The holidays, especially Christmas, have become such a mixture of emotions for me. Christmas always brings with it feelings of joy and happiness as I love all the lights and decorations and the memories of a childhood almost forgotten. It's also one of the few times I can get all my children and grandchildren, who are so busy with their own lives, together in one place as a family so I can enjoy their company. Unfortunately, this time of year also brings back the memories of all the loved ones, friends and family, who I've lost over the years. Folks I can no longer share the joy of the holidays with or sit down over a cup of coffee and reminisce about the old days.
As someone who's life is a constant, daily battle with depression, I've become adept at hiding my true feelings. I've learned to cover myself in a facade of happiness so I don't ruin things for my family. That facade comes with a price, and after everyone has gone home, the decorations are down and put away, depression takes its revenge.
I was barely able to maintain enough focus last week to finish formatting my book for print at CreateSpace. That wouldn't have happened without the help and unending patience of my now dear friend, C. J. Brightly, who guided me every step of the way. The rest of the week is a blank.
Over the last several days I've actually managed to put down a couple pages of notes on where I want to go with my epic fantasy and some ideas for the next novella in my YA fantasy series. The fact that I'm able to sit down and write this blogpost is a major milestone for me. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to take those notes and actually begin turning them into new chapters.
For this week, I decided to share the prologue to my fantasy, "Eyes of the Deluti". I may have shared this before but I'm sure it was a long time ago and it's been edited since then.
Thanks for reading.
End of an Age
Now was the time to finish this. Only Demitrios, the last surviving Deluti High Lord, had the power to locate and if possible, destroy the Dark Lord. He rode at the forefront of the Army of the North, an alliance he had forged between Northern Ogre, Mountain Wolves, the light-shifters of the Elintria and Humans. That alliance proved to be the turning point in a war that had lasted for decades. The Dark Lord of the South refused to acknowledge the intelligence and fighting abilities of the non-humans. For that reason, his entire army was comprised of humans, whom he treated little better than slaves.
The Army advanced steadily across the Plain of Sarglon and approached the Stagwood Forest. Ahead of them stretched an ancient, densely packed wood where the Dark Lord had established his final defensive line to protect his fortress at Bryhom. At the High Lord’s signal, the army positioned itself for attack with archers and mages to the front, followed by ogres, wolves and human swordsmen. The horsemen were positioned as rear guard due to their disadvantage in the thick forest.
As the first volley of arrows darkened the sky and fireballs launched by the human mages sped towards the forest, lightning strikes sent by the Dark Lord’s sorcerers began falling among the archers. Holding position, the mages and archers continued to provide covering fire until the wolves, ogres and Elintria assassins reached the edge of the forest. The swordsmen then followed to sweep through the forest in the wake of the non-humans. Riding among them, Demitrios provided as much protection as he dared but every death added to the burden of sorrow weighing on his heart.
His personal shield protected him from attack but did not block out the pungent odor of ozone and the sickly sweet stench of burning flesh. They had left behind a plain littered with the bodies of human and animal, but in the forest, Demitrios knew they would have the advantage. The wolves and ogre were formidable forest predators and the Elintria would quickly eliminate anyone attempting to hide in the trees.
A sudden immense gathering of power alerted him to the presence of his enemy and the shocked realization of the terrible mistake he had made. The forest was a trap. With the last of his energy he sent out a powerful mental command to the entire army to abandon the forest immediately. Face buried in the mane of his horse to keep from being swept off, they careened through the forest with the roar of an inferno pursuing them. Tendrils of smoke trailed from the burnt ends of the horse’s tail as they escaped through the western edge of the forest and ascended to a rock strewn meadow. The horse, lathered and trembling, stopped a few paces away from the body of a man slumped against the side of a large boulder. Demitrios fell from his saddle and stumbled over to his brother. The face of his twin was beyond recognition.
Compassion overwhelmed all other emotions as he gazed at the burnt and blackened body before him.
“Why have you done this to us Scorpios?” he cried. “Your lust for power has destroyed the last members of our race. The Council of Five gave up their lives by forging their spirits into the five Amulets of Focus that are now scattered throughout both continents. The Deluti are no more. You have placed the future of this world in the hands of the humans.”
The body of his brother convulsed, one eye cracked open and a hiss escaped through burnt and blistered lips.
“I can not. Regardless of what you have become, you are still my brother.”
Anger invoked by the senseless destruction and death his brother was responsible for rekindled the power of a Deluti High Lord in him. He rose to his feet and stood straight and tall.
“However, since you attempted to kill us all and took in more power than your body was able to control, I sentence you to live and suffer from those injuries and the knowledge of what you have done to our people.”
Demitrios walked over to stand next to his horse and stared at the smoking ruin that had once been the
. With a faraway
look in his eyes, he continued. Stagwood
“Many generations from now, the blood of the Deluti will return through the line of humans even stronger than before and our time on this world will come to an end. I have foreseen it.”
Back in the saddle, he turned his horse away from the broken body on the ground and whispered, “Goodbye my brother.” He never looked back.