The Secrets Revealed-Excerpt, Ch. 3

Hey all,

Here is a teaser of Ch. 3 from my first novel, unedited. Boren and Courtar run into some trouble, and it’s only the beginning of things to come for them and the rest of the alliance. Enjoy.

Their pace quickened without another word spoken. The two continued their morning journey while a mouthful of flavorful raisins, cinnamon, and brown sugar watered Courtar’s tastebuds. “So, where are we headed now?” he mumbled.

“Not sure, laddie. Headin’ east is best. We travel as long as we can, then make camp at nightfall.”

“Sounds good,” Courtar said. He took a deep breath in and sighed. “I love cool days like these. They make me want to walk from here to the opposite end of Nanthara.”

During the day, the monotonous trek was broken up by horse-drawn carts and solitary passersby that moved along with each one giving an extended stare.

One rider trotted toward them as he headed west, mounted atop a somewhat filthy looking horse. Clad in tattered rags, his gaunt face bothered Courtar. The cleric’s attempted greeting was met with silence as he passed by in silence. Boren paid no attention to him.

Courtar frowned. “How rude. You think he would have had the courtesy to respond in kind. Besides, I don’t think he will get far on a mount so malnourished. He should try and feed it once in awhile.”

Courtar looked over his shoulder. The rider had vanished. Courtar spun in haste and examined the long stretch of empty highway behind him.

“Where did he go? He was just here.”

Boren stopped with an aggrevated sighed. “What are you fussin’ about?”

The cleric kept scanning the road and the woods when he heard Boren sniffing.  “What are you doing?”

The Dwergen’s eyes narrowed as he turned his head slowly in every direction, looking for something. “There’s a smell of death, laddie. That was no commoner.” Boren reached behind him and unsheathed his giant raxan and stood with a firm grip.

Courtar paused and cocked his head. His ears strained to pick up the noises of the surrounding woods: the birds, the rustling leaves, the breeze brushing his ears. He only heard silence. His nose wrinkled after catching the sickening scent of decay. “It smells like something died.”

“It did. And it’s lookin’ fer us. Stay close.”

Courtar’s heartbeat intensified. His hands trembled. His frantic eyes searched about, unsure of what to look for: a shadow . . . movement . . . a twitch. He pulled out his mace, wondering if it would do any good. A covey of quail rattled the nearby undergrowth, constricting Courtar’s throat with a choking lump. Several squirrels scampering up the flaking bark of a tree trunk scared him in just the same manner.

Boren never flinched from either of the noises. He stood and listened. “A Dark

Herald.”
Courtar took a step closer to Boren. “Wh-what is a Dark Herald?”

Boren’s head snapped left, right, and even behind him as if mounted on a swivel.

“They’re dark messengers. Unnatural life. They gather information fer their sender before they kill you.”

Courtar gulped. “Information?”

“They’re sent fer a reason.” Boren faced the cleric. “This one is here fer you.

It wants what you have.”

“What do I have?! I don’t have anything? Look at what I’m carrying—nothing!”

“You carry yer journal, laddie. It has things that the Dark Herald wants. This journey that yer takin’ is more than you think.”

A ghostly shriek shattered the silent woods. Courtar’s hair stood on end while

Boren spun around, unable to tell from which direction the hoarse wail bellowed. It sounded again. Courtar cowered in the road. Boren grabbed him by the collar and jerked him onto his feet.

“No time fer hidin’, boy. It wants you to hide. Yer easier to kill. If you believe in prayer, pray now.”

Courtar’s attempt at prayer sounded like gibberish.

Boren nudged Courtar firmly in the ribs with his elbow. “Pray!”

The frightened cleric took a deep breath and focused enough to chant words of protection. Within seconds, a dark image of the decayed rider appeared off to their right in the distant woods. It was heading toward them. Courtar froze. The image disappeared.

“Pray again, boy! Yer words are revealin’ that demon’s location!”

Boren’s reprimand startled Courtar and he continued to chant holy words through his quivering lips. A blood-curdling, hoarse wail echoed through the woods. Courtar followed Boren’s gaze as they spotted the wavering image of the evil rider bearing down on them with its nightmarish weapon held loosely near its side.

Courtar rubbed the stinging perspiration from his eyes, unsure of what he saw. “Is that thing passing through the trees?”

Boren growled with the ferocity of a bear. “Come at me, demon. My raxan is

thirsty and it needs a drink.”

The dark rider thundered closer, raised its weapon, and swung in a downward arc.

Courtar dove out of the way and rolled to a hard stop after thumping into a tree while Boren swung upward at the Dark Herald. A loud clang of steel indicated he missed his target. The decayed horseman rode a short distance before spinning its mount around and headed back for another pass.

The Dark Herald hissed in its demonic raspy voice like the combination of a dog’s deep growl and an old hag. “Give me the information.” It made its second pass and clashed with Boren once more. Each time it rode by, the nauseating stench of death and decay lingered longer.

The stalwart Dwergen and the deadly messenger clashed several more times, with Boren sinking his raxan into the rider’s mount as well as the assailant’s leg and torso, but to no effect. Courtar shook off the pain from slamming into the solid trunk and looked at his weapon with worried eyes.

I can’t fight that thing with my mace. Boren can’t even kill it! What can I do?

Then a peaceful voice filled his mind. Water.

Courtar looked next to him, thinking the voice generated from someone nearby. Nobody was there.

The voice rung in his head again. Water.

“Water? What water?” he said aloud. With a sudden revelation, Courtar grabbed one of his pouches and fumbled with the strap before pulling out a glass vial. “Holy water?”

Another clang of weapons garnered Courtar’s attention to the desperate matter

at hand. As he approached the two battling foes, the rider stopped the fight and turned its black eyesockets toward him. Its charred skin and malformed mouth smiled a deathly grin. A sinewy limb, stretched tight with mottled skin, gripped its horrid weapon.

Courtar could only think of excruciating pain when he gazed upon the wicked

blade.

“Give me the information,” it said again in its guttural wail.

Boren sunk his raxan several more times into the rider and his mount, but the Dark Herald ignored each lethal blow as it remained focused on the cleric. It reached out with its free hand, appearing to grasp Courtar in his clutches. “I want the information.”

Courtar’s hand shook. “You want the information? Here it is!”

With all his might, Courtar hurled his vial of holy water at the Dark Herald. The glass smashed against the rider’s weapon, spraying it with the anointed liquid. A deafening scream blasted the woods with a shockwave that slammed Boren and Courtar onto the road. Smoke bubbled from the creature in numerous white puffs. Within moments, bright blue rays shot forth from the demonic rider like sunrays bursting through a cloudbank.  As the Dark Herald’s corpse-like body shuddered, it exploded into blue flames that engulfed the mount as well.

Boren regained his feet and smashed his raxan into the rotting horse. This time his raxan bit deep as it almost severed the horse’s head clean off. It fell in a heap, tossing the burning rider into the dirt. The screaming Dark Herald’s retaliation was too slow. Boren’s blade sunk into its chest, snapping dry bones and splitting diseased flesh. A second swing decapitated the fiendish messenger. The flames soon extinguished, leaving behind a pile of black ash.

Courtar’s heart raced while Boren panted from his exertion. Suddenly, the eerie silence that blanketed the woods faded into pleasureful woodland sounds once more. It reminded Courtar of stepping from a quiet prayer room onto a noisy trade street.

“You saved me again, Boren.”

The Dwergen sheathed his raxan, kicked the black ash remnants, then walked over to Courtar. “Aye. But it is me owin’ you thanks, laddie. The vial you threw did the Dark Herald in. What was it?”

“Holy water.”

Boren nodded after giving his beard a gentle stroke. “You need more.”

Courtar took in a breath of fresh air as he wiped his head with a cool cloth dampened from his waterskin. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. I pray I never will again.”

“Unfortunately, laddie, I’m afraid there’s more comin’.”

Published in: on July 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM  Leave a Comment  

Relics Trilogy Character- Vindicar

Vindicar’s appearance tells you right away that he is different. A Brenhi Alkanien, different from their woodland ranger cousins the Coegur Alkani, he stands a bit taller, has pale skin, and long almost white hair; almost opposite of a typical Brenhi. With striking blue eyes and a commanding voice, he is well represented as a paladin. Vindicar has had a rough past. Residing from the southern continent of Nutheria, a land well known to serve as home to many Alkani, he served as a dragon knight on the king’s court; a Royal Guard of the king to be exact. He served with rank and honor, until a dreaded event changed his status.

So as not to reveal too much, Vindicar is a servant of Temple Sovereign and therefore carries the same beliefs and doctrine as Sir Angelo. But a dreadful secret can destroy him and all those around him. Fluid with the curved Alkani bastard sword and armed with a polished bone bow, he is a formidable force on the field. His life and his family’s heritage is tattooed in dark blue ink on the left half of his face, down his neck, and onto his torso. But only those knowing the ancient Alkani tongue can decipher the story.

Vindicar’s hunger to fight the war carries hidden meanings. Does he fight it to destroy the Dark One, or is it more for personal gain? That remains to be seen. Hopefully, his past doesn’t become a hindrance to the alliance, especially Sir Angelo.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 7:08 PM  Leave a Comment  

Relics Trilogy Character-Sir Angelo Dennisae

Sir Angelo . . . a hulking 6’4″ full plate wearing knight from Temple Sovereign. A man prophesied with destiny. He is a stalwart paladin, focused, confident, and a bit cocky. But when he puts his mind to something, he pretty much does it. He’ll help a little old lady in distress and rescue children from harm, yet turn around and decapitate you if you become a hindrance to anything against his belief; well, there might be a few factors that will keep your body intact.

Sir Angelo has trained at the same temple sect that Courtar was a servant to. His mentor spoke of his importance in future events, and he has never forgotten. Well educated, handsome, charismatic; Sir Angelo has the typical qualities that one would think a knight would carry. But in studying the coming dark times, he knew that his greatest role would be in such a crisis.

His destiny as a leader is not taken lightly. In fact, when the alliance begins to gather more members, he assumes command of the group in a non-democratic way . . . he takes it. Yes, there was some bickering to his method, but he also is willing to take full responsibility for his leadership position.

It is understood that he is a great example of good hating evil, but it becomes more interesting when he is confronted with an obstacle from a direction of which he never predicted. Does he draw a line and stand behind what he believes and what he was trained for, or does he have a heart of compassion and relinquish some of those concrete ideals for the betterment of all?

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 6:49 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Relics Trilogy Character-E’Umae

E’Umae began as Umae. I added a change to her name to express more of where she’s from. Her family comes from an Abeni background. Desert, nomadic type people; kinda Middle Eastern. Her family came to the western part of Nanthara to try and better their status, and it is here where E’Umae began taking interest in studies some considered almost forbidden: to be a mage.

E’Umae is a quite beautiful late teen female: strong willed, forthright, forceful, and at times bossy. An unfortunate incident at her mage school forced her to become more judgmental and distrusting of others. Before she fled the school, she came across teachings and writings about the prophecies. This was her fuel to pursue her endeavors as well as this unusual desire to delve further into the ancient and all but forgotten writings. During her travels, the horrors of war bring about a change. She has had faith in Sovereign, and her relationship with Courtar helps to enhance it. Although Courtar is taken by her beauty early on, he comes to realize that his relationship with her is more brother-sister than boyfriend-girlfriend.

E’Umae also hoped that one day she would be lucky enough to find love. Yet she didnt’ expect to find it during the darkest times of Nanthara’s history, in the most unlikely of places, and with the most unlikely of people: Prince James Mhoren. Her presence helps add spice to the alliance, especially with Courtar. The story is unique in that it shows, from E’Umae’s viewpoint, that no matter what you go through, God places people in your life to help you. All the characters in the alliance help her out in differing ways, thus encouraging her to continue on and fulfill her destiny. Join me next time. God bless.

Relics Trilogy-Races-Dwergen

After doing some modifications to my storyline, I figured it best to discuss some of the more unique races that will be experienced in Nanthara.

Dwergen: This is probably the most unique race thus far. In ages past, before many of the races were established on Nanthara, a natural disaster created a situation whereupon a small contingent of Alkani and Dwarves had to coexist, and breed, in order to survive. The new race of Dwergen, a mixbreed, resulted. Many of the purebloods of both original races did not accept the mixing of their species and journeyed out on their own to survive and continue their “untainted” societies. Unfortunately, the Dwarves became extinct, failing to adjust to the catastrophic changes that occurred to their natural habitat.

The Alkani faired little better, but enough of them escaped the confines of Nanthara to venture across great seas to other continents where pure races of the Alkani still thrived. It wasn’t until countless years later that the Alkani ventured forth to reestablish a new home on Nanthara. And they did with wondrous success.

Little did they know, but the “tainted race” of Dwergens had already established a thriving culture underground. Being of Alkani and Dwarven blood, the Dwergen were able to create limited subterranean forests among the typical wondrous stonework of Dwarven architecture; the best of both worlds. The Dwergen stand taller than Dwarves, but a tad shorter than Alkani. They carry a thick build, great strength, and amazing endurance. Dwergen are not as agile as Alkani, but are formidable enough to catch many opponents off guard. Their long haired beards are soft, like the hair on their heads, and both seem to maintain a matching length, unlike the coarse hair of a Dwarf. In their beards, they typically weave gold rings and golden trinkets of family heirlooms, personal treasures, and the like. Their hair carries various hues of auburn with slanted emerald, topaz, or sapphire eyes.

Their names are a combination of Dwarf and Alkani. The first name is Dwarven while the last name is part Dwarf and part Alkani. The first part of the last name reveals where the Dwergen’s family is from. The second part is Alkani and represents a word dealing with nature. Thus, Boren’s full name is Boren Dak-Lionil, (Boren, north, Alkani word for stormbringer). Another example would be Ghanrik Denek-Kiejfuril (Ghanrik, east, stone forest).

I hope you enjoyed this little explanation. In upcoming blogs, I will be describing the Alkaniens and the Nivvicks, and some of the more common human races.

Relics Trilogy Character Study-Courtar

Courtar, our young cleric and main character. The boy is intelligent, but naive and ill prepared to the ways of the world outside his temple walls. Apparently, he didn’t care. Tired of being a servant to others, and seeing no gains being made where he was, his coming across the writings discussing the ancient prophecies was timed perfectly with his desire to explore . . . to gain more, to do more. To prove himself. Feeling disrespected? Probably so. Nobody ever took him seriously. But his heart yearned for more knowledge when he continued gathering more research on the relics.

Courtar was the person who started forming the chosen. Destined by prophecy, Courtar took the first step in allowing this part of ancient lore to be established. Fortunately, his hind parts were saved when Boren stepped in to fetch him out of a mess he got himself into. During his research, Courtar couldn’t help but correlate the ancient prophecies to the writings of Sovereign (Jesus). And as any good cleric would do, he also tried to bring others into a better way of life while trying to find the relics.

Courtar’s immaturity shows with his interactions with others, especially in his dialogue. His “brother-sister” bantering with Umae (female adolescent mage) shows this, and the way he takes fatherly scolding and correction from Boren also helps make this evident. I like Courtar’s “innocent views” on life and some of his responses are comical while trying to show his worldly inexperience from his sheltered life. Even in the end, through all that he goes through, his last bit of actions shows his steadfastness to his teachings and helps to express the true feelings of his heart.

The neat thing to see with Courtar is that it shows that God can use even someone as young, inexperienced, and gullible to become the cornerstone of something larger. But his heart was pure and willing. That’s what allowed him to be successful, and in life, that quality can allow you to accomplish the same.

Next, I will talk about Umae. In the meantime, I may post an excerpt from Book 1.

Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 1:42 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Relics Trilogy Character Study- Boren

Boren, Boren, Boren. This guy is definitely not ‘borin’. He comes across as your typical stalwart Dwergen, with a scarred countenance and a tough disposition garnered from his trials and lifestyle. But like most characters in this book, he has suffered loss. Loss that has sent him across Nanthara on his own pilgrimage that eventually brings him together with the main character, Courtar. Actually, if Boren had not showed up, Courtar would have been dead before the first chapter finished.

Boren is the tank of ‘The Chosen’, the group destined by prophecy to hopefully take the proper road to banish the onset of the Dark Days and defeat Apollodan, the Dark One. Boren can take a hit and keep fighting, like the energizer bunny. But within this tough warrior exterior is a fatherly warmth that helps comfort the younger members while serving as a disciplined thorn in Azin’s side.

Boren, although just and fair, is a racist. He hates Alkanien, all kinds, and is not ashamed to let others know. But honor, courage, and proving one’s self can help offset his views on the surface woodland dwellers. Boren would love nothing better than to be back in his home under the Iron Cap Mountains, but events have caused him to dwell on the surface and seek out a long lost treasure. This journey pulls him into joining the chosen.

His reckless methods and desire for combat, at times, have to be put in check for a more peaceful avenue…against his will, of course. I think the most enjoyable part of the book is watching Boren and Azin interact. Unpredictable, volatile, comical, but in the end, always supportive when need be. Like he’s almost putting up with the most disruptive, irritating, rude friend one could have. Most folks that have read Book 1 have said that their relationship is one of their favorite parts. That’s all for now. Next, we’ll look at Courtar, the main character.

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM  Comments (2)  
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Relics Trilogy Character Study-Azin

My God, where do I start with this guy? So far, from all the positive feedback I’ve received, Azin is the most liked character in the story. Confrontational, argumentative, opinionated, drunkard, womanizer, selfish, greedy, atheist. Then again, what do you expect from an outcast Alkanien assassin? The funny thing is that he doesn’t quite fit the mold of a typical assassin. He has a family and he has a heart. Although he struggles not to show that he cares about things…he does.

His involvement in searching out the relics and the ancient scrolls happened because of his heart. With his disapproval of the dark path his government was taking, the murdering of Azin’s family due to his disobedience pushes him into his destiny. Running for his life, his learned skills allow him to survive until he is swept up into the drama by meeting Courtar and Boren. Needless to say, they found Azin drunk and in jail. Go figure.

But his struggle with life is what I like, besides his constant confrontations and bickering with Boren (a Dwergen). With all the hardships Azin has gone through, Courtar attempts to show him that he has purpose, and he does care about things. You catch glimpses of this fact in Book 1 and especially as it comes to fruition in Book 2.

His relationship with Boren is the most amusing and most fun to follow, I think. There is more than one time when these two antagonists bear arms against each other with death as the expected outcome. Yes, Dwergens and Alkani hate each other. In Nanthara, very few are tolerable of each other’s presence. But it serves as just another bit of spice to keep conflict present. With Boren pestering him on one end, Courtar (a cleric) preaching to him on the other, and being surrounded by several paladins, a monk, and an irritable female teen mage, it does nothing but add to the fun, and his agony.

Regardless of the circumstances, Azin is a very lethal foe and a worthy ally. The interesting thing about Azin is that it shows how God can select anyone, no matter your background, to serve a higher purpose and be a blessing. Next, we’ll talk about Boren. Take care.

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 8:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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