Tarn will lead the Maxilla into battle for the first time, but a man with the mark of greatness will always have enemies. Grona hates everyone, including his son, Tarn.
Both are destined to be heroes yet only one can stand before the gates of Hell and win.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A desire to read medieval fantasy over the years led me to write a few short stories of my own. An idea formulated inside my head and I made some notes. Coupled with being stuck inside my house due to illness, I started to write. And the tale unfolded over many, many months.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I started writing with no idea of names. At first they appeared inside my head, but as time passed I looked at name-books from all over Europe. I asked other authors for their opinion; I changed some but slowly I began to see the characters inside my head. Their individual characteristics followed easily. Next time, I’ll be more structured in my approach.
EVIL NEVER DIES
The mountains formed after the lands had been covered in fire, lava and ash. Ice had shaped valleys and the wind and rain had scoured the summits into jagged peaks. Immune to any hardship and interference, only the gods lived in such desolate places. From their lofty domain they looked down on the world of man.
On the lower slope of Mount Soar, a vast number of caves ran through the mountain. Deep and gloomy they served as scant protection for the few animals that dared to wander so high and as a refuge for the seldom seen humans.
Two men sat around a blazing fire in one of the upper caves. A copper pot boiled. One stirred the contents, looking hopeful that the meat would soon be cooked. He shivered constantly, his hand automatically stirring faster.
Long dark clothes swathed the other. A wide-brimmed floppy hat obscured his thin bony face, weathered by time. Yet everything about him was illusory, for he could sit naked in a snow drift and be unconcerned, whereas his companion would freeze in an instant without his help.
He loved the entertainment; humans were usually predictable, yet some could still surprise him. But he had learnt that the body of a frail old man always yielded the best results.
“What is your name, human?”
“Ernon … the lame. What should I call you … lord?”
“You, my cold friend … you may call me Titian. So, tell me what you want.”
“I want power, to control them and take my revenge.”
“Yes my lord. I have studied the dark side of magic and can readily proceed with the ten incantations.”
“Yes! Yes! Admittedly, you have a talent for cruelty and minor magic otherwise you would not be sitting here, but are you ready to give up many years of your life to learn the secrets of the dark arts? The teaching never ceases, for as you learn you move on to the next level of understanding. But remember, if you fail, death is inevitable.”
Looking at the frailty of the man stirring a hot stew did not fill Titian with any great confidence, but the mortal’s eager nod swayed him.
“You will endure pain unlike any other as your mind is exposed and altered. Your body will shrink and grow as I deem fit. At some point you will fall on your knees and beg to die. By then, it will be too late. The gods will own you body and soul, and only they, will allow your demise. This is the point of no return, Ernon. Take it … or maybe freeze.”
Titian watched Ernon, knowing the doubts that flooded his brain. He knew this mortal, knew that all his life he had been scorned by others. Lame-leg they would shout. Silently he had endured all the abuse but the hatred had festered. Titian was aware that physical pain had always been a part of Ernon’s life; he would cope with it, but the mental anguish of this new challenge would be severe. Ernon had dreamed of a day of retribution for so long, but Titian saw him hesitate at the point of no return.
“I wish to learn my lord and be your faithful servant whatever the cost. I want … need …to repay my tormentors.”
Hot blood surged through Titian’s veins, and his face grew crimson with excitement. The thought of a new game sent shudders down his spine.
“As you wish but I must also warn you that your enemies will be as numerous as your friends. Men will take sides – they always do – but you can prevail. It will be a long hard road; are you ready?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Good! One more thing. The gods will also take sides.”
Titian saw Ernon hesitate. He ignored the signs.
“I will use a sign as a medium for your energy. It will be used to control your allies and to strike fear into your enemies.”
Flurries of future scenes raced through Titian’s mind. The puny human would likely cause great havoc in the world below and he would rejoice in the fun, even though he risked the wrath of his parents Obsidian and Radiance.
“You will be known as Myracadonis the shaman. Now, let us begin,” said Titian, the God of Fire.
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