The Protector’s Lament

The cold desert night air threatened to send chills down Tholden’s spine as he lay against the sand, staring up at the stars.  Ten years ago this day he left home for greater adventures.  He remembered that day like it was yesterday…     “You’re going to WHAT?”  The bellow echoed against the walls inside the villa, making several servants pause in their duties to observe the sudden commotion.   “I said, father, that I am going to leave.  We have talked about this before!  My decision is made.”  Under his father’s watchful glare, Tholden continued to stuff what belongings he could fit into a canvas pack, content to end the argument there.  His father was not finished giving his view of things,...

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...

There was a time— (CH-2)

“Ugh…this stench is unbearable, how do you even stand it, Fulna” groaned Ictan, one of the Lord Victas most trusted accountants and personal assistants. He was a mild mannered looking person,that is to say, someone who carried himself like a person who was use to everything happily falling into their proper place. Needless to say, lurking around in the rotting halls of the Tullianum prison was very out of place for him. He carefully tip toed his way across the slippery stone floors, occasionally sliding on some loose moss that had collected on the floors. Each time he began to slip he reflexively would reach out to grip the walls for support, but would quickly retract his arms to his side in order to avoid dirtying his hands on...

The Fates of Nixia – Part 1

The Fates of Nixia Forever Walking Shortly before the lifting of the Armaya   I had never known a life without the Company.  They were my regimen, my protectors and brethren.  Most of all, they were family.  My life was theirs as much as they were mine.  So it was for all of us, especially the Ataman.  The Ataman guided the Company through the desert wastes.  Not in any particular direction, but rather into the future.  Towards the currents that lay out of reach beyond the Armaya.  Walking us, or me specifically, towards me destiny. He taught all of us the Annals and Code of the Company. I am told that I am nearly 22 years old now, but I am not completely certain of that.  How does one count the days when all of...

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...

A Daughter’s Choice

Ashspring sat on the high wall looking out over the docks and the poor section of the city.  She could just hear the music dancing on the southern winds as the pink reflections of the sunset bathed the whitewashed walls.  She could smell the salt on the air mixed with the rancid bitterness of fish guts rotting on the docks.   She liked the smell not so much because it was pleasant as because she had grown accustomed to its gritty undertaste, a permeating sense of her world that colored even the most pleasant Mediterranean sunset with almost imperceptible ugliness.     This was her home, not some storybook tale she’d once so utterly believed in and now cursed for its deception.    Her father paid dearly for the...

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 Promise

Introduction Approximately 10 years pre-Exodus. The sandstorm was well into its third night and the Company was fighting desperately to keep the tsera from collapsing under the weight of the sands.  Several had already been lost.  A man, suffering numerous wounds and burns, arrived with two young, terrified children.  He used ancient and arcane Society pass-phrases to get past the pickets and be delivered to the command tent.  Debinani had just been named Ataman, and he, Anmoch, and ancient Ralben conferred with the man in private for many hours.  When dawn came (and, coincidentally, the end of the storm), the man had succumbed to his wounds and died and both children were presented to the Company as charges.  They were not, however,...

There was a time— (CH-1)

“Quickly! Order! This place must be put to order, he’ll be here shortly” Order was right. The warden’s office to the “Tullianum” prison, located on the fringe on a small peninsula of forgotten Aqualonian controlled land, was in terrible condition. Warden Fulna Pollus enjoyed the security and the discretion that was offered to both his position geographically and his office. Prisoners who were placed under his care were typically the type that didn’t necessarily need trials, and didn’t necessarily need to be released anytime soon. The location of the prison was more then enough reason to keep visitors away, as it sat on the end of a thin peninsula covered in rock and sand for miles. Water was provided by a well...

The Book of Kassia — Out of the desert.

“We draw our personal darkness around us to keep us safe from the sun.” Tanith Lee ==== Father always wanted a boy.  He blamed the armaya, the curse,  that held our people in the desert that he got me; for mother’s death he blamed only me.  Though I can maybe understand that.  Only maybe though.  I do tend to do the exact wrong thing when doing the wrong thing causes the most trouble. That’s my armaya.  I couldn’t even be born right; I had to come kicking into this world feet first.  I’m surprised he didn’t just leave me in the desert then. To be honest, I call him father in name only.  A dozen different men of the company along with their women — wives, mothers, and sisters...