Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Age of Ornan Update and The Mercenaries of Domus-Lux


This week I have a post that is less theological and more Age of Ornan/Domus-Lux focused. I just wanted to let you folks know that the book is now in the design phase of publishing which is one of the later stages. This has me and hopefully those who have already read it excited!

I also would like to announce that I am working on my fourth book. This one is also set in Domus-Lux somewhere around five thousand years before The Age of Ornan. This one will be titled The Mercenaries of Domus-Lux. Ironically this is the first story I ever created for Domus-Lux. I actually began work on The Age of Ornan first but it was set in another world that really was not working for the story and so I transferred it over to Domus-Lux.

I would not encourage readers to get too excited yet as I work full time with a lot of overtime and I only write when I can. But I am pleased to announce that chapter one is complete and to give you folks a good taste of the book I will include this chapter in the below for FREE!!!

I hope you enjoy, and in the meantime, God bless and have a great day!

 

Warning! This Content is highly unedited. Errors contained within are the result of being a first draft and is therefore only slightly the result of a stupid author.

Mockery of said author due to his authorship or absurd face is prohibited.

 

The Mercenaries of Domus-Lux

Chapter 1

A Waking of the Dark

 

The land of Osdoger, a place of wild, untamed, wilderness is a land where brigands, thieves, mercenaries, and all sorts of unpleasant folk make their dwelling. Osdoger with its vast forests, high cliffs and deep canyons make the land unsuitable for commoners but a place most befitting the life of those who wish to lay low or organize mischief if that is something one’s occupation might require. Indeed Osdoger is such an unpleasant place that the descent folk of Domus-Lux never pass through it intentionally. Even if it is necessary to take a path through it they prefer to go north through Osgedy and Osurisim or south through Osroddim or Osdod, even though these routs could easily add weeks to ones traveling time.

The unfortunate towns situated near Osdoger are constantly plagued by the villains that make their home there. Seeing that there is no king and the governors of these cities are at best inept the people have learned that losing possessions due to crime or fleeing their homes when word of bandit raids comes round is just a way of life. Yet not all who wonder the paths of Osdoger are so ill intended. On the western boarder of Osdoger one can find a quaint little road. It leads into the pine forests and winds it’s way north and south but all the while taking an eastward rout through a valley, with lower lands towards the south and high cliff to the north. Then all at once the path turns northward around that mountain and the path leads steady upward. If one were to follow that path to is height they would discover that it would take them to the very top of that cliff. They would also find atop the plateau a small wooden fort, little more than a camp or outpost at the most, but to a man named Saxon it is home.

Saxon of Osmocdrem was a mercenary, and while this seemed like an unpleasant and even corrupt occupation for any decent person to hold decent was quite the word to describe him. Saxon was a man who in former days was one of high standing. And even though those days were past one could not tell it by the way he bore himself. He stood taller than most in the land and he carried himself high. He was a well-educated man for one who was a mercenary and he preferred spending time in books as opposed to warfare. In fact Saxon found war very distasteful, but you see this was the reason why he fought. He had been a military man in his former life. He had fought wars and killed men, and goblins. He found it all distasteful and decided that these problems would not go away on their own. After the fall of Osmocdrem and the rise of powerful bandits and brigands Saxon decided to wage war on these misfits and protect the towns surrounding Osdoger. He only called himself a mercenary because that is what the peoples from the surrounding towns labeled him. But they only bequeathed that title upon the man because they were not sure what to call him exactly. You see Saxon would come into a town that was struggling with brigands and would drive away the enemy. He would never demand payment and would in fact only accept it if he absolutely needed it to continue his work. While this meant many lean years when he first began people started to learn that if they paid Saxon then he spent less time raising support and more time protecting them. Saxon’s kind and generous ways won the hearts of the people surrounding Osdoger, and while raids were still a way of life for them the people had hope that one day people like Saxon would rid them of their troubles.

At noon on a mid-summers day Saxon was about doing a daily survey of his fort. Just a few evenings prior he and his men had fought off a band of brigands and mercenaries who wanted to bring an end to the only opposition they had faced in the last number of years. As he observed the escape rout of the defeated bandits, which looked far more to him like a gaping hole in his wall, he concluded that training could be skipped that day. After all what good would better honed skills do them if they were completely open to attack? So Saxon went inside where he found his small band of helpers. His ranks had risen and fallen throughout the years but at this time in particular he was at his lowest.

In the center of his fort where a few makeshift training dummies had been set up Saxon found his warriors sparring each other. One of them in particular was standing out from the others. He was a young man called Fadez. He had been an orphan left on the streets. He used his natural speed and athletic ability to do what he needed to survive and help out his fellow orphans until the day he crossed the most powerful mercenary in the land, Arbor. Rather than killing Fadez or giving him a thrashing Arbor saw the potential in the lad and employed him. Fadez had made a name for himself over the years and since Arbor had also discovered and trained Saxon, Fadez met his future employer. Eventually Fadez left Arbor’s company and joined with Saxon because it was clear to him that Saxon was out to help people, as opposed to Arbor who had a rather lucrative business going.

Fadez, while a young man, was the most experienced in Saxon’s group. He was easily distinguished from the others because of his skill and the fact that he wore a cape and a plumed hat which certainly hid all appearance that he was at one time a homeless orphan.

Saxon shook his head as he looked at two more of his men, brothers called Miles and Taurus, who were locked in epic combat. Taurus rushed towards Miles and took three wild swings at him with his axe. Miles took a step back with each as if it were the simplest of maneuvers. With the last he stepped in and slapped Taurus in the face. “Think Taurus! Think!” he shouted.

Taurus leapt towards him swinging down with his axe but Miles knocked it aside with his halberd and kicked his brother in the shin. “Use your head!” he commanded.

Taurus took another strike at Miles and this time as Miles blocked it Taurus took another step in and smashed him with his oversized cranium. As Miles fell to the ground Taurus laughed, “good idea!”

Though Miles and Taurus would defend each other to the death it was difficult to tell it by the way they treated each other. Both of the zealous youths were younger than Fadez and had very little experience in battle. Miles had always wanted to be a soldier but could never bring himself to serve one of the local governors or mayors because of their reputation for corruption. Taurus on the other hand was more of a simple minded hunk of muscle who just liked fighting because it was fun. Their town had been attacked when they were children and Saxon had saved it. From that day forward they had determined that they would join Saxon if they ever got the chance.

The last member of Saxon’s mercenaries was a girl named Luna. While she never talked about her age to the others she seemed very young, almost childlike in appearance yet she had been with Saxon’s group longer than the others. Throughout the years she had not seemed to age a day, and while this was strange to her comrades they figured that being a senior member she was not to be questioned. Luna abhorred violence, and avoided battles as often as she could. She preferred to cook and mend wounded warriors. She had done an amazing job throughout the years in her work. Her food and medicine seemed to have a magical quality about them. Just a sip of Luna’s soup could reinvigorate a mercenary who trained the whole day and make them want to go out and do it again. And Saxon’s wounded mercenaries always healed twice as fast as any of their bandit enemies for which Saxon was grateful.

After observing his men practicing Saxon spoke up, “Very good,” he said, “But I think we have more important matters to deal with today.”

When the mercenaries heard their commander they all jumped in line and bowed low. “Yes sir!” they said, “What would you have us do sir!?” Miles asked.

“If you haven’t noticed there is a massive hole in the side of our wall,” Saxon said, “If it is not repaired soon the bandits will return and we might not be as blessed as we were before.”

“A brilliant idea sir!” Miles said, “May I suggest you send Taurus. He works wonders with an axe.”

“Indeed he does,” Saxon agreed, “Taurus will be the muscle but we need to send someone who will do most of the planning, and seeing that you were so eager to volunteer your brother I suppose you will be equally eager to help him.”

“Aww man!” Taurus moaned.

“please, send me with anyone other than him!” Miles said.

“You heard the man!” Fadez laughed, “Hop to it!”

Reluctantly Miles and Taurus grabbed their axes and left towards the woods. As soon as they were out of Saxon’s sight Miles pushed Taurus which turned into a shoving match all the way to their destination.

Once the brothers had wondered deep into Osdoger Taurus asked, “Why don’t I just cut one of those trees down.”

“Because their pine stupid!” Miles said, “That wood is as soft as your head!”

“You didn’t act like it was so soft when I knocked you across creation with it a while back.” Taurus said.

Miles was preparing to drop his axe and settle the argument with his fist when there was a sudden feeling like they were being watched. “Who goes there!?” Miles shouted.

Other than the wind rustling through the trees and birds chirping there was no sound. Just as Miles was ready to forget it and blindside Taurus, from the trees Luna bounded.

Miles and Taurus jumped, “Whoa!” Miles said, “Don’t startle us like that!”

“What you doing here anyway?” Taurus asked, “You can’t use an axe!”

“Saxon sent me.” Luna said.

There was a long pause as the brothers expected a little clarification on the subject but Luna seemed to think, as was common with her, that the less information she gave the brothers the better. “So why did he send you?” Miles asked.

“Because if I did not come then you two would never finish the job for fighting.” She said as she drew out a flute and sat down to play.

The two stared at her with confused countenances for several minutes before she frowned, “Get to work now.” She said, “I would rather be home doing something other than babysitting you two.”

So Taurus turned about and raised his axe to take a chop at a tree that Miles was not about to approve of when Luna stopped them. “What was that?” she asked.

“What was what?” Miles asked having not heard a thing.

“Are you scared!?” Taurus laughed as he did a jig.

Suddenly there was a loud rustling that was loud enough for all three to hear. “Taurus!” Miles said, “Ready your axe.”

“Taurus?” Luna called as there was no sign of the brother.

Miles looked back to see Taurus’ broad shoulders sticking out on both sides of the tree he was formerly preparing to fell. “I can see you!” Miles said and the shoulders turned sideways making his chest, back, and nose visible instead.

Before Miles could scold Taurus further they heard screaming from down the path. The three whirled around to see two small girls running up the path with several green creatures behind them.

“Are those goblins?” Taurus asked.

“Nonsense!” Miles said, “they haven’t shown their faces in years!”

“Then what would you call them?” Luna asked.

The goblins charged ahead and shoved the two girls to the ground. One raise his sword to slay them when the other stopped him, “No, no!” he shouted, “Let’s torture them a little while!”

“Follow me! Charge!” Miles shouted and the three rushed the goblins.

The green creatures were caught off guard by the mercenaries and were quickly slain.

“Who are you?” Taurus asked the girls, but before they could answer they heard the sound of goblins shouting in the distance.

“Let’s get out of here.” Miles advised and the mercenaries led the girls back down the path.

It did not take long for Miles to realize that his fighting with Taurus had caused him to forget where he was in the forest. And knowing that Taurus’ mental compass had been broken since birth he asked Luna to lead them. She said nothing but stepped ahead to guide them.

As they wound between hills and over mountains it became clear to Miles and Taurus that they were wondering in circles. Miles was ready to let his quick temper boil over in a fit of name calling when they came to the base of the hill on which their home rested. “What took you so long to get us here?” Miles scolded.

“Why didn’t you take the lead?” Luna asked.

“I…I uh” Miles stammered, “I had to watch our back to make sure there were no goblins.”

“In that case I am sure that you were aware of the figure pursuing us.” Luna said.

“We were being followed?” Taurus asked.

“Of course we were!” Miles said, “That goblin thought he was hidden but the sun was clearly bouncing off of his armor!”

“It was no goblin.” Luna said, “And there was no armor. And besides I know that you never saw him otherwise you would have been shouting who goes there alerting all of Northwood to our presence.”

Miles mumbled to himself and then asked, “Did we lose him?”

“I hope.” Luna answered, “I’m not sure what he was, but regardless of his race he is very good. I haven’t seen him in an hour but that does not stop him from tracking us.”

“Blast it!” Miles said, “If Saxon finds out finds out it will be a month of watch duty for me!”

“Haha!” Taurus laughed, “Then I’ll get the top bunk!”

“Let’s just pretend nothing happened and show these kids to Saxon.” Miles said and led them into the fort and from there into the simple yet homely living quarters.

“Ah there you are.” Fadez said, as he watched them come in, “I hope you finished the work.”

“Yeah,” Miles sighed.

“I’m not sure what took you so long.” Fadez said, “But time is not a gift to be wast-…” He stopped mid-sentence as he spotted to the unknown girls behind his comrades. “And who are those two little girls?”

“I don’t know.” Miles answered, “We found them on the road. They were being chased by… goblins.”

“Goblins!” Fadez laughed, “Not very likely. Goblins do not leave Silva-Nox anymore! They have no need to seeing that the majority of our race sides with Dux-Mala. But at least this is different than what I expected. I feared that you had been foolish enough to let someone follow you home. You know how Saxon feels about that.”

Miles laughed nervously but said nothing.

“We was followed by goblins!” Taurus said.

“What?!” Fadez asked.

“Nothing!” Miles said, “He only meant to agree that we had seen goblins earlier.”

“Did you see them Luna?” Fadez asked.

“Ugly green creatures bent on inflicting torture on children seems to fit their nature.” She answered.

“That can’t be good.” Fadez said and then paused for a moment, “Maybe we should take them to Saxon.” He said at last and then led them all towards a door at the end of the room. They entered to find Saxon’s office, the kitchen, and the dining hall for this one room served as all three. In the center of the room was a long battered table which was more than large enough to accommodate the whole band of mercenaries. Seated at the end of the table was Saxon reading a large book. At the sound of the door creaking open Saxon’s eyes glared up at them, “Unless the matter is of the upmost urgency it can wait until morning.” He said.

“I believe this might be urgent.” Fadez answered as he pushed the two children forward.

“And who are these children?” Saxon asked.

“Well apparently these dear little ones were being chased by goblins.” Fadez said as he rolled his eyes in a wide circle as if he was not even sure he believed what he was saying.

“Goblins?” Saxon asked, “Please, sit them down.”

The mercenaries and the children sat at the table and waited in silence as Saxon looked hard and long at them. At last he finally spoke, “It is strange to see goblins here these days. They keep themselves busy in the north fighting the Elves. The only way the Black Mirus would ever concern himself with our lands is if it were a matter of great importance to him. Yet the object of the goblin’s pursuit is only two small children. What am I to make of this?”

“It is perplexing.” Fadez agreed.

“Indeed,” Saxon agreed, “So tell me you names.”

“Awis.” The younger said followed by the elder, “Lucy.”

Saxon seemed to think for a moment and then asked, “Your clothes may be old and tattered but they do not bear the mark of peasantry. Who were your parents and how did you find yourself in the position that my men discovered you in?”

“Our father was a king.”

“Indeed.” Saxon chuckled, “The king of Domus-Lux is Dux-Mala. Surely you do not belong to him.”

“Father was king first.” Avis said with a level of knowing too great for her age.

“If you mean to imply that you are the daughter of the last king then you must be mistaken.” Saxon said, “After all I was once in his service. I was relieved of my duties when Dux-Mala relieved him of his. But all those years in the castle the king had no children and no wife for that matter.”

“He did not die in the siege.” Lucy said.

“Saxon,” Fadaz said, “Remember the rumors.”

“I do indeed.” Saxon answered, “Some believed that the king escaped. If that did in fact occur then that would provide him more than enough time to find a wife and have children the age of the two sitting before us.”

“Then they’re princesses then?” Miles asked.

“That’s quite the claim.” Fadez laughed.

“A claim anyone could make.” Saxon added, “If they are in fact the king’s daughters I would prefer to have some proof.”

“Does this work?” Lucy asked as she pulled out a medallion.

Saxon’s eyes fixed on the golden object and stared as if in a trance, “Where did you get that?” he asked.

“Our father.” Avis answered.

“Let me see it.” Saxon said.

Lucy seemed hesitant to hand it over but eventually did. Saxon took the medallion and rose from his chair and paced as he observed its markings. In the center was a picture of Osmocdrem standing tall and strong with the majestic mountains of the west in view. Above the fortress four stars were shining. On the other side there were many names engraved. While to the average person the names would have meant nothing but to Saxon, a historian of his land he knew that it was the names of the kings of Domus-Lux beginning with the first Tecer going down to not the last king but to two names, Avis and Lucy.

“What is it.” Fadez asked.

“It is true.” Saxon said, “This proves that they are the daughters of the king!”

“How do you know it is not fake?” Miles asked.

“Because this is not the first time I’ve held this medallion.” Saxon said, “Every scratch and imperfection that had ever been on it is still here in its proper place. If it were fake it could only have been done by someone who had known the king and no such people survived the siege of Osmocdrem accept for me and a few friends of mine who are now all dead.”

“Then that’s why they were being chased!” Taurus said, “They’re princesses!”

“It’s not that simple.” Saxon said, “If they were being chased by Dux-Mala’s men then I would not be surprised. After all these two have the right to dethrone him. But these goblins answer to the dark one and if he is pulling his defenses from his stronghold in order to chase them then either it has nothing to do with Dux-Mala or he and the dark one have a shared interest in them.”

“Then let’s ask them.” Fadez said, “So tell me girls, why were goblins after you?”

“I don’t know.” Lucy answered.

“You don’t know?” Miles asked, “Or are you hiding the truth!?”

“Silence vermin!” Awis said, “We know nothing.”

“What should we do then?” Fadez asked.

“The goblins are following them for some reason.” Saxon answered, “And seeing that they are the ones we owe our allegiance to as servants of Domus-Lux we are bound by duty to protect them.”

Everyone nodded in agreement and waited for Saxon to give the next order. The stern mercenary’s hard face softened as he looked on the children with compassion. “You must be tired.” He said, “Fadez! Show them to a place where they can rest.”

“It will be done sir.” Fadez said as he led them out of the room. He returned shortly and Saxon spoke once more, “I fear that this has set in motion something greater than we have ever faced before.”

“Pardon me sir,” Miles said, “But does that not sound a little dramatic?”

“How many times have you seen goblins in this wood?” Fadez asked.

“Never of course!” Miles answered.

“That is Saxon’s point.” Fadez said.

“Well there is no sense in continuing to discuss this.” Saxon said, “We should retire. We have a full day tomorrow.”

“If we have a tomorrow.” Luna said.

“What do you mean?” Saxon asked.

“We were followed most of the way home by a man in black.” She said.

“Miles.” Saxon said, “Were you not in charge of this task?”

“Yes,” Miles answered, “But it’s not my fault!”

“And whose is it?” Saxon asked.

“I guess mine.” Miles answered, “There was just too much going on for me to focus.”

“Perhaps a month of watch duty will help you focus.” Saxon said.

“As long as I don’t get stuck with Taurus I’ll be fine.” Miles said.

“Top bunk for Taurus!” the broad brother rejoiced.

“Indeed,” Saxon answered, “Regardless of where we all sleep I suggest we do it lightly. For goblins and a man in black to arrive in one day suggests that the goblins are not finished pursuing their prey. We could soon have visitors of the most unsavory sort.”

“We will keep our weapons nearby.” Fadez said.

“Very good lads.” Saxon said as he rose from the table. “It is late. We had best be getting to bed.”

The mercenaries departed to their rooms as Miles went to watch through the long, cold, night.