Posts Tagged ‘free’

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirty-Five

Eli stood before a massive stone door.  Reaching out, he ran his finger along the intricate patterns depicting trees, bushes and grass.  It struck a chord in his memory, this image of a Great Forest.  He shook his head, trying to remember where and when he’d seen anything like this.  Even the tapestries along the walls of the Keep did not have the level of detail he saw here.

The Wall stretched as far as he could see left and right, the door set within the stone and ending just at the edge of the light above him.  It made no sense for it to be here.

“Have you gone through?” asked a voice.

“No,” he answered.

“You should,” said the voice.  He felt a hand press against his back, giving him a shove forward.  He lost his balance, toppling towards the door.  Raising his hands, he tried to stop himself from slamming face-first into the stone and found that he stumbled forward without ever hitting it.  Warmth spread across his skin and he lowered his arms to see that he was standing on an impossibly ancient stone, one of thousands forming a road twice as wide as any he’d ever seen.  Above him a blue sky replaced the canopy of leaves and a bright sun caused him to blink and squint.  Looking South, he saw that the road stretched nearly to the unfamiliar mountains on the horizon, cutting a swatch through the Great Forest surrounding him.  To the North, it disappeared into that same Forest, swallowed by trees older and larger than he was used to seeing. (more…)

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirty-Four

Narut touched Jaycn on the shoulder.  The older man had been nodding off as he sat his watch over Elias.  His friend slept like the dead, never moving, barely breathing.  Whatever the Engineers had done, it was slow working.  They said he would need several more sessions before he would be safe and on his way to properly healing.  Until then, Jaycn, Narut and the others had taken it upon themselves to watch over Eli.

“I’m fine,” Jaycn protested as Narut dragged him to his feet.

“You are not. You need sleep.  I’ll take this watch,” Narut answered him softly, but firm.  Jaycn grumbled as he left, but he did leave.  Narut settled into the chair beside Eli’s bed, wondering what the Engineers had done.  Everyone he talked to said the same thing; they were taken into a dark room and told to breathe deeply.  Soon, they found it difficult to keep their eyes open and the next thing they knew, they woke back in the infirmary, their wounds healing, pain lessened or completely gone.  The worse the wounds, the longer it took to be healed.

Eli had been among the worst. (more…)

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirty-Three

The Magistrate walked beside Shen, Captain of Deisarch Dain.  Valenz trailed them like a shadow as they stepped into the room acting as a triage for all the casualties.  The attack had been coordinated and deadly and completely unexpected.  The men of the Militia had been slaughtered.

“I’ve lost nearly half my forces,” Shen continued.  He’d been talking for so long the Magistrate wondered how his voice hadn’t gone hoarse.  “And another half lie wounded or dying.  I know that the Engineers are helping, but…”

Devastating, the Magistrate thought, trying to ignore what the Captain was trying very hard not to say.  In truth, he couldn’t blame the Captain his distrust of the miserable little creatures.  If he had his way, they would be rid of them.  Of course, everything would fall apart inside of a year.  He stared at a dark skinned man sitting on the floor, trying to hold his intestines inside his stomach.

“Six months,” he muttered, not really seeing the man.

“My Lord?” asked the Captain.  The Magistrate jumped as if goosed. (more…)

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirty-Two

Valenz watched from the parapets as far below, the Militia wagons brought in the wounded, dead and dying from the massacre.  He shook his head at the word, though he knew it fit better than anything else he could come up with.  From a distance, he’d observed the damage to the Wall, worse than anything he’d seen before and that was going back a ways.  They had nearly breached through to the far side when the retreat was called.

He shook his head again; that was applying military tactics and stratagems to something more animalistic and instinctual than strategic; like putting your hand in a flame, you pull it back because it hurts, not because it makes strategic sense.


Making his way back into the tower, Valenz walked over to the stone chair and waited.  The Magistrate sat rigid; his face could’ve been carved from the stone itself.  The battle with the Engineers had taken its toll on him but the end result was rolling in through the gates this very minute.  Again he shook his head, applying military terms to things.  It came from another life long, long ago.  You’d think he would’ve forgotten all of that by now. (more…)

© 2010, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirty-One

In the Tower of Valles, where the walls are covered in cream and gold, a discordant note vibrated the very foundations as the Magistrate, high atop the Tower, staggered as if struck and cried out.  Spiraling to the floor, he collapsed into a heap of robes and lay there twitching; arms and legs refusing to respond.

Valenz appeared as if from nowhere, melting away from the walls and rushing to his master’s side.

“My Lord?  What is it?  What has happened?”

Eyes that could not see him stared unfocused at the ceiling of the room and a voice that was strained answered, “Evermist…  Take me…  Hurry…  Engineers…” (more…)

Okay peoples – over on the downloads page, I have put up Chapters 11-20 and Chapters 21-30 as PDF’s that you can download and read whenever you like.

Because I spent some time working on that, I’m going to take this week off from a regular chapter but new chapters will begin again next Friday, the 14th of May!