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The Dawning
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-522-3
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Medieval
eBook Length: 303 Pages
Published: December 2007

Total Readers: 1

From inside the flap

Dar Trians had always been an excellent scout. His ability to slip undercover and return to his commanders with valuable bits of intelligence had saved hundreds of his fellow knights during the Magic Wars. In no small part, it also paved the way for his promotion into the highest echelons of command.

In the decade that had past since his tour of duty across the ocean, Dar spent most of his time training young knights to defend his native Alaria from the designs of the neighboring Kingdom of Gnarr. Still, the rare opportunity for reconnaissance work sometimes came his way. Magic was banned by treaty throughout the human kingdoms, but thieves, mercenaries, and the occasional rogue inventor made for an interesting mission when Dar could spare the time.

Now, his best friend, Guy Drayson, has reported a seemingly unnatural series of lightning strikes on a mountain somewhere near the border with Gnarr. Accordingly, the Alarian king has charged the pair with finding this mountain and the cause of the lightning strikes.

But Dar is not the only one leading an expedition to the mountain. What he finds there will bring him face to face with an unspeakable horror from the past and an even more unsettling vision of the futureÖ

The Dawning (Excerpt)


He was the last Alarian knight to reach the border of Gnarr. The rest of his contingent had passed over the previous day. He lagged behind them for no other reason than that his horse had received a nasty-looking cut from an unseen thornbush. Despite his adequate veterinary skills, it would still be another dayís time before he would rejoin them in the Kingdom of Dancreon, the final stop before he returned to his homeland.

A lone horseman from Gnarr rode escort. A stalwart fellow whose face bore the dignified melancholy that military commanders earned through many years of service, the veteran warrior kept a watchful eye on the foreigner.

The two men paused upon reaching the border. The Gnarrnite horseman had no plans to accompany the Alarian any further, for once the Alarian crossed that border, their alliance would be ended. Theyíd return to what they had been before -- not so much enemies, as it were, but avowed rivals, sworn by honor to support opposing sides in a wide collection of ideological, political, and other, more provincial, disagreements.

"So," the Alarian knight began. "We part company here. You have my sincere thanks for your escort."

The Gnarrnite horseman nodded respectfully to his counterpart. "It has been..." The horseman paused, searching for a non-seditious word. "Interesting, serving with you."

"I am sure it was fascinating for you -- retreating at the worst possible moment and leaving us for dead," the Alarian knight retorted with more frustration than anger. "I, for one, did not find the situation interesting in the least."

The horseman firmly held up his armor-laden hand. "I simply follow the orders of my king, and they were the right orders. Losses were becoming unacceptable. Retreat was the only viable option."

"Not at a minor setback in a very successful offensive, and not with troops in the field."

"You have an odd definition of successful, Alarian. That shouldnít surprise me. Iíll leave you to your backwards kingdom."

"And Iíll leave you to your oppressive one. I suppose some things never change."

Years of training extinguished any hint of emotion from the horsemanís face. He should have turned his steed around and headed straight for home, but during their service together, he had actually grown to respect this particular Alarian as both a man and a knight. Most of the Alarian knights were no better than mongrels, but this man came from a long line of distinguished warriors; that was worth something. They deserved a better parting of ways.

"Some things do change." The Gnarrnite horseman paused. "Before we part, please extend my compliments to your prince -- or, my apologies, I suppose he is your king now. Iíve seen the final draft of the treaty. Itís an excellent agreement. Your king has crafted a treaty that you can be proud of."

The Alarian forced a smile. Begrudgingly he spoke. "And your king did an excellent job hosting the royal delegations. With diplomatic parties from each of the kingdoms who fought in the war across the ocean, it couldnít have been easy." The Alarianís smile became more genuine. "I suppose we finally do have something in common after all. We have the treaty."

"Nobody wants to see anything like that repeated on this side of the ocean," the Gnarrnite horseman said seriously.

"Agreed." The Alarian knight saluted, and then took hold of his horseís reins.

"One more thing, if I may," the horseman cautiously interjected before the Alarian could leave. "I know that you are of noble descent in Alaria."

"My ancestors called themselves nobles, yes," the Alarian affirmed matter-of-factly.

The horsemanís rigid facade began to crack as he spoke, utterly aghast at the thoughts running through his head. "How can you...? I mean does it not even bother you that..."

"Not in the least," the Alarian answered the half-posed question. "It still bothers a few people, but not many anymore."

"Hmmph," the Gnarrnite horseman grunted in amazement. "It would bother me. I canít even stand riding through a field of peasants. They smell. Theyíre stupid..."

"Good journey to you," the Alarian sternly interceded.

Nothing more was said. The two left in opposite directions, each returning to his respective home.

Eight years later...