Still not much happening on the writing front, even as the building stuff races forward at an ever-increasing speed. 🙂 I think a general tiredness, and need for holiday are to blame.
So to give myself some extra incentives to get going, and because one likes to share, I am posting the first part of chapter one. Of course this will most likely change upon revision, and any glaringly obvious typos and flubbed sentences will be corrected later.. 🙂
A Darkening Dawn
A Tale From The Seasons of Chaos
By Michael Parry
Chapter One: A Meeting At Dawn
“It is said that ebb and flow of civilization marches across the lands like the tides of night and day, sweeping from sea to sea, delving into mighty ravines and skimming over plains and forests. First casting a light amongst the stones, and then shadows on the river. Bringing brightness again to glance upon eyrie and bringing a deep blackness to the streets. I can lay no claim to the truth of this, but having seen with mine own eyes the rise of Empire from the ashes of ruination, I will allow that on this day I can find no fault”.
From a fragment of scroll found in the ruins of Gar’Lordium.
The stones wept, or so it seemed in the dull dawn light.
Sitting on a stone that once may have been a lintel, Robert D’Lures used damp clammy fingers to stroke the wet stone along the edge of his blade, seeking to erase the specks of rust that tarnished and blunted its edge. His mind was elsewhere, as he let his hands move in a rhythmic motion, while he sought to lean his back towards the fire that burned behind him, and while his eyes searched out the darkness. He knew that if he let the numbing cold fatigue, that clung to his limbs like the vines that tore at the walls of the abandoned keep within which he sat, overtake him, then death would surely follow.
Still the grayness of the dawn, barely lightening the darkness behind curtains of steely rain, sat upon his spirit as much as the wetness seeped into every damp fold of his body. To him at that moment, not only did the tumbled towers and walls weep, but even the wet stone dampened with persistent rain, seem to cry out against the will of man and his own dead dreams. The unending rain could have been the tears of the gods for a golden age long passed, or merely the earth seeking to wash the stain of man from her scared flanks.
Once Robert may have debated such issues with comrades and companions, but now he was alone, tired in both body and spirit. He had been pushed to that edge of existence where one can either leap off and plummet to doom, or pull back and cling to anything with a hope blinded by reality. Robert, who many had described as having a calm self assurance that one usually found only in the aged, knew within himself that this dawn in which he sat was that moment. He had known as he had lit the fire in the night, seeking what shelter he could, and dry wood, that that moment approached. He had known as he had eked out the last stale bread from his sack, and the rank warm stale wine he drank to wash it down. He had known when awakening to pangs of hunger and as he had unwrapped the stone from its pouch and started to sharpen the edge of his blade.
Robert knew, deep within him that when he had finished he would either take his sword and end his life or sheath it again and march forward in a quest for answers. Which is why he didn’t stop. He knew he had nothing to cling too and feared the moment when he would stand, knowing what his choice would be, must be. And knowing this himself, knowing that his spirit fought within itself, that the spark that burned within him burned bright and did not wish to end this way, he fought on. Not alone in a damp forest, in a ruined castle, on a hill that once many years ago had held forth a dream now long forgotten would this ending come. And so the stones wept as he wept, in a cold denial that the fire within and without would soon end.
It may be that at moments like these that fate will intervene, or mayhap the uncaring gods will turn their face to the world and intercede. It maybe that they won’t and a tragic tale unknown to any will end and return only to puzzle some curious soul in years to come. At this time Robert needed that intervention, and perhaps it was fate, or the gods, who saw that spark about to flicker and die, and moved to intercede. Or perhaps it was just chance and a will that would not be broken, that knew given time something, anything, would come along to help drag itself back towards light. Whatever it was, as damp numbed fingers finally let slip the stone, to lay forlorn amongst muddied grass, and Robert slowly stood, sword dangling from a limp wrist, shoulders hunched as though weighted down. It was then that from the forest below came the muffled stamp of hooves, the dull clank of steel on steel on leather and a quiet murmur of voices and horses.
Robert straightened, his blade rising, and blinked the wetness from his eyes. He turned his head, seeking from whence the noises came. His heart blood coursed though his veins as what sustained his flame roared back into life. His mind, though weary, already sort to divine the future and what actions would be needed if friend or foe came upon him. He stepped back into the half open chamber where he had made his fire and quickly smothered it, before edging along the line of a tumbled wall and up into the narrow embrasure that used to be the opening of a tower. Within its shadowed safety he watched as a line of horsemen emerged from the forest and began to end its way up the hill towards his vantage.