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

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CHAPTER 2: THE HALLS OF WORDHAVEN (PART 3)

0 comments | Posted: Novel-Entry-The-Word-Within, by Michael D. Warden

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 all before the Sa’lei lords broke in. (1)

He ran to the center of the hall, scanning the porticos and foot bridges for Kair, but there was no sign of her. She was to be the last one through, so she could seal the portals as she passed on to Songwill. She must have already gone, he reasoned. Perhaps she had been injured. But then she would assign someone else to do it, surely! But who? It didn’t look like anyone in this mass of humanity was in charge of anything. (2)

He breathed in deep, and nodded to himself. Well then. It will be me. Whispering the Words to amplify his voice, he spoke to the madness. (3)

“Elo pa’ariel meson cara’shabari! Elo pa’ariel.” The hush fell like a cooling mist upon the heat of everyone’s fear. The people stopped, and looked to him. (4)

“Yeshu sel dur’at, meson cara’shabari. Sotros sa’pravelis en adoni. Sotros sel sa’savos ya regalis pra’shabar. El’tovar shabar. El’tovar pa’espire. Sur’avel en adoni. Sotros ana avare’see. Yeshu ana sotros avar’avelis.”
A great cheer rose from the crowd. Brasen could feel their courage rising, as fists rose defiantly into the air. It was incredible what the Words could do. Just then, another blast shook the walls, and dust came floating down upon them from the heights above. (5)

“Now go,” Brasen commanded, his voice still amplified by the Words. “But do not go in haste. Do not surrender even one breath of your soul to fear. For this day is but one of many. It is not the end of the story. And I swear to you, as your cara’shabar, there will be a reckoning!” (6)

Another cheer, this one louder still, loud enough to drown out the sound of the blasts as the lords shattered one shielded door after another. The people resumed their flight, but with a calmer grace than before. They were still terrified, but had regained a measure of their courage. (7)

Another blast. Brasen helped an old woman cut through to the front of the crowd clustered at the Makroth portal. “See that those who need assistance go through first,” he said, his voice still amplified by the Words. “You belong to each other. Do not forget it.” (8)

The great walls shuddered once more under the weight of Sa’lei. The entire hall seemed to moan as if in pain. Why does the Stand still not awaken? wondered Brasen. But there was nothing for it now. (9)

Now that everyone was moving in a more orderly way, Brasen began to make his way toward the Songwill portal. It was far east in the hall, toward the blasts that rocked the Stand like an insistent hammer on an ancient door. There was no one in that direction. All those headed to Songwill had apparently already gone through. (10)

He lingered just long enough to see the last few dozen Wordhaveners pass through the portals. “Is there anyone else here?” he called, his booming voice echoing off the halls with a sorrow that struck him unexpectedly, and quite deeply. No one answered. (11)

I never believed it would come to this, he thought again. Then, swept up in a wave of terrible grief he had not let himself feel until that moment, he spoke the Words to seal the portals. Once he passed through, they would all go dark. (12)

With an angry wipe of his tears, he took off running toward the portal to Songwill. He hated that he was the last one here. He didn’t want to see Wordhaven like this. Hollow. Empty. Defeated. Its very walls seemed to ache with grief, echoing his own. (13)

“Wake up!” he screamed at the Stand, tears welling again in his eyes. “Wake up! Defend yourself!” (14)

Just then, a blast from the east shattered the great doors. A mass of stone and steel and splintered wood exploded outward into the hall. Before he could react, a wall of heat and debris slammed into him, knocking the wind from his lungs and hurling him hundreds of feet down the hall. Dazed by the blow, he was hardly aware when his body crashed against the marble wall and an ancient suit of armor standing there, or when its spear pierced straight through his right thigh. (15)

“Damonoi shtek helot et veckt!” (16)

The Words scraped across Brasen’s mind like claws through flesh, jerking him back to consciousness. It was a woman’s voice. Varia. Or possibly Elise. He didn’t know what they were meant to do. (17)

His ears still ringing from the blast, he winced at the sight of his leg. The spear was of steel the color of midnight, almost seven feet long. Three of those protruded out the top of his mid thigh, its black shine now coated in a wet dark red. He was not bleeding much, which either meant the spear had not cut through an artery, or else it had and was stemming the flow by its presence in his leg. (18)

After a quick survey of the rest of his body revealed no other serious injuries–though he wasn’t too certain of his left hip, which had apparently taken the brunt of his crash into the wall–he stretched out his head to look back toward the blast. (19)

He couldn’t see the lords, or any guardians. The explosion had carried him hundreds of feet from where they entered, and there was debris everywhere, which would help conceal his presence for a while. But they would find him soon enough if he remained where he was. He had to move. (20)

Gingerly, with the slightest of whispers, he spoke the Words to sever the spear where it jutted out both in front and behind his leg, careful not to let the steel clang to the floor. He left the spike in place, knowing that the Word of healing would remove it on its own. Glancing once more down the hall to ensure no guardians or lords had appeared, he whispered the Words of healing to his body. (21)

Nothing happened. (22)

He dropped his head back and let out a sigh. She blocked the Words of healing, he realized. Probably other Words too. There would be no healing as long as he stayed here. (23)


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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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