The Genemage Archives: Book One, The Eternal King-Chapter Four

 

You can read Chapters one through three at the links below.

Legends Of The Genemage: The Eternal Sovereign, Chapter One

Legends Of The Genemage: The Eternal King, Chapter Two

Legends Of The Genemage: The Eternal King, Chapter Three

     Prince Vikryn stood in the entranceway to Woodhole prison and watched his houndsmen as they performed their duties.  Each houndsmen slowly walked around the dungeon, smelling the air, touching every surface they could, and focusing their minds on their surroundings.  At first, Vikryn had been convinced that the houndsmen were leading him around in circles, but it was soon evident that the circles were not the work of the houndsmen at all.

       Using their heightened senses combined with their mental abilities, the houndsmen had easily picked up the trail of the escaped prisoner.  The trail had first led the prince and his hunters to a small, quiet hillside village of farmers.   After searching the village, the houndsmen sniffed out the prisoner’s trail, which led to a small hut at the edge of the village.  The hut had been abandoned days before the arrival of the hunting party, left empty and barren by its previous occupants.

     To the dismay and disbelief of the prince, the houndsmen then followed the trail back to Woodhole prison.  At first, the prince thought the houndsmen were playing some type of joke on the prince, a jest they would surely pay dearly for.  When they arrived at the prison, it was immediately obvious that there was no jest when the prince learned that another prisoner had been freed.

   “What have you learned from your investigation,” Vikryn asked as the four houndsmen approached him.

     “This break-in was different than the first,” Kretch said, his eyes glazed over as though he were focusing on something beyond his prince.  “There was no stealth or caution this time.  Instead, they barged right in and took the guards by surprise.  The prisoner was joined by a dwarf and an ogre.  It was the ogre that did the most damage, fighting the guards as the prisoner and the dwarf rushed to the cell and freed the prisoner.  The attack was quick and brutal, and they managed to escape before reinforcements could arrive.”

     “I see,” Vikryn said, glancing around the room at the bloodstains and broken bodies littering the floor.  And what can you tell me of this second prisoner?”

     “A woman named Leighta Anhoam,” Kaishu continued.  “A researcher and educator imprisoned for attempting to spread the forbidden knowledge to the lesser classes.”

      “An educator,” the prince repeated, shaking his head as his mind put the puzzle pieces together.  “This is even worse than we had realized.”

     “What does this mean my liege,” Kretch asked.  “Why is this woman so important?”

     “Because she teaches,” Vikryn replied, letting out an exasperated sigh.  “They plan to use her to teach them the magic of science so that they can try to fight my father again.  It is now more important than ever that we find and kill this madman before he can rebuild any kind of army.”

     “Leave that to us,” Kretch said turning to face the other houndsmen.  “We will find them.”

     The four houndsmen gathered in a circle opposite each other, closed their eyes, and grew quiet as they focused their minds on finding the trail of the prisoners.  Vikryn watched impatiently as the houndsmen silently focused their minds, reaching out with their mental abilities for any evidence they could discover.

     “I found something,” Mooris whispered after a time, his voice cutting through the silence.

     “Disseminate,” Kretch ordered, turning his head slightly to face Mooris.  A moment later, each of the houndsmen began to slowly nod their head, seeming to all come to a simultaneous realization.

     “Yes,” Kaishu said.  “I see it too.  I am getting another vision link from that.”

     “Yes, yes,” Kretch said, clenching his hands into fists.  “The picture is forming.”

     “What do you see,” the prince asked, his impatience growing.

     “A town,” Kretch replied, lifting his head while keeping his eyes closed.  “To the north.  Several days journey.  Our prey is headed there.”

     “A town,” the prince repeated with a sigh.

“Yes,” Kretch replied, nodding slowly.  A town that is both bright, yet dirty at the same time.  A town full of noise and debauchery.  A town-”

“Iniquity,” Vikryn exclaimed, interrupting Kretch.  “The town you are describing is called Iniquity.”

“You know this town,” Daan asked.

“Oh yes,” the prince replied with a smirk.  “I know Iniquity very well.  You could say it is practically my second home.  I have had many, many hours in the town of Iniquity.  Hours filled with very interesting experiences.”  Vikryn paused for a moment, staring off into the distance as memories filled his brain.  The prince then put his hands together in a clap of excitement, and let out a laugh dripping with mischief.  “It has been a bit since I have visited Iniquity.  I get to hunt my prey and have a little fun while I am at it.  I like it.”

“Sire,” Kretch asked in confusion.

“Pack up and get ready to move out,” Vikryn ordered.  “We are heading north for a bit of hunting and debauchery.”

“As you command sire,” Kretch said, bowing to his prince and then turning to face the other houndsmen.  “Houndsmen, prepare to move out.”

On Blackened Wings: Part One

cooltext1595959836Written by Derrick Nadeau

Part One

You Rise

The sound of wings beating on the wind ripped Ezkel’s mind from a deep meditation.  Opening his weary eyes, Ezkel tried to focus his vision on the sun soaked sky above him.  Excitement and relief filled Ezkel’s heart as he realized that it was finally time for him to go home.  Though Ezkel had lost track of how long he had actually been abandoned on the cliffs above his home, it had begun to seem like his entire life had been spent in exile.  Ezkel closed his eyes once more, took in a deep breath of the cool air, and slowly rose to his feet.  Ezkel moved clumsily on weak legs towards the landing area, keeping his eyes skyward as the sound of the wings grew closer.  Ezkel allowed himself a smile of true joy as the source of the sounds came into view.  As Ezkel approached the landing area, he waved at the three winged men flying down to meet him.

“Hello father,” Ezkel said as he walked up to the three winged men.

“Ezkel, my son,” one of the men replied, reaching out to embrace Ezkel.  “It is good to see you alive and well.”

“Thank you father,” Ezkel replied, circling his arms around his father’s muscular form.  As he embraced his father, Ezkel felt his skin brush up against his father’s wings, and he felt a pang of sadness.  “It has been a challenge, but I am proud to say that I have survived the ritual.”

“Unbind him,” Ezkel’s father said to the two other men at his side.  “You did well my son.  I am proud you have survived the ritual as well.  Now, it is time for you to go home and prepare for the hunt.”

“I am very much looking forward to that,” Ezkel beamed.

Ezkel let out a sigh of relief as the two men accompanying his father walked behind him and began to unbind his wings.  Ezkel winced as he stretched his wings, now stiff and weakened from the ritual binding.  Though his wings now felt broken and useless, his feathers almost completely fallen off, Ezkel accepted his pain as part of the ritual.  When a boy reaches the age of fifteen, he is then sent to the cliffs above his home, wings bound tightly so that they cannot be used, and forced to live on their own for one month.  Once the ritual is complete, the boy is allowed to return home as a man.  Now considered a man by his tribe, Ezkel would be allowed to join the annual hunt of the Devlin with the rest of the men in his tribe.

“Let’s go home then,” Ezkel’s father announced.

The two men then wrapped a harness around Ezkel’s waist, stood on either side of him, and prepared to launch back into the sky.  With his wings in their weakened state, Ezkel had no choice but to allow himself to be carried home by the two men.  Though it was the most degrading part of the ritual, being carried home after a month of wing binding was considered an important lesson in humility.  Ezkel placed his hands on the straps of the harness and held tightly as the two men began flapping their wings, slowly at first then increasing speed until they began to lift off.  Ezkel began to grow excited as he felt the ground fall away from his feet.  It had been too long since Ezkel felt the joy of soaring through the sky, and the wind on his face brought back pleasant memories of mock dogfights in the sky with his friends as a child.  Ezkel looked over at his father, flying by his side, and smiled brightly.  After a month of pain and loneliness, Ezkel allowed himself to revel in the bliss of gliding through the air.

Ezkel watched the ground below him as he soared past, not realizing how homesick he was until he actually saw his village growing larger as he approached.  Ezkel’s father smiled at his son before suddenly diving down to the village below.  The two men began to slowly lower Ezkel down to the ground below, circling the village as they lowered down.  As the men approached the village center, Ezkel was pleased to see it filled with his fellow villagers cheering for his return.  Once he reached the ground, Ezkel began to remove his harness as his mother appeared from the crowd and ran up to embrace her son.

“Hello Mother,” Ezkel whispered as he wrapped his arms tightly around his mother.

“My son is back,” Ezkel’s mother cried.  “I missed you so much.”

“I missed you too,” Ezkel whispered, choking back tears.

“Our son has done us proud Ada,” Ezkel’s father said as he approached his son and wife.

“Yes, Waryn,” Ada said, not letting go of her son.  “I am a very proud mother.”

“I can see that,” Waryn said with a chuckle.  “But I’m afraid you must let him go now.  It is time for him to finish the ritual.  If you are ready of course.”

“Yes father,” Ezkel replied calmly.  “I am ready.”

“Then come along,” Waryn commanded.  “Meet us at the lake.”

Though he craved a good night of rest, Ezkel knew that his ordeal was not over yet.  With an anguished sigh, Ezkel watched as his parents flew off without him.  The next part of the ritual would consist of Ezkel, his wings still unusable, making the journey by foot out of his village, through the forest of the ancients, until reaching the great lake of renewal deep in the forest.  The journey, normally just over an hour, would take a bit longer for Ezkel in his tired and weakened state, but Ezkel took a deep breath and pushed himself forward.

As night began to fall, Ezkel arrived at the lake of renewal to find his fellow villagers, including his parents, waiting for him.  Ezkel felt pride overtake his state of exhaustion, giving him the strength to finish his journey.  Ezkel walked to his parent’s side, and stood there gazing into the water of the lake of renewal.  Ezkel’s mind began to drift off when another man, the minister of the Lake of Renewal stood before him.

“Young Ezkel,” the minister said, projecting loudly enough for all to hear.  “I have watched you grow up from a young child into the man who stands before me now.  You have completed the binding ritual, and are now standing before the Lake of Renewal, ready to complete your transformation.  Now, your destiny is in your own hands young one.  You must walk into the lake and bathe in its rejuvinating waters.  Are you prepared?”

“I am prepared Minister,” Ezkel replied.

“Then take the journey,” the minister replied.

Ezkel straightened himself, gave both his parents a reassuring glance, then began slowly shuffling towards the lake.  Ezkel continued walking until he was waist deep in the cool water, then turned to look back at his parents.  Ezkel’s father smiled back at his son, then gave him a nod of approval.  Ezkel returned his father’s nod, then allowed himself to fall backwards into the lake.  As Ezkel felt the waters engulf his entire body, he felt tranquil and relaxed, but only for a moment.  Suddenly, pain overtook every nerve in Ezkel’s body, and he began to thrash around in the water, unable to lift himself out of the lake.  Panic set into Ezkel’s mind as felt water fill his mouth, and he felt that he would undoubtedly drown in the lake.  Ezkel then used skills of meditation he had learned during his time alone on the cliffs to calm his mind and push the pain out of his body.  Once calmed, Ezkel found his footing on the bottom of the lake, and raised himself out of the water.  Ezkel was amazed to find himself suddenly full of vitality as he rose from the lake, letting out a shout of exhilaration as he shook off the lake water.

At that moment, Ezkel realized that his wings felt fully functional once again, and he spread his wings out fully with pride.  Ezkel heard a gasp of shock, and he looked to the shore to see his parents staring back at him with their mouths hanging open.  Ezkel walked back to the shore, flapping his now rejuvenated wings to air them out.

“Son,” Ezkel’s father said as he ran up to Ezkel.  “Your wings.”

“I know father,” Ezkel said, his smile beaming.  “I feel like I could fly around the world now!”

“No son,” Ezkel’s father said.  “Your wings are black.”

Ezkel stopped suddenly, shocked by the words of his father.  Ezkel’s race, the Seraph, traditionally had white wings, even after bathing in the Lake of Renewal.  Once every few decades, Seraph would rise from the waters with black feathered wings instead of white.  It was believed by the Seraph that black wings were a gift bestowed upon the greatest of hunters by the gods themselves.  To rise from the waters with black wings was a sign that you were truly blessed by the gods as the supreme hunter.

“My son,” Ezkel’s father announced to the crowd of villagers, “has been blessed by the gods.  Ezkel has been given the wings of the supreme hunter.  As is our way, we shall bow to the decision of the gods.  My son will lead the hunt.”

Ezkel felt his heart swell with pride as the crowd of villagers cheered and began chanting his name.  Ezkel spread his wings as far as he could for the entire village to see as he smiled at his proud father.

“Let us celebrate,” Ezkel’s father shouted over the crowds cheers.  “In two days we hunt!”

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