Welcome To A Week Of Excerpts…

(Day 5)

The Missing Shield is epic high fantasy but it still has a little bit of everything, so today I thought I’d treat you to become a fly on the wall whilst my antagonist, Simaro, explores some impossible magic.

Snipped from Episode 4 – Running the Gauntlet

After the misbegotten banquet affair, Shuptah had been waiting too, as expected, where Zulavi had left him outside his chambers; the man had not as much as quibbled when ordered to fetch fresh wine, then make himself scarce again so that he might present himself at Zulavi’s quarters bright and early before the hour of the red rooster, not long passed.

Yes, Shuptah had obliged as he did in most things! Indeed, this morning he’d not even argued when instructed to set the circle of stones as prescribed – although at this point the puny fool had begun shivering so badly with superstitious fright, that Simarovien had been forced to wonder if they’d have the set-up ready in time. Seemed they had…

He blinked again, but the light was rapidly losing its sting now. The Tuxaman walnut had likewise instructed that this would in all likelihood happen, but as it dwindled back in on itself, finally settling into a wilted, desiccated green that might have rivalled the colour of back-lit swamp water, the Knights Commander had to wonder if that was entirely right.

Annoyed with his own unease, he looked at the odd luminance, studying, making mental notes…

Magic. Who knew just what or how magic was supposed to behave? With the brilliance faded, new shadows claimed the recesses and corners of his room on a level that did not look quite natural: turning his coat a dull bronze now as the light flickered with less power than a flame behind the smudged lens of an ancient oil lamp. Magic? The Tuxaman loon was surely a fool: there was no such thing as magic, and yet…

From two paces to Zulavi’s right his aide whimpered unintelligible words under his breath. Gods!!

“Shuptah, it’s safe you dolt!” Zulavi spoke the harsh reprimand on a dry note of amusement, yet did not take his eyes from the now gently pulsing curtain of light that seemed to float like dreams, floor to ceiling, exactly where the nine strange stones rested upon the bare granite slabs at the centre of his chamber.

The glow retained a gossamer feel. Like the veil of an exotic dancer. Zulavi could see right through the wall of light to the other side where the large iron-bound chest – once his father’s – sat against the gentle curve of the white-plastered tower wall, and he could just as easily pick out the assortment of heraldry and his selection of antique weaponry that had been hung directly above said chest on the very day he’d inherited Castle Zanzier in all its crumbling glory. It had been almost fifteen years ago now and since then he’d seen his share of interesting horrors – some of it created by himself, some by the people in his employ – but he had never witnessed anything like this before. Not even when face to face with the Tuxaman lord had he seen anything like this… this magic.

Not sure how to feel, yet grudgingly forced to concede that whether magic or not, the Tuxaman nut had had a point in pursuing this wizardry, Zulavi cocked his head, for the premier time wondering if the man would be proven right on his other points as well. Well, it remained to be seen – the loon seemed full of unusual surprises, but-

“My Lord Commander, I see fireflies,” Shuptah injected, belatedly lowering his arms to look directly at the dully green luminance.

Zulavi drew a deep breath.

“It will not last,” he assured the aide, for a blink pondering why he’d bothered. Shuptah grunted but continued eying him askance whilst he blinked as though to clear his eyes of grit after being caught short by a dust-whirl on the training grounds Presently, the aide looked thoroughly unconvinced that this was as it should be as well.

“It’s like a tainted river, is it not My Lord?” the aide mused then, smoothing back his neatly-oiled, well-trimmed hair with a long-fingered, slightly quivering hand, “like… like a clear forest beck that runs vertically in a world of myths and legends.”

“Shuptah?” Zulavi didn’t look away from the light but he was already feeling disenchanted with the promises the Tuxaman had made and perhaps it filtered into his tone, for the aide swivelled with a look of hope, perhaps thinking he was about to be dismissed.

“Yes, My Lord?”

“Be quiet!”

***

You can find out more about Simaro’s strange exploit – as well as check out the full series via the link https://www.amazon.com/L.-L.-f/e/B07B8K4J6S