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.

The Guardian

“Void take it!” Thearo cursed. “There isn’t supposed to be a guardian here.”

Art by Bohao Wang

He looked across the tidal flats at the elemental that towered before the forest hidden ruins of Co’mala. The only way that thing had been placed there was by decree of the Ciralys council, the self-appointed custodians of all knowledge that had once belonged to the Summoners.

The hypocrites. No-one could know the secrets of the Summoners, except the Ciralys themselves whose powers came those same secrets. A power they didn’t even know how to use properly!

The sun beat down hard on his cloaked form and sweat beaded his brow, but he did not move to find shelter. It was too late for that. The elemental had already seen him.

If only he could get to Co’mala. The records the court advisors of the Shepherd Kings had cobbled together claimed Co’mala was once a central city of the Sahrin. There had to be records of the Summoners arts there. It could even contain remnants of their artifacts. Though, truth be told, if a guardian was here then the Artificers of the Ciralys would have already combed through every inch of the city and taken whatever they could fin-

The elemental roared and slammed its great fists into the ground. Such was the strength of the blow that Thearo could feel the earth vibrate.

Taking a deep breath he opened himself to the first emanation, and centered himself. With another breath he opened himself to second and energy flooded him.

He raised his sword, crafted by drake-forges of Serjere, and the silver dagger gifted to him by his liege. If he wanted to find the ruins and – impossibly – the confirmation that the Ciralys did not know everything, then he was going to have to fight.

  • fragment from the ‘Foundations of the Magi’, backstory extract from the #WIP

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

The Ancients

The d’Valisantian stood as they entered the hall, light flashing on his crystalline armour⁠.

“Arosh Taarden,” U’shaltris said. “First Warlord of the Children of A’dem. Chosen from all mankind to sit at the feet of your betters and Ascend. You are here at last.” His eyes glowed. “I thought your vaunted talents would have brought you and my… executioner, here sooner.” He stood, his power twisting around him like serpents. “You must tell me, Te’lorne, did the Shaa quarrel before deciding to go to war against us?”

Arosh stepped forward. “Did you quarrel with your cabal when you opened the Ninth Gate and destroyed Nemisdrillion and all its people?”

U’shaltris laughed. “I did not think of them at all. You are like mewling newborns.” Gesturing at the men and women frozen behind them. “It did not take much convincing for these ‘chosen’ to accept the Path my masters have led the d’Val to.”

“Only by the Light of the Eye are all things seen clearly.” said Te’lorne.⁠

Arosh couldn’t help but notice that his menta was patient where his own emotions threatened to overwhelm him. He had to focus! ⁠

“You, who were once as my brother,” said U’shaltris, “would judge me unfit?”

“Yes!” Arosh said before Te’lorne could speak. “How could you forsake the Truth of the Firstborn for that of daemons?” Runes flashed across his mind’s eye, glowing with asai and he flung his spear at the traitor. ⁠

“How could I not?” U’Shaltris dismissed Arosh’s attack with a wave of his hand, the spear disappearing in a blaze of light.⁠


The d’Valisantian laughed. “You may see the Light of the Eye but you know nothing of the Path to reach it. You think the Firstborn noble? Altruistic? Do not be sim–”

From somewhere far above came a sound like dull thunder, causing the hall to shake and small stones to fall from the ceiling as the floor rolled.⁠

  • an excerpt from the back story to the #WIP

Deadguard

The undead kept coming. Had he the time, Bahlon would have cursed.

Art by Kilart74

The entrance to the tomb had been guarded by decaying wards and the bones of long dead guardian hounds. It had been ridiculously easy for magi of his standing to remove them, but then that was likely what the Aaben Seers had planned.

They had not bothered wasting their energies by stacking defences in the Outer Circle of the Tomb of the God-King. No, they had just left enough to scare off, or kill, those tomb raiders seeking easy riches, or journeymen magi looking for lost tomes of the Kalifad Empire. They had used the diabolical talents of the architects who had built the Sky’stone – a structure that STILL defied the will of the Council, three thousand years after it’s builders fail – to riddle the maze-like corridors of the Tomb with traps as deadly today as they’d been when first constructed.

He had lost five companions to the traps that lay beyond the wards he’d negated, and now the necromanic talents were finally pitted against him.

Bahlon raised his arms, calling the power of the Farstar and sending it spilling into the world. This was the eight wave of the Deadguard and his power was dwindling. Sweat soaked his back and the staff he held was useless, its arcanite crystal having overloaded and exploded in a discharge of energy that had almost collapsed the ceiling.

Again, he pulled the threads that bound the undead here, reeling the energy that animated them as they surround him.

He spun the energy around him like a vortex and the skeletons crumbled.

He would need to rest. To gather his own energies once more before they pressed on to the final resting place of the God-King. It was there he would find the Crown of Stars, and the world would finally bow before him.

He would build an empire that eclipsed Kalifad; if their final army didn’t kill him first.

Dragon Bond

I remember the day my father brought me into the Sanctarum to find my dragon.

It went against all tradition.

Art by Hazem Ameen

The Sa’trovaani did not Bond with fully grown dragons, the Bonding was a sacred ceremony that took place on the salt flats of Iskar during a dragons hatching.

You cannot Bond with a fully grown dragon.

But since the Plague no new dragons had been hatched and the Vice Regent had declared a state of emergency. For without new Bonding’s there would be no new Dragonriders to secure the Sa’trovaan League.

My father, First Magus of the Moonspire, Under-Lord to our House, said he had found a fragment of text that dated back to the Iron Wars of a thousand years ago, describing how to a Bonding might be achieved with a fully grown dragon.

It was not until he had bound me hand and foot upon the edonstone altar, gagging me to muffle my cries that I realised something was wrong.

The text my father had found did not Bond an adolescent human with an adolescent dragon to grow together, but rather it allowed the Bonding of an adult human with an adult dragon.

Through a conduit created by the sacrifice of a life most dear to the human.

For my father, that life had been mine.

I remember quite clearly as the dragons came forward to inspect me. The ivory and red A’salindrax, the green and red Brax’aron, golden Ca’sahrise and stone-scaled Vah’salix. Their size was impossible to describe and the terror they invoked as I lay helpless on the altar was overwhelming. At five years of age I had seen dragons but always from a distance.

I was going to die. Betrayed by the person who should have loved me more than his desire to Bond a dragon and save our home.

But my father did not know dragons like he thought he did. dragons are not mindless animals. They are sentient. They know and they understand. And while the ritual would work for my father at my death, it would also work for me at his.

Mighty Vah’salix took exception to the murder of a child by her parent, so before my father could spill my blood on the ebonstone, Stone-scale ended his with the swipe of a single taloned finger.

My father’s blood washed over me and the power of the stone awoke, opening a conduit that my mind expanded into. That my soul reached towards and was met by that of the Dragon King.