Kyle Demore

A Brief Glimpse Into What I Had Planned: Afterword – Not Quite the End

And lastly the Afterword. If you’d like it all in one place, please feel free to download the PDF, which has all five chapters and the afterword.

1 – Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons First Five Chapters

 

Afterword – Not Quite the End

Readers,

It is easy enough to see that this is not a finished novel. These first five chapters in what might have been the last and final book to a duology is being called Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons. This is, of course, a working title. I hadn’t committed to it quite yet. That matters little now, but still it is something I thought I should mention. Either way, this is mostly the beginning of what I had planned to be a bigger, meatier, second part of Kyle’s adventure. And as I’ve mentioned before, it still might end up being that way someday. Just not now.

Either way. Here’s a little overview of what might have come if I had gotten to writing it now.

 

After the visit from Titans, King Zephyr is introduced. Kyle is basically accused of working with the Titans and breaking the law. His arrest is called for. Luckily, Grandmaster Dante steps in to calm the king down. It works, but Kyle is called to the capital to answer to the King there. Along with the mystery woman who helped saved Master Helen. We find out that this woman is Kyle’s Mother, Melissa.

Grandmaster Dante, Proculus, and Melissa take Kyle to capital where Kyle formally meets the king. The King although first angry with Kyle, warms up to him rather quickly and finds the fact that he is from another realm interesting. By the end of it, he commands that Kyle stay at the capital and enroll in their academy. Having no choice in the matter, Kyle must immediately transfer and is now enrolled in class with no break to spend with his friends. Melissa, for past crimes, is given a lenient sentence thanks to Grandmaster Dante. However, this sentence requires her to stay at Soul Gate Academy which she is adamantly against, but with a choice between that or prison, she goes with Grandmaster Dante to stay under his watchful eye. Proculus transfers to teach at the King’s Academy, not wanting Kyle to be alone.

Life in the Academy begins and Kyle finds that this is less friendly of a school. Doubly rejected for having once been at Soul Gate Academy and the boy from the other realm, he is friendless. Time goes by and the time for the tournament is nearing. Soul Gate Academy arrives as a flying castle and the schools are effectively combined which gives Kyle back his friends, but conflict arises as the two schools butt heads. Kyle’s relationship with Garnet is something that freshens hate. More time goes by.

Halfway through the year, it’s announced that tournament will begin with the first event will happen at Dragon’s Eye Academy, a school further to the north and the last of Dusk’s three academies. Soul Gate Academy and Dusk Academy make their way there on the flying castle and huge parade/party event preludes the first event which is a race.

Kane is a contestant in the race and comes close to winning, but loses to an older SoGA tyro. Kyle suspects that Kane lost on purpose, which makes celebrating difficult for him even though the rest of his side is enjoying the victory. Later that night, a battle breaks out and hell breaks out as Titans join the fight against them.

A friend of Kyle’s dies and it’s because he chose not to kill an enemy combatant. Later, Kyle gets a chance at revenge and achieves it. It’s bittersweet because he’s captured as a result. He also witnesses Titans capturing Garnet and can do nothing to help.

And then… BOOOM! Lots of other things, but I fear to tell more should I ever come back to this adventure. And there definitely is more to this story! I just think that giving it away now would not be the best idea. Let’s just say that if it ever should come to pass that I write the rest of this adventure, I hope I do not disappoint.

I can and will say that these two books were just meant as a beginning for Kyle Demore. There is more to this universe and at the end this particular adventure, he gets put in a position where it becomes his duty to look for something. Vague, I know, but I can’t spell out everything.

Either way, if you’ve read this far, you have my eternal appreciation. I hope I can one day give you a more satisfying ending, but I hope you respect my decision to step away from this for now. Hopefully, in following the traditional publishing path I can make a name for myself and get back to it in a few years. It is possible, I suppose.

Sincerely,

Sam

 

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons – First Five Chapters

Copyrighted © 2017 by Samuel J. Vega

All rights reserved.

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Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons Chapter 5: Titans Enter

The last chapter to be released, but if you’d like it all in one place, please feel free to download the PDF, which has all five chapters and the afterword.

1 – Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons First Five Chapters

 

Chapter 5 – Titans Enter

It was after lunch when Kevin surprised Kyle with the news that he was welcome to spend break staying at his grandmother’s home with him and his family. Kross, Kevin, and Kyle walked behind the Garnet, Rayne, and Terra as they all made their way outside to take the ShiftDoor test. The masters had scheduled it for the afternoon, knowing everyone was likely to sleep in after a late night.

“I can stay with you?” Kyle wasn’t sure he’d heard his speech pad correctly.

“Ah,” Kevin began writing. “And Kross has given me his word that he will be there after a short visit to his parents.”

Kross nodded, but didn’t elaborate. He’d been quiet all morning. His focus was fine-tuned to the point of insanity. Kyle was certain that if there was only one person that passed today, it would be Kross the Monk.

“But is it okay?” Kyle tried not to sound too hopeful. He’d been trying to avoid facing the dread he felt all morning when he noticed that many of the tyros had left SoGA as of this morning. “I don’t have any money.”

“Money?” Kevin’s notepad said. “What would you need that for?”

“Ya know,” Kyle’s face went warm. “To pay for food and stuff.”

“You needn’t worry,” Kevin smiled. “Everything will be taken care of. My grandmother is very generous. I have told her about you and she has assured me that you will be taken care of. Plus,” he added, with a boyish grin. “I’m sort of her favorite. After I told her about you, she made it clear that she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I must warn you, though. I think she believes she is getting a new grandson to add to her collection.”

Kyle was taken aback, but he wanted to smile at the last part. It sounded like something Nana would have said. “You sure? I don’t want to impose.”

“Ah,” Kevin waved the idea away, not even bothering to write out a reply.

“Thanks, Kevin,” Kyle said, quietly. He’d been ready for a break with only the masters as company, convincing himself that it would be a good time to focus on his training. Now, given the chance to spend the time with friends, it somehow made him feel lighter.

Kevin placed his hand on his pad to write a reply, but at the last second decided against it. Instead, he slapped Kyle’s shoulder. “Ah,” he said fondly. There was much Kyle felt in that unsaid moment, but mostly, it was affection. He was fortunate to know and call Kevin the Bison his friend. Kevin left them to join Rayne and Terra who parted from Garnet. They’d be watching them to take the test from afar.

Garnet, Kross, and Kyle joined the tyros waiting near where the pool had been last night. It’d been emptied of water and filled with dirt while they slept. Now, it could have just been an area waiting for the grass to grow back. More joined them as they waited. When it was time, they’d be sorted into small groups and then attempt to open three doors under the supervision of a master.

“There are a lot of people here,” Kross said. It was the first full sentence he’d said all day. “I’m not even sure if there were half this many last year.”

“Probably has to do with the rumor about having to be able to open ShiftDoors to enter the Lunar Tournament.” Garnet said.

“Nonsense,” Kross muttered before falling back into his determined concentration.

“What if it is required to enter?” Kyle asked Garnet.

“It won’t be,” Garnet sighed. “A person’s abilities are what is going to matter. Opening a ShiftDoor isn’t a true indication of anything. It ends up having to do more with imagining something to be real. It’s a little harder to grasp for some people and there have been plenty with great skill who have trouble with ShiftDoors.” She directed this last statement at Kross, who pointedly ignored her. She sighed, again.

“Well regardless of the tournament, I’m sure we’ll all pass,” Kyle tried to sound more confident than he felt. Garnet just nodded.

A few minutes later, the masters showed up to separate the tyros into groups. Kyle, Kross, and Garnet were all placed with Master Helen who helped with sorting, which meant they’d have to wait even longer to start. Kyle had been hoping to be placed with Master Proculus, but he was absent this morning. Something about that seemed off to Kyle. Proculus was always one to partake in these types of duties.

He was surprised to see Elleneya the Gatekeeper July heading their way. She was dressed in a grey skirt and green top. She also wore her white witch’s hat with its dozens of dangling keys. It hid most of her bushy brow hair. She’d been popular the night before dressed in a scantily clad bikini that most agreed might not exactly be the best for swimming. Her real scandal, according to the gossip, was the very public attention she bestowed upon Master Proculus. From what Kyle could tell, the two got along well and he didn’t see why it seemed to peak so many people’s interest. Well, she is nice-looking, I suppose. Her current presence did interest Kyle since it made Proculus’ absence even more odd. Since coming to Soul Gate Academy, Elleneya was hardly ever seen without him.

“You,” she pointed at Kyle as she moved closer.

“Yes, Gatekeeper?” Kyle still wasn’t sure what the protocol was with addressing the Gatekeepers.

“Call me Ellen,” she hissed. “Gatekeeper is what you call old geezers like October. Beautiful ladies like Garnet and I are to be called by our first names.” She winked at Garnet, who smiled, but looked as confused as Kyle felt.

“Okay, Ellen,” Kyle said slowly. “Is there something you need me for?”

“Yes,” Ellen grabbed one of her keys, smiling from ear to ear. “You’re the reason for our first fight.” Everyone around them, Kyle finally noticed, was watching. He, he realized just then, was used to it.

“Uh,” he took a step back. “I’m sorry?”

“Don’t be! I won the fight.” She pointed the key at Kyle and turned it.

Kyle felt a sudden click in his head that sounded off like a gong, shaking him entirely. Then the world tilted on its side. There was a shout, but it was unintelligible. He blinked and everything went dark. He hadn’t lost consciousness, though. Of that, he was certain. Instead, it felt like he’d been transported to a different place where the light was just gone. But I haven’t moved. His heart pounded in his ears as the minutes passed. Or was it hours? He tried to move, but his arms didn’t work, nor did his legs. He couldn’t even tell if he was breathing. In the distance, a soft blue light floated, slowly falling from high in the sky. Why does it look so familiar?

He blinked again and the world came back into view with Garnet standing over him.

“Kyle,” her voice sounded frantic. “Kyle, are you okay?”

He was flat on the ground, looking at her with dizzy eyes. He stood, wobbling slightly before straightening up. The pounding in his head was still there, but beyond that he felt fine.

“Kyle,” Garnet grabbed him by the shoulders.

“I’m fine,” he said. “What happened?”

Behind Garnet, Master Helen was yelling at Elleneya the Gatekeeper July, who was muttering apologies and nodding her head. The rest of the tyros had backed away, forming a semi-circle around them. Terra, Rayne, and Kevin were moving toward them.

“You three will stay put,” Master Helen, said crossly. “Go back to sitting down.”

The three of them stopped in their tracks, then obeyed.

“How long was I out?” Kyle found it surprising that the three of them had waited till now to move.

“Only a few seconds,” she answered him. Her big blue eyes were staring into his like they were searching for something. “You pretty much just fell and got back up. They started yelling at her as soon as you were on the ground. A few seconds…but it had felt longer than that. Much longer.

“I didn’t hurt him,” Ellen insisted pointed at Kyle. “Look!”

Helen turned to find Kyle standing. He tried to reassure her with a grin, but this just seemed to increase the worry lined in her face.

“How do you feel?” She asked.

“Fine?” Kyle answered. Helen raised her eyebrows, obviously doubting him. “Really, I’m fine, Master. I don’t know what came over me.”

“Nothing came over you,” Ellen explained. “I just unlocked a lock in your head. It’s been there since I first met you. I told Procu that I had to open it or it could kill you. I think.”

“What?” Kyle said. Master Helen, Kross, and Garnet all said it with him.

“That’s enough,” Grandmaster Dante walked into the circle tyros. Kross trailed behind him. “This is not the place to go into the details.”

“I am a Gatekeeper,” Elleneya pursed her lips together. “I thought it best to act promptly.”

“Promptness is fine,” Dante nodded. “Your choice of location is what is dubious here.”

Elleneya didn’t seem to realize that people were watching them until that moment. She sighed, conceding. “Sorry,” she muttered.

“Perhaps,” Dante said in an obvious effort to move the conversation elsewhere, “you would be so kind as to check in on Master Proculus? He went to meet the King at one of the Shift Door points. I had expected him to return by now. I doubt there is anything to worry about, but it’d be best to be sure.”

“Say no more,” Ellen turned to Kyle. “Sorry for the…lack of manners. My parents must’ve forgot a few lessons with me.”

“More than a few,” Master Helen huffed, heatedly.

“It was a few hundred years ago,” Elleneya shrugged. “So, you’re probably right.”

Kyle’s mouth flew open. Hundreds? She hardly looked like she could pass for thirty. No one else seemed even faintly surprised by this.

“Forgive me,” Master Helen who always looked stern, dropped her gaze. “I know you’ve given up much. You deserve my respect and you have it.”

“No forgiving necessary,” Ellen said, wistfully. “I know it probably looked more nefarious than it should have. That was part of the fun, after all.” She made as if it to go, but then turned back to Kyle, edging closer to whisper into his ear. “Boy from the other realm, Kyle the Static. I think you are important, somehow. Everything seems to have you near it in one way or another. Stay safe.” She backed away, but Kyle grabbed her arm.

“I’m not,” he said, letting her go abruptly. “Can’t you tell by just looking at me? I’m nobody.”

“Nobody, huh?” Her eyes lit up. “He said the same thing.” She didn’t say another word, striding to the academy’s exit to disappear into the forest. Everyone watched her go. She was, after all, a gatekeeper.

“Time for the test!” Grandmaster Dante shouted, making everyone jump. He turned and whispered something to Kyle. “If you really do feel fine, I see no reason why you shouldn’t continue. Are you sure you’re okay?”

Kyle nodded, “I’m fine, Grandmaster.”

“Very well. Come see me when this is all done, okay?” He took off before Kyle could reply, shouting other commands for Masters to begin the ShiftDoor test.

“Line up!” Master Helen shouted at a nearby group of tyros. “You three, back of the line.”

Kross, Garnet, and Kyle gather with the group of tyros, forming at the back of the group that was muttering quite lively about Kyle as he walked by. Kyle opted automatically to be last in line and neither Garnet nor Kross objected. Master Helen began calling tyros up one at time to unlock ShiftDoors.

“I have a lock in my head?” Kyle said. The words felt hollow to say aloud and even worse to contemplate. Who put it there and why?

“It’s not as uncommon as you’d think,” Garnet said. “I believe when I became a reader, I was told they removed two locks from mine.”

“Really?” Kyle’s eyes widened. “What about you, Kross?”

“None,” Kross rubbed his hands together nervously. He was studying every person as they did their test. Two had failed already. “Not to my knowledge, at least. Now really isn’t the time to discuss this, though. We should focus.”

“You’re focused enough for the three of us,” Kyle sighed.

“He’s right, Kyle,” Garnet put a hand on his shoulder. Her hand felt warm. “Try not to think about it too much, right now. Just concentrate on the ShiftDoor test.” It looked like she was about to lean in to kiss him, but she didn’t. He wanted her to, but there was enough going on without the added drama of people freaking out that the boy from the other realm was being kissed by one of the most well-liked girls in the academy. People just might try to kill him if they knew. That’s the last thing I need.

“All right,” Kyle agreed.

They waited in silence, watching the rest of the group take their test one by one. Many were passing, opening three ShiftDoors, but almost just as many failed to. Master Helen watched closely, marking a notepad and saying very little except for “Next,” or “Good job,” or “Don’t worry, you can try again next year.” Kross cringed every time she said that last one to disheartened students. Dread began to set in as Kyle’s turn came closer.

“Next,” Master Helen said to Kross. He was the first of the three of them.

Master Helen had barely given him the nod to begin, when three doors popped into existence. They were approved almost just as quickly. He had passed.

“That was quick,” Garnet said.

Kross’ face went red, but it was easy to see that he was pleased. “Guess I didn’t have to worry, too much.”

“Of course, you didn’t,” Master Helen shooed him away. “But discuss it later. We’re the last group and Grandmaster Dante would like to lock the school from ShiftDoors as soon as possible, so hurry up out of the way. Come on, Scarlet Needle. You’re next.”

Garnet passed with little issue, but she opened the doors one at a time like she was supposed to. I knew she would pass. Kyle smiled, feeling proud of her. She offered him an encouraging grin as he stepped up to do his test.

“You sure you’re feeling fine, Static?” Master Helen asked. “You can always wait to take the test next year.”

“I’m fine, Master,” Kyle let out a long breath. “Can I start?”

She nodded and he held his hand as though he had a key in it. He turned it, concentrating on the Rayne’s home first. He figured this would be the hardest one because it was technically the furthest. There was a slight pressure on his on the back of his eyes as a crème colored ShiftDoor slid into existence in front of him. It hadn’t felt bad or even uncomfortable, but more like he was trying to look up and down at the same time. No one had warned him that it would feel like that.

Master Helen inspected it, “Good.”

He let out a long breath. Two more to go. He began picturing a second ShiftDoor that would lead to outside of Dilu Village. He turned his hand. This time a lime green door formed. The same pressure pressed on his eyes. Weird.

Master Helen inspected the new door. “Good,” she said with an approving nod.

One more. Kyle felt his chest swelling as the nervousness subsided. The next ShiftDoor would lead to Arragin Mountain. This was the first place he’d ever seen in Endera and he remembered it well. And so again, he concentrated, picturing the mountainside and its wild beauty of greens and trickling streams. He turned his hand, and as he did, the memory of a soft blue light floating high in a dark sky entered his mind. That’s not right.

A large black door appeared and the slight pressure he’d expected to affect his eyes came in sudden intense jolt. It still didn’t hurt, but he was sure he’d ever get used to it. The door was twelve feet high and looked like it’d been smear with charcoal. In its center was large white circle with a triangle drawn in red with two lines that ran through it as though to cross it out. It looked like it’d been drawn in blood.

“I don’t think this is right,” he muttered, trying not to sound too disappointed with himself. He hoped that since it was a ShiftDoor, it would count anyways, though. He just needed to find out where it led to because he was certain that it didn’t lead to Arragin Mountain.

“Kyle,” Master Helen said in a tight, nervous whisper. It was so unlike her, Kyle would have thought someone else had spoken if he hadn’t seen her lips move. “Why did you summon this ShiftDoor?” She took a careful step back. That was when it finally dawned on Kyle that something was very wrong.

She was scared.

“I just,” he immediately wanted to apologize, but wasn’t sure why. “I was trying to open a door to Arragin Mountain.”

“This does not go to Arragin Mountain,” she took another step back. “Get back. Away from the door, now!” Kyle backed away. He was the only nearby since he was the last to take the test. He still wasn’t sure what exactly he’d done, but his heart raced.

Suddenly, a loud BANG came from the other side of the door. There were no hinges that it could shake, but Kyle felt it in the ground. Behind Kyle, there were sudden shouts. He kept his eyes on the door. BANG!

“Everyone back away! Logan gather all the nearby masters. Helen throw up your wall. Helen!”

BANG! BANG! BANG! Something is trying to get through. Is that even possible?

A pair of hands grabbed Kyle and hauled him back. Kevin and Kross each had one of his arms and were dragging him back toward the castle. They stopped a moment later, while they still were all within earshot of the door. If the masters had wanted them further away, they didn’t bother to say so.

Nearly all of them were focused on the door.

Master Helen appeared in front of Kyle, turning her key so quickly that Kyle couldn’t catch every turn. “Stay behind this point,” she threw her key into the ground so hard that it stuck up. A transparent red aura blossomed from the key, forming into a wall. “No one other than Masters are to pass. Terra take lead, here. Do not get involved.”

Kyle had not even seen Terra until that point.

“Yeah, of course,” Terra said with none of her usual mirth. “I’ll put up another wall so you can don’t have to concentrate on it.”

“Thank you,” Master Helen moved away, joining the Masters gathered near the door. Most of them held weapons. Grandmaster Dante stood at their head staring intently into the doorway, his cane firmly in his hands.

“You two can let him go now,” Terra said to Kross and Kevin, who let him go immediately.

“What is going on?” Kyle asked. BANG!

Terra pressed her own key into the ground and Kyle saw another wall go up effectively doubling it with her own aura. A shiver ran down his spine. This kind of defensive precautions seemed like overkill. And what is going to come out of that door way?

“You opened a ShiftDoor to one of the places you’re not supposed to,” Garnet stood to his left. BANG! Her face was ghost pale. “The Forgotten Realm.”

“And what exactly lives in the Forgotten Realm?” Kyle couldn’t take his eyes off the doorway. BANG! Something about the door felt familiar. Something almost comforting. But he had never even heard of the Forgotten Realm, so it seemed like his mind was just playing tricks on him.

“Titans,” Rayne said softly, also to his left.  “The name given to those who broke the world.”

Titans? Plural. Like a lot of them? The word filled him with ice. In some way or form, Endera had been connected to the place he’d known as Earth. It was now his understanding that every mythological or legendary figure from Earth had just been an Enderan with a tendency to make sure their exploits had been known in some form or another. And what he knew about titans meant that they’d likely be big, mean, and powerful.

BANG! The door finally gave way, falling flat onto the ground to expose a pitch-black doorway. Complete silence followed. Kyle kept his eyes focused on the doorway. Something had forced it open and that was not supposed to happen.

“The king was right,” a voice boomed from the darkness in the doorway. “The doors are getting weaker. Look at that light! We’re the first to see it in a millennium.”

“Should we go out?” said another voice.

“Of course!” answered the first one. “The first to feel the sun light in a millennium!”

“Yes, you mentioned the millennium already. I don’t think saying it continuously will make it any truer.”

“Hah! My point still stands.”

“I’m not sure, Dorion. It’s probably dangerous.”

“Dangerous? Ixion what did we break the door down for if not to go through?”

“To see if it could be done, mainly.”

“Bah! You worry too much. We’ll simply fade back here when the door fades. The locks will make certain of that. It’s completely risk free.”

“Unless someone kills you while you’re out there.”

“Okay, so not completely risk-free. Live a little.”

“Wait—ah damn it, you’ll be the death of me, Dorion.”

“I’m coming out,” shouted Dorion. “Don’t—umm—be afraid?”

An impressively large man emerged from the doorway stepping into the sunlight with an audible gasp of delight and a wide smile. Dorion had pale grey skin and a wide nose. His blonde hair trailed from his head, floating above him like yellow smoke. Behind him was another who matched him in height at about ten feet tall. Ixion scowled as he followed, a trail of black hair floating above him in the same way. They both wore simple tunics and trousers that were a dull grey, completely void of any color. Their skin, however, gained color with every passing moment.

“Ixion,” Dorion pointed. “Look, humans! Hah! And the castle. What are the chances?!”

“I can see that,” Ixion said narrowing his eyes. “Quite a lot of them, if you count the smaller ones over there. The castle is not such a surprise.”

“Why not?”

“Because we were nearby on our side. It makes sense that it reflects a similar location on in relation to the castle on each side. That’s my theory anyways.”

“Hmm,” Dorion rubbed his chin. “Sounds right.”

“Titans!” Grandmaster stood in front of the group of Masters twenty paces from where the doorway. “You are not welcome here.”

The Grandmaster’s clear hostility shocked Kyle. The titans didn’t exactly give off the vibe that they’d like to cause any harm. They didn’t seem like they wanted to do anything. By their own admission, it just sounded like they wanted to feel the sunlight.

“My name is Dorion, human,” the titan sighed. “How is it the prejudice against our kind still has such hold in Endera. What has it been, three, four hundred years?”

“According to the Accords, it’s been six hundred and fifty-seven years,” Ixion said. “I do hope that there are some who can be reasoned with.”

“You were responsible for breaking the world,” Grandmaster Dante said. “You—”

“I broke nothing,” snapped Ixion. “What our ancestors did has nothing to do with us.”

Kyle could hardly believe what he was hearing. Were these titans being punished for something their ancestors did? He knew he was likely missing some vital piece of information, but something about it didn’t sit well with him.

“Why are you here,” Dante asked. “The locks should hold you to your realm.”

“We are here because we saw a door and walked through it,” Dorian rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “There’s really no other reason needed. Now if you don’t mind, I would like to stop talking and go see that water over there. It looks fantastic.”

“It’s an ocean,” Ixion said. “Do not drink from it.”

“I know to not drink from an ocean! I’m not a fool.”

“Enough!” Dante stepped forward. “You will return to your realm so that I may seal this door.”

“We’ll do so when we’re good and ready,” snarled Ixion. He spread his stance a little wider. “Until then, we expect your finest hospitality.”

“I concur!” Dorian smirked, rolling his shoulder. “That sounded much more dignified than usual, right?”

“Like a proper Titan,” Ixion cracked his knuckles.

The world fell silent yet again as the two groups stared at each other. Neither would back down. A moment passed and then another. And then the moment broke like it’d been cracked in half by a whip.

Dante moved in a blur with Logan following him like a shadow. Each threw punches that could have crumbled a castle wall. The titans both blocked the punches, immediately proving they would not be easy foes.

Dorion jumped high into the air, casting a great shadow over the group of masters below. He fell feet first, coming down like a boulder. The masters scattered out of the way, dodging as the force of it made an impact crater the stretched all the way to the wall of aura.

Kyle gulped. That kind of strength was beyond anything he’d ever seen. One hit and even a master would be in trouble. Many of the tyros who had gathered along the aura wall even took a step backwards when they reached the same conclusion.

Ixion focused his attack on the Grandmaster, sweeping his foot along the ground. Dirt and stones flew at Grandmatster Dante who didn’t even flinch. Another wall of aura from Master Helen formed in front of him and the projectiles all slowed down to look like they were traveling through jelly. The debris dropped harmlessly to the ground as it exited.

The fight turned chaotic. The masters jumped around the titans, attacking with vicious slashes, punches, and kicks, but the titans, although nearly the size of any two masters together, were agile. They dodged and countered with swings from arms that acted like giant hammers. More than once, the ground was hit causing rock fragments to fly toward the tyros. None of it ever made it pass the walls of aura.

Kyle’s mouth went dry as he watched. He’d meant to open a door Arragin Mountain. Everything seems to have you near it in one way or another.  Elleneya’s voice replayed in his head. She’s wrong, isn’t she? He took a step forward, feeling a sudden urge to do something, anything, to help. What if someone gets hurt? Maybe there’s something I can do.  

“Kyle the Static,” Terra hissed instantly. “Stay where you are.”

“But—”

“But nothing,” Terra stepped toward him. “Those Masters are literally some of the strongest people in all of Endera. You are a barely nothing teenager who still hasn’t fully mastered his voice box let alone your abilities. You will stay exactly where you are or I’ll break bones until you think it sounds like a good idea. Am I clear?” She was almost a different person.

Kyle hesitated before backing down, but he couldn’t argue with Terra. She was right. He’d likely be more of a liability if he tried helping. Knowing that did nothing to calm his nerves. “I’ll stay put.”

“Damn right you will,” Terra nodded.

“You there,” A deeply tanned woman with long black hair moved toward Terra. She wore battered leather armor with ragged cloth hanging from it. Her hand rested on the hilt of a sheathed sword at her hip as her chilling bright green eyes took in the fight. “What’s going on here? Why are there Titans?”

“Lady, if you take another step, I will end you,” Terra widened her stance and readied herself by putting both her fist together near her waist like she was going to pull a sword out of her hip bones. The lady halted, obeying. The loud tumbles of a Titan rolling on the ground and throwing another wild punch crunched the ground behind them. “Who are you?”

“No one,” the woman shrugged. “Just a former tyro who was passing by—” She stopped talking. Her eyes grew wide at the site of Kyle standing nearby. He was certain he’d never seen her before, but there was no questioning that her reaction was one of recognition.

“Sounds convenient,” Terra said, unconvinced. “Or is it just coincidence?”

The crowd gasped in horror excusing the woman from having to answer. One of the masters was soaring toward the Cold Ocean as though they’d been shot out of a cannon. As the figure flew over the freezing water, the first wall of aura disappeared. That could only mean it was Master Helen.

Kyle moved before he could think, but only made it a step when Terra’s hand closed around his arm in an iron grip. What the? He realized then that he’d taken more than just a step. Behind him was the aura wall with his friends on the other side, while he stood on the side where his masters were brawling with titans. At least he wasn’t alone.

“Having to pay attention to you let that woman through, you idiot!” Terra grumbled. “Looks like she’s going to help, though. And she’s skilled. Very.”

They watched from where they stood the woman sprint toward the beach, twisting a key that was now in her hand.

“I’ve got her!” she shouted at two masters who’d broken away from the fight. The two of them nodded, seemingly recognizing who the woman was and returned to join the others. The air next to the woman distorted as she ran. Out of it shot a thick green vine that moved blindingly fast toward Master Helen. It caught her, wrapping around to secure her more tightly. The woman tugged on the vine and it pulled the master to safety, taking care not to let her touch the water.

“Bring her back behind the aura,” Terra shouted to the woman. She tugged on Kyle’s arm, pulling him back to where they’d stood earlier. The battle between the masters and titans still raged and every so often there was another crunch of dirt and stone, but the masters were keeping them contained. Kyle realized then that that was the point. The masters weren’t actively trying to hurt the titans. They were just trying to force them back into the door, which apparently was a very difficult thing to do.

The woman set Master Helen down in front of Terra gently. Helen was unconscious and looked mostly the same except for the green vine which was tied around one of her legs. Kyle’s heart fell into his stomach when he saw why. She was missing her right foot. Amidst the shouts of shock, Garnet and a few older tyros started treatment on the master without hesitation. Medications with keys could heal great wounds, but Kyle had never seen an injury like this. What if it isn’t enough? She could be missing her foot for the rest of her life. All because he’d summoned a ShiftDoor. By accident, yes, but still he’d been the one to do it.

This is my fault.

Before he could give it further thought, there was a loud crack behind him. Kyle turned around, feeling his heart drop a second time as Master Logan rolled across the ground toward them. He righted himself just before hitting the aura, but the effort caused him to grit his teeth so loud Kyle could hear it. That didn’t surprise Kyle given then state of Logan’s tattered right arm. It looked like it had exploded from the inside and freely bled as Logan clutched it with his other hand.

“Enough!” Dante shot a giant wave of flames at both the Titans. The heat was intense enough that Kyle felt it where he stood. It flew into Ixion with a force that threw the massive titan off balance. Dante let loose another wave aimed at Dorion. It slammed into him, lifting him off his feet and blasting him into Ixion. They recovered easily, but it must have been too much even for them. They both took off at a sprint and dove back into the Forgotten Realm.

Grandmaster Dante let them.

Kyle felt himself let out a long sigh of relief as the Grandmaster Dante and couple of the masters reset the door. With a few turns of the Grandmaster’s wrist, it disappeared as though it had never been there. The surrounding area of destroyed land told another story.

“The King!” Whispers hissed behind Kyle in a frenzy. What is it now? Kyle turned to the gate, looking for the cause of the commotion. For the second time that day Kross and Kevin grabbed him. Instead of dragging him away, they forced him to kneel. Kyle had never kneeled for a king before, but he had tried once for a Gatekeeper. He couldn’t bring himself to bow his head, though. Not when he’d never actually seen a king before either.

It was obvious who the king was. He walked in surrounded by a group of a dozen well armored men and women. His tan skin and dark long hair had a shine to it that matched with his small silver crown. He was a handsome man with large eyes and a strong jaw and dressed in a fine black suit that he wore well. If not for the crown, Kyle might have guessed that he was just a Master from another school.

“Was that a Titan?!” asked the king. His voice was smooth, elegant. “Who did this? How?”

Kyle felt hundreds of eyes bounce back and forth between the king and him. It was enough to make him gulp.

 

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons – First Five Chapters

Copyrighted © 2017 by Samuel J. Vega

All rights reserved.

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons Chapter 4: The Work of Masters

Over the next few days, I’m releasing the chapters in order, but if you can’t wait, please feel free to download the PDF, which has all five chapters and the afterword.

1 – Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons First Five Chapters

 

4 – The Work of Masters

 

A few hours later, Kyle, along with most of the tyros of Soul Gate Academy, were on the practice grounds waiting for the night’s events to begin in their swimming wear. They sat around an area the size of two soccer fields, filling the hundreds of large towels that had been laid out for them. It was a warm cloudless night and the first stars began filling the sky as though being spread by a paintbrush. Kyle had never noticed before how they seemed to pop into view with all the effort of a flick of wrist. He laid back on his towel, ignoring the chaotic symphony of hundreds of teenagers talking to each other. He even blocked out his friends, who seemed to be in a conversation about the classes Rayne would be taking.

Something about looking at the stars just felt different than usual. It was like he was floating amongst clouds and drifting higher by the moment. Each star drew in his focus, vying for his attention with their luminescent posturing against the subtle cosmic vastness. His gaze never stayed on one star for very long. It’s beautiful. His eyes wandered as it solidified into a fuller image. He could tell that this was not the sky of his childhood, but when he tried to remember the sight of that distant sky, nothing came to mind except for an empty blackness. That felt wrong, but perhaps he’d just never paid that much attention to it before. That was likely. He wasn’t even sure why he looked at the stars so intently now. Shouldn’t he have been talking to his friends?

A loud sudden beep went off right next to Kyle’s ear.

“What the—” Kyle sat up so hard he almost lifted off the ground. He scanned everyone in sight. Had someone played a prank on him? No one else seemed to be reacting to it. They were all still locked in conversations. BEEP!

“Gggrrr—brz brz,” A sound like a static radio echoed directly in Kyle’s ears. “—ber—sszz—you can find—ggrzz—”

“You can find?” Kyle said, quietly. “What?” He narrowed his eyes, continue his search for he would be pranker. How were they doing it? But no matter how hard he looked, he only saw a crowd full of people who were thoroughly ignoring him. That was odd in its own way. He could usually expect to find a glare or two in a crawl this big. Am I’m hearing things?

Another loud buzz, “Brzz—last—doh—rzz.” It was followed by a tiny pop! Then complete silence. And then the noise of talking teenagers, again.

Kyle kept looking around. Someone was obviously poking fun at him, snickering at his obvious confusion. Who the hell is doing that? I—

“Kyle?” Terra sat next to him. “You feel like you’re about to jump out of your skin.”

“I feel?” Kyle asked.

“Well, I would have said ‘you look’, but I don’t think you would have believed me.” She waved a hand in front of her eyes, smirking.

“Right,” Kyle smiled. “Sorry, I’m just—well I thought I heard something.”

“You heard something?”

Kyle hesitated. He didn’t exactly think his little episode—or whatever it really was—should be kept it secret, but he didn’t know Terra very well. What if this made her think less of him somehow? He found that he didn’t want that. But if there was anyone that might have heard what he just had, it was probably Terra.

“It sounded like someone was trying to talk to me with a broken walkie talkie or maybe they were using one that was too far away to work.”

“A walkie talkie?” Terra tilted her head in a very dog-like fashion.

“Yeah,” Kyle nodded, realizing that she probably had no idea what a walkie talkie was. “It’s a device that people from my realm can use to communicate over far distances. I don’t really know if there is anything like it in this realm.”

“And they decided to call it a walkie talkie?”

“Yeah—I’m not actually sure if that’s it’s official name. It’s just what people call them.”

“I see,” Terra pursed her lips. “Kevin’s notepad can be used over distances. Is it like that?”

“Sort of,” Kyle said. “So, one person talks into this little box device and the other person can hear them talk out of a matching device somewhere else.”

“I see,” Terra nodded. “And someone used this walkie talkie to talk to you now?”

“Well, no,” Kyle said.

“Then—”

“I heard a voice that sounded like it was coming from one, but I don’t have one of those devices on me.” Kyle had never actually even held a walkie talkie before, but making that point now seemed like it would be anything but helpful. “I’m probably just going crazy.” He tried to sound like he was making a joke.

“Maybe,” Terra said without a hint of amusement. “I didn’t hear anything, though. Is your hearing particularly good?”

“I think it’s okay,” Kyle answered.

“Helpful,” Terra rolled her eyes. “Can you hear what those two over there are talking about?” She pointed at a couple of young men sitting opposite of them on the other side of the large opening. The pair looked like they were whispering to each other.

Kyle shook his head.

“Did you just shake your head?”

Kyle almost nodded, “Yeah—sorry.”

“I can hear them,” Terra said. “I think I would have noticed something like a voice coming out of nowhere near you. Maybe it was a Thoughtbend? That would at least explain why I couldn’t hear it.”

“You think that’s possible?”

“No, actually. I mean it’s possible, but without directly touching you it’d be one of the most difficult things a person could try doing with a key. Not to mention dangerous. All the mind unlocks are like that. Aurabending is somewhat different but—damn it!”

Kyle jumped! “What’s wrong?”

“I sound like a Master,” Terra hissed. “Ugh.”

“That’s bad?” Kyle said, instantly regretting it.

“Yes, it’s bad,” She said, running her hands through her hair. “It’s—ah! Forget it. Don’t worry about the details. You’re probably just crazy. Not that you should worry about it.”

“Right,” Kyle sighed. “Any reasoning for that?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s not a little crazy. But for your case specifically, I think it’s likely you’re stressed and imagining voices. You’d be surprised just how many people start hearing voices when life becomes stressful. Just try to relax and not worry about it too much. If things persist, ask the Grandmaster about it. He’ll help.”

Kyle didn’t really have a response for that. He was hearing things that no one else could. That wasn’t normal, even in Endera.  He was, however, oddly comforted after having talked to Terra. She listened in a way that was like a master, but friendlier. More familiar. Kind of like an older sister. It felt odd to admit that, but it felt right. Somehow. Maybe I am just a little stressed out. He let out a deep breath. “So, what were they talking about?” he asked.

“Oh them,” Terra grinned impishly. “They’re planning some trip over break. Going to the Old World or something, I don’t know. I stopped listening.” Her grin grew wider. “Now the couple a few rows behind us, they’ve got this steamy plan to sneak away and partake in some adventurous activities in their dorm room. Too bad they’ll never get away with it.”

“How do you know?” Kyle asked trying to sound nonchalant, even though he could feel his cheeks warm up. He immediately imagined sneaking off somewhere with Garnet and deemed this information too vital not to gather.

“The Masters have this placed locked down. Three of them are hanging back near the castle for the exclusive purpose of catching the naughties. And the rest of them are prowling around us. I’d be surprised if a mouse could get in or out of this place.”

“You certainly see a lot,” Kross said, suddenly. It looked like he’d only been paying attention to the most recent bit of their conversation. “Are you sure you’re really a blind girl?” To anyone else, it might have seemed like a rude comment, but knowing Kross, he was just being blunt. Kyle suspected that it might even be a joke.

“Girl?!” Terra’s eyebrows angled, but the anger never fully reached her eyes. She must have known what Kross was about. “I’m a woman, thank you very much. Kevin defend my honor.”

“Ah,” Kevin wrote on his notepad. “You’d have to some for me to defend.”

They burst out into laughter, but Kevin didn’t escape a perfectly well thrown towel to his head from Terra.

“How do you do it,” Kross pressed her.

“Mostly, it’s vibrations,” Terra pressed her hands to ground and was silent for a moment before continuing. “Each person’s aura emits a near constant and unique vibration. Those special vibrations cover the world, mixing and shifting as we live. I’m able to unlock a mixture of modifications, amplifications, and aurabending that give me the ability to feel auras as unique sensations. It makes things easy to distinguish and I’m able to navigate the world because of it.

“To put it simply, I feel auras rather than see them. Most people think of auras like colored smoke that bubbles around an individual, unique to each person. To me, they are more like textures and patterns that send me barrage of different sensations.”

“That’s fascinating,” Kross took out his notebooks and began writing in his notebook that he always carried with him. “Is it something you learned or was it inherent?”

“Some of both actually. Mostly learned, though. I wasn’t born blind.”

“What happens if you’re alone in an area with little life?” He could write faster than some people could read.

“If I lose the auras, I can get around with my own, but it isn’t as effective. It’s—” Terra squealed. “I did it again! Damn it, I really do sound like a master.”

“Right,” Kross finished scribbling in his notebook. “You explained it well enough. I’m not sure why you dislike sounding like a master.”

Terra answered by wadding up another towel and throwing it at Kross this time. He caught it without much effort.

A giant fireball flew across the sky to land in the center of the gathering of tyros. In its center was Grandmaster Dante, leaning on his cane. The fire was draped over him in a translucent form that made him glow rather than appear to be made of fire. Kyle had seen the Grandmaster work his fire on numerous occasions during training, but this was stunning. His beard and hair glowed like heated iron. His eyes were embers and even his clothes took on the golden brilliances of flame.

“My tyros,” Dante bellowed to a now silent crowd. “You’ve worked hard this year. And you’ve made me proud to be Grandmaster of Soul Gate Academy.” His flames slowly began expanding around him. “There can be no denying that you’ve all grown stronger, smarter, and…hungrier. The food bill alone this year was nearly twice what it was last—”

“—Ahem,” Master Yvette coughed loudly from behind a group of students. She could be seen with her arms crossed, staring daggers at her husband.

“My point,” Dante smiled, “is that you’ve all grown into fine young men and women. Despite each of you having your own personal battles and difficulties throughout the year, each of you have brought focus and determination into your lessons. The Masters and I cannot thank you enough for all the effort you’ve given us, but allow us to try.”

Dante raised a hand and the fire that’d been surrounding him gathered into it. He twisted his cane with his other hand and it all formed into a sphere. The sphere then floated high into the sky, giving a bright light to the entire area. In that instance, every Master of Soul Gate Academy was now in a line with the Grandmaster.

Each of them dressed in their white uniforms. In total, there were more than two dozen masters. Kyle knew most of them by appearance, but there were few that he was sure he’d never seen before. That didn’t seem right. How could he have missed seeing a master throughout the whole year? He should have at least seen them during a meal time. The bigger mystery was finding out what they taught. Since he’d never seen them, he guessed it had to do with the Eternal Title tyros. Advanced classes, probably.

The masters, along with the Grandmaster, suddenly bowed to the students. Kyle might have thought it an odd gesture before coming to Endera, but with this year of learning, fighting, and working harder than he ever had in his life, he understood the weight of those bows. These men and women before him were more than just teachers. They were leaders in their knowledge. Proficient enough and talented enough to earn recognition outside of Soul Gate Academy. And yet, they stayed to pass on what they knew. For them to acknowledge tyros even with something as small as a bow was recognition worth having. It was a treasure.

Kyle, and he was sure the entire school felt the same way, swelled with pride.

“Now enough of the serious stuff,” the Grandmaster said standing straight with all the masters following suit. In another breath, they all disappeared again. “Please enjoy tonight. Have fun. No fights. And of course, eat your fill! This may be the last night we have together this year, but let’s make it one to remember until we see each other again.”

As soon as the Grandmaster stopped talking, two masters jumped high into the air. Master Proculus long blonde hair and scar across his cheek and Master Julius with his distinctive sideburns were floating in the air reaching into their own MicroDimensions. From them, they each pulled large wooden poles. They threw them like javelins the moment they were free of the MicroDimensions, sticking them in the ground around the students to stand like pillars. They’re torches, Kyle realized.

“They’ve got muscle,” Terra said approvingly. “A girl can appreciate that.”

Kyle noticed that Rayne and Garnet both nodded their approval. He’d have to work on some strength training.

Grandmaster Dante sent the fireball moving in a giant circle, lighting the torches along the way. They worked unbelievably well, lighting the area as though they were stadium lights and changing the temperature from pleasantly warm to a downright toasty.  How do they do that?

Master Theodosia stepped into the spotlight next. She had long black hair tucked behind her ears and three beastly scar that ran the length of her face.  Kyle saw little of her since he didn’t take her class, but Garnet and Kross spoke highly of her. Theodosia smiled as she twisted her key. The air next to her immediately distorted as she opened a BioDimension. The giant snout of a lizard popped out of it. It was followed by the body of an enormous lutumdragon, dragon-like lizard that looked like it was entirely made from mud. Kyle was familiar with the creature since Kross regularly liked to summon one that was a much smaller version of it.

“I didn’t know they could get this big,” Kyle said, his eyes widening.

“They can get bigger,” Kross said. “Master Theodosia likely didn’t summon forth an adult because it would probably accidently step on us.”

Kyle gulped. This lutumdragon was easily bigger than any elephant he’d ever seen in a zoo. Each step it took sent a little shockwave through the ground and left imprints. He felt the familiar pang of jealousy course through him as he looked at the giant creature. He didn’t have the talent to unlock BioDimensions, but the idea of having a companion or two to summon at will greatly appealed to him.

Master Theodosia whispered a command and the lutumdragon tilted his head back, letting out a thunderous roar. Then it jumped, tilting itself as it came back down to nose dive into the ground as though it were water. It disappeared for a moment, reappearing when its monstrous jaw protruded from the dirt and chomped down to engulf it. It’s eating, Kyle realized. He’d seen Kross’ lutumdragon do a similar thing in the King’s Temple. This was on a larger scale, each bite leaving a refrigerator sized chunk of dirt missing. It also didn’t magically reappear seconds later like the platform in the temple had. Before long, the entire area before the tyros was a rectangle hole with walls and floor that looked remarkably smooth. The lutumdragon, finished its task, let out another loud roar before lumbering back to Master Theodosia and disappearing back into the BioDimension.

Five other master jumped down into the hole with giant spatula like shovels. They each took off in different directions, using the spatulas to spread a light-colored clay all along the walls and on the floor of the pool. They moved, aided by unlocking Amplifications, like whirlwinds. Whenever they came close to each other they would tumble, doing wild flips and pushing each other off into other directions. The walls and floor of their pool in progress were covered in the clay in less than five minutes.

One of the Masters Kyle had never seen appeared next to Theodosia. He was a head shorter than her and had short mossy green hair. Two gold loop earrings hung from each ear.

“Master Uru,” Garnet supplied before Kyle could even ask. “He doesn’t come down from the Master’s Facility often. Rumor is that he is too dedicated to his dimension research, but no one ever seems to have specifics on it.”

“The more I learn about this place, the more it seems I don’t know,” Kyle said.

“Pretty much that way with everything,” Terra said. “Take it from a genius like me. That’s life.”

Kyle didn’t have much time to reflect on that, for Uru opened a BioDimension. Hundreds of tiny squirrel-like creatures began pouring out of it. Their bodies and limbs were wooden and their tails were thick green bushes, which made them look like bonsai trees that could move on all fours. They horded into the middle of the giant pool. When they were all finally massed together, they reached into their mouths. Their cheeks were bulging to twice the size of their heads. From their cheek pouches, they each pulled a single sparkling gem that ranged from every imaginable shade of blue or green. If it made a difference in the size of their cheeks, Kyle couldn’t see it.

They took off, moving together in a giant circle that made them look like a short rotating forest. It slowly became wider as they spread out and, as it did, the little creatures could be seen laying down their gems only to stick their little hands into their mouths and pull out another one. They pressed gem after gem into the clay, setting them with such precision that they had selected lighter colored gems to form into the letters S O G A across the bottom of the pool. The artistry was impressive enough to make many tyros gasp in delight. Kyle grinned in appreciation. Cool.

It didn’t take the bonsai-squirrels long to finish the rest of the pool. This included a surrounding rim that consisted of smooth grey pebbles.

“Tyros,” Uru bellowed. His voice was a deep rasp that carried well, but sounded like he didn’t use his voice often. “Hold out a hand with it palm open to the sky.” Every single tyro obeyed with little hesitation.

The bonsai-squirrels suddenly rushed into the crowd of tyros. Screams of jovial excitement and surprise followed. The little creatures were climbing each tyro and onto their hands to leave something in their hands. The one that found Kyle zoomed on to his arm in a single breath. The touch of it was so light that it felt like someone had just run a feather across him leading to his hand. It dropped a sky blue gem the size of a golf ball into his palm before scurrying away. Once everyone had been given one they lost no time in finding their way back to their dimension.

“What is this?” Kyle asked, holding the ball up close to his eye.

“They’re aura gems,” Kross answered. “Just hold on to them and they start glowing the same color as your aura.”

“Ah,” Kevin nodded, writing on his pad. “My brothers and I used to sleep with buckets of these next to us. The next night we’d go into the woods and throw them at each other for hours.”

“Seems like that would hurt,” Rayne pressed her own aura gem to her cheek. It was beginning to have a deep rouge glow. “Especially if it hit you in the face.”

“We modified our skin,” Kevin said with his notepad. “Hardly felt a thing.” He smiled baring his teeth. His own aura gem started to glow fluorescent green. “I think these are probably just for finding underwater, though. My brothers and I used to do that, too.”

“Sounds childish,” Garnet grinned, eyeing her own gem that glowed blue. “That being said, I’m sure I’ll find mine before any of you. Well, probably not you, Terra.”

Before anyone could answer her challenge, Grandmaster Dante rained fire into the pool. It spread out covering the bottom before climbing up the walls. It reached the top, only to completely dissipate. Steam rose from the gems which had grown to fill the gaps. Kyle guessed that the fire had somehow caused a reaction that effectively sealed pool to prevent leaks. He again found himself impressed with the gems. Were they capable of this type of manipulation naturally or had they been created?

His attention was drawn to the beach when a giant ruby red wall of aura was erected to tower over them. Master Helen stood beneath it, turning her key in rapid succession. The wall grew wider and taller becoming the most massive use of aura Kyle had ever witnessed. Helen bent the wall in, aiming the point of it directly at the pool. With another turn it stretched, morphing into a giant tube that reached the pool. Kyle eyes widen in surprise. Isn’t that water too cold? Three other masters stood nearby, each creating fine nets out of aura of their own. They worked on placing those nets in front of the of the funnel that Master Helen had created.

BOOM! A bright light erupted over the dark ocean, but beyond that nothing could be seen. It shook the ground, like dynamite had been set off. BOOM! Another light and another shake. BOOM! This explosion was followed by a sudden burst of air that came from behind the tyros, like it was being sucked toward the ocean. It was followed by the water, which although dark could clearly be seen receding from the beach.

Everyone stared in silence, waiting for what they knew would come. Kyle could barely keep himself from dropping his jaw wide open. The masters created a tidal wave? This wasn’t just a simple show of strength. If the aura wall wasn’t there, it was enough to destroy all of Soul Gate Academy. It was enough to kill scores of people and level towns. A sudden vision of Dilu Village being hit by a crushing wave entered Kyle’s mind. Would they be okay? The town wasn’t so far from them. His eyes fell on Rayne. She was grinning, looking awestruck. Of course, they would be okay. He almost wanted to chastise himself for even questioning it. Grandmaster Dante wouldn’t allow harm to come to a town just for some pool party.

A loud hiss broke the silence as a dark swollen mass of water moved toward them. Moments later, it crashed into the aura wall with a loud smack to announce its arrival. The walls funneled the Cold Ocean water into the pool while the nets worked as filters. It gushed through the tunnel to blast into the pool. Splashes of icy cold water hit some students, but it all stayed surpassingly contained. Unsurprisingly, the tidal wave’s thousands of gallons filled up the pool almost instantly. Master Helen sealed the tunnel at a wave from one of the other masters. Her aura wall bowed in the middle as it took on the added pressure of the whole wave, but it was short lived as the wave began receding back to rejoin the ocean and it was calm once again.

Kyle let out a breath, he hadn’t known he’d been holding. He felt smaller than he’d ever had before. There would have been no fight for him to win against that wave. It could have come beyond the wall of aura and he would’ve been trapped, tumbling underneath water with hundreds of others not knowing which way was up or down. The very real possibility of made him shiver. He was not living in a world of games. Endera was home to things and people that could kill him in less time than he could hold his breath. Perhaps it was one last lesson the masters were trying to instill in them before they left for break.

“It’s turning to ice,” Garnet pointed to the top layer of water which had started to form a white sheet of ice.

“How?” Kyle asked. She shrugged.

“That’s what happens if the water gets separated from the Cold Ocean for too long,” Rayne answered. “It’s likely the result of some ancient lock placed on it.”

“Crazy,” Kyle muttered.

“Woah,” Garnet pointed up. Other tyros were doing the same.

Above them, Grandmaster Dante was on one of the giant torches they’d placed earlier. He stood within its flames without so much as a bead of sweat falling down his forehead. In front of him over the pool was an orb of white fire the size of a beach ball that grew, becoming more translucent as it did. Grandmaster Dante often liked to use this fire while meditating. Its nature was different. It could touch anyone without burning them, but this, Kyle knew, was a fine line. If Dante wanted, he could change its nature with a simple twist of his wrist. And that white fire would turn black. Kyle had never been shown black fire, but he’d been told that it could burn anything it touched to ashes and was next to impossible to extinguish. This level of control was the true mark of mastery over Synchroneity Fire. Kyle hoped that he would one day master lightning half that well.

When the orb was the size of a bus, Dante lowered it into the pool creating a hole in the top layer of ice. It didn’t fizzle out when it was lowered, but instead allowed water to flow into its center. Dante put it to spinning as he submerged it completely into the pool. It took to creating a whirlpool quickly, breaking up the remaining ice. When the ice also began melting it was evident the water was getting warmer.

“Throw those gems in, tyros!” Dante shouted.

The aura gems flew from the students’ hands before the words had entirely left Dante’s mouth. It looked like dozens of colored comets flying into the pool with little splashes. The whirlpool grabbed them, throwing them in a swift tumble that ensured they’d be nowhere close to where they’d all thrown them in. Garnet might have a harder time at finding it than she thought. Kyle smiled as the pool stilled. Through the crystal-clear water was a sparkling array of hundreds of different colored gems. If the masters had wanted to impress them with fine workmanship, they’d done it.

A few masters walked around the pool inspecting it and turning a key every so often. Kyle guessed they were doing some final touches.

“Tyros,” Dante dropped from his standing place on the torch. He went over a quick set of rules that amounted to no fighting and keep it safe. Some students were shifting closer to the pool with each word. “And lastly, but not least…think fast.”

What? Some half-screams erupted from everywhere around him.

“Make sure you keep your lightning locked up tight,” the familiar voice of Proculus said from behind him.

Kyle was grabbed in a wrestler’s hug and unceremoniously catapulted into the pool. He managed to get his head around just in time to see his friends laughing as he flailed about in the air. There were others who’d come to the same fate and were falling toward the pool. Together, they landed with wild splashes.

When his head popped above the perfectly warm water, Kyle saw his friends and what appeared to be the rest of the academy jumping in of their own volition. It then proceeded to be one of the most enjoyable nights of his life.

 

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons – First Five Chapters

Copyrighted © 2017 by Samuel J. Vega

All rights reserved.

 

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons Chapter 1: The Forgotten Realm

Over the next few days, I’m releasing the chapters in order, but if you can’t wait, please feel free to download the PDF, which has all five chapters and the afterword.

1 – Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons First Five Chapters

 

1 – The Forgotten Realm

 

A massive doorway slid into existence out of nowhere, erupting its light into the empty darkness. Two figures stepped out of it, their silhouettes leading them to an open area. Beyond their doorway’s illumination there was a great plain of short grey grass stretching far into a heavy gloom. Hundreds of giant glowing seeds shaped like wings floated above them, giving off a weak blue hue that hardly pierced the blackness around them. Each seed danced through the sky, spinning and descending gradually as though they were moving through water. The newcomers stood by their door, waiting.

A few minutes later, their ShiftDoor vanished.

Kane the Basilisk gulped as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of the Forgotten Realm. The dark was terrible and cruel, feeling as though it were sapping the very warmth from his body. Still, he could sense an overwhelming amount of life around him. True, it was a different sort of life, but life nonetheless.

“And here they come,” said King Seltios next to him, breaking the silence.

The ground shook beneath Kane as he squinted his eyes, focusing on the darkness ahead. With only the weak lantern glow of the floating seeds, he could only make out a mass of darker black moving below the slightly less black. His master had warned him, but it hardly could have prepared him. A giant tidal wave of dark, shadowed men, women, and children moved toward them, making it hard for Kane to fight his impulse to immediately open a new ShiftDoor and flee.

“Void Wildlings,” Kane mouthed. Though he knew their proper name, it was hard to think of them as anything other than solidified shadows. Each of them looked like they had been thoroughly drenched in suits of darkness, encasing them from head to toes in a jet black. Only their eyes, which reflected the pathetic tinge of blue from the glowing seeds above them, were different. They were human, though. Humans who had been cursed with the bad luck of being born of men and women who had been banished into the Forgotten Realm. How many of them were just descendants of the actual offender? All of them, maybe. It seemed likely. There were simply too many. He looked them over, thinking deeply about the utter unfairness of generations of innocents who were condemned to this life through no fault of their own. This must have been why Seltios had brought him. To see them and solidify his resolve.

The horde of them edged forward, getting closer to the master and student. Kane looked at Seltios, unsure of what to do. Every now and then, a void wildling would tilt their head in his direction, staring curiously at Kane before getting lost again in the large crowd. There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands.

“You should not fear them, young one,” said Seltios. He spoke softly, but his voice might as well have been a foghorn.

“I don’t,” Kane said. It was true, but he had said it too quickly making it sound more strained than it should have.

Seltios chuckled. “Really? I thought you might have a problem with them. They’ve always reminded me of ghost.”

“I’ve outgrown that fear, Master.” Kane put effort into sounding more convincing this time, but it was difficult to concentrate with void wildlings watching him.

“Outgrow the fear of ghost?” Seltios white eyes brows were raised, contrasting against his skin like a lit match. “Impossible! Ghosts are terrifying. Those who linger after death—the thought still makes my bones shiver.”

“You don’t fear anything, Master.”

“Untrue.” Seltios said, though he did so with a smile that didn’t completely reach his eyes. “Completely untrue. Now come. I believe they know we’ve arrived.”

Seltios took a step forward and, as soon as he did, there was a loud THOOMP as a great white flare was shot into the air two hundred yards ahead of them. Like the giant seeds, the flare stayed in the sky longer than it should have, floating with no hint of coming down anytime soon. It lit up the area, giving them a clear view of his surroundings for the first time.

Kane had been right about the number of void wildlings. There were thousands in the crowd surrounding them. Each time one of them moved it was like a splash in an ocean, breaking free for just a moment before joining with the mass of darkness again. Kane felt a sudden pinch in his stomach as he watched them. Against this many, it would have been hard to for he and his master to escape. The void wildlings didn’t seem all that interested in the two of them, anymore. They were more interested in the light, their glossy eyes reflecting it like mirrors. If Kane could have somehow stood above them, he guessed that it would have looked like he was standing above a sea of stars. Stars didn’t long for light this way, though. He could feel their yearning like a crushing flood. The void wildlings wanted light like the starving wanted food.

As Kane followed Seltios, the crowd split, clearing a path that led to a large structure ahead in the distance. They weren’t far from it, but there was an unnatural haze surrounding it making it less distinct than it should have been. Still, Kane could tell by its size that it was a castle. Master Seltios hummed a playful tune and stroked his grey beard as though this were a leisure walk on a sunny day. It helped loosen the knot in Kane’s stomach considerably, but it was hard to feel completely calm.

As they walked further another flare shot into the air with another loud THOOMP. The sound itself seemed to act like a catalyst for the entire area. All around them, the void wildlings, which until now had been entirely silent, began hissing and moaning as the second flare brightened the area even more. The light was making them livelier—more human.

THOOMP! A third flare launched into the air. It now looked like a clear night, being lit by three small, bright moons. Sudden laughter broke out to Kyle’s right, making him jump. What is going on?

“Look at what light can do to the darkness,” said Seltios suddenly. A great smile stretched across his face, his white teeth gleaming. “It amazes me every time.”

A new fit of giggles erupted to their left. A group of void wildling children skipped across the path, chasing each other. An older looking one, perhaps teenage girl, followed them looking frustrated. “Get back here,” she said. Her voice sounded so normal that Kane stopped in his tracks. He saw her move into the crowd; only the crowd wasn’t like it had been earlier. There was a loud buzzing of laughter and happiness around them now.

Some of them sat in groups, as though they were around a bonfire. Others danced and hollered in joy. There were groups of couples lying together; holding hands as they watched flares like it was a firework show. Children chased each other, playing tag and diving in between the groups of adults like it was all just a giant picnic. Kane found the teenage girl who had crossed their path a moment before. She was looking straight at him and, though it was hard to tell, she was smiling at him. She then turned from him, resuming her pursuit of the small children from earlier.

“Shall I leave you to chase after her?” Seltios asked, sounding highly amused. “However, you should know that this type of long distance relationship would strain even the best of lovers.”

Kane turned away from the girl abruptly, his face growing hot. “Very funny, Master.”

Seltios grinned, waving at Kane to continue following him. “I would let you, you know? You don’t have to follow an old fool, like me.”

“I know,” said Kane, fondly.

“You never used to be this calm when you were in the middle of a crowd,” said Seltios, changing the subject. “You’ve grown in the past two years. Though you try your best to deny it, Soul Gate Academy was good for you.”

Kane knew his master was right, but that didn’t mean he liked to admit it. He’d grown too attached to his life at Soul Gate Academy. He’d even made friends. That had never been part of his mission and he knew now that, even though he regretted leaving the way he did, he had needed to break his ties with them. Friends, he thought miserably. They’re not my friends anymore…  There would be no doubt that he’d broken any bond they might have had with him. Hurting them, feigning cruelty that had teetered on the edge of insanity, and leaving them for dead. Kross the Monk, Kevin the Bison, Garnet the Scarlet Needle, and Kyle the Static would hate him now. It was for the best... He did his best trying to convince himself that he didn’t miss them. It would have been harder if I had waited… “If you say so, Master. I think I would have always been more useful to you in Dawn.”

“Nonsense. You’ve done more than I could ever have expected of you. You have no idea how grateful I am for what you did.”

Kane swelled with pride, “Thank you, Master.”

Seltios nodded. “Speaking of Soul Gate Academy—look.” He pointed at the structure ahead.  They were now barely fifty yards away.

The haze surrounding it earlier had dispersed, giving Kane clear view of a castle bathing in the twilight. In fact, it looked like the castle he had spent most of the past two years living in. Stone for stone, the great wide keep looked identical. Even the two towers on each side, which had always looked odd since they were much taller than the rest of the castle, loomed over with the same impressiveness that he had always known.

“Wha—” Kane began, but he became distracted.

The castle’s grand entrance doors suddenly swung open. A middle-aged woman walked out, gliding toward them with quick, graceful steps. She was wearing a bright orange dress that was short in the front exposing her pale legs, but stretched out behind her to follow on the grass. A light blue shawl hung over her shoulders and her long silver hair swung behind her as though it were dancing. Every part of her seemed to glow as she smiled to expose her perfect white teeth.

“Seltios the Reaper!” Her smile grew wider as she reached them. “You’re on time! How completely unlike you.”

“I try my best to surprise you, Isabelle the Angelseer,” Seltios said smoothly. She offered him her hand and he bent down to plant a kiss on it.

“Oh please,” she took back here hand. “You know better than to call me by my full name. Belle, as always. And who do you have with you?” Her eyes twinkled in Kane’s direction.

He felt his face go red immediately. He had been expecting the void wildlings, though they were much more unusual than they had been described. Master Seltios hadn’t warned him about meeting with a beautiful woman. A slight twitch of annoyance for his master found the corner of his eye. He’d only told them that they were going to meet the King of the Void Wildlings. His own imagination had given him the idea that they were going to meet man covered in his own shadow like the rest of them, but perhaps with a crown. Isabelle the Angelseer was so unlike the void wildings that it made him feel question everything he’d just seen. What exactly is this place? He turned to his master in hope of some sort of answer, but was only given an almost devious type of smirk. He’d forgotten that Master Seltios was always deeply amused when it came to teasing him.

“This is Kane the Basilisk,” said Seltios. “I believe I’ve mentioned him before.”

“Ah yes. The adopted son.”

Kane felt himself go redder, as the annoyance disappeared. Seltios had taken him in as a child, but he’d never really thought that he saw him as a son. Though, he certainly saw him as his father. His heart felt lighter than air when Isabelle offered him her hand. He awkwardly shook it, too embarrassed to kiss it.

“Your name will change twice more, Kane the Basilisk,” she said as-a-matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” Kane dropped her hand, unsure if she was being serious. How could she possibly know? “I—thanks?”

“Leave him out of your fortunes, Belle.” Seltios said sharply. “He has enough to be worried about without you feeding him bits of the future.”

“Very well.” She scrunched up her lips, pouting as though she’d been denied a new toy.

“Is he ready to talk yet?”

“Of course, he’s ready,” Belle answered. “He acts as though he is reluctant, but you know he listens to you. He loves you like a brother.”

“And I him. We’ve been through a lot these past fifty years.”

Kane wished he knew more about his master’s history in the Forgotten Realm, but Seltios had never spoken of it before recently. In fact, Seltios had never even mentioned the existence of this realm. To suddenly find out that there was fifty years of history between Seltios and the other king nearly made Kane gasp in surprise.

“He still thinks you’re being hasty,” she added.

Seltios laughed. “Everything I do seems hasty to him.”

“True,” she signaled them to follow her. “Let me not delay your meeting any longer.”

Kane followed Belle and Seltios in, expecting to see the entrance hall of his former school, but the similarities stopped with outer appearance. The interior had no fountain with its floating water. Nor did it have a crystal chandelier that hung above numerous cozy couches. There were no tyros to give the place its normal lively buzz either. Kane let out a silent sigh.

This isn’t the same castle.

Unlike the outside, the vast room was brightly lit with hundreds of glowing tree roots that stretched across the walls and ceiling. They twisted into a thick, magnificent trunk that acted as the room’s centerpiece and main lighting. Isabelle placed a hand on the trunk. It began to untwist itself, quickly forming into the shape of a doorway. Through it, Kane could see a hallway lined with the same kind of lit roots. Neither Isabelle nor Seltios were fazed by this. As soon as the roots stopped moving, they walked through the doorway. Kane followed.

They did this three more times. Each time walking to a room with a bundle of roots that would then untwist themselves and form a doorway. Kyle became lost in thought. Though the interior was completely different, he couldn’t help but feel an odd sense of nostalgia come over him. It took strong self-control to stop himself from looking around for students. Specifically, his mind turned to Kyle. True, he’d be around Kevin and Kross longer, but they hadn’t ever been as easy to be around as the boy from the other realm. This place seemed to just remind him that he had turned on the best friend he’d ever had.

I should have tried harder to convince him…

I should have been more patient… then I could have explained it to him…

I should have—

He stopped himself. It was too late now. He’d left them all for dead. And Kyle the Static won’t forget that anytime soon, will he, you idiot?

“Lost in thought, young one?” Seltios asked.

“I—yes,” said Kane. “Even though this place is different, it brings back memories.”

“I expect that it does,” Seltios nodded. He did not press into the matter further.

They walked through the last root doorway and it took them to a grand set of doors large enough to fit two elephants side by side. Kane’s eyes shot wide open when Belle pulled the door open with ease.

“Please wait here a moment,” said Belle, sounding amused. “Would you like water or wine afterwards?”

“Some of the thornefyre wine would be excellent,” Seltios answered. “Are Jade and Leo around?”

“They’re out on a search, but they should be returning soon.”

“I see. I hope they do. Ice always makes it better.”

Belle nodded. “What would you like, Kane?”

Kane looked at his master, wondering if it was okay to try the thornefyre wine. He’d never had it before. Why not? “Uh… I’ll have the same.”

Belle smiled and without another word, she disappeared behind the door.

When the door shut, Seltios turned to him, frowning. “Wine?”

“Well…” Kane shrugged. He had drank occasionally since he’d turned sixteen, but it had mostly ever been a glass with meals. “Is it okay that I asked for it?”

“I—” Seltios cut himself off. “It is just that I’m still not entirely used to seeing that you’ve grown up. Half the time, I still see the child you once were. But you’re of age now.” He sighed. “A drink is fine, of course.” Silence followed.

Kane changed the subject. “Why does this place look like Soul Gate Academy? And what is with all the roots everywhere.”

“Think of this place as the second side to a coin,” Seltios stroked his beard as he often did while in thought. “Same coin, different engravings. The castle is just the outer ridges of the coin while the insides are free to be changed as seen fit by their caretakers. The biggest difference between the two sides of the Soul Gate is the fact that this side of the gate is held in one place by the roots. The roots are part of the Ending Tree, making sure that this place never leaves this exact spot. In Endera, the Soul Gate is free to move.”

“Ending Tree?” Kane asked.

“Another lesson for another day, Kane the Basilisk.”

Kane knew that Master Seltios only used his full name when it came to important things. Using it now meant that the Ending Tree was not something he wanted to discuss. This didn’t bother Kane. Focusing on the Soul Gate was more than enough to hold his interest. After all, his mission to infiltrate Soul Gate Academy had been foe the sole purpose of finding out all he could about the ancient gate. He’d never found out much, though. Only some of the Eternal Title tyros and masters were allowed access to its secrets. If he’d gotten that far, he would have likely known all of this already.

“Why didn’t you tell me anything about the Soul Gate on this side before I left?” Kane was careful to make sure he didn’t sound like he was angry. “I mean, it sounds like there wasn’t really much for me to learn.”

“There is always plenty for you to learn, Kane.” Seltios answered. “Your mission was to infiltrate and learn all that you could. The Soul Gate was your ultimate goal, but not your only one. I wanted you going into the situation with a clear, unsullied mind. It was the best way to verify a theory of ours.”

“What theory? And who is ‘ours’?”

“Mine and Albion’s.” He ignored Kane’s first question. “That is who we are here to meet. The King of the Void Wildlings.”

Kane decided to let it go. “And he’s your friend.”

“Like you heard earlier, he’s more like a brother. And you just met his wife.”

“So, she is the queen?” Kane certainly thought that she carried herself like someone important, but he wouldn’t have guessed she was queen.

“That’s how these royal marriages usually work,” King Seltios smiled.

“Why have you never mentioned them before?” Kane couldn’t help but feel hurt by this. If Albion was a brother to Seltios, then surely, he must have merited some sort of comment during the last ten years.

Seltios opened his mouth to speak, but stopped for a moment. It was an odd thing for Kane to see the closest thing to a father he’d ever known, the Master who’d taught him most of what he knew, and the king who had saved him, struggling to answer him.

“This realm is a damned realm, Kane,” said Seltios finally. “Most of the people who know that it exists never speak of it and that’s because there are consequences to doing so. I’ve seen a man forget who he was over and over again, others go mad, and, as you can see, most stay completely chained here forever. All for just coming into contact with this place. The darkness here works like a curse. It seeps into your bones, engulfing you, grabbing at your insides with an unforgiving, cold grip. I didn’t tell you of Albion and the Forgotten Realm, not because I didn’t want to, but because I feared the consequences of doing so. I still do, but to leave you ignorant of this place any further would be stupidity on my part. If we are to succeed, you must know what this place is. You must know about the Titans.”

“Titans?” Kane said. “You don’t mean—”

The Titans.” Seltios nodded. “You just met one.”

Kane could hardly believe it. Belle had seemed so normal and Titans were supposed to have been legendary men and woman, created by the King Forgers, just as the Kota had been. And even less believed them to have existed at all.

“How could they still be alive?”

“They’re descendants, Kane.”

“Right,” said Kane, nodding. It had been a dumb question. The legends dated the original Titans fighting in the Alter War, which had taken place thousands of years ago and had literally altered the entire planet. It had only ended when the King Forgers had been wiped out and the Titans banished—to the Forgotten Realm. It made sense. Sort of.  “Isabelle seemed normal, though. How do you know she’s a Titan?”

“She is. I’m sure she’ll prove it to you over the course of your acquaintance with each other. If things go as planned, you will both get to know each other well over then next year. And beyond that I hope.”

Kane looked at him, perplexed. “Would you mind telling me your plan before then?”

“My plan?” Seltios smiled. “You make it sound like I’m some sort of evil mastermind.”

“That’s what most of Endera thinks, isn’t it?”

“Something along those lines,” Seltios laughed. “My current plan is to meet with Albion and discuss the plan. You can wait till then, can’t you?”

“If I have to,” Kane sighed. “Why are we waiting, anyways? Your like brothers, aren’t you? Can’t you just walk in?”

“I could,” Seltios began rolling his shoulders and stretching, like he was about to go on a run. “But that would be rude. It’s likely that he is just preparing the room.”

“Preparing it for what?”

“Our fight.”

Kane’s heart began to beat faster. “Fight? But I thought—”

“It’ll just be a spar, Kane. We like to have a friendly match if it has been a long time since we’ve seen each other. And it has been ages.”

“I see,” Kane gulped. “Is he strong?”

“Very,” answered Seltios. “We go back and forth with the victories.”

If that was true, Kane knew that castle was at risk of being completely destroyed around them. It would have been different if Seltios was sparring someone weak by comparison, like Kane himself, but he had seen his master fight with strong opponents before and he knew from experience that it would have been wiser to invite a hurricane into the castle. A douse of fresh memories from the King’s Temple reminded him that a building crumbling around him was not something he was in a hurry to experience again. If Kyle’s lightning power hadn’t opened up a hole in the side of the temple, he wasn’t sure he would have been able to get out. The thought made him shiver. It’d been a close call. Too close.

“No need to worry,” Seltios grinned deviously—almost childlike. “The room will be able to withstand our fight.”

Kane doubted it.

Suddenly, the large doors both swung open, allowing a strong gust of wind to flow through as though a storm had begun. It pressed against Kane hard, making him adjust his stance to ensure he wouldn’t be pushed back. It was unlike anything he had ever felt before. Warm where it should have been cold; constant where it should have wavered and pleasant even with the weight of it nudging against him. As one might have guessed from looking at the elephant sized doors, the room was giant enough to fit in an entire herd. Another memory flashed in his mind. He’d seen a herd of elepalmaes before. They were summon beasts, but cousins to regular elephants. He remembered the day clearly. An elephant-palm tree hybrid­. He could picture Kross the Monk scribbling his mad notes about them. What grade had he given it—gatekeepers, I’m a drag.

Like the rest of the castle, the throne room was brightly lit. Glowing roots filled the walls from floor to ceiling, except for the few gaps where there were doors. A long blue rug led the way to a throne big enough to fit three grown men and made from smooth wood that was a deep sepia color. Behind the throne were a fair number of coffee tables and comfortable looking seats that bore the marks of regular use. The greater part of the room was otherwise empty, making it, except for its size, look quite unimpressive to Kane.

The wind stopped abruptly before being followed by a deep, gruff voice, “Is he strong enough, Seltios?”

Kane looked for the source of the voice only to see a swish of color move across the room and on to the throne so fast his eyes could barely keep up. A giant of man now sat on the throne, nearly filling it completely. He was close to ten feet tall, wearing light armor that was black and specked with gold as though it was a stolen piece of the night sky. His shoulders were broad and his legs were as thick as tree stumps. His face bore no particularly memorable features, being clean and handsome, but there was something oddly powerful about it, as though it had been carved out of marble. What really made the King of Void Wildlings look extraordinary was the way his long auburn hair floated in the air above him like crimson smoke from a chimney.

“He won’t die, if that’s what you mean,” Seltios laughed. “I’d rather you didn’t test it, though, Albion.”

“That won’t do, Seltios,” Albion smiled widely. “You’ve got me intrigued now.” He disappeared again.

Kane lost him, searching the room for where he might reappear.

“Come on, Kane,” Seltios walked forward with little concern. “You are free to take out your Key of Throne Arms.”

“Uh—okay,” Kane followed, sensing that the titan king was targeting him. He couldn’t pinpoint where he was going to come from, but he’d been trained well enough to know when he should be on alert. He opened his palms, calling forth both halves of his Kota dagger. The two blades, which he’d only had for a few weeks, appeared in his hands instantly.

“Daggers?” Albion laughed. His voice all around them and above them. “I’ll use a gladius, then. A favorite of mine, young one.”

“Here you are,” Isabelle said all of a sudden. She appeared with a sword about the length of her arm. It was grey from hilt to tip as though the color of it had been completely drained. She threw with a bored flick of her wrist and it arched in the air directly over Kane. “Call me back when you boys are done. I’ll leave your other sword next to the door.”

In the blink of an eye, Kane felt a presence above him. He looked up to see Albion grabbing the gladius and immediately disappearing. Seltios vanished at the same moment, reappearing to the side of the throne to lean against it with a gleeful smile. Kane now stood in the middle of the throne room, realizing that he was about to spar with a titan. He gulped. And he happens to be a king, too.

He felt Albion’s presence pop into existence behind him, making him pivot around. Kane saw only barest shadow of the king as he disappeared again. Kane was reminded of how Master Logan had moved. Always disappearing and reappearing due to his immense speed. Few people could move like that.

Kane was one of them.

He amplified his leg muscles with a twist of his Kota. Albion reappeared to his left and Kane launched himself that way with as much speed as he could, but it wasn’t enough. Albion vanished again, reappearing behind him. Kane turned just in time to see Albion’s gladius coming at him from an underhanded swing aimed directly for his chin. Out of pure instinct, Kane lifted his daggers to defend the blow. The blades clashed with such force that Kane lost his stance, doing a complete backflip.

It was thanks to Kane’s training that he landed on his feet, but he lost track of Albion in the process. He’s fastfaster than Master Seltios—maybe even faster than Master Log—

“Don’t get lost in thought, Basilisk,” Albion came from directly above Kane. His sword leading his fall toward Kane’s head.

Kane dodge rolled out of the way just in time, only to hear the titan king slam into the ground with the force of a falling boulder. He whipped himself around, his daggers ready to defend against another attack, but Kane was caught off guard. Albion was smaller than he had been when he was on the throne. Much smaller. Kane guessed that he was probably only a couple inches taller than him now. What the—

Albion charged, his hair trailing behind him like a red ghost. He held the gladius in his right hand, swinging it mightily at Kane’s side. He blocked with both daggers, knowing that the strength of the swing could have crushed a pillar. It slammed into him, but Kane was ready for the force with a stance that held true. Albion followed up with a barrage of sword swings that took all of Kane’s concentration and strength to block.

Kane tried to back away, but Albion followed with quick powerful swordplay. There was little else to do, but try his hardest to make an impression. In between parries, Kane turned his Kota to unlock the best of his abilities. The first amplified his entire body, making him faster and stronger. The second unlocked his PsyBending ability which would make Albion believe he was seeing a large basilisk before him. The last turn was to unlock his MemoryBending technique that would lock any part of Albion that he could touch.

Now!

Kane launched his counter attack, only to feel his legs kicked out beneath him. He was then punched in the stomach so hard that he instantly dropped his Kota as the wind was knocked out of him. He flew backwards with such speed that he was sure that whatever he was going to crash into would break him upon impact. Fortunately, a strong gust of warm wind pressed into his back, slowing him down before that happened. He felt arms wrap around him gently before being placed on the ground. Master Seltios had caught him.

Kane blinked as his eyes watered from the pain. He gasped for breath, attempting to stand up, but Seltios sat him on the floor to lean his back against the throne.

“That’s enough, Kane,” Seltios smiled. “You did well. I think it’s my turn now.”

“He did very well,” Albion said from behind his master. “The snake was frighteningly real. And that unexpected gaze almost froze me. You trained him admirably, Seltios.”

Kane couldn’t help but feel good about the compliment. He knew it had been an impossible fight to begin with. Anyone who sparred on equal terms with Seltios was someone who was way out of Kane’s league. Still, the good feeling didn’t last long. Not with the mighty bruise that felt like it was about to start replacing his stomach.

“Here you are,” Seltios turned his hand, unlocking a medications technique that instantly made Kane sigh in relief. There was still some soreness, but he’d be able to watch Seltios’ match with Albion with little discomfort.

“Ready,” asked Albion.

Seltios stood straight. “Of course. Want to see the new scythe?”

Albion nodded, moving toward the door that Isabelle had used to exit. The sword next to the door had a hilt that was longer than entire gladius, but still just as grey. The blade was massive, wide as Kane and taller by a foot. Albion gave the sword a few wild practice swings, causing chunks of the floor to spray around the room with as much ease as someone might roll their shoulders. Well Kevin, I think I found someone who has more brute strength than you. He could almost hear, the nonchalant, “Ah!” Kevin would have surely replied to that with. He let out a silent sigh.

Albion began to grow—literally. Kane blinked, unsure if his eyes were working correctly. Albion grew, becoming the giant he had seen when they first entered. He blinked again, rubbing his eyes just to be sure. He’s taller than Master now. How? It hit him. This was part of Titan’s power. He guessed that modifications were being used without a key. Like a Kota, but internally. The King Forgers were something else.

Seltios turned his hand to call forth his Kota scythe. It formed, looking just as it had a few weeks earlier when they had found it. The long golden shaft extended until it met the silver curved blade of the scythe. Connected just above the curved blade was a small double-edged spearhead, making it look all the more formidable. Like Kane’s own Kota, it looked like it had been fused together with a large key, which Kane knew, was sort of the point.

Albion’s eyes grew bright, “The new weapon suits you. I doubt it will help—”

Seltios twisted the large scythe only once, before launching himself at Albion with a smile on his face. He was met with a parry and a good natured laughed. It became obvious to Kane how good of friends Albion and Seltios were. As their weapons met in the air with quick, powerful clangs, their smiles grew wider. This clicked in Kane unconsciously, shifting his thoughts to his friend, Kyle.

Kyle was one to smile in a fight. They had practiced together often, helping each other become better with their weapons which were vastly different. He could clearly remember the edge of Kyle’s Nodachi as it had often been aimed at his head. Another useless memory. He would have to work on making sure his thoughts didn’t wander.

BOOM!

Albion collided into the wall with such force that the whole castle shook. Segments of the wall fell, crumbling into a pile. A rhinoceros couldn’t have done a better job. It didn’t take him long to jump out from the rubble, smiling wider than ever as he charged at his master.

Seltios edged back, defending each slash from the gigantic sword. The sword could have split anyone in half just by falling. The way Albion swung it, made Kane think he could slice through a mountain if he wanted to. He didn’t know how his master kept blocking the blows.

It was during this thought that Kane noticed it. Each swing was now paired with a blast of wind. Too forceful to be natural; too direct to be coincidental. Snychroneity! The realization made Albion appear all the more dangerous. The use of the elements was not something to be taken lightly. Kane had learned that recently as well. Back to Kyle, again. His eye almost twitched. He refocused on the fight.

Seltios left no openings in his defense, seemingly unaffected by the wind. They slammed their weapons together, causing the air itself to vibrate. Sparks flew, then disappeared like tired fireflies. Each move became a blur, melting into their surroundings. Kane did his best not to blink, but it didn’t matter. They were moving so fast that it looked like they were teleporting every few feet only to bash their weapons into each other.

Albion suddenly jumped back, nearing the pile of rubble. He paused for a moment before the wind began building up, swirling the dust around him as his clothes began to flutter. The wind moved faster and faster, forming a small tornado which soon enshrouded the titan king. He hurled himself forward and his whole body rotated wildly fast sideways. The tornado followed, carrying him forward. He and his sword spun toward Seltios, leaving the floor carved out along the way.

Kane held his breath. One wrong move and his master could easily lose a limb. Seltios, however, stood his ground. He twisted his scythe weapon once, before throwing it at the oncoming Albion. Instead of the scythe spinning like windmill, it spun like an arrow. This was odd, but it mattered little to the oncoming attacker. It was knocked down, tumbling across the room violently like paper in a storm. Seltios then stepped forward, his arms crossed in front of him to form an ‘X’. His arms suddenly became enveloped in a magenta smoke. It was his aura.

Kane did not have an affinity with AuraBending, but he knew enough about it to know that it was normally invisible, only manifesting itself in the physical realm when it needed to take on physical properties. To see it otherwise, one usually needed to use AuraBending to unlock their own eyes. Controlling aura was definitely a useful technique, but Kane had other strengths. His mind reached to another memory of Kyle. He had used his own AuraBending to give himself a tortoise shell-like defense. His had been a dark orange. The move had birthed his friend’s first title: The Tortoise. Better than my first title, The Mouse. Kane almost smiled. Well, not by—what in the name of the gatekeepers is wrong with me? In truth, he knew the answer. They were the first real friends he’d ever had. He just didn’t want to admit that to himself.  

A moment later, Albion’s attack connected, slamming into Seltios’s defensive aura which cushioned the attack from slicing him in half. Rather than bowling over his master, Albion continued to spin in place, hitting Seltios in between the crevice of his ‘X’ arms again and again. Every hit shook the room, pressing into Seltios and causing him to fall to his knees. He kept his arms up, though his aura began to diminish. Kane fought the impulse to rush forward, reminding himself that this was just a friendly spar. There was little he could do, anyways.

Seltios suddenly jumped back, snapping his arms behind him so hard that his elbows almost connected behind his back. Magneta colored vines popped into existence all around the titan king, flailing in his wind as though they were wild tentacles. They tangled around Albion before he realized what was happening. Seltios summoned his Kota back into his hand, twisting it with practiced speed. His aura sprang into action, tightening around Albion and putting a stop to his movement.

Kane stared at his master transfixed. Seltios had secretly laid it around the titan king during their fight, only manifesting it physically when the trap had thoroughly been set. It was AuraBending genius, pure and simple. Doing that level of fighting while setting a trap was practically impossible. Kane couldn’t even remember seeing Master Seltios turn his Kota enough times to lay his aura out in such fashion.

Albion grunted, struggling with effort to free himself. “Damn!” He laughed, taking his predicament with such good nature that Kane thought he might have just been told a particularly funny joke. “Gatekeepers damn this aura of yours!” He laughed again. “Let me down, you old fool.”

“I should leave you there,” Seltios said with a boyish grin. “Belle is always saying she’d like a nice centerpiece for this room.” He twisted his Kota and his magenta aura disappeared.

“She’d take me down right away, you know.” Albion tossed the sword to side, discarding it with ease. “She’d miss me too much.”

“Somehow I doubt that.” Seltios walked up to him, dismissing his weapon as well. They grabbed each other’s arms, in a firm handshake. “I hope I find you well, my friend.”

“I have recently suffered an embarrassing loss in front of an old friend’s son, but, other than that, I am well!” He nodded to Kane. “And the son had some fight in him too. You will be a force in the future, Basilisk.”

“No doubt.” Seltios smiled, the pride clearly reaching his eyes.

“Thanks,” Kane said, his face growing warm.

“Well then,” said Albion, changing the subject. “Let’s move this to a less destroyed room and we can discuss the reasons you’re here. I’m sure Kane would like to be included for once.”

“Yes,” Seltios said, hesitantly. They moved toward Kane beckoning him to follow. “It’s high time he heard the plan or at least part of it.”

Yes. Kane moved to follow. Something to take my mind off of them would be great.

The door they were walking toward burst open and a slight chill came into the room.

“Uncle Seltios!” A woman barged in, rushing to hug Kane’s master. “Mother just told us you were here. It’s been too long. I feel like you’ve planned your visits every time we’re out.”

Kane’s jaw dropped open. Before him was Garnet—no, not Garnet. An older version of her. His mind seemed to close off all the sound around him as he watched Seltios and the woman exchange greetings. There were some differences now that Kane looked at her closer, but it was far too little to be coincidence. It was nearly the same face, but with extra lines to them. Her thick red hair floated above her the way Albion’s did, but it was just like Garnet’s. She turned to him and Kane saw her blue eyes full of curiosity and then sudden understanding.

“Kane!” She said, excitement lining her voice as though she’d been given a gift. “The Kane.” She rushed ahead and hugged him tighter than Kane could ever remember being hugged.

“Uh-I,” Kane stuttered. Who is this woman?

“Let him go, Jade,” said Albion, sighing. “You’re squeezing the life out of him.”

She backed off, but held on to his shoulders and locked her eyes with his. “You are playing a key role in helping free us, Kane. The Titans will forever be indebted to you.”

Kane swallowed, feeling a strange lump fall into his stomach. Me?

“My daughter is correct, of course.” Albion agreed. “Though she is somewhat lacking in manners. She gets that from her mother.”

Kane saw it now. The slight likeness to Albion and Belle.

“What’s taking so long?” A smooth voice came from the open doorway, followed by a tall man. He had shoulder-length hair, jet black except for the single grey streak running to his left side like a river past his ear. His face bore scar from an ugly burn on its left side, stretching down his neck. He was dressed similarly to Albion, but Kane guessed that he wasn’t a Titan. “Seltios, it is good to see you.”

“Look, Leo,” said Jade before Seltios could respond. “This is Kane!”

Kane was instantly reminded of another person: Grandmaster Dante. No way. That’s—no way. Seltios offered no help. He watched Kane, grinning with obvious amusement.

“Nice to meet you, Kane.” Leo nodded to him. “I hope spending nearly two years in my father’s presence wasn’t too hard.”

“You’re Grandmaster Dante’s and Master Yvette’s son.”

“It is my curse,” he said, searching Kane up and down. “Are you all right?”

Kane’s mouth felt dry. What is going on? “I—“

“He is unsure how to react,” said Seltios, cutting him off. “You see, I never told him about you, Leo. Forgive me for that.”

“Not surprising,” Leo shrugged.

“And Jade, Kane is very understandably confused by you.” Seltios continued. “There is a young woman he just spent most of this past year befriending who looks very much like you.”

“What!” Albion, Jade, and Leo’s voices boomed together. Their confusion and absolute shock mixed with air making it icy as their gazes fixed on to Kane, obviously hungry for answers. He shivered. Was the air actually icy? I was almost the cause of her death.

“This—how can that be?” Albion’s voice had become soft.

“I don’t know,” answered Seltios. “I only saw her for a moment outside Dilu Village.”

“So, we have more to discuss than I thought,” said Albion. “Come. Isabelle will want to know and you must tell us everything.”

“We will,” said Seltios. “Kane and I will tell you all that we know. Admittedly, he probably knows more than I do.”

Kane tilted his head, trying to nod. His master dropped his hand onto his shoulder, guiding him to toward the door after Albion. It was meant to be a comforting gesture, but it felt hollow in this moment. He didn’t know where to begin—how to begin. He was the one with questions. More than he could count. They were piling up in him, making him wonder whether this was all just a dream. This was too many coincidences, wasn’t it? So what! He nearly shouted it at himself. Once they explain things, it’ll make sense.

It just seemed that no matter how much he wanted to stop thinking about his friends, everything seemed to bring his thoughts back to them. Get a hold of yourself, Kane! He gritted his teeth. If this is the weight I must carry, then so be it. I chose what I chose and I’ll keep going down this path.  

Even if it kills me.

 

Kyle Demore and the Falling Moons – First Five Chapters

Copyrighted © 2017 by Samuel J. Vega

All rights reserved.

To End and Begin Anew

Hey Everyone,

Yet again, it has been too long. Things have been changing, but life is still always busy. Please read to learn about what’s to come.

I have decided, after thinking extensively, to remove Kyle Demore and the Timekeeper’s Key from Amazon. It is the only place that I have it self-published and apart from that, there’s information on it at Goodreads and a few other obscure areas of the internet. I won’t go through all the trouble of completely trying to delete its entire online presence, but I will, for better or worse, remove it where I can. This isn’t done out of a wish to eradicate something I am ashamed of or anything even close to that line of thought. In fact, if I’m completely honest, it is still one of the things I’ve done in my life that I am really quite proud of. Nevertheless, I’ve reached this decision after learning a few things about myself and the industry in which I hope to be known as a professional one day. So please read further if you’re interested in hearing out a few of my reasons:

  1. I don’t want to be a self-published author. That is not to say there is anything that is wrong with self-publishing. There isn’t. I think, and I have for a long while, that it is just not for me. I enjoy the absolute freedom that comes with it, but that is a double edge sword. There are so many things I’ve learned about writing since I self-published and I can look at my first book knowing there is an absolute certainty that I would change a great deal about it. That’s not to say that I ever thought it was the perfect book, (I most certainly have not ever thought that) but there are simple changes that I think I would have seen if I had just been more patient and gotten some more experienced eyes to look at my manuscript.
  2. I would like to “make it” in the traditional publishing world. I want the agent, the editor, the publishing house and all the good and bad that might come with that. Again, there is nothing wrong with going the self-publishing route. But with everything I’ve learned about being an author, I know that this is much more in line with what I want out of this career should I ever join the ranks of those numerous authors that I admire.
  3. And most of all, I wasn’t ready. Kyle Demore and the Timekeeper’s Key, as happy as I am with calling it my own, is rushed work. I think I might be a tad too prideful to call it amateurish in its entirety, but it is certainly an amateur’s approach to an ambitious project that should never have been rushed. Basically, when it comes down to it, I was caught up in having told people that I wrote a book. This isn’t to blame my family and friends who supported me, but I think I was enchanted by the idea of really showing them what I’d done. They kept asking me and I wanted to deliver. This was completely an amateurish mistake and I fully own it. Sigh. If only we could we turn back the wheel of time, ey?

Still, with all this said, this doesn’t mean I’m completely abandoning Kyle Demore. In fact, it has become the framework for the much larger story I am building and someday I hope to revisit it in some capacity. But not now.

So, what does that mean for those of you who’d like to know more about what happens to Kyle Demore. There aren’t exactly many of you out there, but I know there are a few. Part of why this was so hard is because I’ve had some very vocal people in my life who have pestered me (and I mean this in the best way) for the next part of this adventure. All of you were a constant motivation for me and I wish I could deliver to you in full, but some things are just not meant to be. Still, I’d like to give you something for your support which has and does mean a great deal to me. So, here’s what I’m going to do.

Over the next week, I’m going to release the first five chapters of the second book in the Kyle Demore series that I was working on. It is the “official” work I completed for the story. There is more that I handwrote, but I don’t consider anything I’ve handwritten as officially in the story until I’ve typed it out. You’ll have to forgive me for that. It’s just the way I write sometimes. So yeah, I’ll be releasing those five chapters online.  I’ll also provide a PDF link if you’d like to read it that way. I apologize for the obvious grammatical mistakes that it will most certainly have, but hopefully you can forgive me for that since it wasn’t exactly the final draft.

I will also include a small overview of where the story would have eventually gone. This might seem like more of a tease than anything, but I figure that it is at least something for those of you who care. It won’t be true conclusion to anything and everything is subject to change if ever really do get to revisit this world, but I hope that if you’re out there reading, you enjoy it for what it is.

Thank you for everyone who has supported me so far and I hope one day to bring some more adventures to life, so please don’t count me out yet.

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me via email (samueljvega2@gmail.com).  Thanks!

 

 

GAWDDAMMN…I’m still alive, I promise

Geeeeeeez, this blog has been super dead since about June. That’s my bad. My only defense is that I’ve been incredibly busy with work. Plus I’m writing….. And I’m trying to spread my talents into other areas, too.

So all of that means little time for blogging. As I often like to say, I mean to change this. And I will. Someday. Probably soon. I want to finish my little Harry Dresden Review ‘series.’ Then I’ll probably move on to doing a Wheel of Time mini review thing.

Pretty decent Epic Fantasy series if you’re into that kind of thing. Definitely a unique read, as well as an important one. (For me at least, since I want to be an author of the same strain as the talented Late Robert Jordan and the phenomenal Brandon Sanderson) I’m almost done with it. It’s a monster of a series. So lots of reading, which is good, because I like lots of reading.

Anyways, yeah. I will get better at blogging. I swear it on the old gods and the new. (Hah hah, a Game of Thrones reference! Get it?)

Till next time. Which is bound to be soon. Like in a week. Or two? Maybe sooner.. maybe later…….

DRESDEN FILES! BOOK 5 REVIEW

Review on Death Masks!!!!!!!!!!!

Death Masks by Jim Butcher 4 out of 5 Stars

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So this one almost made the climb to 4.5. Almost. It’s good. One of my favorites really, because it had a lot of story going on.

BUT I won’t be getting into much of that story because… go read it, that’s why.

Harry Dresden! What kind of mess is he getting into this time? Well turns out there’s lots of messy things he’s a part of in this book. Duel with a vampire anyone? Psh, yeah and it’s only because he’s trying end this whole war thing going on. Susan is back. She’s got shit to do and she’s half-vampire and cooler than ever. Oh and holy friggin’ knights anyone? What. What. What. Then Nicodemus! Who is he? What is he? And does he like coffee with his murder?

Yeah, seriously, kind of cool stuff there. It gets a bit crazy and I think that’s why I bring it down to a 4. Still, there is more of that sweet, sweet, world building and character building. Included free of charge. (Not really. I had to buy the book, but it’s worth it. James Marsters is a master of narration, so audio book purchase is a must!)

Oh and Ivy. She’s just a seven year old girl and known as the Archive, a living, breathing bank of all the world’s knowledge. Plus all that power she’s got which is awesome. She might be one of my favorite parts of the whole Dresden Universe. She’s such a cool idea and a great character. Seriously, how can you not like Ivy? The correct is answer is you have to like her. You. Have. To.

Anyways. This is probably the book that really started solidifying the series for me. So if you like that kind of thing, read this one. And enjoy it. I did.

Dresden Files! Book 4 Review

OK OK OK. I’ve been a bit busy and this has gotten away from me, but lo and behold, SUMMER KNIGHT, book 4 of the The Dresden Files, review is here!!!!!

And quick review is quick so this will be a quick review…

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher 4 out of 5 Stars

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And the lift off into some good reading begins. As the adventures of our hero, Harry Dresden, continue we find him… well sad at the beginning of this installment. And desperate. And justifiably so, I think. Can’t really get into why that is without giving much of the last book away and I couldn’t do that you, the reader.

Anyways. Without getting into much of anything Dresden has to keep living and not dying so he gets thrown into a mess of things that have to do with Faeries. And as we all well know by now, faeries are dangerous. So things get dangerous as Dresden is thrown into some Faerie business. The whole Faerie world thing is probably one of the best elements of the whole series so I think if you’re into that kind of thing, you really cant go wrong with this book.

Again without really getting into any details, Dresden pretty much has to save the world again with some entertaining characters at his side. It’s a solid read and I think it did a lot of things right. Characters are still growing and even in all the sadness and serious danger, we still get the bits of hope.  Plus James Marsters. Nuff’ said. Damn, he’s great as a narrator.

So yup, solid read. Solid 4 stars.

Also, anybody been listening to Hamilton the Musical at all. Like holy damn shit, it’s awesome. And I heard today, 16 Tony Award Nominations. Man, I want to go see it now.

 

 

Dresden Files! Book 3 Review

Grave Peril by Jim Butcher 3.5 out of 5 Stars

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Numero tres! All right, so here’s where the series starts to get a little better. Though I still give this a 3.5 Stars, it was almost a true 4 (It reaches toward that 4 Stars when you realize how it fits in the series as whole). There some stronger writing and the plot has more weight to it. And what I really mean by that is that there are some real consequences to take into account at the end of it all.

I’ve mentioned before that these first few books are the stepping stones to something greater. And this is the book that marks the accession to something greater to come in, what I think, is probably the clearest way.

So what do we get in Grave Peril? The story itself. Let’s see, some ghost, nightmares, killer vampires, and somewhat terrifying fairy godmothers. So cool and cool. Shit is going down! There is a lot that goes in this book, but the pacing is well done so it never gets too overwhelming.

Then there is Susan, who really makes an impression in this one. We find out what she’s really like and what she means to Dresden. There is also an introduction to Michael (A Holy Friggin’ Knight) and Thomas (Sex Vampire [incubus] of the White Court), both of whom are well thought out characters. Even Murphy becomes better in this book. But if I’m honest, her being better than she was in the last book doesn’t take much.

However, Dresden does seem to be making a habit of falling and failing and being completely spent until the last moment where he can come back and win the day. Grave Peril sort of suffers from this more than the other books in the series because some of his power  is ‘stolen’ from him. It was sort of an eye rolling moment for me, but maybe that was because I knew there was a book 4-15 following this installment, meaning Mr. Wizard Man Dresden ain’t about to be losing his powers forever. I think this book came out in like 2001, so that is my fault for not having read it 15 years ago.

(Holy crap, I’m old enough to say 15 years ago and it not mean I was some diaper wielding maniac [aka baby/toddler]. Though, in my defense, I probably was still too young to be reading the Dresden Files. Sigh…)

Anyways, yeah. This book is good. I liked it quite a bit. And I was quite looking forward to Summer Knight (Book 4) at the end of this one.

Last Note:

So I’ve read some comments and reviews regarding Butcher’s description of women throughout the series. They’re all sexy women with clothing that hugs their breast and yada yada yada yada. Basically, they’re good looking ladies who amount to sexual objects first and actual characters second. This is a fair assessment of Butcher’s portrayal of women. Practically every woman he ever meets is one suggestive wink away from making Dresden jizz his pants. I get why lady readers could be annoyed by this. And I would be lying if I, a straight male, said it didn’t annoy me sometimes. However, I also think its not entirely that far fetched that someone like Dresden would look at women this way. Yeah, it is sort of dumb, but Harry Dresden is sort of dumb too. I think when it’s looked at through that sort of lens, it is easier to accept. But I get it. Really I do. And I’d like to say it gets better as the series goes on, but it really doesn’t.

But if you can power through those small bits, the rest is still worth the read.

Till next time!

Dresden Files! Book 2 Review

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher 3 out of 5 Stars

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I’ll start off by saying that this book in the Dresden Files is probably one of my least favorites of the whole series. In fact, while writing this I changed my original rating from 3.5 down to 3 Stars. I’m probably still being a little lenient there if I’m honest. This is a shame since I happen to actually like werewolves. (Well the idea of them, anyways.) But, as with this story, most of the time they’re used in books or movies or whatever else, they end up being a disappointment.

So Fool Moon introduces us to werewolves and all their complex glory. There are a few different types and they all play some varying degree of roles in Fool Moon. With that in mind, let’s get down to the basics. Someone dies, it looks awfully like a big bad werewolf is responsible, which means we have another whodunnit handed to Harry Dresden! As I said in my previous review, this series likes to stay in its given formula and this one does just that. (Which, again, is fine. Dresden is a wizard-private investigator after all. He needs something to investigate!)

So Dresden teams up with Karen Murphy, Chicago’s most toughest tough as nails female with short man syndrome law officer of justice … If you can’t hear my annoyance, I’ll get this out of the way. My absolute least favorite thing about this book is Murphy (She actually represents something I find annoying in lots of different stories)  She basically seeks help from a Dresden to, ya know, have him help solve the case or whatever, only to start mistrusting him because he is helping in a way that seems too suspiciously suspicious. (Is that a spoiler, I’m sorry if it is. I mean I still think you need to read it to really get it in context)

Well I’m going to give you a little context anyways. It would be like Commissioner Gordon lighting up the bat signal to call Batman and ask him for help about something which only Batman had information on. Batman gives Gordon this information to, ya know, help, but then Gordon turns on him and announces, ‘You’re under arrest, Batman. Ya know, for trying to help me solve this case which you’d never would have been involved in unless I called you in the first place’…..

Basically, Murphy was stupid-annoying this book and all we get to show for it is Dresden basically feeling bad about her being really fucking annoying because reasons?  (Excuse my, language or don’t. Whatever………….)

BUT with all that said, this book isn’t all bad. Really it isn’t. It has some annoying bits. So annoying that I almost wanted to give up the series, but yet again it is saved by a great narrator who really does justice in playing Harry Dresden. (Thank you again, James Marsters!)

Dresden is by all means resilient and resourceful throughout this book. And it is kind of a joy to see him get out of the madness he is thrust in to. Not only that, we get to see some new character get into trouble with him and help him. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty cool . Plus ya know, werewolves.

So definitely give this one a read (or listen I should say cuz audio books rule!!!) and try not to get hung up on the stupid parts. Underneath that, there is still a robust lineup of interesting characters and an ever building world of magic and mischief that is a necessary stepping stone in the long run.

Really, the series does actually get better but Fool Moon is as mediocre as they come.