The Gates of Sia’tai

Tohrein looked across the bay at the Gates of Sia’tai. It had to be them.

Art by Sylvain Sarrailh

It had taken him all day to make his was down the mountains. None of the bloody maps he’d found talked about that, did they? Oh no. Bloody cartographers just left lines on parchment and neglected to tell you anything about the region at all… of course the maps were old. And Nalesan thought they might have been made before the Sundering, when the gates lead into the city of H’juuni instead of the sea.

Tohrein snorted. It was possible, he supposed. After all it wasn’t as though they’d come across any people this far south of the Say’sarn Peaks. In fact, they hadn’t come across much of anything. It was kind of creepy. There was game aplenty, just no people – or any signs of them.

In which case Nalesan was probably right, the Void take him, and those maps had been made before the Sundering. Well if he though Tohrien was going to admit he’d been right he had another thing coming. The man would be crowing about it all the way back to Jarov if Tohrein admitted that!

The sun continued to lower itself to the horizon and Tohrein considered returning to camp. It was going to be a long day tomorrow. They had to make their way onto the headland and see if the walls connected to the shore anywhere. If they did they could climb over the things and checkout some of those… Towers? Buildings?…the structures sitting along the top of the wall.

Then they could start searching for the treasure left by the Summoners. They were all going to be rich.

Incurison

The guardsman was blissfully unaware as Dalmanes pushed himself out of the wall and back into the material plain. The light of Telumisere rippled around him and if the man had been paying attention that should have given him ample warning that something was amiss. The only light in the courtyard was from torches – none of which were green.⁠

Art by Anna Podedworna

But the guard wasn’t paying attention. Truth be told the courtyard within the keep should have been secure. Any normal attack would begin from the outer walls. But the man was a guard, it was his duty to be vigilant. Dalmanes had little care for anyone who was so complacent, so lax. That the man was about to lose his life for his failure was a fit punishment.⁠

Dalmanes had judged his incursion care and he emerged from the stones just above the guards head. He pulled his arm back, sword in hand, and focused the strength of the Earth through his veins. ⁠

Without a sound he swung the sword down and across the guards body, the blade slicing through the chainmail and piercing the mans heart. The guard let out a gurgle and Dalmanes, pulling himself more fully into the physical world, caught the guard as he slumped and lowered him to the ground.

Across the courtyard more guardsmen fell as the Emerald Knights began their assault.⁠

Flash fiction set in the world of my #WiP⁠

The Dream

She had dreamed of this tower before. In the nights of Culling, when the Whispers first rode the winds through the street of Sambredo, she had slept uneasily and dreamed of this ancient, crumbling room.

Art by Bagriel Gray

In the days and weeks that followed she had dreamed of it again, and again. The cobwebs that floated light gossamer strands of light, swaying with the smallest movement of air. The shafts of sunlight, and moonlight, entering from an unseen window high above and igniting motes of dust as they shifted in the air; painting runes and then words, and then sentences with their twisting grains of memory that she couldn’t quite read.

And the pages. Always the pages, hanging just out of reach, illuminated by the shaft of light but always out of reach.

Each night she felt as though she stepped closer to the room, as though she reached across time and place to this tower that was calling her and the knowledge it must contain to fight the Whispers. She had done it before. Moved through the world of dreams, but never with such purpose, such need.

There had to be an explanation for these Whispers that killed entire cities. A way to fight them though no army, mage or priest had been successful. But this dream, full of its symbols from the past and forgotten knowledge, had to hold the answer.

Slowly, carefully, she stepped onto the ledge that stretched into the open shaft of the tower, moving towards the papers. As she walked across the emptiness the pages began to move, rotating and and shuffling as though ordering themselves, forming a book for the ease of her very human comprehension. Coming to the end of the ledge she reached out, her hand touching the shaft of light. And just as her finger touched the paper that glowed in the light, she woke up.

– Flashfiction

Arrow of the Gods

Ostel stood before the tip of the Gods Arrow, Fallen to Earth and stared. The summons had touched him with an energy he did not recognize. It had not been the power of anyone he knew, neither mage nor Ciralys. He had never felt such a powerful Call. But he hadn’t imagined this.

Art by Jorge Castillo

He had followed the summons out of the southgate and into the Ah’bashen plains, the darkness of night and his lack of a lantern hiding his identify from any who might be watching.

The strength of the call had led him to the broken ruins of a city destroyed in the Sundering, the devastating climax to the War of the Summoners, that had destroyed the great civilization they had built. He had slowed as he approached the bright white light, the skin at the back of his neck tingling and his stomach twisting.

Elder gods save us! he thought as he saw the sign. The tip of the Gods Arrow, Fallen to Earth. It was a warning to any who could hear, to any who could see, that had been set in place by the last Summoners before their deaths. It was a simple thing and would be a source of wonder for any who did not know what it meant. But he knew. All of his line knew.

The Sahrin – the Summoners – had returned. Somewhere, somehow, a man or woman with the Mark of the Eye of Eternity had come into their dreadful curse and used their power.

He had to warn the council, the Ciralys, the king! But if the Arrow of the Gods had fallen, it was already too late.

Set in the world of my #WiP

The Tomb

Zarabel stood before the doorway. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes and opened her mind to the Eye of Eternity. The light of Asai, the force and form of creation, filled her inner vision and her skin tingled.

Art by Jannis Mayr

It wasn’t like that for everyone, she knew. The tingling in the skin. Her teachers could not explain it other than to say that while Asai may touch the body in different ways, it always flooded the mind with its beauty when those who could see it opened their third eye.

She took another breath, letting the life force of the universe fill her and steadied her nerves. She had read the map correctly. This was the place. It had to be. The ArchCiralys of Isoliere claimed all the tombs of the Summoners had been accounted for, and if not ransacked by fools looking for wealth and power, then stripped of all there secrets by the Ciralys in the centuries since the Sundering.

But she had seen the records. This tomb, high in the uncharted reaches of Kalay, had not been listed in the Great Library.

She had not told anyone of her discovery in the catacombs under Isoliere. She did not plan on sharing whatever she found with anyone. Not until she had determined whether or not the tomb contained a Tome of Ascension. If she managed to find one… She could not contain the grin that stretched her lips and the warmth of Asai shivered within her.

She breathed deeply again as she had been taught, and opened her eyes. With care she let a tiny fraction of the Light she held to bleed from her eyes.

In the air before the sealed door, circular wards of Asairic runes began to glow.

She was right! This was the tomb of a Sahrin.

For the briefest moment she paused. No Summoner had walked the Broken Continent for nearly two thousand years. Who knew what was locked away behind those doors.

She straightened her shoulders. There was only one way to find out. Taking another breath she raised her hand and began to trace Asairic runes of unlocking in the air before her.

Flashfiction set in the world of my #WiP

The Eternal

Jorah had made it across the desert. He Soot, his horse. Of a hundred men and women who had started out across the Anvil, only he and his horse had survived. And he was a squire!

Art by Cmy Cai

Ser Telessa was the Knight who had gathered the expedition. It was she and the Circle who had found the map in crumbling temple of Xai’hun. She had faced the archangiel, Matrahiel, she and her companions had one from it’s dying hands the map that led here. To the tabernacle of the Eternal. To the fountain of eternal life.

He was just a squire. He had been the least of the Knight-Generals followers, and he had been the only one to survive.

He looked at the statue of the three angiel floating before him. They were cherubhim, not the greater seraphim such as Ser Telessa had faced. But he was not deceived. Here lay they rested, trapped in stone, melded as one to form one of the eight pillars of the world.

And the waters of the fountain flowed from their hands into the bowl beneath them, and then to the channel that was set into the cracked stone tiles of this ancient place, and then into… he looked around. He didn’t know where.

He didn’t know why he had lived these last five days, staggering across the hard packed earth toward the shimmering haze that was this holy place. He didn’t know why he had been chosen. But chosen he had been. His ma had always said he was lucky, that he’d been born under Alastael’s Hand. He’d never really believed her.

Had the others survived he doubted he’d have even seen the inside of this place, let alone been about to drink of the waters. This water was holy, the blood of the angiels. It offered eternal life. If he drank of it, he’d be trapped here.

But if he didn’t, he’d die.

Surely eternity could give him the time he need to think of someway to get back across the Anvil with no supplies?

Surely…

Leaning forward, he let his lips touch the glowing water and he drank.

Fall from Grace

My rejection by the High Council has led me to the unmapped depths of Atares Mon, in search of a forbidden, ancient knowledge of a power to rival Asai.

Here, in the underground fissures and canyons whose depths lead to the life-blood of the planet itself, I have found a makeshift city amongst crumbling ruins of a bygone age, populated by others who have fled the tyranny of the Sahrin in search of riches and power.

The inhabitants of this wretched, rotting hive call it, The Verge.

Had I still considered myself a member of the High Council of Summoners, I would have led a purge against these ignoble criminals and inhuman scum. But I have learnt in my fall from grace to make use of whatever I have at hand, and to disregard the sanctimonious views of the Summoners if they become an impediment to the furtherance of my goal.

Amongst these outcasts and renegades I may find those who know of what I seek, or even those individuals who have crossed the line drawn by the surface world, and ventured into the Void itself.

  • fragment from the journal of Tamaarin dos’Baddon, ArchSahrin, Age of Glory.

Excerpt 2 from the backstory of the #wip