The Bonds of Daecora – Asryn (CH 5)

[b]Chapter 5 – Asryn[/b] The aged man moved deftly among the supply crates quickly stacking up along the quay as they were removed from the ship. As the Old Tarantia dock workers moved the waiting supplies to horse-drawn carts, Hanibus marked the various crates’ contents and barracks destination within the city proper. This was just one of the duties that Captain Rinates had found for him. Hanibus was too old to fight, and far too stubborn to retire quietly on the soldier’s pension afforded the Black Legion, but he found solace serving as an aide to the Captain. Stopping briefly to stretch his aching back, Hanibus spotted a familiar face disembarking a ship at the far pier – a man that was supposed to be hundreds of leagues to the south. Hanibus lay...

The Bonds of Daecora – Death (CH 4)

[size=12][b]Death[/b][/size] Under the cover of night with the moon still below the horizon, Sarkan approached his small hut across a field of dying, untended rye in the starlight. There were no signs agents of the Priesthood were lying in wait, and he would have been surprised if such effort were wasted on him. Exiting the field and crossing the yard, Sarkan strode straight past the hut door to the nearby well. He drew up the pail and gulped down the cool water greedily. Sated, he made his way to the door and lifted the simple latch, quietly slipping inside. Feeling his way through the pitch black to the shelf for the flint-piece, Sarkan found the oil lantern and prepared to strike the tool with the attached steel rod. [i]That would not be wise. I am sure your...

The Bonds of Daecora – Rebirth (CH 3)

[size=12][b]Rebirth[/b][/size] The following morning, daylight broke upon clear skies and Sarkan prepared to journey northwest towards home. Terrified of drawing attention with the reflective silver disk, he had taken advantage of the night’s rain and covered the Asciso Obis with a fine wet clay from a quickly receding puddle. It was not perfect, but the sun-warmed metal dried the concealment quickly and the clay bonded well. The Sipordus now hung from its chain around the peasant’s neck. Sarkan doubted the acolytes would bother to come after him, unless they somehow discovered he had taken the Sipordus. But there was no doubt instructions would be sent to the Nobles with orders to reallocate his assigned land to others, with a corresponding increase in...

The Bonds of Daecora – The Ocul Tritae (CH 2)

[size=14][b]The Ocul Tritae[/b][/size] The storm settled in with steady rain as darkness fell. Sarkan took shelter under a low rock overhang, cast into a gentle curve of smooth stone after millennia of wind and sand. He lay on his back, exhausted from his flight from the excavation site. Propped against the sloping rock wall, the great rune-inscribed disk was illuminated by the frequent lightning. [i]What are you?[/i] Sarkan questioned in the confines of his mind. There was no response, though he was sure he could feel a presence hovering over him, or perhaps within him. “What are you?” he asked aloud. [i]I am your path to power, your…[/i]“Yes, you said all that before. But what manner of being are you?”There was a moment of pause. [i]I was once a...

The Bonds of Daecora – Manifest Destiny (CH 1)

[size=14][b]Manifest Destiny[/b][/size] [b]Stygia – Present Day[/b] A backhanded strike came swiftly and quite unexpectedly, spinning Sarkan to his knees. The heavy rings that adorned the acolyte’s hand adequately amplified his displeasure, leaving a trail of broken skin from cheekbone to jaw. “Illiterate filth, I should have you digging with the slaves,” Acolyte Hinsh spat out. “I said bring the Eighth Tolna scroll – this is the Luxur Hasagim scroll. Return this and bring me the proper document you worthless peasant! Fail to return before shadow falls on me, and you will be among the first offerings this evening.” Sarkan could have argued that the scroll was handed to him by another acolyte from the encampment and the error was not his own, but he...

The Bonds of Daecora – Prologue

[b][size=14]Prologue[/size][/b] Stygia – Centuries Past The Priesthood deemed the site sacred, as evidenced by the orientation of the myriad trails gifted to the desert sands by the revered sidewinders and their serpent-kind. The Oaiti Temple, once completed, offered a small sanctuary on the route east from Khopshef Province to the city of Luxor. Lhatar, a ranked priest of Set, presided over the temple and ordained its completion through a magnificent weeklong sacrifice of surviving slaves to the mighty Serpent. The gift of power did not flow freely from Set, and in Lhatar’s quest for arcane knowledge through study and worship many captured souls crossed to the realm of death in the name of the Snake Lord. Followers found convenient offerings through the...