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WIZARD WARRIOR


wizard

Have you ever wondered whether or not ‘middle earth’ actually exists? Perhaps you believe it does. Where exactly is middle earth? Well, legend has it that it is actually an imaginary place where elves, dwarves, demons and giants live with humans and dragons.   

Wizard Warrior is adventure/fantasy at its best and follows the adventures and misadventures of Fundem Tarralion and Iscandar, his magic sword.   

The book takes the reader on a whirlwind of exciting clashes and the fight to free their lands from evil.

     Fundem fell quiet and his friends suddenly saw all the years and burdens that sat upon his shoulders. They asked no more questions and reflected upon the momentous events stretching back into the far distant past. To Aldrick, Fundem seemed an ancient historical book come to life. In fact since meeting Fundem he had felt his reality fading into the stuff of legend, as if he was being written into a book and was merely a bystander. Aldrick shivered at what was to come. He hoped he had strength enough to last the journey –. 

From priceless treasures to fire breathing dragons and magic spells, this story has it all. And all the time, we will wonder what exactly is going on at the bottom of our gardens. Middle Earth rules!

In Store Price: $30.00 
Online Price:   $29.00

ISBN: 978-1-921731-79-2 Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 367
Genre:
  Fiction


Author: Jeff Rogers
Imprint: Poseidon
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2011
Language: English


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CHAPTER 1 - ESCAPE FROM DARKNESS - part sample

 

      Something stirred the silence. A long forgotten tunnel deep underneath a mountain bore witness to the return of life. This was a place that only ever knew tapping drips of water or scratching groans of restless rock. It was more than dark here for the air held a blackness that was complete and perfect. It was as if the rock had squeezed the very concept of light from existence. Yet still some came as heralded by the muffled tramp of boots stirring reluctant air.                      

      Soon a troop of orcs stirred the blackness. Their leader was Gereb Balag and he was not amused and this meant that his troops were becoming sore. Whilst Gereb was an orc like the others he didn’t regard himself as the same for his fangs were particularly long and his hands were extra strong, strangler's hands.  Where his fellows bore picks and shovels he carried a red dyed, serrated edged scimitar bared in a gnarly fist.

      Every now and again he would lash out indiscriminately, striking one or another. Mostly they merely yelped as the flat of his blade paid out a stinging rebuke. Sometimes they would howl as shred was torn from their dark hides. Gereb's response was always the same - a short, sharp chuckle.

      He was angry because he regarded himself as a battle chief. Instead he was playing host to a rabble of lowly miners, filthy diggers of rock. He should have been planning his next deed of murder and robbery. Instead he was trudging downwards to the darkest and deepest part of the mines. All because of that cursed human.

      Oh, it had been a great fight. Sentries had detected a party of the vicious warriors snooping about. Digging here, prying there obviously looking for something. His tribe, the black skulls, had surprised them well and good. With overwhelming numbers (always the best policy) they had slain all except one who was spared for interrogation. What did it matter if a few weak fools had died on his side? Such is life. The weak died and the strong survived. Gereb smiled at the memory of his sword slicing though a scrawny neck.

      Then they had discovered the map. The men had been searching for treasure. They must have been snooping for quite a while for the maps were better than any the orcs possessed and there were strange marks in various places. The mark was the letter ‘T’; obviously ‘T’ for ‘Treasure.’ Or so someone had told Gereb (who could not actually read himself). They tried to interrogate the prisoner they had captured who refused to co-operate despite ungentle persuasion.

      Unfortunately some Vaal had heard the ruckus and investigated. They were the overlords and promptly took over. The next moment he was before old Burash who loved treasure more than life, everyone else’s life! So he had been given the lucky job of stomping these forsaken dungeons. The unlucky prisoner remained with Burash. Gereb grimaced; he would not wish that on anyone.

      So they went down until finally even their dark-sight was becoming gloomy.  Orcs loved the dark. Their eyes, which bore a red glint, saw the world in those same shades. Gereb saw his companions as mosaics of bright orange hues. In comparison the surrounding walls of the tunnel were a very dark burgundy, almost black. And they were becoming darker groaned Gereb. The colder the darker, that was the way of it.

      Finally the tunnel they were following petered out and came to a dead end. Upon ragged rock ahead were the last lamentable blows of forgotten miners. They stared back like signposts. Signposts of hopeless frustration, thought Gereb. At least that signalled an end to their hike. The hard leather of his iron-studded boots was grating at sore toes.

      The ten miner orcs sat, thinking to rest. Gereb had other ideas.

      ‘Get up you lazy swine,’ he barked, ‘before I tan your filthy hides some more.’ Gereb brandished his scimitar threateningly. Ten weary orcs promptly stood, though one or two groaned. Gereb kicked one such groaner hard resulting in a load resounding grunt. ‘And no moaning either.’

      The orc leader then walked slowly forward to examine the tunnel’s end. It was as he expected. No trace of anything shiny or precious! What a waste of time. He snorted; at least he could rest awhile.

      ‘Alright vermin get to work,’ he ordered sharply.

      Orcs wearily unpacked picks and shovels and the sound of tapping soon echoed about the tunnel. Gereb yawned and slouched back on a long low boulder half jutting from the wall. He attempted to snooze however the sounds of tapping made it hard to relax. Soon he was yelling for them to hurry up and find something worthwhile.

      He had almost reached a comfortable doze when he realised that the tapping had stopped.

      ‘What the hell are you idiots up to eh?’ he bellowed.

      ‘Come and have a look at this boss,’ an orc whimpered. Gereb, cursing loudly, raised himself and trudged to where ten orcs were gathered. Elbowing them aside, he gazed upon their problem.

      Their picks had revealed a tiny spot of eerie luminescence in the rock. This gleam was reflected by a stronger gleam in Gereb’s eyes. This was the gleam of avarice. Visions of wondrous jewels sprang to mind. Legends of weird gems shining with magical light began to take substance. Gereb quickly snatched a pick and raised it before his deep inbuilt caution rang loud. He had developed a motto that had saved his skin on many occasions – risk is a dish best served to others.  

      ‘Take this and smash it when I give the word,’ he ordered a fearful orc.  He then went back up the passage and crouched behind the boulder that had served as his seat.

      ‘Now!’ he commanded.

      Gripping the pick-handle in trembling hands a hapless orc prepared to strike. The pick-head seemed to fall slowly to those watching. The instant it struck a violent explosion erupted, thundering through the tunnel. Searing fire of the purest white roared out scorching ten orcs to cinders. The very earth shook and quaked with fury.  It was as if all hell had been loosed.

      Then, suddenly, the fire stopped. Thunderous echoes died and utter silence descended. A blackened, now hairless, head peeked over the burnt boulder to gape in horrific amazement. Before him an insubstantial glimmer of light still lingered. Wafts of slowly drifting smoke shimmered with deep violets and reds, floating in bulbous forms until wraithlike shapes reached out. Like the shifting of windblown sands upon a trackless desert the smoke swirled. Communing within a complex changing pattern it formed a mosaic of dark hues. Then, reluctantly, it seemed, the smoke disappeared. But still, a glimmer of unnatural light remained. 

      Gereb squinted and beheld a ragged hole exposed by the explosion. It was the source of the luminescence. Light wavered but did not fade. Grunting, Gereb clambered up and stood undecided. When no more catastrophes occurred he bared fangs, drew his scimitar and crept forward. As he reached the hole he found something exceedingly strange. Inside was a spherical room with walls carved as smooth as glass. Light came from this smooth surface, like reflected moonlight. From where Gereb crouched he could see no other opening. Senses rattled and mind awhirl, he moved closer to gain a better view.

      Gereb’s terrified howl shattered the silence. Jerking his body backwards, the orc scuttled and tripped. Rising on shaking feet he turned and fled in blind panic. For what he had seen lying at the base of the sphere was enough to terrify the bravest of orcs. Eyes wide he ran and didn’t stop running, and in an instant had disappeared, footsteps fading into the distance.

      Within the sphere was an elf, marvellous and long-lived beings that are the source of much myth and legend. Though of human proportions, elves are far different. Most noticeably elvish faces had a distinct silvery sheen as if shaped from the moons reflection upon a deep mountain lake.  Further, elvish ears were very elegant and styled; as if sculpted by an artist dissatisfied with the normal variety. As for the way they moved, well, no human could ever move so lightly and gracefully.

      Eyelids flickered open to reveal sparkling grey eyes flecked with bright spots of light, like tiny stars. Though innocent and vague at first, they swiftly became sharp and bright. Those eyes bore the marks of both innocence and wisdom. Within their depths centuries went marching back with no hint of world-weariness. Only clear untainted memories glinting with barely held excitement.

      This particular elf’s name was Fundem Tarralion. If Gereb had known that he may have dropped dead on the spot! Fundem slowly moved, muscles trembling with the effort. So many years had he been trapped within prison that his body was refusing to come to terms with movement. Trapped by sorcery he had been given the ultimate penalty of imprisonment beneath miles of unmapped rock. His body had been sustained and held in a type of limbo by the sorcery. His mind remained alert and sensed keenly the passing of time. Time was the true punishment. Eventually, it was reasoned by the creators of the spell, a mind could not cope with the lack of stimuli would be forced to reconcile itself to the truth.

      Fundem had found that his experience differed greatly from what the theorists expected. For a long time after imprisonment, he could not tell how long, his mind did turn in on itself and he relived all the moments of his life. Although not all his actions were perfect he did not condemn himself for past mistakes. In fact he found within his heart a great compassion both for himself and others. Mistakes had been made and he had sought to learn from them. The reflections actually forced him to realise what he had made of himself. He was not disappointed.

      After an indeterminate time, things had changed. His mind began to both expand and narrow at the same time. He could remember thinking that surely a hundred years had passed and that he would be released soon. The liberation never came and without a reference to time he had no knowing whether he had been incarcerated for one year or ten thousand.

      Soon his mind began drifting and seeing other realities. Whether his visions reflected reality he could not tell. Many strange and wondrous things he witnessed. Whether these places were real or just an illusion was impossible to tell. He seemed to float from one world to the next, each stranger than the last. Some he seemed to be able to choose and others he was taken to. At times he almost understood yet this feeling was fleeting and could never be recaptured.

       He tried to work out how long he may have been imprisoned yet time had been meaningless. Some of his visions could have lasted a hundred years and he would not have known. Some had been beautiful beyond imagination. Others had been more terrible than the worst of nightmares. He had remembered being saddened with grief, joyous with laughter, tremblingly fearful and frightfully angry. Somehow he felt he had been changed by these experiences, that he was not the same person he had been in the past. Yet he could not put a finger on these changes. He felt the same yet also reborn.

The elf was clothed in black trousers and a sky blue shirt of fine tailoring. Over this he wore a long, dark overcoat of very peculiar material. It seemed to change colours appearing dark green one moment and deep brown the next. It was a magical coat, once owned by the great elf king Lideon. Made in Elvenestra it provided both protection and secret storage pockets that were much larger than they appeared.

About Fundem’s waist was an intricately wrought golden belt studded with sombre rubies, brilliant diamonds and frivolous sapphires. They seemed to glow in their own light and were indeed magical gems. They stored magic the way plants absorbed sunlight. Hanging from a chain about his neck was a dainty little dagger about three inches long. A small cross-guard had two diamonds clasped at either end in tiny golden lion’s claws.

      Fundem, still sitting in the smooth sphere, looked towards the dark, seared hole. Around him luminescence was slowly dimming. As Fundem peered out of the sphere his vision shifted perception. Similar to orcs, he too could see without any natural light. Outside dark patterns of deep purple and burgundy evidenced the utter lack of life. Silence ruled supreme, windless and oppressive.

      Scratching his head with elegant fingers the elf pondered what fortune had brought him. Most assuredly luck had intervened in a most opportune way. The ancient spell that had entombed him had been designed for permanence. From the ragged look of the tunnel he could only assume that his unfortunate rescuers had been mining some type of ore. That they had perished he had no doubt for the pent up power released must have been enormous.

      Smoothly Fundem leapt from his erstwhile prison and into the tunnel. The chilly air went unheeded as long unused muscles rejoiced in freedom. Then he caught an unmistakable odour hanging in the air and his eyes blazed in anger.

      Orcs, he thought, and not long gone at that.

      In a flash he plucked the dainty dagger free from a clasp that held it on the chain about his neck. Holding it before him he spoke in a voice that held both the frivolity of laughter and the grandeur of a mountains peak.

      ‘Awaken Iscandar; you are small use to me as a dagger.’

      The dagger’s small diamonds twinkled and blue fire twisted sending patterns dancing upon the walls. Fire spread and built in ferocity. Soon the tunnel was dark no more as blue light cast back the darkness. Fire engulfed the air before Fundem, seeming to consume the dagger. Then, suddenly, the fire abated to reveal a magnificent sword, still gleaming in blue light and graced by twirling flecks of flame. The pommel and guard remained golden but were of a metal as hard as adamantine with twin diamonds the size of almonds, star shaped and carved with flawless facets. The blade was a perfection of mirrored steel, edges gleaming as if sharp enough to slice rock.

      Fundem smiled at the familiarity of his sword. Bound to his soul by ancient magic the elders had feared to remove it. In fact Fundem doubted that they could have forced him to surrender Iscandar at any rate. He had surrendered to them of his own free will, out of a refusal to hurt those he loved. The elders held power unfathomable and may have prevailed in the end yet Fundem was not without the means to cause havoc.

      In fact Fundem had been their champion, a prince of the realm. He had lead glittering hosts to the darkest realms and had prevailed. He had duelled demons and giants. None had prevailed against Fundem either by sword of spell. Legends sprang from his passing even as fear grew rooted in the hearts of his enemies.

      Yet, mused Fundem, such glory is fleeting in the grander scheme. In fact pride had been undermining him at every turn. Someone had used that pride to manoeuvre him into defeat. Who would have thought the lords capable of imprisoning their own champion, the heir to the High Kings throne? Fundem, in all his might, was rendered powerless by his pride.

      Fundem gazed at Iscandar and smiled wistfully. Once he had bathed in the glory of power. Now mocking shadows seemed to laugh at his naivety.

      With a wry chuckle Fundem strode forth down the tunnel. Had his lesson been learnt? Only time would tell.

 

      Gereb ran in blind panic for a time before finally coming to his senses some way from the mine. Still quivering with fear he paused and listened for sounds of pursuit. Elves! Elves! Impossible, he thought. No elf had been seen in these parts beyond memory. No one he knew had ever seen an elf. The stories would never disappear though. Their mere look was said to be enough to fry poor orcs where they stood.

      The sudden tramp of boots made him jump, face turning white. Then from around the corner came a troop of vaal. They were tall, with pale faces and black cloaks. Gereb at any other time would have shivered at the sight for they ruled Gereb’s tribe with an iron fist. Now he leapt for joy. With a smile on his face he went to greet his masters.

 

      Fundem smelt the air again. Yes, the odour was unmistakable; it had to be an orc. Carefully he followed the trail of smell through the winding tunnels. As he travelled he realised that the place was like a labyrinth. Many were the crossroads where passages split or were joined by another. Although he surmised that the orc was heading the shortest route to reinforcements, still he had no option but to follow. Without guidance he could wander these tunnels forever.

      Suddenly he heard the faint sounds of someone approaching. A grating voice echoed into his sensitive ears. Fundem quickly retreated to a narrow side passage he had just passed. As he did Iscandar’s fire dimmed and the sword shrunk back. Fundem lay upon the cold rock and peeked about the corner. 

      From down a rise in the tunnel some distance away a troop of warriors came. In the lead was a swarthy orc. It was his voice that Fundem heard complaining loudly that he should not be the one to lead. Even from this distance he could be seen shaking in fear, eyes darting left and right in terror.

      Behind the orc marched six vaal striding in aquiline grace. They were of a race long reviled and greatly feared by all decent folk.  Many were the names people had whispered in hushed voices. Chief among these was the name Vampire, for blood sustained their deathly souls. Like some evil folk they had not always been so. Old tales whispered of a dark betrayal that had cursed an entire race. 

      They were tall with manlike proportions, though more gaunt and with six fingers on each hand. Their faces were long and not unhandsome topped with long black hair tied in braids. All wore blackened mail and crimson cloaks. Some bore swords and others long hafted axes. The tallest of the vaal had an ornate rapier strapped to a polished red gold belt.

      They were beings that Fundem knew well. He had fought against them in a great war when they had sought to extend their empire to the surface. They were ever denizens of the underground, dwellers of darkened cities that had never seen the light of day. Legends told of a loathsome need for blood, which they drank in crystal glasses like the finest wines; and the vintage they savoured above all others was elvish.

      Fundem moved further down the side passage as the warriors approached. Ducking out of sight around a sharp bend he waited for them to pass. The scuffle of feet floated down the passage as they approached. Then, suddenly, it stopped. Fundem cursed silently. He had hoped that the vaal’s acute sense of smell would be dampened by orcish stench. His hope was in vain, for he now heard a cautious scuffle coming directly towards him.

                Fundem swiftly retreated down the next stretch of corridor. To his vexation it ended in a room carved out of rock. Several piles of rusted iron lay about the abandoned chamber. Once it was probably a guardroom, though to guard from what was knowledge lost in the mists of time. Fundem gazed at the sombre walls, realising he was trapped.   There was no way out.

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