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Paul H. Kogel's Books and Short Stories
The ghost of Nemond the Green tells The Tale of Karryn, and reveals the events that lead to the First Dark War of Dylar. (Available in print or Kindle Reader)
The story is about a notorious outlaw, a brigand as they are called in Dylar. Teahl, the High Wizard of the Guild in Ryviton, did not know that this brigand was of his own blood, the son he thought long dead. His relationship with the Lady Kartyn was little more than a drunken fling. She gave birth to the child, whom she named Karryn, without notifying the father. Teahl, however, due to his powerful magic, knew of the birth but since he had not been contacted, ignored it. He did not wish to complicate Lady Kartyn’s life nor cause a scandal to fall on the house of the Guild.
Upon one dreadful and stormy night, when the child was still a babe and Lady Kartyn was traveling with her entourage to Seabra, a band of brigands attacked. They killed her and the guards and stole away her beloved child, which they took back to their layer to raise as a member of their brigand band. They were unaware that a member of the Coven of Seven had witnessed their crime. They did not know the child’s name, so they called him Palamay, after Palatach, the leader of the brigand horde. When the carnage was discovered and the upturned carriage inspected, the child could not be found among the bodies of the dead. Therefore, it was reported that the child had been washed away in the nearby river or carried off by wolves. Now Teahl believed the child to be dead and that, he thought, was the end of the matter.
But the child grew up strong and was trained as a brigand by his captures. He was told that he was abandoned as a child and that Beatria, a member of the band, found it in her heart to raise and care for him. Palamay was taught to read by a member of the band when he was just a young boy and he read everything he could get his hands on about battle tactics, stealth and strategies.
It was not long before he discovered within himself rudimental mage powers. They were crude powers at first, but with practice, he soon mastered them as much as one could without the aid of the Guild, that is. Before long, with the aid of his best friend Dalloch, Palamay wrenched control of the band, now called The Phantoms, away from Palatach and his horde.
Therefore, the new Phantoms rode with a different tactic in mind. Palamay set himself up as the King of the Brigands and demanded a fee from any brigand band operating in the Northwest. The Phantoms enjoyed the best of both worlds. They became the wealthiest outlaws ever and seldom had to take the risk of being captured by the patrols.
So all went well for Palamay until one day, Sestia, a member of Coven of Seven, lured him to her cave in the mountains. She offered him a deal that was too sweet for him to refuse. She would give him her power of witchcraft, and reveal to him his real name if he would retrieve the Blood Sword of Baine from the Bogs of the Sinking Sands in the heart of the Forest of Shadows.
Through much travail and bloodshed, which included a battle with Barrows the Wolf Rider and a horde of his wee people, Palamay succeeded at this task and returned with the Blood Sword of Baine. He desired Sestia’s powers but had no real interest in knowing his real name. He supposed that Palamay was as good a name as any. However, all that changed when he learned that his father was none other than Teahl himself, the High Wizard of the Guild in Ryviton.
Sestia’s plan for Palamay/Karryn was to claim, by right-of-birth, a seat in the Circle of Mages. He was to seize control of the Guild and eventually all of Dylar -- if not Karryn himself, than his ancestors. But one day, eventually, all the power in Dylar would be wrenched away from the Guild of Mages and placed into the hands of the ones chosen by the Coven of Seven.
Sestia said to Karryn, “Dylar the Grey was the sworn enemy of our coven. He thought he had destroyed us, but one day we will destroy his island namesake. You and your ancestry will be the hands by which we will make it so.”
Things so often do not turn out the way we expect, and so it was with Karryn’s attempt to gain control of the Guild in Ryviton. He confronts his father to no avail, kills his father’s successor and even destroys the Forest of Shadows all in his attempt to gain a seat in the Guild.
The reckless use of the dark arts had caused him to slip into the Courts of Chaos on several occasions and finally, upon destroying the Forest of Shadows, he lost his mind completely and became a madman who was a danger even to himself.
This book was written for readers who love lots of fast paced action with clashes between mighty warriors and mythical creatures, or those who love magic wielded with reckless abandonment. It was not written for those who like rosy endings, or those who like to read about how the bad eventually become good. This just doesn’t happen in this book. In the “Tale of Karryn”, the reader will virtually enter into the life of a young boy who seems to be reasonably human with the capacity for love and caring. Instead, the reader will watch with a pointblank view, as he grows increasingly wicked. Finally, the evil within turns on him and leaves him a stark-raving madman with no redeeming qualities.
If there is a moral to this story it is this: If you practice evil deeds, you can be sure that you will suffer evil’s effects in your body, mind and soul.
The Dylarian Chronicles
The Tale of Karryn
by Paul H. Kogel
eep in the bowels of the dark corridors that run secretly beneath the mountains of the North Horns, the Coven of Seven hatched their cruel cabal. Neither Telmax nor Syntal was aware that the coven even existed, let-alone the plans that were being conjured by kettle and bowl. Knowing would have been a curse to them, but not knowing was the curse of the entire Isle. Even had they known, what power did they possess to stop them? They knew no magic and did not possess the power that would be needed to match the coven’s control over the dark arts. Only Dylar
, and perhaps the enlisted aid of his good friend Teahl, could hope to measure up to the task.
In years past, the wizards of the place where Dylar
had once called home had defeated the Coven of the Rock and set the remnant of thirteen afloat on a ship without sail. The witches’ powers were bound and the Grey Wizard known as Dylar
was assigned to their keeping. By force of the Guild, all aboard lost memory of the place and the events that went before, save that they were castaways and subjected to the Grey that rode with them upon the currents of the sea. The Guild was saddened to sacrifice Dylar
in this matter, but he had agreed to his fate knowing that someone had to do it. He believed his sacrifice to be an important one for his homeland, though now, with his memory taken, he had no idea in just what way this deed benefited anyone.
Septems without food or fresh water was to finish the lot, but the Guild had not considered the cruelty of the dark waters of the sea. When all but life itself was gone, a storm rose up to finish them all. The thunder of sky and sea, together with the wind that howled and kicked up the black waters of death, made short work of the small craft. The waves sent it climbing up and up and then plunged it into the depths of the underworld with all the force and power of nature. Once the ship was lost, the storm ended as if it’s only purpose was to be the destroyer of those aboard.
opened his eyes from a dream that had taken his life, a dream that left him cold and alone in the stillness of his watery grave. But a dream it was not, only that death did take him and spewed him out upon these shores. The isle’s inhabitance nursed him to health and saved him from his pilgrimage to the other side of life. Some say that upon his bed, he did in fact pass but was sent back by the Ancients for a work upon this isle.
Nine of the thirteen witches also survived upon the northwest shores and away from the bay where the islanders found Dylar
. Unknown to all, they found the dark corridors in the depths of the northern-eastern parts of the mountains to be a most fitting abode. They dwelt in the darkness with perfect pleasure until two of them began to fight over the direction the new coven would take. A third, named Baine, made the decision for them and sent those two to the other side of life.
Now, the coven that Baine called The Coven of Seven was bent on capturing leadership of the isle. But not overtly, no, that was not the way of the Seven. Baine sent Sestia, with her faculties bent towards the creatures of the ground, to raise the worms to devour the plants of the fields, the crofts and in the three great forests of the isle.
He was not aware of how he knew, but Dylar
felt deep in his soul that the plague on the plants was of dark origin. He had no memory of the witches or the reason or means by which he had arrived upon this isle, but he felt the dark forces at work and knew how to combat them. With the aid of Teahl, a young islander that showed promise of magery and who was a friend of his sons, Telmax and Syntal who showed no such talent, Dylar
rode to the eastern foothills of the North Horns. He and Teahl alone climbed high upon the mountains that rose above the cliffs of the northern shores of the isle. The days turned into septems as they roamed in search of witches and held up poorly in the nights that haunted Dylar
of his unknown past. Glimpses, mere smidgens of the terrible events of his past, spotted his dreams by day and by night.
On the fortieth night upon the mountains, Dylar
began to question his own mind. Did he really know that there were witches in these mountains? Did the forces that seemed to press upon him, really exist? The glimpses of the past that stole away his sleep, had they once been true or were they only dreams of his own making? Thirteen, thirteen, the number floated repeatedly through his head. Thirteen witches, what did it mean? He tossed, turned, and squirmed upon the wool-blanketed ground that acted as his bed. Cold sweat permeated his forehead as he tried with all his might to remember what the number thirteen had to do with all this. As soon as he would see upon his minds-eye, shadows of thirteen witches around a cauldron of flame and smoke, a red veil would cover the scene and he would be shocked awake. He knew the veil meant that his memories had been taken away and that he would never know what lay behind it, until the spell was lifted from him. He held out little hope of that, since he didn’t even know the place from which he came.
Then one morning, Teahl stood at the edge of a crag and pointed down the mountain to the west. “Look,” he shouted to Dylar
who came running to his side.
There, among jagged rocks and thickets on a lower level of the mountain, rose dark smoke from a hole that bore downward into the depths of the rock. There were sounds of laughter and chanting coming from the cave but it was so faint that Teahl couldn’t make it out clearly.
began to sway and his eyes rolled back in his head. Suddenly his hair and beard turned white and his skin drooped loosely upon his bones. Teahl caught him before he fell backwards. He helped him to lie down gently and quickly drew the water-skin from his pack and with a soaked cloth, dabbed Dylar
“Are you alright?”
“I feel as if I will never be alright again,” Dylar replied, pulling himself up to a sitting position. “Did you smell that?”
“I smelled something acrid,” he replied, “but it was not so awful that it would make you faint away.”
“It was sulfur, and it was the image in my mind that made me ill,” Dylar
said, as he drew the damp cloth over his forehead and cheeks. Then he noticed his hands. His eyes grew wide with astonishment. The skin was loose and his veins streaked across the back of his hands like red and purple rivers running just beneath the surface of his pale, wrinkled and bony appendages. His nails were long and bent in short slopes, like the talons of a hawk about to glean a field rat for his next gruesome meal. He dropped the cloth and felt his newly wrinkled face and his beard that had not only turned white, but also had grown to reach below his neck and now rested upon his chest. He felt the hair of his head as it now draped over his shoulders. “They have done this to me.”
“Who has done this thing?” Teahl asked. “The witches?”
“Yes. They knew somehow that I was here,” he said, as he began to rise to his feet. His bones ached and he felt as old as he now looked. Placing his hands upon his lower back, he stood as tall as he could and gazed back to the west and down upon the smoke. He stretched his back into an arch and Teahl could hear his bones cracking as they adjusted about his spine. “I don’t know how they know me, or how I know them, but we have some connection and they don’t like it…and neither do I. They know that I can stop them and that I’m here to do just that, so they are trying to gain the advantage over me by taking away what little youth I have left. Age me to my death, quite likely.”
“We can do nothing now, my friend,” Teahl said as he lifted Dylar’s right arm and placed it around his neck. “We must return to Ryviton and enlist the aid of the younger and stronger men of the manor to help us defeat these witches.”
was insulted and jerked his arm from around Teahl’s neck. “Do you think that this is work for the young and strong of body? I am, in truth, but moments older than when I was smitten and no less able to defeat these servants of the damned. Watch and learn, my humble disciple, for you are about to see something that will confound you to the quick.”
With that Dylar
stretched out his hands towards the cave where the smoke ascended. He began to groan deeply within his throat. The sound that he made turned to a low hum, then to a loud hum that seemed to come from afar. The droning echoed throughout the mountains and returned with such a force that Teahl had to cover his ears for fear that his eardrums would burst inside his head. Dark clouds rolled in from the north and with them the sea began to turn and churn with waves that rose and folded in upon themselves. They crashed in violent torrents upon the rocky shore below and splashed back out to sea in a spectacle of white caps and frothing foam. The wind blew in hard and fast and whistled past as it kicked up dirt and debris, that moments before, had rested peacefully between the rocks of the mountain.
The noise that the witches made grew louder and Teahl could tell that it was now sounds of panic, fear and confusion. Lightning flashed across the sky as the humming had turned into words, no not words but unrecognizable phrases and syllables as if Dylar
was chanting in a language unknown to Teahl. Suddenly, there was a faint rumble deep within the bowels of the mountain. The rocks began to shake violently and continued until Teahl feared that the very ground beneath his feet would fail him.
“Fear not, my friend,” shouted Dylar
over the ruckus that was all around them. “The shaking of this mountain is not meant for you, but for the souls of the damned that dwell beneath this rocky floor. Behold,” he shouted as he pointed below. From his hand, shot a bolt that struck the ground just above the cave.
The cavern erupted in an explosion of flame. Splintered rock and slippery mud oozed down and over the opening of the cave. Dylar
lifted his hand to his shoulder and then pushing it forward again, sent another bolt towards the cave. Another explosion succeeded in closing the cave completely.
When the smoke cleared and the debris settled, there was only a red-hot glow at the spot where the cave had been. The rumbling gradually slowed and stopped. The clouds faded to blue skies and the sea flowed back into the calm that had been stolen from it only moments before. The wind softened into a cool breeze as Dylar
slumped to the ground, this time before Teahl could catch him.
Again, Teahl revived him with the cool, damp cloth upon his brow. Dylar’s hair turned brown once more with only the normal amount of grey that had been there before his ordeal. His skin tightened around his bones and his fleshly countenance returned. He appeared no worse for the wear, except that he felt tired, very tired.
“Is it over?” asked Teahl. “Are the witches dead?”
“I don’t know yet,” he replied. “Help me up and I will see.”
Once on his feet Dylar looked towards the red-hot glow that he had made in the mountain below them. He closed his eyes and lifting his hands, placed his thumbs on each of his temples.
“It is over for us,” he said, still with his eyes closed and his thumbs pressed against his temples, “but it is not over for them. I thought there were thirteen, but there were only seven. Only three remain but with their wounds, I don’t believe they will last through the night.”
And thus the days of the Coven of Seven were thought to have ended, and the last days of Dylar
began. The strain that the event had placed upon him, in the waning years of his life, was most grievous indeed. Though his countenance returned, the age that was placed upon his heart remained and he was never the same again.
Of these events, he never spoke and asked Teahl not to make it known to the Halls of History, which Dylar
would commission his sons to build. He had no idea why he and the witches had come to this isle, but somehow he knew there was a connection. He loved the people here and did not wish to bring them shame. He was determined that he and his sons, that the lovely Lady Stylia had borne him, would bring only good things to the isle. The people knew nothing of building cities and roads, so this would be his gift to his new homeland. Teahl agreed not to reveal these things until after Dylar’s death, because he knew that no evil had occurred by Dylar’s actions and believed that the people of the isle should know of this great deed, which was performed by their benevolent benefactor.
And as he so commissioned, his sons Telmax and Syntal completed the Halls of History in Dylar’s last year on this side of life. Dylar
believed that any kingdom, which possessed the kind of pride that these people demonstrated, needed a place to chronicle its history. That history would begin with his life and death, and all that followed upon this, his newly beloved isle.
Now, in his last days, Dylar
called Telmax and Syntal to his bed and said, “Sons of my soul, I am proud of you. You have honored your father’s name and your mother who has passed to the other side of life before me. As you are aware, Teahl, your good friend and mine, is organizing a Guild of Mages in this manor. Many of them will come from Lochtar. If Ryviton is to be the home of this grand Guild, then this manor must be transformed into a city greater than that of Lochtar. Your skills in masonry and carpentry are unmatched upon this isle. Build this city for the Guild. Make it grand and make it white, for the craft that I have passed on to Teahl is of the White Order only, though I am of the Grey. The darkness that is in me, I wish not to share with these fine people, so I opened only the white side of my craft to Teahl. He will, I’m sure, learn on his own the dark side. His heart is good, and he will know what to do with it. So as I pass from this side of life and carry away the secret that is, to this very day, hidden deep inside the dark corridors of my weary soul, I beseech you to do this thing. Do it for my name sake and for that of your beloved mother.”
And so the days of Dylar
had ended. The people of the isle wept, for they loved this wizard that had washed up on their shores and had blessed them with his many wondrous deeds. He had taught them how to plum their manors and how to keep them clean and how to avoid disease. The people, to honor Dylar
, named the isle after him. And so it is, to this day called the Isle of Dylar.
Paul H. Kogel
I told you once, as Nemond and I began following Karryn through the Forest of Shadows, that I could not bring myself to pity Karryn because I knew too much of his evil ways. Well, now that had all changed for me. I do indeed feel sorrow for the man. Oh, I know that he had been a willing subject for Sestia and her evil magic, and I know that he wielded it with reckless disregard for all that is commonly considered decent, and that he had most likely lost his soul long before he even found her magic. But now, in his present state, he was indeed a miserable soul, worthy of pity and sorrow.