BOOK DETAILS

Tower of the Arkein (Kan Savasci Cycle Book 1)

Tower of the Arkein (Kan Savasci Cycle Book 1)

by Chase Blackwood

ASIN: B06XBG2BPD

Publisher Plenary Fitness LLC

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

The clock is ticking as the world descends into darkness.

He’s been called the Scourge of Bodig, the Bane of Verold, but most know him as the Kan Savasci. He’s one of the most feared men alive. Chaos and war have followed him like an angry shadow. The one problem, as the world faces the wrath of forgotten gods, Kan Savasci is nowhere to be found.

The annalist, a man trained in the ancient arts of the arkein, has been tasked to uncover the whereabouts of the Kan Savasci at any cost. In order to find the man, one must unmask the depths of his reclusive history.

Sample Chapter

Into the A’sh

Prologue

“To move a man, find out what he wants.”

Anonymous - Tower of the Arkein

The annalist paced across a richly decorated waiting room. It was opulence at its most arrogant. Gold leaf filled intricately carved moldings upon the tall marble pillars lining the walls. Scenes from the Book of Khein graced the arched ceiling. They depicted Salvare’s guiding hand during Creation.

The artwork was cracked and fading. The lightning that flared from Salvare’s angry eyes looked tired and worn as if the very act of Creation had sapped the life from the painting. The broken earth lay shattered before God’s bare feet, a testament to the folly of the divine.

The annalist couldn’t help but remember the torn ruins of S’Vothe, the jagged mountain village, where his search for answers had truly begun. They were the windswept lands that cradled a young boy and marked him for impossible feats of greatness and villainy. It was the birthplace of a legend now inexplicably vanished from the known corners of Verold.

He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. Images of molten stone surrounding a great gold and silver-leafed chest flashed through his mind. Had it only been six months?

The silent echo of pain resounded in his ears. It bore through his mind like a hot spear, slicing through the soft gray memories he had so diligently collected. It was, however, nothing more than the residual effects of the arkein.

The annalist reluctantly opened his eyes. The harsh desert light glared off the white stones of the monastery floor. It washed the scene in a bath of luminescence. The once subtle hints of obscurity lurking behind quiet shadows, now stood stark and naked before his penetrating gaze.

As his head cleared, he noticed the lack of servants in the halls, the dust gathering in the corners, and the frayed tapestries. They all spoke of the gradual decline of the Church of Salvare.

Approaching footsteps reverberated off the walls and ceiling in an odd counterpoint to the previous silence.

“The deacon will see you now,” a short monk said, adjusting his robes.

The monk was diminutive in stature as if someone had taken a saw to his legs. He had likely been sold to the Church at an early age to avoid any embarrassment such a child would bring to a family of wealth.

“Of course,” the annalist said, following the smaller man into the adjacent room.

The next room was simpler in its décor. A set of three wide steps formed a simple dais on which rested a chair. Throne may have been a more apt description. At the end of a beautiful, bejeweled leash was a shadow cat. Its black fur shimmered as it restlessly flicked its long tail. Its dark eyes tracked the annalist as he entered the room.

“Deacon,” the annalist began.

“You needn’t waste time on formalities with me,” Deacon Neri said, waving a hand for the smaller monk to leave. “What brings you here?”

“I seek information,” the annalist replied.

“Of course you do,” Neri said sharply, “I know who you are.”

“Then you know who sends me,” the annalist continued smoothly.

“And you know the king of Bodig holds little sway here,” Neri paused and took in a breath, glancing about the room, “I also know who you’re searching for.”

The words echoed in the annalist’s mind. Each heartbeat filling a void marked with anticipation, while silence hung thickly between them like a wet rag. Deacon Neri continued to hold the annalist’s unflinching gaze. It was uncommon for a man to show so little respect for someone of the Second Circle. Ignorance had a way of drowning out fear and squandering intelligence.

“You think you know him,” Neri said at last.

“Who?” The annalist questioned.

“You came here to play games?” Neri said in a stern voice, “You’ve the wrong monk if you seek games.”

“No deacon,” the annalist replied.

The annalist took in a calming breath. He had to remind himself why he was here, prostrating himself before a lowly deacon of the failing Church of Salvare. He wasn’t here solely for the King of Bodig and Emperor of Heorte. He wasn’t even here to avenge the death of his family. No, he was here for all of Verold. So that others wouldn’t lose their families. He was here to learn enough to stop the Scourge of Bodig and Bane of Verold.

“You’ve never met him,” Neri said.

“Oh, but I have deacon,” the annalist’s eyes narrowed and a shadow of anger rolled over them.

Neri’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second. It was enough to betray his surprise. He attempted to mask it by reaching down and stroking the midnight fur of the shadow cat purring at his side.

“Many of the stories they tell are untrue.”

“Then educate me,” the annalist offered bowing his head ever so slightly.

“Before I do, you must make me a promise,” Neri said carefully.

The annalist was taken aback. It was rare someone of lower stature wished to tie him down with promises.

“Go ahead,” the annalist said, with a hint of curiosity touching his voice.

Neri took in a breath before he began, “Don’t judge him until you’ve understood his heart.”

That was it? That was the promise the deacon requested? The annalist could certainly abide by such simple terms. He did seek the truth after all. It was the cornerstone of his forgotten profession.

“Very well.”

There was a moment of silence as Neri gathered his thoughts. The shadow cat’s green eyes became lazy once more, falling half-closed into sleep.

“Get comfortable, this is not a short story,” Neri said as he regarded the annalist coolly, his voice shattering the silence like the crack of a small hammer, “Although, it’s likely one of the most interesting stories you’ve come across,” Neri shook his head subtly, “I will tell you of Aeden’s exodus from the A’sh as he related it to me.”

Chapter 1

“Hatred is a seed that once planted becomes near impossible to uproot.” Herlewin’s Letters of Apology

Aeden hated Yazid Nur Komal. He was rude, arrogant, and condescending. The man spoke of piety and service to god, but would excuse himself from prayers. He would speak of the sanctity of life and then would beat the whores he paid to sleep with. Yazid was without morals. If he understood them, he blatantly spit in the face of the gods. Most importantly, Yazid was the man who had killed Odilo. For this, Aeden had vowed to kill him.

The only thing that stayed his hand were his adopted brothers, Neri and Adel. Timing was everything. Killing Yazid would be too obvious to the discerning eye of Jal Isa Sha’ril. The Jal was intelligent, scheming, and ever aware of the motivations of those around him. His ability to discern thoughts before they became action was eerie.

Aeden would stay awake late into the night dreaming of ways to rid the world of Yazid. The more violent Yazid’s imagined death, the better Aeden slept. It was an odd amalgam of emotion that threatened to strip him of his humanity. His thoughts painted his life in angry, vengeful strokes. He needed balance.

The Jal knew this and only just accommodated him. Despite being forced to work with Yazid; eating together, training together, and sleeping in the same room, Aeden was granted relief.

This relief came in two shapes. The first, was in the form of a quiet and unwavering man, Kardal Jabir Sha’ril. Where Yazid spoke too much, Kardal rarely spoke. In fact, Aeden couldn’t remember hearing Kardal utter more than a dozen words in the last two weeks.

The second form of relief came from the Jal himself. Practice of logic and rhetoric was what the Jal called them. Aeden later referred to them as forced debates.

It was then no surprise that the Jal invited Aeden into his chamber. It was early afternoon in mid Lenton. The day was hot but bearable. It bore the subtle hint of change in its wake, the way Hearvest spoke of falling leaves to the north.

“Sit,” the Jal said with an extended hand.

Aeden looked about the room briefly. He saw two guards at the far doorway. He had passed two when he had entered. The room, however, was empty save for the Jal.

“You seek to escape? Perhaps kill me first I presume,” Jal Isa Sha’ril said, his hooded eyes narrowing.

Aeden would have been lying if he said the thought hadn’t crossed his mind.

“In spite of all I have given you, all I have offered?” he continued, attempting to sound hurt. “You think you would have fared better under a different master?”

“No,” Aeden finally replied.

The word master, echoed resoundingly in his head. Aeden had no master, nor did he crave one. In his heart, he was free. He wove his own fate.

“Good, I would hate to have wasted my time,” the Jal paused for a moment and took a sip of sweet wine before continuing, “of course this isn’t why I called you here.”

Aeden remained silent. He knew the Jal enjoyed hearing himself speak. If Aeden were to ascribe him a weakness, it would have been pride. For all the Jal’s ambition, intelligence, and knowledge of historical events, he was proud. The Jal needed others to know what it was he had accomplished. Perhaps today was another sermon on his self-made station.

“No, we have more pressing matters of greater urgency. Would you care to guess what matters lay at hand?”

The Jal seemed to enjoy testing him, probing the hidden corners of his mind for weakness, strength, for the Sight.

Aeden struggled to think straight. His mind seemed to swim in a perpetual pool of grey and red. He hadn’t slept well the night before. Rarely, in fact, did he sleep well. Not until Adel and Neri were free would he sleep well.

“I assume it’s because of what Yazid had said about you,” Aeden replied.

The Jal raised a carefully trimmed eyebrow. He took a moment to study Aeden the way one would study a painting.

“Clever, but you paused too long to concoct that lie,” the Jal sat back in his chair, “I will give you one more chance, do not bore me, or insult my time.”

There was steel in his voice. Aeden cringed ever so slightly. As angry as he was, he knew not to purposefully seek out the wrath of the Jal. He had only once seen a new servant defy the purser. The servant now walked with a permanent limp and was missing a hand. The high-pitched screams as a screw was driven into the servant’s leg had echoed down the corridor with resounding weight. The servant had never spoken up again.

The memory faded as Aeden focused on the Jal’s question, what matter lay at hand? Aeden once again glanced about the room. A simple roll of papyrus lay upon the table next to the purser’s decanter. It could have been a message from any number of wealthy individuals. Only one, however, would stir a sense of urgency from the Jal.

“The caliph wishes your attendance,” Aeden replied.

The Jal’s dark eyes simply stared at Aeden for a moment.

“Interesting,” the Jal took another sip of wine, “Yes, he seeks a meeting.”

“Why?” Aeden asked before he realized his place.

The Jal raised an eyebrow, but didn’t seem to take offense.

“That I’m afraid is beyond my knowing,” a tiny smile touched the corner of the Jal’s lips.

The Jal’s eyes then focused on Aeden. His hooked nose was partially cast in shadow giving him the predatory look of a falcon.

“Why do you think the caliph wishes a meeting?” the Jal asked curiously.

Aeden remained silent for a moment. It was an impossible riddle. He had spent so little time in the A’sh that its ways still remained hidden to his eye. He had crammed years of history into his young mind over the course of a couple months. It was a peddling amount in comparison to the wealth of knowledge the Jal retained. Why ask Aeden?

His mind raced, knowing the Jal expected an answer. What did he know about the caliph? Surprisingly little after he gave it a moment’s thought. Did it have to do with Q’Bala to the north? Sha’ril and Q’Bala had been at war for over two hundred years. Maybe it was a simple matter of money. The Jal was the purser of the caliphate after all.

“I don’t know,” Aeden finally said.

“Of course you don’t,” the Jal replied, but this time with a hint of reticence in his voice. “Send in Yazid.”

Aeden nodded and backed out of the room.

Aeden figured Yazid was sleeping. It was already late morning, which meant the Jal’s guard was recovering from a night of excessive drinking. Alcohol was a vice frowned upon by church doctrine, particularly in Sha’ril. Yazid, however, paid as much attention to church doctrine as he did personal hygiene.

Excessive drinking often left Yazid inebriated, angry, and a few times incoherent. Aeden once had the opportunity to poison Yazid. The guard was already drunk that night, like most nights. It would have been a simple matter, but something stayed Aeden’s hand.

Was it mercy? No, it was more visceral than that. It was the lust of confrontation. Aeden wanted the satisfaction of cutting Yazid’s throat. Slicing it causally the way Yazid had cut Odilo’s throat. Only then would Kegal, the god of destruction and death, be satiated.

Aeden rounded a corner and traveled across a small courtyard. A fountain splashed serenely within. It was a symbol of great wealth to have a fountain in a desert kingdom. Water was as precious as gold. It was another subtle reminder of Aeden’s place within the Jal’s world.

He crossed the courtyard and carved a line to the barracks. Aeden could already sense the presence of his new foe. It was like the taste of rotten fruit, lingering irritably in the back of his throat.

Reaching out a hand, he swept back the green, silk curtain. The fabric was soft to the touch, like the smooth skin of a woman’s stomach. Aeden’s mind lingered briefly over the fragile image of the archduchess.

Fantasy was ripped from his wandering imagination by the snoring grunt of Yazid.

There, on a bed before him, was the loathsome guard. He still wore the same clothes he had the night before. The air was stale with the smell of alcohol sweated through overused pores.

How easy would it be to kill him right there? Why didn’t he?

“Does the dog wish to hump my bed?” Yazid said, opening a blurry eye.

Aeden was momentarily startled. He buried his thoughts and felt the familiar flush of anger rise through him. It was like the heat of the sun on burnt skin.

“The Jal asked me to fetch his ugliest guard.”

Yazid Nur Kamal sat up and rubbed his eyes with his palms. Aeden had already walked out, not waiting for the man’s reply.

Continues...

Excerpted from "Tower of the Arkein (Kan Savasci Cycle Book 1)" by Chase Blackwood. Copyright © 2017 by Chase Blackwood. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Chase Blackwood

Chase Blackwood

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