Welcome back to All Things Geek. For many years now, I have been working on a novel with a person who used to be a friend of mine. We got a lot done on the layout, but the actual writing has been slow on it. Now that friendships have been broken these stories have to be changed. Luckily however, his part is very easy to cut out of what I foresaw as our story becoming. Now a few years back it was now, I heard the Glee version of Kelly Clarksons “Dark Side” and there is something about that version that just really got my mental juices flowing. I kept thinking of a small story that could take place shortly after the events of the first book. Without spoiling things Book 1 introduces the lands of Draxis and the people within specifically the Drachenstalker bloodline.
This book follows twin boys from that bloodline the sons of a god as they grow into heroes, one more reluctantly than the other. This book sees them through a certain war bringing together the Legendary Phoenix Clans controlled by Talon and his brother Larbac and it sees them ally with the Riders of the Storm and Harbingers of the Apocalypse group which the formation of which will be described in Anthology form in book 2. The end sees the wedding of the century get interrupted by the last Phoenix Clan who is lead by a trio of sisters of the race of Shadows who want to invade and take over the world. These sisters though would rather sue for peace and as such set up political weddings to Talon, Storm Thalra, and Larbac. This is where book one will leave off. Book 3 is a telling of the youth of the Shadow sisters and why they wish peace instead of conquest. Like the second book this will be told in Anthology form as well. Book 4 will expand on the wars between the races of Shadow and Draxians. Eventually, we will have several more anthology books some fantasy, some urban fantasy and some sci fi that all tie into this same timeline and will eventually lead into the main story for book 5 (though many of the modern anthologies will not be needed to be read to understand book 5)
So if that hasn’t confused you too badly, this story takes place shortly after where Books 1, 2 and 3 all finally converge and before book 4! I hope you enjoy! If you do enjoy please think about supporting us by giving us at tip at http://ko-fi.com/Thalra. Every tip during the month of August and September will be donated to Victory 4 Vincent. This is a charity that case to my attention that is for a 4 month old from where I grew up in Philly, he has tumors on his brain and they are raising money for his treatments and bills that arise from this. No child should have to suffer cancer and so until the end of September all money raised by Cancel Cancer (http://draxisweb.com/CancelCancer) and All Things Geek will be going to this charity to help this poor child.
by: Kevin Coryell
Larbac and his new wife Cersie were relaxing at the Death’s Door Inn a tavern run by Pandora Morte’ of the Harbingers of the Apocalypse. Pandora was known as one of the Riders of the Storm which was the leadership of the Harbingers and was known as Chaos. While loving her role in the supernatural taskforce that had come to the defense of Draxis against the Shadows she still found time to continue her work with the newly formed Assassins of Shadows Demise and to run their tavern for Larbac as he tried to find ways to bolster the ranks of the once defunct group of legendary assassins. Cersie sat on one side of the booth watching her new husband as she sipped from an ornate glass of dark elven design it’s contents being a light fruity wine she prefered. Larbac himself was sorting through a mound of letters which he pushed aside finally with a sigh before taking a deep drink of ale from a metal tankard.
“Problems my love?” Asked Cersie with a knowing grin.
Larbac laid his head on the table wrapping his arms around it as though hiding from all of the paper.”I never thought that people would send in applications to be an assassin. How do I know if these people really killed who they said. Shouldn’t I be out there finding assassins and stalking them on their hunts and such?”
“Maybe you should send some people out to check out those that send applications and see if they truly require your attention. I mean, you do have some good people now between the assassins my sister Casmira brought to the guild from the Shadows and those the Harbingers have dedicated to the guild.”
Larbac peeked over his arms and stared at her for a few moments before slapping a hand on the table and rising with a laugh, “But of course! Ah Cersie you are a genius! Maybe I should let you run recruitment?”
With a laugh she held up her hands and shook her head. “Oh no! You’re not roping me in on this one. I’m already trying to get a dedicated Healing house setup for when the other Shadows finally invade. I mean I know we were able to bring a lot of them over to our side for peaceful co-existence with our marriages, but we still have half our race that would rather take this realm all for themselves than share it.”
“Yeah I guess you’re right,” Larbac gave a great heaving sigh that was obviously fake. “I guess it’s just up to me to skulk in the darkness and kill people while you heal others!”
Cersie just rolled her eyes and gave a matching sigh “Gonna make more work for me though if the people you recruit aren’t good enough”
Larbac laughed and stood moving towards the bar intent on refilling his drink. He grabbed his wifes glass on his way past her. Midway to the bar though he froze and then slowly placed the cups down on the nearest table. Cersie seeing this stood and moved to him and laid a hand on his shoulder frowning seeing his eyes closed in concentration. She frowned even more as Larbacs already pallid skin seemed to pale even further.
“What’s wrong love?”
Larbac turned and put his hands on her shoulders staring deep in her eyes, “Cersie… My Love. I know you can’t think me a saint seeing that I am reanimating an assassins guild. Heaven knows many shadows other than you have a hold over my soul. Until now though, you have never seen me in what has become my element, you have not seen my darkness. Talon started to bring m back to the light and you have basically helped me finish the journey but my dark side will always remain.”
Cersie shook her head confused, “Larbac what’s wrong? You’re starting to scare me here!”
Larbac glanced around them and then hugged her tight whispering in her ear. “They’re coming for us my love. Your people are breaking through the barriers around this tavern as we speak. Darkness was always my realm, so I have wards in all the shadow. Promise me you won’t run from me. No matter what promise me you will remind me who I really am when this is all over!”
Cersie laughed softly and kissed her husband gently, “I am right beside you my love, just as we vowed. You may not be perfect, neither am I but we’re both worth it. Besides everyone has their dark side…especially one like me who was raised in the Shadows!”
Larbac smiled and gave a soft nod and turned her so that he could stand back to back with her in the middle of the room without a moment to spare. Members of the Shadows assassin clan the Bertaxis began to appear seeming to form from the shadows themselves around the room. The assassins surrounded Larbac and Cersie each one brandishing a wicked looking dagger that dripped a caustic black venom, the symbol of their clan. Cersie’s hands began to glow softly with a blue light as she reached out for the alchemic magic that was her forte’ while at the same time Larbac depressed two buttons hidden in his sleeves letting twin dragon claw daggers drop into his hands which would not be able to be seen by a normal warrior. Unfortunately, these were not normal warriors and as such they tensed upon seeing the blades. Larbac slipped fingers through the supporting holes in the karambit like blades and settled into a light almost careless looking stance as he waited for the Shadows to make the first move. Taking a swift look around, Larbac counted ten opponents and that opening was all that was needed for the first few to make their attack.
Three shadow assassins darted forth. Larbac swiftly blocked their strikes his hands turning aside the assassins blades while at the same time expertly sliding his own magically sharp blades across tendons. Two of the assassins dropped back after their blades hit the floor at Larbac’s feet, the third assassin however, was caught in Larbac’s deceptively smooth movements until he was twisted around bleeding from a long gash up his arm from wrist to elbow and one of Larbacs daggers at his throat. Larbac slowly drew the blade across the assassins throat before smiling to the ones remaining facing him. The smile was the fanged visage of a Lord of the Vvamphyre. He would plunge those fangs deep into the neck of his captive and then ripped his head backwards ripping out part of the assassins neck. Larbac released him letting him drop to the floor to bleed out as he spat the hunk of shadow flesh at the feet of the one assassin who seemed to be the leader.
“Your first mistake was attacking me, I hope you’ve made peace with your gods.” Hissed Larbac.
Larbac and Cersie had been practicing fighting together since they had wed. It kept them sharp and they knew what the other would do so as he felt her touch his back lightly Larbac shut his eyes and dropped to a crouch. Cersie’s hand shot upward releasing her magics into a handful of ground spice that she had discretely palmed from a nearby table as the shadows had started to form. The spices were reformed by her magic into a flash powder that for a second flared as bright as a mini-sun in the confines of the tavern. The silent assassins suddenly cried out as they were blinded and burned by the bright light. Cersie herself held back a cry as her own light burned her skin. That flash was all Larbac had needed though to move. His blades flashed across throats as he spun into action grabbing opponents and spinning around them or grabbing their arms and pulling them in close just to slit another throat before tossing them aside.
Finally, the assassins’ sight started to return as they blinked tear filled eyes. The leaders eyes widened as he saw that within those few moments that he was blinded a full six of his assassins had been taken out with expert cuts across each ones throats. Add that to the first one whose throat was ripped out by Larbacs fangs and the lead shadow realized he only had 2 assassins other than himself remaining. The 3 remaining assassins moved to surround the couple once again. This time, Cersie struck first as she lashed out with a piece of twine, her alchemical magics changing its composition to a stream of acid mid-flight splashing into the face of the one assassin who was across from her. He screamed his pain as he fell to the floor. Larbac then moved forward hissing his anger at the assassins who had dared invade his home.
The Vvamphyre are very territorial beings and Larbac was just finding out about this instinct. These Shadows had dared to invade HIS home, they dared to attack HIS wife. These shadows thus had to die. Larbac leapt upon the leader his flesh beginning to move under his shirt until his shirt ripped away to reveal large black dragon wings that he usually kept hidden with the shape changing powers a Vvamphyre lord gave him. The huge wings pinned the shadow leader down as Larbac’s daggers went to work slicing all the important tendons and ligaments. By the time Larbac was done, the shadow was ripped and bleeding in many places able to only moan in pain as Larbac slowly drew his dragon claw blade slowly across the shadows stomach exposing his innards. With the precision of a surgeon Larbac’s blades continued to cut and puncture areas that would cause the most pain but take the longest to kill the assassin under him.
Seeing what Larbac was doing to his leader, the last assassin began to back away towards the shadows. The look on his face was pure fright and though one of the silent guilds top men as surely no lower level assassins would have been sent after these two still he gave a scream of fright when he felt something hard and slightly pointed touch lightly upon his back. Cersie had moved around behind him after finishing off her first opponent and during the commotion that had at first frozen this one’s movements she had broken the leg off of a chair which she now held to his back. Swiftly her arm snaked around his neck and he had just enough time to close his eyes knowing she would not spare him. Her powers transformed the wooden chair leg into a long slender sword of pewter which she slowly drove through his back and out through his chest before dropping him to the ground.
Cersie saw Larbac kneeling upon the floor staring at the dead assassin he had just butchered. The shadows life blood welled forth along with hoarse cries of pain. Cersie moved up beside him and laid a hand upon his shoulder which proved to be a mistake. While they had trained together they had never been in real combat situations yet. Larbac reached up grabbing her arm and pulling her down even as his one wing moved to trip and then wrap around her. She squirmed in this tight leathery embrace at first but swiftly stilled as she saw her loves face. His fangs had grown to a length she had never seen before, his eyes glowed red like the fires of a forge. She would gasp as his hand moved to her hair and pulled her head back hard exposing her throat to him.
“Shadow….” it was but a whisper from his throat. His instincts had taken over and he saw her just as a shadow.
“Yes…your shadow.” She shivered at the coldness of his voice. She stayed completely still except to run one hand softly along the inside of the wing that held her so tight. Gently caressing him trying to remind him who she was as she kept talking.
“Remember me my love. Remember your Cersie, the shadow who fell in love with you upon first sight.” Her voice wavered as Larbac began to lower his head towards her throat his fangs lightly teasing her skin.
“Feed from me if you must…but remember our love….come back to me Larbac. I’m not afraid of your dark side….if need be I will join you in it…. Just remember me and how I love you!” Those fangs began to puncture her skin as she talked, the first drops of blood beginning to come up in the wound when her voice started to sink into his mind. He pulled back before his fangs did more than prick her skin.
“Cersie?” , he spoke softly. Larbac blinked his eyes slowly as though coming out of a trance and slowly the fires within them receded until they were the ice blue that Cersie loved looking down at her once more. She nodded and kept whispering to him drawing him back from the edge.
Finally he looked to her his eyes clear his wing going slack until she dropped into his waiting arms and he held her close sobbing softly. “Oh Gods Cersie! I almost killed you! All I saw in my rage was a shadow and I couldn’t stop myself.”
She wrapped her arms around him and softly whispered in his ear, “But you did stop yourself my love. I am alive, you saved us both and I’m going nowhere. Though I do think we have to work on some things…. however I know we will find some sort of solution to your battle rage.”
Slowly Larbac stood and placed a deep passionate kiss upon her lips before he held her out in front of him and smiled a bit sadly. “I do have an idea, it may be short term and I’m sure no one will like it at least at first. But let’s talk about this tomorrow. After all, I think we have a it of cleaning up to do.”
Cersie returned the kiss silently agreeing that they would have a talk upon the morrow. She had an idea as well and she was sure as can be that her idea was one her sisters would never agree with. She didn’t care what her sisters thought on this though, she would be thrice damned if she let anything get in between her and the man she loved. She had come too far to lose him so she nodded with his words and went to the other room to collect cleaning supplies while Larbac sent off messages with his magics to call in the people they would need to clean the mess and to fortify the magical barriers in the tavern as well as the rest of the fortress if need be.