Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 2

II

 

As Baltazar predicted, within two hours, the storm hit. Waves crashed over the deck and rain poured down on the crew. Though the ship was secured to prevent it from taking on water, they were still struggling to tie down the cannons on deck. The men had gotten the sails up and the cabins were secure, but a loose cannon could do serious damage.

Papi and Melisande were on deck trying to help out as much as they could. Mel stood with Gilles as they tried to push the number two deck cannon back into position. The cannon by itself was heavy and water crashing over it, made pushing it into place even more difficult.

Once the cannon was back on its blocks, Gilles reached out to Melisande, “Quick hand me the line and secure it!”

She struggled to reach him, but didn’t make it in time. The cannon broke loose and rolled forward, sending Gilles flying over the side. Melisande screamed, “Gilles! Man overboard!”

Every crewman who had already finished securing their lines ran to the side of the boat. Melisande watched as they tried to throw him a line, but the force of the waves crashing over his head made it impossible. His head disappeared beneath the surface every time a wave hit.

Melisande knew that he would drown if they didn’t do something quick. She called out to him, “Come on Gilles, swim, swim man!”

Another wave crashed over his head and she could hear him struggling to breath. Without thinking, she stripped off the vest that she’d been wearing, leaving only her shirt and undershirt on, and jumped overboard. Papi saw her and cried out, “Messy, no!”

He was too late to grab her as she jumped over the railing and plunged into the ocean. She swam towards Gilles as quickly as she could. It took all of her strength to reach him as the waves crashed over her.

Within moments, Melisande grabbed him by the arm and held him above the water. The dirt washed off her face and the hat that had protected her hair fell off. She pulled on Gilles as she swam, “Its ok, Gilles, I have you.”

Gilles opened his eyes and looked at her strangely, like he had never seen her before. They swam back to the ship where the crew pulled Gilles back on board and tended to him. Half drowned, he was taken down below to rest. He didn’t say anything and just lay there with a confused look on his face. As the men returned to their duties.

Meanwhile, Melisande was struggling to climb back on board. Baltazar had been called out to the deck and was watching as the group pulled his new cabin boy up. When she was finally up to the railing, two men grabbed her and pulled her over the side. She lay on her hands and knees coughing for a few moments before standing up. She was surrounded by crewmen and Papi was unable to get to her. Her clothing stuck to her skin, revealing her figure.

Gasps could be heard from the crew as they realized what she was. Baltazar’s eyes went wide and he pointed at her, “You there, stand fast!”

He then turned to the two sailors nearest to her, “Bring her astern!”

Papi began breathing quickly and struggled to get passed the crowd. Two sailors grabbed Melisande and brought her to Baltazar. He looked her over for a few moments and smiled, “Well, well, Melisande is it? I should have recognized you sooner.”

Melchior appeared next to them, “You know this woman captain?”

“Aye,” he replied with a wide grin, “she kept me from falling into a puddle of mud and I saved her from some local ruffians.”

Melisande stood in front of him with a defiant look on her face as Papi came up behind them, “Captain… sir, I can explain!”

Baltazar turned to his cook, “You can explain this Mr. Clement, I belive that I would enjoy such a story. Why is there a woman on my ship?”

Papi nodded, “Sir she lives at Mont St. Michel, she was an orphan placed in the charge of the church. She must have snuck out and travelled to Gransville.”

“I see…” Baltazar replied. “So you know this girl.”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “a long time now.”

Shouts errupted from the crew as one large man with a thick black beard and matching locks of hair called out, “Having a woman onboard is a black mark on a ship! I say we throw her overboard.”

Melisande reached behind her back with both hands and pulled out a pistol and a knife. She turned the knife on the large sailor and pointed the gun at Baltazar’s forehead, “No one is throwing me over the side!”

Scattered laughs came from the crew as she stood with her hands shaking. Baltazar narrowed his eyes, “Easy there Mel, where did you get that pistol?”

She breathed deeply, “I stole it from the hold, just in case something like this happened.”

The quartermaster came up next to Baltazar, “Sir, be careful, those pistols were loaded, I saw to that.”

“Well, looks you thought of everything Mel,” Baltazar said with a smile, “but I wonder, how do you intend to shoot me with wet powder?”

She looked at the gun and was about to respond when Baltazar grabbed it from her hand. Two crewmen grabbed her from behind and ripped the knife away from her. Baltazar shook his head, “It never work have worked anyway.”

He then turned to the quartermaster, “Put this back in the hold, and this time, see to it the weapons are secured.”

The quartermaster nodded and took the pistol, “Aye, aye sir.”

Baltazar turned back and looked at Melisande. There was a lot of worry in her eyes as she waited to hear her fate. He smiled as he spoke, “Our former cabin boy will have my cabin. We’ll set her ashore once we’ve completed our mission.”

A look of relief and gratitude came over Melisande’s face as the crew protested, “You would risk a black mark on us?”

Another crewman spoke up, “Aye, looks like the captain may have actually taken a shine to this tavern whore! I say we throw her overboard.”

Baltazar grabbed her, pulled her away from his men, pushing her towards the cabin, “And I say she stays aboard.”

Baltazar faced the angry stares of his men and drew his rapier, “Or would any man jack here dare challenge my orders?”

The looks on the crews’ faces turned from anger to fear. One by one, they slowly began to back away. Baltazar nodded as he put his sword away and stabbed the knife they had taken from Melisande into the mast, “No one, no one is going to challenge me? Disappointing… at least the tavern whore was willing to put up a fight, back to work, all of you then!”

The men grumbled as they returned to their posts. Baltazar snorted and turned his cabin. Melisande had already gone inside and shut the door. Baltazar opened it and walked in.

Melisande was sitting at his desk with her face in her hands. She was clearly upset. Baltazar pulled up another chair and sat down next to her. He grabbed a towel and began wiping her face to help her dry off, “Why the tears?”

“All I wanted,” She replied, “was a life of adventure. I was so tired of living behind the abbey walls. I wanted something more for myself. I wanted to find out about my family, where I come from, and who I am.”

Baltazar smiled, “So you escaped the abbey and came all the way out here.”

She nodded, “I was desperate to get away.”

“Was anything you told me about your family true?” Baltazar asked.

“My father wasn’t a blacksmith.” She said quietly. “I’ve spent most of my life studying and reading, that’s how I know so much. I was taught how by the church, but what I told you about them dying when I was young was true. I don’t even know my family name.”

Baltazar frowned, “I am sorry for you. I can sympathize, believe me. My family and I have a… troubled history. I haven’t spoken to any of them in years. My father denied that I was even his son. So I can understand what that’s like.”

She looked up at him, “More than anything, I was hoping to find some answers. There has to be evidence out there. I need to know where I come from.”

“Take it from someone who knows,” Baltazar replied, “sometimes ignorance can be bliss. If you keep this up, you may find out that you were happier before knowing.”

“It doesn’t matter… That’s all over with now isn’t it?” She asked sadly. “What do you intend to do, kill me?”

“Are you joking,” Baltazar replied, “you saved my best helmsman. In return I’ll give you safe passage to our next port. Once there, you can do what you want. If you want to try your luck on another ship, all power to you.”

Melisande nodded, “I thank you for that…. Captain.”

“You’re quite welcome,” Baltazar said as he got up and left the cabin.

Papi was waiting outside, “Captain, please don’t hurt her. She’s an innocent soul. I swear she never intended to hurt a fly.”

“Relax man,” Baltazar replied, “pull yourself together. I have no intention of harming her in any way. I swear it on my family name.”

Papi nodded, “Then please turn us around and return her to the abbey.”

“Put about?” Baltazar scoffed. “Have you gone mad? We’re out at sea. Going home now would not be good for business. I will set her ashore after our voyage.”

Papi looked at him concerned, “But where sir?”

Baltazar placed his hand on Papi’s shoulder, “Relax my friend, I promise you that she will be cared for. For the time being, just know that she is well protected in my cabin.”

Papi sighed, “Very well sir.”

“Thank you.” Baltazar replied. “Now return to your duties.”

“Aye, aye sir,” Papi said, not at all convinced that his captain wouldn’t defile her at the first chance he got.

Baltazar felt the rain begin to slow and looked up. The clouds were beginning to break and the storm was passing them by. He smiled and turned to the helmsman that had replaced Gilles, “Steady as she goes, helm! We’ll beat this storm yet!”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Chapter 2

II

 

Melisande spent the next few hours reading from the Bible at her bedside. She also had a small collection of parchment that she enjoyed going through. Her favorite was a small piece about ships at sea and the voyages that man had taken in the last 200 years. She knew all about the discovery of the New World and the colonies that had been established in the area.

More than anything, Melisande wanted to see all of these wondrous places both near and far. She despaired, knowing that such adventure would never happen so long as she was trapped behind the walls of Mont Saint Michel. It was a harsh reality to know that the place she’d called home was little more than a prison to her.

After reading through a few chapters, Melisande got bored and decided to go exploring. She left her room and headed for the main courtyard. She walked out to the main gate where a pair of guards was standing. The sun was just reaching its height overhead and illuminated the beautiful gardens that Melisande had helped plant.

One guard saw her coming and waved to her, “Good morning Melisande!”

She turned her attention to him and smiled. The young guard was only a few years older than her. He had long brown hair that was tied up under his helmet and dark brown eyes. Melisande always thought that he was a decent looking man, just not her type, “Good morning, how are things out here today?”

“Quiet as usual.” The guard replied in almost a whisper.

“You sound almost resentful.” Melisande commented in an inquiring tone. “Not a fan of the peace and quiet?”

The guard’s voice went from quiet to annoyed, “If I was, I would never have joined the military. I had enough peace and quiet on my family’s farm back home.”

Melisande nodded, “I know the feeling, believe me.”

The guard lowered his eyes as a realized that her situation was even worse. While he had some freedom on his farm, she had none in the abbey, “My apologies. I probably have no right complaining.”

The two stood silently for a moment when the guard finally tried to lift her spirit, “So I saw a ship today, a fairly large one too.”

Melisande’s eyes widened, “Really, what kind?”

“Just a carrack,” he replied boastfully, “nothing particularly special, but it had about six cannons on the side that I could see.”

“Six,” Melisande said in disbelief, “was she a warship?”

The guard chuckled, “I highly doubt it. Carracks don’t handle cannon fire very well. Most likely it was just an overprotective merchant who thought that adding a few extra guns would make his ship safer.”

Melisande nodded, “It’s still quite a mystery. What would be a good warship?”

The guard shrugged, “The Spanish rely pretty heavily on caravels and galleons, but I have heard of other navies using a ship called a galleass.”

“What is a galleass,” she asked.

“I’m afraid I don’t know,” he replied, “I’ve only heard of them. They’re ships with massive oars and a ram on the front. It’s sort of a silly design in this day and age if you ask me, but then again, I never was a sailor.”

Melisande nodded, “I wish I could be.”

The guard shrugged with a smile, “Maybe someday you will be.”

She laughed and shook her head, “What, me, a simple kitchen girl? Let’s not be silly.”

“Stranger things have happened.” The guard replied. “Don’t count yourself out so quickly.”

Melisande thought about it for a few moments and smiled, “Well thank you for at least temporarily raising my spirits.”

The guard returned to standing at attention, “Any time.”

Melisande spent the rest of the day wandering the courtyard, imagining that she was a sailor out on a ship far away from the abbey. A slight breeze blew through her hair, making the illusion all the more real for her. She could almost feel the crash of the waves against the wooden hull of the ship so yearned to serve on.

After a few hours, the sound of the waves in the distance and the gulls in the air made it too much for Melisande. She decided that it was best to just return to her room and spend the rest of the evening reading. Without another word to anyone, she disappeared back inside.

The sun set and was quickly replaced with stars. Melisande watched the night sky and attempted to count as many stars she could, even though she knew it would be impossible. One oddity that she had noticed in the sky since she was a child was that there were two stars that always seemed to be in the same place no matter what. They weren’t on any chart and were even visible when the others couldn’t be seen. She could never figure it out, but she had given up trying to a long time ago. Slowly, she began to drift off to sleep under the night sky.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Can Skynet Truly Be Stopped?

“It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves.”
-T-800, Terminator 2

So I recently rewatched a few of the Terminator movies and the Sarah Connor Chronicles and I have reached one inescapable conclusion…

Terminator 3 got it right… At the end of the movie, John Connor comes to the conclusion that it wasn’t humanity’s job to prevent judgement day, just simply to survive it so that they could fight later on.

This is a conclusion that I have come to as well. Skynet is essentially a digital hydra. You cut off one head, and another one grows in to replace it. First Cyberdyne Systems, then the Dept. of Defense, then the Turk, and finally the global OS Genisys.

Regardless of which one they kill, another one pops up to take its place. All they can do it seems, is postpone judgement day… which if you watch the 3rd Terminator, you can see that… perhaps simply not stopping judgement day and just getting the fight over after the fact may have been the better choice.

Now, let’s say that Sarah and Reese at the end of Genisys become vigilantes, going around destroying anything that could potentially become skynet… they still have two problems;

  1. If they succeed, they’ll have altered history and not be able to properly figure out which machine is next in line to try and take over?
  2. Human life is finite. What happens after they pass on? Eventually Judgement Day in the Terminator Universe is going to happen. It appears to be an inevitability.

So my question then is, why do they keep trying? I understand that we’re talking about billions of lives, but if you’re fighting a battle that you can’t possibly win, it might be more worthwhile to prepare humanity for it. Get people ready for the nuclear fallout and head to shelters so that once judgement day happens, they’ll not only still be alive, but ready to fight Skynet when it comes.

These are just my quick thoughts, but I thought I’d open it up for conversation. Let me know what you think.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Why You Shouldn’t Bother with TSCC

… perhaps that picture isn’t the best non-motivator.

Oh well.

If you’re a Terminator super fan like I am, chances are you’re not thrilled with where the series has gone.

Terminator 1 to me was a Jason-style slasher flick. Borderline horror movie. It was good as movies go, definitely ahead of its time. However one that could have wound up on the ‘forgettable’ list.

Terminator 2: In the 80s, James Cameron was a visionary… how far he’s fallen since then… However, this is a story for another post. Terminator 2 did for this series what Aliens did for the Alien series… set the bar WAY too high. It completely changed the medium of the series from an unstoppable back guy who kills anyone who gets in his way, to an emotional, heart-felt, action/adventure movie. You found yourself suddenly rooting for the guy you were fearing in the last movie… even though you knew he likely wouldn’t survive. The special effects were way ahead of their time and the story blew me away. I will argue that Sarah herself was a little TOO crazy in this movie… and hard to like, but I’ll give it a pass.

Terminator 3: … I think most people try to pretend this movie doesn’t exist. Outside of a fan service bad guy… this movie did nothing except give the studio excuses to make more movies and completely invalid everything that happened in T2. Suddenly Miles died for nothing and the second terminator was wrong. UGH! The Golden Age of Terminator was clearly over. I still watch this movie because… well as action movies go, it was passable!

Terminator Salvation: A movie that covers the resistance movement??? RIGHT ON!!! We’ve been waiting for this!! I’m not really a huge fan of Christian Bale or Sam Worthington, but they did a serviceable job in this movie. This clears up quite a bit about how Connor and Reese meet and how Connor becomes leader of the resistance. I will say that Connor is a little more deified than I would have liked, but I suppose that was unavoidable. All in all, it was a good movie, minus the absence of Arnold.

Terminator Salvation Animated: … I own it, but haven’t watched it all the way through. It’s okay… but I can’t really speak to the story. Moving on…

Terminator Genisys: When I heard about the premise for this movie… yeah I wasn’t enthusiastic. How could anyone do better than Linda Hamilton? I admit I didn’t hear/see anything more until I showed up at the movie. Then I saw her… “Wait… that’s Daenerys Targaryen… YOU CAST DAENERYS TARGARYEN AS SARAH CONNOR!?!?!?”
Keep in mind, this was back when she was still being stripped naked and bent over by her Dothraki king. Then I see her actually go to work in the movie and… I was pleasantly surprised. Daenerys (yes I know her name is Emilia Clarke, but lets face it, you all know her as Daenerys), actually pulls off a good Sarah Connor. I wasn’t a fan of their stand in for Kyle Reese, and Arnold… I’ll admit I liked how they explained the Terminator’s age. I honestly thought it was a good movie. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Genisys, and what happens to John isn’t really well fleshed out, but I actually enjoyed that movie. Bring on the torches and pitchforks!

So where does the Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles fit in? Honestly… it doesn’t. I’m not going to pretend that the timeline makes ANY sense whatsoever!!! BECAUSE IT DOESN’T!!! People have written books trying to explain this away. Near as I can figure out… TSCC happens as a result of John Connor’s survival of Terminator 3, at which point he sends Cameron back to invalidate that stupid movie. (Thank God)
And then the John Connor from TSCC somehow sends another Terminator back to just wipe the entire drawing board clear and start ‘fresh.’
Confused? You should be, but this is the best I’ve got. Let some other quantum theorist figure the rest out. I subscribe to the divergent timelines theory and that doesn’t hold up here.

Anyway, The Sarah Connor Chronicles stars Lena Headey as Sarah Connor and… OH MY GOD, YES!!!! I’m sorry, unpopular opinion, Cersei blows Linda Hamilton and Daenerys out of the water. I know, I know, most people love Linda Hamilton’s performance and she’s the iconic version… but honestly, I don’t see her portrayal being sustainable in a TV series. She was just too belligerent and insane to make an effective character for long. Lena’s Sarah Connor has that emotional instability, but tempers it with far more motherly instinct.
Thomas Dekker as John definitely reminds me more of T2 John than T3. I’m happy with his performance.
Cameron… what can I say about her? She’s portrayed by Summer Glau… and her previous smash role in Firefly should have been foreshadowing as to what would happen… She portrays a TOK715 from the 900 series of Terminator. Near as I can figure out, she’s a recon Terminator… perhaps even an infiltration unit as she is far better at passing for a human than the T800 series. Though her programming seems more advanced, she definitely seems less advanced than the T1000 series.

The series focuses in several different themes. Sarah is haunted not only by the future and what could happen to John, but also the prospect that she may not be around much longer due to cancer.
John’s story is more of a coming of age tale where he has to deal with the prospect of being humanity’s savior, and also being a normal kid.
Cameron… is the Commander Data of this story. She’s seemingly emotionless, though I’m not convinced of this, but she strives to better understand humans while at the same time protecting John and Sarah. She’s also quite possibly self-aware.

The third and final theme, and perhaps the most interesting one, is the connection between Cameron and John. A potential romance between a human and a terminator is something that was never explored before. I know it turned off a lot of people, but I actually kind of liked that idea.

So with everything positive I said about the show… why on Earth am I saying not to bother with it? Because its just not fleshed out. Unfortunately, the show only got two seasons, was plagued by poor reviews, and was ultimately cancelled. I watched the show religiously and enjoyed every minute of it.

Cancellation means that they didn’t answer WAY too many questions and the Season 2 finale was a cliffhanger that really hurt. All of the plot lines from seasons 1 and 2 were left wide open and literally nothing is accomplished.

Because of this, the series is little more than a fragment of what would have been an amazing series. If you really want to experience it, I’d recommend the first season ALONE! The second season essentially opens way to many plot threads that, thanks to its cancellation, go nowhere.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Magnifica: Gravestalker, Revised Release!!!

Hello everyone!!!

I am so excited to announce that a revised copy of my book, Magnifica Gravestalker is currently set for release tomorrow. For those of you who have already purchased a copy (physical or digital), you’ll be able to download the revised version free of charge. For those who haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll enjoy it. Gravestalker remains the favorite of all the stories I’ve written. Returning to it was a true labor of love and I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy the results.

All I ask is that when you read it, PLEASE leave a review!!! Stars are everything in this business

Hard copies for those of you who are like me can be purchased here.

Digital copies are available here.

They will also be available where ever fantasy books are sold!

Book details:


Sample Chapter:

Chapter I

Toby’s heart froze in his chest as he stood next to his bike, ready to leave the reservation. He was getting sick of Giselle’s rhymes and riddles. All he wanted was a straight answer and if he didn’t get it soon, he was going to explode, “What do you mean Masarabi lied to me? What are you talking about?”

Giselle stepped away from Gishan, lowered her eyes to the ground, and began pacing in a circle, “Toby… you were right when you said that I should have left you and Lia’na alone. I know it’s partially my fault for getting you two mixed up in this awful mess. Had I not asked you for help, the chances are that she would still be alive right now… The Apocalyphe would still exist, but the Filis de Lux would have no way of getting to it. I couldn’t make up for that even if I spent the rest of my life trying.”

“Giselle, really, I’m in no mood for any of this. We all have our regrets, me more so than anyone. I’m sorry, but I can’t play counselor to you right now. If you have a point, would you mind getting to it quicker so I can get the hell out of here?”

“Toby man, take it easy.” Gishan said nervously.

Giselle shook her head as she looked at Gishan, “No, he’s right. –I’m sorry Toby… you’re right… but what if I told you that the elven people weren’t the only ones to salvage Alliance texts? What if I told you the U.S. Government had them in our posession? The Government fears what some of the books represent, so they keep them secret even from their own employees. It got to the point where the only people who knew what was in some of those archives are long since dead. Many of the locked areas of the rare books sections don’t even have keys anymore and are regarded as off-limits.”

“So?” Toby asked, ready to walk away.

“Well… Being an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has its benefits… including access to all of these things without anyone questioning it. What if I told you that after Lia’na died, I went poking around the library on a whim and discovered another book in the archives that may be of some interest to you? What if I told you that I took it… and no one would ever even notice it was gone?”

Toby was now slowly becoming interested. He stepped away from his bike, having temporarily lost the desire to get as far away as fast as he could, “What book?”

“Before I show you… answer me one question. What would you do to get Lia’na back, to be able to hold her, and love her again? How far are you willing to go and what price are you willing to pay?”

A slight breeze swept by that brought the sound of movement with it. The group turned immediately, suspecting that they were being watched. Toby scanned the darkness for a few moments, but there was no one around to be seen. The hair stood up on the back of the friends’ necks, but they ignored it.

Toby turned back to Giselle and looked deep into her brown eyes, letting her know he was serious, “You already know the answer to that. I would bring this entire world to its knees to hold her again, even if it were just for a few moments. I would sell my own soul to the devil for just one day with her. I would go through what we went through a million times over if it meant she’d be waiting for me at the end.”

 

Giselle bit her lower lip and sighed as she pulled out a square shaped package wrapped in brown cloth from under her jacket. Part of her had wished she’d never brought it up, but she knew she owed Toby this much, “Toby… please understand… I could go to prison for the rest of my life for what I’m about to show you…”

Giselle slowly unwrapped the package and held it out to Toby. Inside was an 8”x 10” book. It looked to be around the same age, if not older than the Magnifica or the Apocalyphe, but it was in much better condition than either. The cover was brown leather with golden clasps. There was an eye on the cover that bore a striking resemblance to the Eye of Providence.

 

Toby took it from her and instantaneously felt a charge of spiritual energy flow through his body. Whatever this book was, it was powerful, more so than the Magnifica or the Apocalyphe… possibly combined. He got the feeling that the eye on the cover was watching him as he looked the book over. It was unlike anything he’d ever seen before.

Toby looked up at Giselle as the charge flowed through him. His eyes narrowed as he examined her nervous expression, “What is this?”

The lights from the nearby torches flickered on Giselle’s face as she nervously smiled. Toby continued to look over the book as she spoke, “When I did some digging, I found an old script left by none other than Thomas Jefferson himself.”

Toby looked up in shock, “What would Thomas Jefferson have to do with this?”

“Near as I can tell, this book was out of Europe before the American Revolution. It was handed off to a group of Freemasons for safekeeping. The local masonic lodge didn’t know what to make of this book and feared the stories that they were told.”

 

Giselle felt chills travel down her spine as she continued, “One of the masons at that time, a man named Benjamin McConnel, was a skilled linguist. He was able to translate part of the text. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for them to figure out what this book was used for. When they realized its implications, the freemasons panicked. They tried to destroy the book, but when they failed, they decided it needed to be hidden away. They gave it to then-president Thomas Jefferson for safe keeping. Jefferson held on to the book for a few years, but after a couple of suspected break-ins at his home, he donated the book, along with the rest of his collection to the Library of Congress after Washington was set ablaze during the war of 1812.”

Giselle sucked in one last deep breath as she nervously finished her history lesson, “The message he wrote said that he truly believes great evil surrounds this book and it must be kept hidden and secret at all times.”

Gishan took a nervous step back as Toby opened the book and looked at the ancient hieroglyphics, “This isn’t Alliance writing. It looks totally different.”

Giselle shook her head, “True, but you should be able to manipulate it the same way as you did with the Magnifica.”

 

Toby quickly focused his mind as he stared at the page. He waved his hand over the book and watched as the lettering rearranged itself to modern English. His mind ached as he worked. Some of the letters were similar to what he saw in the Magnifica, but others were totally different. There was no way to know if the book would completely translate or if it would come out as complete gibberish.

As the enchantment worked, Toby looked up at Giselle, “What is this?”

“The Necronexus. From what I was able to find out, this book was written by an unknown sect outside of the Alliance. No one knew about it until the Alliance raided their lands. When they discovered what it was, they also tried to destroy it, but the book resisted all spells, charms, and enchantments. Nothing appeared to do the job. When they failed to dispose of it, the Alliance Council took the book and hid it in the southernmost part of their territory. They wanted to make sure that it was completely forgotten.”

Toby listened as Giselle gave him yet another history lesson, “It is believed that the Egyptians later found the book, successfully translated it, and used its spells in their books of the dead. Since then, the Necronexus has made its way around history without really being noticed. It found its way into the hands of the Knights Templar, who feared what it may be and locked it away after they themselves failed to destroy it.”

Gishan sighed, “So that would explain how it found its way into the hands of the Freemasons.”

“Yeah that’s right.”

Toby shook his head while he looked at the spell book, “This… resurrection and regeneration enchantment looks like exactly what we want… but it’s complicated… It looks like we’re going to need quite a few things, most of which look more symbolic than anything. I hate the idea of having to wait… but I’ll need a week or so just to make sure I get it right. Even then there appears to be a lot of risk. These enchantments are unlike anything I’ve done before.”

Gishan nodded, “Tell me what you need, if I can’t get it, I’ll know someone who can. We’ll find everything on there as long as it still exists. Don’t worry man. Just promise me one thing.”

“Go ahead, I’m listening, what’s up?”

“Don’t be stupid about this. It sucks what happened to Lia’na and she deserves a second chance… so do you. You’re like a brother to me and I know she made you happy like no one else could… but screwing with nature… I don’t know man. Take your time and make sure you get it right. That’s all I ask.”

“Don’t worry, Gishan, I learned my lesson after the last time. I’m not going to be doing anything that might put another person in jeopardy that I promise you. I’ve lost too much already from making that mistake.”

“I want to be there too.” Giselle added. “You never know what might happen and you’ll need all the help you can get. That book is considerably older than the Magnifica and is apparently impossible to destroy. We know a lot less than we should about it. What we do know is that it could be easily misused if it falls into the wrong hands. We need to be extra cautious.”

“Agreed. So we’re all in on this then?”

“Yeah.” Gishan replied.

Giselle hesitated for a moment before answering, “Yes… but on one condition.”

“Only one?” Toby asked. “What’s that?”

“Once you’ve brought her back, you never use the book again. I know your uncle and your father were taken from you… and I understand the temptation to try to save them. Lord knows there are people I’d love to see again, but that book is too dangerous to keep around. You never know what else could be waiting to come through from the other side. I will allow you to take that risk once, and only once. So once you’ve gotten what you want, you need to find a way to destroy the book.”

The look in Giselle’s eyes was absolutely serious. Toby could see that if he tried to negotiate or refuse to destroy the book, there was no way she’d let him use it. He also knew that there would be risks and as much as he loved his uncle, he knew that he owed Lia’na a second chance.

Giselle sighed as she finished her terms, “I won’t take it back to the Library, nor will I leave it in your hands. Not after what we saw with the Apocalyphe. Messing with the metaphysical goes way beyond simple enchanting, and is too dangerous. I won’t risk our existence by allowing it to fall into the wrong hands… as if there were any such thing as right hands in this case. This is my price, one use, and then I want it destroyed.”

“So that’s the deal then? Lia’na’s life for this book’s destruction?”

“You could look at it that way.”

“I am, and you don’t need to worry.I don’t know what I can do that the ancient enchanters didn’t already try, but once she’s back in my arms and all is said and done… I’m getting rid of the Fragmentum, this book, and possibly even the Magnifica. When I’m done, I’m ridding the world of magic. There is just no place for it anymore. Lia’na deserves the normal life she was robbed of. That doesn’t seem possible as long as enchanters still exist.”

“Good…” Giselle said in approval. “Then count me in all the way!”

Toby smiled for the first time in days. The pain of Lia’na’s death was still with him, but hopefully it wouldn’t be something he’d have to live with for the rest of his life, “Then let’s head back to Massachusetts and get started. I need to study these writings while you get the supplies we’ll need. The sooner we get everything together, the sooner she’ll be back with us.”

“Right, so let’s all meet back at Toby’s condo tomorrow and figure out what we need.” Gishan replied.

Toby turned away and hid the book in the left leather pouch on the side of his bike. He tapped the odometer to wake it up as he got on. The bike revved its engine, as though asking a question.

“No I’m feeling better now.” Toby said in response. “It looks like the story isn’t quite over yet.”

Vroom!

“I know that… but we’re going to get her back. I’ll fill you in on the way home.”

Vroomroom!

“I know… I miss her too, but I said I’d do anything to save her and I meant it. So let’s get going, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Cerererer!

“I can’t wait to have her back either. She would be in my arms right now if there were any justice in the world. It’s just not fair.”

The bike slowly rolled forward as Toby rested his arms on the handle bars, “Come on. Let’s go home…”

Gishan waved as Toby disappeared into a dust cloud that was kicked up by the bike’s tires, “Good luck, Toby! See you tomorrow!”

Toby had hoped that he would be able to learn the enchantments quickly and bring her back within a day or two. However his hopes were shattered when he saw what would be needed to conduct the ritual. Aside from procedures and mental preparations, there were some rare items that they would also need.

As promised, Giselle and Gishan showed up at Toby’s house the day after the funeral. Toby had spent the entire night going over the book and had gotten no sleep. His eyes had heavy bags undernieth them and his skin was pale.

Giselle noticed his disheveled appearance the moment she entered the living room, “Good God, Toby. You’re not going to be able to save her if you run yourself into the ground like this.”

Toby rubbed his eyes as he spoke, “No, I know that… but every time I close my eyes, I see her face… the look she gave me during the last few minutes before she died. I just can’t stand it.”

Gishan frowned, “I know how you feel buddy, but you need to be healthy. How ya going to conduct this ritual if you’re falling asleep?”

“Fine. Let’s figure out what we need for the ritual and then I’ll go to bed.”

“Sounds good to me.” Gishan said as he sat down next to Toby and rested his stubby legs. “Let’s get started.”

Over the next few days, Giselle and Gishan worked diligently to get everything they would need. Gishan worked especially hard as he knew better than Giselle how badly this was killing Toby. They were brothers as far as the young dwarf was concerned and there was little he wouldn’t do for Toby. He knew that he would have to hurry before his friend collapsed from exhaustion.

The few nights where Toby was able to sleep, he was forced to watch the horror unfold once again. No matter how hard he tried, he could not expel the dream for even a single moment of relief. It would continue to haunt him and continue to make him face the grim reality that she was dead because he was powerless to save her.

Every night, it was the same thing; Toby watched in horror as Lia’na placed her hand on the Apocalyphe. He tried to run to her, but a wall of energy blocked his path. He tried everything from slamming his body into it, to trying to go around, to blasting it with both light and dark enchantments. Nothing worked and there was nothing he could do except watch helplessly as the release of energy from the book killed her.

Lia’na began to shake as the powers of the Fragmentum and the book ripped into her soul. The book was destroyed and a bolt of light hit Lia’na. Blood poured from her abdomen as she looked up at Toby with a sympathetic expression.

The light drained from her eyes and tears flowed as she cried out, “Toby… help me… please! It hurts…”

Finally he was able to run to her and try to restore her wounds. Each time he tried, the wounds just got worse. She scowled as she looked at him, “You… should have listened to me. This is your fault…”

One morning, Toby’s eyes shot open to the sounds of a kettle in the kitchen screaming that its contents were hot. He jolted upwards into a sitting position and fell off the couch. His left hip ached in pain as he struggled back into his spot.

“Oh, sorry about that,” A voice appeared behind him, “I didn’t think the kettle would be that loud!”

Toby looked up to see what was going on. His eyes were only half open and his vision was badly blurred. He tried to make the fuzz go away by rubbing them a few times and eventually succeeded, “It’s all right Giselle… you probably just did me a favor.”

Giselle was standing over the stove in her pink pajama pants and one of the long tshirts she had brought with her. The shirt looked huge on her, but wasn’t long enough to cover her legs, so the pajamas took care of the rest. She frowned as she poured the hot water into a mug, “Still having the same nightmare?”

“Yeah… I can’t get her out of my head. It’s driving me insane!”

“I know, I’ve been through it myself and I understand what that’s like. The only comfort I can offer is that it does get easier over time.”

“I find that hard to believe…”

“I know… but either way, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. We’re almost ready to get started on the ritual.”

“I just don’t understand how I can’t even get one decent night’s rest.”

Giselle gave him a sympathetic smile, “The amount you’ve been drinking lately probably hasn’t helped anything! When’s the last time you actually slept in your bed?”

“A few days…” Toby admitted.

“You see? I’m sure that’s part of it! Lying face down on this leather sofa like you passed out cannot be comfortable. You need to be in your own bed.”

Giselle walked over to a small box on the counter and plucked a teabag out of it. The water in the mug steamed as she added the bag and a drop of honey from the bottle next to the stove. The mug made a faint sound resembling a bell as she stirred the tea.

“It still smells like her. It’s even harder to sleep there. When I close my eyes, it’s like she’s still there.”

Giselle sighed, “As much as I hate to say it, maybe it’s time to replace the sheets then? If it drives you that insane, then it might be time.”

“Maybe…”

“Definitely.”

A concerned look came over her face like she wanted to say something, but was afraid of what Toby would say. She took a step closer and spoke, “Toby, I hate to bring this up now… I know you have high hopes for the enchantment. I do too, but we have to accept the possibility that it may not work.”

“I don’t want to think about that right now.”

“You have to. You have to consider what you’ll do if we can’t bring her back. A hard choice will have to be made.”

“What are you talking about?”

“If we can’t bring her back, you’re going to have to let her go. That involves moving her out.”

Toby looked at her oddly, “She’s up in New Hampshire having her bones laid to rest, or didn’t you notice?”

Giselle sighed. She knew that what she was about to say would hurt, but Toby needed to hear it, “No, what’s up there is an empty shell of what used to be Lia’na. Her spirit never left us. She’s here, right now… in her smells, her clothes, and the decorations she brought here when she moved in. She’ll continue to linger here as long as you hold on to her. For now that’s fine, but if we fail… eventually you’re going to have to let go and let her move to the next life.”

“Enough, I don’t want to hear this… not now.”

Once her mug was empty, Giselle walked over and sat next to Toby on the couch. The moment her hand touched the moist leather, she shot up, “Aw gross, thanks for warning me, Toby!”

“I can’t help it if I sweat.”

“Yeah, but its leather, it doesn’t absorb the sweat, it just let’s the stuff pool!”

“Sorry.”

“Ugh, this is what I mean! Toby, as your friend, I’m telling you right now, you need to get out of here! Go ride your bike up and down the road or go walk around Arcanus. I don’t care, just do something! This is not healthy.”

Giselle cleaned herself off and sat down in the armchair next to the couch, refusing to go anywhere near where Toby was again, “Gishan should be back in another day or two with the corpse flower we need. I’m sorry it’s taken us so long to get the ingredients, but some of this stuff is complicated and very rare. We’re actually lucky that none of it is extinct.”

She picked up an odd looking knife from the side table, “I mean look at this! We needed ebony to hand-carve a ceremonial knife for the ritual, we also needed a bit of her remains, which the elves were not going to give up willingly. Sneaking back on to the reservation before they buried her wasn’t easy! Then we needed candles made from pure whale fat! Seriously, whale fat? No one even uses that anymore… Now we need an extinct flower, which has a different species growing in South America, and hopefully that will be it!”

“I know that, and it didn’t help that it took me so long to translate the Necronexus. The damn book drained me of my energy for days! I’ve never seen an ancient text so complicated that it actually took more than a simple decipher enchantment to translate it! It was more like trying to web a network of unknown lines and dialogue together to make something partially coherent!”

“I remember…. I watched you struggling with it. You were off your feet for two days after! I would have helped you if I could have, but that was way beyond anything I could have done. I also had to coordinate Gishan’s trip to get the flower.”

She broke her gaze momentarily to look down at her mug as she sipped the tea before continuing, “It should have been me going after that flower. It would have been… but after the chaos in Washington, and our little incident in the Netherlands, I’ve been on conference call after conference call with my superiors and have been essentially grounded. Even so… I should never have let Gishan go to Malaysia alone.”

“He’ll be fine… he always is. That dwarf has talked himself out of trouble more times than he’d ever admit to.”

“I hope you’re right.” Giselle replied as she headed for the guest room to change. “You know him better than I do, but I still worry.”

Toby stared blankly at the frame on his end table. It was a beautiful picture of Lia’na and Toby at Revere Beach. He would never forget that day. Lia’na had asked a dwarf that was passing by to take the picture for them.

Toby had expected Lia’na to stand next to him, but instead, she jumped on his back. Her legs hugged his hips and her arms were loosely draped around his neck. Toby’s arms were holding Lia’na’s legs in place as the two of them stood there smiling.

After a few moments, Toby could no longer stand looking at it. He grabbed the pictured and turned it over so that he didn’t have to see the smiling faces. That was nothing more than a piece of history now.

Giselle noticed it and frowned, “I know you miss her Toby. We’re going to do everything we can to get her back.”

Toby stood up and headed for the bathroom, “I know that… Thank you…”

Without another word, Toby closed the door to his bedroom and headed into the shower. Giselle shook her head as he disappeared from view. Her heart sank in her chest. It’s just not right.

Toby shut the door to the bathroom.  His skin was oily and itched as he stripped off the tshirt and boxers he’d been wearing for the last two days. Part of him just wanted to throw out the clothes, given how badly they smelled, but he knew that they could be salvaged if washed soon.

The water pouring out of the shower head didn’t offer him any comfort as 48 hours of sweat washed away. The soap that came off of his body was tinted gray and he had to vigorously run the shampoo through his hair to get the plastic feeling of greese to go away. He was getting clean, but it didn’t feel any better.

Toby leaned down and turned off the shower. He stood in place for a few moments, letting the water drip away as he stared at the steam that whisked by his face. He leaned on the wall, not ready to move. He was completely paralyzed as he remembered the joy of looking forward to showers when Lia’na lived with him.

After more than ten minutes, Toby got out of the shower and grabbed a towel. His mind was completely blank as he dried off and got dressed. He threw on some black jeans and a red tshirt before grabbing his keys and heading for the bedroom door.

Giselle was now sitting in the living room chair, sipping another cup of tea as Toby opened the door to the bedroom. The TV was on and she was keeping an eye on the restoration projects efforts aimed at bringing Boston back to it’s glory. She was interrupted by the creaking sound as Toby’s door opened.

“There, now that looks better. You look like a new man now that you’ve cleaned up a little.”

“I don’t feel like a new man.” Toby replied as he slowly started moving towards the front door.

“Going somewhere?”

“Yeah, I’m heading for Revere Beach. I’ll be back in a while.”

A worried expression appeared on Giselle’s face, “Toby, I know I told you to get out, but are you sure that Revere Beach is a good idea?”

“What do you want from me? It’s where I used to go when I needed to clear my head. There is no place that I can go now where she won’t be haunting me.”

“Yeah I know that, but now… I mean given how much time you two spent there. I’m just worried… Look just promise me you won’t have a meltdown until you’re off your bike, okay?”

“Fine.” Toby replied as he closed the door behind him without even looking up.

Giselle sighed as he disappeared from view. She feared that Toby would wind up coming back in traction, but that was a risk she ran no matter where he went. In the end, she knew there was nothing she could do about it. Damn it.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Magnifica: Tears of the Fallen Revised!

Hi All,

I’m happy to announce the Magnifica Tears of the Fallen has been revised, a few small changes have been made and is in the process of being re-released. Hope you all enjoy the improved book!

Thanks!
Jim

Book info:

ISBN: 978-0615942612
First Printing: December 2013

Cover Art by Helder Olivier

Editing By Meghan Harrington

Copyright © 2013, James Harrington

Amazon Listing.

 

Sample Chapter:

|

“Ariel, what is it? What has happened? Our world…”

“Oh my God… why… this was not supposed to happen!”

“Ariel, I don’t understand. It’s like an outside influence affected them.”

“Yes Roselyn, I can feel it, the ebb of time. There was an inter-dimensional shift… something terrible has happened.”

“What should we do, sister?”

“I have a feeling I know what caused this… I think it’s time for us to check in on our friends.”

“Ariel… you know the laws…”

“I know sister, but it’s a risk we have to take. The influence of our kind is what sent their world into chaos in the first place. We have to see…”

|

 

Chapter I

 

Come on Toby, get up!”

Toby groaned as his dream world gave way to a light blur. His eyes opened as he spoke, “All right, I’m awake…”

Lia’na glared at him with an annoyed look, “Ever since Hawaii you’ve been getting lazy! Come on, we’ve got stuff to do today.”

Toby shook his head as he sat up, “Yes… I know, don’t remind me.”

“I already did. We’ve got to go check on your uncle’s house to make sure that the lock was repaired and the cleaning crew did their job, and then you promised that you’d take me somewhere fun.”

“I know…” Toby replied. “I guess I’m just dreading it. I haven’t set foot in that house since before… well you know.”

“Yeah… look if it’s that big of a deal, I can just go and look for you.”

She crawled onto the mattress until her face was right in front of Toby’s, “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just anxious. Classes start on Monday and I know we won’t be able to go out much when things pick up.”

Toby turned to the side and put his feet on the floor, “Don’t worry about it. I know we need to get this done at some point. It might as well be now.”

Toby looked Lia’na over as he stood up. She was once again sleeping in his Red Sox jersey instead of the pajamas he’d bought for her. The white shirt complimented the tan on her skin from the weeks they’d spent in Hawaii.  Her hair was a mess and her braids were coming out, but she didn’t seem to care.

Toby liked this look on her much more than when she got all dressed up. He took it as a sign that she was comfortable and relaxed around him. Why she preferred his jersey to cotton pajamas was anyone’s guess, but the one time she wore the pajamas he got her, she tossed and turned all night.

Lia’na smiled as he pulled himself up, “All right, shower time.”

She grabbed his hand and led him into the bathroom. Toby followed close behind and shut the door. He quickly turned the dial and activated the fan in the bathroom to prevent the moister from building up.

Lia’na reached down to the bottom of the uniform and pulled the end up over her head. All she had been wearing underneath was a pair of white bikini bottoms. Toby watched her undress as she got ready for the shower. It was something he’d seen several times before, but he never tired of it.

 

Lia’na noticed him staring and slowed down a little with a coy smile on her face. The moment Toby realized what she was doing he stopped watching her and quickly stripped off his own t-shirt and boxers. Once they were both ready, Lia’na stepped into the porcelain tub and bent down to turn the water on. It took her a moment to find a comfortable temperature, but once she had, she pulled the level and activated the shower head.

Toby got in behind her as the water poured down her body. She stood up straight, closed her eyes, and released a deep sigh as the heat caressed her skin. The water made her skin shimmer as Toby pulled her close and let the water fall around them.

Lia’na nuzzled her head into Toby’s chest as he squeezed her and wrapped her arms around him. She was breathing deeply, allowing the water to sooth her nerves. Her back arched as Toby put his hand over her spine and her skin broke out in goose bumps.

Toby’s body began to glow and little wisps of light appeared around them in the shower. Lia’na looked at them with worry, “Spirit embers… this is the third time in two weeks.”

Toby nodded as he looked at his skin, “I know. I don’t understand it either. The radioactive properties of the Lux Mundi are gone. By now, the residual energy should have worn off. Shouldn’t my powers have at least weakened by now?”

“I don’t know, ta arshana. From what I know from elven tradition, when the Lux Mundi was destroyed, enchanters saw an immediate dip in their powers and over time they became more and more like regular people. You powers haven’t dipped at all though. In fact, it feels like they’ve gained strength! We need to figure this out… and soon, otherwise you’ll become a target.”

“How do we figure that out?”

“Masarabi might have been able to tell us, but we’re not allowed to go back there. I checked every historical piece I could find on the Lux Mundi online, but they didn’t have anything either. Maybe when we get back to campus the library will have something.”

“All right.” Toby replied. “Then we’ll check the library when we get back. For now though, can we just not worry about it? It’s been bothering you since we got back from Hawaii and I would just like to have a day or two where we don’t worry about things.”

Lia’na nodded as the embers slowly vanished and gave him another squeeze, “Deal.”
Getting out of the shower was agonizing for both of them, but they had a long day ahead of them and knew they had to get started. Toby would have been okay with staying in the room and relaxing, but he knew that Lia’na was still getting used to her new home closer to the city, so he decided to do things her way.

Lia’na slowly rinsed herself off by turning around a few times under the water. Finally she stepped out from under the shower and wiped the water from her eyes. She smiled as her eyes met Toby’s.

They stayed in the shower for a few more minutes before Toby twisted the handle and turned it off. Once the last drops of water had fallen from the shower head, Toby reached out from behind the curtain to the rack above the toilet and grabbed two towels. He handed the first one to Lia’na and wiped himself down with the second one.

Toby quickly brushed his teeth and hair and left Lia’na to tend to her own hair. He headed over to his dresser and grabbed a clean black shirt out of the drawer with a decent pair of khaki shorts. Unlike college, his underwear drawer was full of clean shorts, so finding a decent pair was easy.

Toby dressed quickly as Lia’na worked on her hair in the bathroom. When he was done, Toby quickly went through the closet he’d given to Lia’na for her clothes. He found a nice pair of flats and a black dress that he had bought for her, but she had yet to wear. He went back to his own drawer with her clothes in hand and grabbed a black collared shirt and a pair of longer pants from his drawer. Now’s my chance…

Once Toby had everything he wanted, he snuck out of the bedroom, through the living room, and down to his bike in the garage. He moved quietly, hoping Lia’na wouldn’t notice he was missing.

A familiar purr came from the garage as he opened the door. Toby shook his head, “Shh…”

The bike quieted down as Toby slid the clothes into the leather side bags on the motorcycle. He quickly threaded the straps back together, concealing the bags’ contents as he looked at the bike’s headlight, “Don’t say anything okay? I’m taking Lia’na somewhere special.”

Vroom!

“Thanks buddy. I’ll be right back.”

Toby quickly made his way back upstairs to the condo. He opened the door, walked back into the bedroom, and sat down on his mattress. Thankfully, Lia’na was still in the bathroom. He was about lay down when his phone went off. The loud music made him jump as he turned to his nightstand. The display was lit up and a horrible picture of his dwarven friend appeared.

Oh God… what does he want? Toby asked himself as he picked up the phone, “Hey buddy, what’s up?”

“Nothing,” Gishan replied, “just checking in. How you guys doing?”

“We’re fine. Lia’na’s pretty much all healed up. The Ulium is gone and the emotional damage seems to be going away as well. She seems to be getting more used to living here.”

“That’s good… really good.”

Toby rolled his eyes, “Seriously dude, this is the fourth time you’ve called in a few days, what’s going on?”

“Ah I don’t know.” Gishan’s voice replied. “I guess I’m just bored. Giselle is out of town for another few weeks and God only knows where she is.”

“Comes with the job, you know?”

“Yeah I do… Doesn’t make it any easier.”

“I didn’t think it would.” Toby admitted as Lia’na came out of the bathroom. “Don’t worry about it though. We’ll all be on campus in another day or so.”

“Yeah I know. It just won’t be the same having to share my place with a new roommate.”

“Matteus is a good guy. You’ll do fine.”

“Did you get all of your crap out of the room?” Gishan asked.

“Yeah. We rented a van a few days ago and got both mine and Lia’na’s stuff before turning in our keys to the office.”

“Don’t seem right dude…” Gishan said softly.

“I know Gishan. Look, if it gets that bad, you can always come here and shack up in the spare bedroom. You’ve got a key, you know?”

Gishan’s voice perked up a little. “Yeah I do. All right thanks Toby.”

“Don’t mention it. I’ll see you on Monday.”

“Looking forward to it, see ya man.” Gishan said as he hung up the phone.

Lia’na turned and looked at Toby as he put the phone down, “Gishan again?”

“It’s a big adjustment for him. This will be the first time we’re not living together in a while. I guess he doesn’t like having to let go.”

Lia’na rolled his eyes, “He doesn’t have to, you know? He can always move in here! Now that you’ve bound me to you, I don’t mind giving it up. I never sleep there anyway.”

“I know, I offered it to him… but he’s stubborn. I’m sure after a few weeks with Matteus, he’ll come around.”

“I hope so. I don’t think Giselle likes the idea of hanging out on a college campus now that she’s not posing as a student.”

“Probably not. Come on; let’s go out for some breakfast.”

Lia’na’s eyes lit up, “Oh, the Tumble Inn Diner?”

“Why not?”

“All right!” Lia’na cheered, “Give me a minute to get dressed.”

Lia’na quickly threw on a pair of black bikini briefs and a matching bra, jean shorts, and a green lace top with spaghetti straps. It was still warm out, so she thought that would be sufficient. She quickly looked at herself in the mirror and nodded in approval.

Once Lia’na was convinced she looked presentable, she turned to Toby, “Okay I’m ready! Let’s go!”

The couple left Toby’s condo and headed down to the garage. The moment the door opened, Lia’na was startled by the loud roar of a motorcycle engine. Toby’s bike was powered up and ready to go.

Lia’na shook her head as she looked at it, “I still don’t understand how she still has powers. That’s a little worrisome.”

Toby frowned with a hurt look on his face, “I like it. The bike is much more fun with a personality, though it can be a little too pushy at times!”

Vrrr…

“Aw, Toby, you hurt her feelings!”

“And how do you know it’s a girl?” Toby demanded.

Lia’na ran her fingers across the seat as the bike’s engine purred appreciatively, “Women just understand each other, Toby.”

Toby’s eyes rolled as he sat on the bike, “Oh whatever, let’s go!”

 

 

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

 

 

Beneath the Surface (Chapter 10)

X

 

Alex woke up in his mother’s bed. He felt disgusting and his joints were all sore like they hadn’t been moved in days. He was in despirate need of a shower. He sat up, ready to start the day, when he looked outside to see that it was completely dark. What time is it?

The clock next to his bed said 9pm. What the hell?

At that moment, his mind began to clear, “Tersa!”

Alex struggled to get out of bed. His knees ached as he tried to apply weight to them. He was unable to find his balance. Had he been drugged?

At that moment, two men in black and red robes burst through the door. Alex’s eyes went wide, “Who the hell are you?”

The leader, an older man with a gray beard, stepped forward, “I am Father Benson, and this is Father Paul.”

He eyed the two preists suspiciously, “You’re here from the Vatican?”

“Officially, no. We don’t even exist. We are part of an ancient order within the church. We are Papal Knights.”

“The Papal Knights were disbanded back during the 16th Century. They don’t exist anymore.” Alex fired back.

“As far as the public is concerned, that’s true.”

On their black robes, both of them had a small pendant on the collar. It was two sword, one red, one white, in the form of a cross. They each also had a sword at their side, for ceremonial purposes, no doubt.

Alex didn’t know their intentions, but didn’t trust them, “I suppose you two are the ones who have been following me around over the last few days?”

The two priests looked at each other for a moment before Father Benson spoke, “No.”

“You weren’t following me in black hodded cloaks?”

“No.”

“Then who was?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know.”

Alex was growing even more suspicious, “What happened? Where is Tersa?”

“She’s safe.”

“I need more than that, what happened after the exorcism?”

“There was no exorcism. You failed. What were you thinking?”

“I beg your pardon?” Alex asked.

Father Benson pointed an accusing finger at him, “You are not ordained. You went to the church, they turned you down, so instead you go about trying a seat of your pants exorcism? Are you out of your mind?”

“Father Moran’s view was way off.” Alex shot back. “He wouldn’t even consult the bishop on it. She clearly was exhibiting all the symptons of a power possession. There is no way that she would have lasted long. Where is she?”

“Here.”

“Here? In my house?”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes, we took up residence here. Her parents agreed to leave her in our care while we sort this out.”

Alex shook his head, “Sort what out? This struck me as a possession, not unlike any other.”

“Oh but it is different.”

“How.”

“Because, Tersa isn’t the only one possessed.”

“What… then who, Sgt. McConnel?”

“No. Think harder.”

That’s when it hit Alex. The voices he’d been hearing, the hallucinations, the man in the black robes, the nightmares… “Me?”

Father Benson nodded, “That’s correct.”

“Well… that would explain a few things, but how…?”

Father Paul stepped forward, “The failed exorcism that you were a part of. That girl left something with you, didn’t she?”

“No. Nothing.”

“No?” Brother Paul asked. “Tell me, when did the nightmares and your smoking habit start? Almost immediately after, didn’t it?”

“Well… Come on, that’s just post traumatic stress disorder.”

Father Benson nodded, “Spoken like a true psychologist.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Is it?” Father Benson asked. “How long do you think you’ve been laying here?”

Alex shrugged, “I don’t know, 17 hours?”

“It’s been four days.”

“Four days?”

“Afraid so…”

Alex couldn’t believe it, “How… that’s not possible! I was unconscious for three days! What did you give me?”

“Nothing, we knocked you out. We didn’t drug you… and you weren’t unconscious the entire time either.”

“What do you mean?”

“You were up, walking around, speaking in tongues.”

Alex was barely able to process this information, “So why didn’t you exorcise… whatever it is?”

“We tried, twice. It will not leave. We were even able to identify it, but it still remains attached to your soul.”

“What are we dealing with?”

Father Paul lowered his eyes as he spoke, “Adramelech.”

Alex couldn’t believe it, but it made sense. That would explain why Rachel referred to him as such, “But… that demon…”

“Yes we know. It killed that poor girl in Rome.”

“But it was with her after the exorcism.”

“No.” Father Paul replied. “We believe that it did the damage to her that killed her during the exorcism. She died because of those injuries, but that doesn’t mean they were inflicted at that point. It would appear that your exorcism wasn’t a failure after all. You ripped the demon from that poor girl, but you didn’t successfully send it to Hell.”

“So it attached itself to me.”

Father Benson nodded, “Yes… I’m afraid so…”

Alex rubbed his forehead. Suddenly things started to fall into place. Unfortunately, it still left too much unanswered, “But why haven’t I ever lost control? I’ve had hallucinations, but up until now, the demon has never taken control of me.”

“That you know of.”

Alex stopped in his path, “Yes… that I know of.”

“For all you know, it could have taken you while you slept. Or perhaps it was lying in wait for the right moment to strike.”

“Why would it do that?”

“Who knows? Maybe it wanted you to bring it somewhere before trying to take over?”

That made Alex very suspicious, “Somewhere as in here?”

“Possibly.”

“But why?”

“No idea…”

Alex shook his head, more questions that didn’t have answers. He stood up and turned to the priests, “Can I see her?”

The two of them nodded as Father Benson spoke up, “She’s out on your back porch, but for your own safty, we’d ask that you not leave the property. We can’t guarantee your safty or the safry of those nearby if you do.”

“I’m surprised you’re not trying to force me to stay put.”

“We’re preists, not armed guards.”

Alex nodded as he turned to the door and stepped out of the bedroom. He proceeded past the priests down the hallway to the living room. Everything was as it had been before in the living room and the dining room.

His house was very similar in layout to the McConnel’s. Their dining room and slider to the back porch was in the same place, though his mother preferred a different setup of the furnature. Their table was off to the side, giving anyone in the living room an unobstructed view of the porch.

Alex made his way to the back slider when he saw Tersa standing out back, wrapped in a black blanket. He pulled the slider open carefully, trying not to disturb her, but his efforts were in vain. She jumped the moment that she heard the slider open.

A sign of relief exited her body when she saw that it was just Alex. He paused at the door when he saw her, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“You didn’t.” She responded. “I guess I’m just a little tightly wound at the moment.”

“Yeah, I can understand that.”

“Well it’s not every day you find out that you’re the reincarnated mistress of some ancient Aztec God.”

“Aztec?”

“Quetzalcoatl. He was the Aztec God of light. Some say he was one of their Sun Gods. I looked it up when I found out who Rachel worshipped.”

Alex scratched his head, “But I don’t get it, why you?”

“I was born at the right time.”

“Yeah you and how many millions of others?”

“I also lived nearby.”

“Still, there has to be a bit more to it than that. I mean why you, why wait three hundred years?”

Tersa shrugged. Alex saw the sad look on her face and began to worry, “There’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

Tersa nodded, “It could be nothing… odd coincidence.”

“What?”

“My mother’s maiden name, Proctor.”

Chills ran down Alex’s spine, “You’re kidding?”

“No, and my mother’s family has lived in this town for as far back as our history goes.”

“Now it makes sense.”

Tersa nodded, “Yeah… Rachel was too young to have children, but according to what I read, she had brothers and sisters, some of whom survived to adulthood.”

“So that would make you her great, great, great, great… great grand niece.”

“Her blood descendant.”

Alex sighed, “Well that does make sense.”

“So you believe?”

“Yeah, I believe you, why wouldn’t I?”

“That’s not what I meant.” Tersa replied. “I was asking if you believe.”

“Then my answer is still no.”

“How can someone who has seen a demonic possession and even now is dealing with one of his own, still not believe in God?”

“Did I ever say that I didn’t believe in God?”

Tersa’s racing mind stopped dead in its tracks. It’s true, he never did say that. Then what did he mean when he said that he wasn’t a believer? This made no sense to her, “Then what don’t you believe in?”

“I don’t believe he cares.” Alex replied. “I don’t believe that he’s infallible.”

“So… what you think he just created us for sport or some kind of entertainment?”

“Exactly.”

“That’s a pretty dismal outlook.”

“Yup.”

“You really have changed. The guy I used to know would never have said anything like that.”

“A lot can happen in six years.”

“I guess.”

Alex’s eyes narrowed, “You sound disappointed.”

“No, not at all.” Tersa insisted. “You may not be the charismatic person you were back then, but you were still the kind person who took a complete stranger in distress in off of the street. That’s the guy that I remember.”

“Well at there’s one person I didn’t disappoint.”

An annoyed look appeared on Tersa’s face, “You know, you put way too much stock in what happened in Rome. Small towns like this aren’t a good place to keep secrets.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that everyone here knows that something bad happened to you over in Rome, not everyone knows what, but we all know that you left the seminary because of something you saw. Rumors spread quickly about what it was…”

Alex rolled his eyes, “Oh great…”

“Alex, we were worried about you. You could have come home, but you were too ashamed.”

“I couldn’t save that girl. She had a family and life before all of this.”

“Yeah she did, but so did you and you still do. Look, from what you told me, you were a student. You shouldn’t have even been put in that situation. You did what you could.”

“It wasn’t enough.”

“No, but you gave it everything you could. It wasn’t for you to save that girl. She was doomed the moment that your teacher was killed.”

Alex couldn’t argue anymore, or was it that he didn’t want to? Instead he feigned a smile, “You sure know how to suck the wind out of an argument.”

“It’s easy when all you have is the truth.”

Alex nodded, “All right, well I’ll think about.”

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim