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.

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