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 a voice!” (4)
“Which it has not used,” said Aybel. (5)
“And you, Sangradon,” continued Revel, “can you guarantee the safety of the Waymaker or the Pearl through the Barrens? We would never have made it to this place of refuge without the Waymaker’s help, or the help of the Raanthan, Telus. How can you say we will be safe if neither Waymaker nor Raanthan are there to lend their aid? And you—forgive me—but you, reduced in number as you are?” (6)
“Are you proposing we simply remain here forever?” asked Aybel sharply. “What of Wordhaven? What of your brother, Ajel? What of the rest of the Council Lords and their armies? We have no knowledge of what is happening with any of them, but we know war is coming. Perhaps it has already come! We must bring the Pearl back to Wordhaven!” (7)
“We must do as the Pearl directs!” countered Revel. “The Pearl that you and I have sworn our lives to serve has returned. He is here. Now. We cannot continue to act as if we have no leader. We do not need to do that anymore.” (8)
“The Pearl has said nothing to me,” said Aybel flatly. “The Pearl has said nothing at all. What if it never speaks? We could be here the rest of our lives, and it may never say a thing.” (9)
Revel paused. He saw the hurt in her eyes. “Do you believe he cannot speak, Aybel?” asked Revel, softer now. (10)
Aybel frowned. “No,” she said. “I believe it can. I just don’t know if or when it ever will.” (11)
“Do you believe he does not know us, or know anything of what is happening around us now?” Revel asked. (12)
She thought a moment. “No,” she said. “I believe it knows.” (13)
Revel stepped closer and touched her lightly on the arm. Quietly, he said, “Is this really about protecting the Pearl, or your sorrow that the Pearl has not yet spoken to you? (14)
She teared slightly and looked at the ground. “Has it spoken to you?” she whispered. (15)
He squeezed her shoulder. “No,” he smiled. “Not a Word.” He pulled her a few steps away from the others. “But I know he sees me,” he continued. “He is always watching. I can feel it, like a light from which I cannot hide. Truly, it is a terrible intimacy. In that room, I feel naked.” (16)
“But you feel love, don’t you?” she asked, finally meeting his eyes. “You feel love as well.” (17)
Revel nodded. “I do,” he smiled. “You’ve felt it too, I know, whenever you’ve come near.” (18)
“The Pearl has meant everything to me,” she said, her eyes tearing again. “All these years. I’ve held nothing back.” She nodded, as if agreeing with her thoughts. “I just thought it would be different.” (19)
“I know,” he said. “He’s not what I expected either.” Then he flashed that mischievous smile. “But the story’s not over yet.” (20)
Aybel grinned lightly at that. “You really think he will speak?” (21)
“I do,” Revel nodded, squeezing her shoulder once more. “The sojourner has a role to play here we do not yet understand. But he is a deeply broken man and carries a dark sorrow that no healing Word I know can reach. I think the Pearl is dealing with this now. But even if it is something other than this, I trust he knows what he is doing, and our work now is to watch and wait with him until he is ready to give us his Word.” (22)
Aybel considered this a moment, then gave a single nod. “Just so,” she said. She took a breath. “Thank you, Revel. I am glad we have a heart like yours among us.” (23)
“Besides,” Revel grinned, “Perhaps the Pearl hurled Stevron so far away he’ll never find his way back!” (24)
He stood at the center of his hundred mon’jalen and smiled as he felt how deeply they feared him. How like a god he seemed to them! How in awe they were of his power! He relished the sensation of their fear as it coursed in hot waves across his skin. He had never bonded so many at once before. He never imagined it would be so intoxicating. Since the moment he spoke the Words at Sacred Heart to sever these hundred from their former lords and bind their lives to him alone, he had felt his full strength returned, and more! (25)
They worshiped him. And why not? Now that they stood in the Deathland Barrens, a forsaken place none of them would have ever dared to go, they worshiped him even more. It was his power that kept them alive here, his power that stemmed the poison in their blood, his power that filled their hearts with courage, at least until he no longer needed them. (26)
The hundred encircled him, their eyes looking outward into the spoiled fields all around. From everywhere they came—riftmen by the hundreds, and other fallen beasts, oozing toward them in a cold black flood, hungry for the taste of human blood, starved for the memory of what they once had been. (27)
Stevron chuckled as his mon’jalen instinctively shuffled back toward him, looking to his presence for protection, though they all knew it was he who had summoned this fallen horde. His Word ruled them even now, just as he ruled the mon’jalen. (28)
He breathed in deep, ignoring the stench, and let out a roar so grand it forced the mon’jalen to their knees.
It didn’t matter whatever Gideon Dawning had become. The true Lord of the Inherited Lands was coming to end him. (29)
Dear Sir, I am glad to see you have begun to continue writing this third book, The Word Within. I hope you will be able to continue to work away at it but still find time for your family and other work. Thank-you for the enjoyable books.
How much longer until the book is released?
Hey Tyler ~ I actually don’t know for sure. I’m posting the book here on the blog as I write it. Once it’s completed, I’ll publish an edited version in book form. Thanks!
"...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.