I am finally a proudly published author! Here is the link to the eBook:
And here is a free sample of the entire prologue. It’s funny, even after all this, I just want to drop the pages in front of you and run away while you read them. You can’t do that with a blog, haha! The book opens with a short prologue that sets the stage for the entire trilogy. It’s a gamble I’m taking, having a prologue that is. Hopefully it’ll be well received (I struggled with the formatting for about half an hour. Apparently blogs don’t like paragraph indentations. I stopped trying for fear of breaking my spacebar):
Baku floated just a few feet above the lake floor with his eyes closed, head bowed, and limbs hanging limp. Every few hours, exotic fish and water-dwelling creatures would swim up to check on their maker. Baku opened his eyes just enough to see which creature it was each time he felt a small water current swirl across his bare torso. He spoke telepathic words of gratitude to them, then resumed concentrating on recuperating. His fish darted out of his pale, glowing aura and back into darkness. A large current passed over him. By the feel of the warmer water, one of his surface creatures had come to visit.
‘Wake up, Baku,’ a booming voice said. ‘We must talk.’
Baku flinched, then rubbed his face with sore hands. None of his creatures spoke in words. The pale glow emanating from his aching body revealed a gargantuan green snout bigger than his six-foot-tall frame. That snout belonged to Leviathan, a allying god that liked to take on the form of a dragon. The dragon’s reptilian eyes, which were half as big as him, reflected Baku’s glow, making the eyes look nocturnal. ‘Hello, Leviathan,’ he said.
‘Are you well enough? Your body looks aged like one of your mortal men.’
‘Do I, now? I’m not surprised.’ Baku held his arms out. Sure enough his muscle mass had shrunk from solid to sparing. He pulled at the tanned skin covering his triceps and it stretched a good inch from what muscle he had. Disheartening, but still not a surprise. Being a god, his chosen appearance was at the mercy of how he felt, along with how he acted. Right now he felt old. Old and weary. Baku maneuvered into sitting with his legs crossed and began rising toward the lake surface.
‘Others have questions as well,’ Leviathan said, rising with him.
‘Who else knows what’s going on?’
‘Just you. But everyone knows something is up.’
‘That doesn’t surprise me,’ Baku said as their heads broke the surface. He stopped glowing. “I’ve put off enlightening all of you long enough.” He now hovered inches above the surface of his lake, dripping water as he sat with both elbows on his knees, his goateed chin resting on one fist. He fanned his other arm absently and became dry in the next instant.
The dragon rose higher and higher into the air, twisting his snake-like form. Baku looked up at his ally and felt the size of a flea. Leviathan was hundreds of feet long. No matter how many times Baku saw Leviathan, his sheer enormity left his mouth ajar. He swallowed humbly.
“Baku?” an energetic voice said from the distant shore, “is that you?”
Baku twisted around. “Din! What a pleasure to see you. How have you been?” With a thought, he flew towards Din and alighted on the pale sandy beach. A grassy field splayed out beyond the small beach.
“Quite well, old friend,” Din said and they pulled each other into a one-armed embrace. Din was a little taller, had bright blue eyes, and orange hair that stuck up like dancing flames. “How many centuries has it been?” They let go and stepped apart.
“More like eons.”
“Close enough,” Din said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “How are you and Kara getting along these days?”
Baku frowned, remembering Kara and Nexus leaving his realm after the last exhausting skirmish.
“That bad again?” Din rubbed his chin. “When are you two going to finally decide whether to love or hate each other? This game you’ve got going is getting tiresome for—”
“It’s not a game,” Baku snapped.
“Then what is it?”
He thought a moment, his heart aching. “A complication.”
“Savor what laughter you can. We’re going to need it to help get through our newest problem.” Din’s smile shrank into a serious line. Leviathan drew his head closer, the rest of his serpentine body coiled over the lake. “Not too long ago we all felt the energy of an incomplete prophecy being released.”
Din nodded somberly. “I thought it was a prophecy, but I wasn’t sure.”
‘It did feel different,’ the dragon said.
“Almost like a death sentence.” Din waved a hand at the sand. It swirled and rippled, then pockets of it rose and formed into miniature replicas of armor-clad mortals facing off in two small lines. The lines charged each other but before they could clash, Din let out a frustrated sigh and wiped them away with another wave of his hand. The sand rippled to stillness like a water surface after being hit with raindrops.
Baku knew prophecies usually had an energy that felt like the winner of a contest had been called out. This one, however had felt like a judge banging his gavel, filling him with dread. The entire universe had echoed with this ominous prophecy, but only gods were sensitive to such energy. “Nexus, my son, has prophesied a war. That’s why it felt different.” He paused to let the other two voice their outrage, but his words were met with a pregnant silence. This is more serious than I thought.
Leviathan said, ‘He has no worlds of his own. How does he know how to create a valid prophecy? He shouldn’t be able to.’
“I know. Which is why I believe someone has helped and tutored him.”
‘We don’t just declare our will and force it to be so through a prophecy. And we definitely don’t teach those who haven’t proven themselves worthy enough to become Creators. What plans could that boy have that are more vital than the natural flow of life?’
“None, I believe. Which is why the energy it released felt so foreboding. Our only saving grace is that gods can only foretell events, not the desired outcomes. However, such things have a tendency to fulfill themselves the way we want them to. We shouldn’t take this prophecy any lighter than the rest. If we accept this war as unavoidable, we need to gather our allies and agree on counter-measures against the enemy.”
‘Are you sure it isn’t too late to talk Nexus out of it?’ Leviathan hovered motionless, his huge belly feet above the lake. The energy emanating from him made the surface ripple.
Baku bowed his head. “I have tried. Goodness knows I have tried. He wants what he wants, and that’s that. To risk his own sanity to employ a prophecy is proof enough.”
Din spoke in a voice almost empty of hope. “Do you think this war can be stopped before it starts?”
“That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish,” Baku said.
A menacing voice reverberated throughout the realm. “That’s a good question now, isn’t it?”
“Nexus,” Baku breathed between clenched teeth.
The air swirled and billowed high over the lake, then began to take shape. Two great eyes and part of a transparent face appeared. The dark eyes were clearest, and next the vague mouth. The astral projection of Nexus’ face was larger than Baku and Din. “I have plans and you have counter-plans, my dear father. But this time I’ve finally outmaneuvered you. This isn’t a war between gods, by the way. What would be the fun in that?”
‘Why have a war at all?’ Leviathan said, his gargantuan frame dwarfing the face.
“Simple, my ancient dragon. It is a war of prophecy and cannot be undone, unless you care to forfeit here and now. I highly doubt you’d want that, but by all means go right ahead. It would save me a lot of trouble.”
“What do you want from this war?”
Nexus grinned, his ethereal eyes full of malice. “You’ll see. You’ll all see in time, so listen real carefully to what I’m about to say, for I speak with the Voice of Prophecy—which, as you know, makes my prophecy is legal and binding. Here it is in full:
Unconsciously every god has chosen a side.
Now they shall choose one thousand lives.
The worldless watch with the young at their side.
For with them this war does not abide.
Then time will come when all gods are done
building armies in hopes of this battle won.
Then the battlefield shall be revealed
and with a word, life’s fate is sealed;
the war will begin.
Yet, despite two-hundred thousand lives,
the fate of the universe shall reside
only on the shoulders of two warriors unrealized.
Hope is never lost, keep up the fight.
And prophet: beware the sword of light.
“And here’s a twist—it wouldn’t be as interesting if there weren’t. If any god’s army on either side gets wiped out to the last warrior, their worlds will become mine. And if you think you can avoid participating, you are gravely mistaken. Your worlds by default will become mine the minute I initiate the war, so don’t take too long to build your forces.
Nexus’ projection began to fade. “The warriors will be assembled on my chosen battlefield after I eliminate two particular mortals first, one I know, and one I do not yet know.” The realm echoed with hollow laughter as he disappeared.
“Uh oh,” Baku said, unable to move.
“Uh oh, what?” Din asked.
Baku looked up and saw his fear mirrored in Din’s wide eyes. “He knows.”