Authors: Michael Duncan
Tags: #Christian fiction
Book of Aleth
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Revelation: Book of Aleth Part 2
COPYRIGHT 2012 by Michael Duncan
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
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Contact Information: [email protected]
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a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC
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Harbourlight Books sail and mast logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC
First Harbourlight Edition, 2012
Paperback Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-184-7
Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-183-0
Published in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to my faithful friends, my companions on the quest through life to know the truth--and to all who with courage and conviction have never given up the adventure to walk by faith and not by sight. Let us hold fast our hope until the day of Christ.
Your fellow adventurer,
Shadows: Book of Aleth Part One
(Also Available Now)
is a fantasy tale, full of wilderness places and strange creatures, fighting against and fighting for things, and even legendary races of people that you can either believe in, or not, depending on how you were raised. All wrapped up in the age old struggle between good and evil. If you like this kind of story, you will not be disappointed.
~Author Lily Maytree
Michael Duncan writes an attention grabbing novel full of twists and turns that carries the reader to a world filled with mystery and intrigue. From the opening chapter detailing personal sacrifice on the battlefield, to the closing page of determination against overwhelming odds, readers will be unable to put this book down. The story has just the right number of twists and turns to keep the reader wanting to turn the page and find out what happens next. ~ Author Dr. Terry W. Dorsett
Vivid descriptions pull you deep into the amazing world Rev. Duncan weaves on the pages. Sword fights, dwarves, elves, daemons, and horros. A gripping tale of good and evil where you never know who the good guys are and when you think you know what's happening, another twist takes you by surprise. My only complaint is having to wait for book two. ~ Author Clare Revell
In the Hall of Therion
Cold air permeated the room. Oil-filled, bronze cauldrons, one in each corner of the hall, belched thick smoke as flames danced upon the surface. Twelve large, marble pillars supported a vaulted ceiling over twenty-feet high, and the smoke from the cauldrons escaped through a central vent in the roof. Despite the fires, the room remained entombed in cold.
Torches protruded from iron sconces mounted on the pillars and cast flickering shadows upon the walls. Massive double doors provided the only entrance to the chamber and a golden throne, set in the shadows of the opposite wall, reflected the light of the torches. Upon the throne sat a man, cloaked in the darkness of the chamber. He sat back, rested his hands on the arm of the throne, and gazed down upon the deladrin that knelt before him.
“What do you mean you’ve lost it?” Pale and gaunt, the enthroned man spoke with such power that the air seemed to shudder. The torchlight quivered at the deep voice that resonated through the hall.
The deladrin knelt with its large, leathery wings folded behind its back, head bowed before the throne. Razor sharp claws gripped a black sword that boasted a wide, serrated blade. “Master—” The deladrin’s voice rolled from its throat like thunder. “—it was stolen by a soldier.” Its breath rushed forth like steam as it spoke.
Therion stood from the throne, his steel eyes flashed with anger. “What soldier?”
“Master, I don’t know.” The deladrin trembled. “I found the soldier in the northern forest and killed him, but I did not find the book.”
Therion stepped closer. “You lie!”
“No, master, the book is lost.”
“What else do you know? You and your horde will pay if you try to deceive me.” Therion raised his hand and with a sound like a violent wind, the creature was thrown across the room and crashed against a burning cauldron. Oil splashed the wall and flames danced along the stone.
The deladrin quivered as it regained its feet. It towered over Therion but cowered under the emperor’s wrath. “Master,” the creature continued with slow, deliberate words. “I gave up the search when a battalion of dwarves entered the forest.” The deladrin’s eyes burned red as he looked down upon the emperor. “I left before they saw me.”
“Dwarves!” Therion shouted and moved toward the massive creature. The emperor raised his hand, and the double doors swung open. “If the dwarves have the book,” he said, “I will have your hide hanging like a tapestry.”
“Master, what is your command?”
“We have one chance,” Therion spoke to himself. “If the dwarves possess the book, then we must destroy them before they have the opportunity to use it.” Therion paced with his hands behind his back and slowly moved toward the door. “My command to you is simple…die.” Without looking at the creature, Therion lifted his head and the deladrin stiffened. He listened as the creature gasped and choked for air. When he turned and released the creature from his power, it fell to the floor in a heap. With patient steps, he walked through the door. “Dwarves,” he said, “I hate dwarves.”
Snow covered the ground as a young man pressed through the forest. The sweet aroma of pine hung in the air but he found no enjoyment in the scent. His mind raced with fever and delirium as he stumbled through the woods. The noonday sun shed its warming influence upon the earth but proved powerless to thaw winter’s chill. Exhausted and half-starved, the man limped through the brush and fell out of the trees upon a road.
Several hundred paces up the road stood a wooden gate, closed. He had no notion of his whereabouts, but forced his legs to work as he tripped along the path. Lips cracked and eyes dim with exhaustion, the man tried to focus on one goal—the gate.
A thin mist rose from the ground as the sunlight shimmered like a thousand diamonds off the snow. His bones ached and his muscles trembled in the cold, but he stumbled along until he reached his destination. Exhausted, he raised his hand and pounded on the barrier until he heard someone approach. The gate creaked as it opened outward. An older man stepped out, his sword drawn.
The young man fell to his knees and shook violently with the cold as he struggled to speak. Then his strength gave out and he collapsed upon the snow, eyes wide with fever. He tried to speak, raised his hand toward the man who opened the gate, but his words stuck in his parched throat.
“Get in here, lad!” The gatekeeper wrapped his cloak around the young man, hoisted him to his feet and pulled him into a small shack beside the gate. The man collapsed on a narrow cot.
He looked up and reached with his hand. “There’s no time,” he whispered then passed out.
Therion sat upon his throne at the head of a massive, rectangular, oak table placed in the center of the hall. Around the table, twelve others sat in anxious observation as they waited for the emperor to speak. Cauldrons burned in the corners and smoke drifted up through a hole in the ceiling. Nervous silence filled the hall.
“The book of our ancient enemy may be in the hands of the dwarves.” Therion broke the silence, and an audible gasp echoed in the hall from each man at the table.
Then, they began to talk at once, each man giving voice to his fear.
The governor of the eastern plains, a dark-skinned man with a perpetual scowl, shook his head in despair. “This is the end!”
“Don’t be a fool,” said another man who wore a deep blue cloak and hood. “We still have our power.”
“This is Lord Therion’s doing!” a rotund, short man offered.
The clamorous complaints rose to a cacophonic noise when one man, who had remained silent, stood. The man was tall, dressed all in black. His angular nose and jaw accentuated his narrow face and bushy brows grew over eyes as black as obsidian. He spoke, and his voice echoed in deep, resonant tones.
“Governors,” he said, “I was in North Village at the time of the thief’s demise. I will tell you plainly, the governor of the North Provence did not survive his betrayal of our most excellent Therion. He thought to gain the accursed book for himself and turn its power against our emperor. I caution you, do not think to make the same mistake.”
The man in the blue cloak stood. “Do you think to intimidate us? You, spawn of darkness, have no authority in this chamber. You speak of things that took place months ago and do you believe that it has any bearing on our trouble now?”
“Authority?” he questioned. “Authority, ha! You have dwelt too long on the peaceful shores of the ocean.” The tall, shrouded man continued. “There is no other authority in this chamber than Lord Therion.”
“Indeed?” the man in the blue cloak said. “In my capital you might find that I do have authority and power.”
“You verbose fool. You are not in your capital.” The man cloaked in black took his seat. His eyes narrowed as he fixed his gaze at the other.
As the murmurs died, Therion stood and walked around the table, hands folded behind his back. “You dominate in your own region because you are allowed to do so.” His voice was cold and calculated. “Remember, I am emperor. If any of you try to gain the book for yourself, with the foolish notion to overthrow my rule, you will suffer the same fate as the governor of the Northern Provence.”
Therion continued to walk with slow, deliberate steps around the table. “If the dwarves do have the book, they will try to use it to bring down my dominion.” He paused, thoughtful. “The last reported location of this book was in the north. Those accursed dwarves have hidden too well and too long in the mountains beyond our borders, and we must find the means to rout them from their holes.”
“My lord, Emperor,” asked the governor from the east, “how are we to find the dwarves? Our ancient adversary provided for them too well.”
The emperor stopped. He brought his hands to his face in thoughtful musing, “I do have one man who might prove useful. He is the captain of the Third Order. I sent him to North Village and have yet to receive word concerning his mission.” Then Therion looked toward the emissary in black. “Did you give him my orders?”
“As you required my lord,” the emissary said.
Therion smiled a thin, patient smile. “Our enemy has blinded our kind from finding those accursed dwarves. But I suspect that men can breach the hidden domain of those cave-diggers.” He rubbed his hands together as if expecting a treasure. “If anyone can find the dwarves, it is that captain.”
As Therion talked, two servants, pale and gaunt, entered. They carried trays piled high with roasted beef and venison. With their eyes fixed downward, they set the trays upon the table. The governors remained silent as the nervous workers performed their task then quickly left.
“Governors,” Therion said, “you may eat.”
The gathered assembly ripped and pulled at the piles of food like a pack of voracious hounds, devouring the meal as if they had failed to eat for a month. Therion, now seated again on his throne, watched; his thin, bony fingers folded in front of his face.
After the governors had eaten, servants entered again and distributed several large chalices filled with a red, almost luminescent liquid.
“What’s this?” asked the portly governor as he gazed upon the cup before him.