Clyde B. Northrup

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Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on February 19, 2019 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

19 February 2019


We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, Baki explains why he believes they should rescue Woli, ignoring Kesa. . . .


Chapter 2, Part 5


Kesa looked up and saw him enter from the stable, his boots and hose splattered with mud, as well as his tunic and face. She opened her mouth to shoot him a critical comment about his appearance, but Klaybear interrupted her.

“Do you want to start that again, Kesa?” Klaybear asked, his voice amused.

Kesa closed her mouth and shook her head.

“He is our comrade, and you admit that he is a slave,” Baki went on, and Kesa saw that he stared resolutely at Master Klaybear, “tortured by his captors. Our duty is clear.”

Thalamar laughed. “Things are always clear,” he quipped, “to a kortexi! If our kortexi brother were here . . . ,” he went on, and left it hanging, glancing at Klaybear, who smiled in return.

“There is a way to settle this question,” Klaybear noted, “and maybe curb your desires to do something rash.”

Thalamar’s eyebrow rose slowly as he continued to stare at Klaybear. “Are you sure that is wise?” he asked in a low voice.

Klaybear shrugged. “I said only that it would settle the question,” he answered. “I did not say it would be wise.”

Kesa watched their exchange, Baki standing frozen in the doorway.

“We should consult with the others before acting,” Thal said, his eyes still on Klaybear.

“Agreed,” Klaybear replied, taking his staff from where it rested beside him, and the eye-shaped emerald at the center of the hand-shaped head ignited, filling the room with green light. He drew the heel in a circle on the table, which created a circle of green fire, the fire altering and becoming the head of Sir Blakstar, floating a few inches off the table’s surface. Kesa noticed that Master Thalamar reached out and put on hand on the glowing staff.

“We are considering contact with Woli,” Klaybear noted, and Kesa saw Sir Blakstar’s mouth move but heard no sound; a second head appeared beside his, the head of his wife, Lady Kovaine.

Klaybear chuckled. “To prevent the children from behaving rashly,” he said, as if he answered a question. Kesa saw Blakstar’s mouth move again, but she did not know what he said.

“Yes, precisely,” Thalamar put in. “I’m not sure it would be wise.”

Kesa saw Kovaine speak, glancing at her husband as she spoke; he turned to look at her, his mouth moving again. She spoke again, and then turned back to face Klaybear and Thalamar.

“We bow to your greater wisdom in this area, my sister,” Klaybear said, nodding once to Kovaine, “and I think it would be wise to meet and talk about this issue, and others. Could you leave your charges and join us?”

Blakstar answered, and Kesa could almost read his lips.

“That should be fine,” Klaybear replied. “In the meantime, we will make the attempt.”

“Perhaps you should bring the others here with you,” Thalamar suggested.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Klaybear agreed, “it would give them the opportunity to meet.”

Blakstar did not speak, but nodded once, and Klaybear lifted the staff from the table, causing both heads and the green fire to wink out.

“Attempt to do what?” Kesa asked when neither of them spoke.

“Contact Woli,” Klaybear looked up and answered, “in the same way as we just contacted Blakstar.”

“But we must prepare him for this contact,” Thalamar added, “and ensure he is alone.” He turned to Klaybear and nodded. “You go; I’ll watch.”

 

Next time, we will conclude this chapter as Klaybear prepares them to contact Woli. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on February 19, 2019 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

19 February 2019

 

We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, Baki explains why he believes they should rescue Woli, ignoring Kesa. . . .

 

Chapter 2, Part 5

 

Kesa looked up and saw him enter from the stable, his boots and hose splattered with mud, as well as his tunic and face. She opened her mouth to shoot him a critical comment about his appearance, but Klaybear interrupted her.

“Do you want to start that again, Kesa?” Klaybear asked, his voice amused.

Kesa closed her mouth and shook her head.

“He is our comrade, and you admit that he is a slave,” Baki went on, and Kesa saw that he stared resolutely at Master Klaybear, “tortured by his captors. Our duty is clear.”

Thalamar laughed. “Things are always clear,” he quipped, “to a kortexi! If our kortexi brother were here . . . ,” he went on, and left it hanging, glancing at Klaybear, who smiled in return.

“There is a way to settle this question,” Klaybear noted, “and maybe curb your desires to do something rash.”

Thalamar’s eyebrow rose slowly as he continued to stare at Klaybear. “Are you sure that is wise?” he asked in a low voice.

Klaybear shrugged. “I said only that it would settle the question,” he answered. “I did not say it would be wise.”

Kesa watched their exchange, Baki standing frozen in the doorway.

“We should consult with the others before acting,” Thal said, his eyes still on Klaybear.

“Agreed,” Klaybear replied, taking his staff from where it rested beside him, and the eye-shaped emerald at the center of the hand-shaped head ignited, filling the room with green light. He drew the heel in a circle on the table, which created a circle of green fire, the fire altering and becoming the head of Sir Blakstar, floating a few inches off the table’s surface. Kesa noticed that Master Thalamar reached out and put on hand on the glowing staff.

“We are considering contact with Woli,” Klaybear noted, and Kesa saw Sir Blakstar’s mouth move but heard no sound; a second head appeared beside his, the head of his wife, Lady Kovaine.

Klaybear chuckled. “To prevent the children from behaving rashly,” he said, as if he answered a question. Kesa saw Blakstar’s mouth move again, but she did not know what he said.

“Yes, precisely,” Thalamar put in. “I’m not sure it would be wise.”

Kesa saw Kovaine speak, glancing at her husband as she spoke; he turned to look at her, his mouth moving again. She spoke again, and then turned back to face Klaybear and Thalamar.

“We bow to your greater wisdom in this area, my sister,” Klaybear said, nodding once to Kovaine, “and I think it would be wise to meet and talk about this issue, and others. Could you leave your charges and join us?”

Blakstar answered, and Kesa could almost read his lips.

“That should be fine,” Klaybear replied. “In the meantime, we will make the attempt.”

“Perhaps you should bring the others here with you,” Thalamar suggested.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Klaybear agreed, “it would give them the opportunity to meet.”

Blakstar did not speak, but nodded once, and Klaybear lifted the staff from the table, causing both heads and the green fire to wink out.

“Attempt to do what?” Kesa asked when neither of them spoke.

“Contact Woli,” Klaybear looked up and answered, “in the same way as we just contacted Blakstar.”

“But we must prepare him for this contact,” Thalamar added, “and ensure he is alone.” He turned to Klaybear and nodded. “You go; I’ll watch.”

 

Next time, we will conclude this chapter as Klaybear prepares them to contact Woli. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on February 15, 2019 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

15 February 2019

 

We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, Master Klaybear informs Rola that he does understand how she feels about missing her twin. . . .


Chapter 2, Part 4

 

“You’ve never been separated from your twin for this long, have you?” Klaybear asked. “I do know how you feel, the empty ache here,” he went on, touching his chest and bowing his head, “it happened to me when my twin was killed during the Great Year, saving Thal; I was far away, imprisoned in Holvar, out of my mind with grief.”

“We have never forgotten Rokwolf’s sacrifice,” Thalamar put in, “and we honor his memory by doing what we can to thwart evil.”

Rola’s eyes widened, her hands unclenched at her sides, but then she wrapped her arms around her chest, turning away. “He’s going to die, isn’t he?” her voice, heavy with emotion, asked.

“We did not say so, nor will we,” Klaybear replied. “There is still hope that Woli will survive, and be stronger for his experience.”

Rola did not reply; she turned and strode from the room, into the stable, keeping her face averted from them as she went around and out.

Kesa saw her masters watch Rola leave, and then exchange another silent look.

“Masters,” Kesa said, her brow wrinkling, “I can contribute, if you allow me to; I might be able to help.”

Both heads turned and looked at her, and she felt again that sensation that they were looking inside her.

“I’m guessing, Kesa,” Thalamar began, “that you mean you wish to join our mental conversation?” he asked, and when she nodded once, he went on. “I would think that your experience with Baki would make you wary of such sharing,” he finished, shooting her a smile.

“She is right,” Klaybear put in, “she could help.”

“True,” Thalamar replied, nodding once before looking at Kesa again. “We are concerned for Rola, that her grief might induce her to do something rash.”

“She is worried about her brother,” Kesa agreed.

“I never had a brother, or sister,” Thalamar said, “at least, not until we were gathered together to face the evil of our time.”

“Nor do I, master,” Kesa said, “but I can understand why she’s upset, and she was right, about Baki: I would be as distraught as she is.”

“And what might you do, Kesa,” Thalamar put in, “in such a state?”

Kesa paused to think. Her admission had been difficult, but when Rola put her finger on that sore spot, Kesa denied it, believing such an admission on her part would not have helped Rola. She shut out the grins her masters exchanged, and focused on Baki. What would she do if he were in Woli’s place? How would she respond? The questions caused her to focus on him, and that focus brought back all her anger toward him. She tried to squash her anger, stamp it out so she could consider the scenario given to her by her masters, but his accusations kept echoing through her mind, interrupting her thoughts, causing her anger to resurface. She refocused on her surroundings, the room, the long, ornately carved table, the symbols on the chairs, the faces of her masters, both looking patient and serene.

“I don’t know, masters,” she finally said, shrugging her shoulders. “I can’t get past my anger, but I would guess that I might do something rash, like try and rescue him on my own.”

They nodded, exchanging another look. “So what would be your chief concern?” Thalamar asked.

Kesa reviewed in her mind all that Rola had said, and realized her biggest concern would be not knowing how he was. “I think I would be most troubled by ignorance,” she replied, “not knowing his current state.”

“A fair assessment, Kesa,” Thalamar agreed and turned to look at Klaybear, who nodded.

“It’s sensible, I think,” Klaybear noted.

“If you could contact him, even briefly,” Thalamar went on, “would that ease your mind?”

Kesa considered. If she could talk to him, and verify he was all right . . . but if he was injured, or being tortured, it might make things worse. She frowned, looking at Thalamar. “If he was all right,” she began, “it would ease my mind. However,” she went on, “if he were hurt, or being tortured, that might make things worse,” she finished, shaking her head and glancing toward the stable door. The sounds of hoof beats no longer came from the cavern beyond.

“And now you know another reason why we counseled patience,” Klaybear noted, smiling wryly.

A sudden thought occurred to Kesa. She knew her masters had powers beyond her understanding, even if only half of what she had read of them were true. “Have you looked in on him, masters?” she asked.

Another look passed between them before Thalamar spoke. “I did warn you,” he noted, and Kesa could hear the smugness in his voice.

“You did, my brother,” Klaybear smiled at Thalamar before turning to Kesa. “We have looked in on him, and we do not understand his state. He seems to be a personal slave to one of the wetham who rules that fortress, but she has no qualms about loaning him to the others. All are able to control him through the iron collar he now wears, another object that we don’t comprehend, let alone their power over the weather.”

“Why don’t you tell her?” Kesa asked.

“Do you think that would be wise?” Klaybear countered, and Kesa felt her cheeks burn, realizing she had known the answer without asking.

“We must rescue him,” Baki’s voice interrupted.


Next time, Baki will explain why he says this, while avoiding Kesa. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 3

Posted by gwermon on February 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

12 February 2019

 

We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, we switch to Kesa and her response to Baki’s tirade. . . .

 

Chapter 2, Part 3

 

Kesa stomped through the stable, causing the horses to shift and whinny nervously, but she paid them no mind. How dare he accuse her of having dirty thoughts! The ignorant, arrogant blockhead! Just like a kortexi, letting his prejudices do his thinking for him, and trying to blame her for it! She dropped into one of the chairs bearing the crown symbol and pulled one of the scrolls closer so she could attempt to read it, but the words and symbols slipped past her, making no impression on her mind; neither did they distract her from her anger. She looked up and saw Rola pacing up and down the length of the long table; each time she turned she glared at the room’s other two occupants: Master Klaybear and Master Thalamar, both of them sitting calmly, reading a book or a scroll. Kesa had tried speaking with Rola about Baki, but she cut her off, asking why she should care about one who left her brother behind to torment and death. Kesa shook her head, and tried again to focus on the scroll before her.

“Something troubling you, Kesa?” Master Klaybear asked.

She tossed down the scroll, pushing her chair back onto two legs. “Him,” she replied, putting us much derision in that single word as she could muster.

“Baki?” Klaybear asked.

She nodded and saw Master Thalamar grinning into the scroll he read, although he did not look up. This action irritated Kesa, and she let her chair drop back onto its feet with a loud clunk.

Rola stopped pacing and looked at Kesa. “Are you still on about Baki?” she asked. “At least he is free and not a prisoner!” she snapped, shooting a glare at their two masters.

Master Thalamar looked up, first eyeing Rola, and then turning his eyes on Kesa, which gave her the uncomfortable feeling that he looked inside her; she shifted on her seat. “Patience, Kesa,” he noted, sending her a reassuring smile. “He will come around . . . in time,” he added, with a short pause. “Even the great Sir Blakstar took time to recognize his prejudice.”

“But he’s such an ignorant blockhead!” Kesa exclaimed. “How can anyone be so shortsighted!”

“The young are often shortsighted, Kesa,” Master Klaybear put in, “seeing only what is right in front of them, failing to look at the consequences of an action before plunging in. Even we were once guilty of such impetuousness.” He smiled at her, a smile looking just like the one Master Thalamar had shot her moments before. Kesa tried to quiet her mind, to let go of her anger, but her exercise was interrupted by Rola.

“That old argument!” Rola snapped. “And while we sit here, idle, my brother suffers. How does waiting help Woli?”

“Your brother is in a unique position from which he can glean valuable insights into these people about whom we know nothing,” Thalamar answered, and Kesa agreed with the wisdom of his statement. She saw Rola’s face coloring.

“Rola, can you not see the wisdom of waiting?” Kesa asked. “Our masters have assured you that your brother will survive–that should be enough to quiet your fears.”

“Easy for you to say,” Rola countered, “your brother is not a prisoner! How would you feel if Baki were the prisoner?” she shot at Kesa.

“What does he have to do with your brother?” Kesa asked. “He is here, so your comparison is irrelevant.”

Rola gaped at her. “You really don’t get it, do you?” she flung back. “Your logic has destroyed your feelings. No wonder he wants nothing to do with you!”

“How dare you suggest that I have no feelings!” Kesa exclaimed, leaping to her feet.

“Enough!” Master Klaybear cut across them both. “This bickering is pointless, girls! You both need to let it go, and be patient!”

Kesa sat back down, feeling foolish; Rola returned to her silent pacing.

For a time, silence reigned throughout the room, except that from where Kesa sat, she could occasionally hear the sounds of hooves coming through the stable; she frowned, as they brought back her irritation with Baki. To distract herself from these irritations, she went over all she had learned about the people of the north, which was very little. A thought occurred to her, and she broke the silence.

“Masters,” Kesa began, trying to sound as polite as possible, “isn’t it sometimes true that a swift stroke can catch an enemy by surprise, which would argue that we strike sooner than later?” she finished, looking expectantly at their masters. Rola stopped pacing, her look eager.

The two masters exchanged a look, and Kesa suspected they communicated mentally. “It can be true,” Klaybear agreed, “if you know your enemies well.”

“Or know the terrain well,” Thalamar inserted.

“But if these things are unknown,” Klaybear went on, “as they are now, the hasty stroke more often misses the mark than hits it, and such an approach can be costly.”

Rola snorted. “We know enough, I think,” she snapped, “enough to slip in and rescue my twin.”

Again, the two masters looked at each other, and Kesa was sure they communicated mentally; she wished she could join their conversation.

“That would be . . . unwise, Rola,” Klaybear said, pausing to consider his words carefully.

“So you keep saying!” Rola exclaimed. “But how can you be sure? How do you know we couldn’t, using one of your doorways, slip in and out without anyone finding out?” She stood facing them, her fists clenched and at her side, and Kesa noticed a sparkle in Rola’s eyes that she took for tears.

Master Klaybear spoke again, his eyes fixed on Rola. “I know how you feel, Rola,” he said, his voice calm and soft. “I know . . . ,” he tried to go on, but she interrupted him.

“You can’t know how I feel!” she shouted. “None of you can! You don’t understand me, so don’t pretend you do!”


Next time, Master Klaybear reveals to Rola that he does understand what she is feeling. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on February 8, 2019 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

8 February 2019


We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, Baki stops charging around the cavern to confront Kesa, anger controlling him. . . .


Chapter 2, Part 2


Baki dragged back on the reins, leaning back and pushing his boots forward in the stirrups; the horse ground to a halt, its sides heaving as it panted, its mouth open and its tongue out. He knew that little sprint would cost him an extra half-hour rubbing it down, time when he could not escape from her eyes, or her attempts to speak to him. She always wanted to know why–why did he hate her, after she had saved him from certain death. He never answered, only ground his teeth and tried to ignore her, but her voice brought with it those awful images, which in turn made him guilty, and angry, and he would grab a different mount, escaping into the cavern where he walked it around the track, mumbling to himself.

Baki slipped off his mount, patting its side and beginning to walk it around the track. When they came to the stream on the track’s front side, he did not even try to stay on the stepping stones; instead, he stomped through the water, soaking both boots and feet. The horse paused, bending to drink, and Baki stopped, his boots in the water and sinking into the gravel. Again, he felt her eyes upon him; out of sheer irritation, he turned toward her, glaring back at her, raising his voice to shout out her.

“How can you consider yourself a servant of the One,” he began, “when your mind is filled with evil?” he finished, gesturing angrily.

She stepped into the cavern and walked several paces toward him before stopping again, her arms still held tightly around her. “I’ve told you, I don’t know where those images came from,” she replied. “They are not mine,” she denied, again moving closer.

Baki stood rooted in the stream, his mount still drinking, sucking and blowing beside him. The water was cold, chilling him. “They were in your mind,” he countered, “so they are yours.” He turned away from her, intending to continue walking his mount, but the horse had other ideas, jerking its head and pulling the reins from his hand; it lowered its head and continued to drink, unconcerned by the storm brewing nearby. Baki turned back, splashing water up his legs; he saw that she now stood next to the stream, looking down at him. She was tall and thin, which, from her position on the bank, made her appear to be taller than him. Her long, light colored hair was caught behind her head, making her face look severe. Baki growled to himself under his breath, looking at the ground in front of her so he wouldn’t look at her.

“I think they might have been dreams,” she tried again, “dreams I did not remember until you dragged them out of my subconscious mind.”

Baki felt his mouth drop open; he could hardly believe what he was hearing: she was trying to blame him for her wicked thoughts. “They were in your mind,” he snapped, “so they are yours, not mine!” He bent and recaptured the reins, turning and dragging the horse with him out of the stream; he resumed his walk around the track, ignoring her.

“Are you really that stupid?” her voice called to him. “Can you control your dreams?” she added, her voice rising in pitch. “No one can, not even you, and are you claiming that you’ve never had a wicked dream?” she asked, and now her voice took on a pleading quality. “I cannot help that I am attracted to you! You are handsome and strong, everything any girl would desire, and you would condemn me for dreaming about you? Remember, Baki, I saw your dreams, dreams of her, and if Master Belmo knew, he would have denounced you and had you killed outright!”

Kesa’s words halted Baki; she had seen his dreams of Nela? She had never mentioned this idea before, always claiming she searched his mind for evidence to prove him innocent of the crimes he was accused of. He turned and looked at her and saw that she was striding away, back to the stable.

“So you did go through my mind,” he countered, a grin twitching at the corners of his mouth.

“Yes!” she snapped, stopping and turning again to face him. “As I said I would, looking for evidence to save you, which, of course, I did; it’s not my fault your mind wandered down other, forbidden paths. Perhaps we should share some of your dirty thoughts with Sir Blakstar–he might change his mind about knighting you!” She turned again and stormed back into the stable.

“Yours are worse!” he called after her. “Perhaps I should tell your grandfather about yours; he might expel you from your order!” He turned again, kicking the clumps of dirt that got in his way. wishing he was back in Karle, even his cell was better than this!


Next time, we switch to Kesa, and her response to Baki’s angry tirade against her. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 2

Posted by gwermon on February 8, 2019 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

8 February 2019

 

We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, Baki stops charging around the cavern to confront Kesa, anger controlling him. . . .

 

Chapter 2, Part 2

 

Baki dragged back on the reins, leaning back and pushing his boots forward in the stirrups; the horse ground to a halt, its sides heaving as it panted, its mouth open and its tongue out. He knew that little sprint would cost him an extra half-hour rubbing it down, time when he could not escape from her eyes, or her attempts to speak to him. She always wanted to know why–why did he hate her, after she had saved him from certain death. He never answered, only ground his teeth and tried to ignore her, but her voice brought with it those awful images, which in turn made him guilty, and angry, and he would grab a different mount, escaping into the cavern where he walked it around the track, mumbling to himself.

Baki slipped off his mount, patting its side and beginning to walk it around the track. When they came to the stream on the track’s front side, he did not even try to stay on the stepping stones; instead, he stomped through the water, soaking both boots and feet. The horse paused, bending to drink, and Baki stopped, his boots in the water and sinking into the gravel. Again, he felt her eyes upon him; out of sheer irritation, he turned toward her, glaring back at her, raising his voice to shout out her.

“How can you consider yourself a servant of the One,” he began, “when your mind is filled with evil?” he finished, gesturing angrily.

She stepped into the cavern and walked several paces toward him before stopping again, her arms still held tightly around her. “I’ve told you, I don’t know where those images came from,” she replied. “They are not mine,” she denied, again moving closer.

Baki stood rooted in the stream, his mount still drinking, sucking and blowing beside him. The water was cold, chilling him. “They were in your mind,” he countered, “so they are yours.” He turned away from her, intending to continue walking his mount, but the horse had other ideas, jerking its head and pulling the reins from his hand; it lowered its head and continued to drink, unconcerned by the storm brewing nearby. Baki turned back, splashing water up his legs; he saw that she now stood next to the stream, looking down at him. She was tall and thin, which, from her position on the bank, made her appear to be taller than him. Her long, light colored hair was caught behind her head, making her face look severe. Baki growled to himself under his breath, looking at the ground in front of her so he wouldn’t look at her.

“I think they might have been dreams,” she tried again, “dreams I did not remember until you dragged them out of my subconscious mind.”

Baki felt his mouth drop open; he could hardly believe what he was hearing: she was trying to blame him for her wicked thoughts. “They were in your mind,” he snapped, “so they are yours, not mine!” He bent and recaptured the reins, turning and dragging the horse with him out of the stream; he resumed his walk around the track, ignoring her.

“Are you really that stupid?” her voice called to him. “Can you control your dreams?” she added, her voice rising in pitch. “No one can, not even you, and are you claiming that you’ve never had a wicked dream?” she asked, and now her voice took on a pleading quality. “I cannot help that I am attracted to you! You are handsome and strong, everything any girl would desire, and you would condemn me for dreaming about you? Remember, Baki, I saw your dreams, dreams of her, and if Master Belmo knew, he would have denounced you and had you killed outright!”

Kesa’s words halted Baki; she had seen his dreams of Nela? She had never mentioned this idea before, always claiming she searched his mind for evidence to prove him innocent of the crimes he was accused of. He turned and looked at her and saw that she was striding away, back to the stable.

“So you did go through my mind,” he countered, a grin twitching at the corners of his mouth.

“Yes!” she snapped, stopping and turning again to face him. “As I said I would, looking for evidence to save you, which, of course, I did; it’s not my fault your mind wandered down other, forbidden paths. Perhaps we should share some of your dirty thoughts with Sir Blakstar–he might change his mind about knighting you!” She turned again and stormed back into the stable.

“Yours are worse!” he called after her. “Perhaps I should tell your grandfather about yours; he might expel you from your order!” He turned again, kicking the clumps of dirt that got in his way. wishing he was back in Karle, even his cell was better than this!

 

Next time, we switch to Kesa, and her response to Baki’s angry tirade against her. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 2, Part 1

Posted by gwermon on February 5, 2019 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

5 February 2019

 

We welcome all our readers to another installment from the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration! Today, we begin the second chapter, returning to the sanctuary beneath Shimar, where Baki exercises the horses, his anger toward Kesa spurring him on. . . .

 

Chapter 2, Part 1

 

Baki spurred his mount to a full gallop, charging around the dirt exercise track in this strange underground refuge. Although light in this huge cavern followed the sun of the surface, slowly lightening in the morning, shining brightly throughout the day, slowly fading into night, he felt uncomfortable, knowing there could be yards and yards of rock over his head, maybe even miles of dirt overhead, he did not know, but it made him wary, causing him to look up at the ceiling, in this large cavern, far overhead. They had passed three days in this strange refuge underground, somewhere beneath Shimar, a city now abandoned because of the approaching wall of ice, and the difficulty in obtaining food, three days since he had been awakened in the middle of the night and dragged off to an arena in the far north, where he had faced, and defeated, a giant, bear-like creature to rescue the twin son and daughter of the current Ferghen and Fergwen. The daughter, Rola, had returned with them to this underground refuge, while her brother, Woli, had been captured by the strange people living in the far north.

As the days passed slowly, Rola became more and more frantic, desiring to return to that strange fortress and rescue her twin, but their benefactors, people of legend, had wisely told her to wait. Baki knew that she should recognize the wisdom of waiting, that their enemies would expect them to return quickly, and would have prepared for such a move; she was, after all, a trained seklesa, daughter of their current Ferghen, one who should have been trained in all forms of military tactics. Baki was glad that his order did not operate as hers, that their wetham were kept safely at home, where they could not be a distraction to those in battle, where a single stray thought could leave one wounded and bleeding on the battlefield, or worse, dead. Distractions on the battlefield were death, and family members could be the worst kind of distraction; he was glad his only sibling, an older sister, was safely far away, as were his own parents, and so he could stay focused on the task before him.

Baki slowed his mount to a walk, giving him a chance to rest. Early every morning since they had returned here, he had resorted to this large cavern, exercising the horses in their stable, keeping them, and himself, in top physical form, ready at a moment’s notice to be called into action. Keeping himself focused on this action kept him from being forced to listen to their endless discussions of what they should do now. Rola, of course, constantly urged action, out of her desire to rescue her twin; their masters, Klaybear and Thalamar, smiled politely and listened carefully, but both simply replied by saying it was not time to act, for they were waiting on word from their other comrades, doing something on the nefali homeland. He learned of this from the third of their masters, the legendary Sir Blakstar. When they returned from rescuing Rola, he had been waiting, and Baki still felt awe at being in his presence. He stood waiting, in full armor, and leaning on the handle of his golden sword, in order to raise Baki to a full kortexi, telling him the One was pleased with his patience during his difficult trial, and that there were great works for him to do. He had laid his hands on a kneeling Baki’s head and blessed him, giving him the kortexi aura against evil. He was the first to call him Sir Baki, and the newly-made kortexi still felt uncomfortable when addressed by the others as Sir Baki, although it was his right.

Baki urged his mount to a trot, taking another turn around the cavern’s dirt track, which surrounded a garden filled with all manner of fruits and vegetables. This garden troubled Baki, not because he feared to eat this fruits and vegetables, but because he believed their legendary masters would have no need of such a mundane thing. Surely they were powerful enough that they could simply summon whatever they needed, whenever they needed it. He had said as much to Sir Blakstar before he left, but his master only smiled, shaking his head slowly as he led his huge stallion through another of those strange doorways. From it, Baki smelled heat, sulphur, and death, and he wondered what sort of place his master had gone to in order to rejoin his lady and an awemi of Rykel, from Meekor’s famous school for scouts. He frowned, for he had overheard his masters speaking of this Telor, son of the school’s current headmaster, and his reluctance to join their cause. This reluctance puzzled Baki; he could not understand why anyone would reject, let alone, resist, the call to serve these legendary agents of the One. Baki had been honored by the call, and by their masters concern for him and his welfare, helping to exonerate him from the false charges laid against him.

Ice plunged into his guts at this thought, and he pulled back on the reins, halting his mount. Remembering his imprisonment and trial also brought to mind her; he refused even to think of her name, for offenses against him were unforgivable, in spite of the fact that she had saved him from being killed. No number of good deeds, although on his behalf, could counteract her treachery, nor could it erase her evil feelings for him. He whipped his own thigh with the ends of the reins, punishing himself for the images that had surfaced with thought of her, images that made his ears burn and cheeks color. He glanced around guiltily, hoping no one was watching him to see the guilt written upon his face. His eyes traveled around the huge cavern, passed the fences surrounding the garden, over the other side of the track, and the narrow stream that ran through the cavern, to the opening into the stable, and the main room of this strange refuge, and he saw her standing in the doorway, watching him, her arm folded across her breasts, which brought again to the front of his mind images that she had left in his mind. He smacked his thighs harder, causing them to sting, and in his haste to punish himself, the ends of the reins flicked his mount, causing it to rear back and leap forward, charging around the back of the track, throwing up gobs of dirt as they flew around the corner and started back the other way. He could no longer see her, but he could feel her eyes upon him, and their touch made him burn; he bit his own tongue and wanted to shout a denial, hoping both actions would clear his mind, but the images remained, images of her fantasy involving him, images she denied, although feebly, for he had seen them in her mind, seen her lust for him. He shook his head and urged his mount to greater speed; he leaned forward, hiding behind his mount’s neck, smelling the sweaty heat of the horse mixed with churned up dirt and grass, and his own guilt. They came to the stream at a full gallop, and the horse easily leaped it, but this speed brought them more quickly to the turn that would bring her into view again.


Next time, Baki stops to confront Kesa, letting his anger rule his actions and words. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends. Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 1, Part 6

Posted by gwermon on February 1, 2019 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

1 February 2019


Welcome back! We conclude the first chapter of the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration, we conclude this chapter as Telor continues his angered questioning of Daka. . . .

 

Chapter 1, Part 6


“Give them away?” Telor repeated. He wondered how anyone could be so stupid as to give away gemstones worth so much!

Kovaine shot him a frown, but Telor could not shake the feeling of shock at the fortune in gems that had been thrown away, nor his disbelief that any sane person would give away valuable gemstones.

“I find it difficult to believe,” he noted, hoping he sounded apologetic so that Kovaine would not press him further. His mind took off, wondering if he could intercept even one of those trips to the Glufater and take the gemstones about to be discarded; if he could, he could make enough in one stroke to retire for the rest of his life.

A harsh laugh interrupted his reflections. “He wonders,” Daka said, “if he could steal the gems to be discarded before they are tossed back into the fires,” she went on, grinning evilly at him, causing him to take a step back. “Think not on it, child, for you have not the strength to carry even a small number of them away before Rega and his comrades would run you down and squash you like a bug.”

“How do you know what I can or cannot do!” Telor shouted, repeating himself.

“That’s enough, Telor!” Kovaine hissed. “One more outburst and they will hear you, coming to investigate.”

“Rega would grab you with one swipe and squash you in his remaining fist,” Daka noted, chuckling harshly to herself.

Telor lowered his voice to a whisper, cursing inside over his novice mistake. “Then tell her to stop treating me like a child!” he shot back, not disguising his anger.

Kovaine frowned and shook her head. “If you want us to treat you better, then stop attacking us at every turn. There is no need for you to get angry to prove you are an adult.”

“You mean, stop acting like the child you appear to be,” Daka noted, and Telor felt the anger rising again inside.

“I didn’t want to come on this dubious quest,” Telor said after managing to strangle his anger. “I don’t care about saving the world,” he went on, “so stop treating me like some kind of sacred warrior–I am neither. I only agreed to come because my father left me no other choice.”

Kovaine sighed. “Let it go, Telor,” she exhorted him. “None of that matters now, only what we can do to prevent our world from being destroyed. If you are actually that callous, that uncaring, then no one is stopping you from leaving and going home–you know the way.”

Telor laughed. “Go home, right!” he replied sarcastically. “Like I could actually leave and go home! Unlike you people, I have no easy escape from this place, nor do I have any way to leave.”

“Then stop fighting us,” Kovaine said. “The One chose you for this service; you can try to escape from your destiny, try to follow a different path, but it will eventually lead you back to your fate. As I told you before, if you do nothing here to aid the nefalem, then no more gemstones will flow, and you will have no market in which to trade. If our world is plunged into an age of ice, who will you trade with? Who will want to buy your trinkets when they cannot find enough to eat? Really, Telor, I think you are smarter than that!”

Kovaine’s words again made Telor squirm inside, and he felt the pull to obey her, to please her, and he wondered what was this power she had to persuade him to follow her? How could she, with only her voice, so easily convince him to follow, to obey, and to act according to her desires? He turned away from her, deliberately not looking at the nefali, for he could feel her eyes upon him, feel her smugness at his discomfiture, and it angered him as much as Kefi’s words. Why did both of them choose to bait him? He was surrounded by a silence that threatened to suffocate him, in spite of the pure air orthek that enabled him to breathe, a silence that pounded in his ears, making him wince and wish himself far, far away.

Neither of the other two spoke, waiting for him to respond, to decide what he would do. He cursed himself, his foolishness in agreeing to follow those two, curse his father for having sent him on this fool’s quest. He wondered how much money he had lost in the time he had been away. An image interrupted his thought, an image of people–his people–trudging south by any means, casting aside all they carried, all they thought important, the road south strewn with their treasures. They trudged on, coming to the edge of the continent, seeing the sea dried up, and a second wall of ice moving north toward them; now all were trapped between walls of ice that ground closer together, leaving them nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, no way of escape, and nothing to eat. He swallowed hard, his anger changing to fear, fear for himself, fear for his people, fear at being crushed between huge walls of ice as their world froze. His shoulders slumped; he could see no way out. He turned back to face the Lady Kovaine, trying not to look at the self-satisfied grin Daka wore.

“I’m sorry,” Telor spoke weakly. “It’s just that . . . ,” he tried to go on, but found nothing to say, nothing to justify his poor behavior, “I’m sorry,” he finished, looking down at the gray ash covering the floor and staining his hairy feet.


Next time, we will begin the second chapter, returning to Rola, Baki, and Kesa, currently hiding in their masters’ sanctuary beneath Shimar, tensions growing while they wait for their next action. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books,https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank"> here, and share them with your friends! Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 1, Part 5

Posted by gwermon on January 29, 2019 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

29 January 2019


Welcome back! We continue the first chapter of the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration, Telor finds the nefali awake, and she treats him like a child, which angers Telor. . . .

 

Chapter 1, Part 5

 

“We’ve got to move!” Telor hissed, feeling another surge of irritation when she grinned up at him.

“What’s wrong, child?” she asked, her voice mocking. “Have you seen a monster?”

Telor gaped at her, surprised by her tone and her calling him child. “Not this again!” he complained. “I am Telor, an awemi from Rykel,” he went on. “I am not a child! I was recruited by the Lady Kovaine,” he pointed to her where she slept, “to find out what happened to the nefalem, your people.”

She grinned again, stretching and sitting up. “It feels good not to be hanging,” she noted, not noticing or responding to his indignation. “Thanks for that, Telor, awemi from Rykel.”

Telor opened his mouth to retort angrily, thought better of it, and closed his mouth. A multitude of questions flashed through his mind, and he had trouble settling on which to ask first; he remembered why they were in this huge passage, and that pointed to a question. “Did you see a male of your people run by, within the last hour?” Telor asked.

She stared at him a long moment, making him shift from foot to foot; finally, she looked away. “Many of them have passed by me,” she said, slowly, “but none of them would look at me, unwilling to acknowledge our failure.”

This statement did nothing to answer Telor’s questions, adding instead to his confusion. “I don’t understand,” he admitted, “what failure?”

Again, she stared at him, making him uncomfortable. “You wouldn’t understand,” she told him, her eyes going to the right, to the passage going down.

Irritation flowed anew. “How do you know what I can or can’t understand?” Telor snapped. “You don’t know me! You can’t possibly know anything about me!”

“Easy, Telor,” Kovaine spoke from behind him, causing him to turn angrily and glare at her; she was sitting up, looking around, dark circles under her eyes. “I don’t think I’ve been resting long,” she noted, eyeing him. “Why have you awakened me with your usual complaints?”

Telor struggled to remain calm, trying to control his anger; he managed to hold it in, until he glanced at the nefali and saw she wore a half-grin, directed at him. He threw up his hands and turned away, cursing under his breath.

“What’s got you so upset, Telor?” Kovaine asked, and even in his angry state, he could sense concern in her voice. “You were fine when I went to sleep, and now . . . ,” she left it unsaid, looking closely at him.

He stabbed one finger down the hall, toward the cavern he had seen. “There is a monster down there, one who drives the nefalem, wethem, and even awemem, like a slave master, whipping anyone he thinks is shirking.”

“A monster, what are you talking about?” Kovaine asked.

“Scarred face, missing part of one arm?” the nefali asked.

“Carrying a multi-thonged whip, yes, him,” Telor answered.

“He is Rega, the enforcer, a megatri,” the nefali replied. “He is one of those who have enslaved my people.”

“One?” Telor repeated. “How many of those monsters are there?” he asked, and heard the quaver in his own voice, an expression of the fear now filling him; he felt an irresistible urge to flee, to hide, to escape. His eyes began darting around, his feet itching to run.

Kovaine laid a hand gently on Telor’s shoulder, and he felt the fear drain away; he looked up at Kovaine and smiled, mouthing his thanks. She returned his smile, and then looked at the nefali.

“How are you named?” Kovaine asked, her voice pleasant.

“I am Daka,” the nefali answered.

“Are the megatrem responsible for what has happened here?” Kovaine asked.

“Who else?” Daka answered. “They did something to the Glufater, causing it to erupt violently, and continue to do so. Following that first, catastrophic eruption, before the dust had settled, they came through Oinosto, capturing all that they found alive, dragging them below. After each new eruption, they combed through our city, capturing all they found, setting us all to work in the mines.”

“But why?” Telor asked. “What have they got against your people?”

Daka shook her head. “We do not know,” she admitted, “and we haven’t been able to find out. That is why they nailed me to the passage wall.”

“Because you tried to find out why?” Kovaine asked.

Again, Daka shook her head. “No, I discovered what happens to all of the gemstones we are forced to mine.”

“What happens?” Telor asked, wrestling in his mind to comprehend what was going on.

“Most of them are tossed back into the Glufater,” Daka noted, “but not the sapphires, rubies, or amethysts. They keep the rubies for themselves, and give the others away.”

“Give them away?” Telor gaped, incredulous.

“To whom?” Kovaine asked.

Daka shrugged. “Nobody knows,” she replied. “The gemstones are taken away by the cart load, and those forced to pull the cart do not return; the carts come back empty.”

 

Next time, we conclude this chapter as Telor continues to question Daka, angry and behaving like a child. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends! Good reading!

Caverns of Fire: Chapter 1, Part 4

Posted by gwermon on January 25, 2019 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

25 January 2019

 

Welcome back! We continue the first chapter of the forthcoming Caverns of Fire: Book 2 of The Restoration, Telor discovers a survivor among the corpses decorating the walls of this huge passage. . . .


Chapter 1, Part 4


He moved forward again, placing his feet carefully to make no sound, his ears trained forward, listening for that same sound; Kovaine did not move, waiting and watching as the awemi moved forward slowly.

“There!” Telor whispered, pointing down the hall, and springing forward, daggers sliding into each hand, moving toward the one, and only in this part of the huge hallway, body that was still fully fleshed; it was a nefali female, and the blood still flowed, dripping red and smoking where it stained the stone floor. Telor halted, staring at this body, stopped by the dark eyes fixed upon him.

“This one’s still alive!” he called back to Kovaine, who immediately ran forward.

Telor looked back at the figure, spiked to the wall, hanging from the spikes piercing her wrists; she looked as if she was about to die, and even his untrained eyes could see that her arms had been pulled from her shoulder sockets. Her mouth moved feebly, but no sound came from her lips.

Kovaine rushed up beside him, her hands glowing green; she placed her hands on the figure’s forehead, and Telor guessed she must be energizing the figure.

“We have to get her down, Telor!” Kovaine snapped. “She’s very weak.”

“I can see that, my lady,” Telor agreed, “but unless you have some orthek that would strengthen one of us enough to pull steel spikes from solid rock, I don’t know how we can remove her.”

Kovaine glanced sideways at him, and he thought she looked surprised. “Get on that side and hold her up!” she commanded, and he obeyed without thinking, as he always did. She reached over Telor, and he looked up and saw her touch the spike piercing her left wrist. She whispered a word Telor could not hear clearly, and the steel spike turned to dust. When it did, the arm dropped, and Telor did his best to hold up the arm and the left side of the hapless nefali. He felt Kovaine shift, and then the nefali slumped and groaned, forcing Telor down. A moment later, and they were laying her down on the floor, Kovaine already singing healing words. Telor staggered back and watched, fascinated as the right arm twisted and slipped back into the shoulder socket. The nefali arched in pain, and Kovaine continued to sing words of healing, reaching for her other shoulder and arm, causing them to move back together. The nefali gasped, and Kovaine moved her glowing hands to touch the wounds on her wrists, and on her feet. The nefali shuddered again, her eyes going wide and then closing, her breathing slow and regular.

Kovaine slumped onto the ground beside the nefali, looking gray.

“Are you all right?” Telor asked, concerned.

“I must rest,” she answered, smiling weakly up at him. “I wish we could find a better place than this, but that will have to wait. Keep watch!” she exhorted him, and she, too, went to sleep.

Telor looked at them both for a long moment, his eyes moving from Lady Kovaine, to the nefali, and back again; he frowned, his eyes now traveling up and down the huge passage. He shook his head, feeling exposed, seeing there was no way he could hide them, or himself, if any foes came to this spot. The daggers he before held appeared again in his hands, but he thought better of that action, sheathing both daggers and arming himself instead with his sling, taking a heavy, smooth bullet from a pouch in his belt, loading it into the sling. For a time, he paced up and down the passageway on either side of the Lady Kovaine and her patient. When an hour had passed in silence, Telor decided to scout further down the passage, hopefully finding an out of the way place where they could hide.

Telor did not go far down the passage before he was forced to halt, and do his best to hide. Below him, he saw what must have been a meeting of ways; the passage he was in opened into a large cavern from which several passages, equally large, exited in all directions. He saw many figures moving through this cavern, nearly all of them nefalem, which surprised him. Either they were here of their own choice, or they were somehow controlled, for he could see no one who guarded them. He watched for a time from the shadows of his passageway. A few wethem passed through the cavern while he watched; he even saw a single awema and felt a surge of anger. He nearly leaped out from his cover to go rescue her, but some inner voice warned him to stay where he was and observe. Moments later, a creature entered the cavern, a creature that made the nefalem look small. This new creature was missing his right forearm at the elbow, and had a long, white scar running down the right side of his face, from the dark shock of hair down his neck, disappearing beneath the sooty black shirt of steel rings. In his remaining, left, hand, he carried a cruel thong, woven of leather strips. He growled something that Telor did not understand and cracked his multi-stranded whip, which caused all the figures in the cavern to flinch and start running. A grin split his scarred, red face, and he lashed one of the figures as this nefali passed him.

Telor cast his mind back to an early lecture on the denizens of the land, trying to find a name for this huge creature, finally recalling its name: megatri, a giant creature of fire. The scarred megatri looked around the cavern, lashing several more of the figures passing through, causing the air to fill with the sounds of yelping victims, cracking whips, and pounding feet as those chastised rushed to escape. Telor suddenly understood why the passageway was so big, and he felt a fear he had never known. If that monster had been here when Kefi reached this cavern, the nefali would have been caught at once. Carefully, Telor moved back up his passageway, staying on his knees until he could no longer see the megatri. He turned and jogged silently back the way he had come, wondering if the Lady Kovaine had rested long enough; it did not matter, he realized, for they could not stay where they were, not with that monster so close. He was moving so fast, he nearly passed the two reclining forms before skidding to a halt. The nefali was awake, her dark eyes again watching him.

 

Next time, Telor finds the nefali has awakened, and he tries to find out what has happened to her people. Until then, get our ebooks, or print books, https://www.amazon.com/author/clydenorthrup" target="_blank">here, and share them with your friends! Good reading!


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