BOOK DETAILS

Kri (The Immortal Tales) [Kindle Edition]

Kri (The Immortal Tales) [Kindle Edition]

by S. J. Vellenga

ISBN: 9781480282414

Publisher S. J. Vellenga

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/General, Literature & Fiction/Genre Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Book Description

"In a world where magic rules and mythical beasts still roam the lands, an ancient war has risen again. But when the gods' creatures rise, will they bring about a new world order, or decimate the people of Kri?"

Sample Chapter

The Darkness Unveiled

A tall dark man, hidden by flowing black robes, floated effortlessly through a remote forest. His piercing grey eyes scanned his surroundings as he passed, shining from the light of the waxing moon. With every inch forward, his hand twitched. Words of an unknown language escaped his thin lips, echoing off the countless trees closing in on all sides as he moved deeper into the harsh environment.

With a hissing breath, he came to a sudden halt, and his eyes widened and moved faster. His hand rose, slipped away from his robes, and revealed the bony, scarred tools of his trade. Pointed nails reached under his hood and lowered it, exposing his face.

Flowing black hair fell heavily to his back, framing his thin features. As he breathed, his jaw gently rose and fell, revealing a set of sharp, crooked, yellow teeth. Scars stretched across his face like graffiti, covering his cheeks and eyes. Another hiss and the hood was drawn over his head, his face consumed by darkness once more, and he continued on his path.

The dim light of the two moons slowly faded as the oaks towering above grew closer together. Many creatures could be heard, some rustling through the damp leaf littered soil, some shaking the branches above, as they moved to get a closer look at the intruder. Climbing steadily, the ground began to roughen as the looming mountains ahead made themselves known, rocks sticking out at awkward angles.

Cliff faces started showing through the tree line, progressively becoming steeper and smoother, and still the figure moved further up the slope without hesitation. A great wall rose up as he came to a halt and gently touched to the ground, his feet sinking slightly into the moist dirt. The trees above cleared slightly, the smooth wall’s surface cutting a line through the impenetrable branches. Red moonlight shone through the gap.

His eyes flashed across the wall, scrutinising every inch of the surface. A long, bony hand emerged once more from his robes, his index finger finding it’s way onto the stone. As if tracing something clearly drawn onto the surface, his hand flowed gently and outlined a circle. With a sudden thrust, his palm hit the center of the shape. A strong beam of light carved itself into the rock face, outlining a doorway. Bright yellow light was thrown in all directions, illuminating the land and trees around him. The scurry of animals could be heard above and below, trying to remain hidden from this unknown force.

A great crack echoed through the valley below as the outline in the stone wall broke. The door swung inward, grinding against the floor of the chamber beyond. The light faded as quickly as it had appeared, and he stepped over the threshold. A familiar grinding noise echoed across the walls as the door behind swung back into place. A great flash of light, and all was dark.

Shadow seemed to consume all life. It appeared as though no light had graced this chamber, no living being had entered its walls for centuries passed. He raised a palm to the air before him and softly spoke the word “abadus”. A small ball of fire exploded into the air, floating inches from his hand. He clenched his fist and drew it towards his chest. The fire complied and flew to his side, the flames flickering as they moved through the stale air. Once more, he began to tread heavily as he progressed further into the depths of the encompassing darkness.

The flames flitted as he moved, his hand now resting again at his side. His breathing sounded more defined in the enclosed space. He tilted his head from side to side, twitching his nose as he tested the air. The walls changed from stone to damp soil and back again as he pressed on. Finally, a deep voice echoed across the walls and he came to a sudden halt, frozen in mid step.

“I did not expect you so soon, Rakah...”

“Times change old friend, as do people it seems,” came Rakah’s raspy voice. It was cold and rough, as though it had seen centuries of pain. “You knew I was coming?”

A pair of yellow eyes shone through the darkness as a stout man, robed in the same manner, stepped from the wall into the dim, wavering light of the flames. He held his hand before him, lightly clutching the air. “You move like one of them, Rakah. Do you have no shame?”

“Unfortunately, I lack your finesse, and you my pride.”

A low chuckle escaped the hooded man, though his composure remained perfect. He advanced slowly as he eyed over his intruder, and he flicked his finger toward the ceiling. An amulet bearing a pentagram fell from Rakah’s robes. “So you still wear the symbol, still follow the old ways… Those times are gone, there should be no reason to dwell on them.”

“I use the old ways, Aran, as they have not yet failed me.” A grin appeared on Rakah’s face. “Tell me, has your new lord taught you any tricks, or are you still as weak as you once were?”

Aran’s face hardened and anger swelled in his eyes. He closed his hand into a fist, and shook with rage. A demonic scream came from Rakah as he fell heavily to the ground, pure agony tearing across his face. “You will not speak of her so!” Aran screamed, trembling as he moved closer. He loosened his grip slightly as he approached.

Gasping for breath, Rakah strained to raise his head to behold his attacker. Aran’s robe fell during the attack to reveal his face, gleaming in the flickering light. Aran’s features were smooth, unscathed, his hair drawn back in a mess of dirt and grease.

“Her?” Rakah sniggered. “She obviously doesn’t care what happens to you Aran, has she forgotten she left you in this hole?” His face now showed a strange curiosity. “Or do you stay here willingly, hiding from those you betrayed?”

Aran clenched his fist once more, and screams of pain rocked the chamber walls. Silence fell as his hand loosened, and Rakah dropped to the ground again, gasping for breath. “She is more powerful than you will ever know,” he spat at Rakah. “You and the rest of your cult would be wise to never show yourselves again. You were all banished for a reason.”

A flame seemed to flash through Rakah’s eyes as he looked up. Another scream ensued, though now from Aran. The fingers on his attacking hand bent and twisted out of shape, the bones audibly cracking and shattering. He dropped to the moist floor clutching his wrist as Rakah rose slowly and stared menacingly at him. “It would appear she had not taught you well enough, old friend.”

Aran lay writhing, his screams now no more than soft sobs. He gathered himself and managed to push off the ground and onto his knees.

“You think that I need my hands?” he said softly and slowly rose to his feet. “I’ve been taught much better than you realise.” He focussed his eyes on the flames floating close by Rakah’s shoulder. His eyes widened suddenly, and the flames quivered slightly, as if a breeze had broken the still air. He looked upon Rakah’s face once more.

“This must end, I cannot waste any more time with you Aran. Where is it?” Rakah demanded.

Aran smiled, and a small chuckle escaped his lips. “The location will die with me.”

“If that is your decision, then so be it,” Rakah roared and lifted his hand under the flames. A blinding flash of light filled the chamber. As it faded, four balls of fire presented themselves around him, two in front and one on each side. The chamber became much brighter, the wavering light no longer hindering their vision. He stretched his arms out beside him and thrust them forward, directing two of the orbs at Aran.

Aran’s eyes widened once more and the balls stopped dead, inches from his face. “Is that all you can do? Simple light shows?” He chuckled as the flames changed from a dull red to a bright blue. “You have been warned.”

His unharmed hand twitched as he lifted it before him, stopping inches below the flames. He closed his hand below the orbs, which promptly brought themselves together. The flame turned white as they touched. “Animata karil elenus katar!” he boomed as he thrust his palm towards the fire. A bright blue light flowed from his palm into the flames.

“Bugger,” came Rakah’s raspy voice as he drew an ornamental dagger from his robes. The blade was etched with an ancient flowing script, the language that of a civilisation long passed. A dragon wrapped itself around the hilt of the blade while its wings formed the cross-guard, a ruby set in the pommel. As he ran the tip of his index finger along the edge, his blood spilled down the blade. Raising the bloody weapon before him, he placed his hand across the length of it and shouted “aegis”. A great sphere of light flashed around him and quickly dulled as he lowered his hands, still clutching the hilt.

The flames had grown to an astonishing size, consuming much more space than they had moments earlier. Aran threw his hand high into the air, breaking off his connection with the raging inferno, and stepped back as it formed itself into an almost human form. Its solid black eyes immediately located Rakah and it ran at him.

The beast crashed heavily into the protective field that now surrounded Rakah, beating at it relentlessly, its flames crashing around him like water on a shore. He looked into its great black eyes as Aran circled the scene, smiling to himself as a deathly screech erupted from the flames. “Let go of the blade, you die. Stay in your little shield, you starve. What will it be Rakah?” he taunted.

Rakah smiled unnervingly. “You did catch me off guard, but cornered? You disappoint me Aran, I thought you were better than this,” he said with a sadness in his voice.

He calmly closed his eyes and lifted his hand toward the ceiling as the beast continued its attack. His lips began to move, but no sound could be heard. When he suddenly opened his eyes, a familiar light shot from his palm into the soil above the flaming beast. Dirt and rocks cracked away and fell heavily to the chamber floor. The flames seemed to diminish slightly as it retreated from the onslaught, narrowly avoiding a misshapen mass of rock and dirt.

Amongst the mass of debris, a humanoid shape rose. Mud fell from the gaps in its joints and turned on the flames. It threw its arms out, thrust its chest into the air, and let out a great, deep roar. A loud screech ensued and the flames exploded into a renewed brightness as the two beasts stood protectively by their masters.

“This will solve nothing, Aran,” came Rakah’s voice over the din. “Call off your monster and end this childish behaviour.”

“You expect me to just dismiss my protection so you can dispose of me?” Aran replied.

Rakah held his palm to the beast at his side, which promptly, but hesitantly, lowered itself to one knee, its eyes locked onto the flaming creature. “Now yours Aran. We fight honourably, or I finish this quickly,” he threatened. The beast at his side stirred slightly, but remained in its position.

Aran smiled to himself. “You never could resist a good fight, could you?” he asked and aimed his palm to the flaming giant. It hissed and burned to the ground, leaving a ring of ash where it stood. Rakah followed suit, thrusting his palm at his own creature, which reduced itself to rubble. “Your move,” he said to Aran, a thin grin appearing on his face.

Aran reached his hand out, facing his palm down, and a small orb of light appeared, flitting between his fingers.

“Are you sure?” asked Rakah. “We both know I outrank you in combat.” He reached out his own hand, palm up, and produced a spear-like beam. Raising it to his shoulder, he thrust it towards his enemy. Aran laughed and mimicked him, thrusting his orb into the fray.

“Fool,” Rakah muttered as he thrust his palm out, his spear breaking into many slithers of light. Fear shot across Aran’s face as he opened his hand before him, his orb expanding rapidly. A bright explosion erupted as the orb collided with the center spears. The remaining weapons found their mark, pierced through Aran’s robes, and entered the wall behind him. Rakah closed his fist and the light wrapped itself around Aran, pinning him against the stone.

“Comfortable?” Rakah asked, casually walking over to examine his work. Aran remained silent and struggled against his bonds, his flesh slowly burning. As Rakah approached, he spat in his face.

“Now now, I’m only here for information. I get what I want, and I release you and go.”

“I’ll never,” Aran started, but Rakah’s hand had lifted and held aloft one of his remaining orbs of fire, directing it close into his face. “You’ll never what, Aran?” he asked menacingly.

Aran’s flesh burned as the flames licked against his cheek. His gaze flicked between the flame and Rakah, unsure what to do. The weight of his situation hit him and he sighed heavily. “What do you need?” he asked in a low voice.

A thin smile appeared on Rakah’s face, his victory imminent. “Where is it Aran?” he asked. “Where is the amulet you stole when you abandoned your old lord for that bitch you now follow?”

Aran winced at the treatment of his lady’s name. “Why do you need it?” he asked. “I at least have a right to know.” Rakah let the flames lick at his cheek once more. Aran pulled away and quickly drew breath.

“You have no right!” Rakah shouted and withdrew his weapon. He composed himself again and calmly looked into Aran’s eyes. “Where?”

“I... Passed it on to my lady’s second in command.”

Anger and disappointment flew across Rakah’s face, glaring down once more at his captive. His hand lifted again, and the flames grew larger. “Wait!” exclaimed Aran, looking at the orb. Rakah’s grip eased and his hand lowered slightly, the fire drifting back.

“Lose the flame and I talk,” Aran demanded.

Rakah dropped his hand to his side and the fire hissed as it dwindled into nothingness. His face hardened as he stared decisively into Aran’s eyes. “Talk,” he said firmly.

“I can lead you to it,” said Aran, avoiding Rakah’s gaze. The witch I spoke of, her name is Alatya. I don’t know where she is now, but...” Rakah calmly placed his blade to Aran’s throat. “Choose your next words wisely Aran,” he said.

Shaken, Aran composed himself and continued. “But... I know her most recent location, whether she is still there or not, I don’t know, but I’m sure if...” He was cut off. “Get to the point, where?” demanded Rakah. “Meera Creek, she was at Meera Creek, please...”

Rakah smiled and lowered his blade. “You’d better not be lying to me, Aran,” he said calmly, staring into Aran’s eyes.

“I am at your mercy, surely that is proof enough of my honesty,” he replied, his voice shaking.

“Perhaps...” replied Rakah, not dropping his gaze. “Perhaps...” He considered his prey for a moment, the silence only broken by the sounds of the remaining flame, flickering from an unknown draught. He lifted his hand to Aran’s head and stared deep into his eyes.

Aran’s eyes began to swim with colour, the usual yellow breaking to make way for the intrusion. “Do you have such faith in your abilities that you would not change your story?” asked Rakah, curiosity lingering in his voice.

“I... I do,” replied Aran hesitantly.

Aran’s eyes began to water as the predominant colour forced its way to the surface, revealing a blood red. “So it would surprise you to know that your eyes say otherwise?” asked Rakah, his face dropping, his voice full of anger. “You know more than you have told me, Aran.” His blade found its place on Aran’s throat.

The cold steel pressed hard against Aran’s skin, his head pulling back to avoid contact. “Please, wait!” he exclaimed, his eyes widening, beads of sweat appearing on his brow. “I’ll tell you, just don’t kill me, please!”

Rakah relieved the pressure very slightly. “Your will has softened since I left, you’re no more than a dog fleeing with it’s tail between its legs,” he said, watching the fear in Aran’s eyes.

Taken aback, Aran took a moment to reply. “She... She passed it on, to one of her own. I don’t know a name, but...” Rakah pushed his blade sightly harder and Aran took a quick breath before continuing. “But they met in Meera Creek, at the local pub. The exchange happened there.”

Satisfied, Rakah removed his dagger, stepped back, and broke his gaze at last. The bonds holding Aran against the wall weakened and fell to the ground, closely followed by his weakened body. “Thank you... Thank you...” Aran gasped as he struggled to prop himself against the wall. The spears of light burned into the ground, leaving black, smouldering marks where they had fallen.

Rakah smiled and threw his dagger towards Aran, piercing his chest. Pain and shock tore through his body, and he jerked as the tip of the blade pressed into his flesh. Confused and horror struck, he looked up fearfully at Rakah.

I only said I would release you, not let you live,” said Rakah, his lips curled into a smile, his eyes cold. He stepped forward and laid a hand on the hilt of his dagger, pulling it from Aran’s chest. Holding it higher, he aimed it towards his throat and thrust it forward.

“You’re too late, she already knows,” Aran whispered, a smile forced through the evident anguish. Rakah stopped inches from the blade’s mark, a confused look on his face. “She watches important missions.”

The blade pressed into his throat. “I do not care for liars,” Rakah said as Aran’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped, allowing a last hissing breath before he fell limp. As Rakah drew his dagger, the body dropped to the ground with a thump. He sighed and knelt down to wipe his weapon clean on his foe’s robes.

Reaching the body’s chest, he withdrew a fine, silver amulet bearing a cross, a dragon draped over it baring its fangs. Sheathing his dagger, he rose to study the symbol, then carefully hid it within his own robes. He stood silent for a moment in mourning.

Turning, he returned to the entrance of the chamber. He repeated the circle on the door and thrust his palm towards it as it etched the edge and swung inward. Stepping into the darkness, his guiding flame turned to ash and the door closed with a solid thud behind him. Guided momentarily by the light of the door, he got his bearings and disappeared into the trees.

Continues...

Excerpted from "Kri (The Immortal Tales) [Kindle Edition]" by S. J. Vellenga. Copyright © 2012 by S. J. Vellenga. 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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Author Profile

S. J. Vellenga

S. J. Vellenga

Born in Western Sydney, Australia, in 1987, S. J. Vellenga grew up in the small town of Warragamba, on the outskirts of the city. During his youth, he spent his time reading fantasy novels, such as Lord of the Rings, and exploring the virtual worlds of video games.

View full Profile of S. J. Vellenga

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