Well, I know what I said about taking a few weeks off after completing the fourth short story in The Tales of Garlan series, but sometimes things just don’t work out that way. Especially when I start working on the outline before I said I would.
I started putting together a rough outline of the first novel in The Adventures of Garlan series and one of the things that got put onto an index card was a scene that screamed to be the prologue of the book. It also screamed to be written right then. So I wrote it.
And I’ve decided to put it up for your perusal right here. Don’t look for the rest of the book to be put up like this. I’m not that crazy.
Anyway, here is the prologue, in its rough, unedited glory. If you see a misspelling or grammatical error, just drop me a note and I’ll get it fixed. But I hope you like it. And now I hope that the story will leave me alone for a little while so I can get some other things accomplished.
Book One of
The Chronicles of Wyndweir
The land was barren and hot. A volcano in the distance spit smoke and ash into the sky, bringing an unnatural darkness to the land. Small streams of lava criss-crossed the landscape, spreading an acrid odor to the noses of anyone unlucky enough to be there. If Hell did not exist, this land would make a suitable substitute.
The eyes of the ragged traveler swept across the vista, taking in the devastation that stretched as far as the eye could see. His eyes were as blue as the sky, a sky that could not be seen through the gloom. But those eyes, stinging from the sulfur in the air, masked a darkness that only comes from within the soul.
His scarred hands clutched a beaten, weathered walking stick. He used it more for support than for balance. For many days he had wandered this land and his strength was beginning to fail. He knew it was only a matter of time before he passed from this life, into the next.
So many deeds had been left undone from the life he had envisioned just a few, short years ago. He had dreamed of doing great things, of being a protector of the people around him. He had even gained the admiration of an entire village and he felt he had found his place in the world.
As he sat down on a rock to rest, he pulled his water bottle from his travel bag and took a small sip. Gazing out over the landscape he knew it might be quite some time before he would be able to refill his bottle. What water he had left had to last him until he got across the desert and up into the mountains on the far side.
He could see the mountains rising up in the smoky gloom and he knew there were caves and even water on their slopes. He needed only to last long enough to make it there.
As he sat and rested, his mind did anything but rest. He heard the cries of the villagers echoing in his head again. He looked down at his clothes. The only clothes he had been able to take when he left the village in haste and only because he had been wearing them at the time.
He could see the gold threads and silk were starting to fade and would soon look no different than the black cloth. He had been so proud of this robe when he first put it on. It made him feel like a real wizard, something he had dreamed of being since he was a little boy.
But, this robe had not been made by the ladies of the seamstress guild. If it had been, it would never fade or wear during his lifetime. Their work was known as the finest in the land.
This robe had been created by the seamstress in the village and she had done a marvelous job, but, as talented as she was, she couldn’t make a magical wizard’s robe. She could only make a robe that looked nice.
The people of the village had also built him a castle on the slopes of the mountain that overlooked their homes. They wanted a wizard to live among them and protect them and he was happy to be of service to them.
Until the day his magic had failed him and them. In the space of one morning, his world and his dreams came crashing down.
A group of men and women came into his village and beat him and drove him out. As he escaped out of the village, down the road heading to the east, he could hear the cries of the villagers begging him to stop and come back. They implored him to fight and protect them. But, he just ran and ended up here, sitting on a rock and staring at the bleakness of the Eastern Deserts.
He stood up and started towards the mountains on the far side of the valley. With any luck he would make it there by nightfall the next day. If luck failed him, he would die thirsty and alone, face down in the hot, red sand.
As the would-be wizard clawed his way up the slopes of the mountains, he could feel the heat of the land starting to burn with every breath he took. He started to realize that he had come all this way and was probably going to die unseen and alone on the side of a mountain.
His water had run out hours ago and his parched lips were cracked and bleeding. His body bled from crawling over the sharp rocks and his once beautiful robe had been reduced to rags that hung on his body.
As he struggled to breath in this harsh, bleak environment, he wished death to either come and get him or let him find some shelter. The prolonged agony of struggling with no end in sight was almost more than he could bear.
He willed himself to continue climbing.
He shut out the cries of the villagers echoing in his mind, the cries signaling how big of a failure he had been. His mind was being assailed by his memories and those memories couldn’t help him now.
The sun was setting in the west and soon it would be pitch black again. Just as it had been last night. He knew he would probably not wake up in the morning if his luck didn’t change very quickly.
And change, it did.
As he pushed his way around a large boulder he saw a darkness in front of him that, at first, he thought was just his mind playing tricks on him again. As he got closer he realized he had found a cave.
Not just any cave either. As he staggered to the entrance, he could feel the cool, moist air coming from within. The air carried the scent of water. A finer smell he had never known.
Stopping for a moment, he used his meager casting skills and created a small illumination sphere and sent it in ahead of him. He moved slowly, not knowing if this cave was already occupied or not.
After a few steps, his caution was completely overcome by the sight of a small trickle of water, snaking down one wall that ended in a small bowl shaped depression in the rock.
As he fell to his knees near the basin of water, he cupped his trembling hands into the coolness and brought them to his chapped lips. Even though his lips cried out in pain as he drank, he closed his eyes and let the cool water run down his throat, quenching his thirst. By the time he had had his fill of water, he had emptied the basin.
With his strength returning he was able to stand up and take in his surroundings. Though the cave appeared to be vacant, it had not always been so. There were signs of someone having lived there, but it appeared it had been a very long time ago.
There was an old, wooden bed against one wall, but whatever mat had covered it in the past, had long since decayed away to nothing, leaving just a wooden frame and platform.
Next to the bed was a small table and stool and on the table were three leather bound books and an old, dried up inkwell and feather quill.
As he ran his fingers lightly through the dust on the covers of the volumes, he was startled by what he saw next.
Hanging from a peg, next to the table, was a black robe of the finest silk. Even the embroidery was black. It was obviously a wizard’s robe, but by the looks of things in the cave, there hadn’t been a wizard there in years, maybe even decades.
He looked back down at the books and leaned over and blew the dust off the top book. He traced his fingertips lightly over the three black stars engraved in the leather. He carefully opened the cover of the top book and he bade the illumination sphere to come closer so he could read the words printed there.
When he saw what was written he reeled back in horror, his mind screaming at him to get out. However, as much as he wanted to flee the cave, his feet were rooted in place as he stared at the handwritten words on the first page of the book.
The Journals of Magrum
I hope you liked it. Look for the first novel in the series to be completed and published by summer of 2017, maybe sooner.