Work in Progress – Unraveling the Veil

A new trilogy is taking shape, about half of the first draft already tapped into the laptop. I’ve given myself through March to get the story down. Then rewriting and revisions and loads of editing.

Below is the first scene, a sneak peek that’s subject to change, but it’s a start. Don’t hold me to it, but the working title of the series is Unraveling the Veil.

***

Kalann il Draak, the First of Chaos, aimed his cannons at the Veil. From the eastern sun to the western moon, the curtain of light spanned the mountains, banishing him to the forsaken waste that stretched north beyond the known lands. The silver wall shimmered, undulated with elemental power, the essence of matter. Its energetic core bound the illusory world together with the strength of goblin steel.

He would destroy the rippling wall that divided him from his kingdom, shatter the balance of creation, and wreck chaos on the myriad patterns of the world. The First, the sacred gods worshiped by of the mortal races, would vanish from the land.

His sword crackled, spat veins of lightning that illuminated the roiling clouds and fractured the rock beneath his army’s heels. The tortured earth swallowed slaves and soldiers alike, their screams lost to the grinding rock and the wind’s keening howl.

“I will destroy you!” he roared up the barren slopes.

The First, his brethren, stood sentinel along the ridges, hands raised in silent defense, feeding the Veil’s mass with heat harvested from the mountains’ core, light stolen from the dawn. A blizzard of snow swept into the air, blew sideways in the skirling winds, blotting out the sky.

Draak’s sword swept down, sliced a rift into the Veil that the First snapped shut with a thunderous clap. The mage laughed at the feint as cannons strung along the foothills belched pulses of disruptive power, stripping matter of its binding force. The white-hot blasts generated surges. Waves bulged along the Veil’s magnetic lines like sound along an instrument’s string. Veins of power tore and reconnected, releasing eruptions of unbound light.

The Veil fractured. Seams burst open where the energy splintered. Like a stone through a mirror, shards of light flung outward, and Draak ordered his army through, secreted in the shattered wedges that pierced his enemy’s land. Another volley of fire penetrated the weakened wall. The bulk of his vast horde stormed up the slope, eager for the final rupture.

But the power of the cannon proved unstable, uncontainable, carried along the frayed curtain by sheer winds. His foes threw up shields like patches on torn cloth, stitching up the gaps with new manipulations of heat and light. The Veil began to cool. Snow transformed into steam as the mountains burned and the elements bound into new matter, altering the foundations of the world.

The First, guardians of the wall of light and the civilization within, gloried in their victory. Below them, trapped in the barren desolation of the north, Draak shook a curled fist at his brethren. But hubris was their flaw and his fury a ruse. The cannon had briefly unraveled the fabric of matter, not enough for an entire army to slip through, but sufficient for chaos to hook its curved claw. The mortals would see to the rest.

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Soul Swallower – Work in Progress

I think that’s the name of the series. I like the alliteration anyway. Better than Soul Gulper.

I don’t have too much to share yet, but here’s a brief peek at Raze and the act of swallowing a soul:

***

Raze lingered alone by the hearth, the remainder of the freehold tucked beneath woolen blankets. In no mood for company, the solitude suited him. Briyon’s soul catcher dangled from a cord twisted through his fingers.

His grief unearthed old ghosts, his mother among them, an ageless portrait suspended in the gallery of his mind. Not so his memories of Mirelle. Those lingered with infinite fluidity, entangled with visions of the past and dreams of a future that would never be. Six years had shuffled by since her death, five since he’d joined Briyon at the freehold, and yet he’d found no lever long or strong enough to pry her from his heart. Loneliness punched the breath from his lungs and sapped the strength from his back. At twenty-two he was master of the freehold, a tired soul, angry at a world he couldn’t control.

He rolled the pendant over in his hand, keenly aware of its delicate beauty. The white soulstone had transformed, no longer solid but translucent with pale tendrils of color swirling like morning mist. Copper wire no hardier than a strand of hair coiled around it, holding a round sliver of lapis in place with a final twist of two tiny leaves. It glowed with a soft light, indicating the presence of a soul. A soul he loved.

With great care, he unhooked the tiny copper leaves, unwound the wire, and removed the blue gem capping a small hole. Inside, an iridescent sphere resembling a pearl shone with a brilliance that startled him. Were all souls so bright? He didn’t know, this soul-catcher his first. He rolled it into his hand. Would he swallow it? Did he want what Briyon offered? Was there anything to fear?

The sphere glimmered in his palm, sharing no insight. He placed it back into the pendant. No need to choose, no decision pressing him to act with haste. The round gem refitted, he coiled the wires, paused, and then uncoiled them. In one fluid motion, he uncapped the pendant, tipped the luminous pearl into his mouth, and swallowed.

A rush of heat streamed up from his belly through his heart and into his head. It coursed down his limbs to his fingertips and toes. His body trembled, the sensation alien but not frightening, and it subsided as quickly as it overtook him. Eyes closed, he accepted Briyon’s soul. In the quiet of night, he exhaled a long breath, crept to bed, and dreamed another man’s dreams.