Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Speaking Demon Chapter 5 with Notes

Okay, today I am back with the fifth chapter of the story being offered for free at Wattpad. I have to say that I have not been impressed by my Wattpad experience, but I plan to see this story through to the end and then publish a second story there. As for this story, Whispers from A Speaking Demon, when this is complete, I plan of publishing an extended version of story. The thing about short fiction is that most of us cut out a few hundred words or even a chapter or two to make the story flow better, but in the process we cut out a bit of character development. 
Before I get to the next chapter I would like to suggest again that you guys read at least one of the other stories in the series. The great thing about the stories is that they are so far all stand alone stories. You do not need to have read any of the others in the series to understand what is happening. Each story serves to introduce characters that will be present in the series of Empires Falling series of epic fantasy novels.  
Also if you like this story it would be great it you would share it with a friend of post this post on your facebook. 

Chapter Five.
The cart was large enough to carry their belongings, a modest amount of food for the journey and Amelina who slept wrapped in a blanket amongst the belongings. Aldo who sat as driver of the cart had insisted upon this arrangement suggesting that a pretty face could invite unnecessary trouble on the road. No one had offered any objections other than the fact that they were expected to all walk along side the cart.
Lanzo had saved enough coins to purchase a donkey, but Aldo had insisted that they walk. It would be for appearances sake he had said. The three of them in muddy boots and dirt stained robes while he would be the master of magic who had not been soiled by the road. The thought of it tempted Lanzo to summon up a wind storm to ruin his plans. The problem was that he did not have the first clue how to do it.
A full moon allowed them to travel the road for three hours after sunset. Only when it seemed that the horse pulling the wagon was getting tired did Aldo call their journey to a stop and about a hundred feet from the road, beneath a circle of low hanging trees they set up camp.
Lanzo finished stacking the sticks in the circle of stones and sat down between Aldo and Amelina.
“We are well met.”Aldo made a gesture toward the sticks and they burst into flames. “Most of you were too young to remember the year of the flaming star, but I thought that I would talk about it with you tonight. That star was like a rock thrown into a pond. Its effect will be visible for a long time to come.”
Aldo slipped a hand into his left sleeve and pulled into view a small dark orb. A smooth perfectly formed ball of volcanic glass that was dark green in color.
“Anyone know what this is?”Aldo tossed it toward Burkhard who caught it and did a clever, but risky thing with it. He spun it once in his palm and began to twirl it on the tip of his index finger.
“A whispering orb. If it had a mate, it would be glowing and worth a small fortune.”Burkhard said.
“Its mate was destroyed during the last imperial war. I was about your age back then.”Aldo said to Burkhard. “It was during the season of the flaming star.”
Amelina raised her hand for the orb and Burkhard tossed it to her.
“I was so small when the sky burned red every night, but I can remember it. I was not yet three years old, but I can close my eyes and see the night world around me bathed in that blood red glow.”Amelina whispered, holding the orb with both hands as if it was a fragile egg.
“How does that thing work?”Lanzo asked.
“Easy. If this one has a mate and you are not one of us then you hold this up to your mouth and you whisper a message into it. The mate could be half way around the world and that message will come out as a whisper. If you are one of us then you could hold it to your forehead and share images or even meet and have a conversation inside the orb.”Aldo said and in this area he was sure because he had done it himself. It was like having a lucid conversation with another person while inside a dream. The experience had been amazing. Standing with nothing beneath your feet while eternity swirled above and all around you. The only thing that kept you from tumbling off into nothing was your connection to the orb that your resting body held.
Amelina tossed the orb to Lanzo. He raised it to eye level and stared into it as if he was seeing something.
“Lanzo?”Aldo ventured.
“Just seeing if I could see what you saw.”Lanzo tossed it back to him.
Aldo caught it. Funny that it felt much warmer than it had when it had started its journey between his followers.
“Could it do anything else?”Lanzo asked.
“What do you mean? Work as a crystal ball? Show the pass or future?”
Aldo smiled and shook his head. “There are those few great orbs. They were always pink in color and I have been told that they did things like that. But also that they were almost alive. That they would only show parts of the future or past. Playing games with the user. Also that they took something from you in exchange for giving you this information. I never saw one, but I did meet a mystic who had used one in the service of the former emperor. His hair was snow white. His flesh dry as dust. He told me that he was not yet thirty-five years old at the time and he had traded most of his vitality and youth while using and being used by the thing for only two years.”
“Did you believe him?”Amelina asked.
“Yes, oh yes.”Aldo said.
“To know the future. To truly know what is going to happen would be worth the trade.”Brando said.
Amelina shook her head no.
“I see glimpses of the future. Sometimes it is just a shadow around a person and sometimes it is the future playing out all around me like a dream come to life. A future that is fixed and cannot be changed. It is not something that I would be willing to give one moment of my life for. To know what is going to happen is a horrible trap. It is why the great maker does not allow any of us to know the hour and way of our deaths.”Amelina sounded as if she was thinking aloud.
Aldo thought that her words would end the discussion, but Brando was not finished yet.
“What do you see ahead of us? What is the future for us down this road?”Brando asked.
“Death. We are going to know death before this road turns.”Amelina said flatly. “Our circle will be broken. At night on the boat I would look across the sea and hear countless voices crying out in pain and suffering. More voices than I could count in a life time to the east to the west, I hear the same sound. Not as loudly, but still there. Like leaves being rustled by a wind from the south.”
She was too young to remember the last great war, but Aldo had been a part of it and knew all too well what she was telling them. Telling the others what he had suspected for the last year or so. Another great war was coming. There were rumors from the east of small kingdoms trying to break the grip that the Khan had over them. Rumors of Lurkers to the south moving into Mycenia lands and that would most surely mean war, after all Emperor Cato only knew one response to a threat and that was to kill it. If all these embers were to catch fire then they would be a kind of war that had not been seen in many lifetimes. A war that encompassed all the lands. In such a conflict countless lives would be lost, but fortune and glory awaited those who picked the right side and survived it all.

Chapter Five Notes, With this chapter I wanted to introduce the whispering orbs and to give you some background on them. They will play a big part in the wars to come. Also I wanted to touch a little on the last war and the part that Aldo played in it. As I wrote this story I discovered new things about these characters as a group. Where I had imagined one character would dominate this story from beginning to end that turned out not to be the case. It is funny how characters seem to have minds of their own and take you places you did not plan on going.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Speaking Demon Chapters 3 and 4, with notes

I have decided to offer notes with each chapter to make this something different from being what is offered at Wattpad. These notes will not only offer insight into Whispers From a Speaking Demon short, but also about the Empires Falling universe. I created this blog to be a part of the Empires Falling universe. To give readers information that can be found no where else. There are a lot of epic fantasy novel series out there, but I have not encounter any that will give as much character insight as I hope to do over the next year.

Growing the readership of this series is important to me. There is a ton of work involved in writing and marketing a epic fantasy novel series especially when you have multiple projects, including a film, on the table at the same time. So input from any of you guys would help me feel as if I am not telling a story to a campfire with no one else sitting there. There is this blog. There are the story stories for sale at B&N, itunes and amazon. There is the face book page that over time will offer information that will be available no where else.

Okay here is chapter three along with story notes. Enjoy and tell a friend.

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.

Chapter 3 Notes: Getting to know Aldo is a very important part of these stories. The younger him plays a very important part in the novel that will be a stand alone prequel to the Empires Falling Trilogy. He served under a great Mage who helped to determine the course of the last great Mycenia war. He is a wealth of information about the season of the flaming star. That season lasted almost ten months and saw the crowning of a new emperor in the west and the ending of one in the wilderness.
This last chapter also gave you a glimpse into the dark side of the magical word this saga will occupy. Black magic and deals with dark forces are the rule and not the exception during times of war.

Chapter Four.

It was not the screaming at all hours of the day and night. It was not the ungodly smell that came from the young masters chambers. It was not even the shadows that now occupied the estate. Shadow that would hide amongst those cast by object and people and would sometimes linger long after everyone and thing had been removed or leap to terrible life when everything was still. It was the unrelenting cold. Winter was months away and the cold even in room with roaring fireplaces would be bone chilling.
Demon's breath was what the Sorcerer named Vir had called it before he went up to those chambers to meet his end. In the village that Genki came from, across the eastern sea, if this happened to any of the people there it would have ended with the person being dragged to the center of the village and burned. Fire was the only sure way to dispose of a demon. The problem in this home was that the rich thought that anything could be done if enough gold was offered.
“Your job is not to stare off into space.”The old woman who ran the kitchens said. This angry silver haired woman, Fulvia, had looked like the oldest person she had ever met eight months ago when first taking a job as a servant here and she had not changed in the least. It was as if she had reach the limit of aging and would remain this way until a strong enough wind came along and reduced her to dust. Fulvia even smelled like dust.
“This place is being killed by that thing upstairs.”Genki whispered as if afraid to be overheard.
“Thing.”The old woman was going to correct her. “The young master will be himself soon.”
The young master? Even when he was his normal self he had been a cruel and angry man who during her eight months at this estate the young master had beaten one of his servants to death and raped two of the kitchen maids. The only reason that Genki assumed that she had not gotten any attention from him was that she was an eastern and he had said on many occasions easterns were worthless yellow dogs.
“I am sorry.”Genki said.
“You will be taking him his soup tonight.”Fulvia said.
Genki had asked three more times for the old woman to repeat herself and then protested all the way up the back stairs, but she had been left with no choice, but to go to that room. The steaming broth in the clay pot that she carried would have smelled appetizing to anyone who did not know that it was a mixture of animal blood and herbs that the creature living inside the young master could consume. There was something else that rolled back and forth in the bowl that threw it a little off balance as she walked the back stairwell. She did not want to know what that something else was.
Strolling down the corridor to the door of the young master’s room she paused long enough to offer a quick prayer to the great maker before she noticed that the guard named Teel was not seated outside the door. The stool was over turned and the key was in the door's lock.
If the guard was not here then there would be no one in the world who would be able to make her go in there by herself. The thought of it brought back the memory of how they found the Sorcery laying on the floor with blood flowing freely from where his eyes, tongue, and ears had been. After than no one was supposed to ever be in that room alone.
“Teel?”Genki whispered so softly that she could barely hear her own voice.
Silence that went on for as long as Genki could hold her breath was all the response that she got. If she ran back to the kitchen without doing as she had been told the old woman would yell at her or maybe worst tell the lord of the house that she had not feed his son when told. The lord of the house had beaten many servants or so she had been told. In the last home that she worked in Genki had been beaten into unconsciousness by the mountain of a woman who handled the servants. Beating that continued on an off until with a broken wrist dangling at her side she had ran away from that house. The old woman down stairs had given her a job here even though at the time that wrist had not been completely healed yet. Fulvia had even seemed to give her duties that had spared the wrist until she had completely healed.
Could she heal from what would happen if she entered this room by herself?
Teel has to be in there already, Genki told herself as she reached for the door handle and winced from how cold it was. So cold in fact that when she flexed her grip she expected that her hand would be stuck to it and the only way to pull it away would be to yank until her flesh peeled off, but her hand came off the handle easily.
She grasped it again and gave it a turn. If it was still locked it would not have turned so that told her that Teel had to be in there with the young master.
The smell of butchery was unmistakable, but more disturbing was the wind that drove it into her face. The small stone room was a windowless. A single oil lamp that rested on the floor near the door was the only light source
in the room and despite the wind the flame in it did not flicker at all. Nor did the puddle of red spreading across the floor toward Genki who now stood just inside the room.
Maybe ten feet from the door the thing that occupied the young master's sat naked on a bed of hay, his wrists and neck ringed and chained to the wall.
“Is it the yellow bitch,”The voice of the speaking demon seemed to come from all around her. “You may eat that. I have eaten.”
Eaten what?
What was that smell? Beneath the stench of human waste and unwashed flesh was that stomach turning odor of butchery and it was butchery done badly. The kind where no care was taken. The kind where the butcher opened up the pockets of the animal that would normally be discarded because of what they contained.
She looked about the room. Nothing at all, but that puddle of red.
She looked up and found Teel.
He was handing from the ceiling by his intestines, even though there was nothing there to attach them to. His chest was ripped open and his lungs were floating in the air to the sides as if they were blood soaked wings.
“You should run yellow dog.”The speaking demon said even as the bowl fell from Genki's hands and she was tumbling back out of the chamber.
The sound of her screaming was drowned out by the booming laughter of the speaking demon.

Chapter 4 Notes: Demons of all kinds will have information about the past and the future because when they are not inside and controlling a body they have seen this world from the outside. They know in which direction that the river of fate is flowing. They will talk about the future and past from time to time, but they are no to be trusted. Demons are evil and part of being evil is lying. This demon like the ones yet to come are more powerful than those who practice sorcery would expect. The walls between worlds are growing thin and a time of darkness is coming to all of the Empires.

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