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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Prologue to fantasy series FREE

Today, this last day of 2013, I give you for FREE, the very first part of my fantasy series - The Prologue. It's a little abstract but then that's how I wanted it to be.

This is another new feature I'm trying out on this blog, throwing in a FREE chapter every now and then.

So let us begin:-

~ Prologue ~

The boy ran fast and hard. His throat stinging from ice cold air stabbing at the nerves in his teeth, choking his aching lungs. Blood pumping fast. Heart beating so loud in his ears, he feared it would simply burst and stop him dead in his tracks. 
He quickly glanced sideways to look down from the cliff top at the wet sands below. Sure enough, his image ran and panted, mirroring his own plight.
‘You cheated,’ he shouted accusingly, turning his back on his image. ‘You just can’t play fair. You promised you would take the longer path because I had a hill to climb. Why can’t you do as you say you will?’
He dropped heavily onto the soft grassy embankment and lay on the cool, lush greenery. It chilled his hot skin. His golden curly locks stuck to his neck with sticky sweat.
His image lay down next to him, still panting.
‘I didn’t cheat,’ his image paused breathlessly between words, ‘I was first.’ Stretching up an arm and waving a pointed finger to the sky, he yelled, ‘I am triumphant!’ 
He jumped up ready to defend his place, ‘you can’t dispute that,’ he threatened the other questioningly.
His image did not reply. It was not worth an argument. Instead he rubbed at the cramp in his leg muscles, stretching his limbs to shake away the sharp squeezing pain.

* * *
‘Morte, gather your fruits, you’re going to the Trade Stones with your father,’ his mother called.
Morte looked at his brother’s stern frown, and half smiled at the lanky lad, shrugging his shoulders in a surprised gesture.
‘Is it my fault I have grown enough fruit to fill a basket and yours hasn’t even managed to break its buds yet?’ He teased his younger brother.
‘I don’t know why they allow you to go, your fruits are sour and foul,’ Saurlton replied indignantly, shaking his golden locks unknowingly.
‘That’s not true, here bite the plump side of this juicy soft peach.’ Morte offered a tempting piece of fruit that appeared unnaturally large.
‘No, there’s little point. It won’t be any better than the one I tasted earlier. You will give our parents a bad reputation from your tainted products.’
‘Come Saurlton, I offer you a challenge, taste my wares and if you don’t like this one, I’ll confess to having a sour harvest and throw away my whole batch.’
‘I don’t believe you.’ He pushed away the long slender fingers that yielded the fruit. Let me choose my own piece, you have probably managed to pick the only sweet piece.’
‘Be my guest, I certainly have plenty to choose from.’
Saurlton sifted through the basket of peaches, his strong slender fingers separating the crop carefully. He did not wish to bruise any of his brother’s goods but he was determined to save his parent’s reputation at the Trading Market. He found his piece and bit into it unwillingly, squeezing his eyes together in anticipation of the sour tart flavour he had experienced on his last attempt at tasting his brother’s strange fruits. But, alas, no. The sweet juices wet his tongue and trickled down his chin in a sticky rivulet, it was truly delicious.
‘How have you done that Morte?’ He asked suspiciously but truly surprised. ‘Your products never taste as they should.’
‘Hah little brother, I have won you again!’
‘Stop calling me little brother. I am not smaller than you and I followed you in birth before our mother had even breathed ten sighs. We are equal in suncircles.’ The handsome young man looked annoyed at the equally fetching tall youth that he confronted.
‘That was why I was given two names, Morte-Bielz and you only one, little brother, because they had to distinguish who arrived first.’
‘My stomach aches with your bitter words and your bitter fruit.’ 
‘You love my fruit as you love me, little brother.’
‘How have you managed it Morte?’ Saurlton remained curious of his brother’s trickery. ‘The only way you could have so much fruit is if you’ve used your magic, the magic that you’ve been told to conserve. Yet still I can’t understand how your bitter fruits can taste so sweet?’
‘Mind power, little brother.’ Morte-Bielz tapped his fingertip to his head, indicating his cleverness. ‘I confess all. I have used magic to make you believe my fruit is sweet, but you and I know that really it is foul.’
‘You can’t do that to our parents Morte,’ Saurlton longed to talk his brother out of this treacherous deed. ‘When the traders taste the fruit in your absence they’ll know that you’ve tricked them. Please don’t be foolish Morte, don’t trade this fruit until it ripens in its proper time.’
‘Our parents need all the help they can get Saurlton.’ 
The two boys bent in to their task of loading their father’s wares on to the readied wagon. ‘I care for our parents equally as much as you do. What I do is good and you should use your magic skills to help them too.’
‘We are taught that our magic is virtuous. It is not worthy to then go on and poison the traders. You would do better using your mind skills for healing and taking away the pain that the sick must suffer.’
‘The traders are fools anyway and why would I wish to help the sick, they can’t pay me.’
‘Sooner, or later, you will be discovered and then our parents will be shamed.’
They stopped their task and faced one another with burning eyes, immersed in their profound discussion, their loyalty to one another dwindling.
‘I love our mother and father as truly as you do. That’s why I do these things. Our family deserves to be respected, we are the strongest in magic, and it’s time our people recognised this.’
‘Magic is not meant to be used as a tool for power. It ruined our ancestors and you now wish to repeat that history.’
‘You don’t understand Saurlton. I would never dishonour our family. I wish only to increase our respect and let our parents rest easy in their old age.’
‘You can’t be everywhere Morte. You can’t persuade those you cannot see, when they are out of your sight they will taste the true flavour of your harvest.’
‘But you are so wrong. My powers have grown. I have already experimented with Father.’ 
Eager to convince his brother, Morte divulged his secret. 
‘Father didn’t want to take me to the Traders Stones because of the riot I caused last time. I coaxed him into choosing me, and I was at the other side of a closed door, listening to the conversation. I swayed his mind and he doesn’t suspect a thing.’
‘Morte you can’t use your magic on our parents. What are you thinking?’ Saurlton was frantic with worry, waving his arms around in frustration at his brother’s betrayal of his inherited skills.
Morte clutched at his brother’s shoulders with an iron grip as he revealed his disposition. 
‘I have found my special skill Saurlton and it is for me to decide how to use it. Soon you will discover your own skill and I won’t interfere. So leave me to my destiny and I will leave you to yours.’

LOOK OUT for the next FREE chapter from Book 1, Guardian Dragons, Chapter 1, Preparations

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