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Ebook Sample Prologue: The Warrior in Red
Book 1: The Warrior in Red
Free Sample Prologue
A long time ago, in a galaxy....
Wait a minute, that's not right....
Actually, I've been a D&D Dungeon Master for nearly 20 years. In 1996 I completed my first novel and completed two more novels within the next few years. I've never officially submitted them to any publisher though I briefly offered the file as an ebook on eBay many years ago. Many people have read the books and enjoyed them, though the first book is obviously a bit rough, it's still a fun read.
Presented below is the Prologue to my first novel "The Warrior in Red". I will soon be setting up a website that will offer this book for sale. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this sample!
This eBook is now available in the Webstore for Dead Ball Cards
Prologue: Banished to the Abyss
He hated it here. He had gotten this far and was stuck.
He was the evil mage Tycher. Twenty years ago, he attempted to usurp the kingship of Alactaor, a kingdom rich in wealth. He had nearly succeeded, but the kingdom’s ruler, King Caswallyn II, was able to summon help in time.
The help came in the form of a powerful sorceress, a high priest of Terrath, and a warrior named Ignacius Kolius who came with a small human army and a burly thief named Voranz. Together, with King Caswallyn’s already significant forces, they were able to beat Tycher and banish him off the plane known as Lanteryn.
He wound up in the Abyss, which he was none too thrilled about, but he did have acquaintances here, having visited several years ago while working on another evil scheme. He traveled the infinite layers of the Abyss until he was able to get his bearings. Out of frustration, he grabbed a passing demon so he could get some information.
“What plane am I on?” Tycher asked.
“You’re in the Abyss, sir”, the demon responded. It was a small blue creature. It had a squat, rather stocky look to it.
“I already know that”, Tycher added, “what layer of the Abyss am I on?”
“Well, I believe this is the 108th layer sir.”
Tycher let the demon go and continued walking. He still had a long way to go just to get out of the Abyss. He still had some traveling to do after that as well. This was going to take some time. But he vowed to return to Lanteryn to seek his revenge.
* * * * * *
That was twenty ago. By now, he had traveled so many miles on so many planes, and had lost his bearings so many times, that he almost didn’t care where he was anymore. He had found and used the conduits between layers only to find that they didn’t necessarily lead closer to the entry layer, where a conduit would certainly be located that went back to the world of Lanteryn.
He traveled through the conduits and landed on planes that were barely safe to walk on. Some planes were all ice floes and glaciers, some were dusty wastelands, some were all rocks and he was simply lucky enough to arrive in stable tunnels that were carved through the stone. One plane he got stuck in was a sea of water. The conduit he used to get there had dropped him several miles below the surface of the water. A quickly cast water-breathing spell saved his life that time. He was tired of traveling through the Abyss’ seemingly endless amount of layers. It was hard for even him, an accomplished mage going on 300 years old, to accept that the rumors about the Abyss could be true.
It has been said that the Abyss was a plane of infinite layers going off in every direction infinitely. The very thought of such a thing boggled the mind. He decided, that rather than simply traveling the conduits and hoping for the best, a process that had nearly killed him several dozen times, he would climb the layers. A traveler could theoretically find the highest point in each plane and attempt to climb out of the Abyss by moving through the layers in the direction of the entry layer. It was not an easy thing to accomplish. In fact, nowhere in recorded history can you find any stories of anyone ever accomplishing the task.
He looked around at the landscape. This plane was much like his home plane. It had greenery, and better air to breathe than most of the other planes he had been in. To be honest, besides the fact that there were demons around every tree and rock, it really wasn’t that bad a place to be. He continued to look around the plane. He didn’t want to grab any demon to extract information from now. He had learned long ago that some of the demons were terribly weak, and some were very powerful. Nothing he could not handle with a few spells, but he didn’t want to expend the energy. He had also learned that magical energies didn’t work the same here as they did on Lanteryn. Time itself moved slower and so magical energy took longer to replace.
He also knew that there were never any signs posted saying, “Hello. Welcome to the 54th layer of the Abyss. Have a pleasant stay.” Somehow, he would have to figure out just how to identify where he was. He was currently walking on a path through a thin forest when he saw something that he just couldn’t believe.
Nailed to a tree off to the left of the path was a sign written in common. The sign read “Information”, and it pointed down another path leading somewhat eastward. He followed the path to a building. Not an old, overgrown, smelly shack, like he had grown accustomed to seeing in the Abyss. It was a three-story building, colored in gold, and it was adorned with intricate carvings, reliefs and statues. He walked up to the doors, a set of highly polished oaken doors, with a rich cherry finish to them. He tried to open it and found that it was unlocked. He walked into the building.
The inside was just as impressive as the outside. The walls were all painted in neutral toned colors. A plush carpeting covered the floor. At the end of the long hallway in front of him there was a sign hanging over a demon sitting at the counter. The sign said, “Reception Desk”. He had the sudden urge to laugh. He walked down the hallway and passed what looked to be offices. In them he could see demons of various types behind desks talking to other demons sitting in chairs in front of them. He arrived at the reception desk and looked upon a small, squat blue demon. It looked up at him.
“Can I help you sir?” it asked him.
“I don’t know. Can you answer some questions for me?”
“That is the basic function of a place called “Information”, is it not?” it sarcastically shot back at him.
“True enough. This is really an information center?”
“I am in the Abyss, correct?”
“Yes sir, the 3000th layer to be precise.”
That last statement got to him. He was closer to the entry layer when he first got here then he was now. A whole lot closer, in fact.
“I’ve been traveling these layers for years and I’ve never seen an information center”, he explained to the demon.
“There are information centers located every five hundred layers exactly. The information centers are always placed close to a conduit for convenience sake.”
“This building is too big to be just an information center.”
“Very perceptive, human. We are an all-purpose center.”
“An all-purpose center?” he had no idea what the demon was talking about.
“Yes sir. We handle enforcement, financial planning, therapy, accounting, real estate, job placement, travel service, and our largest department is legal services, they’re always busy with those soul-contracts, you know. We even have an all purpose gymnasium here.”
Tycher was flabbergasted.
When he regained his proper thought process, he decided to make some use of this demon as best he could.
“Could you possibly tell me the quickest way out of the Abyss?” Tycher managed to say it very respectfully.
“Out of the Abyss? For what purpose? Oh, never mind it’s none of my business anyway. The quickest way is to find a conduit that leads directly to the entry layer.”
“I already tried that. I’ve been at it for twenty years. Any other ideas?”, Tycher was frustrated but patient.
“The conduits are marked you know. Carved into the entrance of each conduit there are two numbers located one on top of another. The top one is where you are, although most creatures know that to begin with. The bottom one indicates where the conduit leads.”
“Well, I didn’t know that”, Tycher was getting excited.
“What language is it written in?”
“Ancient demonese”, the demon answered.
Tycher slammed both of his palms into his forehead.
“I don’t know ancient demonese”, Tycher said very quietly.
“Well then, you can scratch that idea. I suppose you could climb your way to the top.”
“Starting here? On the 3000th layer of the Abyss? No thank you. I’d be dead long before I got there.”
“At least you wouldn’t have far to travel”, the demon said jokingly. The demon started giggling.
Tycher was not.
“Ahem. Seriously, though, we have a conduit here that goes up to the 2500th layer. It’s not much, but it is a start.”
“I’ll take it”, Tycher wasn’t any happier when he left the InformationCenter than when he got there. But at least he knew where he was, he knew where he was going, and he knew to talk to whomever he found in the next InformationCenter. Like the demon had said, it wasn’t much, but it was a start.
He entered the conduit and came out onto a plane much like the one he had just left in that the atmosphere was very accommodating. Maybe they needed a habitable plane to build their centers on, he thought to himself. He was in a grassy meadow and nothing could be seen for miles. Nothing, just grassy meadow. He remembered what the demon had said about an InformationCenter being near a conduit. Just now he realized that that didn’t necessarily mean the conduit that brought you to that plane. Every plane he had been on, and that was quite a few by now, had at least two conduits attached to it. He never went back through a conduit, he always found another one to travel through.
He started walking. The sky had an eerie violet color to it. He’d never encountered any plane that didn’t have a blue or red sky, when they had skies that is. He kept walking until he got tired, which was many miles later. The landscape hadn’t changed at all. The sky was still violet and all he could see, for miles around, was grassy meadow. He lay down in the grass to get some sleep.
When he woke up, he looked around and all he saw was the same grassy meadow he had been traveling through earlier. Something, however, was vastly different. He felt like he was being watched. He walked onward hoping to shake the weird feeling, but it only got stronger. Finally, he’d had it.
“All right. I know I’m being watched”, Tycher yelled.
“Yes, human, you are”, a voice boomed through him and barreled him over. He collected himself and looked around. He got to his feet. He looked around again and saw nothing.
“Show yourself!!” he yelled again.
“You, human”, the voice boomed again, “are standing on my face.” Tycher had to collect himself from the ground once again. He brushed himself off and thought for a moment.
“I’m sorry”, he said and looked down at where his feet were. Nothing was there.
“Silly little human, this entire plane is my face. What are you doing here?” it asked at a more tolerable volume.
“I was at the InformationCenter on the 3000th layer and they had a conduit leading here, so I took it. I’m trying to leave the Abyss and traveling 500 layers in a second seemed a quick way to start my journey. They neglected to tell me the nature of this plane, my apologies.”
“Apology accepted, now leave quickly. I’m not fond of company and I like human company even less.”
“Just point me to the nearest conduit that will take me closer to the entry layer and I’ll be gone.”
A conduit appeared in front of him. It looked like every other conduit he had ever seen, the beginning of a long tube-like structure. When you were actually traveling through the conduit, you couldn’t see or hear anything. The travel was almost instantaneous. One second you were here, the next you were there. The process usually left travelers disoriented, but Tycher had so much experience with them that the feeling of disorientation left him long ago. He stepped into it without saying another word.
He found himself in front of an InformationCenter that greatly resembled the one he had been in on the 3000th layer. He went up to the doors and found them unlocked. He walked in and found the configuration of the building to be different than the other one he had been in. The reception desk was right here, in front by the entrance. He approached the desk and found a thin, red, female demoness. It appeared that she was busy writing something.
“Can I help you sir?”, she asked without looking up.
“I hope so. Can you please tell me which layer I’m on?”
“Why, certainly, sir”, she continued to write, “this is layer 2000.” For the first time, she looked up at him and gave him a big, toothy grin. It was supposed to be a friendly smile, but had he been less of a man he would have been paralyzed with fear. She looked him over.
“Where did you come from sir?”
“The desk clerk at the InformationCenter on layer 3000 sent me to the 2500th layer. However, he forgot to warn me about it’s interesting nature.”
“No kidding. And you made it out alive? I guess he really doesn’t like human flesh.”
“Excuse me?”, Tycher mumbled his response.
“That was Bile. He hates company and he usually eats anybody he finds on his face, as he puts it.”
“Oh, of course, how silly of me”, Tycher’s face blanched.
“Are you all right sir?”, the demoness asked him.
“I will be. I am attempting to get to the entry layer of the Abyss. Do you have a conduit I can use to get closer to the entry layer?”
“Our conduit will take you to the 1500th layer. Don’t worry. You won’t encounter another sentient plane there.”
After he had spent some time gathering himself together, he felt better. He was making some progress. That deal with the sentient plane though, really did a number on his system. He stepped through the conduit.
He was outside another InformationCenter and behind him there appeared to be a coliseum much like the ones he remembered from Lanteryn. He desperately wanted to continue his journey, but he loved sports and was intrigued by the notion of a coliseum here in the Abyss. He went to the coliseum and found a seat. On the field there was a game taking place, and in the seats around him there were various types of demons, devils, and other assorted hideous beings.
The playing field was shaped in a triangle. In each corner of the triangle there was a net and a team of players. The three teams of players seemed to be attempting to carry a lone ball that sat in the center of the field towards the other team’s nets. One team succeeded in taking the ball across the field and threw it into the net of one of the other teams. The crowd around him went crazy. The rules seemed simple enough. There weren’t many to abide by. Take out the other players and help your team throw the ball into either of the other two team’s nets. Many players got hurt and a good deal of them had to be carried off the field. It was a violent sport, but what could you expect from a sport being played in the Abyss, he thought to himself.
It was fun to watch the game. However, he didn’t know who to root for and he didn’t have money to bet on the game so he decided to leave for the InformationCenter. He made his way down out of the seats and walked over to the InformationCenter. The outside of this center greatly resembled a church to some deity. Intricately carved statues stood in the doorjambs and a beautiful rose window was set high on the front facade of the building. He tried the door and again found it unlocked. He entered the building.
A small desk was set immediately inside the building. A green skinned demoness had him write his name into a book. He was told to sit down and wait until he was called up. He walked into the waiting room and found it full of demons of all varieties. As he looked around, he saw another human, the first one he’d seen in twenty years. Tycher walked over to the human and sat down.
The man was very large and dressed very strangely. He appeared to be reading something, in a language Tycher himself couldn’t read, or even identify. He looked up at the man, was about to speak, then stopped himself. It had been so long since he had talked to another human that he didn’t know what to say.
“Can I help you with something?”, the large man asked without looking up from whatever it was he was reading.
“I don’t know. I’ve been stuck in the Abyss for twenty years and I’ve never encountered another human being here.”
“That’s because the majority of human beings wouldn’t survive a day here. Only powerful sorcerers or extremely evil people can move around independently in the Abyss.”
“Which are you?”, Tycher asked.
“Does it matter?”, the large man asked.
“No, I suppose it doesn’t. If you don’t mind my asking, what are you doing here?”
“Visiting a friend”, the man said quickly, “I’m waiting for my escort.”
“Oh, who are you visiting?”, Tycher was puzzled. Who could this man possibly be visiting in the Abyss.
“I’m sure you don’t know him, he’s a demon prince.”
“And you’re visiting him?”, Tycher was amazed.
“Visiting is the polite term. The bastard put a price out on my head, so I figured I’d come here, to his home, and let him face me head on.”
“And you’re not worried about facing a demon?”
“Would I be here if I was worried about him? I’m more worried about the hundreds of little devils and demons making attempts on my life. I’m never in any danger but my servants and acquaintances are getting seriously injured. I can’t allow that to happen any longer. Good help is so hard to find these days”, he coined the cliché and laughed hysterically. This man, Tycher decided, was either a very powerful sorcerer, or a very arrogant sorcerer. Either way, he decided, he liked him.
Tycher looked around the room. He noticed that while he was talking to the strange man next to him, several of the other beings waiting in this room with him had already been called up. The room wasn’t as crowded as before. He looked back at the man he was talking to.
"Pardon me, I didn’t get your name sir?”
“Throck R.P. Morton.”
“Do you think you’ll be called up soon?”, Tycher asked.
“No, the message that I’m here will take some time to get to my friend, the prince. I assume I’ll be here for a couple of days, at least.”
“Tycher”, the green skinned demoness called him up to the desk. He went over to the desk quickly.
“How can I help you sir?”, she said methodically.
“I’m trying to reach the entry layer of this plane. I was wondering if you know of a fast way to accomplish that.”
The demoness looked up at him with a quizzical frown on her face. She started flipping through some papers and found what she was looking for at the very bottom of the stack.
“I have orders for you to return to the first layer”, she said.
“That’s what I’m trying to do”, he shot back at her.
“No sir, you don’t understand. Baal, the demon lord, has ordered that the one named Tycher be shipped directly back to the first layer when he is located.”
This surprised him. He had only heard about Baal in legends and stories. What did a demon lord want with him, he thought to himself. Tycher had only dabbled in the supernatural once, for a very specific and nasty revenge scheme, and he had no thought of ever doing so again unless in dire emergency. Still, this order would get him to where he wanted to go, but something still bothered Tycher.
“You wouldn’t happen to know why Baal wants me shipped to the first layer, do you?”
“Apparently, someone has been trying to summon you back to your home plane for some time now. Baal is very tired of this person’s voice and will gladly be rid of you to stop the noise”, she explained to him.
“Someone is trying to summon me? Why couldn’t I hear it then? Come to think of it, why can’t I hear it now?”
“Because a summoning from such a weak individual, as the one who is making the attempt is, would never penetrate more than the entry layer of any plane, much less the infinite layers of the Abyss.”
That made sense to him. She directed him to a conduit that was found in an office-like room at the back of the building. A sign above the conduit said “Special Delivery” in common. He laughed to himself and stepped through the conduit. He immediately found himself on the entry layer of the Abyss. This layer was rather dusty and the ground was absolutely littered with holes that were actually conduits. The river Styx made its way around the holes nearby. Off to Tycher’s right, a huge demon was standing there with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Are you the one named Tycher?”, it asked.
“I am he.”
A male voice could be heard on the wind as it blew by.
“Do you hear your name being called by the wind?”, it asked him angrily.
“Yes I do”, he answered timidly.
“It’s been doing that for a timespan of what you would call a week. It’s infuriating. I want it to stop, right now. Prepare yourself to be returned to your home plane.”
“I am ready to go.”
And then he was home. He was left in a beautiful forest and he was happy to be there, anywhere but the Abyss.
Efcheetikos, of Clan Banchalis
It's a bit long, but I hope you enjoyed our little jaunt through the Abyss. Feel free to comment.
The website will be up soon but for anyone who wants to contact me, please send emails to: email@example.com
The characters, events, and names found in this book are purely fictional and any resemblance to any persons living or deceased is entirely coincidental.
Real people played a few characters in this book in a popular role-playing game.
First Printing (for online purposes)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, with the exception being for review purposes, without the written permission of the author and publisher.
© 2010 dblyn