Thursday, December 21, 2017

Turin's face

I know it has only been a few days since I last posted an excerpt from White Staff. Well guess what, here's another.

Two of our main characters, Aethan and Falton have ventured far beyond their own lands. They have ventured across the winter wastelands as they work to evade those hunting for them as they strive to solve the riddle placed before them. An unexpected encounter gives them a clue. 

     Eldridge took a seat across from Aethan and began the tale of Turin’s face.
     Long ago in times before history was recorded, before the times of men, before the sires of Euwold and Locland were at hand, before Eorath the Great came from the mountain world to live upon the plains there were an ancient people who dwelt in this land. For whatever reason they are known as Turins. Thought to be a hearty and noble people, they believed in the religion of the earth. Life for them flowed from all things. They worshiped plants and animals, water and sky, earth and moon. They dwelt in a range they called Noran Dur, very likely the oldest place known in all the world. Their most sacred ground lay to the north, very near the waters edge of the Ice Sea. To this day it is unnamed.
     To that end so lore has it, they constructed a great temple hewn of the very rock and stone. Massive by any measure, mountains were single rooms unto themselves. Within it they planted a garden filled with the roots and plants they worshiped and used in everyday life. The very waters of the sea were funneled into the landscape and used to feed it. Huge clefts were carved into the mountains and they became the waterfalls, the life’s blood of the greenery. Those gardens it is said are the very forests we walk this day. Long did they dwell in those lands until time passed them by and they fell into nothing more than memory and tall tales, rumors and ghost stories to tell round the fire to scared little children. All that is left of them is a single marker, a ghostly face carved into the mountains, weathered nearly beyond recognition over the ages. It looks to their temple and lush gardens that they would never forget their lineage.
     “Why do men fear it?” Falton slugged back a drink and felt the warmth rush down his throat. He closed his eyes tightly.
     “It is forbidden to go there. The garrison has truly one task at hand and that is to keep all away.”
     “What garrison? I have seen no soldiers here.”
     “They pulled out near a week ago. Why I do not know. It has never happened before.” Falton and Aethan looked at each other. Perhaps they knew the answer. “Our masters are superstitious. They fear the old ways. Long have their subjects been unhappy with their lot in life. It is said the ways of the old kingdoms were enlightened and men were free, though that was so long ago perhaps it is merely wishful thinking.” At that, Eldridge sent a drink down his own throat.

The riddle of Turin's face. 

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I hope the holidays are warm and welcoming to one and all. 
Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A brief paragraph or two ... or three

My first published novel was an epic fantasy titled White Staff. As I go through and tighten it up a bit, as all writers grow and enhance their talents, we have this urge to go back and rework and re-edit their early works. It is just something we all do. 

A brief excerpt from White Staff.

   “What would you have of us Hafram? There are things we desperately need to know. What dangers follow us?”
   “What have you told them to this point Aethan?”
   “I have told them most everything I know, Hafram.” Aethan leaned back on his elbows, the small fire beginning to make his face sweat. “I do not know everything. There is much you have not told me.”
   “There has not been time. I am gaining strength again, out from under that which has kept me prisoner all these years.”
   “And what would that be? Who has kept you, Hafram?” Eston was becoming intrigued. Perhaps he could finally get some answers to what had been happening.
   “Then I will start at the beginning. My name is SaHaframanallara. I am the Chief Advisor and Protector to the ancient throne of Euwold. I remain in service of the throne and the peoples of the land. Long have they suffered under the rule of Darthune. The Empire has been cruel and vigilant and the history of the true kings have been vanquished from the memory of the living. My charge is to restore the line of kings and drive the Empire back across the waters to the foul lands from which they come.”
   “That is a heavy weight to bear, SaHafr, SaHafram...” Falton struggled with his name.
   “Please Falton, do not even try. Hafram will do. I have become accustomed to it.”
   “As you wish, Hafram. I do not think my mouth works that way.”
   “It does not for many.” 

   “Who has imprisoned you Hafram? And for what reason?”
   “I have always been imprisoned, in a manner of speaking. For several centuries I have dwelt in the citadel of Saer under guard. A full garrison to keep me there, if it be told.”
   “In all that time, you could not escape?”
   “No Falton, until now. Over the citadel, a powerful shield has kept my powers in check. The Empire has long feared my magics. It is the only thing that could drive them from the continent. Now I have escaped from my dungeon and with your help, I can perform my duties once again.”
That drew stares from the others. They looked blankly at each other. A silence fell over the camp for several moments. In Hafram’s mind it seemed an eternity. He had laid himself open for them. His fate was in their hands.
   “Why us Hafram?” Aethan sat back up as Cirah came over and lay beside him. He reached out and put his hand on her thick coat. He could feel the warmth embedded by the fire.
   “As I have told you Aethan, in all the long years yours is the only mind I have been able to touch. Perhaps now that the shield no longer hinders me, there may be others who will receive my thoughts. Surely your friends are proof of that.”
   “And what of Cirah?”
   “Cirah is yours, or you are hers, till the day you die. She will listen to no other. She is your guardian and protector.”
   “What would you have of us, Hafram?”
   “If you so decide and it is a decision I shall not force upon you, I would ask your help in my quest.” Hafram let those words hang for a moment, letting them sink into their thoughts. “I will leave you now. I grow tired and need rest. Come the morning sun I will return for your answer.”
   “That is not much time to make a decision of this magnitude.”
   “I apologize Eston, but I have no more time to give. The challenge before me is grave and the task shall be arduous. My time draws near. I can wait no longer. If your answer is no, you may go on with your lives and I must look for other allies.”
   “Then we will give you our answer in the morning. Farewell for now, Hafram.”
With those words, he faded from their thoughts and they were left with nothing but the cold night airs and the heat of the fire before them.

Intriguing, huh?