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Saturday, October 22, 2005Hey, I'm not dead!!!
Sorry for the long break, but after a month's hiatus, I feel ready to blog once again! I've been devoting my creative abilities to guitar and book-writing as of late, but I'd like to bring back the blog in me.
The car is still in the shop, and I have no idea when we will get it back....but I have confidence that it will be in great shape when we do.
This month we celebrated my wife's birthday, as well as our 3-year anniversary. We had a family-only surprise birthday party for the little lady, and all went well as expected.
I'd like to take this moment to share a bit of the book with you, a little excerpt that I wrote. If you take the time to read it, please take the time to comment on it, and critique if you are so inclined. The book is untitled so far, but I anticipate it to span a trilogy, or at least be a two-book series.
Brahm glanced over at his faithful men, seeing their down-trodden faces, wondering if his demeanor mirrored theirs. These mighty warriors grouped in together to preserve any heat they could, their war-toughened bodies succumbing to the temperature. Several of the men's hands were raw from rubbing them together to stay warm, yet they continued to rub. Some had made crude gloves from animal hide, while others had pulled out their own hair to fashion some sort of woven hand cover.
Necessity is the mother of all invention, Brahm thought.
Brahm felt lost, confused, and angry. Why had he led his men into this place? He began to wonder if death at the hands of the cursed Mages would have been better than the slow pain of hypothermia. Where else could I have gone? The terrain had left him no choice but to flee to this barren place. This cave, with its frozen walls, carried a chilling echo that seemed to change a whisper into a scream. Scream, Brahm thought. This place could make the mightiest warrior scream.
Frustrated, Brahm drew his knees up to his chest. As he rested his chin on his knees, he noticed rounded piles of dry straw here and there on the cave floor. He realized this was how his men had built their pathetic fires that yielded little to no warmth. Straw? How did straw get into this cave? No trees in here, certainly. And none outside..........
Brahm was torn from his thoughts by a jostling of his right arm. "Brahm? Brahm, we are running out of kindling. We need to search the cave for more." This was Joba, one of Brahm's most trusted men. "If we don't go now, the fires may burn out. We can't see past the entrance to the tunnel without a torch. What is your command?"
Brahm cast a sidelong glance at the tunnel of which Joba spoke. Large, with a diameter of about 10 feet, the tunnel seemed treacherous and foreboding. Yet, was there any other option? Brahm noticed his men's faces, the fear in their eyes, the cold sweat on their brows at the thought of entering that tunnel.
"Joba, send 3 groups of 10 men into that tunnel. One torch for every 2 men. And have them put on their swords. We know nothing of this cave and its dangers."
"Swords, lord? They are heavy, and with the men being unsure of the cavern floor, they may be unable to walk more than a yard without falling over each other. I trust this place no more than you, but...."
"Swords, Joba. If you distrust a thing, then you treat it accordingly. It is for their protection, my friend."
"As you wish."
Joba gave the order, and hand-picked the men to enter the tunnel. In each group of ten he placed 8 muscular men to carry as much kindling as could be found, and 2 lean men to scout ahead. The men grumbled at the order to take their swords, but reluctantly they strapped on their sheaths.
Brahm watched as the men filed into the tunnel, noting the way the torch light bounced off the icy cave walls. He heard the fear in their footsteps, and was struck by the contrast of these footsteps to the footsteps of his men as they marched into battle. Fear of the unknown, thought Brahm. Can I blame them?
Brahm turned to his commander, and said, "Joba, have you not wondered how the straw came to be here? I thought you more perceptive than that." Brahm spoke jokingly, yet his words carried serious undertones.
"Lord, I assumed the straw blew in here on the frigid winds that haunt this place."
"Blew in from where? The trees outside the cave? From the surrounding forest? Or perhaps from the stable at the cave entrance? There are no trees from which the straw to come from."
Joba stared in confusion at Brahm, and Brahm smiled sparingly back at him. "Never mind, Joba. It matters not to us." As he said the words, Brahm thought, If it matters not, why can't I stop pondering it?
Brahm shook his head to get rid of the thoughts, and focused on the situation at hand. How can we escape this place? His stomach interrupted him with a loud growl, a reminder that the food was gone, and the cold was not the only threat to his life and the lives of his soldiers. Three days and nights they had sat in this dank hell, and the food had lasted only through the first night. Fights had broken out among the men for tiny morsels of saved meat, and one had ended in the death of an Ice Soldier. The man was named Gladii, and what he had lacked in strength, he made up in brilliant battle strategy. Brahm remembered vividly the empty look on the man's dead face as the shard sword was torn from his neck. The man that killed him, Haigath, had been slain earlier that morning, the penalty for killing a fellow brother of the blade. There had been quiet talk of eating his body, but Brahm had addressed his men and forbade cannibalism, regardless of the hunger among them.
"Two men for a sliver of mammoth flesh," muttered Brahm. In Volgoth, mammoth meat was eaten only by the poorest of waifs, while his men had dined regularly on the finest cuisine available. Desparation is a cruel and ironic thing. How quickly it can change the greatest of men. Brahm smacked the side of his own head, attempting to jar his thoughts back onto track.
The leader of the Soldiers of the Shard searched his battle-trained mind for any strategy that might benefit him. He relived days and nights of war, deaths and pains, and found nothing that even grazed the corner of this situation. His thoughts drifted to the defeat at Charred Point, where he led an army of ten thousand against the forces of Standour, and was beaten back against a cliff face, where he watched 6 thousand of his own men die in a flurry of blade and bow. He saw the faces one by one, the same terrible nightmare that tortured him daily. The burdens of a leader are greater than any suspect. He remembered one man in particular, who had brought his son to be blessed by Brahm before they left for Charred Point. He could see the man's face, stretched in eternal pain, as his head was cleaved from his shoulders........
Brahm was jolted from his thoughts by a terrible yell, followed by frantic footsteps coming from the tunnel. He turned to see a blood-soaked soldier appear and shout, "Werebears!! The men....they..." The man's words were cut short as a huge claw ripped into his face and jerked him back into the darkness. A gargled snarl was heard, followed by the sickening sounds of tearing flesh.
Brahm glanced at Joba, and saw that he called the remaining soldiers to action, and they stood readied with swords in hand. As Brahm looked back to the tunnel, he was forced to duck as an object flew towards his head. It smacked harmlessly against the cavern wall, and clattered to the ground.
"A human leg bone." Joba seemed to vomit the words out.
At that moment, a huge hairy face lunged from the shadows towards the soldiers. Brahm was mesmerized by the sheer size of the head, and the massive fangs. A terrifying mixture of hair, teeth, and fangs, a werebear stood 13 feet tall and its hands easily spanned the width of a man's chest. Despite the tremendous size, the beast moved with amazing speed and grace. Brahm's observations were abruptly interrupted as the bear sank it's teeth into the chest of one of the men, and slung the shredded remains of the man into the ranks of the Ice Soldiers. Faces painted with blood and fear, the soldiers stood frozen in their terror.
The bear sprung again, this time catching one man in the neck with a claw, removing his head like the cork from a bottle of wine. The other claw struck a soldier in the arm, tearing the limb from the body completely. The man screamed in agony, and in his fury, lunged at the animal with sword swinging. His blade sunk deep into the bear's flesh, causing the beast to bellow out in pain. Grayish blood spewed from the wound, splattering the walls of the cave. The men cheered collectively, empowered by the knowledge that the beast was indeed mortal. As the echo of the bear's yelp ceased, a low rumbling could be heard from the direction of the tunnel. Brahm knew the source of the sounds before his eyes saw a thing - there was more than one werebear.
Thanks for reading guys. Go ahead, rip me a new one with your sardonic wit!!!