Monday, January 15, 2018

Forgotten Realms Series Book 2 "Singularity" excerpt

Chapter 1:

It would be day break soon. With it would come the day full of chores. As was Kira’s life on the farm. She rolled over slid out of bed and shivered. It was a cold fall morning. She dressed quickly, pulling her sweater over her long black hair. It got caught. She cursed and then put her hand over her mouth. If her father woke up before the coffee was ready it would make for a long day.

Kira corrected herself and quickly made her bed. Then she made her way out into the kitchen. She made a quick fire in the stove and set the kettle on to boil as she fetched more wood. It took her slender muscled body only a few minutes to restock the wood pile. She threw another piece of wood on the fire and then made her way out to the hen house to fetch the eggs for breakfast. She nearly cussed again as the rooster pecked at her boots. She thought for sure that she would trip over the stupid bird.

With the eggs secure, Kira gave the rooster a taste of her boot to his tail and then scampered back inside. She put the egg basket on the counter and fetched the bacon out of the ice chest. She stoked the fire and put the cast iron frying pan on to warm up. She fried up the bacon, then the eggs, and set the table. She ate quickly, cleaned up her dishes, and left her father’s plate next to the coffee.

How she managed to slip out without waking him Kira didn’t stop to question. She had too much work to do to dawdle. She made her way out to the barn and hitched up the horse to the cart and took them out into the orchard. Half of the apples looked ready for harvest. For a normal girl it would take weeks to collect from a grove as large as the one belonging to her father.

Kira smiled because she knew that she wasn’t normal. This grove flourished because she nurtured it, breathed life into every branch, every bud, and tended to it out of love. She was magic and she gave it all to the earth because she knew somehow it returned it to her. She walked through the rows of trees with her hands raised above her head. The apples flowed to her, gathering in a cloud above her head. She merrily sang a tune as she continued on her way. No, it wouldn’t take long at all. She smiled to herself as the cart filled up with each pass.

Sephiroth woke up to the wonderful smell of coffee. When he emerged from his room he found that his daughter had left him breakfast. He smiled at her thoughtful nature as he sat down to eat. It wouldn’t be another week and she would be sixteen. He sighed at the thought and cleaned up after himself. If he knew her, she would have the cart full and ready for town before he even got himself on the horse to meet her.

Sephiroth slowly made his way over to the door. Every battle scar he had gotten over the years ached when it got this cold. He muttered curses and slipped into his jacket. He reached into the basket and pulled out his silver handled cane. He gave it a twist and then a tug, sliding it apart to check the condition of the sword inside. Satisfied that it was alright, he put it back together and headed for the barn.

The horse was harnessed, saddled, and tethered to the post. All Sephiroth had to do was hoist himself onto the monsters back. He stuffed his cane in his belt loop, grabbed the saddle horn, and pulled himself up with a groan. He then gave a gentle kick and headed for the orchard at a slow walk.

By the time Sephiroth found the cart it was half loaded with apples. The sun had finally managed to appear in the sky as well. He dismounted and walked the horse toward the cart.

“Kira,” He called out.

“Over here papa.” She replied as she bounced out from the tree line.

Sephiroth huffed as he saw the apples floating behind her. “What did I tell you about that Kira?”

“Oh, like anyone is out here to see it papa.” Kira laughed as the apples floated into the cart.

“That’s beside the point.” He scolded.

“I’m sorry papa. I won’t use my magic in view again.” She pouted.

“Thank you,” He replied. “Are you ready to take these to the market?” He then asked.

“Yes papa.” She replied softly and climbed into the cart.

Sephiroth pulled himself back up in the saddle as Kira turned the cart around. They made their way up the orchard path and onto the main road leading north to Avalon. They made good time and had the horses tethered in front of the castle as the sun neared the high point of the day.

“You go on ahead and take the queen her basket. I’ll be there in a minute.” Sephiroth instructed as he eased off his horse.

“Ok papa.” Kira replied and bounced away.

Kira made her way up the hall and into the throne room. She carried the overflowing basket in front of her. The room was empty, all for the oversized glass prism in the center of it. She curiously made her way over to it and ran her hand across the smooth surface. Her finger snagged on something and she let out a hiss as blood welled up to the surface. She wiped her finger dry on her pants and turned away as she heard footsteps approach.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Sephira hissed. “Stay away from there.”

“I’m sorry,” Kira said as she slowly backed away. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“You had better be sorry. You have no idea what could be unleashed.” Sephira snapped.

“Kira,” Sephiroth boomed.

“Papa,” She replied startled.

“Take the produce down to the market.” He replied as he took the basket from her hands.

“Yes papa.” She bowed quickly and scampered away while she had the opportunity.

Sephiroth looked at his wife Sephira and was filled with sadness. Once upon a time she had been a beautiful woman, full of life, and spirited to a fault. Now she was broken, fragile, and fading away. Being the keeper of the great betrayer Domascus had taken her love of life away, and with it, all hope of a future with her in it.

“You shouldn’t be so hard on the girl.” He scolded as he put his arms around her.

“You’re right my love. Will you apologize for me?” She asked with a heavy sigh.

“I will,” He kissed her forehead. “Are you ready to tell her the truth?” He asked.

“She looks just like you.” She replied avoiding his question.

“She’s growing up, going to be sixteen soon.” He replied.

“Has it been that long?” She asked genuinely surprised.

“Yes, it really has. Just like every year, here are your apples.” He smiled and handed her the basket.

“Your daughter picked them herself this year. She has developed quite the collection of magical abilities.” Sephiroth replied.

“So it would seem.” She smiled sadly. “I love you. Go be with your daughter.” She kissed him gently.

“I love you.” He replied and kissed her back tenderly.

“Go on, out with you.” She smiled and nudged him toward the door.

Sephiroth watched Sephira for a moment longer and then walked away. She didn’t want him or Kira anywhere near the castle. She had been waiting sixteen years for this day. She knew it was finally upon her the moment she laid eyes on her daughter. Today was the day she was going to die.

Sephira walked over to the glass prison that held Domascus and looked it over with a defeated sigh. As she circled it for the second time, still nothing happened. She began to wonder if perhaps she could have been wrong. Then all at once it shattered. She didn’t even have time to shield her face. In that instant, he was upon her piercing her flesh with a broken shard. He eased her to the floor with a wicked grin.

“I told you I would find a way.” Domascus said.

Sephira’s eyes closed as her blood spilled out onto the floor. As she breathed her last breath Domascus squealed with glee and vanished into nothing.

Chapter 2:

By the time Sephiroth found his daughter Kira at the market she had managed to have the entire cart sold. She was cleaning up and ready to go as he stopped before her.

“Well, look at that.” He smiled.

“Hello papa.” She smiled. “How did it go? Was the queen really mad?” She asked.

“She was fine. Wanted me to tell you she was sorry for snapping at you like that.” He replied.

“Oh, ok. How’d she get so mean?” She asked curiously.

“It’s a long story, for another time perhaps. Let’s go home.” He chuckled.

“Alright papa.” She replied and climbed up into the cart.

Sephiroth and Kira rode home in silence. He appreciated her for that. She never doubted or questioned him, just accepted his words and easily let it drift away. He knew the hell he would be in for when he was finally able to tell her the truth. If he had his way he would have already told her. But for several years now, his wife had begged him to remain silent. So, he did as she requested. His thoughts were soon interrupted by distant shouts.

“Whoa,” He spoke and turned his horse around to look.

Two guards in full armor raced toward them shouting, “Wait my king! The queen has fallen.”

Sephiroth’s heart leapt into his throat, “Drop the cart now Kira.”

“Papa?” She asked confused as the men stopped before them.

“Drop the cart and get on the horse. Just leave it.” He ordered.

She jumped from the cart to do as he spoke while he addressed the guards.

“What happened?” Sephiroth barked.

“Domascus escaped, he murdered the queen and then disappeared.” The guard replied.

“Shit,” He replied surprising Kira. She had never heard him cuss aloud before.

“Kira, ride hard and ride fast. Do not stop until we are back at the castle.” Sephiroth spoke calmly.

Kira nodded her response as he added, “It’s time to tell you everything.”

Kira watched Sephiroth spur his horse so hard she feared that he would be thrown to the ground. Instead, it responded and raced forward. She nudged hers and rode as fast as she could to keep up. The guards stayed behind them doing their jobs to protect the two of them the best they could on horseback. It didn’t take them long and they were back at the castle. He flung himself out of the saddle and raced up the steps. She couldn’t remember seeing him move that fast ever as she struggled to keep up.

“Oh my beloved.” He wept as he knelt beside her body on the broken glass.

“King Sephiroth,” A man said with a bow. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Clear the room let me and my daughter mourn.” He replied as Kira watched on.

“Yes my king.” The man bowed and closed everyone out of the room.

“She was my mother.” Kira replied shocked.

“We’ll discuss that later. There’s something you need to do first.”

Kira bit her lip in anger and replied, “Yes papa.”

“You’re the queen now my daughter. As the pagan queen before you it is your duty to return your mother to the earth.” He replied.

“I understand.” She said.

“You must do so publically using your power.” He added.

“But papa, you said never to do that!” She exclaimed.

“It doesn’t matter now.” He replied looking her in the eyes. “Everything is going to change and it’s going to be fast. I’m so sorry. We tried to protect you from this.” He wept.

She couldn’t even be angry anymore. The sadness that poured from her father made her entire body ache along with his. As she raised her hands the blood faded away from Sephira’s body. The castle began to shake then all at once the windows shattered bringing with it a massive wind that chilled Sephiroth to the bone. There was so much power within her that he vowed then and there to have her taught to never depend on it.

“It is ready.” Kira said ready to collapse.

“Thank you,” Sephiroth replied as he lifted Sephira’s body in his arms.

As Sephiroth carried her out into the court yard he began to understand what Kira had meant. The commotion that the power had caused at the castle had gathered the crowd. They stared in awe at the pyre made from the vines of the earth itself. Sephiroth placed Sephira’s body on top of the platform and took a step back.

“The queen is dead, long live the queen.” He spoke sadly.

“Long live the queen.” The crowd muttered through the shock.

As Kira stepped forward the blue sky faded away. She raised her arms and clapped her hands. The thunder replied and spit forth the lightening. It struck the pyre sending forth the sparks that quickly exploded into flames. The wind gusts fueled it and all too quickly Sephira was consumed turning to ash and scattered by the breeze. The blue sky returned and she was face to face with the people of Avalon. They bowed accepting her as their queen. The last thing she remembered was looking at her father, and then, she fainted.

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