The following is the plot and opening scene from my fantasy manuscript titled, “Rise of First World.”
Life in a fishing village on a small island wasn’t too exciting for Iain, until a sudden change in climate forces him to cross the water to the forbidden lands in hope of finding a new land for his tribe. There he discovers the stories he heard in his youth about strange and mystical creatures living across the sea were, not only real, but more beautiful and terrifying than he imagined.
Setting out alone and plagued by a bitter sense of loss, he’s drawn deep into a maze of interwoven worlds, where everyone he meets seems to have their own agenda for him.
Only his new friendship with a fierce woman warrior in service to a dark goddess, and a seraphim cast from her home, gives Iain hope for survival. But, battling dragons and an evil sorcerer aren’t his only problems. He must uncover the one attribute the hue-man tribe’s posses that could save them from extinction. Only with Iain being victorious in battles of sword, word, and pure will can he keep the cording that unites the many realms from being severed.
Nearing the end of his journey, he’s guided to a place where all the worlds converge. There he discovers that even those he trusts and fights for may be aiding the creatures who plot the rise of First World.
The wind whipped at Iain’s hair, pulling at the leather knot keeping the long strands out of his face. Far below, white capped swells thundered against the steep cliffs. Vibrations shuddered through the ground beneath his feet. Wave after wave tumbled towards the dismal island, taunting him with their freedom to travel.
Iain closed his eyes with a heavy sigh, wishing the waves to carry him away, out across the rolling sea to the forbidden lands of mystery that lay beyond the horizon.
Even obscured by the cloak of darkness as they were, Iain knew the land well from the maps his father had made. That same man who since forbade any of the tribe from setting foot upon that distant territory.
It was safe enough for him to cross the sea and bring back a Sune-tara mate, but after claiming what he wanted, to say it’s too dangerous for any other to do the same I cannot understand. What did he see or learn that could make such a giant among men seek shelter upon this island and say it is enough?
Iain felt his mother’s eyes upon him and couldn’t help but smile. She was far away, back at their house, but Iain learned long ago, there was nowhere he could go where she couldn’t see him. That was just one of her gifts. From the stories she told, the ability was not uncommon among her people living in the Endless Forest beyond the sea.
The stories gave him knowledge and entertainment, but his dreams fed his restless desire more than anything else. Out there in the darkness was a land where creatures of legend still roamed. Where tribes like the Sune-Tara practice the ancient magical craft and where the spirits of those swept away when the sea rose up to cover First World, still linger. Held fast by their hunger for returning to rule the realm of man, where someday, Iain would return to the home he only glimpsed in visions.
Another heavy sigh escaped and he turned away, making his way across the uneven growth of thick peat grasses. Up above, Luphin, Goddess of the Night Orb, aided by casting a gentle glow between silver tinged clouds that scurried across the sky. She walked low to the horizon this night, but Iain didn’t fear meeting her, for she was only half dressed. The storytellers said, only when her cloak is drawn tight and she’s disappeared from the sky should men keep a wary eye. For that is when she takes the form of a beautiful young maiden, determined to find a mortal mate. So powerful is her beauty, no man can resist her temptations and will be driven mad when she leaves him to give birth to another point of light in the darkened sky.
Iain picked up the pace knowing Ral would soon rise to give light to the land. If he didn’t sneak back into the house before the dawning, his father’s guards would surely catch him. It was bad enough he knew there would be a lecture coming on the morrow from Elsbeth, his mother. He certainly didn’t wish to endure one from his father, Karoc, as well.
Distracted while plotting out what he would say, a flicker of movement nearby caught his eye. Dropping at once into a crouch, he sidled into a small hollow. Offering up a silent prayer to Ault, Lord of wind, Iain asked for Luphin’s glow to be obscured by the clouds. Relieved when the land was plunged into shadow, he peered into the darkness, searching for the source of movement. I dare not delay for long.
There, not far off, a robed figure headed directly towards the paltry hiding place. Iain took stalk of his options. He had a knife as a last resort, but preferred avoiding conflict if possible. If he was seen, by anyone from the village, word would surely get back to his father.
Focus on the breath. Summon the Melding the way mother trained you.
Iain’s intuition directed him to merge with the land, become one with it. He flattened out as best as possible and opened his senses. The smell of dew soaked grass. The ground shedding the last of the warmth gained from the day. Croaking frogs, in a nearby mud hole set an unsteady rhythm.
Surrender to soil and sky.
The figure stopped, turning first one way then the other, searching. Through half closed lids, Iain watched as it angled away. More gliding than walking, it faded into the darkness. An empty feeling formed in the pit of his stomach, almost paralyzing him with hopelessness. The cloud moved on, reminding Iain of his urgency. Shrugging off the sensation, he hurried towards home.
Nearing the outer wall that surrounded the house, Iain paused to watch the silhouettes of the guards against the stacked stone. Karoc would be upset if he knew the guards were walking together instead of keeping a more watchful eye. But, as long as it served Iain’s own interest, their secret was safe with him. In truth, there was little danger from any attackers. Those who had brought thoughts of malice from the mainland soon found the island to be well defended. With only one shallow harbor to provide a break in the sheer cliffs, invading hoards were easily driven back across the water.
As soon as the two guards disappeared around the far corner, Iain sprinted the short distance across the open ground and leaped, grabbing hold of the uneven top edge of the damp stone wall. Not wanting to be seen hung out like a freshly gutted Roe deer, he took a quick peek over the defensive perimeter.
Just as Iain expected, the other guards had gathered within the halo of torches by the main gate. Unsteady light sparred with rivulets of shadows across the garden grounds, casting flickering images against the dark stone of the main house. The smell of burning seal-fat assaulted Iain’s nostrils as he inhaled deeply to catch his breath.
The guards spoke in hushed tones to conceal their nightly activity borne from sheer boredom of patrolling in endless circles.
Iain knew they didn’t dare linger long. Karoc was thorough in judgment for good or bad and punishment would be swift against their lack of discipline.
Iain paused, waiting for the perfect moment. As expected, it didn’t take long to arrive, ushered in on a stiff gust off the restless sea. The wind laid the flames from the torches low, darkening the inner grounds. The guards turned their backs, hunching their shoulders against the chill.
Scrambling over the top, he dropped to the damp ground. Sounds of his footfalls covered by the breeze whistling across the stone surface, he bolted towards his destination.
An archer’s window, almost invisible in the shadowed wall, provided the perfect passageway for Iain’s regular illicit excursions.
Once again he launched from the ground, this time, grabbing hold of the stone sill. He wriggled through the opening, almost too large to fit through the narrow gap. Stepping softly to the wood floor, he made sure to avoid the spot that had a habit of squeaking. Turning, he peered out into the courtyard just in time to see a guard move past.
Iain leaned back further into the shadows so light from the soldier’s torch wouldn’t illuminate him. He couldn’t resist the smug smile spreading across his face.
“Welcome home, son.”