Pay It Forward · Pictures · Quotes · Uncategorized · Writing

Writer Wednesday: Tephy Brezal

I’ve been scrolling through my current Works in Progress, to see what I might be able to share with you. Tephy Brezal is a fantasy trilogy that came as a total surprise to me. You can read the origin story of how it came about here, but today I’m going to share a little extract.

You can read an extract of book 1: Ascension of an Eamwulf here. This post will share an extract of book 2: Betrayal of a Prince. The two books are connected, but the extracts shown will NOT give away any spoilers.

~

~

Book 2: Betrayal of a Prince

The kingdom of Jakra believe their King still suffers from the sickness that killed his parents, the King and Queen. They believe that his brother survived nearly ten years before succumbing to the family curse. And they believe that he appointed Lord Yulis, a foreign dignitary, to be his regent.

The kingdom of Jakra have been lied to.

Only Lùcas Catan, the last surviving heir of the Catan bloodline, knows the truth. Only he knows how ruthless Lord Yulis can truly be. And that his only hope of freedom lies with the legendary Eamwulf. Protectors of his family line going back to the first, Deacon. If only Lùcas knew how to call on them.

Too young to know the secrets of the kingdom when he was imprisoned and his family murderer, Lùcas waits. Hoping and dreaming of freedom. And of an Eamwulf who cannot possibly be real, but who gives Lùcas a reprieve from his cell, even if only in his mind.

Can the little magic he has make the Eamwulf real? Or will Lùcas have to save himself?

~

Extract

Chapter 1

the Castle of Catan prison, Jakra

Year 2500 AM (after the mages)

.

What are…Eamwulf?”

Lùcas blinked his eyes open at the sound of a strange voice. He must have been dreaming, because it was impossible. There were no other prisoners in the cells of the castle, nor were the guards expected until dusk set.

Lifting his head from the meagre blankets he lay on, he looked towards the small window in his cell and found that daylight still shone outside. Proof that the guards would not make their appearance for another few hours, yet.

Hello?”

There it was. That voice again. Surprised and confused by its existence, Lùcas slid his blankets to the floor and crawled towards the one foot at the front of his cell that was nothing but bars on both sides. The rest was a solid wall, meant to inspire separation of prisoners and a lack of communication, but due to the excessive heat this high up in the Jakra mountains, the bars were a precaution against prisoners overheating.

The Eamwulf?” he replied, wondering why the stranger had dredged up memories of that legend.

A light chuckle sounded from the other side of the wall as Lùcas pressed himself to the bars and waited. After a moment or two, two long legs walked across the only space of the cell he could see and crouched by the foot of bars to peek at him.

He blinked in surprise at the startling blue eyes and shaggy hair of the boy who stared back; perhaps no older than twenty, dark features, but with the light skin of the Sanelrun region, far to the North and across the sea.

I’m Acheron,” the boy said, smiling at him so happily that it felt like a dream.

Reluctantly, Lùcas tried to make himself more presentable, brushing down his dirty clothes and offering a nod of greeting. “I am Lùcas,” he replied, refusing to go further. It wouldn’t matter to this boy what his surname was, nor would it do him any good. “Why do you ask about the Eamwulf?” he wondered, too startled by the thought of this boy knowing the legend to think of what else to say.

He was well dressed, in a ratty suit that seemed to have been well worn and was a few sizes too big for his slight frame. So slight that Lùcas thought, perhaps, it might have been more from long periods of starvation than a true representation of his figure. His nails appeared bitten to the quick; a horrible thought that made Lùcas glance at his own well tended nails.

With a shrug, the boy slid onto his butt and leaned his elbows on his knees to stare at him. “I’m a thief. It’s what I do. So, when I snuck into the castle, I went straight for the King and Queen’s chambers. I figured it would have the best stuff,” he admitted, with the common speak of the lower, freer villages outside the Kingdom’s reach.

A thief. Lùcas was intrigued; he had never met a thief before. Not a real one. Still, he glanced through the bars of the door to his cell to make sure there was no risk of anyone arriving. If there was a new prisoner, it was likely that the guard schedules would be changed and, worst of all,Yulis wouldn’t be far.

The man would want to meet his new prisoner himself, to see what he could get from him, before deciding whether Lùcas would be required or not.

He cursed the day he’d ever been given the gifts he had, by the Gods. But, at the same time, he knew that he may be dead without them. He had worth. Value. At least to a sadist like Yulis.

Where did you come from?”Lùcas wondered, realising that it didn’t make sense for a Sanelrun man to be locked up in a prison in Jakra. The kingdoms were so far apart that those who wished to cross between them either took months of travel on horseback, carriages, and on foot, or they chose the few months travel in an open sea voyage.

The last Lùcas remembered, the kingdoms weren’t even speaking to each other, as the most recent King had been brutally murdered in his castle, and a usurper sat upon the throne.

Such similar circumstances, for kingdoms that detested each other, Lùcas may think it was a competition between the two. Which ruler could be the cruellest. Luckily for him, he would never know.

It took a yawn and a glance of suspicion from Acheron before he shrugged and replied; “I stowed away on a ship, came all the way to Jakra, and this is what it got me.” As though the voyage or the Region was to blame for his predicament.

Lùcas rolled his eyes and turned away to lean his back against the wall, allowing Acheron to look through the bars if he wished, but having no interest in sharing further discourse with him. He was a thief, a criminal, and he had earned his place in his cell. Unlike Lùcas, who had been unduly tricked, threatened and imprisoned all because he was an obstacle to Yulis. The man who had taken everything from him.

Leaning his head back against the wall, he tried to see his cell from the eyes of a stranger. The space was large, large enough for perhaps a dozen men to sit comfortably, but mostly devoid of life. His blankets, a small nest in the far corner, was his place of comfort and warmth; there was a small stack of books nearby, with a candle that the guards would light for him when they came on shift. The only other possession he had was above him, a mural he had painted onto the wall in chalks Yulis had given him, after a particularly long, awful visit.

He didn’t want to look at it now, and he had placed it there because his was the last cell on this block. No one could peek through from the other side to see his mural. No one at the cell door could make it out. Only he could see it. It was for Lùcas’ eyes only.

He often fell asleep staring at it, his eyes raking over the rolling hills of his homeland, basking in the light blue sky, the tall green trees, trying to conjure up a reminder of what grass and flowers smelled like. The view of the castle and the dotted people that he could name, if anyone cared to ask him to. The single man on a horse, riding away from the castle his only dream for himself; an escape, a way out of Jakra, with nothing behind him but pain and nothing ahead but life and freedom.

Everything about the mural was painful. The reminder that he no longer knew what rain smelled like, what the taste of an apple was like, what the flow of water sounded like.

Water. He missed the land. The soil, the dirt beneath his fingers, the water flowing through the streams and into the ocean.

Yulis claimed it was a curse of his family to crave the water. A curse dating all the way back to the first who had claimed this land, a thousand years ago. His descendant, Xavier, had been the first King to rule these lands, the first to bring peace back to the land, to unite the scattered villages under the rule of one man and replenish the earth that had been scorched by the mages.

Some said that Xavier was a God, a mage, and a man who had travelled the vast world to heal the wrongs left behind by the mages when they abandoned the human world. Yulis claimed they were just myths, lies spread to make the humans believe that Xavier had a divine right to rule. To prevent anyone from challenging his kingdom.

If so, it hadn’t worked.

Lùcas knew only too well the long history of violence and war that trickled down his family tree. When Xavier chose a child to take over his reign – chosen, it was said, because he was a lover of men and had made such a thing welcome in his kingdom – that man had married a woman from a neighbouring Region. A woman who coveted coins and gems, so much so that his ancestor waged countless wars to satisfy her greet.

A greet that seemed to be inherent in their children, too. Their daughter became bloodthirsty and commanded an army of young men who wasted away on the battlefield. She saw thousands of innocent men to their deaths without a moment of regret.

For generations, the women of the line bred greed, hate, and intolerant within their kingdom, never living past the age of thirty, never surviving long as a ruler. If they weren’t killed due to their own vices, they were slaughtered by an attack that wiped out the current ruler and their eldest child.

It was one such attack that let the third son to a daughter become the first King since Xavier’s successor. He, at least, had been peaceful. Caring. He had guided his people back to posterity, worked the lands with his own hands, and became a ruler to be cherished and revered throughout the Region. Other rulers spoke of him as a shining example to be followed by all, as someone who was befitting the legacy that King Xavier had left behind.

Lùcas supposed it was no wonder, then, that someone had come to his kingdom seeking that power. Seeking to take his wealth, his kingdom, and his life. As the others in their family knew, the only way to get what you wanted was to take it. By force. By the blade. By murder, if needs be.

When Yulis came to their kingdom, he had accomplished all of that. He took what he wanted, when he wanted it. He used force. He used the blade. He used murder, such a reliable tool.

And he had left Lùcas without a single thing in the world to cherish or love. Without hope. Without anything to live for.

Hey.”

Lùcas closed his eyes and tightened his jaw to the sound of that voice. He wanted to escape for a few minutes, to pretend that he wasn’t stuck with an over-talkative cell mate that respected nothing of value. “What?” he replied shortly, hoping that he would take the hint and go to sleep, while he had the chance.

Once night fell, Yulis would be unforgiving, and Lùcas would have no choice but to be the weapon wielded against him.

So, why are you here?” Acheron asked, a hint of excitement in his voice, as though he enjoyed sharing secret, or that he thought this was any other prison, like the ones that existed in other Regions.

Lùcas had to press his lips together tightly to ignore the question. Acheron would never believe him, anyway.

I told you I was a thief,” his cell mate continued chattily, “I got caught in the Queen’s old chambers. I didn’t expect them to still have all of her stuff there. I mean, it’s been how long since she died?”

Murdered. Lùcas ground his teeth and thought the word again, refusing to forget it. She was murdered, he thought to himself, just like everyone else in her line had been, either by their own stupidity and greed, or because they were so well loved as to prove an obstacle. He stuffed the thought away and remained quiet, but the shuffling on the other side of the wall peaked his curiosity, and he forced himself to glance through the bars.

The thief didn’t seem to care what Lùcas wanted. “I came across a book,” he said, reaching into the jacket of the tattered suit he wore to tear back a piece of the cloth. From within, he pulled a leatherbound book from within, the cover a rich golden fabric, smooth and soft, like the fur of an animal.

Lùcas gasped and reached his hand through the bars for it, instinctively.

The boy, Acheron, pulled it away with a frown. “I stole it. For me,” he warned, as if that meant anything anymore. He was in a prison cell and he was lucky it hadn’t been taken from him already.

Righteous indignation rose like a swirling cyclone in his stomach and he grabbed the cell bars, pressed his face close and spoke words that could have them both killed, “I am Lùcas Catan, rightful ruler of this Kingdom and that book was my mothers. You will give it back or I will tear it from your cold, dead fingers.”

~

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.