The Pealsong Refounding fantasy trilogy by Michael Warden. Gideon's Dawn, The Waymaker, The Word Within.

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CHAPTER 1: THE BATTLE FOR WORDHAVEN (PART 4)

1 comment | Posted: Novel-Entry-The-Word-Within, by Michael D. Warden

“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 as Brasen raced from the flames his shield crackled and hissed under the strain of its power. Unshielded, he would have instantly been turned to ash. At last, several hundred feet away, he slowed to look behind. The tower had become a wall, still churning, its ends now reaching hungrily south toward the forest and north toward the river. The other three towers had followed the same command; they lay now like four great serpents writhing, each a hundred feet high. Only the thin blue line of the Narrows—the river that streamed down Wordhaven’s heart—separated the two on the north from those on the south. Aside from this watery sliver of escape, the path to the lion’s Gate was blocked, as were the doors to the Stand. The Wordhaven army looked like matchsticks huddling together between standing waves of death. (2)

Where are you, Donovan?! Brasen called in his thoughts. Do we retreat to the Stand or hold our ground here? (3)

Seeing no guardians, he lowered his shield and gestured to all the warriors round about to gather to him. They came hungrily, looking for direction in the confused retreat, quickly dropping their stilling spheres to hear his command. (4)

But then another Word boomed, and the waves started to roll toward the center of the valley—two from north, two from south—churning toward one another as if the Remnant warriors were merely ants the lords wished to crush between forefinger and thumb. (5)

Donovan! called Brasen a second time in his thoughts, but to the warriors around he barked a command. “Form up! Hold a line, here, with me! We must not let it pass!” In his mind, only silence. Was Donovan all right? (6)

“We should retreat!” said a warrior defiantly, staring at Brasen with a desperate panic he could no longer hide. “Transport to the Stand. We can’t stop it, Captain! We don’t know how to stop it.” (7)

He recognized the boy, a young farmer from Kharce, about his own age. A recent recruit. “Do as you are ordered, soldier,” Brasen said coldly. “Remember your oath!” (8)

But the boy shook his head, and threw his staff to the ground. A whisper later, he was gone. At his example, several more vanished, while others, still entranced by the horror of the approaching wall of flame, simply ran. (9)

“Are you cowards?!” roared Brasen, glaring at those soldiers that remained. “You who reveled in the sureness of your cause not one hour past, will you flee now that the enemy has shown their full strength? I tell you—hold this line!” (10)

The warriors, shamed, formed up as commanded. But the will of many remained fragile. They are still too green, Brasen quipped to himself. Only now has the promise of death become real. (11)

“On my command, the blue fire,” Brasen yelled. “Speak with one voice. Target the base of the blaze, near the ground!” (12)

The Words sang out as the Remnant force obeyed, their spheres sparking to life once more. They chanted in unison, as they had before, and the churning flame replied with a sputtering black smoke. But it did not abate. (13)

“Faster!” cried Brasen, though he knew they could not hear, quickening the pace as he beat the air with his staff like a maestro’s baton. They saw, and followed, but the effect was the same. By now the churning wall had closed half the gap between them. Brasen’s skin erupted once more in sweat from the heat. (14)

Donovan? (15)

He would not run away. Not again. Not ever. His father had not, a brave and true man. His defiant sacrifice had saved Brasen’s life. And now, Brasen’s turn had come. If the flames were to take him, it would not be for nothing. (16)

“Retreat!” Brasen called, running ahead of the troop, giving the sign. “To the Stand! To the Stand!” (17)

He could feel their relief in the instant before they vanished. A hundred, maybe two. But a few stayed behind, their hands extended as they merged shields with his. (18)

“What of you, Captain? Let us go!” (19)

“You have your command! Get to the Stand. Go!” (20)

“There’s no point in staying. The two walls are closing together like a vise! Already half or more of our number are gone. The longer we remain here, the more of us will perish. The Stand remains unbreached!” (21)

But just then, Brasen saw it: a glowing figure encircled in blue, standing before the opposite wall of bright churning flame. “Ajel!” he said. (22)

“What?” (23)

“Ajel remains on the field!” exclaimed Brasen, pointing to show them. “Let’s go!” (24)


James short Says:

It flows wonderfully and yet at the same time it is confusing. I realize their are many soldiers but giving them a name at least would be helpful, I honestly don’t know how many people exactly had a conversation in this exerpt. Maybe jus label them as “the leather clad warrior nearest to Brasen exclaimed” or something to that effect. At least to give the reader an idea of all the conversation going on.

Thank you,
James Short

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Gideon's Dawn Waymaker

"...a work of extreme depth and breadth of vision."
-Christian Fiction Review

Author

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.

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