Just as peace between Omunga and Sakova appears to be a certainty, an evil mage steals the body of the newly chosen Katana, leader of the Omungan people. As the new Katana plots the destruction of the Sakova, a strange mystical disease ravages the country producing widespread famine. Both countries stand poised to anhilate each other, but the Star of Sakova fears a greater threat, which is brewing unseen across the ocean. To confront that new threat, she must preserve the armies of her Omungan enemy. Against all odds, she embarks upon a path towards a peaceful solution to the war, a path that could likely imperil the very existence of her own people.
Meanwhile, two young orphans discover that they are sisters and set out from the Sakova on an ocean voyage to discovery their roots. What they discover is enough to terrorize both the Omungans and the Sakovans, if the young sisters manage to escape the Island of Darkness to tell their story.
Volume 5 of Forgotten Legacy
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Fantasy by Richard S. Tuttle
Fantasy by Richard S. Tuttle
Island of Darkness
Chapter 1 - Excerpt
First Minister of Omunga
Aakuta swept into the Vandegar Temple Through the unnatural windstorm that blew great columns of sand across the face of the building. Thousands of Jiadin warriors dressed in various Khadoran uniforms were converging on the ancient temple. The dark mage knew that the Jiadin had nowhere else to go. Both the free tribes of Fakara and the clans of Khadora now hunted them. Vandegar Temple was the only place that many of them could think of to return to. That is exactly why Aakuta had chosen to visit the ancient temple himself.
As Aakuta stepped through the door of the temple, he released the magical dust storm and cast a spell causing the interior of the building to be filled with an unnatural fog. Jiadin warriors shouted with alarm as the dense fog spread through the building. Aakuta ignored their shouts and headed for the stairs. With the aid of another magical spell, the dark mage swept the temple for the sound of a familiar voice. He smiled darkly as he detected the voice that he was looking for. Using the spell as a guide, Aakuta worked his way through the fog towards the voice.
The mage moved cautiously as he avoided the Jiadin warriors that were trying to navigate through the thick fog. Eventually, he found the room that he was looking for. He slipped through the doorway and moved silently to one of the corners of the room. He listened carefully as he allowed the fog to dissipate from everywhere except his corner of the room.
"This place gives me an ill feeling," commented a Jiadin warrior. "No fog should come out of nowhere like that one did. I think the spirit of Grulak has poisoned this place."
"Stop with the nonsense," chided Brakas. "Grulak knew no magic, and if he had a spirit it would be killing people not filling the temple with fog. I think you are just trying to avoid the conversation."
"What is there to avoid?" snapped the warrior. "Whatever scheme you have hatched since our defeat in Khadora is nothing more than a wish. Twice we have been misled into battle by the likes of you. There is not a man left alive who will ever follow you again."
"It is not me that you have to follow," retorted Brakas. "With Zygor dead, Vand will send another mage to lead you. You just have to gather the men and wait for him to arrive."
"Why should we wait?" countered the warrior. "Veltar led thousands to their death. Zygor did as well, and what do we have to show for it? While we starve to death, the free tribes are filling their bellies. You are wasting our time, Brakas."
"I am just asking you to wait around for a few days," pleaded Brakas. "I know Vand will send a replacement promptly. He seems to have some way of knowing when one is needed."
"You are not listening, Brakas," snapped the Jiadin warrior. "It is not the amount of time that we have to wait that matters here. The men are not going to fight for some wizard again. We were not only attacked by Khadorans this last time. We were also attacked by our Jiadin brothers."
"I know," frowned Brakas. "I was there, too, you know. I do not understand where they came from. And just who was that other mage? I have never seen him before."
"Has it ever occurred to you that this Vand just might have opposition where he comes from?" questioned the warrior. "I am not comfortable around mages any more. I just don't trust them."
"Well I am not a mage," assured Brakas.
"Doesn't matter to me," spat the warrior. "I don't trust you any more either. You have been nothing but trouble since you joined the Jiadin. We were strong enough to conquer all of Khadora before you and the mages showed up. Look at the Jiadin now. We are nothing but starving beggars. You wait for your mage, Brakas. Me and the men will be long gone from here."
"And where will you go?" inquired Brakas. "There is no place for you to go now. You are all hunted men. The Khadorans will kill you on sight. The free tribes will do worse. Worst of all, the new mage will be looking for you when he arrives. You might as well make yourselves comfortable and wait for him to arrive."
"Not in this lifetime," snarled the Jiadin warrior as he turned and stormed towards the door. "In fact, I may just come back up here with a few dozen men to teach you a lesson about toying with the Jiadin."
The warrior stormed out of the room, and Brakas kicked a chair across the floor. Aakuta could almost feel the fury and frustration in Brakas from his place of concealment. When he was sure that the warrior was long gone, Aakuta flicked his wrist at the door. It slammed shut. Brakas turned abruptly and stared at the door. Aakuta chose that moment to walk out of the small pocket of fog in the corner.
"You?" exclaimed Brakas. "You are the one who killed Zygor and led the Jiadin against us in Khadora. What are you doing here?"
"Aren't you afraid that the warriors will come back up here and tear you to shreds?" asked Aakuta.
"No," scowled Brakas. "They talk tough, but they don't want to mess with me. They know that Vand's mages favor and protect me. Who are you?"
"You may call me Aakuta," the dark mage smiled under his hood as he approached Brakas. "I heard you mention that Vand was sending a replacement. Where and when will he arrive?"
"I don't give that information out to anyone," Brakas replied adamantly. "Who paid you to attack us in Khadora? I can pay you more to work on our side."
"That is very generous of you," Aakuta said charmingly. "When and where will this magician arrive?"
"I don't sell out my friends," insisted Brakas. "I will tell you nothing."
Aakuta's hand shot out and grabbed Brakas by the throat. The Fakaran's eyes bulged as the mage tightened his grip, cutting off the air to the Jiadin's lungs.
"You don't have any friends," scowled Aakuta, "and if you did, you would sell them for a copper, just like you did to the Zaldoni. And as for Vand's people protecting you from me, you just need to dwell on what happened to Zygor. I will ask you one more time. Where and when? Answer or die."
Terror covered the face of Brakas as the Jiadin tried to indicate that he would tell the mage what he wanted to know. His lungs burned, and his eyes felt like they would pop out of their sockets. Suddenly, Aakuta released Brakas. The Jiadin dropped to his knees and gasped for breath.
"Speak," commanded the dark mage.
"Down near the mouth of the Meliban River," gasped Brakas. "He will arrive by boat. I don't know exactly when, but I think it will be soon. Vand has spies all over the place. He seems to know everything that goes on here."
"Will it be one man alone?" asked Aakuta. "Or will others drop him off?"
"He will arrive in a small boat," answered Brakas. "He will destroy the boat. Zygor said they never come more than one at a time. That is all that I know."
"Then you have outlived your usefulness," Aakuta declared as he grabbed Brakas by the throat again.
Brakas tried to scream for help, but the mage's grip was already too tight. Aakuta tightened his grip and lifted the Jiadin off the floor. He held Brakas aloft as the man struggled for breath. Eventually, Brakas stopped struggling. Aakuta tossed the body to the floor and strode for the door, a new dense fog already forming before him.