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On’risa quells a minor uprising!

On'risa

Sedryk stared at Whit and the red clad warriors that surrounded him, blaming them for his dwindling line of supporters, knowing he could not walk away from them without suffering the consequences. He would have to see this through.

The mage turned to look at those others that also appeared to harbor his doubts, and was disappointed at seeing that less than a handful remained. Sedryk knew he wasn’t handsome in the least and he wore his robes and cowl to give a threatening air, he told himself. His ability to discern deeper into the real reason for the cowl escaped his own perceptions; the cowl was to hide from people, not to seek them out.

He had a pockmarked face and over sized brown eyes, along with lips that were so thin that they appeared nearly nonexistent, and colorless. Each of these features surrounded his long, sharp nose that he tried to diminish by having grown a thick moustache. Unable to draw the women he desired, or the friends that he longed for, to himself, he had learned to use his talents to give him a false sense of being able to do so. One did not become a mage if one were ignorant. His primary talent was his ability to use his skills as an orator to draw people to him. However he found that those people came in and out of his life like brief, unremembered dreams. That inability to keep lasting friends was born of his actual dislike for most people along with his lack of skill at concealing those feelings.

Sedryk turned back around to stare malevolently at the soldiers that were essentially holding him prisoner and saw that the Philanthian, and Sindkus, were making their way towards him. Onrisa was not wearing her mask of feathers and he noticed that she was rather attractive, in a wholesome sense. Not like one of those high-end tavern wenches who painted themselves and could be purchased for a night. Sedryk also noted that she moved with the graceful, deadly elegance of an ever-watchful predator. He realized that he would have to guard his words.

“You must be Sedryk.” Onrisa said plainly.

“And you must be the captain that the moot put in charge,” Sedryk replied.

“I understand that you don’t wish to defend the weak and helpless among us, from this nearing threat. Is that true?” Onrisa asked.

“It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s that I didn’t escape to this island to fight mages that yank their magic from the dead and dying. I haven’t the skills to fight them Blackwings. We all know the stories.” Sedryk said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

“And what if I told you that they are no different than the mages you are surrounded by? That the stories you seem to be repeating, are untrue? Would that change your mind?”

“No. I know about their magic and I’ve been a mage long enough to know what I can, and can’t do, in a fight.”

“Hmmm…so you’re pretty good in a fight, I take it. I mean, you did say that with a lot of confidence. We can always use mages who know how to fight in mass melees, whether it be close in on the ships or from the shores with the archers,” Onrisa finished enthusiastically.

Sedryk was so intent on Onrisa and her comment; he failed to notice the knowing grin that Whit was giving Aleenyi.

“I’m not fighting them,” Sedryk replied.

“But you do know how to fight, yes?”

“I do!” Sedryk said arrogantly.

Onrisa stepped near to the mage and threw her left arm around his shoulder, looking him in the eyes.

“Show me.” Onrisa said with a slight grin.

“I have to no cause to fight you! I’m simply saying that I won’t. Besides, you’re too close. You could shove that curved dagger of yours into my chest before I could do anything. If, I actually wanted to try.”

Sedryk watched as Onrisa looked down at the dagger on her hip, and pulled it from its sheath, never releasing her arm from around Sedryks shoulder. She flipped the dagger high enough so that she caught it by its tip, and handed it to Whit. She calmly turned her attention back to Sedryk.

“Oh, so it’s the knowing that you would lose that is preventing you. I see. So, given that logic, I can assume that you are admitting defeat against the Blackwing Mages, before they even arrive? Yes?” Onrisa said, tightening her arm around his shoulder, just a bit as she called him a coward in a roundabout way.

“That’s not at all what I said.” Sedryk said, his anger rising as Onrisa insulted him.

“So how much room would you need to cast one of your spells at me?” Onrisa asked him as she dropped her arm from his shoulder and took two steps in front of him and turned to stare at him.

Sedryk watched as his support fell back, anticipating the coming violence. He had heard the stories about her, but he had thought them over exaggerated stories at best, outright falsehoods at worst.

“This much room?” Onrisa asked him.

“You are still too close with that sword, I wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“Your talents as a mage must be lacking somewhat then.” Onrisa replied as she removed her baldric, and tossed it, along with her sword, to Whit.

Sedryk saw her take several more steps away from him, her hands lifted out away from her hips, her palms held towards him.

“How about now? Could you defeat me from here? After all, the mages you profess to fear are much further away from you than I.”

“I don’t fear them, and yes, I can perform several spells that could kill you where you stand.”

“Let’s see one.”

“I beg your pardon?” Sedryk asked, incredulous.

“Show me one.”

“I don’t wish to harm you, and then have your man here kill me. I’m not stupid.”

“Well, that’s a matter for a much later discussion, but I will do this to ease your concern,” On’risa said looking to Whit, “I’m ordering you, now and for all coming days to not kill this man, unless I explicitly order you to, at some point in the future. This is a matter of honor! Will that do, mage?” Onrisa said.

Whit grinned broadly and only said, “As you order, Captain!”

Unsure of her intentions, Sedryk asked, “Are you challenging me to a duel?”

“If I must…absolutely. Your magic, against my wits.”

“I can kill you. You do realize that?”

“Isn’t that kind of the goal of a duel? To see who is correct?”

“I am going to kill you, bitch.” Sedryk said angrily, tiring of her condescending ridicule.

“Finally! Have I given you enough room, should I take another few steps back?”

Having had enough of her taunts, Sedryk raised his hands and began waving and moving them about, while twisting his fingers in abnormal movements, to cast a fire spell at her. He felt the magic beginning to well up within him as he drew upon the elements. He was forming the image of the spell within his mind and had just begun to utter the words that went along with the hand and finger gestures necessary to create the spell that he desired. As he extended his palms towards the woman, he felt a deep, searing pain in the palm of his right hand. He had never felt pain when casting spells before. Had he done something wrong he wondered, while in the throes of his casting? It was then that his magic broke apart, returning to the ether from which he had gathered it, unable to complete his spell.

Surprised, he continued looking at Onrisa and saw a long, thin, pointed piece of steel protruding through his hand, towards his face. The pain from his wound suddenly overtook him and he began to gasp, as he realized that it would be weeks before he was able to cast another spell! His hand was too wounded to be able to perform the intricate finger manipulations that magic required. She had interupted his ability to finish his spell with a simple, thin dart made of steel!

“You cunt!” Sedryk screamed in anger, and sudden pain.

Onrisa calmly walked over to him, reached out and grabbed his wounded hand at his wrist. As she ripped her sleeve dart from out of his palm, a spray of crimson slashed onto his blue tobes. On’risa held  it up in front of his eyes to see. 

“I can lose fingers and still hold a dagger. I can lose one of my hands and still hold a sword. I can lose both sword and dagger while still finding a way to defeat those that wish me harm, as I have just shown you. It is a lesson you will learn before the empress gets here!”

Sedryk heard her words, but was not listening to them, as he reached down and began choking the wrist of his wounded hand, after he ripped it from her loose grip. He was trying to stem the avalanche of blood and pain that was rushing up his arm.

Onrisa struck the mage across the bridge of his nose with heel of her hand, striking him sharply.

Sedryk heard her shout at him, “Pay attention mage!” and he immediately looked at her through his now watering, pain-filled eyes.

“If you won’t help, or should you choose to disobey my commanders instructions again, I will cut off so many of your fingers that you will barely have enough to hold your cock while you piss. You won’t ever cast another spell! You will end up living your miserable life with a regret so grand that only now can you begin to imagine it!” Onrisa said angrily.

Sedryk quickly looked around and saw the few other mages were scurrying away quickly; their backs to him as they separated themselves from the repercussions that they imagined would apply to themselves. He painfully returned his attention to his assailant and saw that Onrisa had walked over to stand in front of Whit,  her back to him. He also saw that her fancy soldiers had their hands on the hilts of their swords, and that the old man with the feathered hat had a smile on his face, seemingly enjoying his pain.

“Do as your told mage,” was the last thing he heard from Onrisa as she re-hung her baldric on her hips, took her dagger from Whit, and walked away calmly.

Opening of “Reapers of Souls and Magic”

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“There is no greater recipient for faith and love than the Elfaheen, for it was their will that brought you into this realm, and it is they who may yet save you.”

(A.Mu., 2.5 – Book of Air, Tenets of Muriel, Chapter 2, Verse 5)

 

Daena looked over Tetra’s shoulder, her arms wrapped tightly around her friend’s waist as the two plummeted through the sky. A quiet exclamation of fear escaped her lips while Tetra laughed aloud. It was a beautiful day.

Tetra leaned down even further along the long neck of her friend, Rhastrashaa. Even above the roar of the fast-blowing wind, Tetra could hear the air whistling as it passed over the scales on his massive form. The faster they fell, the higher its pitch rose. The deep black color of his scales contrasted sharply with the bright, cloudless blue sky he dove through, ensuring that all who may have been looking upward would see him.

Neither Tetra nor Daena had dressed appropriately for such an excursion, their gossamer gowns and untied hair whipping about them wildly as the dragon continued diving toward the earth below. Rhastrashaa had offered to show them something they had never seen before. He seldom offered anything, much less the chance to ride upon him. They had leapt at the opportunity.

“Make him slow down!” Daena shouted over the noise of the wind.

“I can’t make him do anything!” Tetra laughed. “He’s doing what he loves!”

“He loves falling?” Daena screamed in fear.

“No! Terrifying others!” she yelled. Her response caused her to grin, knowing that it was a bit too true.

Tetra nudged Rhastrashaa’s neck with her knee. The ancient black dragon slowed and began arching his body to level out his flight. Never having seen their homeland from a bird’s-eye perspective, the view was nothing short of breathtaking for the women.

“What did you intend to show us, Rha? Or was this just a way for you to scare us?” Tetra asked lyrically.

“Only a few more moments and you’ll see it,” he answered with a sly, baritone voice.

The dragon turned toward Larimoor Falls and paused, floating stationary on the breeze. Both women gasped at the view of the falls’ deep blue waters as they crashed downward more than a league to the bottom of the valley gorge. The rising mists blocked most of the view into the deep ravine, looking like an eruption of water from within rather than the water’s landing spot.

The lush trees that lined the gorge also filled the adjacent forests and were filled with budding blossoms in various hues of blues, yellows, and greens. The higher peaks of the White Range were covered in snow and ice, towering more than three leagues up into the sky. Tetra watched as the waters rushed out of the narrow chute of stone at the north end of the gorge, creating the Rimoor River. From the base of the mountain, the Rimoor flowed down the mountains and into the sea.

“Pay attention. Here it comes.”

“This is boring. What are we looking at?” Daena asked.

“Hush. He wouldn’t have brought us here if he didn’t have a reason,” Tetra said.

Then it happened, and even Daena was filled with wonder and awe.

“It’s beautiful!” Tetra whispered unconsciously.

As the sun dropped over the peaks of the White Range, the icy white ridges became shaded in reds and oranges. The colors became more vibrant as the sun passed lower toward the falls, when they began turning golden. Waters that looked to be flowing molten gold soon replaced the blue ones. For a few brief moments, even the mists rising from the gorge became emblazoned with the colors of fire and gold.

 

BTL Pub and myself are donating ALL profits of all pre-orders to the JJWattFoundation. Go pick one up! http://myBook.to/Reapers 

Poetry is required reading in the Guarded Isles! (Reapers of Souls and Magic)

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Flame is silent, yet filled with danger,

Rain is silent, even as it falls,

Wind is silent, without its anger,

Stone is silent, as it sits within our halls,

Magic can be drawn from even the weakest of these,

Magic sought, magic found, but few will ever perceive.

 

Shouts and symphonies from nature’s daughters,

Listen to them with heart, mind, soul and care,

These voices of air, of earth, of fire, of waters,

We shall change them from whispers to furies, if we dare,

We mages of shadow, we mages of light

We mages yet decided, seek out light and dark delights.

R.E. Fisher – 9/9/2017

Free Preview of “Reapers of Souls and Magic”!!

Cover (Half)

Since Amazon doesn’t allow a preview of stories on “pre-order”, I thought we would give you one of our own previews!  🙂  Here are the first five pages of “Reapers of Souls and Magic”

Chapter 1

“There is no greater recipient for faith and love than the Elfaheen, for it was their will that brought you into this realm, and it is they who may yet save you.”

(A.Mu., 2.5 – Book of Air, Tenets of Muriel, Chapter 2, Verse 5)

Daena looked over Tetra’s shoulder, her arms wrapped tightly around her friend’s waist as the two plummeted through the sky. A quiet exclamation of fear escaped her lips while Tetra laughed aloud. It was a beautiful day.

Tetra leaned down even further along the long neck of her friend, Rhastrashaa. Even above the roar of the fast-blowing wind, Tetra could hear the air whistling as it passed over the scales on his massive form. The faster they fell, the higher its pitch rose. The deep black color of his scales contrasted sharply with the bright, cloudless blue sky he dove through, ensuring that all who may have been looking upward would see him.

Neither Tetra nor Daena had dressed appropriately for such an excursion, their gossamer gowns and untied hair whipping about them wildly as the dragon continued diving toward the earth below. Rhastrashaa had offered to show them something they had never seen before. He seldom offered anything, much less the chance to ride upon him. They had leapt at the opportunity.

“Make him slow down!” Daena shouted over the noise of the wind.

“I can’t make him do anything!” Tetra laughed. “He’s doing what he loves!”

“He loves falling?” Daena screamed in fear.

“No! Terrifying others!” she yelled. Her response caused her to grin, knowing that it was a bit too true.

Tetra nudged Rhastrashaa’s neck with her knee. The ancient black dragon slowed and began arching his body to level out his flight. Never having seen their homeland from a bird’s-eye perspective, the view was nothing short of breathtaking for the women.

“What did you intend to show us, Rha? Or was this just a way for you to scare us?” Tetra asked lyrically.

“Only a few more moments and you’ll see it,” he answered with a sly, baritone voice.

The dragon turned toward Larimoor Falls and paused, floating stationary on the breeze. Both women gasped at the view of the falls’ deep blue waters as they crashed downward more than a league to the bottom of the valley gorge. The rising mists blocked most of the view into the deep ravine, looking like an eruption of water from within rather than the water’s landing spot.

The lush trees that lined the gorge also filled the adjacent forests and were filled with budding blossoms in various hues of blues, yellows, and greens. The higher peaks of the White Range were covered in snow and ice, towering more than three leagues up into the sky. Tetra watched as the waters rushed out of the narrow chute of stone at the north end of the gorge, creating the Rimoor River. From the base of the mountain, the Rimoor flowed down the mountains and into the sea.

“Pay attention. Here it comes.”

“This is boring. What are we looking at?” Daena asked.

“Hush. He wouldn’t have brought us here if he didn’t have a reason,” Tetra said.

Then it happened, and even Daena was filled with wonder and awe.

“It’s beautiful!” Tetra whispered unconsciously.

As the sun dropped over the peaks of the White Range, the icy white ridges became shaded in reds and oranges. The colors became more vibrant as the sun passed lower toward the falls, when they began turning golden. Waters that looked to be flowing molten gold soon replaced the blue ones. For a few brief moments, even the mists rising from the gorge became emblazoned with the colors of fire and gold.

The view lasted only moments and disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. The sun dropped down and the effect was gone, leaving them within the early evening’s twilight.

Tetra rubbed the scales along her friend’s neck, thanking him.

“We should begin to head back since it will be dark soon,” Rhastrashaa said.

“How about over there instead, Rha?” Tetra asked the dragon, knowing his intention.

Turning his head to see where she pointed, he nodded. The two women sat comfortably on his shoulders with their legs dangling on either side of his neck. They each tightened their knees instinctively as he banked, turning toward a towering peak with a small scenic pasture near the top. With barely enough room to land, he set down gracefully in the small field that was filled with tall, thick grass. The dragon tucked his left wing and tilted his body downward to allow the women to climb down from his shoulders.

Tetra walked in front of the dragon, his huge, scaled head dwarfing her. Her joy shone clearly in her smile as she patted his cheek, scolding the huge beast. “That was beautiful, my friend. I cannot thank you enough! But…” she began as she wagged her finger at him, “…you can’t scare her like that! She will never go with us again.”

“Mistress, you said you wanted her to feel what we do when we fly. Those were your exact words.”

Tetra smiled, knowing how he loved to tease her. “Just go. I don’t think she’s too happy with you right now, but could you please return to take us home? Or should I be less general with my words?” Tetra asked.

“As you wish, Mistress,” the dragon replied.

Rhastrashaa raised his wings and leapt upward, the strength of the downdraft from them causing both their waist-length hair to become even further mussed. Tetra ignored her own hair while Daena sat her tall frame on a large stone outcropping and began to braid it for the anticipated return. The stone she sat upon was white, but the tall grasses had rubbed back and forth on its rough surface so often in the breeze that the oils from the grass had finally won out and discolored much of it green.

Tetra neared the edge of the small pasture and crossed her arms to watch Rhastrashaa as he floated on the currents of air that were blowing in from the ocean. She smiled, content with her life.

“So, what are you going to do?” Daena asked.

“About what?”

“About Lavalor’s offer?” Daena replied.

“Nothing. I’m happy here. I don’t wish to go anywhere else,” Tetra answered.

“I’m going, I think,” Daena declared.

“He’s a madman, Daena. No one knows if he can do it or if it’s only talk,” Tetra said, giving her a stern look of disapproval. Tetra’s onyx-black eyes made her look more disconcerting.

Ignoring the glare, Daena continued. “He can. I know it.”

“Why go? The gods asked us to make this for them. What could be more beautiful than what we just watched?” Tetra asked, waving her arm toward the falls.

“Because they lied. It’s not for them. This world now belongs to those we created, not to us or to the gods. Why are we here, then, I ask? The gods told Lysette that they would not live here. I don’t believe they ever had any intention of doing so. Neither does Lavalor.”

Watching her parrot Lavalor’s views as she usually did with those that she had strong feelings for, Tetra paused for a moment before continuing. “Daena, what if we were wrong and only heard what we wanted to? Besides, they are gods! They can do what they want.”

“Not according to Lavalor. He says that there are rules that even the gods must follow and that they apply to everyone. It is only their power that allows them their right to rule as they wish.”

“He’s a madman! He’s always been insane!” Tetra said.

“Lavalor told us that if we can increase our own power, then why could we not also be gods?” Daena replied, trying to figure out why Tetra objected to Lavalor so strongly.

Instead, Daena asked her, “What if you’re wrong? What if he’s not? What if we find a paradise that is nothing like what this one will become?”

“Yes! What then? We’re not truly immortal, Daena! We’re such only if we hold on to what’s left of our magic. You’d risk your life for him?” Tetra asked.

“Not for him. Well, not just him,” she said coyly.

“Ahhh…now I see.”

“And what exactly does that mean?” Daena asked, grinning, knowing exactly what Tetra meant.

“It’s for him, isn’t it? It’s always been that way with you. Besides, he is mated. Or did you forget about Quensi?” Tetra said.

It was much too honest for Daena to accept. “There are only five men left! They are all going with him. I guess we’ll have to learn how to share. We weren’t all so fortunate to have found our bliss as easily as you did, Tetra.”

“It didn’t matter, did it? Even he succumbed to this foolish need to dominate his world. That need caused him to use up his magic and die. No, those of us who remain are either wise or foolish. Only time will tell us which.”

“What would you have me do, Tetra? Give life to some pet that looked dangerous and sensuous and pretend for the rest of my life? That might be fine for you, but I’d rather not!” Daena answered.

“I didn’t create him. Lavalor and our dead brothers did. I’m just helping Rhastrashaa.”

“Yes, they created that beast you call a friend. We created him for a purpose, Tetra. To control the young races.”

“Rhastrashaa is not a beast. He is as intelligent as you are. Smart enough to realize that he would be ruling out of fear, not cooperation,” Tetra replied. “Besides, he has nothing to do with this.”

“He’s your pet, Tetra!” she stated.

“Enough! Why would you go with him to this Asmordia? I’m only trying to understand why,” Tetra pleaded.

“I want to. According to you and Lysette, we’ve done all that we can here. What is this new home that he promises? I can think of so much that we could do differently. Or perhaps better, even!”

“Better how?” Tetra asked.

“This world that we helped create is only going to grow. It will become more chaotic and dangerous. Too many of the beings we created wield magic now. Their knowledge will grow, according to Lavalor. And when it does, even we will not be able to stand against them. Lavalor promises order for each remaining day of our existence.”

“And what if he’s wrong? What if all your remaining magic is depleted in this attempt to create this other realm? You will be mortal and die the slow death of time or the attempt will kill you all. You saw how our friends and husbands suffered!” Tetra said.

Daena looked at Tetra, thinking there was more to her concern than she stated aloud. “Why do you object? It’s not your life, Tetra.”

Tetra realized that there was no dissuading Daena in her desires for adventure and love. She now only hoped that her friend survived whatever scheme Lavalor had concocted to evade the influence of the gods—or else they could all pay a very steep price.

She sat down next to Daena and placed her arm over her friend’s shoulders, determined to make their last day together one she would remember and cherish.

* * *

Tetra wasn’t supposed to know where Lavalor had planned on his performing this Sundering, as Daena had called it. Daena had told her in hopes that Tetra would change her mind and choose to go with them. Tetra had again rebuffed the idea, because she was content with her life as it was.

They did not skulk out under the cover of darkness as some of her sisters had thought they would. Rather, Lavalor had made a show of their departure, trying to impress upon them the importance and sanctity of his desire for something different than what the Elfaheen had already built.

Tetra watched as he waited for those who were going to leave with him, noticing that he wore nothing but black clothing. His trousers, tunic, and surcoat were all black, stitched with silver thread. That caused her to wonder if he had made Rhastrashaa in the image of himself. He adorned himself with silver jewelry. Although his own white hair was the same waist-length tresses as everyone else, it appeared to be groomed much more fastidiously than those who were now collecting around him. He combed his long, flowing hair back from his handsome, angular face and separated it to pass over both the front and the back of his shoulders. Not a strand of it appeared out of place. His sharp, yellow eyes stood out against his pale flesh, white hair, and black clothes. Tetra also noticed that he wore jewelry on his ears, small stones of red that seemed to have been pierced through his flesh. It was in that moment she realized how much he treasured his own vanity.

His troupe of believers had now arrived and began to form up behind him. Lavalor, Maleaux, and Daena she knew well; the others had lived in parts of the Rohrlands that she had not traveled to. Still, she remembered their faces from so long ago, when they had first begun to build this Realm of Light, as they initially called it. Lysette had begun to call it the Rohrlands as the beasts and beings they created began to fill the world—and so had everyone else from that moment forward.

She knew Lavalor from reputation only and that the ideas for the darker, more dangerous beings had been born from his mind. Tetra also knew that dragons had been his idea alone; Rhastrashaa had told her as much. Rhastrashaa was the first dragon—and he would know, after all, since he had been mostly the result of Lavalor’s magic. Tetra saw past Lavalor’s façade and knew that he was filled with dark thoughts indeed.