A mighty world of wonder and magic approaches a global turning point, and a global war. One young man stumbles into it all, bonds with an elven princess, and changes everything. Join us for adventure, romance, and a ton of action in this passionately acclaimed High Fantasy Epic!
Fantasy and Science Fiction by Wayne Edward Clarke
Fantasy and Science Fiction by Wayne Edward Clarke
A mighty world of wonder approaches a global turning point, and a global war. Join us for adventure, romance, and a ton of action in this passionately acclaimed High Fantasy Epic!
This is the first novel in The Nexus of Kellaran series. Most of the magic-based societies on Kellaran are at least as advanced as our own modern technological societies, and some are more advanced that ours. The challenges they face will test them to their limits.
We follow Mark as he finds himself at the center of an intense whirlwind of events that will completely transform the world of Kellaran in only seven days.
Rough drafts were test-read by thousands online who gave an average rating of 9.36 out of 10. Many wrote to say that it's the best book they ever read, and it's been polished and finalized since then. All my fans are eagerly awaiting the sequel, and demanding it soon!
Mark and Talia Translocated back to the Xervian port of The Sea People and resumed their position floating in the focus of the smaller reflector, both of them soaking up power like the warmth of a hot shower after a cold day.
“They’re leaving.” Povon reported from Hilia with obvious relief.
“Thanks.” Mark told her with a grim smile. “We can see that from here, actually.”
The Xervian Wards were only a hundred yards offshore here, and Mark and Talia were only sixty yards back from the beach, so when two billion or so Sylvan and dragons appeared outside the Wards and began blasting at it with everything the had, they appeared like a colossal living wall across the world spewing fire and light, and a frighteningly close one too.
Suddenly Holanam arrived in mid-air beside them, and yelped at the sight.
“Is there any particular reason why you decided to join us?” Mark asked. “As you can see, this might not be the safest place right now.”
“Ya. Iski said I should, and she’s our best precog. You’ll probably need some extra luck, and I think I’m getting good at it. Can you tell what I’m doing?”
“Yes. Your power isn’t just making you glow like elves usually do. It’s making a whole area glow for about ten feet around, including around Talia and I.”
“That’s my luck field. I’m pretty sure it is, anyway.”
“After what we just went through, we’ll take it.” Talia nodded.
“Ya. It was pretty weird back at Zarkog's mountain after you left too. Balen was in a five foot wide sphere of Shielding, and this dragon blew up right above her and covered it with so much dragon guts she couldn’t see out, and she vomited in her bubble and was stuck in there with it. She kept fighting though. She’s a little toughie, she is. I don’t think he was one of ours, the dragon that is, even though he was pretty big. I sure hope he wasn’t one of ours.”
He shivered a bit, and Talia gave him as tender a hug as their armor would allow.
Yazadril suddenly joined them. “Are you kids okay?”
“Yes, we’re fine. None of our people were killed.” Talia assured him, and shared a hug with him too.
“Good to hear.” he nodded, and turned to watch the Serminakis. “We didn’t get Zarkog, but we think we wounded him, and other than that almost everything else is going our way. He didn’t get you either. We figure he lost at least seven thousand of his best spell-casters when the Wards in Venak went down, and another thirty thousand that minded the Sylvan Barrier, and perhaps sixty thousand more on the Wards around Serminak. And from what we saw when those Wards went down, he likely lost all manner of emplacements, personnel and infrastructure that was situated on his coast next to the Wards.
“The Venaks have dumped the bodies of a few dozen Sylvan and twenty dragons into the harbor, as well as a few hundred humans. We suspect that there has been a change of regime there, and that King Renem is one of the ones now floating in Cartyop Bay. And since most of the Sylvan and Dragons stationed there have remained there, we think they may have joined the insurrection, though we have no idea whether they’re still loyal to Zarkog. On the other hand, they seem to be well hunkered-down behind their defenses and none have joined our battle with Serminak on either side, so we can still hope they’ve decided to remain neutral for the duration.
“We suffered an amazingly small amount of casualties in the battle, and we got out with all our fallen and our wounded. The inclusion of our entire force in a compound Link was a crucial breakthrough.
“There’s a good chance that these here are all he has left who’re capable of Translocating. And right now, all of these fools are here attacking these Wards in order to get at you, which is a futile effort, instead of attacking one of our less well-protected positions. Meanwhile our wounded are being treated, our Translocation and Flight medallions are being recharged, and with every minute that passes, our nations are more prepared to repel invaders.”
“Their efforts are truly futile?” Talia asked. “They cannot break through these Wards?”
“There’s enough of them that they could do it if they went about it the right way, but they’re not.”
None of them faced each other as they spoke; instead they watched the endless wall of attackers.
“This is weird, just floating here while two billion enemies try to kill us from a stone’s throw away.” Holanam observed nervously, and the others had no response to that. “Especially with the way the Wards here are completely invisible. Not even a ripple when lightning hits it.”
After a pair of minutes, Mark asked; “Is there anything else we should be doing right now?”
“Actually, that’s what I came here to ask.” Yazadril chuckled. “Nemia’s helping Hilsith see to the wounded. I was sent on behalf of The Just Alliance to see if you had any suggestions.”
“No, the only idea I have is to wait till noon at Focus Mountain, have the Xervians open a corridor in their Wards from the west coast to there, and blast the hell out of this bunch after we lead them in. After I put this piece back, of course.”
“Ah. Well it is a good plan, if not a solution to our overall strategic situation. Oh well, I guess we can’t depend on you for everything.”
“No, but I’ll let you know if I think of anything.”
“Could you do us a favor, Father?" Talia asked. "Could you see if we can have some repair done on our Wards at Hilia? They took quite a beating.”
“They didn’t crack the ones The High People gave you, did they?”
“No, nor the Xervian ones, but those two layers were the last ones left.”
“Ah. Good to know. I’ll see what I can do.” Yazadril nodded. “I’ll be listening in case you need anything else, or just to talk.”
“Thanks, us too.” Talia said, and with a quick kiss for his daughter, Yazadril was gone.
They floated there for another fifty minutes, and then all of the Serminakis stopped attacking the Wards. The black dragon and his bronze companion who had directed the hunt for them appeared, opposite the barrier from where Mark, Talia and Holanam floated. They appeared to be yelling in anger at all about them, though the sound of it was blocked by the Wards. They organized perhaps thirty thousand spell-casters in concentric vertical rings centered on a spot in the Wards about nine hundred feet up, and then they all cast a spell on it. A red beam appeared between the spot they cast on and the distant horizon.
“Did my eyes deceive me, or did that ray shoot away from the Wards?” Holanam asked.
“It did.” Mark nodded. “It looks like they’ve finally decided to go about it the right way, as Yazadril would say.”
“Instead of attacking the Wards with all their power, they’re draining power out of them.” Talia stated with grudging admiration, even as millions of Sylvan and dragons started adding their efforts to the spell.
The red beam thickened and brightened considerably, and kept on doing so.
“Somonik?” Mark psionically called. “You might want to look at this.”
”We see it. A worrying sight. That power drain is a straight line, venting horizontally, and while it eventually reaches the void, it is out of sight due to distance while still within the atmosphere. I have dispatched a team to intercept it beyond our enemies’ vision. They will attempt to recapture the energy and feed it back into our Wards without the enemy’s knowledge. However, it appears doubtful that they will succeed before the Wards are holed. Ours are not of a nature to fail catastrophically, but if the enemy continues as they are, they can eventually open a hole large enough to allow some number of them to pass within, and onto Xervian soil.
“If you wish to make a stand there, we will assign the necessary personnel to hold the breach. The enemy will be in a tactically disastrous position, having to hold the hole open and deploy through it into our concentrated fire.”
“No, not yet. We’ve got to find a way to end this war, so I’d like to avoid further bloodshed if at all possible. We’ll buy some time. Try to find a way to hunt down Zarkog, as I’m sure we’re already trying to do. If nothing else, we have to hold down the death toll as much as possible, on both sides. Sooner or later we’ll both have to turn our attention to the demons, and we have to find a way to get this horde on our side before then.
“How long till they’re through?”
“Four minutes till they can pass a Sylvan through the hole, fourteen for a dragon, at their present pace. But they’ll be able to cast a spell through it in less than a minute.”
“Well, I’m replenished enough that I’m starting to sweat.” Mark stated. “How about we see if these guys can chase us all over the world as well as they chased us all over Serminak?”
“One moment.” Talia said with a thoughtful look. “Somonik, I imagine you know a great number of Translocation references.”
“Would you give them to me? We’ll want to have as many prepared choices as we can get.”
“Thank you. We’ll stay available for communications.”
“You are welcome. I will try to keep you abreast of developments. The Just Alliance appreciates the risk you will take in order to hold our enemies’ attention. Be assured that we will make full use of the time this grants us.”
“Hold on a moment.” Mark said. “Holanam, how many references can you keep in mind at once?”
“Maybe a dozen.”
“All right. Talia, give him ten random references. Holanam, you pick one of them at random. Got it?”
“All right, we’ll just see where your luck leads us. You pick our destinations at random, and when we should go. We’ll cast the Translocations, and you trigger them. All right, here we go.”
They appeared a moment later over open ocean in the dark.
“Are they following us?” Mark asked.
“They have ended their assault on our Wards.” Somonik assured them. “We will take steps to ensure that the same method will not be effective again. Take care.”
“Thanks.” Mark told him as the white dragon closed the Link.
Then there was nothing but the stars above and the ocean below, and the wind.
“I wonder why Somonik would have a Translocation reference to a place in the middle of the ocean?” Talia mused.
“Only one reason I can think of.” Mark grinned. “Good fishing.”
“I’m so scared.” Holanam stated a moment later, and Talia pulled him over so that she stood between the two males with an arm around each.
“We are too, my friend.” Mark told him.
“Ya? You don’t act like it.”
“It’s the training. When you’ve trained as a warrior in the manner I did, you fully expect that there’ll be days, or even weeks or months, when you’re scared to death all the time. Having a few years to get ready for constantly having the crap scared out of you makes it a lot easier to deal with. It’s the most important part of the training, learning to deal with fear. But no one can eliminate it, and they’d be foolish to do so if they could.”
“Ah. I could have been a knight by now if I’d wanted to, but I never did. It seemed like too much work, really. The scholar’s easy life for me, I thought, little did I know. There wasn’t much that was scholarly about our little jaunt to Serminak today.”
“True, but the world will need to know what happened today, so it’s lucky that there were scholars there and taking part. You can make a good account of the truth of it, in years ahead when there’s less to do.”
“I could do that.” Holanam nodded. “Maybe we should go soon.”
“Any time you want.” Talia smiled. “Pick somewhere.”
“All right. Let’s go.” Holanam smiled.
Sylvan and dragons appeared all around them, and one Sylvan was right in front of them and facing them, so close that Talia could have reached out and touched her. A fraction of a second later Talia’s Translocation took effect, even as Mark reached for his sword and Holanam yelled in panic.
They emerged over the stark mountains of southwestern Kletiuk, muscles tensed and hearts pounding.
“Sweet Mother that was close!” Mark cursed.
A second later Holanam started to chortle. “I wonder if we looked as surprised as that Sylvan? She looked like she was ready for a heart cramp!”
Another second and the three of them were laughing almost hysterically, and they did so for almost a minute.
Suddenly Holanam stopped and pushed the bangs of his black hair out of his brown eyes as two dragons appeared in the valley far below them, so far away that they could barely be seen to be a black and a bronze. He triggered the next Translocation without another word.
They appeared over a jungle three hundred leagues to the north, only fifty feet in the air, and were warmed by a late-afternoon tropical breeze.
“They’ll never give up you know.” Holanam stated nervously. “Dragons are like that. As long as the order to get you stands, and even after that if they start to take it personally. They’ll keep hunting you for a thousand years, or a million if you live that long and that’s what it takes, until they get you or you die.”
“Or until we get them.” Mark countered. “We’re pretty fresh right now, and we could take those two spotters if we wanted to. If it comes to it, we will. But as long as they’re all wasting their time chasing us, they’re not hurting anyone else.”
“That’s right.” Holanam nodded as he glanced around at their surroundings. “Somonik probably came here for hunting. Doesn’t he go anywhere where there’s people?”
“I haven’t been passing you any references to places close to settlements or within Wards.” Talia explained. “We don’t want our pursuers to endanger anyone else, but we don’t want them to lose interest in the chase either. So we’ll just keep touring the wilderness of Kellaran for as long as we can. Then we’ll either go to Xervia or The Nine Valleys and rest up behind their Wards for the next round.
“That’s why your luck could be so important.” Mark agreed. “Not so we can escape our pursuers, but so we can remain just out of their reach while remaining safe, tantalizing them for as long as we can. But it’s likely to be scary a few times, and we’ll probably have more close scrapes. But you don’t have to stay with us if you’d rather not.”
“I have to stay with you, for my vow of service and Princess Alilia’s Compulsion, and for my own self-respect.”
“And we’re glad to have you.” Talia told him with a warm smile.
“Thanks. Say, I have some good hiking rations, dried fruit and nuts and whatnot. Shall we have breakfast?”
“Certainly.” Talia chuckled. “And to add to our menu, we can have a few things left over from yesterday’s breakfast.”
“Excellent!” Mark chortled. “Let’s make a production of it! If our pursuers catch a glimpse of it, it’ll vex them for sure!”
And so it happened that when the black and the bronze appeared as distant specks high above, it was to observe their quarry lounging on a huge white silk tablecloth that was scattered with glinting silver dishes and pitchers and centered by a twelve-flame candelabra, leisurely enjoying a fine repast. The rest of their pursuers enjoyed the merest glance of this spectacle when the horde arrived, just before their dining prey vanished. They were to enjoy this brief view another twenty-seven times over the next hour and a half as the big human and the two elves took their time with their meal. Then they became ghosts again, and the psionics in Serminak’s mobile forces were frustrated to have to find them over and over again, only to arrive there a fraction of a second after those they sought had fled.