'Alerted by Elaina's yelp of surprise, Remus swung around in time to see a huge bear-like creature charge at them, growling deafeningly. The creature was huge, fur light brown streaked with a dull blue. Around its face were three plates of natural chitin, one on its forehead, and two on its cheeks, flexing around its massive jaw. Remus swung his hand-axe just in time to deflect a savage bite, smashing against the monster's large teeth. The Feybeast had gotten close enough that Remus could smell the fetid breath of its salivating jaw and see its yellowing fangs. Elaina slammed the end of her quarterstaff on the monster's back.
The monster charged at Remus and lunged with a thick paw, with the lanky man barely leaping out of the way.. He chopped his hand axe into the beast's thick neck, just behind the forehead plate. It was a devastating blow, but the hardy animal continued its rampage. Elaina focused her powers, condensing and cooling the moisture in the air. Flakes of ice and whirling fog began to form, hovering above her outstretched right arm. A shard of pure, magickally hardened ice formed, hovering above her hand. She willed it forward with tremendous momentum, impaling the side of the creature's belly and fragmenting'.
'The dwarves were a blur, torchlight briefly illuminating bestial snarls on their faces as they rushed the humans from of the darkness of the forest. The creatures would rush, impossibly fast, towards the men and women, only to be deflected or parried by a weapon. They would scurry forward into the foliage on the other side of the road, with a few jumping back to cover or seemingly disappearing into the darkness. Tense moments later, they would launch another strike, the beleaguered humans beset on both sides by sporadic terror. One man lay dead, caked in blood'.
2) Extract from 'The Shard of Palrinah, Book 2 of The Remus Rothwyn Chronicles':
Weylin strode across the marble-lined bridge in the Monastery of St. Palrinah. The monastery was perched on a seaside cliff face, and the complex expanded onto small islands near the cliff-side. The two small islands were as tall as the mainland cliff-side, small areas of land elevated atop of protruding towers of rock. The monastery towered over the roaring surf below, and wide bridges connected the main building with the islands. Sounds of gulls, bright sunlight, and fresh salt air greeted Weylin as he made his way to the main monastery proper, but he was not the kind of man who could readily appreciate these things. His mind was focused on some very interesting and confidential information that had been divulged to him by his superiors, and his steps were quick and guided.
The recent months had been turbulent, but ultimately were a blessing for the dark-haired, boyish-faced man. He had risen through the ranks of the Paragonites fairly quickly; he was still low-ranking, but reaching the position of Disciple of the First Order this quickly was rare. He wore the robes of the order, which were burnt-orange and brown coloured and inscribed with the tenets of the order. His well-made leather sandals clipped on the stone bridge. He certainly looked the part of a Paragonite monk, and had done a good job of conveying his zealotry for the order. However, if one looked carefully at his hazel eyes, you would see not faith or religious zeal, but ambition.
Weylin reached the entrance to the monastery, and began ascending the stairs. The interior was dim and cool, intense sunlight being channeled through windows, throwing splotches on the ground. Groups of robed monks stood quietly conversing in corners, or sat on the floor praying. As Weylin walked towards Brother Renaldin’s private chambers, he reflected on the time that had passed since he left his home town of High Peaks. At first, it was an initial rush through the forest, surviving as well as he could. Approaching Yondern, he cleaned himself up as much as he could in a forest pond, so he could be presentable upon entering the city, a place he had been to before to practice law.
He talked to some old clients, and there was one who was having legal problems related to land issues. He already had a lawyer, but saw the need for an assistant for his lawyer, to assist in the drudgery of paperwork and clerical matters. Weylin moved to the client’s estate outside the city to complete the task, and remained there for the duration of the job, glad to be out of sight from the authorities. Weylin hardly remembered anything about the case, he had been merely interested in earning enough money to travel further. In the few days he spent in Yondern, he did research about any potential job offers he could find, that would take him out of the city.
The Steelwielders and St. Lusites were strong in the city, but Weylin thought it would be unwise for a Touched to be part of organizations that eschewed his kind, or any connection to magic. He heard of a conflict between the Steelwielders and the Paragonites from Eruthia, and performed more research on the group, discovering that they had a more tolerant attitude towards magick and the Touched. There were a few Paragonites in Yondern, as open war had not been declared yet, and he got to talking with them, persuading them he was a rogue needing salvation, and that he very much admired their tenets. He was advised to go a city in Eruthia named Rhineholm, and ask for admission at the Paragonite compound there.
Crossing the border into Eruthia, he had arrived at Rhineholm. The resourceful man had managed to persuade the priests of St. Palrinah to give him a chance. The work started off as assisting them in diplomatic issues, using his clerical and legal skills, but then soon he became involved in fighting their enemies and defending their interests. He had confided in his superiors about his Touched skills, hoping it would give him an advantage that countered his lack of physical or martial prowess.
They had been welcoming regarding his powers, and Weylin completed more and more tasks successfully, learning about the faith and projecting a dedication to it. He had eventually been shipped to a Monastery dedicated to St. Palrinah, located in a remote area outside the gates of any city, to train and help the cause in a greater capacity.
Weylin’s training and routine assignments had been interrupted this day by his master, who bequeathed upon him some private information that was most intriguing. He would learn more when he arrived at Brother Renaldin’s chambers. Weylin snapped out of his reminiscing as he entered the corridor that contained his master’s quarters. Knocking on the door, he was told to step in.
Inside the room sat Renaldin, two senior Disciples, and a man that Weylin had not seen before. ‘Sit, Brother’, Renaldin bade him in his dulcet tones. The two senior priests gave Weylin a curt nod, while the unidentified man simply stared ahead. ‘As I told you this morning, Weylin, one of our fold found a very unique Touched, one such as yourself… but quite different. He sits right over there’. Renaldin gestured towards the unidentified man.
Weylin observed the man, taking in every detail. He was powerfully built, and was a normal looking man, although he seemed to permanently have a dour expression on his face. His brown-hair was close-shaven. Weylin noticed that he wore robes of pure grey, unlike the robes of the Order. Why would they make him wear grey, unless it was to somehow distinguish or separate him from the rest of the Brothers and Sisters of the order?
‘What is his name?’ Weylin asked.
‘His previous name and identity no longer matter. I… have decided to name him ‘the Prodigy’, for his exceptional abilities in the use of magick’.
‘Oh. And where was he found, and by whom?’ Weylin inquired.
‘He was found wandering in Eruthia, spurned by all, needing a home and purpose. Who found him is none of your concern, but he or she has been well rewarded. The Prodigy has been with us for months now, and Brother Gaius has been handling his training himself’.
Weylin knew of brother Gaius, he had a reputation for being the harshest and most abusive of instructors at the monastery. The reputation was well-earned, as Weylin had discovered during his brief attendance in one of the brother’s classes. As the Prodigy stared forward blankly, a shred of sympathy sparked in Weylin’s mind at the removal of identity and value the monks had subjected him to. Weylin’s own journey had been inspired by the desire to retain his individuality, identity and value- rather than rotting away in prison or hanging from the executioner’s noose.
‘Let us get to the main revelation, the very aspect that made us so interested in the Prodigy. He, you see, has access to all four elements’.
Weylin was taken aback mentally, carefully considering the words.
Renaldin smiled knowingly, not surprised at the reaction. He had received the exact same reaction when he informed the other select high-ranking members, of the situation. ‘That is right, Brother Weylin. Our friend here is the only human in known history to have control over the power of flame, wind, water and earth. And his raw power with each of these sources is quite impressive. He is a most unique Touched’. Renaldin sat back on his wooden chair and clasped his hands on his chest.
‘If this is true, then he will be a great asset indeed’. Weylin immediately regretted the words, he was not sure if he had stepped over the line into subordination by implying he did not believe Renaldin’s statement.
Renaldin simply smiled and suggested a demonstration.
3) Extracts from 'Steel, Magick and Faith: Book 1 of The Remus Rothwyn Chronicles':
'There was balance, harsh and violent like the noxious air in a swamp. But balance, nonetheless. Then somewhere in the fickle mists of creation came humanity, clawing and afraid, grasping and ambitious. Enveloped in a dangerous world, these creatures lived as scavengers; afraid of the greater things of the world. They were beset by disease, lack of claws or fangs, and the lack of habitat to call their own. Lefeyhdie had not provided any particular prey or plant for them to eat. These fleshy, naked beings were doomed to die of attrition. Curiously, these beings never stopped Doing, or Thinking. Breeding to strengthen their numbers. Sharpening rocks, shaping wood, gathering leaves and sticks for clothing and shelter. Eventually they had settlements of great number, crude but effective tools of war. Ancient forces began to pay attention to the growing incursion, plaguing them, slaying stragglers at night. But still the humans held on to the edge of the precipice, knuckles white with effort'.
'Bah, he still saw the same stupidity. The image of the hanged man in the farming community of Yondern flashed through his mind. Now there was a war brewing between the Steelwielders and some foreign religion. More mindless loss over beliefs and mythology. But.. he could not deny the noble features in his companions. Although Perfidian was too blithe and Elaina too didactic, they had risked their life to do what was right. He did owe them his life. He could not deny the nobility he saw in many different people, bits and pieces of nobility that shined through under pressure. The guards who risked their lives to protect the villagers, Markham who flew at the dangerous dwarf, swords flashing; even an Eruthian merchant who stopped in his journey to share tales with complete strangers'.
4) Extracts from 'Maldives Malady: A Tropical Adventure':
'His cell-phone rang. Dominic fumbled for it on the nightstand next to the couch, the dim lights not helping his endeavour. He had piercing, generic, banal fluorescent lights on his face all the time at work and at University, it was so bad it made him loathe even natural sunlight. Lucky this apartment’s living room light had a dimmer. He flipped open his phone and said hello. ‘Hey Dom, how you doin’?’ a voice boomed. It was Ben. They proceeded to talk about the upcoming exams, which were deceptively close as it was week 10 at the moment. Yes, they would be alright. Yes, they would meet up afterwards. No, he hadn’t studied more than Ben had. As he clapped the phone closed after the genial conversation reached its natural nadir, he had forgotten most of what had been said'.
'He plunged into the foliage, and was swept into a humid, wet world of towering trees, animal chirps and thick ferns. After a few steps, he turned, and could barely make out the village. He walked a few more steps. He could see nothing now except for the thick trees and long ferns and grasses that surrounded him. He was enveloped into the confined space between trees, surrounded by the jungle heat and staccato chirps. He turned in the direction of the village, but could only see thick, dense trees. Hoping his sense of direction had not been muddled, he turned back around to the direction of the alleged ocean, and kept walking.
Now the calls he heard sounded more and more strange. How far had he walked by now? The jungle, or rain forest, whatever it was, did not relent, and he kept on weaving into narrow gaps between the sturdy ferns and towering trees, pressing onwards. This continued for a seemingly oppressive amount of time, and he began to doubt his decision. To come to this place. To take a chance with his life, which was going in the right direction. Why couldn’t he be happy with the normal and mundane, he cursed, scolding his own stubbornness'.
5) Extracts from 'Betrayal: Opheria Tales 1':
'Rain. The thunder of footsteps. He looked down to see metal arms, deadly maul nestled in them. His feet moved, but he did not move them. Looking around, he saw figures identical to him, rows and rows of golems charging forward. Ahead, the opposing army; but made of flesh. Humans, a small number of Elves and Dwarves. Fierce battle cries on their lips.
His own compatriots were quiet, unfeeling, limbs moving efficiently. The armies clashed. Steel and blood sparked and flew. His own arms swung a maul into someone’s face, crushing his skull. No! He did not… could not control it. Blood splattered on his metal body as he stared at the man’s dead, accusing eyes'.
'That brought Tomis back to reality. Five hundred gold! A small fortune! This wench must really need help. But that kind of reward always involved danger. The mercenary glanced at his rusty sword. ‘What kind of… trouble are you in…er…’
‘Lyrissa. Just call me Lyrissa’.
The name sang from her lips.
‘Lyrissa. Tell us more about what you need’.
She nodded and a dark shadow cast a pall over her delicate features, her eyes reflecting sorrow. ‘My fiancé, Burrick, was murdered recently’. She paused a moment, but did not come close to crying. She had obviously gotten over her tears, and was looking for something else. ‘I want you gentlemen to investigate his death, and find out who did it, and why’.