and he could sense fear in the voice.
“Please my Lord, I was only following orders…” the voice pleaded.
“Silence!” The voice thundered through the cavern, and out toward Dagan. The tremors from the voice vibrated his gut, and fear gripped him. It was King Dakar!
“Are you not aware that only I can order a strike against a Shinarian Province!” Dakar was furious.
Dagan considered silently retreating, but he knew that Dakar was already aware of his presence. He dismounted and slowly approached the cavern. Peering around a corner he spotted King Dakar. A massive drakan, Dakar is five times the size of his largest general. His large ominous wings are complimented by huge claws that can completely engulf a drakan’s head and effortlessly rip it off.  His bony face is black and his features sharp. His chin protrudes narrowly and bony spikes jut out of the top of his head, resembling a crown. His narrow red eyes appeared like lava constantly burning, and the hue of red would change according to his anger. He peered into the drakan lieutenants eyes waiting for an answer.
“Yes my Lord I…”
“Aagh!” Dakar grabbed the drakan by the throat and threw him against the rock wall. He spread the drakans wings and pinned him to the wall with stone spikes. The drakan shrieked and writhed in pain
King Dakar rules his realm of Dakaria through fear, intimidation, and violence. His teeth were bared in a show of dominance, “This is only the beginning of your torment.” He moved closer to inflict more pain, but was suddenly distracted by an odor. His nose opened to take in the rancid smell, and he turned towards Dagan.
As Dagan entered, he could see four of Kairas’ lieutenants pinned to the wall throughout the lair. Each one was writhing in pain with black blood dripping from their wounds. King Dakar was at the far end of the cavern, and Dagan fell on his face in submission. Dagan could feel the stony ground beneath him vibrate with each step Dakar took. The breath escaping from his nostrils blew dust from the rocky floor, and he didn’t utter a word as Dakar approached. Standing over him, his bony clawed feet etched the ground beside Dagan’s head. His eyes winced at the eerie sound. Dakar could easily decapitate him with one claw. Dagan felt a bony hand reach around his throat and he was suddenly suspended in mid air at eye level with Dakar. He kept his eyes closed as a sign of respect and to try and manage his fear.
Dakar studied his face. “Dagan.” The name escaped with a sense of loathing.
Slowly, Dagan opened his mouth and gave a soft reply, “Yes my lord, at your service.”
Dakar’s nostrils flared, “What is that smell?”
Glancing towards his horse, he answered. “It is Kairas my lord.”
Dakar dropped Dagan and went to the horse. It spooked and reared back, again dumping the body of Kairas on the ground. As the horse ran off, Dakar picked up the lifeless body.
Dagan spoke awkwardly. “He fought valiantly my lord.”
Dakar turned, his eyes burning deep red, “he shouldn’t have fought at all!”
Dagan buried his face in the dust of the floor. This was his opportunity to escape judgment, “I told him so my lord. I warned him of your command to never attack a Shinarian province without your approval, but he wouldn’t listen to me.”
“Silence!” The roar of Dakar drove the breath out of Dagan. “Your groveling is of no use.” Dakar studied the lifeless body of Kairas. He was drawn to the sword that was still buried in his forehead. Tracing the edge of the hilt with his finger he asked, “Who did this?”
“An Evanescian my lord. An incredibly brave warrior.”
“Indeed.” Dakar pondered the sword. It was not a royal sword or the sword of a knight. It was simple with no engravings, no royal crests or symbols. It was…ordinary. Dagan spoke to the empty shell. “You’ll not get off so easily for disobeying me.” He grabbed the sword, pulled it out of Kairas, and threw it to the ground. The blade was black from the dried blood. Then he took one of his long fingers and penetrated the hole in Kairas’ head.
Dagan’s head tilted slightly to the side as he tried to understand what was happening.
Dakar spoke methodically to Kairas, “You will return…now!” From the deepest darkest regions of Dakaria, Kairas’ spirit came screaming back into his body. His eyes burst open and his mouth gaped to take in air. Dagan fell backwards, gasping, and scampered back against the rock wall.
“Aagh!” Kairas grabbed at the constriction around his throat, not yet realizing it was King Dakar’s hand. “Release me!”
Dakar threw him across the cavern, smashing him against the wall. As he slid down the wall, he could see Dakar coming towards him. He immediately covered his face with his wings, but Dakar wrapped his bony fingers around him from the front, pinning his wings behind him, and lifting him to look into his eyes.
“King Dakar, my lord. Why have you brought me back? I failed you.”
“Because you must answer for what you have done.” Dakar raked one of his claws down the wing of Kairas tearing it open. Kairas tried to screech in pain, but Dakar grabbed his throat and tightened until nothing could enter or exit his mouth. “Why would you attack a Shinarian Province without consulting me?” Kairas tried to answer but the grip around his throat was too tight. “Perhaps you are becoming ambitious in your old age.” He shook his head no. “Maybe you feel that you can do a better job of managing the Evanescians than I can.” Again Kairas violently shook his head. Dakar raked a claw down the other wing of Kairas then released him and let him fall to the ground.
Kairas clenched his teeth in pain. He fought the urge to lash out against Dakar then spoke. “There was an unusual stirring in the Braham Province my king, and I felt I had to act quickly.”
“I am fully aware of the stirring in the Braham province, and have been for quite some time!”
Kairas thought for a moment of how this could have been avoided if Dakar had shared this information with him, but that would be a certain invitation to death. Instead he bowed at Dakar’s feet. “What would you have me do?”
Dakar moved in close, his chin rubbing Kairas’ face as he spoke, “The only reason I am keeping you alive is that your blunder has provided a clever cover for my plan in Braham.” Kairas’ eyes widened. “Yes, despite your apparent lack of confidence in my abilities, I have a plan to bring Braham to its knees.”
Kairas hesitated, “I will not fail you this time my lord.”
“Silence!” Dakar again lifted him by the neck. Then he took one of his claws and placed it at the hole in Kairas’ head. “Your lack of prudence almost cost me my victory!”
Kairas winced in anticipation. “I was only trying to gain your favor by not having to involve you in such a petty matter!”
“A Shinarian province is NEVER a petty matter!” again he dropped Kairas.
He lay on the floor with his head bowed, “What shall I do?”
“Rebuild your army and wait for my instructions.” Kairas slowly nodded. “And if you fail me again,” He looked over his shoulder at his submitted General. “I will resurrect you and rip you apart for an eternity.” In one flap of his massive wings, King Dakar disappeared into the darkness.
Kairas stood and staggered to the sword that had been pulled out of his skull. He studied it. His eyes narrowed and became blood red. As is last memory on the battlefield returned to him, he whispered, “Ecel”.
Dagan crawled to the feet of his wounded master. “What is your wish my great general?”
Kairas never looked away from the simple farmer’s sword, “Revenge.”