Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Here are my first few paragraphs of 'Trouble in Taben' ...
The young man raised his arms toward the sky, fingers wiggling to shape and control the fabric of reality that only he could see. The ringing sounds of steel against steel surrounded him as the dark god’s faithful soldiers stood their ground against the city guards and Ekkran soldiers besieging the building to stop the evil within from spreading across the island. Strange shadowy spirit-creatures began to emerge through the tears in the air around them seeking to crush all who would defy their Lord. When Erik sensed he had forced the objects far above them to obey his will he clenched his fists tightly together and pulled his hands hard toward the ground, smashing his fists into the cobblestones. The asteroids were forcefully pulled out of their orbit and drawn to his chosen target with unspeakable speed. The sky grew red, hot air rushed across the field of battle, across the entire city. Fiery stones fell from the heavens to engulf the building, smaller stones spattering around the target. The ensuing explosions knocked nearly everyone to the ground. Bricks and wooden beams were thrown in all directions, slamming adjacent buildings and casting a cloud of billowing hot dust down every street for a mile in all directions. The young man fell in and out of consciousness.
Rubble was strewn throughout the city. Brave soldiers surrounded him, dead or dying. Cries could be heard from every direction. Erik was curled up on the ground. The devastation was nearly complete. What have I done? He was unable to rise back to his feet due to the heavy tax the use of his talent had taken from his body. Above him he could see dark tendrils of shadow clawing at the sky in defiance of the Sun. The insidious machine was unharmed; the Shade Cleric would now usher in the end of everything he knew. It was only a few hours after midday yet it felt more like dusk. He heard some shuffling sounds coming toward him. He strained to see what it was.
A bipedal shadowy creature, twice the size of a full grown man, lumbered toward him. It began to make a hissing sound as it leveled its gaze upon him. “Stasev Vespelee Canemas.” It was speaking to him in the language of shadows. He was uncertain of the words but it was clear it meant him harm as it unfurled its hideous wings and crouched down, preparing for whatever the strangely powerful young man would throw at it.
A single arrow sliced the air over Erik’s head and landed squarely into the left shoulder of the Nether spirit-monster. The evil creature grabbed at the shaft as it hissed in anger. Slivers of light began to take shape at the site of the wound. The small hole in the creature’s body began to grow as its shadowy essence was burned away by the arrow, blessed by a Sister of the Lady. Its arm fell away as it tried to rush Erik, determined not to die alone. It was too slow. Another arrow sliced the air, landing squarely into the creature’s face. It fell backwards cursing the archer as its face and head disintegrated. It would be forever destroyed.
“Erik?” the archer called out. “Is that you?” She could see he was covered in ash and mud, barely recognizable.
“Brinda? You are alive…” Erik responded.
“We must go now Erik. Our mission is failed, retreat our only option.” Erik did not move. “Take my hand,” she continued as she grasped his hand and pulled him to his feet and lifted his trembling body over her shoulder. Brinda navigated slowly past the suffering guards and the flaming piles of debris.
Erik’s eyes were closing from exhaustion when he heard the prayers of the Sister. He turned his head as far as he could and tried to speak. Mariette was calling out to the Lady for a blessing of healing over a city guard. Her flowing white robe was now a dirty gray with torn patches flapping in the cold breeze of winter. “Dear Lady, please use me now in this hour of need,” the woman cried out. The guard coughed and made some whimpering sounds as his torn flesh began to heal, stemming the flow of blood. “I fear the Lady will not be able to hear us much longer,” Mariette told the man. “Gather the wounded.” The man rolled onto his hands and knees, slowly rose, and staggered into the dark fog to aid as many of his fallen comrades as he could.