The final edits are back for me to go over and look for errors. After I’m done with this, the book should be ready to go. Now I have to be meticulous and be sure nothing was missed. It won’t be long now until you will have your chance to get “Repercussions Abound” and find out what happens next in the story. It should be out in September.
The first man came to a stop not more than ten paces away from the one blocking his path. Then he spoke. “You certainly chose an obscure place for this transaction, Mr…”
The second man answered. “My name is of no consequence here, but yours is Dirk Grithinshield. I suppose you would have preferred to do business in your sizable store in the merchant district, but I find this setting more to my liking.”
“Your odds are better as well,” Dirk commented dryly. “You can tell your men surrounding me to come out. We are alone, and I already know where they are hiding.”
“You are mistaken,” the man said halfheartedly. “The agreement was that we each come alone.”
“Indeed, that was the arrangement,” Dirk confirmed. “You can tell that I have not been followed. However, I can see the breath of your men hiding there, there, there and there.” Dirk pointed at places in a circle around him. “It makes me wonder if you have kept your word on the rest of our bargain.”
The man waved, then four armed men stepped out of the shadows and moved closer to Dirk. “You’re observant, Grithinshield. I’ll give you that.”
Dirk sighed in a tone that suggested that the situation did not surprise him in the least. “I could inquire further about your expected deception, but I want this transaction to be over with as soon as possible. Do you have the key I seek?”
The man was angered that his actions were anticipated and that they had not intimidated Dirk as he had hoped. “I have the key, but I didn’t hear any coins jingle as you were walking. That makes me wonder if you have the money on which we agreed.”
“I am quite prepared for you, good sir,” Dirk answered. “The money is close by. Now, since you appear to have me at a disadvantage, and I am the one who has kept his word so far, you will show me what I am purchasing first.”
The man scowled and produced a golden key from his pocket. Begrudgingly, he tossed it to the waiting right hand of Grithinshield. Dirk ran his fingers down its length and looked at its handle in detail. Then, he tossed it back to the man who caught it in midair in an effort to defend his face.
“That is a poor attempt at a forgery,” Dirk said sternly. “Not only is the key warped, but you can see a glimpse of the iron underneath, where it was held as it was dipped in a coating. The key I seek is solid gold. Your credibility is dwindling by the moment and I am mildly annoyed. Show me the real key, if you have it, or you will not see a single gold pharring.”
“What can I do to be of service, Sire?”
Mandrean leaned forward. “I want to know what you have
found out about the staff for the Blue Sapphire. I charged you with
finding it some time ago. Having found its mate in the red staff it
should pose no problem for you.”
“That being such a simple task, I suppose you think I should
have found it by now?” Necromancer quipped. “But you fail to
remember that the only reason we located the red staff in the first
place was because an agent told me that Dirk Grithinshield had it
in Sartan. That was a stroke of luck. Such luck does not happen
twice. Surrender your quest.”
“Don’t be a fool. I could no more surrender my quest than I
could my right hand. The stick you made me does not give me full
access to the Blue Sapphire’s powers.”
“That stick,” Necromancer defended, “gives you nearly all the
ability of equally the most powerful magic in the world you could
possess. No one other than I could have made you that stick. Be
thankful for what you have been given.”
“But that still does not give me the power I need to defeat
“The blue staff won’t either. It will only make your magic equal
to Grithinshield’s. Your magic will just cancel each other out. The
colors are opposites in the magical hierarchy. Did you not learn
that in your battle in the Valley of Broken Soldiers? A fight would
come down to your strength against his, your will against his and
your skill against his. If you could be honest with yourself for one
moment, you would admit that you will never be his equal there.”
Necromancer paused while Mandrean seethed. He returned to
antagonism after reading his master’s expressions. “Why keep
pressing the issue with the half-elf? What? Is that stomach wound
still hurting? If not for me, you would be a corpse.”
Mandrean erupted. “And you waited long enough to heal me. I
was nearly dead.” He dismissed the servants tending the fire and
swam to the edge of the bath near the wizard. “How long did you
wait? Hmm? How much of my blood did you let spill before you
saved my life? You waited as long as you could in hope that I was
dead, didn’t you? Any longer and my men would have thought you
didn’t want me to live. In fact, if I had not been awake to order you
to save me, I think you would have let me expire right then.”
Necromancer smiled with a wicked expression only he could
make. “Of course, I was eager for you to die.” Necromancer said it
in a deep, monotone voice. “It’s a shame you bleed so slowly. I
was nearly rid of you. As for that wound, even my magic cannot
heal another person. I could only repair some of the physical
damage Linvin inflicted. Your lack of permanent healing is
influenced more by your flimsy body.”
The words shook Mandrean to his roots. He maintained a front
of anger to cover his distress. “Oh no, Necromancer, you will
never be rid of me. I will make your life as horrible and demeaning
as I possibly can without end.”
Necromancer chuckled under his breath and knelt by his lord.
“You are wrong, and you know it,” he whispered. “I have all the
time that will ever be. And I have something you do not possess
despite all of your possessions. Patience.”
Deep inside Mandrean knew his wizard’s words to be true but
wouldn’t admit it even in his mind. He rose from the tub and
donned a robe. Still dripping wet, he approached his underling.
Mandrean bent down to bring his face directly in front of
Necromancer’s. “You say you’re patient, but you’re not. You want
me dead so badly it’s eating you up inside. I know you just as you
think you know me. You wanted Grithinshield to murder me. The
fact that he failed is tormenting you day after day.”
Necromancer looked away during the speech and then focused
on the emperor.
“The only thing tormenting me is your minute intellect.”
I am going through edits for my fourth book, “Repercussions Abound.” This is actually my second time going through the edits. You see there is a process to editing a book. If you have followed my blogs over the years you might remember this. I send in the manuscript. The editor then tears it apart and finds twelve different sections they want written differently. The problem is, I wrote the story the way I did for a reason and so I end up fighting back and forth to save my “Babies” that I have created against the slash and burn of the editor who wants it written their own way. After going back and forth, you give a little and they give a little. In the end neither of you is totally happy but you have your book finally done. When I received the new edits I expected the usual battle. Then I went to work. There were some minor spelling and grammatical errors but the big line of red through a section of the writing never appeared. I reached the end in record time and was in a state of shock. Then I started to wonder. Had I just written a novel without disputable points or did the editor skim through the document? Was it bad that there weren’t any areas of contention? I consulted my wife with my concerns. She said, “So let me get this straight, you’re upset because they DIDN’T find anything wrong with your book?” Am I just paranoid because I have been brutalized in the past? Maybe so. I am doing a second edit just to make sure everything is up to snuff but then I will send it back. I am proud of this book. It is definitely some of my best writing. Let’s hope this second edit goes well.
It was at that moment the locked double doors flew open and a hurricane force wind swept into the room, extinguishing all the torches and lanterns. The goblins were knocked to the ground alongside their captives. A bright white light shone in through the doorway. Its radiance was blinding and all shielded their eyes. Through the luminosity the silhouette of an individual grew as it approached. Once the shadow reached Linvin he could finally see who entered the room.
Hovering just off the ground was a diminutive Human man, no bigger than Rander with his arms outstretched to the sides. He was adorned in a white silken robe with gold embroidery at every edge. Handcrafted sandals of the finest quality covered his feet. He lowered his arms and the light and wind dissipated. His face could be discerned.
His skin was white as snow. It was as though he had never been in the sun. A gray beard obscured much of his lower face and dipped down to his chest. As the breeze subsided, his hair fell back around his head. The short salt and pepper locks fell gracefully around his face. Even with that, the most notable feature was only just coming into view.
The man’s eyes were sunken deep into their sockets. There were no pupils or irises in the eyes. They glowed in a combination of red and orange hues. Their appearance in the darkened cavities of the skull was that of smoldering coals in a blacksmith’s forge. They gazed about the room as the man set down on the ground. The goblins shook with fear. Even the obstinate Hugon cowered on the floor.
The man spoke with a voice that was both amplified and at a screeching pitch. “Word has reached me that my prisoners have arrived. You did not inform me as I had ordered. WHY?” The walls shook from his voice.
Hugon crawled forward with his belly impeding his progress. “Great Necromancer, we received no orders telling us to inform you.”
Necromancer grew enraged at the statement. “Do not lie to me, Vile Vermin.” He held out his palm. A wind blew through the room and gathered the ashes from the scroll. Drawing together in a vortex, it deposited the remains in his hand. With the soot in his possession he closed his fingers. The ash changed back into the scroll. Opening the parchment he read it to himself. “I seem to have found the orders,” he said as he dropped them in front of Hugon. The Jailor did not move.
Without notice Necromancer reached out one hand and unleashed a plume of fire the like of which no one but a Lava Giant had ever seen. The flame poured over the quivering bodies on one side of the room. The entire area was enveloped in liquid flame. After a few short moments, he pulled his hand back and the fire withdrew back to his palm. All the goblins on that side of the room were gone. No trace was left to show they’d ever existed. The elves had been in that area as well, but they were unscathed. Their skin had not even risen in temperature.
After eating a combination of pork and biscuits, Linvin took stock of his party’s condition. Bander still wore a bandage on his swollen eye. Rander moved gingerly from his bruises on his back, but otherwise appeared to be well. Anvar, however, showed no ill effects of his blow to the head only a day earlier. He acted as though he had never been hurt at all.
Linvin checked under Anvar’s bandage and found no mark of the crushing blow anywhere. “Are you completely healed?” Linvin asked in astonishment. Anvar modestly nodded as he sipped some water.
“That’s impossible,” Rander said as he looked for himself, “I saw the hit you took and was surprised it didn’t kill you. To be healed in a day, is...is...”
“Magic,” Anvar interjected. “That same energy which flows through me to give me my magic also heals injuries at a greatly increased rate.”
“You mean you can’t be killed?” Bander asked. Anvar smiled and shook his head while using his hand to seemingly wave off the idea. “Oh, I can die as surely as any of you,” he offered. “The difference is, if I am merely hurt, the magic I channel restores my body to health far more quickly than normal. Even with this ability, I have a point of injury, like you, from which I cannot come back.
It would take more energy to save me than my body has the strength to channel. If I am hurt that much, my fate is sealed. That was not the case this time.
“Make no mistake, though,” he continued, “healing is just as taxing on me as using my magic any other time. Instead of releasing the power, it repairs damage to my body.”
Linvin could not help but wonder what other bits of knowledge Anvar had yet to disclose to the company. It seemed his secrets had no end. While many people would have worried about such things, Linvin felt little concern. His faith in his uncle and his intentions would not be swayed. Whether it was denial or trust could be debated with vigor. The fact remained that Linvin would not match wits with his uncle. To do so would be as a harvest reaping only the fruits Anvar would choose to provide. He had given all the information he was willing to give for the time being. The matter was closed.
This piece has nothing to do with writing but everything to do with hats. I specifically refer to the baseball type of headwear. It is no secret that I am out of the loop on fashion and what is hip or cool or happening or rad or bitchin’. Most fashion statements make no sense to me like the low rise jeans which allow you to see someone’s underwear. I don’t want to see that. Well hats used to be a simple affair. You found one you liked and you wore it. Now you have the curved brimmed hat people and the flat brimmed hat people. Let’s start with the curved ones first. When you buy it you remove any stickers or tags from it and wear it either lightly on your head or down low if you’re out in the wind. I am one of these people and we seem to be a dying breed. Now let’s look at the flat brimmed hats. All tags are left on the hat including the hanging ones. There always has to be a metallic tag stuck somewhere on the lid. This is like the seal of authenticity. It has to be there or the hat is worthless. Then there is the fashion in which it is worn. It could be worn backward draping down over the neck. It might be worn to the side or to the side and slightly down. On rare occasions it is worn forward, barely touching the head. What does it all mean? Is it some kind of gang symbol? I doubt it. But it definitely has its own language. Each way of wearing it must mean something. And what’s with the tags staying on? I walk into the store with my kids and it looks like they stole the hats they’re wearing. I mean, seriously, why would you ever want a tag hanging from the back of your hat? It makes no sense. To me it says you stole the hat and you were too stupid to remove the tags before wearing it. I know right now there are people out there laughing at my ignorance. But there have to be a few who are also wondering what the heck is going on. Besides, I don’t like the flat brimmed hats because they stab into my skull when I pull them tightly. Maybe that’s the reason for all the different positions with the hat. Who knows? I’m not the brightest about these things. After all, my daughter called me a “Nube” for a whole year before I found out it was an insult. Maybe by then I’ll know why my hat choices are so out of style.
Mandrean returned the salute. Then he noticed an absence.
“Where is General Gramlick?”
The youngest of the commanders stepped forward and spoke.
“He begs your forgiveness, My lord, but he has taken quite ill and
has sent me in his stead.”
“What is the matter with him?” the emperor asked in a somber
“His leg, Sire. As you know, it has been deteriorating for some
time. The physician was forced to remove it completely today.
Even with the procedure, however, his condition continues to
If it had been anyone else, Mandrean would not have accepted
any excuse for missing such an important meeting. Gramlick,
however, was a special case.
Mandrean was grief-stricken in his manner. His bravado had
fled. He retreated into his throne and gestured for a servant to
come over. Quietly, the emperor ordered the servant to fetch his
master’s personal physician and send him to aid with the general.
After the servant departed, it was quiet for a moment in the hall.
The great man knew that he dare not show his weaker side and
buried his emotions for the time being.
“And who might you be that the great Gramlick would send
you in his stead?” Mandrean inquired.
“I am General Tathbar, my lord. I am his number two…his
“I am familiar with the concept of a number two, Tathbar. You
are insolent as I recall, but Gramlick must see something in you.
So go ahead, give me the report for the Western province.”
Tathbar swallowed hard and spoke at first with a high-pitched
voice. “Economically, there have been two years in a row of poor
harvests. With the Empire counting so heavily on this region for
food as well as taxes, there has been a deficit in food production
“The farmers are being hurt and desperately need help in
subsidies. What’s more, areas of marginal soil, which were farmed
every other year, have been pressed into service. The result is soil
depletion and low yields. Our analysts estimate that those lands
need to lie fallow for a minimum of two years with subsides paid
to the farmers to assure the land is left to regenerate.”
Though the statement was dry, Mandrean managed to sift
through it and find the implications. “So you’re suggesting that I
should pay more money to the farmers who are producing less so
that they don’t have to work as hard?”
Tathbar held up one palm and said, “I think you fail to see the
bigger picture here, Sire…”
Mandrean began to rage. “I fail nothing. You tell those lazy
peasants that they not only need their normal contribution this
season but must also pay what they were short from last year.
Their excuses will not be tolerated.”
“With all due respect, My Lord, no order can increase harvests.
They produce all they can, but they can only reap what the land
grows. The price of flour is rising and looks to go higher. Only
drastic action will avoid starvation and migration to the territory.”
Economics were, in large part, lost on Mandrean. He had no
skill or interest in the field. His rationalizations on the subject were
often crude and harsh. Even with that being the case, he was
prudent enough to seek council.
“What sort of action do you suggest?” the emperor inquired as
thoughts of peasant rebellions flashed through his mind.
Tathbar knew his answer would not be liked by his master and
stuttered as he gave it. “Well…we have found…a large grain
reserve in the region that could be dispersed to alleviate the
situation. Prices would stabilize and the relatively higher prices
would enable tax payments and field rotation by the farmers.”
Mandrean listened to what sounded like the perfect solution and
smiled until his skeptical side began to ponder. “And what is this
reserve you speak of?”
Tathbar paused and then responded quickly, “The stores the
Legions have amassed over the last few years for the invasion of
“Out of the question,” Mandrean fired. “Our forces will need
those supplies for the prolonged offensive.”
“My lord, there is no way to invade any time soon. In the last
two years, our legions have been depleted by nearly two divisions.
We are in no condition to attack anyone. The grain disbursement
would only make use of resources being unused. In two years we
could be in a position to attack but not now.”
Mandrean was seething. “Two years? What kind of general do
you fashion yourself? And why have you allowed my armies to
erode? Gramlick would never allow this.”
“Sire, we have been hit hard by desertions. Morale is poor, and
it is due in large part to the terrible defeat in the Valley of Broken
Soldiers. We lost over a division there from my province alone.”
“Valley of Broken Soldiers? That area is called Trader’s Alley.”
“The men, Sire. They renamed it after our defeat at the hands of
Mandrean jumped to his feet. His anger blocked the pain it
caused. “Guards.” Four guards surrounded the general and began
to whip him. The once crisp uniform was quickly torn apart and
soaked in blood. He covered his face, but there was no salvation
for the rest of his body.
What your Uncle said was true about the Maker giving too much magic to too few people. The world fell into chaos in its infancy. It was then the Maker crafted the Prism of the Cosmos. He used it to disperse magic into its various colors and among a variety of people. In order to prevent any one magician from becoming too powerful he made his or her bodies the channeling device for magic. That power we call magic is in nature all around us. To harness that power a magician must channel it through his body and release it from his hands. Doing so is very taxing of frail humanoid bodies. Thus, the more power the magician channels, the more fatigued he or she becomes. The limits of the magician’s mortality are the limits of their power. It is also the reason a magician with his hands bound is powerless. They cannot disperse the magic they channel without free use of their hands.
After the Maker was finished with the Dissemination of Magic he was ridiculed by the Dark Lord. The Evil One accused him of being too generous with his gifts to his creations. The Maker countered that all of those he had made were given free will. Any additional gifts they were given would be used at the discretion of the recipient. The Dark Lord further insulted the Maker’s creations. He said that they were inherently evil and would show that he was right if magicians did not have the limits placed upon them for using their power.
The Maker knew the Dark One was trying to manipulate him into removing the restrictions and would not change his children. Instead he challenged the Dark Lord. From each end of the sapphire Prism he would dislodge one piece in the form of a magic gem. One he would let the Dark Lord give whatever mandate he wished to and the other he would inscribe with his desires for the world. Both would be sapphires of equal power. The unique part about them would be that the gems would choose the masters who could best carry out their mission.
The Maker took the stone from the red end of the prism. He gave me my mandate. The Dark Lord was given a Blue Sapphire. Into it he instilled his hatred of all life and desire for ultimate power. If the Dark Lord could not rule the Cosmos, he felt perhaps his influence could in part allow him to rule this world.
Linvin was stunned. Is there a Blue Sapphire with just as much power as you? he asked.
Its master has as much power as you, the gem corrected. Then it continued. The maker wanted to prove it was the individual who made the difference in victory or defeat. For that reason he chose two types of magic that were opposites of one another. Red and Blue Magic cancel one another out. Thus, if the two Gem Masters ever met in battle, it would be the superior person who would win the day. That is the reason the gems were allowed to choose their masters. We could pick the person who could best use our skills and also succeed without them.”
Both gems would be locked in a chest that could only be opened by one key. The chest was hidden away and the only clues to its whereabouts would come from two staffs created to harness our power. The first mission of the staff was to find its way to the person chosen to be its new master. Then the staff would lead the right person to the chest. That is one reason this staff is called ‘The Path of the Red Sapphire’. Using the staff to find the chest would prove your worthiness to be that sapphire’s master. The second reason is because it allows you to use my power.
“But Linvin,” his mother insisted. “You finally have a good group working for you. Now you will need to search for another manager.”
Linvin stopped walking and leaned on the rail of the porch. The fruit trees in the orchard drew a long shadow and blocked the setting sun. It was an oddly peaceful setting for the news he was about to reveal.
After a long draw on his pipe, he turned and stated, “I will be the store manager.”
Anvar’s face became pale. Jelena, however, looked confused. “How can you do that? It is two days’ ride to Missandor. You couldn’t possibly go to work and come home each day.”
Anvar hung his head at his sister’s misunderstanding. Linvin realized he would need to explain the situation in the simplest terms. “I will be able to work there each day because I also bought a home of my own in Missandor. I will be moving there in the next few days.”
Jelena was in disbelief. “But you only just came home a couple of months ago. This is your home, Linvin. It has been your home since you were little.”
“No it has not!” Linvin fumed as he pounded his fist on the rail. “This has been your home. My home has been army cots and sleeping on the ground. This has not been my home since I was banished as a boy. I came back and have tried things your way, Mother, but this is no longer my home. It is time for me to have a home of my own.”
“Naturally you want your own house,” Jelena concurred. “There are many lovely estates here in Fraylic from which to choose. Why move so far away from me?”
Linvin went down on one knee before his mother. “I am not moving away from you, Mother. I am moving away from Fraylic. This town holds nothing but bad memories for me. You know how I was treated as a child: not a human, not an elf. Do you not remember the fights at school and the abuse I endured? I hated them and I hated this town.”
“Now those same bullies kiss your feet,” Anvar pointed out. “There must be some gratification in that.”
“Gratification?” Linvin questioned. “It made me sick to my stomach to entertain some of those people in this house. It was even more sickening to do business with them. The fact isthatthey have not changed. If I were not rich, they would not even address me on the street. I do not fit in here. I think I have found someplace where I do.”
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...