(Because sometimes we hang out with peacocks and emus)
It's been a little while since I posted a blog. Seems life has a funny way of getting in the way.
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to post the prologue to an abandoned book I started back in high school over ten years ago now(hm...does that mean I'm getting old?). The book was going to be called Secret of the Kolari: Book One of the Broken Cycle Saga. Ten chapters in, I shelved it, but I found myself looking back at it tonight and decided to share a bit of it.
If you have read The Dragon Gem, you probably noticed from the name alone that I carried over ideas from Secret of the Kolari to it. Mainly, I just recycled a bunch of names. Korin, Menar, Geeron, Kolarin, Ingran, and Kipp are just a few names that made the transfer. Korin was the name of the protagonist for Secret of the Kolari, though he had a twin brother named Kris.
Next time, I'll post some information on Book 2 of Korin's Journal. I'm still a few months away from finishing the first draft, but I'm ready to post some longer excerpts, chapter names, and maybe even a title reveal in the near future. I'm also hoping to find some beta readers to check out the first story arc of it soon to get some feedback, so if you have any interest in participating, drop me a line here, www.facebook.com/brianbeamauthor, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll end by reminding everyone that I have posted a giveaway for a signed copy of The Dragon Gem on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/31584-the-dragon-gem. It runs until the end of September.
So, without further ado, and no guarantees on grammar, here's the prologue to the abandoned Secret of the Kolari.
Best wishes to all,
An impenetrable darkness filled the deep reaches of Malakai Cave. Starting from the land’s surface and then sloping down to unknown depths, dark tunnels intertwined and spread out for uncounted miles underneath the earth. The passages, which had remained undisturbed for many years, reverberated with an eerie silence. Moss-covered walls arched into a stalactite-covered ceiling. A stagnant odor rose from water puddles on the uneven floor into the damp, humid air. Some areas of the cave provided respite to brown bats fleeing the brightness of day. The silence was soon broken however, as in a dark, forgotten corner of the cave, the guardian awoke from its slumber.
* * * *
Surrounding Malakai Cave, a small forest bordered the village of Geeron in the Kingdom of Calthair. Out from the open door of a smaller residence in this town bounded a young boy, a checkered curtain his cape, and a stew-covered wooden ladle his sword.
“Ingran!” a voice called sternly from behind the small boy. Ingran quickly spun around to the sound of the voice. Ingran brushed a lock of blond hair from his deep blue eyes to see a slender, dark haired woman standing in the doorway with her hands crossed over her apron. “What’s that around your neck?”
The accusing tone brought Ingran to a panic. “Uh, nothin’ mama,” Ingran blurted out before having time to think. The guilty look on his face told otherwise.
“Nothing, huh? Looks like one of my good kitchen curtains.”
Ingran bowed his head and shuffled his feet. “I’s just borrowin’ it.” Ingran looked up at his mother with guiless innocence. “All heroes need a cape.”
The stern look on his mother’s face broke into a loving smile. “Oh they do, do they? Are you and your little friends planning on hunting rabbits again today?”
We’ve just been doin’ that for practice mama. The Knights of Justith only hunt dragons now!” Ingran insisted, waving around the ladle to show off his swordsmanship.
Her smile widened as she watched her son playing as the mighty warrior. “Well you can use it this time, but I want the curtain and ladle back in one piece though,” she compromised, her smile fading to let him know she was serious about it.
A broad smile formed on his fair complexioned face as he nodded in agreement. “Thanks mama!”
“Now give your mother a hug before you leave,” his mom said as she leaned down.
“Knights of Justith don’t hug their mamas!” Ingran argued.
Ingran’s mother placed her hands on her hips. “Those who want to keep their capes do,” she replied.
Knowing that he had to give in before being allowed to leave, Ingran ran over to his mom who spread her arms and coveted his hug, squeezing him tightly to her chest. Finally, Ingran broke away from the embrace. “Can I go now?” he asked impatiently.
His mother’s smile returned as she gazed into his big blue eyes. “Run along dear, but remember to be back by supper.”
At these words, Ingran began sprinting off. “I’ll bring you back a dragon tooth!” he exclaimed with excitement as he ran.
“And don’t forget the cape!” she called after him.
Ingran dashed through the neighbors’ yards, stabbing his “sword” at chickens, goats or anything else he could pretend was a monster barring his way to his fellow knights. Ingran emerged into the village square which was filled with people performing their daily tasks: a messenger delivering letters; women taking laundry to the spring; townsfolk buying groceries or other goods; and Tom, the street vendor milling about the square.
Ingran pushed his way through the people, occasionally getting remarks such as, “Out of my way runt!” from the older men, while receiving compliments from the women. Ingran eventually managed to make his way through to the stone fountain, the center of the town square as well as all of Geeron. In the center of the fountain stood a statue of an angel with her wings spread and her face looking up to the heavens. Water poured from her mouth into the sparkling pool below. The angel’s visage and wings bore chips and cracks from age, but the statue still held a mesmerizing beauty. The statue was said to contain magical power that purified the water. This particular statue was the meeting ground for the Knights of Justice. They believed that by drinking the fountain water they would be protected on their monster hunts.
Ingran looked about and noticed that he was the first to arrive. Folding his “cape” under him and laying his “sword” down beside him, Ingran relaxed on the edge of the fountain and twirled his fingers in the cool water. Occasionally, Ingran cupped his hands and drank the angel’s pure water for extra protection.
“Ingran!” Ingran jumped up from the fountain, grabbed his “sword”, and turned to see his fellow knights Kipp and Molly running towards him. “The sun is high and we have a dragon to slay!” Kipp yelled, briefly attracting bystanders’ attention.
Ingran, Kipp and Molly formed the Knights of Justice to protect Geeron from monster raids by keeping the woods surrounding Geeron free of all evil creatures. Ingran rushed over to meet his two friends. Kipp was Ingran’s elder by two years and Molly was two years older than Kipp. Molly wore a simple faded blue dress. Around her neck hung a medallion that she claimed gave her magic powers. In her hand she held her “magic wand” which was carved by her own hand from a branch of a magic oak they had found on one of their adventures. Kipp wore a cape similar to Ingran’s, but in his hand was a small wooden sword.
“Wow! Where’d ya get that Kipp?” Ingran asked in astonishment.
Kipp broke into a smile as he held up his sword for Ingran to get a better look. “My daddy made it for me. He says that to be a knight, you have to have a real sword.” Kipp glanced down at the ladle in Ingran’s hand. Ingran slipped the ladle behind his back.
Molly, seeing the hurt on Ingran’s face, stepped forward. “What’s it matter?” she asked, casting an amber-eyed stare at Kipp. “The sword doesn’t make the knight. The bravery, honor, and talent they possess do. The Knights of Justice are all equal. We are a team.” Molly turned and smiled at Ingran who did the same in return. Molly, the wisest of the three, knew the best ways to end arguments and the best strategies to use against the monsters they faced.
Kipp’s grin faded slightly as he considered Molly’s word. “I guess you’re right,” he admitted. Then his dark green eyes lit up with excitement. “We are a team and we will slay the mighty dragon before he can destroy our town!”
All three gave a shout of agreement as they lifted their weapons into the air. Laying their weapons on the fountain, the Knights of Justice leaned over and cupped water in their hands. After drinking the water for protection, they grabbed their weapons and ran off towards the woods.
Once they reached the outskirts of town, they came to a halt, staring off into the woods. “So, where do we find the dragon?” Kipp questioned.
Molly tucked her auburn hair behind her ears as she thought. After a moment of contemplation, she looked at the other two. “The dragon would not be out in the open. If we want to find it, we should look in more secluded areas.”
“Well I scouted ahead this morning an…and I found dragon tracks to the …uh…East!” Ingran lied, and hurried off to the West, motioning for the other two to follow him. There was no way he was going to let Kipp be the best of the Knights this day. Molly quickened her pace to catch up to Ingran.
“You went without us?” she asked, a look of disappointment and hurt on her face.
“Umm…yeah! I…uh…well I was jus’ tryin’ to get an idea where the dragon was, so uh…I came out here to see what we would run into so I uh…could…uh…so we could be prepared.” Molly’s look of disappointment didn’t change.
“But the Knights of Justice are a team,” Kipp mocked in a girlish voice. Molly turned and gave Kipp a playful shove before turning back to Ingran.
“Ingran, you shouldn’t just go off on your own like that. It could be dangerous,” Molly preached.
Ingran thought up a quick excuse. “B…but when we ‘tacked the goblin camp, you said that one of us should check their numbers first so you could make a strategy. I was jus’ tryin’ ta help like you.”
Molly flashed Ingran one of her sweet smiles. “That was very brave and wise of you,” Molly commented.
“I know!” Ingran beamed with pride.
“Don’t let it get to your head!” she laughed.
After seeing this, Kipp stopped and crossed his hands over his chest. “Well I’m not going that way. Mama and daddy said never to go out that far into the woods,” he said with a frown on his youthful face.
Ingran spun around and gave Kipp a condescending look. “Brave knights put duty above all else,” he taunted. “But if you’re afraid…”
“I’m not afraid!” Kipp interrupted, holding up his sword. “Let’s go kill the dragon!” Ingran turned and continued leading the other knights.
Molly and Kipp continued to follow Ingran through the forest for the next half an hour until Molly stopped before an apple tree. “We need to stop. Those apples look good and I’m getting hungry.” Ingran turned to meet her gaze. “You must have been up early to come out this far.”
“Uh…yeah! Got up at dawn!” Ingran falsely bragged.
“And I’m very proud of you for doing so,” Molly replied as she sat down on the soft grass beneath them. “Now which one of you daring knights is going to gather up some apples for us? We need to eat something to keep our strength up.”
Ingran hurried to be the first to the tree. Ingran swung his ladle above him to knock down an apple only to find that the apples were out of his reach. Determined to succeed, Ingran jumped and swung again, but to avail. Making one last attempt, Ingran leaped with all his might, reaching his arm as far as he could as he swung the ladle, still missing by only inches. Kipp chuckled at Ingran’s effort. “Let a real knight handle this,” he remarked, pushing Ingran out of the way. Molly looked coldly at Kipp, but Kipp just dismissed her with a wave of his hand. Standing on his toes, Kipp easily knocked down apples with a swing of his longer sword. Once he knocked down enough for the group, he looked at Ingran with a superior grin. Kipp gathered the apples and sat down by Molly. Ingran slowly walked over and sat to the other side of Molly, embarrassed. Kipp handed an apple to Molly.
“Thank you Kipp.” Kipp gave a slight bow at her praise. “But we could have done without your trying to put down a fellow knight,” she continued with disposition.
“Well he couldn’t reach the apples, so someone had to.” Kipp picked up an apple and tossed it to Ingran. Ingran stared at the apple, his glazed over eyes blurring his vision.
After they had all finished their snack, they rose to their feet and stretched their muscles. “Well, let’s go get the dragon!” Molly proclaimed.
Kipp looked to the sky and then back to Molly. “We need to be getting home. We’ll get in trouble if we come home late. Besides, I don’t think Ingran even knows where he’s going.”
“Yes I do!” Ingran quickly retorted. “It’s jus’ a little farther.”
Molly turned to Ingran. “Kipp’s right, we do need to get home soon. Are you sure we're close?”
Ingran knew he had to show them where the dragon was or be thought of as a liar by the other two. Lying was against the Knights of Justice code and Ingran didn’t want to lose his knighthood. “Yeah, jus’ a little farther that way.” He stated with uncertainty pointing in a different direction than they had been traveling in.
“All right, let’s go!” Molly commanded following Ingran who was leading the way.
“But…but…” Kipp realized he could not get a word in edgewise and ran after them.
Ingran led them through a more heavily wooded section of the forest, declining into a small gully. With each step, he hoped to find some sort of place he could say was where the dragon had been earlier. The Knights of Justice was everything to him. To lose his place in it would be the worst thing that could happen to him.
Upon reaching the bottom of the gully, Kipp stopped again, causing the other two to stop with him. “I told you Ingran was lying. There’s nothing here! He’s just trying to act like the better knight!” Kipp complained.
"Then what’s that?” Molly asked, straining to see something in the distance to her right.
Ingran struggled to keep from showing his surprise as he noticed that in the distance was the mouth of a cave. “Um…yeah! That’s where the dragon was earlier!”
“You didn’t go in that cave alone did you?” Molly accused.
“No…uh…I heard the dragon in there though, and then I came back to town to meet you!”
Kipp held up his sword. “With my mighty blade, I shall slay the dragon!” he announced breaking into a run towards the cave. Ingran glanced down at his ladle before joining Molly in trying to catch up with Kipp. Kipp came to a dead halt when he reached the cave. Molly and Ingran stopped beside him a few seconds later.
“What’s wrong Kipp?” Molly asked as she stopped to catch her breath.
“I’m not going in there! It smells like something died in there!” he replied with a look of disgust on his face.
Ingran straightened his back, held his chin high, and in his most heroic voice exclaimed, “I’m not afraid! I will slay the dragon!” Ingran darted into the dark cave.
“Ingran! Stop! Wait!” Molly called after him. It was too late though. Ingran had been swallowed in the darkness.
Ingran stood in the dark cave, trying to see the area around him, but darkness hid all from his eyes. Behind him he could faintly see the mouth of the cave and could hear Molly calling his name. Ingran wanted to go back to his friends, but he had to prove himself as a worthy knight.
Ingran continued to walk deeper into the darkness, feeling along the wall with his free hand. The ground beneath him was slippery. The putrid smell in the humid air was almost nauseating. Ingran paused when he heard a soft growl in the distance. Trembling with fear, Ingran desperately tried to get a tight grip on the ladle in his hand. The growl sounded again, only this time it was much closer. In his mind, Ingran tried to convince himself that it was only a small harmless animal that he could best in battle with his ladle. The growling stopped and silence regained its hold on the cave. Ingran gave a sigh of relief. He could tell Molly and Kipp that the dragon was gone and that they should get home as soon as possible to make sure it wasn’t on its way to the town.
Ingran switched the ladle to his left hand so he could follow the wall back out with his right. After only a few steps, Ingran felt something large and furry brush past him with swiftness and grace, emitting a deep growl as if trying to scare Ingran. Panic overtook all of Ingran’s senses, causing him to break into a blind run through the cave, screaming as he ran. Ingran could feel the breath of the creature on his neck as he ran. Ingran, hoping to slow the monster, spun around, swinging his small wooden ladle. When the ladle struck the thing behind him, it let out a thunderous roar full of pain and anger.
Ingran, believing he had fatally wounded, or at least hindered the creature, continued to run, screaming cries of victory. His cries were cut off as the creature caught back up with him with unbelievable speed.
* * * *
Outside of the cave, Molly and Kipp screamed into the cave for Ingran, hoping for a reply. From inside the cave, they heard Ingran scream in terror.
“Oh no! Kipp, we have to help him!”
“I told you I’m not going in there Molly!”
Molly prepared to run into the cave, but before she could, a loud roar followed by a victory cry echoed through the cave along with the sound of running footsteps drawing closer to the cave entrance. “He killed the dragon!” Molly exclaimed. “Ingran…” Molly was cut off by another scream of pure terror. Molly started to run into the cave, but froze at the sound of a sickening thud that was immediately followed by an object rolling quickly out of the cave. Molly and Kipp rushed to examine the object. Molly gasped and put her hand to her mouth when she saw Ingran’s decapitated head in a pool of blood looking up at her with big blue eyes opened wide in shock.