Action Adventure Fantasy

Date Published: April 2020

Publisher: Rosecrest Publishing

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As the descendants and heirs unite and fortify one another with their special skills, they find themselves in the heart of the center realm, Ebassia. The recently deceased King has left the enormous duty of ruling such a vast realm to his daughter, Oladesni, who has only the head Necromancer of the Velsharoon as her mentor. With an unrelenting desire to be released from her own prison, Isot leader of the Velsharoon uses the coronation of the new queen as her opportunity to execute the Binding of the Crypt spell through the Pact of the Everlasting. Shaz and his company of elemental mages and miniature warriors must find a way to stop the Necromancer from committing an unthinkable act of mass murder. The company is thwarted by one thing after another and must race against time to stop her.

 


Excerpt

Heavy gusts whipped through the barren wasteland. The radiating heat stung their lungs as they barreled over the uneven ground. Long strands of purple haze lined the night sky. Murky shadows played tricks on their senses as they dodged the tiny night insects. Turkill snagged a small stone as he turned a sharp corner. He placed it in the pocket of his sling and swung it over his head. He regained his footing and twisted at the waist. He let the momentum propel the stone. It sliced through the air like a razor and hit the Jaduuk square in the forehead. The creature fell backward at an instant. The pack of Jaduuk still behind leaped over their fallen packmate. They dug their hind legs into the ground and leaped over scattered boulders with ease.

Ladtwig ran onto a half-fallen tree and slammed his walking stick into the ground. His small frame launched into the air.  He pulled his arms and legs in tight and rolled through the smelly, orc-like-wolf-hunter’s arms. He somersaulted onto a jagged boulder on the other side and scurried over the edge.

“Send our scents into the breeze,” Shaz said.

Serin twirled her hands, spinning the air before launching it toward the Jaduuk. The Jaduuk hunter snarled. Drool dripped from his long fangs at the sides of his mouth. Long ears at the top of his head twitched, and his snout-like nose puckered as he caught the scent. He skidded in the soft dirt and shot off toward them. Turkill leaped behind the boulder Ladtwig was behind and rolled to a stop.

“That should draw them this way,” Shaz said.

“And then what?” Serin asked.

“We set a trap,” Shaz said.

“How those things are twice our size, and we have no idea what they’re capable of?”

“Then we find out,” Shaz said.

“You know, I’m starting to doubt your logic here,” Serin said.

“Here, help me with this rock.”

Serin called the air and sent a puff under the immense boulder.  Even with her air magic, the boulder was almost too heavy to move. She gripped the ground with her toes and stretched her arms out as far as she could. The boulder inched gradually. Shaz thrust his shoulder into the stone and heaved. It moved into place and Serin dropped her arms. They hurried behind the rock and crouched into its shadow.

Serin gripped the cold stone for support. Shaz could tell she was becoming weaker and he did rely on her air magic more than he should. Think, think, what would Grandfather tell me to do?  he thought.

“Do you think you could make a sandpit, while I keep them busy?” Shaz asked.

Serin studied him with a little surprise. She understood from his expression that he knew she was tiring. She sucked in a deep breath and nodded. Shaz touched her shoulder and she became aware of his energy. It tickled her skin and gave her a little more confidence. Shaz gripped the hilt of his sword and rounded the boulder. At first, he couldn’t see anything, but then, a funny image played out in his head. He sucked in a deep breath and the image became a little clearer.

“One, two, three, four, five,” Shaz counted.

He found the Jaduuk scents and a blurry image of where they were settled into his conscienousness. Three were larger than the other two and he surmised they were the males. He pulled the sword from his side and allowed the energy to surge through his arm. He took several steps from Serin and then ran toward the smaller beasts.

Serin slipped off her boots and wriggled her toes into the soft sand. She hadn’t understood why Shaz wanted the boulder moved but now she could tell it was because the ground was softer here. She gathered the strength she needed and began filling the sand with air. A steady stream of wind burrowed into the sand making the top bubble and bounce. Serin’s arms ached. She closed her eyes and tried to focus on the wind, but she found it difficult. She breathed heavily, and her body began to sag. The wind continued to burrow deep into the ground making the circle widened. She had no idea how big to make it because she had no idea how big the beasts actually were, or if they could jump high, or at all.

Shaz clenched his fist. The pounding of the ground intensified as the pack quickened their paces. He was confident they had him locked into their senses and the only way out was to fight. A high-pitched snarl echoed over his shoulder. The enormous jaguar leaped over Shaz and sank her claws into a Jaduuk. The creature recoiled. A strong odor wafted through the air and Shaz covered his nose. Jagwynn gripped the sand and slid on her haunches. The Jaduuk snarled and roared. Jag returned the roar and leaped at the Jaduuk. The Jaduuk dug its claws into Jag’s flesh. Jagwynn yelped and her eyes widened. She opened her jaws wide and gripped the Jaduuk’s face with her claws. She sunk her teeth into the think leathery texture of the beast’s neck. The Jaduuk reared back and tried to shove the huge cat off. Jagwynn swung her tail to keep her balance as her hind legs pushed herself onto the beast. They toppled to the ground and the more the Jaduuk wriggled the tighter Jag clenched.

Shaz ran at one of the smaller Jaduuk. He flipped the sword and sliced the beast’s chin. The beast roared and stumbled backward. Shaz spun and brought his blade over his head. The slight glow of the sword’s markings made a mark in the night sky. He pulled it down with ease and listened to the whipping-sound it made against the howling of the wind. The blade sunk deep into the shoulder of the oncoming Jaduuk. A high-pitched howl pierced Shaz’s head and he flinched.

Shaz flew several lengths from another Jaduuk’s fist hitting him in the ribs. Shaz struggled to breathe as the pain raced to his brain. The cold gritty earth found its way into his lungs as he gasped for air. Shaz coughed and gagged as a mixture of blood and sand escaped his lungs. The metallic taste the blood left, sank into his consciousness. The heat of the Jaduuk’s breath ripped down his spine. He couldn’t make his body move. No matter how hard he tried and how much he yelled in his mind, it wouldn’t respond.

“Stay here,” Turkill said.

“What are you going to do?” Ladtwig asked.

“I don’t know yet, but I have to help,” Turkill said.

“We are way too small, they will eat us alive,” Ladtwig said.

“Maybe that’s the way we fight,” Turkill said.

“How do you mean?” Ladtwig asked.

“Well, they can’t fight something they can’t see,” Turkill said.

“But they see with their noses,” Ladtwig said.

“Yep,” Turkill said.

Turkill pulled all his leather armor and clothes off, clear down to his skivvies. Ladtwig’s eyes popped out of his head. Turkill pulled his knife from his belt and sliced several desert plants off their stems. He rubbed them vigorously until his bronzed skin no longer showed. Ladtwig quickly followed and covered himself too.

“This plant stinks,” Ladtwig said.

“Uh-huh.”

Turkill removed his sling and gathered several rocks and shoved them into his pouch. He secured them around his waist and crept out from around the boulder. Ladtwig filled his pouch and grabbed his dart gun.

“I thought you were out of darts?” Turkill asked.

“I am, but you never know.”

The steady wind had long dried all the water from their bodies. It was hard to move around without feeling the sting of their skin cracking. The heavy clouds thinned letting a soft hint of the moon’s light shine over the wasteland. Turkill caught a glimpse of the pack running toward Shaz and Serin.

“Over there,” Turkill said.

Ladtwig nodded and hurried around the other side of a broad-faced rock. They froze in place when they heard Jagwynn snag her prey. Seconds later Turkill waved to Ladtwig and they maneuvered closer.

The largest Jaduuk waited at the back of the pack. He twisted his ears back and forth and sniffed the air. Turkill crept up to a desert plant and cringed as a twig snapped under his foot. The Jaduuk cocked his head and flicked his long pointy ear backward. Turkill froze and held his breath. The beast turned and studied the landscape. He sniffed again and sank his massive claws into the ground. A deep orange glow radiated from the creature’s eyes. Turkill’s heart sank and he pushed the bile back into his stomach. Ladtwig tossed a stone across his path onto the other side and the beast turned. The Jaduuk meticulously searched the night.

Turkill laid a stone into his sling and sucked in a deep breath. His arm shot above his head and his wrist flicked the sling so hard that the motion didn’t even take half a second. The rock soared through the air like lightning and sank into the back of the beast’s skull. The Jaduuk stopped mid-step and hesitated. He touched the back of his head and felt the stone. He turned around in slow motion and tried to make sense of what happened.

Turkill held his breath as he tried to understand why the rock didn’t take him down. The beast shook his head and the orange glow returned. Turkill gulped and sunk low to the ground. Ladtwig flicked his sling sending another stone into the Jaduuk’s temple. The beast stumbled but didn’t fall. Turkill scoured around in his pouch for the sharpest stone and loaded it into his sling. He stood, raised his arm and flicked his wrist. The stone shot out of the sling and ripped across the sky.

The fierce rotation of the rock became like a razor as it sliced its enormous bicep. Ladtwig slipped as he stepped over a rock and fell. He rolled over and rubbed his hiney. He hurried to his feet and positioned himself behind a rock. He reached for another stone, but his pouch wasn’t there.

“Blast,” he said.

The Jaduuk turned and moved toward him. Ladtwig hurried to the bush to search for his pouch. Turkill moved behind a dead tree trunk and loaded his sling. He peeked over the trunk but couldn’t see the beast. He moved to the end of where it had been, but it wasn’t there either. He hurried to the other end and peeked under the haggard roots. He could barely make out the Jaduuk and crept to a closer rock.

Shaz gripped his ribs and closed his eyes. A strong sensation coursed his torso calming the pain to a tolerable degree. He caught a glimpse of Serin stepping back behind the boulder. His heart swelled with undeniable gratitude for her. He shook his head and flung the Honor Blade behind him, letting the motion carry him back to his feet. The Jaduuk jumped back but not far enough. The tip of the blade raced over its belly.

Shaz parried and sidestepped. The Jaduuk pulled a battle-ax off his back. Shaz studied the images in his mind and readied himself. Shaz threw up his sword and caught the ax at its head. He spun the blade and yanked. The Jaduuk gripped the long-hardened wood shaft tightly in his paw. Shaz let the blade slip away and parried back. The Jaduuk pounded its chest and howled. The grounds vibrations rippled into Shaz’s body and the pit in his stomach clenched tighter. Shaz identified the remainder of the pack and learned they had mobilized toward them. Still keeping the beast in his sight, he checked to see if Serin was ready.

Serin leaned against the boulder and wiped the sweat from her brows. Her lightweight cotton tunic stuck to her slender frame. She tried to steady her breathing but found it difficult. She rubbed her aching arms and shivered from the wind as it blew against her wet skin. She examined her sinkhole and was confident it would at least take a few of the beasts. Serin brushed off her feet and slipped them back into her boots. She boosted herself from the boulder and curled her tongue between her teeth. A high-pitched whistle whipped over the air. The long-draping fur at the top the Jaduuk’s ears curved over to shield its inner ear from the noise. Shaz closed the gap and brought the sword up to a side strike. The blade made contact at the base of the creature’s neck. The ridiculous stench wreaked havoc on Shaz’s senses and he struggled to keep his nerves. The Jaduuk staggered, swaying back and forth until it lost consciousness and fell with a thud. Shaz searched his night vision and determined the rest of the pack wasn’t far behind.

Jagwynn released the lifeless body and searched for her next target. She narrowed her eyes and slunk close to the ground. The coolness of the red dirt felt good on her warmed fur. At the back of the pack, she found the smallest Jaduuk and made her way. Jagwynn lay in the taller straggly grass and waited until the Jaduuk came close enough. She lunged with her forceful hind legs and released her claws. Jagwynn sunk her claws into the Jaduuk’s shoulder and flung it to the ground. She flipped around and lunged again.

The Jaduuk went sprawling to the ground. Its look of shock and instant fear fed Jagwynn’s excitement and she sank her teeth into its neck. The Jaduuk squealed and flailed around but Jagwynn gripped tighter.

Ladtwig found his pouch and tried to tie it back onto his breeches. The hot breath of the Jaduuk caressed his bare skin. The hairs on the back of his neck stood out and his body shivered. He gulped and turned around. His head lifted upward as far as it could go. The orange glow was now dark red. Its long snout flared, and drool dripped from its giant fangs that crested its eyebrows. Ladtwig searched his pouch but his heart sunk when there were no stones. He slid his foot backward.

Ladtwig didn’t see the rock behind him and toppled over it. He scooched backward scrambling to figure out what to do. As he grappled the ground he brushed up against a prickly plant. He broke off a long stem and jammed it into his dart gun. The Jaduuk opened his mouth wide and roared. Ladtwig sucked in and blew the stick hard and fast through the dart gun. The stick shot out and lodged into the back of the beast’s throat.

Stunned, the Jaduuk dropped its ax and grabbed at its throat. Ladtwig scurried out from under its extensive claws as it staggered around. Turkill shot across the dirt and loaded his sling. The rock ripped across the sky with a whistle and embedded into the Jaduuk’s throat crushing its airway. Ladtwig jumped to his feet and darted back to the boulder they had left their clothes behind.

“One, more second,” Shaz said under his breath. Serin whistled again and peeked out. Shaz dug his boot into the ground and lunged toward her. He crossed the distance at full speed and slid to a stop as he rounded the boulder. “Are you ready?” he asked breathing heavily.

“Yes, but I have no idea how many it will hold?” she said.

Shaz nodded and peered around the rock.

“In about ten seconds, run that way as fast as you can and don’t look back,” Shaz said. Serin scowled and searched his face. He wasn’t playing, and a hint of fear crept into her chest. “Go!” he said.

Serin propelled herself from the rock and dug her boots into the sturdy ground. She was glad the clouds had thinned letting her see enough of the landscape, so she didn’t have to stumble around. The pounding of the beast’s heavy claws drowned out the blood beating in her ears. The sudden boost of adrenaline surged throughout her body giving her a satisfying renewal. She leaped over a fallen tree trunk and caught herself as the loose ground moved under her feet.

From the corner of her eye, she found Ladtwig and Turkill huddled under the lowest ledge of a substantial rock. She picked up a rock and chucked it at them. They jumped, grabbed their things and darted toward her. She slowed her pace, so they could catch up.

“Don’t stop running,” she said as they met up with her.

“Where’s Shaz?” Turkill asked.

“He’s coming,” she said.


About the Author

DS Johnson is an artist, illustrator, entrepreneur, and author of the Realms of Edenocht series for Young Adults. With over a decade of writing Young Adult novels and graphic design and an avid online role-playing gamer, DS Johnson has years of experience in the art of fantasy make believe and a love for the genre of role playing games and has endeavored to bring to life in action adventure novel form the love of the game. With quotes like WOW, now that was pleasantly unexpected!’ With the natural sense of leveling up your character and developing your skills, DS Johnson has successfully combined the art of fantasy and role playing in a remarkable series for  young and old readers. Even if you’re not a role-playing gamer, you will find the books Realms of Edenocht utilizes the traditional, but exciting story telling techniques with skill and flare all readers will love. DS Johnson works from home and enjoys family life and the creative process.

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