You were beautiful beyond naming,
the most magnificent of the Giver’s gifts.
All who saw you
wept for joy
for the exceeding glory of the gift you were,
and worshipped the Giver who made you thus.
But this was not enough for you.
—From the writings of the Prophet Bari, in the year S.C. 1251
Lord Lysteria Asher-Baal jumped in fright as the great doors crashed open. She and all her cabinet ministers looked up in shock as young Stevron Achelli stormed into the conference chamber. (1)
“Get out! All of you!” He bellowed. Tears brimmed in his eyes....
He was astonishing to behold, newly fearsome yet somehow more vulnerable than before. His strange black curls, which now hung to his shoulders, framed his black beard and deep blue eyes like portals to a world far removed from our own. He stood taller somehow, his shoulders held back and neck made straight, as if some portion of his strength now strained against a great force locked within his chest. (1)
He was still in every general sense the same man I had met at the Wall; and, at the same time, he was nothing at all like that man anymore....
By most accounts, Lord Rachel Alli was a hedonist. Axis records chronicle her regular and elaborate orgies—not only with her mon’jalen and other guardians but also with assorted commoners whom she enlisted on frequent “hunting trips” in the city, and whom she subsequently sometimes even corded against their will. As a lord, she displayed little desire for political power for its own sake, but rather leveraged it as a means to her own ends, which were largely to do with the distractions of pleasure and self indulgence. (1)
While the Council cared little about Lord Alli’s morals, they cared a great...
Embedded deep in the center of the Stand, the Chamber of the Pearl resides as both the heart of the Inherited Lands, and perhaps its most enduring enigma. Like many rooms within the Wordhaven fortress, the chamber is Worded, though even after years of study since its rediscovery, the full extent of its Wording is still not known.
What we do know, as of this writing, is this: The chamber amplifies and sharpens certain Words of place and dreaming and truth, allowing the speaker to locate specific objects or people anywhere in the world, as well as to see in detail...
Makela, High Lord of Wordhaven and the first woman to bear that title after Gideon’s Fall, took a contingent of guardians (no record remains to say how many), and went on sojourn to Castel Morstal, the ancient mountain keep, to see if she might learn more of what had happened to the Pearl by examining the site of the Dark One’s escape, and questioning the Kah who were sworn to hold him there. (1)
The few fragments of her journal that survive from that time indicate that she did indeed find the seals of that ancient prison shattered, as she expected,...
Legends hold that the Raanthan first arrived in the Lands with the Pearl in the first Visitation. It is said they served as guides and translators for the people as they slowly learned Dei’lo. This is what the Raanthan themselves believe, even though they have no written history of the time, and no human records survive from that Era to either verify or counter the claim. (1)
As with most legends, it is likely founded on a seed of truth that over time has strayed far from its roots. Nevertheless, I believe there is reason to lend some credence to the...
It wasn’t until the crow pierced my hand that I finally understood…what had happened to my parents, what had happened to Stevron over all those hidden years, what had happened to the entire Council and to our system of government. For even as I revulsed at the black tendrils crawling up my arm, a part of me also relished it. The taint of the Barrens was loathsome and intoxicating. I hated it, and wanted more. From that first fateful bite, a part of me (dare I say it?) wanted nothing more than to give myself over to its enticements. As...
From out of his sphere, two massive hands emerged, forged of black lightning. They reached down to toward the Waymaker, who through all of this madness had not so much as stirred. (1)
“Come together!” yelled Revel. “To the Waymaker. Join your shields!” (2)
And so they did, all except for Terebin and Magan, who remained trapped under the onslaught many feet above. Aybel feared that for all the power in their voices, they were losing the strength to move. (3)
They spoke the Words together, and the blue sphere reforged around them all, stronger and more vibrant than any of theirs had...
“Birds,” said Terebin, “blighted crows unless I miss my guess.” He glanced back to Aybel. “The priests and I will hold them off. You three, craft ropes and rig the pallet for descent. The earth and stone are tainted here, so you must purify it first with blue fire. Can you do that?” (1)
Aybel nodded. Terebin turned and with his brothers set the whole line of the cliff ablaze with with purifying fire, then from the rock called forth a cast of mighty hawks, a dozen or more, who flew off toward the cloud. (2)
Revel had already set to work...
The river the priests called Wormwood became our unwelcome guide. Its waters, if you could call them such, were inky black with a tar like consistency reminiscent of a riftman’s skin. Its rate of flow frequently varied for reasons I could never ascertain, shifting from a frothy boil to chilled sludge and back again in a matter of a hundred paces. But the stench was always the same—rot and raw sewage. It pervaded everything, our hair, our skin, even our Worded cloaks stank of it. The priests assured us the odor was not dangerous, but it did not escape my...
How in darkness lies the beautiful refuge,
once so full of light?
How like a widow in mourning,
she who was once the jewel of the lands!
She was queen above the soundens,
now behold! a slave.
Bitterly she weeps under the shadow
that weighs upon her walls.
All her lovers have abandoned her;
there is none to comfort her.
All her children have betrayed her.
All but one.
— From the writings of the Prophet Mikail, in the year S.C. 1113
Varia stood there, with back stiff and hands clasped, like a tower in the snow. Her black dress mirrored...
For the next several minutes he scanned the trees in the fading light for any sign of the man, or any others like him. When the growing darkness made sight impossible, he listened for the slightest hint of human movement within the trees. There was nothing. (1)
He had no idea what to do. To travel at night in these heights was foolish, and without the sun he couldn’t be sure of the course. But he had been spotted, and to remain where he was would certainly mean capture. Why had the man just stood there? he wondered. Had he been...
Brasen yelled after her, but was answered only with the morning breeze. Surely there would be others nearby who had heard their exchange, but if they did it was clear they didn’t consider it worthy of interest, or else were held away by some social order he didn’t understand. Regardless, it was clear he needed to get away. (1)
The bindings were so tight they numbed the feeling in his legs and arms, but he could still move them some, albeit in a restricted way. If he turned his head just right, he could see the blade on the matted floor....
The ancient Kah were said to be a race of noble bearing, fierce in countenance, faster and more dextrous than the rest of humankind. The oldest stories claimed they were endowed by the Pearl with extraordinary abilities designed to aid them in their commission to guard the seals of Castel Morstal and ensure the one imprisoned within that dark mountain remained so forever. These abilities were never explicitly named, but conjecture on the matter has engrossed many a scholar since the early days of the Grey Age. (1)
From my youth, I had always disdained such speculative debate. It seemed to...
I did not see it at the time, but the people of Solidari changed me. In their grotesque, misshapen bodies, I witnessed a beauty and a valiance of soul I did not know existed. For in spite of all the injustice they had suffered, even to the curse of being born riftmen and so denied the life any human soul deserved, they chose to trust in love to set them free and set things right again. (1)
In a peculiar way I felt a kinship with their story, for though I was no riftman, I knew something of what...
After moving some distance away from the tower, the Raanthan turned down a gently curving road and carried them into one of the wispy structures that lined the street. Aside from having multiple levels, a fact which struck Ajel as pointless given the lack of any solid foundation for the upper floors, the structure was much like all the others they had passed. (1)
Upon entering, he immediately noticed two things. First, it was warm, much warmer than it should have been, or even could have been, given the translucent nature of the fabric walls. The winds kept blowing them about...
The fall of Wordhaven was like death to the Remnant, the loss of a dream that had fueled their faith for more than a hundred years. In those dark days, hope was a rare and precious fire, and those who managed to keep it burning in their hearts lit the way for the ragged rest. The handful who were hurled to the four corners of the world were like the final grasping prayer of a broken people, desperate for shards of the dream the Lords of Phallenar had shattered.
— The Kyrinthan Journals, Chronicles, Chapter 20, Verses...
Looking back, it is a curious sorrow to me now to have lived so many years in the Lands and not to have noticed even a tenth of the wonders it held. Where was my soul then? Where were my eyes? How could I not have recognized then what now so captivates my attention? But perhaps the magic hardest to see is that which lives within our ordinary lives.
— The Kyrinthan Journals, Musings, Chapter 24, Verses 12-13
“Jeo Roph–” The Words devolved into a scream as the spear brushed once more against the dark. Brasen could see...
Revel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. (1)
“Whether we move toward Wordhaven or toward Rema, what is the advantage of carrying the Waymaker and the Pearl back into the Deathland Barrens,” he asked, “where we will be more exposed and vulnerable to Stevron’s attack?” (2)
“The Cal’eeb are strong in Dei’lo,” said Ammiel. “The Waymaker would be truly safe among my people, and the Pearl would be home.” (3)
“The Pearl’s home is its own to decide,” countered Revel. “Have you not stood in its presence? Can you not see that it is a living being? It has a will. It has...
Just then the curtain opened and in slithered a clawed creature with black tar for skin and a smell of rot so strong it made Revel’s eyes water. But its face was human. (1)
“Greetings, Song,” Revel smiled, blinking away his watery eyes. “How does your soul fare today?” (2)
“It fares quite well, Revel, thank you,” Song replied with a smile. His voice was smooth and rich as a glassy stream. He had been named Song soon after his turning, and it was obvious why. He often serenaded the People as the sun set in the evenings down in the Meeting...
In those days,
the souls of many will be corrupted
by Gideon’s touch.
Blood will be turned to bile
and that which was lovely and true
will no longer be able to be seen in the Land.
Yet, out of great darkness glory will rise.
— From the writings of the Prophet Silmar, in the year S.C. 1320
“Is he any better?” (1)
Grace poked her head through the curtained doorway, her eyes questioning and hopeful. (2)
Revel smiled at her, but shook his head. “He is unchanged.” (3)
She scrunched her face in consternation. “Maybe you should take that cover...
Careful not to move the leg, he strained his neck to get a better view of his surroundings. There was no portal near him, save one. It was a portal no Wordhavener had yet explored, opening to a deep green and black location that was hard to make out. He had no idea where it went. But in his current condition, it would have to do. Once through the portal, he could transport to Chara sounden, a place he knew well, and hike to Songwill from there. But for now he just needed to get away from Wordhaven, to a...
Brasen ran the entire way back to the Inner Hall. By the time he entered it, the crowd had thinned considerably, but their madness had only grown wilder. They ran everywhere, like panicked children, desperately grasping at clothes and food and whatever other meager supplies they could rescue from the coming destruction. Mobs of them pressed into one another at the various portals, shoving people through to speed their own way to safety. Many screamed each time the seven-storied walls trembled under the pressure of the blasts, which rumbled closer than they had before. It would not be long at...
“We must flee now!” a woman cried. (1)
“How much time do we have?” another asked. (2)
“Why doesn’t the Stand awaken?” asked a third. A wave of murmuring flooded the hall, and for a moment Brasen feared the panic would overtake them all again. But Donovan roared at them all to quiet down and the hall fell silent once more. (3)
“There will be time for questions, and for anger, and for grieving,” Ajel boomed. “Later. Later. For now, we will remember who we are. Defeated this day in battle, yes. But not in the war. We will leave this place with...
It was not difficult for me to imagine a dark ending to the story, even long before Wordhaven was breached. I imagined it all the time, every day. I nursed my apocalyptic vision in the quiet of my mind, like a fevered god I could not stop serving no matter how I tried, bound to its predictions yet never daring to give it voice for fear of speeding its arrival. Despite the courage I had seen among the Remnant, despite the power of Dei’lo I had seen wielded, despite the arrival of the Pearl itself, it seemed inevitable to me...
Looking over his shoulder, Brasen was surprised to find nearly a hundred of his warriors still awaiting his command. His heart swelled at the sight of them, and with a wave he ordered them to follow as he took off for the guardian line. Ajel could handle the fiery beast; he’d proven that now. But he still needed someone to cover his rear. (1)
It did not take long for the Wordhaveners to cover the distance to the Stand, but even though they ran at the enemy with no cover save their shields, their approach was barely noticed. The swarm had...
They ran northwest toward the river, where Ajel stood on the southern bank some four hundred feet or more from the oncoming blaze. Just like Brasen, Wordhaven soldiers from all sides rallied to him, but as soon as they got within earshot he would wave them away, giving the signal command to retreat to the Stand. And they obeyed, vanishing in successive waves of twenty or fifty or a hundred or more, as ethereal as mirages dispersed by the wind. (1)
Not wanting to be commanded back to the Stand, Brasen slowed his approach. Most of those with him followed his...
“To me!” Brasen yelled, waving his staff for the fighters to see, and ran west toward the Stand. The soldiers near him—now numbering in the hundreds—rushed to follow, but not all were quick enough to escape the churning fire before it hit the ground. The crash sent shards of flame and billowing smoke in all directions. But if there was sound…if there were screams from those who were swallowed in the blaze, Brasen did not hear them. His sphere of defense coated the entire scene in macabre silence. (1)
The heat of it was maddening, far worse than at first. Even...
My office has been transformed into a war room. In preparation for the writing journey ahead, I’ve stripped the walls of photos and artwork and framed diplomas. In their place, I’ve slapped up this strip of butcher paper, curving round the space like a virgin road to God knows where. On it, I’ve mapped the future—Gideon’s future, mostly, but also my own, ‘cause I’ll be writing this baby over the next several months.
“Jeo pur’theron!” (1)
A blur of sun-kissed steel whipped passed Brasen’s eyes, thudding heavily as it sank into the flesh of a guardian’s neck, his body already ablaze with blue fire from the soldier’s Word. Brasen blinked, as if awakening from a dream, and looked up to take in where he now found himself. (2)
He saw only fire—a wall, a tower, a swirling tempest of deep orange and red, rippling like a mirage behind thick waves of heat that made his skin feel tight and scorched black the leather on his arms and thighs. Accosted by the flaming mass, he...
As if to challenge his declaration, the mountain that encircled Wordhaven’s valley rumbled in reply.
“A quake?” asked one of the soldiers nearby. Brasen raised a hand to quiet him, and listened. His eyes searched the distant ridge for signs of shifting stone, but all remained still, as if the mountain itself were suddenly, inexplicably, holding its breath.
Just then, a quivering thunder rose beneath their feet. One startled gasp later, a tremendous explosion sprang forth from the bowels of the mountain, shattering the entire cliff face north of Wordhaven’s walls. The sound of it was ominous and hard, like a...
You heard right! I’ve decided to post the entire 3rd book of The Pearlsong Refounding right here on this blog, uploading a new entry week by week, as it is being written!
If you’ve read the first two installments— Gideon’s Dawn, and Waymaker—then I know you’re as anxious as I am to see the third and final book of the trilogy— The Word Within—completed and published. And I will certainly still publish the book, when it is complete.
But I’ve decided to take it one step farther, and actually publish the book online as it’s being written as well. That way,...
I wish I could have seen Wordhaven before that day, when the shadow of the Council’s malevolence first fell across that sacred valley. Having stood as the bastion of light and hope for so many centuries, who could have conceived such a place as that could ever be marred by darkness. But once the darkness found the gates, it was like the ending of a dream. There was no going back again.
— The Kyrinthan Journals, Musings, Chapter 30, Verses 121-123
“They’re coming!” Brasen Stoneguard yelled to his sqaudron, his voice booming across Wordhaven’s valley by the mystical power of...
Tim Frankovich of Christian Fiction Review posted this gem about Gideon’s Dawn recently on his oft-visited fiction review site, and promises a review of Waymaker as well soon! Hoo-Yah!
See the review by visiting www.christianfictionreview.com!
I wanted to quickly let you know about about a few reviews of Waymaker that have come in. The first is from my friend and fellow author Eric Wilson, creator of the Jerusalem Undead series! The word is getting out!
Words Brought to Life!
8 Sep 2008
Years ago, Michael Warden put out a deeply realized fantasy novel called Gideon’s Dawn. His characters were flawed and believable, making it a memorable beginning to what readers hoped would be a great trilogy. Then, due to publishing snags, the second book never came.
Now, at last, Waymaker is available to all, and I was first in...
OK, this has already made this a great day…
So last night I’m perusing my buddy (and fellow author) Eric Wilson’s website (www.wilsonwriter.com), you know just to see what the latest is in his world (and there’s some exciting stuff; you should check it out…and if you haven’t read Eric’s books, you should definitely check them out too). Anyway, I find this video interview of Eric that he did for Deeper Living, and I watched it. Cool.
So then, not two minutes after I finished watching it, Eric sends me an email. No joke! He says he’s reading Waymaker and loving it,...
I’ve been looking for a fun, creative way to get the word out about my recently released fantasy epic novels, Gideon’s Dawn, and its sequel Waymaker. And a few mornings ago, it hit—BAM—just like that:
Your chance to win $250 of fun, easy money…or at the very least, a free copy of Gideon’s Dawn and Waymaker!
Here’s how it works:
1. To enter the contest, all you have to do is grab your camcorder and create a homemade video promoting Gideon’s Dawn and Waymaker, and upload it to YouTube.com.
2. Send me a link to your uploaded...
I’ve been waiting a long time for this day…the day that I could tell you, finally, at long last:
WAYMAKER IS AVAILABLE!
Wow. I think I’m just going to have to keep repeating that over and over a while before it sinks in.
It was just a few years ago that Waymaker was under contract with another publisher, and I was happily plugging along writing the story. But then, family tragedy struck: My dad passed away, and I was called from the mountains of Colorado to return to my childhood home in Austin to grieve with my family...
What an amazing trek this has been so far! I thought writing a novel was challenging (and it is!), but add to that the process of producing a published product, and you’ve got the mixings of a perfect storm.
Thank God for Josh, whose enthusiasm and creativity (not to mention ridiculously generous spirit!) produced the stunning book cover designs you see for both Gideon’s Dawn and Waymaker AND this very website at which you are now looking.
Funny thing…I tried for two years to get a traditional publisher or an agent to take on these projects, and got no love back....
Dude…are we finally here?
It’s taken a long time, huh? I know. You’ve been patient. Heck, you’ve been a saint! But you stuck it out with me, and the payoff has finally arrived. The site is live. The blog is live. And the books are for sale!
Scream it from the rooftops— The books are for sale!
OK, well…at least jump around a little. You know, do a jig. I do jigs, you don’t jig? Everyone should jig…I mean, at least sometimes, and this is as good of an excuse as any. Go on. Give it a go.
And when you’re done, email everyone...
"...a work of extreme depth and breadth of vision."
-Christian Fiction Review
Michael D. Warden has been working professionally as a writer and editor since 1989. After several years as Managing Editor for a large publishing house in Colorado, he stepped into the adventure of writing full time. In addition to his fantasy trilogy The Pearlsong Refounding, he has written several non-fiction books, and contributed to more than 150 other books and magazines.