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This is a very short story I wrote while experimenting in the Kaltor universe. I decided to throw it up for free as a ‘tide-me-over’ until the next story hits the shelves. Enjoy 🙂

Tomb of the Braylith

Klasdane’s eyes filled the cavern with blue light as the power of his ancestors pierced the shadows, searching for his quarry. The gnawed remains of its earlier meals attested to the sharpness of a braylith’s claws, a half-dozen of which hung from his neck. It was a dangerous profession, killing these things, but the town was ill-equipped for the challenge and he needed the gold.

The rocks at his feet were still wet with fresh blood, a young girl’s. After seeing her weeping mother, he volunteered for the job. Klasdane crept deeper into the chamber, spear in both hands, skinning knife sheathed at his side. He listened in vain for breath or movement.

Angel mold glowed in faint white blotches along the walls and ceiling. A few stalactites broke the silence with an occasional, mournful drip. Thin gouges in the floor collected each bit of water and fed them into a cistern of sorts at the cave’s center, the remains of an old fort.

The spatters of dried blood ranged high along the walls and ceiling. Bare bones lay discarded along the floor of the chamber, as if intentionally left behind to warn the Braylith should Kalsdane’s steps knock one askew. “What the…” Leaning in close, he realized the marrow wasn’t sucked from them, as most braylith’s were want to do.

With a deep breath, he bit back the urge to vomit and followed the freshest sent of rotting flesh. It led him down the widest of two tunnel networks. Klasdane regarded the passage carefully, noting the brightness of his ancestral power. With a nervous sigh, he closed his eyes, embracing the darkness.

Gently, he worked his way down the tunnel, feeling his way along with the tip of his spear. He forced himself to slow his pace to a standstill. No breaking of bones or tearing of flesh met his ears. Nothing breathed in deep, satisfied slumber. Klasdane edged forwards and felt something hard resist the touch of his spear, he paused. Had the town watch already wounded it so severely?

He lifted his spear. Something metallic twanged in the darkness. Arrows whistled past him like a sudden swarm of angry bees. Pain tore into his right arm as he threw, throwing him to the ground. Blue light burst from his eyes, illuminating the arrow shaft buried in his right arm. Shadows flitted around him as he stumbled back into the main chamber, breaking the arrow shaft in half with a grunt of pain.

“Impressive.” The sheriff sauntered into view, cocky and armed with a sturdy short sword in either hand. “Most adventurers just figure its asleep and go charging in. You didn’t.”

“The ‘braylith’ you mean?” Klasdane spat. His right arm throbbed terribly. He held his spear awkwardly in his left. “This is no lair. I saw the fake for what it was. Why the charade?”

The sheriff chuckled, raising his weapons. “It’s quite simple really. The people need something to fear and there’s always an idealist that needs to disappear. The peacebinder religion is gaining ground and too many people these days seek equality over order.”

“So now, when you need someone dead,” Klasdane hissed, backing up to the center of the cave. “you just drag them to this cave and blame it on a braylith.”

“Indeed.” The sheriff replied, whirling his short swords. “If a few hot headed youths have to die too, such is the risk of going after brayliths. They can smell souls, I hear, so adventurers have to take them one-on-one, perfect for our little cause.”

“So why are you hesitating?” Klasdane said, eying the sheriff stance suspiciously. “I’m wounded, why are you waiting?”

“Well,” the sheriff admitted, nodding towards their surroundings, “we obviously could use some help making this lair look respectable and you are in need of gold, are you not?”

Klasdane paused, licking his lips as he glanced at the man’s hefty coin purse. “What are you offering me, exactly?”

“Enough gold to set you right, for months.” The sheriff said, shrugging his shoulders innocently.  “Say the braylith wounded you and you fled, obviously. Help us make the farce look truly believable. Then walk away. You don’t owe the Peacebinders anything.”

Klasdane walked over to the small cistern and took a sip of the cool water, toying with the thought of so much gold. The temptation vanished in a single realization. “What about the child? She wasn’t even a Peacebinder.”

The sheriff’s confidence flickered for a moment. “That was a mistake that needed correcting.”

“A mistake…Whose?” Klasdane echoed, picturing the faces of the townspeople, the sheriff and the child’s mother. “By the Gods, she was your child, wasn’t she?”

“Now, she’s just another victim of the braylith.” The sheriff said, shrugging his guilt aside. “Do we have a deal?”

Someone yelped in the distance. Outside the cavern, a brawl erupted. “We suspected as much.” Klasdane said fiercely. “My friends followed your deputies, just in case. That young girl was my niece, you monster.”

The sheriff’s eyes widened in shocked realization. “How much gold would it take?”

Klasdane answered with a firm kicked at the still water, sending a wave of icy cold into the sheriff’s face as he dove in. Blade snapped against spear. Klasdane slammed into the sheriff’s chest. They tumbled to the moss-covered ground. One of his attacker’s swords clattered away, but the sheriff pinned Klasdane by the throat, holding his sword aloft.

“This is how yo-” The sheriff sputtered. Klasdane kicked the blade aside. Metal severed leather and he yelped as warm blood filled his boot. He pulled his skinning knife free and rolled atop the sheriff, plunging the blade into his neck.

“As to the legend of the Braylith,” Klasdane grunted, watching the life fade from the sheriff’s surprised eyes. “consider it slain.”

Hey Everyone, the following is the prototype cover  image for my up coming story ‘Betrayed.’ While I was working on the next Kaltor novel I realized I didn’t know nearly enough about Delena’s background to work with her. As I explored her past, the following story unfolded and should be available by next weekend (once my editors are done picking through it) . If you have any questions or comments about this cover, feel free to leave them here or email me at sbsebrick@gmail.com. I hope you all have a great weekend, see you next week!

Betrayed Practice

Hey everyone. I’m proud to announce with the coming of fall, I’ve finished the next installment of my ‘Assassin’s Rising’ series. It’s currently available for both Kindle readers and Smashwords users at only $6.99, with Nook and Kobo books soon to follow. As a special treat, the first novel in the series, ‘Decoy’ is currently on sale at amazon for only $2.99. Let your friends know about this special discounted price so they can try out ‘Assassin’s Rising’ as well!

Deliverance E-Cover FINAL

In her last moments, the Destroyer revealed a great secret in the heart of Levarion’s King, Taleveer. A dark truth no true Battleborn of Levarion can let stand. But now Kaltor walks as any other Battleborn, without his Remnant power to sustain him.

Fractured allegiances, broken oaths and desperate escapes hurl Kaltor back into Levarion’s heart. Family loyalties will burn. True love will turn to stone. Taleveer’s greatest ally surfaces for the former-Remnant’s blood, a foe even the might of the Destroyer could not touch.

Sages, the ultimate bonding of flesh and stone, walk the earth once again.

Fate of the Child

 

FateoftheChildBIGCOVER

A common question I’ve gotten, is what happened to Keevan Stratagar all those years ago? This is his story of the dangers he endured as an infant. This, is how the Sight Seeker Remnant disappeared without a trace, from beneath the eyes of Levarion’s finest. Here’s the description below:

“Charged with the task of secretly escorting the infant child, Keevan, to safety, Captain Cahlder thinks his early retirement an easy thing to earn. But an enemy ambush scatters even the best laid plans to the wind. The battle leaves the old soldier with a child to protect, a failing grasp on reality and an forgotten race marshaling its forces to take the child for their own.”

CAM00002

My family dropped off a cool gift last week, I think I’ll use this on the local books I sell. It’s one thing to sign a book with your name, but having a stamp with the pen name initials on it seems way more ‘legit’. We writers stumble across some very cool toys now and again 🙂

Hey Everyone,

It feels great to be back in the ‘writing’ phase now. Classes went well, but it was frustrating not having as much time to write as I’m used to. I just got the first critique of ‘Deliverance’ back from my mentor. Keep in mind, when she sends me a critique, its not like when a kid gets an ‘owie’ and needs a bandaid. When she critiques something, it more like she disects it, feeds it through a wood chipper and returns it to me with the instructions ‘fix the following’.

Speaking of wood chippers…

Kaltor, ease up. I’m back now, alright? Education had to come first. Writing is fun but it only makes sense to have a back up option.

Back up, Sebrick? You take much longer to get this next book out and you’ll need a lot of back up. Which you won’t be able to get. I’ve been in your world long enough to know that the police don’t respond well to phone calls from writers about their characters trying to kill them.

Alright, alright! I’m working on the next draft. See? I’m flipping through the pages of corrections, lots and lots of corrections.

You’d rather try your hands at bone conditioning?

Not particularly.

Then count your blessings and get to work.

 

Writer: Pros and Cons

Hey everyone,

My psychology class got canceled this morning, so I have a quick chance to write. Till March 22nd, I’m neck-deep in Nursing Pre-Requisite classes, so writing’s been a tough hobby to keep up with. On the plus side, I finally got the first draft of ‘Deliverance’ done last weekend and shipped it to my Mentor and Editor. With any luck, I’ll have it out by the time school gets out at the end of March.

The following thought popped into my mind after a night mare last night. It was the variety involving half-eaten corpses crawling across the carpet towards my bed, but the resulting idea made me laugh, so I guess the experience wasn’t a total loss, lol.

Being a writer:

Pro: All nightmares can be systematically compiled into a list of viable assets in the forms of monsters, villains and situations to torment my characters and interest readers.

 Con: Who in their right mind wakes up from a wet-your-pants nightmare in the middle of the night, records it in as much detail as possible and what’s more, revisits it periodically in the course of their job? We writers can be a masochistic lot in that sense.

Welcome to 2013

I hope you all got the chance to do the countdown and welcome in a new year, may your resolutions for 2013 lift you higher than 2012’s ever could. Then again, if your resolutions are the same as the ones of yester year, good luck in taking another shot at achieving them. One of my goals for this year is to finish Kaltor’s series, not an easy feat when you don’t know all the gory details of the story yet.

Well Sebrick, maybe if you’d be more persistent with putting them to paper, I’d give you a bit more warning about what’s coming next. I like keeping you guessing until the last chapter.

More persistent? You do realize some writers only manage a single book per year. It would take them almost a decade for them to write what I’m doing in two years. How about you put ‘be more grateful’ as a new year’s resolution?

I’ve got enough of my own issues to work out, thank you very much. Most of them are your fault.

How is it my fault you can’t ride a horse well?

You’re the writer. Can’t you just skim over the less-dignifying predicaments I get into? Paint a more heroic picture?

This is not a memoir or a biography, its epic fantasy. The ‘best’ moments of the series only shine when painted against the ‘worst’ ones. That’s just good fiction. I don’t know of any authors who only write about sunshine and lollipops, not ones that sell anyway.

Shall I compare you to current authors who sell more? There’s quite a list here…

Taunting me won’t get me to write any faster, Kaltor. Besides, that list is purely for research purposes. There’s always more to learn for more experienced writers.

The first lesson being ‘persistence?’

You know, I haven’t finished the end of your fifth book yet. You sure you want to bring this up on the weekend I’m finishing it? Perhaps a lucky hit from a sight seeker should give you a five-year old’s mind, just for a while…

Then you’d have a varadour enhanced, battleborn trained tantrum on your hands, demanding the next book be finished immediately. You really think after a few self-defense courses you could keep me under control and still have time to write?

You know, maybe if these conversations were a bit more harmonious I wouldn’t get writer’s block so often.

I already offered you the cure for that. You refused my help.

A knife point tickling my shoulder blades does not qualify as a cure. Besides, stabbing is an empty threat. Who’s going to write your story if I kick the bucket?

I’m a Battleborn, I’d improvise.

You can barely work the keyboard, much less write a novel. How about you stick to your gifts and I’ll stick to mine?

Fair enough, just get a move on with those goals of yours. I’m not the only one waiting for my next book to hit the shelves.

Yes, master (sarcastic eye roll).

I saw that. Don’t mock me.

Alright, alright. I’m getting to work now, see? I’m typing away on my keyboard. Click, click, click…

 

Holiday Rush

Got to love that moment when you have your holiday shopping planned just right… You already of the gifts picked out and all that remains is wait the last necessary two weeks for the final paycheck, then you get the text message: “Since the whole family will be in town next week instead of the 25th, we’re moving Christmas to the 11th. See you there!”

Just like that, you’re careful plan of procrastination comes tumbling down! Hmmm, guess that leaves improvisation. What’s the phrase? Desperation leads to flexibility.

Sounds appropriate for most situations, Sebrick, particularly if you are literally tied up. Some of the best escape artists I’ve met were incredibly flexible.

Hey Kaltor, that’s not particularly helpful at the moment. Any ideas for a family of four? They have a two-year old girl and an infant.

You could always buy one of those harnessed that hooks up to a cable outside. It would give the girl room to run around.

Those are for dogs, Kaltor. Do you have any idea how my sister would respond if I bought her daughter a dog harness and a cable?

Joy filled cries of gratitude and/or laughter?

Nice try. I might as well by my niece a doggie bowl and paint her name on the front.

It’s a compliment. Now if you bought her stuff for a cat, that would be offensive.

That makes no sense. I’m comparing her to a household pet either way.

Well, I’ve seen people treat their pets even better than they do their children.

That’s just sad, Kaltor. Not to mention irrelevant. My sister doesn’t have a pet. The poor creature would never survive my niece.

All the more reason to get the kid a harness, she sounds dangerous!

Not dangerous, just overly curious. How is a dog harness better than cat stuff?

Isn’t it obvious? Dogs are used to functioning as part of a pack, or in this case, family. Cats are just selfish creatures out for themselves, the worst possible personality type to add into any military unit.

That is so wrong on so many levels. I can’t wait until you have a child of your own. You try to put him or her in a harness and your wife will kick you from here to Seattle.

Hey, I for one, am no longer single 😉 Can you say the same?

I had I feeling I’d regret hooking you two up, she seems to make you even tougher to put up with.

Well, too late now. Those books are already published!

Yeah, but there’s always the next book…

*Gulp!

 

Thanksgiving Preparations

Well, here I am throwing out the trash, sweeping the floors and hiding my favorite cereal in my room … yep, relatives must be coming over!

I’d like to take a moment for us to consider how blessed we truly are. Here in the US of A we get so focused on our ‘to-do’ lists, our careers and the day-to-day toil, we forget to be happy with what he have.

I don’t take as much time to think about that as I should, especially since I spent two years living abroad. While living in Argentina, I did not once see a house without bars on the windows and iron gates over the doors, thanks to the high crime rate in the cities I lived in. Wild dogs ran in packs through the streets, like rats, carrying all kinds of diseases. Houses were made of concrete and the desert environment meant the floors followed suit, little was ever truly clean. I saw carpet only once in two years. Then there was the lack of american bacon (very different from basic pig meat) and maple syrup.

I met some families though, living in these kind of conditions, who were the happiest I’d ever seen. They had a roof over head to shelter their loved ones, hot and cold running water and a steady job. That was all they really needed, mixed with the company of those they love. Don’t forget, while you’re swiming through the deluge of school, careers, and jobs, to take the time to serve with those you love. That’s where the moments you’ll treasure most will be. I haven’t met many elderly people whose regrets were ‘I wish I’d put more time into my job’. But I’ve met many a parent who’s said, ‘I wish I had worked less and spent more time with my kids.”

Make the most of this Thanksgiving season! Make a list of things you are grateful for. While Christmas is on the rise, find someone who doesn’t have something on that list, and make their day. That’s a memory you can cherish for a very long time 🙂