Friday, October 11, 2013

Empires Falling, My Moments of Doubt

Empires Falling, My Moments of Doubt

I have just published the third chapter from the short story Whispers from a Whispering Demon at Wattpad and here below. I have to admit that the last three weeks have been tough where the Empires Falling Universe is concerned.

The lack of sales for the published short stories have me worried. This thin is going to be my life for two years and if I am going to turn away then it has to happen during the next month or so or I am locked into finishing and publishing over four hundred thousand more words of this saga. Understand that it is not the sales themselves, but the number of readers that has gotten me a bit down. Who knows maybe two years from now so of you will look back on this post and think, if he only knew what was to come.
Right now I am taking a leap of faith. Hopefully you guys will be there to catch my characters as they are falling. If this was easy then anyone could do it.

Okay allow me to offer some insight into two of the characters featured I this story and their future in the saga.

Aldo has over time proven to be have more range than I thought he would. I should have known this from the beginning. He is an amazing judge of magical talent who did what every great business man should do. He surrounded himself with people who were all more skilled than himself.

Burkhard has shown me that Alchemy is not just the art of turning one substance into another, but if done slowly it can be done to the motivations of human beings as well. He is the oldest and by far the wisest of Aldo’s followers.

Now to the next chapter. Below is the third chapter of the Empires Falling short story, Whispers From a Speaking Demon.  

Chapter Three.
The tent, made from the skins of many animals, was larger inside that on the outside due to the sunken floor that angle downward toward a roaring fire pit.
The place was tight and did not seem to have any vents in the tent to allow heat to escape, but the area was icy cold.
Aldo adjusted his hood as he approached the fire. Looking straight ahead he could see no one near the fire, but he felt the presences that was glamoured beyond the fire light.
“Aldo of the Dungezi tribe.”The voice came from the figure wrapped in furs who sat bathed in firelight against a post behind the roaring flames. Long boney fingers rose to peel back fur that hid the face of the speaker who Aldo presumed to be the broker that he came to see, Betchia. When the face was revealed Aldo understood the reason, the interior of the tent was so cold.
Where Betchia's eyes should have been was a slit that seemed to be filled with thick dark blood that would neither dry up nor flow forth. It was the eye of a low demon. For centuries sorcerers had been trading flesh for flesh with low demons. Without the ability to actual possess a human being, but able to travel back and forth between realms the low demons would trade flesh so that they could blend in with the human herd. Eyes were most valued. With human eyes they saw what they called wonders and a human who took a low demon's eye could see the past, present and future.
Had he known this meeting would take place and when, Aldo wondered.
“Yes.” Betchia said as if he heard the thought spoken.”Foolish man, you travel cloaked in power and all you seek to be is a merchant when empires are to rise and fall all around us.”
Aldo never cared for those who offered cryptic words rather than saying it clearly, but he had to ask. “Which empire? Which will fall?”
“All of them and from the ashes of the old a serpent of fire will strangle all that remains. It is already too late to do anything, but watch and wait. Aldo, why not sit here and wait.”
The offer did not in the least interest him, but he did kneel down by the fire, picked up a clay bowl and dropped two gold coins inside.
“I and mine seek to trade our skills for profit.”Aldo pushed the bowl toward Betchia. Only the slightest shift in his posture suggested that he took note of the coins in the bowl.
“So be it Aldo. Age does not equal experience. You’re young will teach the old. If you would be a merchant then look into the fire and learn of what you must do.” Betchia raised a hand to the fire and the flames licked up toward the ceiling. In the moment before the column of flame dropped Aldo saw the image of a demon grappling with a man. A man losing the battle.
“A high demon seeks to possess the body of this man. His family will pay a great price to free him. Will you risk your sorceress for something as meaningless as gold?”
“When you traded your eyes, you traded some of your common sense. Gold makes the world turn. Women, steel and gold.”
Betchia let out a laugh so hollow that it sounded as if it was coming from a corpse. “This world will turn over onto itself and burn. Gold will burn. Steel will burn and women will die. The age of magic comes like a shadow in the night. Magic will turn this world and even a merchant can perform a part.”
Aldo had heard enough of this man's rants, but he stayed long enough to receive the directions to the place that they must go.
Walking back through the village he met Burkhard who stood by a street stall looking at knifes. As he got closer Aldo could see that the knives on display were of a higher quality than one would expect in such a place. Probably the fruits of some forgotten battle field.
“The others?”Aldo asked as he stopped beside Burkhard.
“Our lady is toying with the boy in the bathhouse. She wanted a private talk with him.”Burkhard said.
“I must come up with a way of recording images for future review.”
“You have a way.”Burkhard tapped the side of his head to illustrate. “In here. You remember. The last thing I will see as I am dying will be our Amelina climbing into that group bath, she talked us into the day after she joined our team.”
“We have an opportunity to make five hundred dinars.”Aldo said.
“Whom do we have to kill or raise from the dead?”
“A high demon. We have to remove one from a wealthy man.”
Burkhard shook his head no.
“Not we. That is sorcery. Fix it with their eyes they do. Trap it and pull it out into our world. Then send it back into its own world. Brando and you are wizards. I am an alchemist. Lanzo is a bite of this and that. I suppose that we knew what Amelina was when you found her.”
“Sorcery is a risky trade. One mistake and the demon that you are charming can take you. Rip your soul from body. Manifest and kill you with its bare hands.”Burkhard said.
“We are going to do this. If you want to repeat that to Amelina do so. She will laugh and do what she must.”Aldo said.
“I know. I just wish that we have another option.”
Aldo understood the feeling, but on this road tat they would travel each one of them were going to take life and death risk. Fortune and glory did not come to those who walked a safe path.

The next chapter should be ready by this time next week. Thank you for visiting and please take a moment to follow this blog. If you want to read any of the previous stories in the series they are available for purchase at .99 cents. You can find them by clicking on the story covers along the right side of the page.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Empires Falling, Speaking Demon Chapter 2.

Empires Falling, Speaking Demon Chapter 2.

The second chapter has been free at Wattpad for a week and I think that I will give each chapter a week before releasing it here. This seems fair to me.  Empires Falling, the first novel is in the rewrite process and I am still hoping for a holiday release this year, although some have suggested that I release the twelve short stories as a collection first. It would be a seventy plus thousand word collection and without the shorts it will take a while to figure out how all the characters relate to each other. I love epic fantasy, but had no idea how hard it is to pull this off. I suppose the thing that keeps me going is two or three characters that have to tell their story no matter what. Also I want to know how it will all turn out. Sounds strange, but I really do not know how it will all end. I know the story of one character from almost beginning to end, but the rest of it surprises me almost everyday. 

Here is the second chapter of the story. I can offer only this as a preview of things to come. The characters of Lanzo and Amelina are the ones who have surprised me the most. As I edit this short story there is a part of me that wants to cry out and warn them of all the trials to come. Of all the characters in the Empires Falling universe I have to say that these two will have to (Quoting Bram Stoker) go through bitter waters to reach the sweet.

Chapter Two.
Twenty minutes later Brando and Burkhard got out of their tubs and gathered their things, before they exited Burkhard stopped at the door turned and asked. “You two want us to guard the door so that you will not be disturbed?”
Amelina surprised them with her answer. “Ten minutes. We will need ten minutes.”
The two men nodded to each other and walked out.
“Get out of there and come over here.”Amelina said. “I would like you to help me get dressed. You can serve me like a lady in waiting.”
“Really.”Lanzo sounded angry. “I suppose the other ladies in waiting will be shocked by the fact that I have a few things that they do not have.”Lanzo stood up in his tub and folded his arms proudly.
“A small shock.”Amelina said and offered a complex hand gesture toward the tub that he stood in. The water in it began to heat up and bubble almost immediately.
Lanzo tumbled over the side and crawled away from the now boiling water.
She watched for the better part of a minute while Lanzo mumbled to himself as he got his pants out of his bundle and slipped them on. Then he got to his feet and began to dance and hop as he got his boots on.
“I was serious. I want you to help me to get dressed.”Amelina said.
“Yes Lanzo.”
Men were easy to lead around especially when you were near then and naked she thought as Lanzo, still bare chested, crossed the room toward her.
She had not planned on playing with him, but the way that he looked at her intrigued her. It was not with lust in his eyes as the others did, it was something closer to amazement. She doubted that she was the first naked woman that he had seen so that meant that it was something else and she did not like to be in the dark where anyone near her was concerned.
Stopping beside the tub, he stared down into it with a grin on his face.
“See something you like?”Amelina asked.
“Well I am breathing.”Lanzo smiled and before she could reach Lanzo dipped a finger into her tub for just and instance and jumped backwards.
The water reacted in an instance. Instead of thin layers of warm mist rising from the water it turned to thicker layers of frosted mist and ice crystals began to form around the edges of the tub.
The feeling of cold rose from the bottom upwards and suppressing a scream Amelina bolted to her feet as what felt like ice began to form around her toes. She threw an arm around Lanzo's neck and jumped into his waiting arms.
“What, what, what was that.”Amelina's teeth chattered as she clung to him to warm up.
“Uhhhh...”Lanzo seemed to hum as he stared down at her bare breast that had reacted to the cold by stiffening.
Angrily Amelina shoved out of his grasped. Landing on her feet she quickly yanked her skirt from the bundle on the floor and held it up to cover herself. This was not turning out at all how she had planned it.
“How did you do that to my water?”Amelina asked. She had watched him do it. Just a finger in her water and then the rapid freeze had started. She looked back to the tub and saw that it was now a solid block of ice. He had not spoken a spell or engaged in hand gesture magic as she had done to him.
“I was mad. I thought it and just did it.”Lanzo said as if that explained it all. “Can't you do the same?”
Instead of telling the truth, which was she could not imagine how to do it, she dropped the skirt from her breast and began to wrap it around her waist. The effect was as good as magic. Lanzo forgot his question and gazed at her happily.
It was clearly time to take control of this situation again. There was more to Lanzo than met the naked or the far seeing eye. A rival hid things from you while a friend shared everything. Amelina finished tying the skirt and turned her back to him.
“There is a scarf in the sack, take it out please.”Amelina said and turned her back to him. She heard him dig around for a moment in the sack and then the
red scarf was resting on her shoulder. “No. Help me to tie it.”Amelina took the scarf, pulled it tight to cover her breast firmly and waited until he took the hint by taking hold of the ends she held out and pulling them around to her back where he crisscrossed them before handing the ends back to her. She crossed the scarf once more over her breast and returning the ends back to Lanzo, and he tied a simple knot.
“What do you think?”Amelina turned to face him.
“Pushes them up, although they really don't need any help in that area. This could catch on. Maybe in leather with a hook or metal clasp.”Lanzo said. “You could call them something like milk bag holders.”
“Milk bags?”She smiled. “How old are you Lanzo?”
“My age. Seems like I am years older.”
“Maybe on the inside. People who do not laugh age inside faster than those of us who do.”Lanzo said.
“I laugh Lanzo. I just have to be careful who I laugh around. A woman like me? Well men can confuse almost everything I do with flirting.”She motioned for the next thing in the sack and Lanzo pulled her vest out of it. It was made of finely woven chain mail. The mail was silver instead of steel. It was made not for protection, but because she had found that silver enhanced her powers. It was not a wand, but it did help. Lanzo helped to fasten the vest without offering a word. She had expected him to be nervous and talk to much as nervous men usually did, but Lanzo was waiting for her to talk.
“I think that I should share a secret with you Lanzo. If you can keep it then perhaps we will be friends.”She turned to face him.
“The voice that you hear?”Lanzo said and Amelina stepped back as if she had been slapped.
“On the boat trip. At night. Sometimes you would stand by the railing and whisper. Then the voice would whisper back through you. I think that they call it channeling?”Lanzo said.
“You could have said something about that.”
“I just did.”
“You know what I mean Lanzo.”Amelina said. This was not going the way that she pictured it. He was not as off balance or as uncomfortable around her as she hoped.
“Amelina I think we should talk.”Lanzo said.
“We are talking.”Amelina said and the response he gave was the last thing that she expected to hear.
“Not me and you. Me and the one you talk to.”

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