Howdy! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? While I’ve not been blogging I’ve been hard at work on an exciting new series that I am currently in the process of editing. It will likely be some time before this story is ready to be released but I wanted to share a special preview with you all.
The series is called “The Knight of Iaddash” and it revolves around a young man named Kahsa who is called by a God to kill his old master Agar. The only problem is… Agar cannot die. The series is a two part saga with room for expansion that explores themes such as friendship, spirituality, and the quest for both freedom and strength.
If this has peaked your interest, here’s a chapter from the first book I’ve been working on. Enjoy!
THE KNIGHT OF IADDASH: SNEAK PREVIEW
KAHSA HEARS THE NEWS
Kahsa stood in a dark room surrounded by stoned walls and bland metal bunkbeds. The barracks were illuminated by candlelight but gave off little warmth to he or any of his comrades. Around him a number of young men and women were putting on their bleak black armoring or sharpening the edge of their swords. Kahsa hardly noticed any of this. He was more concerned with the man in the mirror. Wetting his hands in the bowl of water that sat before him, he proceeded to run them through his hair. Lines of water trickled down his neck and onto his back. Kahsa found this to be quite refreshing.
“You better hurry up, Kahsa,” came a voice from behind him.
Kahsa looked up into the mirror and saw that it was Duril buttoning the topmost buttons of her black long-sleeved shirt. Her dirty blond hair was short and slightly frizzled and her face wore a stern look.
“Duril, I’ve got an hour before I go on duty.” Kahsa replied, trying not to sound annoyed. He scooped more water into his hands.
“The last time you said that you ended up being late,” Duril shot back. Kahsa couldn’t tell if she was mocking him or being completely serious. It was hard to tell with her. Duril picked up another shirt and threw it at Kahsa. “Now put your shirt on and get to work.”
Kahsa sighed. For the most part he had gotten used to Duril but she often still got on his nerves. She wasn’t unkind, she was just… well, direct. Always speaking what was on her mind and what’s worse, always following the rules. Kahsa might have appreciated her fortitude if she hadn’t been so condescending.
“I’d die for some free time” Kahsa grumbled as he put his arms through the sleeves. The shirt was course and scratchy, Kahsa would have rather not worn it at all. He wished he were given a uniform that was at least slightly comfortable, but of course, Agar didn’t care about his soldiers that much. Kahsa had been in the Mamluk Army long enough to know that. All he wished for was a day that he would be far away from Agar, all he wanted was…
“Free time?” Duril shot back, pulling a chainmail shirt over her head and fastening the buckles on its side. Her entire uniform was midnight black. “Who needs free time?”
“Right,” Kahsa replied dismissively. He moved his hand to his chest, letting it rest it under his unbuttoned shirt to feel the scar beneath. It was Agar’s brand; it had a large downward slash and two wings reaching upwards. “I forgot; free time doesn’t exist when you’re a slave of Agar.” Kahsa said, taking his hand from under his shirt and buttoning up the rest. He didn’t like calling himself Agar’s slave, but in the end, that was really all he was. And it wasn’t like he had much of a choice in the matter.
Seeing Kahsa’s disappointment, Duril approached him and put a hand on his shoulder. Her hand was cold and stiff, and her words were not much different. Kahsa knew enough to understand she was at least trying to be encouraging.
“I know you’re still disappointed about being moved back to guard duty again, but you mustn’t talk against Agar, it…” there was an awkward pause as she tried to think of the words to say. Kahsa hoped something encouraging might come out of it, but all she could say was simply: “It wouldn’t end well.”
That he already knew. And Duril had got it wrong. That wasn’t what he was upset about. He wasn’t upset about being demoted from a soldier to a guard. It wasn’t like he actually wanted to fight for Agar. In fact, he would have rather been demoted to a dead man if it meant escaping the control of Agar. That, of course, he wouldn’t tell Duril; who might have taken that thought too seriously. Kahsa’s forehead crinkled with frustration. Besides, Kahsa very much enjoyed being alive. He just wished he was alive anywhere but here.
Duril would have said more, but to Kahsa’s relief, she was cut short. Another man in a dark wired helmet came running in and pushed his mask upwards. It was Fredrich, he was taller than either he or Duril, and was a kind-looking man, but both fear and worry was scribbled his face. Duril and Kahsa looked at him, and after much panting he was able to speak.
“Agar,” he said breathing heavily. “Agar, she tried to kill Agar.”
“Who?” Duril replied quickly.
“It was her,” Fredrich replied with a certain amount of distain, still trying to catch his breath. “The woman from tree tribe.” He didn’t know her exact name but that wasn’t unusual, the Glorybud woman was nothing more than a myth to a lot of the people here. To them, she was a lone woman who sometimes arrived in the dead of night bringing unseen gifts to Agar. Few had any idea who she was or the implications behind what she was doing. Few except Kahsa.
“Stratia.” Kahsa said, realizing too late that he had spoken her name aloud. Fredrich and Duril looked at him. “Her name is Stratia.” Kahsa repeated, trying to save himself from the sudden awkwardness that was already filling the room.
“I forgot; you know her.” Duril observed in a severe tone. Of course, he knew her. She had been tasked help his squad raid a monastery a year or two ago, the two of them hadn’t gotten along initially, but eventually they came to an understanding. And soon after that he got his first demotion, not that he cared, he’d rather be guarding the empty castle halls than doing what Agar had originally sent him to do.
“We’ve talked a few times.” Kahsa replied carefully weighing each word.
His response didn’t seem to satisfy either of them. Duril leaned against one of the bunks and let out a huff. She looked to the ceiling and to the cracks upon it. “He should have known she would betray him, having come from that wretched tribe, it’s a wonder any of those Glorybud dogs are even alive after what Agar did to their forest.” She looked back at Fredrich with an order, “Tell us what happened.”
“I really don’t know, honest!” replied Fredrich. “From what I heard she tried to stab him. She’s been put in one of the prison towers.”
As they spoke, Kahsa had finished strapping on the rest of his armor until all that was left was his helmet. “Well,” Kahsa said walking towards his bunk. He tried to look as natural as he could manage. “I’d like to know why she did it.” Reaching below the rusted bed frame he took hold of his helmet. “She seemed like a sensible person when I talked to her.”
Duril shot him a look of disgust.
“You’re going to see her, aren’t you?”
“You can’t go!” Fredrich said shaking his head in protest. There was fear in his eyes. “You mustn’t go! You’ll make him angry!”
“Last time I checked hearing someone out wasn’t something to be angry about, besides… she saved my life once.” Kahsa replied calmly.
“But Kahsa,” Fredrich pleaded once again. “If you leave your post…”
“But I won’t be leaving my post.” He said, glancing over to Duril who was now crossing her arms with an ever so stern look on her brow. “Like I told Duril, I’ve got free time.” Kahsa put on his mask. He was about to rotate his visor down but found his arm suddenly gripped by Duril.
“Listen to me, Kahsa. If you try anything funny…” She started, searching for the right words. “I don’t care if she helped you in the past, or whatever is going on between you two, Agar-”
“Let me go, Duril.” Kahsa said slowly, allowing each of the words to float through the air. With hesitation, she let go, composing herself once again. Kahsa continued. “As I said, I have no intention to do anything other than talk to her. I owe her at least that.”
“Very well.” Duril replied leaning back onto her bunk. “But mark my words, if you do anything stupid, Fredrich and I won’t hesitate to tell the Commander.” Kahsa nodded, pulling down his facemask, he started to walk out. “Freedom is an illusion Kahsa,” Duril called to him as he opened the quarter’s door. “Once a slave always a slave.”
Kahsa closed the door behind him and latched it. He looked down the endless hall with uncertainty.