Otherworld Excerpt: Entering Speleto Fond B2E1

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Entering Speleto Fond

This is an excerpt from my second novel in the Otherworld series, "Justice for the Silent."

Monday (Air-day) started before sun rise as usual. Before starting out, Dor called everyone, man and beast together. "Today, we will go to Speleto Fond. This is not a Keeper city. I must remind you all of your promises not to disclose that we are Keepers. If any ask our business, we are on the way to the lands beyond to bring justice to the silent. . ."

Mark Kent interrupted, "Excuse me, Dor. Won’t that alert people that we are on Keeper business?"

Dor, "No. Justice for the silent is a common term for Keepers and simple-tongues. It just means that a relative or someone we are obligated to needs defending. But I do not expect that we need to even talk about this. Hirand was the silent’s messenger and our guide. I am the kinsman, Balentar and Jow are justice’s servants. A servant of justice is one that is hired to help bring justice for the silent. You five need to decide whether you are justice servants or apprentice minstrels. You cannot be both, at least not publicly. I think it would be better for you five to be justice servants."

Hirand: "I agree. You should be justice servants. But Dor, you are incorrect on the term ‘justice servants.’ While that term may be common among simple-tongues in your experience, in this place it is not. The Commander is right, it may reveal to them in Speleto that you are Keepers."

Mark: "Everyone put the feathers away."

Dor: "We want to just get through this city. We will camp beyond it. We do not want trouble. We just want to get through. So, do not bring attention to yourselves. Beasts will ride in the carriages. Beasts like ours are not usually seen it this part of the world."

As they mounted up the horses to their gear, Johnny said, "We are only a week away form the Gate. Why are our animals so different?"

Drew: "Have you seen any rottweilers around here?"

Johnny climbed up and hung his feet over the sides of the carriage. "Yeah, I guess you’re right. Just seemed weird."

Drew asked Dor, "So, what does ‘Speleto Fond’ mean?"

Dor: "In their language, it means ‘Out of Keeper Ashes.’"

Rob raised his eyebrows. "Sounds inviting."

Johnny remarked, "Sounds like some one has some issues."

The dense Jungle cleared and animals stopped following the carriages. The road continued until a wall was visible ahead. It was long and stretched into the distance on both sides. As they approached the wall, the wall loomed above them until its full height could be appreciated.

Johnny whistled. "Who are thy trying to keep out?"

Hirand pointed to a sign. "Apparently, Keepers."

Drew looked at Dor and Balentar. They were looking at the sign too. In several languages, its message was clear. "No Keepers are here. No Keepers are welcome."

Dor asked Balentar in Mother-tongue, "Did you know of this?"

Balentar: "No."

The road continued east. As the travelers came closer to the entrance of the city, other people appeared on the road. They were quiet and gave no greeting. They just trudged on toward the gate carrying their burdens and bundles.

By the time the travelers reached the gate to Speleto, it seemed clear to the Americans that they would probably not be inconspicuous. All the residents of Speleto had large ears. They also had dark, intensively curly hair. It was not the texture of a black man’s from Earth, which the Americans were familiar with. But it was closer to that than to the hair texture any of these white Americans. It had tight, small curls. The fashion of Speleto seemed to be to pile their curly hair as high atop their heads as possible.

Of the travelers, the only ones with dark/black hair was Rob. His father Mark had brown, along with Balentar, Johnny, and Jow. Jow’s hair color hardly mattered. He was inside the carriage riding in solitude. For the beasts were in the other carriage. Drew’s hair was dark blonde, Jim’s intensely red, and Dor’s intensely blonde to the point of white. Jim’s was the only one who had curly hair, but kept telling him to keep it covered.

So, everyone looking at them would know they were not local folks. Dor hoped for a non-eventful entrance into the city. He was going to be disappointed.

As the travelers approached the gate, Mark asked Dor, "Why don’t we just go around the city and wall?"

Dor: "We could go around the city, except for the wall. The wall is very long. Trying to cross would bring more attention to us."

Mark: "Is this safe?"

Balentar stiffened at the implication. "Whether these people like Keepers or no, Keepers still protect the law. They are still under Keeper stewardship."

Mark: "You and I both know that. But do the people of Speleto know it?"

Guards watched everyone pass through the gate. Everyone that passed had black curly hair and big ears. No one raised the suspicion of the Guards until they heard the clatter of the carriages and saw the foreign looks of the travelers.

Guards on either side came between the carriages and the gate. A man stood in front of the others. From his clothes, look, and bearing, he was in charge.

The chief guard spoke in the local language, but it was foreign, event to Dor, who was the most multi-lingual beside perhaps Hirand. Dor responded in the Otherworld Arabic trade tongue. "How can I be of service, master Guard?"

The guard smirked and looked at his fellows. "We do not get many visitors this way." Then he said in the same trade tongue that Dor used, "What is your business?" His tone was harsh and words to the point.

Dor: "We are just passing through to the lands beyond."

The guard raised his eyebrows. "You have business in the Meer Bogs do you?"

Dor shifted uncomfortably. He did not know what to say at this point except, "Beyond, actually."

The Guard became even more amazed. "In the Razor-root Forest?"

This was so unbelievable that Dor was compelled to say, "We travel to the Cursed Lands."

The guard’s expression became dark. "What business have you there?"

Dor was about to say, "We bring justice to the silent." But Hirand had warned that this would sound like Keeper terms of law. And Dor knew he needed to be discrete about his identity. "I have kinfolk there and I am bound to help if possible. These that accompany me are. . ." No, he could not say "justice servants." So in stead, "They are my guards. This minstrel is the messenger/guide."

The guard circled the carriages poking luggage and tapping things with a club in his hand. After coming back around the front of the carriages, he pointed with his club at Drew, who was clearly the youngest of the lot. "You are a guard?"

Drew tried to speak, but his voice caught in his throat because it was dry. He coughed and said, "Yes, sir."

Guard: "Come down here." It was not a request. Drew looked around for guidance, but no one else knew what do to either. Apparently, there was no Otherworld custom on point. So, Drew complied.

The guard towered over Drew. Drew internally demanded, "Why does everyone on Otherworld have to be so huge?" He said nothing aloud though.

The guard looked down at Drew from his seven foot tall position. "How long have you been a guard?"

Drew looked down. "Uh. . . This is my first time."

The Speleto guard turned and spoke to those guards still watching. He spoke in that language that the travelers did not know. This chief guard had a smirk on his face as he spoke. At his words everyone unabashedly laughed.

Guard: "Have you ever fought someone, boy?"

Drew tried to appear resolute and formidable as he said, "Yes."

The guard said something again to the watchers who laughed again. The other guards had nothing better to do. They were in for some sport. Others were also gathering and watching. "How do you know how to fight?"

Without thinking, Drew said, "I have a black belt in Cha Yun Do."

The guards and the other spectators had no idea what that meant, of course. The other Americans were amazed that Drew had said such a thing. Mark shook his head. Johnny put his face in his hands.

The chief guard looked at Drew’s belt trying to figure out what he was talking about. "Your belt is grey."

Drew tried to recover by saying, "I just mean that I have had training."

Guard: "What training?"

Dor did not like where this was going. "We have business. . ."

The guard pointed a finger up at Dor. "You are not going anywhere without my say." Then to Drew, he again demanded, "What training?"

Drew shifted his weight to his other foot, uncomfortable with the moment. "I’ve had some training with a sling. I’ve had some with the sword, and some with the staff."

At that, everyone laughed. Drew did not know why. Were they laughing because they considered that insignificant? Were they laughing for another reason? Drew pressed on past the apparent humor and said, "Most of my training is in unarmed fighting."

The guard raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

Johnny whispered, "Oh no."

The chief guard returned to his subordinates and handed them his club and took off his sword and belt. Finally, he removed his cape. He came back to where Drew was standing nervously, and said to Drew, "Why don’t you give me a lesson about what you know?"

Mark, the commander, jumped to the ground. "This guard is under my command. I say when he fights or no. And I say no. If you must fight some one, fight me."

Chapter Continued

The guard took a step closer to Mark. The Guard looked like he was sizing up Mark. But he looked back at Drew and said, "No. You said he was a fighter. If that is true, he can handle himself in a contest against me. If he wins, you will have safe passage."

Dor said, "That will not be necessary. We will find another way to the Cursed Lands."

Guard: "I don’t think so. Maybe you have been lying about him being a guard. Maybe you are hiding something. Maybe you are smuggling something. Maybe there is someone hidden inside your carriages."

There was someone in the carriage. But now would not be the time to mention that. Even though they were not trying to hide Jow Tarbala or the Burlon, but they were hiding their Keeper identity. This guard could cause the traverlers an unreasonable amout of trouble.

The guard: "Admit it, the boy is no fighter at all, is he? He can’t fight."

Mark: "Oh, he can fight. . ." Mark looked at Drew. Drew was not exactly confident, but he nodded to Mr. Kent as a sign he was willing to demonstrate his training. Mark moved over to Drew. In English, he said, "You don’t have to do this."

Dor and Balentar joined Mark and Drew. The rest of the teens did not want to be left out. So, they joined the huddle. Drew said, "Well, it lookes like I do have to do this. If I don’t, he will take us for smugglers. He will search our things. What if he finds out about our guns? Or our money. He’ll find out Dor and them are Keepers."

Dor: "I am sorry to say, we are in a percarious place. If it were not for my kinsoman who is waiting, it would not matter. We would be put in jail for a couple weeks. If a couple hundred Judgment Keepers arived and demaned our return, they would release us. But our whole purpose it subtlety and speed. We do not want to be held up. Lives depend on it."

Mark was upset at Dor for endangering the boys by coming this way. "I will deal with you later."

Dor did not act like Mark’s words affected him. "I am simply saying that there are two choices. Drew either accepts the challenge, or we escape by use of force. If Drew does not accept and we do not escape, it is a Speleto jail for certain."

Mark was painfully aware of the unlikely possibility of getting the carriages turned around in the small space in front of the gate and escape without the guards swarming them. "What are the rules for this challenge?"

Dor echoed the question to the chief guard. The guard said, "Traditional rules," as if he were doing Drew a favor. Then the guard bowed ingratiatingly.

Drew asked Dor in English, "What are traditional rules?"

Dor: "No weapons. No attack if the other is not on his feet. No death targets, throat, or spine. No attack of the marriage area. How is that called?"

"Privates."

Drew: "How do you know who wins?

Balentar: "When one yields or one cannot continue."

Rob: "How do you know the rules? I thought Keepers don’t fight."

Dor: "That does not mean we are unaware of the ways of the simple-tongues."

Drew: "So, he’s not going to try to kill me is he?"

Dor: "No."

Mark put a hand on the bulge on his waist that was his gun. "He better not."

Drew unhitched his belt that held his gun, knife, bullets, computer, and other objects. The only item the watchers recognized was a traveling knife, like the minstrels wear.

"Any pointers?" Drew asked his commander.

Mark: "He’s got a foot on you." Drew was just under six foot tall and about two hundred and twenty pounds. The guard was over seven feet and had very long arms. Drew had bulk, but the guard had reach. Mark continued. "Depending on his style of fighting, you might steal his advantage by getting in close. I would stay low and try to get in on his legs, or give him an upper-cut into the chest or chin."

Drew looked at Balentar who hopefully knew something about fighting styles here. Balentar said in English, "You use a lot more kicks in your karate than I suspect these people would. He might not be expecting it or know how to defend. It may help make up for his longer arms."

Armed with that knowledge, Drew faced his challenger. A ring of people was there now, three or four people deep. The travelors did not know it, but of late, the greatest fun for the wall guards of Speleto was to challenge strangers to a fight. It had been a while since the last game. So, they were ready for some fisticuffs.

The chief guard was a favorite as well. He had developed the sport in Speleto. As a guard, it was good practice. Yet others who were not guards were looking for training as well. Drew spent a couple minutes streaching his legs and shoulders. Then he moved around losening them up. The onlookers found this funny. Maybe they thought he was stalling. The guard let him do whatever he was going to do.

The two circled each other sizing the other up. Drew was forcing himself to relax. He knew that if he did not keep his muscles loose, the tension would slow him down. It would also steal his energy and wear him out. By force of will, he relaxed his muscles in his arms and hands, but still keeping them up in a "guardian" position. Fists at jaw level, elbows were tucked in to protect the ribs.

The guard’s stance was different and dramatic. It reminded Drew of a fencer’s stance. He faced Drew from a side stance with the right arm extended. The left arm was above his head.

The challengers circled closer. Suddenly, the seven foot guard leaped forward and jabbed with the forward hand at Drew’s stomach. Drew was ready and blocked the punch, but Drew was not as fast on the second strike. The first was a set up for the second. As Drew blocked the first, the guard did a back spin and slapped Drew across the face with his open back hand.

Drew stumbled away from the attack. His head was spinning and the crowd was laughing. Drew had been punched in the face before this fight. It had never hurt that much before. In fact, an open handed slap may not cause as much damage as a punch, but it can cause more pain. This is because the open hand contacts more surface area and thus more nerve endings.

"Wow! That was fast!" Drew thought. He shook his head, trying to get his eyes alligned. After a second, the double vision was gone. But a worse feeling remained. That was the morale of the first point going to the other side. The guard had hit him and had roused the crowd by the extraordinary display. Drew knew he looked foolish.

Drew was embarrassed, tense, and angry. He forced himself to shake off the tension in his muscles. He rolled his neck and opened his hands. He made himself dance a little like a boxer. He promised himself, "If that man spins again, I will rush him and shove him before he can get around."

The seven foot guard was smiling, self satisfied. "How old are you, boy?"

Drew was getting really tired of people calling him "boy." How old are you?" Drew retorted.

The guard smiled, "In my prime, ninety-three years old."

At that, Johnny laughed. Of course, people on Earth that are ninety-three are irreconcilably past their prime. The guard could not understand how anyone could laugh at that, so he looked over to figure out the joke.

Drew saw his chance. With speed that impressed his fellow Americans, Drew swung his right foot around to sweep the Guard’s front leg. The guard saw the motion and tried to step back. As the guard looked down to see what Drew’s foot was doing, Drew’s right palm shot straight up to smash into the prideful guard’s face. As the guard’s head recoiled from the battery, Drew spun, his left leg swept around and planted the ball of his left foot just below the guard’s right-side ribs. Of course, this made the man bend to the right. Drew followed up with a back fist from his left hand.

The guard’s hands were up though and he was stepping away. So, the back fist did not make contact. The crowd was silent in disbelief. Even the Americans were silent. It was not that they could not believe it, but they were impressed.

Drew said, "Seventeen."

The guard: "Seventeen?" Blood was visible in the guard’s black mustache. "Seventeen what?"

Drew: "I am seventeen years old."

The guard resumed a fighting stance, but his left side was in front. Apparently, he did not want to get kicked twice in the same side. "Fine, don’t tell me how old you are," he sneered. He did not believe Drew was telling the truth. "I don’t care." The guard charged with his long arms swinging. The wide arcs made for plenty of power. They were also easy to see coming, if Drew did not let himself get distracted.

Both fighters got in a few glancing blows, but nothing effective. Drew found it hard to get in. The guard had such long arms. Yet, Drew was evading the guard’s reach. The guard was expending a lot of energy. Drew noticed this and watched for the right moment.

The next time the guard over extended his reach, Drew grabbed the extended arm and spun. Drew flipped the tall man right over his back. The tall man landed with a thud and his breath was knocked out.

Drew moved away to let the man stand again. The guard was angry now because he was embarrassed. Drew was loose and confident. The guard, eager to reclaim his dignity, charged Drew. Drew side stepped to the right and kicked him in the stomach with the left foot.

Now, the man was furious. He charged Drew again, but he expected a kick. So he basically blocked Drew’s foot attack. The man circled each other again. The guard’s fury evident. Drew knew the strength of anger and adreniline. He wanted to get out of this before the guard was desperate to win at any cost. With the mission at stake, there was no way Drew could give up. So, he prayed. "Lord God, please help me." It was all he had time to say before he had to ward off another blow.

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Chapter Conclusion

This time, Drew threw a spinning hook kick at the guard’s head. The guard leaned back to avoid Drew’s heal. Drew could have followed up by a punch to the guard’s exposed stomach or even just charge him. The guard would have crashed down on his back. Drew did niether and lost his chance because he hesitated at the thought that of the guard becoming more angred. Any more and the man would be out of control.

The guard righted himself and Drew said, "I have proven my training. We don’t have to fight any more."

The guard mistook Drew’s words for hesitancy or fear. The guard said, "I will finish it right now." The guard then threw a kick of his own. It would have been a powerful kick off the rear leg, but it was untrained and a bit slow.

Drew took his right foot and caught the guard’s shin just below the knee with the sole of Drew’s foot. Quick as lightning, Drw took his raised foot and whipped it around to strike the guard in his side again. It was not a powerful kick, but it shocked the guard’s stomach. It hurt, but the greatest effect was to make the guard more angry. Drew was convinced now that he would have to knock this man out or break his arm or something in order to get out of this fight.

The fight continued with both sides landing minor blows. The crowd continued to grow. Hirand saw someone of note. Hirand had been in the background just watching. Minstrels were not supposed to fight, but he enjoyed watching a good contest of skill. He had no time for mindless brawling, but a test of skill and cunning was something else.

At the same time, Hirand did not trust the Speleto guards. They were known for harassing strangers. Sometimes, it turned rough. The person he recognized in the crowd could help. Hirand moved quickly through the crowd of on-lookers to greet his old acquaintance.

The man was an elder of some kind of authority in Speleto. He had spotless robes of office in white, burnt red, and yellow. The man had short grey hair, as much a sign of office as his clothes. People parted before him once they noticed him. The problem was that everyone was paying attention to the fight.

The man recognized Hirand immediately, though it had been many years. Hirand went to his side immediately asked for help for his friends. The elder listened for a moment, then moved swiftly to the edge of the battle ground.

Elder: "Prime director of the gate. . ."

The guard glanced over at the elder, but held his position. "We’re just having a friendly challenge, traditional rules."

Elder: "The challenge is done. Resume your duties."

The guard glanced back and forth between the elder and the infuriating boy. But he did not move. He was still in a fighting stance. It was clear he did not want to obey."

The elder repeated himself louder. "Director."

The guard made a rebellious face for a mere instant. Then he faced the elder and bowed. Drew watched as the guard gathered his possessions from the fellow guards. The crowd began to disperse as Drew wondered by what miracle this fight came to an end. He then remembered he had prayed moments ago and asked for God’s help. Drew walked back to his friends. "What happened?"

Mark gestured to Hirand, who was exchanging a few more words with the leader. Guards began dispersing the crowd, urging the people to move more quickly. Drew was strapping back on his gun belt when Hirand returned.

Drew: "What did you say to him?" Hirand smiled but said nothing. Drew asked, "What happened?"

Hirand said, "Let’s just say that he supports my work." Hirand climbed back up onto the closest carriage.

All the Americans looked at each other in wonderment. Johnny said, "He’s a minstrel. He makes it sound like he’s a great humanitarian or something."

Mark asked Dor and Balentar, "Do either of you know what that was all about?" Of course neither did.

"Move along!" said one of the guards trying hard to sound like Drew had not just embarrassed the chief guard. The travelers were finally on their way. They were entering Speleto.

 

by Andrew Grosjean

www.pastorandrew.ws

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Is it right to make fighting games (such as boxing or karate) a spectator sport?

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Author's Note:

This is an excerpt from my second novel in my unpublished Otherworld series, "Justice for the Silent." 

This is fiction of course. I would like to designate it as "Creation Science Fiction." Like traditional Sci-Fi, we seek to take real world ideas of science and extend them into the furthest reaches of possibility. This is what we have done here but we have used the Bible as the source of ideas. So, we have tried to make a world where nothing that happens nor anyone that exists is in contradiction to the truths of God's Word. You must know that above all, we believe that the Bible is God's protected and inerrant Word. We have woven together Biblical concepts with fiction in a way that may surprise you. I am not suggesting that what happens here is true. Obviously, I made it up. But there are some things that are true. You will need to examine and explore the Scriptures yourself to see if something is possibly true or not. That is the real fun here, to see the Word of God come alive with possibilities that we might not have expected. Let me close by saying my primary goal in publishing these stories is to get the children of God to examine the Bible more carefully and deeply.

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Glenda Grosjean 6 years ago from Wayne, MI

Wow - I am truly impressed. This hub was descriptive and captivating. I was really drawn into the story, and could imagine all of the characters. Your writing has definitely matured. Great hub! Can't wait for the books to be published!

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