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Posts tagged ‘dark’

No’va Chapter 2 – Full

There was no telling how far into the mountains the tunnel went. With a single lantern, all Thomas Gracie could see was a small amount of light passing over gray stone wall. He was careful where he stepped, as the cavern floor was uneven. Stalagmites littered where water had contorted the stone with mineral deposits over time. Some were fairly large spikes, which Thomas Gracie picked his way around. He dipped to his left, avoiding a low-hanging stalactite. Another nearly caught his shoulder.

It must have leaked through this part. He hunched low to keep from smacking a whole family of them. Wonder how Jenario’s fairing?

He had to laugh, then listened to the echoes of his solitary musings fade down the tunnel. It was too easy to imagine the young man smacking into one of these long rock formations, though he hoped no injuries occurred in the frigid weather. Nickademis already had his hands full back at camp. Adding one of the four leaders would only dishearten the group from a survival perspective.

Gradually, the tunnel curved to his right. He was almost positive it connected to the one Jenario had gone down. A few others branched off here and there, but nothing that contained questionable sounds other than his own echoing movements.

“Jenario! Can you hear me?” He thought it odd no echoes could be heard anywhere else. A little farther down he called again. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this doesn’t connect. But if that’s the case, then where does it lead? It has to be parallel to Jenario’s!

As if to answer his question, the lantern’s light finally revealed a dead end. To his left, a smaller opening continued with the possibility of connecting to his friend.

With a sigh, he contemplated turning back. Having told Jenario not to veer from the main tunnel, Thomas Gracie was not about to chance his own luck. Other than watching his step, he had proven the cave empty – at least on his side, and he hoped Jenario’s was same. The thought of bringing in the group deemed safer by the minute.

Even if the air is still cold, at least we’ll be out of the wind.

About to turn back, a hint of blue caught his eye. It was a faint glow that illuminated the side tunnel entrance, so low in fact that his own light source had overpowered it. But once he turned away, the glow remained. Curious, kept the lantern behind him to better see.

Jenario doesn’t have any such light. Should I..? He peered into the opening.

There was something traced into the wall. The etchings themselves cast a faint aura that flickered along the mark like a slow pulse. Intrigued to its meaning, Thomas Gracie decided to take a chance. He stepped through the opening.

As soon as his foot touched the inside floor, more symbols lit up as though activated by his mere presence. Not one, but four of these marks, lined side by side down the wall. Thomas Gracie just stared in stunned silence. He finally stepped close to the first one and watched while the blue light faded away. It was hard to see anything once the color dimmed, but he swore the symbol looked like waves of water.

He stepped to the second. This one revealed a fiery crimson that reminded him of Shafari’s attempt at spell-casting, and he wondered if the two were related. The mark’s shape resembled something like fire before it too dimmed.

The third was harder to identify. Its fading color had been a light teal tracing several swirls winding into the stone. It reminded him of a drawing Jenario’s son had scribbled out one day. The simple forms of clouds swirling onto the top part of the paper slightly matched the etching.

Maybe it represents the sky? Unsure, he moved to the last mark. It was the easiest to recognize, being the shape of a leaf. Like all the rest, its green lighting faded until Thomas Gracie had to raise his own lantern again to see in front of him. Someone had to have made these, but for what purpose? What does a leaf, a cloud, fire and water have do with anything?

The tap of toenails over stone floor echoed from the tunnel he had just been in. Frozen in place, Thomas Gracie held the light steady as the tapping drew near. When a low growl penetrated the silence, he knew a hungry wolf was about to enter.

He started to back away, his light no longer able to reach the spot where he was sure the wolf’s head had appeared. Now only two glowing orbs of white reflected from what little light reached them, but it was enough to make Thomas Gracie turn on his heels and run. Armed only with a lantern, as the council prohibited weapons, his only defense was to flee.

Why didn’t I think to grab something from one of the Trappers? As a master huntsman, A Trapper was granted this title if the council approved their successful hunts. There was only one in the group, as the rest had been too proud to consider leaving the city. It was these the council had promoted to guard duty, and probably were the same tasked with eliminating those off Jenario’s list.

Thomas Gracie did not hear anything advancing after him. His steps, however, did not slow. He wanted to find Jenario and hoped he was on a connecting path. As he ran, the same four symbols lit his way, dimming when he approached and flaring up again when he had passed. The interest in them had vanished, replaced now by a rising fear that something may have happened to his friend.

“Jen—” His call was cut short when his foot tripped on a stalagmite. The lantern went flying, and so did he. All he could hear was shattering glass and the echoes of his own painful grunts when his arm scraped against jagged floor.

He lay still, waiting for the tunnel’s returning mimic to calm itself. Nothing approached from behind. Not a footfall, a pant of breath – had he imagined the eyes in the dark?

Frowning, he pushed himself up and brushed a patch of dirt from his pants.

Pull yourself together! You can’t go back with your wits a wreck when people are relying on you! Thomas Gracie fumbled with his belt, readjusting himself after the fall when he paused. How come I can still see?

He checked the spot where the lantern had stopped rolling. Its glass exterior lay scattered around the tunnel floor with no lit center. The crash landing had completely drained all the oil needed to light another wick. And yet, there was still a faint illumination that outlined the cavern walls. Curious, and deciding against returning in the dark without a proper light, Thomas Gracie continued.

As he rounded a corner, the air felt slightly warmer.

Has someone managed to light a fire? For a split second, his mind conjured a horrid image of Jenario’s clumsy nature somehow lighting himself on fire. He quickly threw the idea aside. Even so, the air wouldn’t feel like this so quickly. There’s something else here.

Another tunnel just ahead confirmed where the light was located, as a blue glow lit just inside the opening. The closer he came, the warmer the air felt. His heavy, winter clothing was not the proper thing to wear in the changing temperature. By the time he peered inside, Thomas Gracie had already removed a layer.

It was obvious by the cloak that lay on the floor that Jenario had also been in this part. Yet he was nowhere to be seen. The only other thing in the spacious chamber was an oblong mirror contained within a wooden, swivel frame. Light poured from its reflective surface and caught his own puzzled expression when he took a step closer. The air was warmest around its structure.

“Jenario?” Unless his friend had turned back, the room was otherwise vacant. The amount of light brightening the space allowed a glimpse to the far back wall. There was no other way in but the way he had come. With a sigh, Thomas Gracie stared into the blue glow and wondered what to do next. The group could use a little warmth, but how is this possible? Can I move it?

He reached out to touch when the image began to waver. As if a veil uncovered the truth, the mirror vanished, replaced by a single, oval ring hovering just above ground. Thomas Gracie had heard of portals, just never seen one. Fascinated, he watched until the opening revealed the location of his companion standing just on the other side.

Hesitating, Thomas Gracie slid a finger over where glass should have been. Yet instead of touching hard surface, it slipped beneath the rippling image to tap the shoulder of his friend.

Jenario jumped at the unexpected touch. He whirled around in time to catch a pleasant, yet somewhat relieved smile as his friend stepped through the portal.

“Am I ever glad to see you!” Jenario wiped his brow and tried to recompose himself.

“Were you expecting someone else?”

Jenario just shook his head. “You have no idea.” He motioned to the forested area beyond the cave entrance. “What do you make of all this?”

“Definitely something the group needs at the moment.”

“But where do you think this is? Obviously not Astra. It’s not even remotely cold here! For all we know, this portal could have taken us thousands of miles across the sea!”

“Perhaps. Would make sense with the weather.” Thomas Gracie examined nearby foliage. “The trees are still familiar enough. We can’t be but so far. If I recall, there was a map that used to hang on the wall back at Mayla that showed another landmass. No’va, I believe was the name. We could be there.”

Jenario kept glancing back at the portal’s flickering outer-rimmed light. “And if so, we’d have a long trek getting back if that thing decides to close on us.”

“Indeed.” Thomas Gracie eyed it for stability issues. Thus far, the opening to the other side remained clear. “I think we’ll be all right for a while. Let’s go ahead and check the area while we’re here.”

Jenario hesitated. “So you expect to just wander around in this nice springy weather while everyone else freezes?” A hint of anger rose in his voice, but Thomas Gracie reassured him.

“Jen, think about it. We went in the cave to make sure it was safe, which it is. But I’m not convinced, only because while we can come out, something else could go in? Therefore, we need to secure the area in both locations to make sure before risking everyone’s lives. Does that make sense?” He crossed his arms. “It’s not like we haven’t had our fair share of mishaps along the way.”

It was then that Jenario noticed that his friend no longer held a lantern, nor did he see it through the portal where his cloak was still laying.

“So yours broke too, I see.”

Thomas Gracie chuckled as he moved passed the young man. He glanced up to see a break in the leaves, allowing a glimpse of full moon. It’s pale light filtered over parts that were clear of shadows, but beyond the thick foliage of towering forest there was not much else they could see.

“If we stay in the moonlight, we’ll be fine.” He pointed out spots of light. “Just check the perimeter around the cave. Then we’ll go back and get the others.”

“That simple, huh?” Jenario counted the patches of light to his left while his companion started around the other side. A quick glance to the portal confirm it still locked in place. “So long as we make this quick!”

*****

Shafari reached into the snow to where his spherical light had dived. Fingers groped in the cold, unsure if where the light led was accurate or not. Had one of his friends become buried?

It had finally stopped snowing, though every now and then a brisk wind stirred up any loose flakes in the air. Most of the tracks made from earlier were still visible enough to follow without the need of light bobbing in front of his face. He clamped his teeth together to keep from chattering against the cold, fingers numb from rummaging in the snow longer than he wanted. At last, he clamped down on something smooth. Just as quick, the light popped back out, throwing bits of snow in the air when it did.

“Watch it, now!” Shafari scolded with a smile. He lifted the small, crimson pebble out and wiped off the excess flakes still stuck to it. “This was Jenario’s.”

As if to reply, the orb darted to his right, following a second set of prints to an opening in a rocky hillside. Shafari turned to follow and looked up at the mouth of the dark cave. He let out a quick sigh.

“Well, that’s convenient.” While the orb drifted about the empty chamber, Shafari took his time surveying along the walls and floor for signs of his companions. It was quickly noted that several tunnels branched from the main cavern towards the back. “I’m pretty sure the two are still together.” He signaled for the orb by holding up Jenario’s tracking stone. “Find Thomas Gracie.”

Without hesitation, the light sped down the left tunnel. Not expecting the swift response, he hurried after its trail of glowing dust. Its reaction to his request worried him that one or both had become injured on their quest for shelter and a way around the blocked road.

Nick would have a fit if I brought two more injured into the mix of what we already have. He thought back to the doctor waiting at their makeshift campsite. When he had felt the tug of Jenario’s tracking stone, he knew something had happened. Just the mention of venturing out to check caused a series of demands to make sure he knew what he was up against in this weather.

A dead end did not deter the orb from its path. It hesitated only a moment before swooping into a connecting tunnel. As Shafari stepped through the opening, he was immediately aware of several colored symbols that lit in presence of his light.

“Interesting.” He paused by each one, noticing how their pulsating glow faded when he had passed. When he realized his orb had moved on without him, his patience grew thin. “You know, an Assistant Orb was made to assist? Not fly off! See if I call upon you again if you plan on leaving me in the dark!”

For a brief moment, the tunnel remained devoid of movement. Gradually, however, the light returned with a slight droop to its motion. As though ashamed of its behavior, it dimmed and hung low while approaching the magic-user.

“I don’t care if you wander, just not without me.” This seemed to perk the orb up a bit, for it brightened and lifted to his eye level. “All is forgiven. Now, find me Thomas Gracie. But keep me in view!”

Shafari gave a sigh and just shook his head when the light darted around the bend. It soon returned when it realized he was not following.

“Better.” He gave a crooked smile and continued past the symbols, wondering if his friends had also noticed them. Elements are nothing to mess around with. I wonder if they set something in motion by coming here. With that thought in mind, he was careful to check for more while ducking under a family of long stalactites. The uneven floor crunched with bits of dirt and loose stone under his boots. When the crack of glass replaced loose stone, he called for his light to check around where he stepped. It did not take long to discover the broken lantern scattered across the floor.

Shafari’s breath caught in his throat. In panic, his voice croaked out their names.

“Jenario! Thomas Gracie!”

He followed the orb, which darted this way and that at its master’s hectic calls, until it paused in front of another opening. Halting in mid-step, Shafari watched it dim and hover just inside the passage. Strangely enough, a blue glow seemed to wash over the walls. The outer edges of the opening hinted a secondary light source, though he knew it was not from an ordinary lantern.

Why is it warm here? Shafari stepped to where his orb hovered and lifted a hand to extinguish it. “I’ll bring you back, don’t worry,” he whispered, peering into the spacious chamber. It was the oval mirror that captured his immediate attention, and when he came closer it revealed the same secret his two companions had discovered earlier.

Shafari looked on in curiosity as the mirror showed where his friends were through the portal; however, he himself did not enter.

“Let them make sure the area is clear then,” he said aloud, conjuring his spherical light to his side again. It darted in haste back toward the opening in eagerness to leave. “I’ll finish their work and bring the others in.” With a chuckle, he added, “They can thank me later.”

A weave of hand left a fiery message scrolling across the floor for the two to discover when they came back. Then, with a grin of satisfaction, the magic-user let his guiding light lead him back to camp.

“What took you so long?!” Nickademis was not happy to see the magic-user traveling alone when he returned. “And where are the others? Did they..?”

“Relax!” Shafari raised his hands in defense. “They’re fine. And I think you’ll appreciate what they’ve discovered, too.”

“Wait… You mean they actually found..?”

“Oh, it’s better than what you think.” The magic-user chuckled. “Wake the others. We’re moving tonight!”

The Youngest Child

When I eventually reach book 7, Wisdom will have three children. His oldest will be Keith, named after himself because he too will be albino. The middle child, Gaily, will be human, and the third child will be mysterious and observant – a half-breed of human and Healer.

It is the third child that I will be most interested in writing: Koréken. The name and looks is in honor of Corrigan, the Black Wing that assists his father in previous adventures. But Koré is more than just a dark-haired child with pale eyes. He has strange abilities that neither Healer or humans use. What’s even stranger is his ability to manipulate the energy within someone else, but cannot use it directly within himself. He acts as a weather forecaster. Except instead of predicting weather, he can foresee the emotions or intentions behind someone approaching. Therefore, he’s able to give fair warning to flee or stay.

Koré is conservative in speech. He prefers quiet spots to enjoy reading the collections of books his father keeps in their home library.  He develops a method of touch that involves pressure points. Pressure points on the body can do a number of things, including but not limited to temporarily paralysis, muscle control,  or easing pain.

Koré is confused with another developing problem. Dubbed as Dark Ones, these are regular people who suddenly grow pale, with white eyes and black hair. Surrounding energy flocks to them and releases in such a way that it causes a mass of destruction before they’re able to learn control. But Koré  is able to help these people. By using his ability to manipulate energy, he’s able to give them enough time to learn how to deal with what’s happening to them. However, the threat of more becoming Dark Ones and why it’s happening is alarming.

It’s no surprise that many people see Wisdom’s son as a Dark One, leading him to defend his family to the point where he himself is being blamed for the outcome.

Undead?

I could see a potential undead situation in the type of fantasy I write. Let’s just say that a spell goes awry and causes a mass of undead to rise, including Wisdom, long after his time had passed.

In Wisdom’s case, Nature keeps his spirit and memories intact so that when his body rises they are joined back together. I can definitely see a scene where, without those, his body would just react like a normal zombie – floundering about, ready to rip someone’s arm off until the gets his wits back.

Just a passing thought…

 

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Corrigan Revamp

Corrigan Revamp

Work in progress

Chapter Teaser

The Beginning of the End

 

This is it… the final countdown until the end of book three, ending the first trilogy in Blue Moon Rising. This is the first chapter that marks that beginning.

From “Healer” – chapter teaser

 

There was an erie silence throughout the city of Lexington. People hastened their business with merchants in hushed tones as a dense fog settled in from the south. Fingers of dark mist crept through back alleys and poured over the cobblestone streets. It did not take long before all of Lexington was in its grasp.

Yet Lexington’s inhabitants were not the only ones unsettled by this uncanny arrival. Surrounding hillside provided the perfect lookout points for Healers to amass. Extending their animal senses from gained shifts, they alone could detect human movement and smells within the gray covering. Among them was Chronicles, ready to signal his people forward at the first sign from either Jangus or his son.

A White Wing brushed past some leaves to join his side, his wings neatly folding into a fade. Squinting at the haze of gray, Rusha turned to the other Healer.

“I hope this doesn’t last,” he said. “A fog like this will prove hard to navigate through in mid-flight.”

Chronicles flicked his gaze over to the harpy before refocusing on the city.

“Nevertheless,” was his unmoved reply, “it will help conceal your attacks.”

“Until we hit their structures!” Rusha countered.

“Leave the buildings to us,” Chronicles soothed the harpy’s doubts. He held out a hand to demonstrate his words by calling forth a small vine from the earth. “We’ll level everything they’ve built until the only mark of their existence is a barren field!” He clenched his fist, and when he did the vine crushed a small stone beneath the soil.

“As long as you’re certain,” Rusha replied. “Why wait for the others, then?”

“I want confirmation.” Chronicles waved a hand to dismiss the Wing’s presence. “Be ready to send your people in.”

Slightly offended at the leader’s abrupt end to their conversation, Rusha backed away in silence. When his presence could be sensed no more, Chronicles turned his attention to the southern skies.

There was a mere dot in the horizon. As Chronicles’ pupils dilated to sharpen his gaze, the dot grew larger until he could just make out the raven form of Jangus. 

Sample Chapter (Unedited)

End of Part II – that leaves 10 more chapters until completeion!

This is from the third book “Healer” in the Blue Moon Rising Trilogy

Abraham never realized how heavy a Black Wing was. Even for a half-breed, the weight of Corrigan’s wings nearly doubled Abraham’s task of prying the harpy from bed. With an arm around his shoulder, and being careful of the talons, Corrigan was finally pulled to a standing position.

“Think you could adjust yourself? You’re squashing me!” Abraham grunted under the harpy’s weight.

“You’d be dragging too if you had to stay in bed for months at a time!” Corrigan mumbled and blinked several times to clear his gaze. Carefully, he moved each wing to test their agility. The movement nearly sent them airborne.

“Save it for when we’re outside!” Abraham warned. “If Jenario comes up here, you’ll have to fly.”

Corrigan just snorted and allowed the young man to help him over to the balcony doors. “Took you long enough to figure the spell.”

 

Abraham breathed in deeply once the harpy’s weight was against the balcony wall. “Wasn’t easy. Only way to get his mind off magic was to bring up the past.”

“Add the horn to the mix, and you had your work cut out for ya, huh?” Corrigan sneered.

Abraham nodded grimly.

“Suppose I can’t complain. I’m out, and I thank you for it.” The harpy attempted an awkward bow, while still holding to the wall for support. It was not until the click of lock shifted his gaze past the young man and toward another standing just inside the patio doorway.

Abraham needed no hint as to whom stood behind him. In a single motion, he turned toward his father. “Fly….” he breathed.

From behind, he could hear Corrigan’s talons scraping over stonework. Though he kept a steady gaze with his father, the muffle of movement over the balcony wall confirmed the harpy had descended.

“I won’t let you take him back.” Abraham raised a hand in defense as he father stepped outside. A spell was already forming on his tongue when Jenario just shook his head.

“There’s no need for that.” He waved the comment aside. “Corrigan’s usefulness had long since run out.”

A thrash of underbrush below the balcony suggested the harpy had reached ground level. Although still weak, Abraham knew the harpy’s wings could still deliver a good blow. There came a distant crack of twigs and rustling leaves from the Black Wing’s entrance into the forest before all was still, save for the constant rumble of overhead thunder.

Abraham kept his distance as his father stepped over to the balcony wall. There came a chuckle.

“Expecting the horn, I see,” Jenario said softly, his gaze sweeping over the shadowed land. “But let it be known that it was my every intention to see him free.”

“By using others!” Abraham returned sharply. “I see how you work. I see how THAT thing works. It uses you the same way YOU use others to get what you want.”

There was a brief moment of silence while Abraham studied his father’s unusual cool attitude.

“I haven’t seen your assassin for a while. Did you finish using him as well?”

“Indeed.” Jenario’s change from relaxed pose to an intense stare-down caused beads of sweat to line the young man’s forehead.

What was i thinking? He thought, feeling the power drawing around his father. I’m not strong enough to stand up to him OR the horn. They’d obliterate me by mere thought!

A sly smile spread across Jenario’s lips, and the eyes lit with an inner flame.

“Now what purpose would that serve when you still have potential,” the horn spoke gently. “As for Nathanial…” A shrug. “Let’s just say, I sent him into early retirement.”

Abraham lowered his eyebrows in disgust. “Maybe my father doesn’t see you as a puppet master, but I do. And I was not about to see that Black Wing’s demise!”

“So you did,” the horn replied, that crooked a smile still upon his lips as he eyed Jenario’s son.

“And I will not allow myself to be used for your gain either.” The young man started to back away. When the horn said nothing, he turned and dashed for the bedroom door, only to find it locked. Heart pounding, he raced for the secret passage. Flinging aside the paneling, he stared stupidly at the dark void of swirling portal blocking his path.

In frustration, Abraham slammed the paneling shut and whipped around. His father had moved to the only exit the room contained: the balcony.

“As I said before,” the horn cooed, “should something happen to the harpy, YOU”LL be taking his place.”

“I’ll not be kept under your spell!” Abraham returned.

“Of course not. You’ll just undo it. No, I have better plans for you. But for now,” the horn turned away from the bedroom. “There’s a war about to rage, and I plan to attend its final outcome.”

“What war?”

“One your father has prepared so nicely.”

Abraham slowly ventured over to the doors once Jenario stepped back outside, only to find the space vacant.

The distinct sound of a four-legged animal clopping over barren soil drew his attention below. While only a glimpse of the unicorn was seen before entering the forest, Abraham could not help but feel trapped. Jenario had locked the door when he had entered, and a dark portal blocked the secret passage.

He leaned over the wall to judge how far he was from ground. The tower room was the tallest structure on the building. Just thinking about climbing down sickened his stomach, and he started to back away.

There was a whoosh of wind at his back, followed by loud flapping. A strong pair of hands gripped under his arms and lifted him out over the balcony. With a yelp, Abraham dangled helplessly in midair.

“Thought you might need a lift,” came the voice of Corrigan as the two sailed out over the trees.

“You came back?” Abraham glanced up, then swung his feet to avoid hitting a limb. “Watch it!” he warned, his legs pumping to keep from hitting anything.

“I can’t lift you any higher!” Corrigan called. “We’ll be landing shortly!”

“Not out here!” Abraham exclaimed as a streak of lightning lit the sky. “You’re going to kill us both!”

The Black Wing angled his descent, circling Jenario’s home in the process to look for a place to land. The storm cloud was intense, shadowing the land with its enormous size.

“Somehow, I doubt that’s his plan now, or we’d been long gone by now.”

“The horn mentioned something about a war!” Abraham shouted. “Do you think Keith knows?”

“We’ll soon find out,” Corrigan responded.

A fresh breeze signaled freedom near the borders of Sapphire. Even with the storm looming around them, the feel of Jenario’s power grew fainter. Holding tight to the feathering around the harpy’s arms, Abraham allowed himself to be carried, hoping and praying he could somehow play a role in stopping whatever his father had started.

Daily Concept: Light vs. Darkness

This has been more of a weekly concept, to be honest. I’ve had this thought, off the charts from the normal storyline, that what if the world were to divide directly down the middle between Light and Dark?

Using the same set of characters from Wisdom Novels, it would go something like this:

Darkness and Light are each run by its Prince. Naturally, Darkness has been trying to expand its borders lately and is looking for a champion to do this. So it kidnaps the prince of Light’s daughter and coaxes its power into her. Of course, daddy doesn’t like this too much and runs in to save her.  Yet in order to do so, he must forfeit Light in order to return her to normal.

Now, at first, he would deny the power of Darkness even after becoming part of it himself. But gradually it takes hold until he’s nearly under its control. He’s sworn to protect the Realm of Light. Instead, he threatens it. Things take a nastier turn when he invades with dark minions to do his power’s bidding.

So does this have a tragic ending? You bet! What better way to end a story than having to kill off your anti-hero. My guess is that in the end he realizes he’s still loyal to the side of Light and allows himself to be captured/killed/etc. in order to save his own realm, family, and friends. At the same time, he passes the mantle of rulership to maybe his older son or someone wise enough not to make the same mistakes.