This gallery contains 6 photos.
This gallery contains 6 photos.
This gallery contains 2 photos.
This excerpt is from a fantasy novel that is in progress. Now I know you’re saying “You don’t write fantasy!” and normally you’d be correct. However, a wild bug flew around and whispered into my ear that I needed to write this. So I’m working on the first of what will be a series of novels. Much like the “Dark Tower” series is Stephen King’s magnum opus; this might be mine too. However, given that I have one novel in the Talia series written, a second to completely rewrite and a prequel started, that statement may be incorrect. The jury is out on it since they need to be published.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this segment. It’s from middle of the story so characters aren’t really explained, but be patient! Read this story in good health and enjoy!
The man standing before Simone had aged since she’d seen him last but still remained recognizable. His black hair had turned salt and pepper and wrinkles formed lines on his face. However, other than that, nothing had changed in the years since he’d trained her.
“Yes, it’s me,” he said, “How long has it been, Simone?”
“Five years,” she said, “And you said you were an emissary from a faraway land! I don’t understand.”
“Of course you wouldn’t understand, Simone. You had then, and don’t now, have a clue as to who you are and why I visited you.”
Simone threw her hands up in disgust and then sighed. Everyone wanted to talk about destiny and not knowing who she was but no one seemed to want to tell her anything.
“I’d like to know why you came.”
“It was a test.”
“Wha…wha…a test?” Simone said.
“Yes, little one, a test,” the Oracle said, “one that you passed.”
“If I may ask, what were you testing?”
“Your abilities and, like I expected, you passed.”
“You’re special, Child,” the old man walked across the room and then grabbed a small stone on the far side of the fireplace and wiggled it free. He reached inside and then pulled out a wooden box the same size as a shoe box.
“You know; I’ve been hearing that for days now! Will someone please tell me what the hell is going on?”
Despite her plea, the Oracle remained silent as he put the rick back into place and then walked over towards her. Once again someone was choosing things for her and wouldn’t let her have a say.
“This is for you,” the Oracle said.
The box looked plain, like something someone would hold their tools in when working in a shop. Its top, bottom and sides were sanded smooth and then given a coat of finish, which allowed it to shine just enough to catch the eye. The box felt very light in her hand; whatever was in it didn’t weigh much.
Simone looked at the box and then at the old Mage. “I don’t want to know what’s inside.”
“Open it and see,” the Oracle said.
Simone sucked in a deep breath and then looked at everyone around her. The Princess’ expression was one of rabid curiosity, as was the men accompanying them. Brady, on the other hand, looked like she was about to jump out of her skin. Whether it was out of excitement or impatience, and a combination of both, Simone didn’t know.
The lid came off easily and Simone sat it down on the back of chair before looking down. A gold necklace with a blue ruby laid in the middle of three gold circles lay on a small pillow. Small streamers of light ran along the edge of the circles and then disappeared into the ruby. It was fascinating and the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.
“Why don’t you put it on?” The Oracle asked.
Sometimes in a person’s life, there something that they do not because they want to but because someone else wanted it done. And it’s in those times that things either went well or became a disaster, with disaster coming out on top most time. And this had the markings, in Simone’s opinion, of being a hum dinger of a problem.
She didn’t say as word as she took the necklace out of the box and then held it in her hand. No one wanted to tell her anything, so things would now come around from where it’s been going around. That’d teach everyone for keeping secrets about her life and refusing to tell her anything about them.
The gold chain was somewhere between thin and medium sized and it was big for her neck. Once Simone locked the clasp, the inlay and ruby hung down to the level of her breasts. She then touched the ruby and a strange feeling of warmth started at her breasts and then spread through her entire body and then disappeared as fast as it appeared.
“It’s pretty,” she said.
“And answers my last question,” the Oracle said.
“And I’m sure you’re not going to tell me what that was anyway.”
“You didn’t die. That tells me you’re The One.”
“I’m the what?” Simone said. “That…”
“What the hell?” The Princess said. “What’s happening to your hair?”
“It’s changing color!”
“Look at your reflection,” Brady said.
Images filled her mind, each one appearing and disappearing in rapid fire progression. A city, with building reaching the sky burns as two army’s fought. One was led by a woman in black with black eyes that were dark wells in something evil instead of her soul. Villages, their people dying and the woman, always a woman, was taking their soul and placing them within her body. During both battles a woman with white hair lead the forces that opposed the Evil One. Armed with a Katana that had blue flame surrounding the blade due to runes built into the blade.
Simone spun on the ball of a foot and then approached a window. A set of clouds passed in front of the sun, taking away the glare so her reflection was visible. The hair at the crown of her head was changing from dark brown to white and the action expanded as she watched. Goosebumps erupted all over her body as a streak of white spread down the center of her hair until it reached her bangs, and then it spread outwards, coving every inch of her head and then going down the length of her hair until every strand changed.
“I see,” She said.
“The final piece of the puzzle is in place,” the Oracle said.
Simone spun around to look at the Mage. “If you don’t start telling me what’s going on, I’ll kill you myself.”
“Oh, I can tell you now,” he said, “that you’ve passed all the tests.”
“The necklace. If you weren’t The Leader, it would’ve killed you.”
“What? Kill me? Jewelry? You’re not making any sense.”
“He’s trying to tell you,” Brady said, “if you’d shut up and listen.”
“I am trying to listen, Brady,” Simone said, “I can’t get him to make sense.”
“The story, child, started long, long ago. This world has forever been ruled over by two forces: The Forces of Dark and the Power of Light. During the Last Age, they started to openly fight. First with World Wars, then terrorism, and eventually the War to End All Wars took place, which wiped out all the technology and cities mankind had built.”
Simone closed her eyes. “I see images but don’t understand them all.”
“You’re seeing them, Simone, because you’ve been there before in previous lives.”
Any other time Simone would’ve told the Oracle he was senile and then walked away except the visions told a different story. In fact, for the first time since Leighton tried to kill the Princess, things started to make sense. Not that it didn’t shock her to the core, mind you; however, she wasn’t letting the Oracle off the hook. He was going to tell her everything or she’d beat it out of him if necessary.
“The amount, and type of, power that The Dark and The Light put into their Champions is more compatible with women than men.”
“OK. So how many lives have I lived?”
“Two that I know of-counting this one. The Oracle before me told my she’d seen three…so let’s say five at least.”
“Your weapon is special,” the Oracle said. “It’s the only thing that can kill The Evil One.”
“What’s so special about a katana?” Simone said as she pulled hers out of its sheath.
The blade glowed pink for a moment and then a light filled the room as runes appeared on the blade and then started to glow. Blue flames appeared at the hilt of the blade and then raced down the length of the blade until it covered all of the metal. It flickered as she moved the sword around and then she spun the sword twice before cocking an eyebrow at how nothing changed how the sword burnt.
What really surprised her though was the fact that the strange flames didn’t hurt the blade at all. She risked touching the metal and found that it was cold to the touch, which defied all logic. However, given everything else that’d happened the past couple days, would this be any different?
“Your sword is the only thing that can kill The Evil One,” the Oracle said. “The combination of the necklace and the sword are the key to your power. If injured, you will heal faster than a normal person and if it’s something serious, the sword will help keep you alive.”
“Obviously, I can die,” Simone said, “but what would it take?”
“It takes a lot but you can succumb, child.”
“So I’m mortal, what about my counterpart?”
“What’s up with the sword?”
“It was made by my people during the years of the Great War. It was fashioned to kill the Evil One. Between the runes and the power drawn from the necklace, you can kill the Evil One.”
“She can get reincarnated like yourself.”
While the thought of being reincarnated intimidated most people, Simone didn’t think of it that way. In fact, the knowledge that the Evil One could return again and again caused her to shiver slightly. Goosebumps started at her lower back and then moved upwards until stopping at the base of her head as the implications of that knowledge sank in.
However, even that thought didn’t overwhelm her shock at everything that’d happened. How could someone like her, a simple woman born to a simple mother, be the champion of The Light. And furthermore, what was the power and why hadn’t she heard of it until now?
Maybe the King ignored it, she thought, and that’s why. Or perhaps people forgot. Or maybe this is all bullshit created by Brady and the old man? Doesn’t it just suck not knowing?
“I know what you’re thinking,” the Oracle said. “You want to know if I’m telling the truth.”
“Congrats. You read my mind.”
“There’s a way for me to prove it and something you need to do.”
“There’s one last piece you need and it’s inside the cave of fire.”
Thank God Simone was a somewhat patient person and did a good job controlling her temper because the Old Man was starting to annoy her. First her hair color changed, then her sword became something special and then she was told that she championed for a force that she never volunteered for. What else could go wrong?
However, she thought as she grabbed a small section of her hair and then pulled it out enough to see it. Having white hair does kind of make his story truthful. But why white hair? Couldn’t I have kept my normal color?
“The cave of what? And what do we need?”
“It’s what The Light has for you.”
“Great, another non answer to a question. Do you or Brady ever answer something straight up?”
“It’s a hard question to answer,” the Oracle said. “The Light has another piece to your power hidden there and you’re only one who can get it now.”
“If I’m only one, how do you know about it?”
“I serve The Light also,” The Oracle said, “but I’m the one who hid it there after your previous incarnation died.”
“How’d you get into the cave if I’m only one?”
“Once The Leader dies, I place this item inside and the power gives me access that one time.”
“Makes sense. Thanks for answering for once,” Simone said.
The temperature changed and goosebumps popped up on her hands then raced up her arm. And it wasn’t a normal cold; it was a bone crushing type of cold that reached your very soul. Almost as if someone went into the middle of the Atlantic in winter and dropped her overboard and then left her to freeze to death.
She hugged herself tight and then squatted down to compress down to use her body heat to stay warm. For what felt like an eternity she stayed there, chills wracking her body, until she started to warm up enough to lift her head up. The others stood around her, none of them showing any sign of the cold, which seemed impossible to Simone-not as chilly as the room was.
“Simone,” Brady said, “are you ok?”
“I… it’s…cold…so cold…don’t you feel it?”
“It’s not cold,” Brady said, “the temperature has never changed.”
“Simone,” the Oracle said, “this will pass. It’s temporary…and a warning.”
As fast as it arrived, the cold disappeared, which confused Simone. How could she be so cold yet no one else be affected at all? What was it that The Oracle called it? A warning? A warning of what?
“A warning?” Simone asked as she stood up. “Of what?”
“That the Evil One is near,” the Oracle said. “We need to go! Now!”
Sweat beads appeared on Simone’s forehead. “What do you mean ‘close?’ How ‘close?'”
“Enough that we need to leave. You can’t fight her right now! You’re not ready!”
Brady opened the door and peered outside. “I don’t see anything yet but doesn’t mean anything.”
“Where is this ‘cave of fire?'” Simone asked.
“It’s on the other side of the mountains, in the forbidden zone,” The Oracle said.
Simone sighed before exiting the house and then looking over her should. “Great, this just keeps getting better and better.
However, since I’m still responsible for the Princess, let’s get out of here. Who knows what they’ll do to her.”
“At this point,” Brady said as the others joined Simone outside. “I don’t think they care about her.”
“She is correct,” The Oracle said. “The Princess is nowhere near the threat to the Evil One that you are.”
“Well, you did say I could kill her,” Simone said.
“She can kill you too.”
“Figured as much.”
The sensation of cold struck Simone again and she nearly doubled over with its power before it disappeared as fast as it appeared. “That hurts,” she gasped.
“They’re getting closer,” the Oracle said, “We must flee.”
This gallery contains 9 photos.
This is straight out of Word. No editing, so it’s very rough but here’s a little taste:
The sunrise was beautiful this time of year. As the yellow orb slowly rose above the mountains, its first light hit the snow and glaciers, causing them to explode into a kaleidoscope of color. From the top of the temple’s spire, MulCahey could see every bit of the color explosion as the sunlight touched the straw roofs of the village as the yellow orb continued to rise.
It would hurt the village to lose their Priest, that much was for certain. However, at this point, there was nothing that could be done about it. Soon they’d arrive and no doubt the Evil One would be with them; in fact, he counted on it. She couldn’t afford to leave this action to underlings. No, she’d have to oversee it herself.
He held no illusions as to what his fate was; today would be the last day of his life and nothing would stop that. And while he couldn’t prevent that from happening, he could control whether or not he told them where Simone and Brady were located. In fact, no matter what they did, he couldn’t allow himself to give the location of the Oracle-that needed to remain a secret if only to keep the Oracle safe.
He looked down at the village below and around him and then sighed. Everything about this situation sucked and there wasn’t a thing that could be done about it. Once the evil one started to move, then it became important for the Princess to be shuffled away and insulated from coming into contact with it.
I give them two more hours, he thought, if they’re quick about it. Otherwise, it’ll be late afternoon.
A rustling below, just outside the village walls caught his attention. Moments later, a man and woman, each riding their own horse, came into view and MulCahey sucked in a deep breath. They were too early! Brady and Simone would only now be reaching the Oracle’s location!
Damn it, he thought, I guess I’ll have to stall for time. Shit.
What made things worse for him was the fact that he knew the two looking up at him. In fact, he’d trained them and taught them everything they knew. Just days ago they had hero worship of him; now they considered him a traitor and an enemy to the crown-whether that crown was achieved legitimately or not.
“You there!” The man shouted. “Don’t try to run!”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” MulCahey murmured.
As he watched the two enter the village, another group of ten men and women appeared from the woods. In the center was a simply dressed women, her clothes marking her as a mere servant. However, he knew better than believe that because if she were just an attendant, then the Intelligence agents wouldn’t be looking at her every few moments as if expecting orders.
He turned to face the snow-capped mountains and took in their majesty for one last time. The long road of life took it’s many winding roads and side paths as one lived and his was about to hit the dead end. Fortunately, not only was he an agent, but an optimist who believed his soul would live on after he died.
“Come down here,” the woman commanded as the rest of their party entered the village.
“Of course,” MulCahey said, “silly me. Can’t hold up the party.”
The narrow stair was just wide enough for him to use and occasionally his shoulders would brush against the outside wall as he made his way down. Hopefully the next priest wouldn’t be fat, otherwise he’d never make it up the stairs to the top and be able to ring the bell when needed.
Who am I kidding, he thought, I won’t be here to worry about that.
He exited the stairs and the group was waiting for him in the sanctuary. Of course they’d be like the mythical King of the past who’d had his knights kill a Cardinal in the church in order for the King to divorce his wife.
He looked at the woman. “Kimmy,” he said, “I remember training you. What are you doing in this?”
“Be quiet,” she said, “there’s nothing you can say that I care to here.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that.”
“Mister MulCahey,” a woman said as the men and women parted to allow him to approach. Her blue eyes locked on his. “Enough of this. Where did Simone go?”
“What, no longer concerned with the Princess?”
“The Princess is not my concern,” the woman said. “Now, tell me: where is Simone.”
MulCahey looked at her and then cocked an eyebrow. “Now, why would I do that?”
“If you do, I’ll spare your life.”
MulCahey laughed. “You kidding me? We both know that’s a lie. All you want me to do is to be a traitor and then you kill me.”
“I told you I’d spare your life.”
“And I know you’re lying,” he said, “how about that?”
“Your loyalty is to your friends is touching but a waste of time,” she said. “You will tell me where they went.”
“Well, to be honest, I don’t know where they went.”
“Don’t insult my intelligence, MulCahey,” the woman said, her blue eyes turning black.
“What’s wrong?” MulCahey asked. “Losing control of yourself, Dark One?”
“Tell me where they went!” The woman’s voice started to deepen as she spoke.
“All of you, look at her! See who you’re following? See who’s pulling Leighton’s strings?”
“Enough!” The woman swung her hand, striking MulCahey with a backhand, sending him crashing to the floor. “I want know where they went!”
“I’m not going to tell you.”
Electricity crackled along the woman’s fingertips for several seconds as MulCahey narrowed his eye. So, the moment of torture was at hand. Not surprising in the least since the Dark One still hadn’t enough strength to do worse to a person yet-thank God for that. However, her power was growing and at this rate, it would only take a couple weeks before she reached her full strength.
Energy arced across the air, striking him in the chest, and pain exploded in his senses. It ramped up rapidly from mild to excruciating and he wanted to scream, oh how he wanted to scream, but he wouldn’t give her the ability to feed off his pain. Instead he gritted his teeth and refused to show pain.
“My patience is running thin. Where is she?” She asked.
“Sorry, my dear, but you’re old enough for your wants not to hurt you.”
Thank God he’d gotten Brady and Simone out of there when he did because the Dark One’s power had increased to a level that he’d never foreseen. However, it was no longer his problem; it would be up to the others to stop her and he hoped they did or the world as they knew it would fall into eternal darkness.
An invisible hand grasped his throat and then started to squeeze. “Where is she?”
The grip slackened enough to allow him to speak. “No.”
“Then I’ll take your soul,” she said before reaching down and jabbing a fist into MulCahey’s stomach.
She pulled it out of MulCahey and held a nearly invisible image of the priest in her hand. The image screamed soundlessly as she used her hand to push the man’s soul into her body and then closed her eyes for a moment.
“That’s better,” she said before smirking, “they’ve gone to see the Oracle…”
“The Oracle?” One of the men with her said.
“Is a person who meddles into my business,” she said, “Get on your horses, we’re leaving.”
“What do we tell the King?”
“That fool?” The Dark One snorted. “Tell him we’re in pursuit of the Princess. Not one word about what I did here. I’ll be watching. You open your mouth about me and you’ll die on the spot.”
“Good. We’re leaving.”
This gallery contains 3 photos.
Covering Books Across the World
SF, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, and other speculative fiction
Commentary from the mind of the artist