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Paul Tonks

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Member Since: Mar, 2005

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The Mapping of Markesh
by Paul Tonks   

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Category: 

Fantasy

Publisher:  Athena Press ISBN-10:  1844013146 Type: 
Pages: 

266

Copyright:  Feb 2005
Fiction

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The Ajya-na-ku are coming. The self proclaimed society of Owls they terrorise the peoples of Markesh; a continent hidden behind the great rocks. A coalition sends forth an expedition of dwarf, Elf, human and Protalien adventurers to map these mysterious lands, but behind the expeditions purpose is a more sinister truth, chance encounters are soon found to be more encounters of design. With the expedition suddenly flung into the conflicts of Markesh they join forces with the many clans of dwarves to hold back the Ajya-na-ku and their attempts to release the dragon lord, Dagtorn. For should they fail alliances will shift and none shall escape the wrath of the ancient ones; the fore-fathers of the black owls, those known as the the Coeur-vu-du.

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Excerpt Chapter five:

†She had awoken but was still very weak. Chevon had also had chance to study the poison; she had a cure in mind, but needed apples to express the juice required to complete the medicine.
Singer was tasked to scout the forest in search of apples and if found and she was able, to bring some back. She took off, breaking the canopy with urgency; she knew the importance of her task but also the vast expanse of the forest. No sooner had she entered clear air than she was set upon by two of the devilishly wicked Black Owls. Her wings were cut by vicious talons as sharp as the finest blades; she was however faster and more agile than her muggers, and her ability to roll with the blows prevented serious damage from occurring. She dived back towards the tree line, knowing the confined spaces would give her a slight advantage against these much bigger birds. She dodged and ducked through branches and leaves, yet the two would not be shaken. Then suddenly she pirouetted in mid air and cut beneath them; they were slower to turn, but still pursued. Then a squawk sounded out from the rear and black feathers burst forth across the sky. A screaming Owl faltered and was seen careering to the floor, hitting limb and creeper as he fell.
Wingerís patience had been rewarded; she had seen Singerís exit from the trees but was unable to warn her without fatal consequences. Yet the Owlís focus had given her an advantage, allowing a sneak attack with a sufficient delivery to turn the tables.
Singer turned rapidly to see what had happened and to confuse her pursuer, and was relieved by the sight of Winger closing with the Owl. The remaining Owl knew he was now outnumbered, so he tried to climb up and out of the forest; for once in the open he could soar higher than the two Hawks and call upon aid, as other Black Owls were bound to be in the neighbourhood. The Hawks could not allow his escape, so with wings beating for all their worth they closed the gap with a more determined purpose. Winger caught him first, grasping a foot. Scratching and kicking they began to tumble. Singerís talons caught the Owl at its nape, sinking in quickly and severing vital nerves: a perfect kill.
The Owl dropped, but Winger's foot was caught, and with wings flapping intensely he desperately made every effort to keep the two of them aloft. However, despite his courageous efforts the weight was too much to hold and they were soon plummeting to the ground with increasing speed. Singer noticing the problem and adopted a state of free fall in an effort to grasp the limp Owl and share the weight of Wingerís burden. Not a moment too soon, Wingerís struggling paid off. She was free of the icy grasp and managed to swoop upward as the carcass crashed against a rocky outcrop.
The birds returned to Tylerís company to inform them of what had happened.††





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