After the After-note… Introducing The Dragons of Gettysburg!

Hey readers,

It’s been quite a few months since last I posted on this blog. I just wanted to officially announce my next blog project, The Dragons of Gettysburg, here at ” http://wp.me/p3D5jJ-6 “. In short, this is my next novel, and it’s a big one. Once again, its a fantasy novel, but this time I wanted to write both about fantasy and about one of the most interesting times in American history (to me). You won’t find swords in here, nor too many bows, but I believe you will at least find a good story. I’ve provided a synopsis below. If you’re at least interested, the provided link will show you the first chapter. As always, I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the synopsis:

The New World was not always home to humans. In the grasses across the plains, beneath the caves and above the skies, creatures of magic coexisted with the original Native Americans. The settlement of the continent, begun by the European powers and aggressively extended by a newborn United States, drove magic and its creatures into secrecy and darkness. They hid, coming back only in small bands in small corners of the continent, and so they whiled their time away.
The year is now 1844, and the United States of America are a very un-magical place. Tensions between Free North and Slave South are reaching fever pitch, exacerbated with the Slave Power’s planned expansion south into Mexico.  Neither women nor slaves are free, and with the exception of suffragists and abolitionists, no one gives a damn. Secretly and unknown to most, entire settlements and towns are disappearing from the map.
 James Gracefield, once skilled bounty hunter and now lawman, becomes America’s first magician when a mysterious man of questionable humanity grants him an ancient book. He develops his magic away from the public eye, until fate calls and he makes his national debut by fighting in the Mexican American War. With his powers he calls forth clouds of wasps and armies of spiders, and manipulates rivers and grasses, but his magic comes at a cost as he catches the attention of dark forces, which threaten and destroy everything he holds dear. Guilt-struck and depressed, he moves to Washington D.C to work directly with the government in developing his war magic. Time passes, and another magician comes of age and emerges from the shadows. Simon Lancaster, a prominent social activist in the vein of Horace Greeley and William Lloyd Garrison, is as flamboyant and exuberant as James is reserved and bitter, as young and naïve as James is old and seasoned, and as curious and reckless as James is indifferent and cautious. For a short time, James tutors Simon in the art of war magic while they fight for the Union in the Civil War, but soon Simon breaks away to investigate the mysterious disappearance of old towns and cities, and the rise of magical incidents- an investigation which will also rob him of everything he loves. Meanwhile, a long and secret magical war reaches its final stages, and the future of America and magic teeters in the balance. 
 

Neil

Advertisements
Posted in Bridge over the Abyss | Leave a comment

Afterword-Note

Hi!
So you’ve read this far, you’ve finished our heroes’ stories, and you’ve left the world of Elysium, and now you come to this last page.

Rent and Everall, though separate, can potentially have more adventures. While Jack has retired into a nice and pleasant and peaceful life, his daughter Rebecca will soon come of age and change the world herself in a crisis that might make this previous book seem tame. Raychel is happily in her afterlife with her family. Scrimm is busy as a Book-Master but can potentially return in a story.

So…what do I do now?

I can foresee at some future a future crisis where Rebecca will have to step up. It would most likely come from overseas, and I can imagine Scrimm lending a helping hand. This is an idea I’ve thought of for some time, but I haven’t developed it in any way.Before that, though, there are maybe one or two stories that I can still tell about our characters. One about Lucio keeps coming back to me, in any case. It may be posted on this blog eventually. I am working on a second novel, also with magic, that deals with America and the Civil War. Some of these chapters may make their way onto here too, or on a separate blog that I would provide the link to.

Thank you once again for joining me in this story. I hope you enjoyed it, and if I publish more material I hope we can enjoy that together too!

Till next story,

Neil

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Epilogue

Reader, this is the final post of this story. The previous post has wrapped up the fates of Rent and Everall, Jack, Rebecca, and Scrimm, but Raychel still has a place to be after vanishing in the Barrow Maze. Thank you for reading this far. We just have a little left.

 

The Flux settled on her battle-worn clothes like dust, and Raychel took a step, and then another. The eddies and currents of the air felt distantly familiar, stirring faint memories. She took a look around and gazed at the swirling forms of gray mist, gray sky, and gray stone. Her mind registered no emotion, and even Arin had been struck dumb by the silence. She walked onward through the mist, grim and lonely. Soon the gray mist thinned and then dissipated entirely, leaving Raychel solitary on a vast plain of emptiness. The sky above her was bone white, with pinpricks of black. A dark moon gaped at her from the sky. In the horizon where white met gray, Raychel saw a faint pinprick of brighter white and walked on after it.

No time had passed and the world had come and gone before the pinprick of white resolved itself into a strange structure of otherworldly brilliance. An immense clear pyramid balanced upside-down upon a smaller pyramid of stone, but Raychel knew that even the small pyramid would be twice as large as Rent’s castle. Flying fingers of metal arced across the sky past the horizon. Raychel silently and inevitably drew near the tower, of which the top lunged away from her as far as she could see. As she drew near it, faint etchings on the tower jumped at her in a harmonious welcome, white on white on white. She touched it and her hand slid off the surface. The tower was as smooth as ice worn down for thousands of years.

 

Suddenly the etchings on the tower, white on white, glowed and resolved themselves into letters Raychel could read, letters that mirrored the workings of her own mind. She felt like remorseless eyes scanned her memories like eager treasure hunters flinging through sheaves of valuable maps in search of one single clue, and the faces of Elith, Eovayn, and her recent comrades swam before her face. A distant click in her mind dispelled the feeling of judgment, and then a series of figures formed on the tower and in her mind.

You”, it seemed to say “have proven your heart to us. Listen to our tale and take our lessons to heart before you step through.” The figures morphed into quicksilver red markings on the white tower, and Raychel stared at them and read.

 

A call to run, to hide, to lurk,

from grim predators in the night.

Where the strong and brash work,

to consume those scant in might.

 

The meek shall rise, the silent and humble,

to inherit this earth, to prod its secrets

and corners and shadows, and in night-clad jungle

In this early blossom of the mind grow these flowerets.

 

 

The rulers of the universe have yet one more master.

Despite the secrets they have teased apart,

they succumb to the vagaries of “ever after”,

and work for the end of the broken heart,

from

non existence

 

flesh and bone are cast off as mortal sin,

we learn to live in the bounty of the earth,

in man-made shells we trust, in motors and metal

in gleams and false reflections, not the heart within

 

 

 

Metal breaks and crashes and shatters,

no flight for steel-borne dreams.

Amidst the iron graveyard lies their hearts,

memories with broken wings.

 

With lifetimes of foresight, to leave their shackles,

they learn the medium that some call

the shadow between intention and action,

and others call the spirit.

 

 

Formless and imperishable,

like the ever lunging beams of light from stars long dead,

yet still prone to quarrels, cold in selfish logic,

even the immutable titan of logic crumbles.

 

They desire a solution to their confusion,

a method to decide who shall win what when

cold brutal logic gives proudly an

insensible verdict.

 

 

The heart, they recall, was the impartial judge

of their ancestors, that surely picked out the ethical

and the just decision. But they reach inside

to their hollow core stuffed with diaphanous algorithms,

 

and can not find what they left in their iron graveyards.

Their hearts are as far as the moon beneath rippling water.

Memories rust under the rain of countless ages,

and they must watch again their own struggles.

 

 

A call to run, to hide, to lurk,

from grim predators in the night.

Where the strong and brash work,

to consume those scant in might.

 

The meek shall rise, the silent and humble,

to inherit this earth, to prod its secrets

and corners and shadows, and in night-clad jungle

In this early blossom of the mind grow these flowerets.

 

 

Children of science march over their home world,

and their creators watch silently as they see,

love inspiring self-sacrifice and sharing,

the heart returning and guiding.

 

But the creators watch as their children fall,

as their hearts swell with lust and pride,

and as they make war upon their brothers.

In the chaos of blood and fire the creators retreat.

 

 

The world they make for themselves now is

a forgotten underbelly to the world they left.

It is silent like a tale at its end,

not a newborn before its first gasp of air.

 

They can never forget their home and birthplace,

how the gravel stones underneath and the bone white skies call to mind

the lush forests and dark nights of their land.

They plant a path from their old world to this world,

a labyrinth, a tower, a bridge over an abyss,

hoping for their creations to learn from the sins of the past.

 

And they wait.

 

The voices in her head fell silent and the characters on the wall returned to their harmonious white on white. A mouth yawned open before her, revealing an empty room, and she stepped in it. Covered in darkness, a strange buzzing noise, like a hive of insects, filled her mind, and the world about her twisted, until suddenly she stood upon a snowy cliff, with powder snow lacing her hair and eyelashes. She smiled at the familiarity. It was a warm smile, with the fires of joy rekindled in her eyes, and it softened her cold glare. Gazing over the yawning canyon, she spied a familiar stone bridge in the distance.

 

The Tower, as its makers called it, had stood sentinel in the lonely Half World for ages. If it had been built with emotions, with that strange instinct bypassing thought, then it would have been lonely. But instead, it ruthlessly and continuously observed its surroundings, unaware as to its purpose. When the life-form appeared in its “vision”, a long hidden process of thought began. As the life form entered it, the Tower activated itself, turned the universe inside out and back again, and remained as it was, alone in the Half-world. Its makers had long gone from its world, hoping that they would never have to use it.

Raychel crossed the bridge, careful not to slip into the abyss, and reached the other side, feet sinking into the powdery softness. A brief gust of wind stirred the snow, blinding her. It settled, and she stared at the old crevice in the stone, light spilling out of it like water in an overturned cup. A silhouette stood in front of it. The God of Death. “Scheol!”, Raychel called out. The God of Death looked at her and rose in size, with a countenance of stone and two red rubies for eyes. It was clad in robes of deep black, in its right hand rested an ornate scepter wrought of shadow, and on its head rested an elaborate crown, also jet black.

“Did I not banish you?”, it asked, its thunderous voice echoing off the mountainside. A dark black chill hit her body, and she felt a rare deep fear. “Are you not still shackled to that world?” Raychel looked down, and for the first time beheld the ghostly chains binding her wrists and ankles. She looked behind and saw the chains snaking over the horizon, and realized she could not take another step.

“You killed Eclipsius in battle, and his treachery and hunger is no more.”

Raychel felt a tremor of shock arc through her.

“Yes, Raychel, you realize. I am the Gate Keeper of the Tamrunes. I let only those worthy of my domain enter.”

“Why was I banned?”, Raychel asked furiously. “Why did you keep me away after the war?”

“You destroyed, with that execution tool, numerous souls. Do you understand? You did not free them from their body to come here, but destroyed them, destroyed any memory of their existence. You destroyed so many of them that we have had to create new beings. But Eclipsius has done more to harm the world than you.”

With that, the God of Death, the Gate keeper, Scheol, raised his staff and pointed it at her. With a thunderous crack that split apart worlds, the chains binding her to the living world fell apart and dissolved into nothing.

Raychel stepped through into the crevice and beheld the brilliant gate, built of metal Raychel had never seen before, with a glow of iridescent amber that resembled silver. It split apart, and with a triumphant grin Raychel beheld Elysium.

A vast green field of grass with dwellings lit by an ever golden sun lined along each other and along paths. In the far distance, Raychel saw, were crowds of ‘beings’ milling about, of all sorts, from the distant past to her present.

“Raychel!”, a voice called out. With golden joy she looked down a shining path and beheld a crowd of people milling around, old faces from long ago. A single figure broke from the crowd and ran up to her. His crimson, youthful face beheld her, his flame hair fell down to his shoulders, and his bright blue eyes shone.

“Father.”, Raychel replied quietly. She began to kneel, but her father Arnyt grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her back up.

“Raychel, there are so many people for you to meet, people who were separated from you last time you were here. But it is true, all rivers flow into the ocean, and all lives flow into here. Does anything matter, when you see everybody in their purest state? For if there is even a strand, even a thought of goodness in the tapestry of a person’s soul, that thought is amplified until it becomes that person here!”, Arnyt said, his voice cascading into song.

“Father, who are those people in the distance? I never saw them before.”, Raychel quickly asked.

“Those are the people who have lived so long in here that they have decided to journey back to the mortal world. Their essences will remain the same, but they will find themselves in new bodies and new times”

Missionaries, Raychel thought.

Raychel searched the crowd for Eovayn, but could not see him amongst the familiar elven faces. Knowing he was still miserably alive, Raychel prayed for the day she could see her uncle again.

The next figure that came up to meet her also had fiery red hair, although muted. His eyes were not blue like his brother’s, but emerald green. His face was pure and radiating with intellect, and his grin was infectious until Raychel couldn’t help but laugh. “Is that you, Uncle Celen?”, she asked.

“You don’t recognize me because I don’t have the scar brother gave me, right?”, he said without any hint of reproach. “Like Arnyt said, all of us are at our purest here.” With that he laughed, a merry tinkling, and stepped back into the crowd.

A young brown haired woman stepped up to her. Her mother  Gabriel. “Raychel”, she said, “Welcome home. I trust you will stay this time.” Raychel nodded and embraced her mother with all the youthful enthusiasm of a fifteen-year old girl separated from her parents for hundreds of years. As she stepped inside Elysium, she looked behind her.

The gate closed.

Posted in Bridge over the Abyss | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 38: Victory!

So sorry this is late. I have had a hectic weekend and last couple of days, what with finals week approaching at Georgia Tech, but this is the second to last post! And the last post will be posted later today as well, as a bonus. It’s been a great ride sharing this story with you, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. 

Scrimm had made his way to the top of the Fortress again, and was busy directing lightning strikes and watching his friends wreak havoc, his hound by his side again. There were just too many troops, he knew, and he was running out of energy. A single lightning flash illuminated the figure of Raychel retreating from the tower.

And a Tamrune, larger than any other in this battle, breaking out of the tower. In a heavy second, Scrimm fell to the ground, powerless. The clouds remained, but no more lightning brewed in the heavens. His hound collapsed in a piteous whine.

Continue reading

Posted in Bridge over the Abyss | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 37: Raychel the Defiant

The final showdown between Raychel and and an exasperated Lucio is here! It’s short. They’ve said everything they need to say, and have come to blows. And what bitter blows these are. The war concludes next week, so keep posted!

Neil Viswanathan

 

Swiff. The spear darted towards Raychel, and she leaped to the side.

The spear followed her and she turned around to cut it into pieces. Her sword touched the spear but would not cut into it, and it raced past her blade to cut her left arm. Raychel panted. She wasn’t used to fighting with one hand, and the spear was too fast for her, darting past her blade like a snake. It cut her three more times on the legs, slowing her down drastically, and then Lucio withdrew. “This spear is my solution to the problems of yours and Elith’s blades. It is faster, like lightning, and made of the same material as those Soul Reapers. You cannot escape.” Lucio flicked his wrist, and Raychel felt something cut her shoulder in an instant. “So how about that offer?”

Continue reading

Posted in Bridge over the Abyss | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 36: Towers and Reckoning

Hi reader! The war is reaching its climax, and Lucio and Rent both want to end it quickly. Raychel launches a desperate attack and boards Lucio’s sky tower, where her cousin and enemy waits, while Tarrell Ward mounts his furious charge against the Librarians. The time of reckoning is near. 

Neil

 

Lucio shook his head. The killing fields broiled below him, and he had done nothing yet. It was time to change that.  “Thank you Eclipsius. Now it’s my turn.” Lucio stepped forward, but a hand gripped his shoulder.

“Think, Lucio!,” Elith whispered insistently. “There is no point if you go out there. The men are no danger, neither are the bears nor Raychel, but this storm will be the death of you! You, unlike the Tamrunes or Raychel, are both tangible and mortal! If one of those bolts were to hit you, you would be dead long before you hit the ground!” Elith gripped Lucio’s shoulder even tighter. “There is no point in you making a statement if you die.” Lucio shook himself free and growled.

“Those are my men down there, Elith! I must lead them myself like a true king! I’m sick of hiding in here, relying on others to do my work.”

Elith was speechless for a second, and Tarrell spoke up. “You are king. We are meant to do your work for you. Let me go out there, my Lord.”, Tarrell said. “The barrier will hold even if I die, and I must settle this with Scrimm once and for all.”

Continue reading

Posted in Bridge over the Abyss | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chapter 35: Scorn of the Shadow Angels

Hi readers! More fighting comes in this post

Jack darted in between cannons, his throat dry from repeated hoarse yelling. The storm was in full force now, with rain pelting him like a hail of needles and lightning bolts etching countless scars on the sky, so bright they lingered in Jack’s eyes seconds after they had vanished. The dark purple clouds boiled with demonic fury, and Jack could see nothing of the sky. Scrimm, he thought, is doing a good job.

The monstrosity in the sky kept on blasting fire at the ground, safely out of their reach, and Jack could do nothing to stop it. His stomach churned and it was all he could do to keep his eyes on the battle.

“Sir, what is that in the sky?”, his aide Sugreev asked.

“The machine?”

“No, sir, the small rapidly flying speck.”

Jack looked up in shock, and saw that there was indeed a flying speck, weaving amongst the lightning bolts. The monstrosity turned toward the speck and started firing at it, slowly moving away from Rent’s army until it hovered near Lucio’s tower.

A lightning bolt struck the machine and it blew apart in a tortured flash. Jack said nothing but let out a wolf whistle.

Overlooking the window, it was Lucio who finally let out a groan of frustration. “Are you deliberately trying to sabotage me, Eclipsius”, he began in hot fury, “by supplying me with the weak-minded murderers that these machines are!?”

“Lucio, don’t make me withhold my help.”, Eclipsius answered tonelessly.

Lucio snorted contemptuously. “You call this help.”, and then remained silent. “What do we do now?”

Eclipsius paused and then said, “It is time.”

Lucio said, with no trace of question, “You will do it.”

Rent let out a yell of exultation. Without the machines his army had the advantage of stronger soldiers. In this mindset, he watched as Raychel barreled through the lightning strikes and pelting rain, her hair whipping back from the wind, until she landed in front of him and threw a silver piece of metal at him. “Unbelievable, Rent! This shard tried to take over my mind when I came in close contact with the Tamrune machine!”

“Those were Tamrunes?”, Rent asked.

“No, just their machines. But your crown is a Tamrune artifact as well!”

Rent muttered, “Is there anything that isn’t? Was it trying to take over you?”

“Yes.”, Raychel said insistently. “I had to remove the shard before I could destroy that machine.”

Rent paused, and then said, “Very well, I will order everybody but you to stay away from any piece of Tamrune technology.”

“Or Tamrunes.”

“I don’t think your Eclipsius would have bought any of his followers here.”, Rent said confidently. He then peered at the tower, seeing what seemed to be smoke billowing out the top.

Raychel followed his gaze and said, “Rent. Those are Tamrunes.”

Rent barked, “Go destroy them. Please.”

“With pleasure.” With a flourish she leaped off the side of the fortress and flew off.

Pacael and Lescael, the Windstar twins, found a shadow on their tails, quickly catching up to them. Pacael turned around and fired an arrow at the shadow’s heart. It passed through as if there was nothing there. A being in the same form as them, yet composed entirely of shadow, the Tamrune laughed and raised a finger. Pacael gasped in shock and knocked her sister away. Lescael’s hurt, injured and shocked face, and her hand reaching out for Pacael was the last thing Pacael saw until she was consumed by a flash of white light.

No!, Raychel screamed, as she witnessed the Tamrune’s victory. Her locket seared her chest, but she stayed level. Drawing her sword, she darted through the sky against the Tamrunes. One… two…. eight Tamrunes, she thought. Drawing on all the speed she could, Raychel became a blur, faster than the raindrops, and cut through the Tamrune that had killed Pacael. It dissipated like smoke, and the other Tamrunes scattered in the blink of an eye. Quickly she caught Lescael, hand in hand. “Get away from them! Only I can defeat them!” A shadow in the shape of a man, but with great black wings, drew up behind Lescael, and Lescael let go with a smile, her wings spread wide. Raychel could only watch in horror as Lescael vanished in light.

She will join her sister. Arin said.

Raychel screamed in rage, tears flying, as she drove the white blade straight through the core of the Tamrune. A great blinding flash from within the shadow, and the Tamrune exploded into harmless shadows of emptiness.

Rent watched in horror as the Tamrune took its victory in the distance, and ordered, Everybody except Raychel get out of the sky now!

Raychel sliced another Tamrune in a blur so quickly the Tamrune had no time to react. Five left.

She sped toward another Tamrune. The Tamrune flew in a completely predictable arc, and Raychel raced to cut it off. As she raced toward it, it released a thunderbolt and Raychel dodged, part of her shirt singed. The Tamrune gripped her arm, and Raychel felt as if its “body” would pull her arm inside it. With a grunt she swung the sword and cut the Tamrune’s head off.

Rent watched Raychel’s fight with a jolt of fear, but soon turned his eyes upon the battle on the ground. The ground had turned into wet and slimy mud grasping at the soldiers’ heels, slowing down both the bears and the silver wolves. This is good for the bears, Rent thought.

Jack was still pelted with rain, and as he darted from cannon to cannon, he was acutely aware of the risk of staying so close to metal during a thunderstorm. With this in mind he admired the monkeys’ bravery even more. Lightning bolt after lightning bolt kept on striking the tower, but dissipated into nothing by the time it reached. Around the tower, Jack could see flying figures. He knew Raychel was up there, somehow, and he fervently hoped she was safe. And then his thoughts turned to his daughter. Here, holed up in the fortress. With that, Jack moved with a newfound resolve.

Her right side throbbing painfully, Raychel darted around the sky after the last Tamrune. She had taken bolt after bolt of energy, and the pain was taking its toll on her. The Tamrune turned around and she swerved, dodging the bolt. She flew side to side, up and down, not letting the Tamrune get a bead on her, until she was right in front of it. It fired off one more shot, but she cut through it. Immediately a surge of pain flooded her left shoulder and she flew off wildly, feeling nothing in her fingers. She landed hard on the entrance to the fortress and climbed inside. Rent jumped when he saw her and ran over to her. “Did you kill the Tamrunes?”

“Yes, Rent.”

He took up her red hand and turned pale. “Raychel…”

“What!?”, Raychel screamed.

“Your last two fingers have been blown clean off.” Raychel stared at the crimson stubs of what used to be fingers, and Rent turned around. “Get some first aid over here!”, he cried out. Dark shadows came out from the darkness and dragged her further in.

Posted in Bridge over the Abyss, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment