Possessing the Grimstone

BOOK: Possessing the Grimstone
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A mage finds his magic, a leader finds her strength, a hero finds his courage.

Possessing the Grimstone

 

 

 

John Grover

 

Possessing the Grimstone

 

Kindle Edition

 

Copyright © 2013 by John Grover

 

Cover Art Copyright © 2013 by Mike Gauss

 

Map Copyright © 2013 by Jared Blando

 

Formatting by Jason G. Anderson

 

All characters, events and descriptions in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons living or dead are the product of the author’s imagination and are purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any mean, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from John Grover.

Other Fantasy Titles by John Grover

Song of the Ancestors Series

 

Web of the Spider Queen

The Human Condition

Ballad of the Fallen-Coming Soon

The Ashes of Orum-Coming Soon

 

The Books of Braenyn

 

The Scepter of Namiss

The Fallen Church of Ashburn

Family Bonds-Coming Soon

Tarrow’s Tale-Coming Soon

Duel on Mt Vapor-Coming Soon

Friend or Foe in a Broken Land-Coming Soon

The Urn of Orgo-Coming Soon

A Dish Served Cold –Coming Soon

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Glossary and Prounciations

Bonus Material: Excerpt from The Scepter of Namiss

Author Bio

Bibliography

Chapter 1

“The First People traded their wings so that we may fish in the rivers and farm in the fields. It is because of them that we now run across those same rivers and span the fields in the blink of an eye.” –Old Wivering legend told from generation to generation.

 

 

1200 Years Ago

 

The winged man raced through the air, his heart threatening to burst from his chest, wings fatigued, and arms aching from the weight of his load. He spun through the clouds and ascended even higher still. He was charged with a mission that could not fail.

In his talons, he carried a piece of the stone, a third of it. The smooth surface glinted emerald green in the sunlight, the white carving of the Grim Rune was unreadable in its current form. To hold the piece actually dimmed his heart and tugged at his soul, but it was time.

The pieces could not be destroyed, but they could be lost, hidden from those who walked the ground, or swam in the seas: those who would put it back together and harness the light and the dark, and perform miracles that should not be. They would enact deeds that no sane person should witness, and rule over a world that had nearly lost its soul.

He was commanded to not tell the other two where he would take his piece, and it had to be done quickly before it was missed. The magic that separated the stone would eventually die, and then the stone could reunite. That was why the pieces had to be moved as far away as possible from one another.

After, none were to ever speak of it. No one in the world would know where all three pieces lay at rest.

He went east, passing over the salt lands to the Red Coast and across the Fifling Sea, where the mist hung lazily on the horizon. His people never flew out beyond the mist, and now he was lost within it. They weren’t sure what was on the other side of it—it obscured what may lie beyond. It swirled and rolled as if alive, but never faded away, never burned out in the light of the sun.

The mist reached out to him in tendrils, threatening to coil around his arms and legs. He wasn’t sure if it was truly alive, or if the piece of stone had unusual effects on it. He tried to soar higher, but the mist only followed him.

He pushed on, flapping harder and harder, panting. There was something solid in the distance, a shadowy shape. He thought it might be land: perhaps islands, or primordial forests, or subterranean caves. He raced toward it.

The mist thinned, and he saw it at last. He stopped mid-flight. A burst of energy shattered around him. Was it magic? The remnants latched onto his flesh, singed his feathers, tore at his warrior’s mask, clamped onto his talons, and pulled him down.

A scream escaped him as pain surged through every fiber of his being. His soul split into two, and he fell from the violent sky.

The piece of stone tumbled from his grip and into the unknown.

###

Today—the Year of the Ram’s Horn by the Wivering Calendar

 

Pim worked in the field with his father and younger brother. Their yellow-blond hair glinted in the sun, the same color of every Wivering’s hair from the smallest child, to the most wise and elderly.

His stunning blue eyes focused on weeding out the fire grass from around the rows of wheat. Sometimes, at night, when the moon was visible, his eyes glowed in the dark. Pim was one out of every ten males whose eyes did this. His dad’s did not, nor his brother’s.

He looked back at them, harvesting blue corn into their sacks, and wondered why his brother always got the easy work.

Only because he’s younger,
He thought to himself.
But I learned to tend rows, as well as to gather before his age. They baby him.

Pim finished the last row, and, with a spring in his step, dashed to his father and brother in under a second, using the natural ability all of his people had: the power of fleet.

“Pim,” His father looked up at him sternly. “Do not use the fleet so casually. It will tire you quickly.”

“Sorry, Father, I didn’t want to miss the rest of the harvesting with you and Tal. Is there any left to do?”

“A little over there. And don’t run.”

“Yes, Father.” Pim put down his hoe and picked up a sack. He walked slowly, normally, to a cluster of stalks, and pulled at the blue corn.

His father and brother finished their haul and started back to the farmhouse with its thatched roof and shuttered windows. A small wooden post and rail fence surround the yard with a gate. Inside the fenced area, a few spotted swine with short, blunt tusks and a regal-feathered fowl scavenged and played.

The swine were great at eating weeds and keeping the yard free of pests, while the fowl chased off any predators that approached the fence. The fowl’s call was an alarming shriek that scared off most, and if that didn’t do it, the razor tips of its feathers did.

Pim hurried to pluck the rest of the corn from their stalks and stuff them into his bag. He looked back at his father and brother who had already crossed the yard. The idea of using his fleet of foot crossed his thoughts again, but he did not want to anger his father. He stuffed his bag full and rushed back home with ordinary speed.

Entering the home, he observed his family. His mother seemed delighted with this season’s bounty; she wiped her hands on her apron and began rifling through the corn. Every now and again, she’d crush a silk beetle between her fingers.

A small whimper from the cradle in the kitchen drew her away to tend to Pim’s baby sister, Aya.

“Mama?” Pim threw his sack of corn up on their table of Beetwood. “Will you make corn pudding this time?”

She turned to him and smiled.

Pim’s brother’s eyes lit up. “Oh yes, please, Mama. I love your corn pudding.”

“It has been a long time since you made it,” Pim reminded.

“We’ll see.” She pulled Aya into her lap to feed her. “We must make sure there is enough meal, porridge, stuffing for birds, breads, and feed for the swine before I can make pudding.”

“And enough token to the Mulcavrii,” Pim’s father said.

Pim looked over to the hearth where a small fire crackled, and a stew simmered in a pot made from iron shipped from the Silver Coast to the West. Above the hearth, carved into the stone, was the image of a man with wings. There was one above every hearth in every Wivering’s home.

What do they need with blue corn? They’re all extinct.

“Such a sad face,” his mother said. “I said we would see. Don’t give up hope so easily.”

Pim cracked a smile, and then started husking the corn for his mother to prepare.

His father made his way past him to the hearth and tied three ears of corn to the mantle to dry out. Those would be their token this season.

Tal forgot all about the corn and the pudding and went to play with his ball and staff.

“Not in the house, Tal,” his mother said. “Take the toys outside.”

“But the regal-feathered fowl chases me when I toss the ball.”

“Then go outside the fence—but stay by the house. Dinner will be ready shortly.”

He rolled his eyes and vanished outside into the yard.

Pim sat on a stool with a blade, carving a piece of darkwood into a totem.

“One day, you’ll make a fine journeyman,” his father said.

Pim sighed. “This is just for fun. I don’t want to join the order of Thet.”

“It’s a noble order.”

“No doubt… but it is not my calling.”

“What is your calling, son?”

“I have not discovered it yet.”

“Then you know not if the order of Thet is for you.”

“I may want to join the warrior sect and protect our lands.”

“Protect them from what? No one makes war on us.”

“They may one day. The lands of the North and South have many people. Many who are stronger than us, many with dark gods from the blackened skies and fire pits. They have made war with themselves.”

“Nonsense.”

“It is true. Just because you never leave Gonnish doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers out there. Maybe in Bhrungach, or Glenghora. What of the Black Spires of Cardoon? No one knows what lurks within the city of Cardoon. We only know that it is home to a great government with kings and queens.”

“These things are not our concern. We have no business in Cardoon. We are a neutral people who lead simple lives. Gonnish has been blessed to be shielded from the troubles in the North and South. Our place is here to follow the path the First People set before us: the bounty, and the spiritual path of the order of Thet. If you wish for trouble, Pim, trouble will find you.”

“I do not wish for trouble. I just do not want to live in ignorance. Our innocence can be our weakness.”

“Hold on to your innocence, son,” his mother said. “It has kept our people true to themselves.”

“But for how long?”

“Pim, we are Wiverings,” his father continued. “Our line does not follow those paths. If war comes to us, we use the fleet of foot to protect and outsmart our enemies. That is why the First People left us their gift.”

“It can be used for more than avoiding conflict. It can be offensive, stealthy, amazing. I’ve heard our kind can run across deep water without falling in, and leap into the clouds like they’re flying.”

“Myths.”

“What if they’re not? We could be more powerful than what we think we are.”

“That is why the North and the South make war: because of thoughts and ideas like these. I will speak no more of it.” His father waved him off.

“But Father, I only speak my thoughts.”

“Enough, Pim. If you do not wish to be in the order of Thet, you will need to learn a new trade: blacksmithing, or carpentry. If not those, then you will have to take over the farm when I am gone. Take care of your mother, brother, and sister.”

Pim lowered his head and said no more. He returned to his carving and listened to the crackle of the fire.

###

After dinner, Pim joined his friends, Ono and Arc, at the Plathor River. It was dusk, and the moon was just rising over the whispering trees.

BOOK: Possessing the Grimstone
5.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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