Category Archives: Blogovella

Into the Firelands – [part 6] Escape From the Light’s Voice II

blogovellaThe spiders nest that was Midrun’s docks expanded out in front of the foursome. Sailors began to awaken as the murderous howls of the lights voice echoed across the otherwise quiet night. Lanterns came alive, and the countless ships and boats lit up like the winter’s end festival.

Boots pounded on the rickety timber piers as they dashed. Melisande had taken the lead and vaulted the railing. She landed hard on the Elvebat’s deck and spun to see the captain emerge, weary eyed, from his chambers. “What be goin’ on?” He snapped, still half asleep.

Lorena had already taken to cutting the mooring lines that tethered the ship to midrun’s port. Shamus, the bard, shimmied up the main mast and set about dropping sail. Taver stood anxiously and stared at the mob of torches that ran toward the boat.

We must leave at once,” Melisande said calmly.

The captain frowned but after a quick look at the mob descending on them, gave no objection. He pulled is cloak on as he hurried to the bell which would rouse the crew.

Crewmen stumbled bleary eyed as they moved to the deck. With the lines cut, the ship began to list in the current.

Shamus and Lorena leapt onto the railings as the Light’s Voice cultists tried to board. A flurry of blade swipes kept them at bay, but a stray hand locked onto Lorena’s leg. She gave a yelp, a high pitched squeal she’d later be embarrassed about. Flamestouch leapt forward, catching the green eyed woman by the waist and pulling her from the clutches of the enemy.

More hands came at Shamus, but he stepped from side to side and dodged each group. As the cultists gave up on snaring their target, they leapt onto the railing. Clawing their way onto the deck.

Melisande propped her partner up for only a moment before Lorena shrugged her off, and the two women got to their feet.

Taver scurried away from a frenzied cultist as Shamus let on of his blades fly. The dagger soared through the sky, spinning at a blinding speed before it embedded itself in the assailant’s back.

Flamestouch parried a blow, deflected the attacker into Lorena’s waiting blade. On by one, the team of four picked off cultists. Slaying four, and throwing the remaining two overboard.

Screams and thrashing in the water reverberated through the otherwise pleasant, moonlit night. The two women and Shamus breathed heavily, and wiped sweat from their foreheads. Their sighs of relief were not echoed by the crew who had formed a disgruntled circle around the party.

—-

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Into the Firelands – [Part 5] Escape from the Light’s Voice

escape from lights voice

Taver’s mind raced as he shuddered in Lorena’s grasp. ‘Come on, man. It’s time to go,’ she snapped, tugged his cloak then released him.

Driven more by the ale in their bodies than the desire to save the inn; many of the men had taken to brawling with the cultists. Even though the cultists white linen bandages wrapped around their biceps, who was who in the fray was still difficult to discern. Cries of the melee was perforated by smashing of timber, as tables were flipped and mobs fells to the ground in tangled, brawling messes.

The poor inn-keeper, Taver thought. A strange thing to think at a time like this. He side stepped a pair of men flailing past him as a hand locked arm locked his neck. He gagged, then cried out, as he did, the hand went limp. A second hand, Melisande’s, took hold of him. Flamestouch flicked blood from her sword as she dragged the young historian across the ground. The pair moved across the floor, while Lorena hackied a path through the sprawl of brawlers.

Shamus stood atop the stage, he kicked with his boots and stabbed with his blades. As the cultists tried to rush him, he dispatched them with the ease and skill of a seasoned cut-throat.

‘You!’ Melisande yelled, pulling on the bar keep’s shirt. The man slapped her hand away, then realised she wasn’t one of the light’s voice. He was clearing out the float. An indent in the bar with ten tubes, purpose made to contain the different coins that were used as currency. ‘Back door?’ Flamestouch barked over the noise of the bar room fight.

‘Your not –’

‘Back door?!’ Shamus’ voice growled from behind. He had moved through the crowd in seconds.

‘Out through the kitchen.’ The bar keep pointed behind him and quickly returned to emptying the coins into brown hessian sacks.

They hopped the bar, sprinted to the door at its far end. The mercenary men Taver had hired were gone. They had only seen one during Shamus’ show but, at present, none could be found.

The inn’s back-of-house was a maze of corridors and locked doors. When they finally found the the kitchen, it was empty – save for a cat that licked at its paw, seemingly oblivious to the raucous. Taver stumbled and knocked pots and pans to the stone floor as they dashed its length. Fifteen strides at least; the historian hadn’t been in many kitchens but he guessed this one was big.

As they ran through the door at the far end, yells echoed from where they had come. Five men, their arms strapped with white linen, stormed into the kitchen.

‘Go!’ Melisande snapped.

Lorena nodded. Taver didn’t move, so Lorena moved him. Slamming the door behind them, the young historian looked back as there was a dull thud and the gap beneath the door went bright orange, then dark again. As he was dragged through a heavy pinewood door and out onto the street. He caught a glimpse of Melisande emerging from the kitchen. Her eyes met his, the kitchen was smoking, its walls and floor charred black – No sign of the five men. Taver saw her pause, her eyes narrow – then he was out on the street.

‘This way,’ Lorena yelled, giving Taver a quick yank. Shamus nodded.

Oil-street lamps, encased in hazy brown glass illuminated the cobbled streets as their boots tapped and they ran. They did not slow or wait, but Flamestouch caught them up without a problem. The tavern was ablaze, the Light’s Voice who couldn’t fit into the tavern had hurled torches through the upper windows. Showing little regard for their comrades.

Melisande, Lorena and Taver didn’t get far before the albino bard, his guitar slung over his back, alerted the group to pursuers. A group of ten or so had spotted him leaving and gave chase. Despite dashing in and out of cobbled alleys and dim, muddy lane-ways; there was no losing them. The only way the group of four was getting out, was to get aboard the Elvebat; If it was still there.

———

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Into the Firelands – [Part 4] Warrior Bard

warriorbardWhen night fell, the Lion’s Howl was packed from wall to wall. The tables pushed to the side, the crowd stood and stared at a two foot stage between crackling hearths. A solitary chair perched at its centre.

Lorena had her arm rested on Melisande’s shoulder, a cup of ale in her spare hand. It was a familiar scene to Flamestouch, though she initially didn’t enjoy being used as an arm rest by her tall companion, she had said nothing, and slowly grew accustomed.

Melisande raised her mug, but lowered it again as the crowd erupted. Cheers, claps and whistles filled the room. Shamus walked onto the stage, drew his guitar from its case and sat on the stool. Flamestouch could only see the top of his head, then the albino bard’s hand rose in the air and the crowd went silent. ‘Thank you all for coming,’ he growled. His voice thick and heavy, which hardly matched his slender features.

‘I met a man, some may know; Sven Svanderson? –’ There came scattered claps and cheers. Melisande’s hand drifted to the bucket hilt of her scimitar. Sven was the tale teller who had who had given her the blade. ‘ –He told me a story,’ Shamus went on, ‘About a young woman, taken by the lights voice.‘ The crowd booed, and a few even spat on the tavern floor at the mention of The Light’s Voice, a witch hunting cult. ‘Taken by the light’s voice when she was only sixteen.’

Melisande’s eyes shot wide. Her face turned as hard as stone. She knew this story. It was her own.

‘This song’s called; a story for a sword,’ Shamus finished. He spoke more than sang. With each strum his scuffed, acoustic guitar churned deeply. Tuned low, it heaved with each flick of the strings.

Although the song lasted barely five minutes. It covered the lot. From when Melisande was abducted from a tavern then taken to the light’s voice’s castle; tortured for months, then finally saved by the Yellow Wizard.

hough many in the inn cried, Flamestouch did not. Her knuckles white; had she been a little stronger she would have crushed the metal stein she held.

Shamus knew who she was, he had recognised the blade. Not a soul looked at her, because not another soul knew. Earlier that night, the bard had deftly changed the subject once realising Flamestouch was keeping her identity a secret. Did this make him a liability, or a friend? Either way, Melisande and her crew would be gone at sun up. Not a moment a later.

Shamus continued to play, the crowd cheered, and during the fourth song a circle of dancers formed. He had near perfect control of the crowd. Bringing them up, and as the excitement threatened the structural stability of the tavern, he slowed them back down. A true master of performance.

Toward the end of his set, Melisande’s attention was taken by a raucous at the door. She shrugged Lorena off, whom barely noticed. The green eyed woman continued to tap her feet along with the music. At the door, the bouncers, ten men, the shortest well over six feet, had drawn cudgels.

Flamestouch weaved through the boisterous audience and looked into the entrance hall. A group of men, and some women, were milling at the entrance. There looked to be more than eighty. Flamestouch’s brow furrowed as she stepped forward.

‘Take your hand off me,’ Melisande said as one of the bouncers grabbed her arm and pulled her back into the tavern.

‘I meant no offense, mi’lady. There’s just a bit o’ trouble going on out the front. Just enjoy the show, we’ll sort it out.’

‘What kind of trouble?’ Melisande looked around the burly man, through the entrance hall and out onto the street. A man wearing a white robe, turned grey from dirt, was holding a torch, wailing at another bouncer. The gang behind the robed man shook their fists at the guards.

‘Light’s voice,’ The bouncer said, almost nonchalantly. ‘They been chasing Shamus for sometime, we anticipated this, we can handle it.’

‘Why?’

‘Buggered if I know. Maybe because he looks a bit strange, maybe he’s a witch. None-many care, he plays a good tune, and that be enough for most. We have a good load o’ staff on, and the town watch will be down to shoe em –’ The crash of shattering glass stopped the bouncer mid-speech. ‘What in Luminos’ name was that?’

Shamus’ tune fizzled out and the crowd screamed in terror. More crashes. More shattering glass. The entire audience turned to look at the door as the bouncers pressed against a torrent of frenzied cultists as they tried to push their way into the Tavern.

Melisande swung around. The crowd had taken to squatting and yelling. Over the screams she saw Lorena, sword out, holding Taver (trying squat) by the scruff of his cloak.

Cool as sheet ice, Shamus put his guitar into its case, clamped it shut and slung it onto his back. Seemingly from his sleeves, he produced two daggers, spun them in the palm of his hands then looked to Melisande. ‘I am coming with you,’ he growled from across the room.

Flamestouch grit her teeth as her sword left its sheath. She spun to face the mob as the wailing cultists surged into the tavern.

——-

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Into the Firelands – [Part 3] Albino Blues

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Melisande Flamestouch eyed Taver sidelong. The wiry historian with his scruffy head of curly brown hair, appeared even more engulfed in his thoughts than usual. He had not touched his ale and poked at his roast-pork, moved it around the plate rather than to his mouth.

She grimaced and turned to Lorena. She whispered, ‘What is wrong with that boy?’

With eyes closed, Melisande’s companion merely shrugged.

‘By now, I would have thought he would be harping on about the architecture or some such nonsense.’

‘Pay it no heed, Melisande. By the five, who cares?’ Lorena said, perhaps a bit louder than she should have. A couple of the mercenary men turned to look at Lorena, but met by her sharp gaze they quickly returned to their dinner.

Flamestouch sipped her ale and after a quick look at the half finished dinner, sat her knife and fork together and pushed the plate away. Food enough, she thought. She had a lot on her plate, excuse the pun.

Lorena and her scuffle with the Elvebat’s crew had caused more than a stir. The idea that the crew would be mutinous crossed her mind, but the young pyromancer had had more experience aboard ships than most of the said crew. She took a long slug the wiped froth from her mouth. If the need should arise, she could take command of the ship. Perhaps she should do just that? Why did she need any of these god awful men? The Elvebat wasn’t big, with a bit of savy Lorena and herself could pilot the skiff up stream themselves.

Fleeaurin was a different matter, though. Flamestouch had caught word of the journey long before presenting herself as a would be participant. Taver had knowledge that far surpassed hers, and if she was to attain what she sought, the lanky historian could prove invaluable.

What did she seek? Well, Melisande wasn’t entirely sure. Watched by the fire-god Unos; Flamestouch bore the ability to manipulate heat and flame. A wonderful gift for a sell-sword. But also a curse, certain things could trigger a violent reaction, and while she had a great deal of control of her powers, something was missing…

Melisande felt somehow incomplete. Like there was a piece missing, as if she had the capacity to do a great deal more than she, at present, could.

Practice, she believed would, in time, unlock most of these abilities but she couldn’t help but wonder if there was a fast-track. An easier route.

Even amongst the uneducated, if one had heard of Fleeaurin, one would know it as City of Flame. Flamestouch knew well the fire elves abilities were not unlike her own, and if there was a way of unlocking her full potential, surely, it would be in the rubble of the fallen city. Either way, she had to check –

‘Melisande,’ Taver said, his voice soft. Not soft in gentle way. Fear, that verged on pathetic.

‘Yes, Taver?’

‘May I speak with you, please.’

Melisande nodded. Her chair ground on the timber floor as she stood up, pushing it back with her legs. After a short stretch, she stifled a yawn.

‘Let me buy you a drink,’ he said once they found themselves alone and on their way to the bar. Flamestouch nodded. Taver swallowed audibly, and again as he waited on the tavern keeper. Whatever he wanted to talk about was making him very nervous. He scratched at the bar with a copper coin he held in his hand, and Melisande felt her eyes narrow.

‘You had best be out with whatever you plan on saying, Taver. I do not have a great deal of time for this sort of intrigue,’ Melisande said. In truth she believed the awkward scholar was taking the opportunity to court her, but as he warily unloaded his request that they remain in Mid Run; her eyes turned hot.

‘No,’ Flamestouch said. She turned to the bar as a metal stein, filled with ale was placed in front of her. ‘Absolutely not – ‘

‘But – ‘

‘But nothing, if anything, I am staying for your own good. Without me to keep them in check, only the five know what those roughians would do to a precious young lad like yourself.’

‘But – ‘

‘But what, Taver?’ She snapped, her voice raised slightly. Impatience didn’t quite cover it at that point. She watched the man’s face, his thoughts evident by a furrowed brow and crooked frown. With soft hands he took a weak sip of his ale.

‘I… I just want this to go smoothly.’

‘And smoothly it will go. You are heading into the north lands, Taver, and you don’t even own a sword. What the bloody hell will you do when the crew turns on the six of you? What then? I shall tell you what. They will kill the captain and then –“

Melisande’s face scrunched as her thoughts were interrupted by the silence that had consumed the tavern. She pushed Taver aside with the inside of her hand.

A very peculiar man had drawn the crowds attention.

Tall and lean, a bit over six feet. His skin way grey and dirty, like day-old-ash. His eyes grey. Strange eyes, Melisande thought. Eyes that matched his skin. His hair was trimmed just above his shoulders, and bright white. Over a grey shirt he wore a black wool, coat and trousers. Scuffed black boots and held a case shaped like a guitar. A guitar case? Flamestouch thought. Most bards didn’t carry a case for their instruments, most bards couldn’t afford it.

The whole room watched the man as he sauntered to the bar and took a place three strides from Melisande and Taver. Flamestouch looked around as people whispered excitedly to each other.

‘Who is that?’ Taver asked, leaning down to whisper in Melisande’s ear.

‘I have no idea.’

‘Shamus Berreliman,’ A voice growled. A husky voice, almost rasping.

Melisande and Taver looked to the albino man, sharply. His grey eyes moved from his beverage to the historian, and then to Flamestouch.

They held with Melisande for more than a moment, drifting down to the sword hung low on her hip. A long, thin scimitar with an ornate bucket-guard. The guard featured a curly pattern, like vines wrapping the grip, forged from steel, inlaid with gold an silver. Shamus smiled. ‘Strange to see a wizard with a boffin,’ Shamus went on before his lips pursed.

Melisande’s mind raced, but she remained steel faced.

‘Wizard?’ Taver said, then looked around stupidly.

Shamus’ brow furrowed. ‘Taver, of house Ferlin. I presume,’ he said.

Taver took an uneasy step back, placing Melisande between him and the albino bard.

‘I read Yedena’s Folly,‘ Shamus went on, ‘An interesting hypothesis. I had never considered that stronger relations with the orc territories could have averted the fall of the high elves…’

Melisande watched as Taver’s eyes light up. He took a step forward but as he opened his mouth, Flamestouch raised her hand to his chest. Froze him in place.

‘Who are you, Shamus?’ Melisande said, her eyes hard.

‘I am a man of the world, my lady, and that is –’

‘How do you know Taver?’

‘A picture of him is printed in the front of the Yedena’s Folly, the book. I was in Jamisford less than a week ago and they were all a-fluster about a group sailing north.’

Melisande stared at him for a moment but Shamus just returned to his drink. ‘I should prepare for the show,’ he said simply. Collected his guitar case, along with the stein and was lead back of house by the bar keeper.

‘Why did you do that?’ Taver said. He almost sounded angry. Almost.

‘Fool boy, your not in the city any more. Your not safely stowed away in the studies. This is the real world. People take. Information is to be given, only to those who require it. If the people of Jamisford know we’re heading to the Firelands so will every bloody town along the Woge. You and your colleagues scream money, and considering the trip, you don’t have much. Things will becomes very expensive for us if every port from here to the Under pass know there’s a rich lord leading the venture. Bite your tongue, and make sure those wet-eared children you call bodyguards do as well.’ Melisande shook her head. ‘We must be away before sun up. Send one of your men to inform the crew, if the damn boat’s still there.’

Taver said nothing, and just as well. Melisande Flamestouch’s mind reeled, how did Shamus known she possessed magic, who was he… She wanted to scream.

———–

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Into the Firelands – [Part 2] Taver

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The few crewman who acknowledged Taver, did so with indifferent grunts. Shielding his eyes from the sun, he regretted letting his companions go ashore without him. It had been two weeks since the incident between the women and the crew, and hushed voices spoke of mutiny. Travelling into the north would always put a crew on edge, add the two fiery women amidst his party; the historian had found himself outnumbered three to one by his disgruntled ship mates.

He wiped his nose, then cleansed his hand on his cloak. Made from thick wool, it itched at his neck. Stepping from the gang plank and onto the pier, he grimaced as he took a last look at the Elvebat. Twenty meters from bow to stern, it had once been an Eldoradi Carvel. Resting below a long bowsprit, a wood-carved dragon made for the figurehead. It’s duel masts, the front a little shorter than the back, sat with sails tucked away. As far as river going vessels went, it was a large ship. But necessary. Once they entered the Undermoutain Pass, they would not be able to restock for months.

Mid Run’s port was a shamble of half rotted piers. Sprawled like a spiders web across the river-fork. A thoroughfare for trade ships who ran the river Woge. Men barked at each-other, flinging parcels from jetty to boat, without sparing a minute to acknowledge the wiry historian as he nimbly walked between them.

Taver had decided to do some sight seeing. Sniffling, he stepped from pier to solid ground and paused a moment to take in the bustling street. The town was once populated by High Elves, some one thousand years ago, and the place was of great interest to the man. He’d seen paintings, and read about Mid Run, but nothing could beat visiting himself.

Stone worked buildings, with timber frames and straw thatched, pointed roofs, sat beside complex marble work. The high elves had been skilled craftsmen. Floral and vine carvings decorated the many pagodas and houses that lined the streets. Organic curves, and a broad arcs were common in elven architecture. Marble archways rested on thick pylons, and their houses had been open to the elements. But since man had moved in, they had closed them off and added timber walls to block out the weather. They had replaced expansive open living areas with a sprawl of small rooms.

Taver ummed and ahhhed at the different structures, and attracted curious glances as he dusted a marble column bracing the front of the town hall. They would not be stocked for the onward journey until midday, the following day, so there was no need to rush. After asking a passing woman with mug handle ears, and very Leonirian brown eyes and hair, he confirmed what he had suspected. That there were no scholars in the area.

Taver sighed, they did not have much use for professors this far north. People outside of the Mes Leonir were very different, their primary focus was on how to get from one day to the next. Chores to ensure they had food on the table and water in their cups took precedence. The idea of searching the the annals of time was pointless to them.

After visiting the town hall, and being declined entry into three (once) elven homes, and refused entry into the blacksmith’s forge; Taver finally gave up on his mission and made for the inn.

Etheros’ second sun, Duos, hung in the air, but Unos (the first) was long gone. It was the end of the long summer. After a year of sweltering days, things would be returning to normal. In less than a month the second sun would be gone entirely, and the days would turn short and cold. Not that it really mattered, the Fire Lands would be plenty hot enough.

***

Chatter of the afternoon crowd mulled in the room as Taver quietly closed the door behind him. Most of the twenty or so tables were full, and the aroma of roasted meat made the air thick but pleasant.

Four of Taver’s twelve strong group were sitting on high stools at the bar, cups of ale or mead in front of them. He swallowed audibly when he saw one of them was Melisande Flamestouch. Her hair danced on her shoulders as she tipped her mug back, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand then chuckled as she playfully elbowed one of the mercenaries.

Taver had thought perhaps the girls should stay in Mid Run, and he would offer them full payments to do so… But the idea of telling them, worried the man –

‘Hello, Taver – ‘ The historian jumped. He stifled a gasp with his hand, then sighed as he turned to see Lorena. In a face streaked with mistrust, those striking green eyes bore into him. The woman stood with three of the other mercenary men at her back.

‘Hello,’ Taver said, as he bowed.

Lorena gave a wry smile, and her face filled with warmth. ‘We’ve already ordered dinner, but if you hurry there shouldn’t be too much delay. We are waiting on a table, those fellows will be leaving soon.’ She gestured to a table of fifteen, including four young children. Their plates were empty and most sat rested back, their bellies full, as they listened to a thin faced man tell a tale, inaudible at their distance.

‘Very well, that sounds good.’ He had to think of a way to get the two women alone. Surely they would not pass up three months payment for just two weeks of sailing? Sailing they had little part in. It was a win win –

‘Well come on then,’ Lorena snapped. Her grin betrayed her tone, but it was no-less terrifying. Taver jolted from his thoughts and hurried across the bar.

———–

For more fiction by A.V. Cortez, and more about the world of Etheros, click here.

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Cortez

Into the Firelands – The Beginning [part 1]

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… Their mastery of fire was considered superfluous. Through worship of Unos, and invention, the Leiriad, better known as Fire Elves, could control every aspect of Flame.’

Their capital Fleeraurin (Fleeran) was said to be perilous for even the most wary army or adventurer. A misstep could see billowing arcs, burning tornados, or lava flows, bearing down on…”

Taver blinked repeatedly then rubbed his eyes. He had read the paragraph five times already but fatigue addled his brain, and barely a scrap of information had been retained. His eyes moved to the candle at his left. Encased in a thin glass, tear drop shaped, cover, it barely shuddered in spite of the ship’s gentle sway. His little cabin, below deck of the Elvebat, was by no means what he was accustomed to. But more than enough when considering the alternative means of travel, north.

Congestion had settled in Taver’s chest, and he wiped his nose repeatedly. After three weeks sailing up the River Woge, he learnt he was not meant for travel. No, he was better suited to the quiet study halls of Mes Leonir’s universities. But, his research had reached an impasse. After reading every text concerning the Leiriad, at least twice, he had concluded that nobody had any solid information about them. The accounts of the extinct race were as solid as a wine-fuelled rumour.

With old-money at his back, he knew the only way forward was into the unknown. To, himself, go to Fleeran and find out exactly what, if anything, was there. Near a thousand leagues to the north of Mes Leonir, the once proud elven city was located in the firelands. Believe to be empty, the volcanic region’s only known denizens were the Dreadhammer Orcs… and even their inhabitance was somewhat of a mystery.

There came a loud rap on the door. Taver knuckled his lower back as he stood up from the broad lectern. Wiping his nose, he opened the pine-wood door. The historian’s eyes dropped to meet Melisande Flamestouch’s; a young sell-sword, barely five and a half feet tall. Melisande had appeared only two days before they were to set sail, eager to head north.

A pretty young thing, her bright brown eyes caught reflections when others did not, and her hair, although brown and tied back with a fine blue scarf that covered her forehead, would slyly hint at purple. A trait Taver had never seen in a person. “We approach Midrun, and will dock before sun up. Will you sleep aboard, or shall we wake you?” Melisande’s said, her voice smooth and almost a whisper. She carried an air of maturity which conflicted with her apparent age. A sort threatening sternness that made the young man uncomfortable.

“I think… I think, I shall stay aboard,” Taver said as he stifled a yawn. Though he was not sure of propriety in the Fords, from which Melisande hailed, he aired on the side of caution. Yawning in another’s presence, whatever the hour, was very bad form.

“Indeed,” Melisande said with a smile so quick Taver wondered if he had seen it all. “There are six inns in Midrun. We shall be quartered at The Lion’s Howl. The crew will be aboard, but the rest of the expedition will be resting there. Join us when you awake.”

“Thank you, yes I will,” Taver half stuttered.

The brown eyed girl gave a quick bow before turning on her heals. She walked down the corridor with a strong heel to toe stride. In spite of her size, the young woman had so much confidence the historian had to wonder how much was bravado. Taver, not one for adventures, had worried about taking women on his venture.

Melisande had join them along with one other woman, Lorena, a tall girl whom the young historian suspected had more than a drop of Wood Elf blood running in her veins. It was her startling green eyes that rose the suspicion. Bright like emeralds in the midday sun. Incredibly rare in a human, let alone a Leonirian.

The only women amongst a crew of some forty men. Twenty eight sailors and twelve of Taver’s own people. Aside from his colleagues from the university, all were rough, travel worn sorts. Their oaths could make the toughest Mes Leonir cutthroat blush. But, they had been only three days into the journey when the women asserted themselves…

Throwing two men over board and slitting a third’s throat, Lorena made sure that no one aboard so much as considered taking to their quarters after hours. The green eyed woman acted, for lack of a better term, as Melisande’s bodyguard. Her pleasant emeralds would turn fiery should she catch a crewman looking to long.

Taver blew a long sigh as the woman’s boots’ disappeared at the top of the stairs. He shut the door turning the handle as he eased it closed so the latch would not click. Closing doors quietly was considered etiquette when using one of the study rooms within a university library.

He dropped into the straw mattress and stretched out. What would they find in Fleeran? Anything? Probably a lot, if it were true nobody had been within its walls in a millennia. Fear harassed his tired mind mind because in a world where gung-ho adventurers were many, it was just as likely a lot had visited, and none returned.

———–

For more fiction by A.V. Cortez, and more about the world of Etheros, click here.

For information about the Blogevella poject, click here.

If you enjoyed this piece, and would like to read more, please like, share or follow! There’s a lot more to come.

Thanks a lot for reading.

Cortez

Blogovella

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Hello there!

I’m currently editing of my debut novel, but I don’t want to stop creating! So, to help keep me writing I’ve decided to write and release a novella length story on this’ere blog.

Inspired by apocalypse now, I was overwhelmed by the powerful desire to write an up-river journey. But, don’t worry, it won’t be anything like the Vietnam epic, or Heart of Darkness…. I dare not dream :P.

Each week I will launch a short piece (hoping to keep each under 1000 words), of the novella right here. While the perspective may change from section to section, it will follow a linear progression. So each instalment, regardless of who it’s written about, will follow on from the last. So, hopefully, you’ll never find yourself tearing your hair out, because you got yourself wrapped up in one story, only to find out the following week is a totally different plot line.

So what’s gonna happen?

Well it will start with Taver, a Leonirian historian. He’s taking a band of adventurers north into the fire lands in the hopes of entering the ruined city of the (now extinct) Fire Elves. The story itself will take place in Etheros. My fantasy world, with two suns and three moons. The star of many of my short stories, Melisande Flamestouch, and her whore-come-mercenary friend; Lorena, will be joined by a whole host of exciting new characters.

Expect sex, drugs, orcs, volcanos, riddles, traps, sword fights, skirmishes (great word, say it out loud Skirmish), mutineers and a whole lot more.

…Oh and PICTURES!!@! Along with being a mediocre writer, I’m also a mediocre artists. So while I’m sharpening my writing skills, I’ll also be sharpening pencils. Each week, I’ll be throwing up a unique piece of art to reflect a part of the story.

I’m really excited about this, so hopefully you are too! If you think you could use a weekly, ten minute distraction; follow along and re-blog this post!

Thanks a lot for reading! Take it safe.

Allen V Cortez