A long-lasting treaty is shattered. The horns of war echo from the eastern shores. A conflict is triggered that will determine the outcome of all life in the Hidden Lands. None can know the will of Fate. His watchful eye governs the flow of history and the sister blades He crafted triggers the rise and fall of nations. Caleb Rambrant is the son of the famed hero of the west, the man who slew the dark sage. As captain in the forces of Tritus, his duty is to defend the homeland from the onslaught of Talgoth, the rising kingdom led by the Lioness - the merciless Queen Tamara. Joined by a blacksmith's daughter, hex-casting wardens, and a mysterious shape shifter from across the sea, Caleb sets off on a quest of retribution for the wrongs done to his country...but forces more hostile than foreign steel await them on the road. The struggle of power kindled by the sister blades begins a new cycle...and Fate is watching.
Where the story came from: Hanging out with friends during the high school days, we always laughed about how bad our luck was. As we chatted about misadventures with grades and girls, we jokingly came to the conclusion that ‘fate’ was to blame. Much, much later in 2010, this idea returned to me while brainstorming and I thought the idea of ‘fate’ being an actual god in a story that the characters would have to defy had potential to be interesting. At the time I was also itching to write a story that defied the typical fantasy formula of the young and uneducated boy realizing he was the chosen one, getting the girl, and rising to be the prophesied hero. Now, while there is certainly nothing wrong with this time-tested formula, I thought it might be fun to try the other extreme and make the main character an aged, experienced man, already acquainted with combat, the ways of the world, and had a family. The initial idea came together and I began writing a simple story of such a character whose city falls prey to a surprise attack by an invading army. Well, as first drafts often go, my initial idea quickly changed in drastic ways and since I had not outlined much, exciting things happened during the writing process that altered what I thought I was going to write. Some of those core ideas were retained (the aged hero becoming the protagonist’s father), and over the next five years of writing, revising, and re-writing, history and back-stories unfolded, a magic system sprouted, and small, random characters suddenly became full-blown villains. Crimson Sun ended up being much bigger and deeper than I thought it would be.
EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER IX - SEPARATED
This excerpt is a draft selection provided as a courtesy and may be subject to change depending on editorial input.When Caleb finally came within mere paces of his father battling the towering Lord Marmius, the dragon unexpectedly whipped its head toward him and snapped viciously for the kill. He yelled and rolled to the side, finding himself for a fraction of a second staring at its outstretched wing. Without a thought, Caleb grabbed the leathery appendage firmly and was suddenly hoisted into the air as the wing swung high. For a frozen moment, he clung fifty paces above the battle and watched his sword flip through the air as it fell. Just as quickly, the wind raced through his hair as the ground sped toward him again, the wing retracting to its natural position. A moment later, he was clinging to the creatures back. He clutched the scales and found them to be as hard as any metal. He dug his fingers beneath the iron plates as the great beast swirled and twisted in continual carnage. The world was a dark blur of red and black, and he held fast for his life not only fearing to fall and be crushed, but also a blow from a lance or arrow from one of his own allies. With all the control he could force his weary muscles to conjure, he steadily crawled forward toward the dragon’s head, using its scales and jutting horns for holds. On his belly, he edged closer and closer, stopping with his head pressed to its back when it shook under the blow of an attacker. Just as Caleb realized he had no plan to bring down the beast, the unexpected happened. The wings beat again, but instead of the beat of agitation or a defense mechanism, it was the rhythmic beat of the beast beginning to take flight. The dragon cried out and Caleb somehow felt that it was a cry of sincere pain. He clung tighter than ever and placed his feet against two small horns on the creature’s back and watched as the ground rushed steadily away from him. He saw the last images of his father and Marmius paused in their struggle as they and the other solders below watched the awesome scene of the dragon taking flight. Marmius was shaking his fist up at it, and despite the mask, Caleb could almost see his face contorted in anger. Just as the people below began to blur with distance, he unmistakably saw Leila’s tiny figure standing close to her father and waving her arms. Perhaps in his imagination, he could hear her clear voice calling his name as she shrank and disappeared into the dark night. The city of Tritus looked like a handful of searing coals arranged against a sheet of dark fabric, and as the dragon took him higher and higher, a breathtaking view of the entire kingdom of Avondale bloomed before his eyes. The towering teeth of the Titan Mountains spiked through the earth and disappeared into the southern horizon in front of him, and behind to the east, the land rolled on until it touched the sea which glimmered in the waning moonlight. Dawn was nearing. Soon it all disappeared behind a stream of lacy clouds as the dragon reached the pinnacle of its ascent. It stretched its wings to the farthest width it could then began falling back toward the ground. Caleb struggled to fight back the panic and the turning of his stomach as he tried to orient himself. The beast twirled and changed direction whenever the wind caught its wing. It roared and shot fire into the sky. Caleb’s fingers bled with the grip he maintained underneath the hard scales, and he felt needles jabbing into his feet with the uneasy feeling that he could slip and fall to his death at any second. The dragon continued its frenzy of spinning and reeling. Whether out of happiness or madness, Caleb could not be sure. At last, the dragon leveled out. It flew back and forth from left to right but was steady enough for Caleb to climb again. Before he had a plan, he was moving on his stomach once more toward the head, inch by inch and pressing hard to the scales, knowing that if the wind caught so much as a thread from his flapping cloak, he would be pulled off. He noticed the pain in his lungs as he struggled to take in air, and his head felt lighter in the dizzying altitude when he looked up and saw hope. A single black-tipped arrow by some miracle was lodged in between two deep red scales near the dragon’s neck. He smiled inside. I’m going to die here. There is no stopping that. But I’ll see this abomination join me, yet. Now having more of a purpose than hanging for his survival, he pulled himself forward quickly toward the arrow, stopping and gripping harder when the beast rocked too hard in one direction. Ever so slowly, he inched past the wings and began to creep across the narrowing neck. His breathing was getting harder still. Colorful dots of light began to dance across his vision. His wrists were weakening. Not yet. Cannot die yet. His hand clasped around the shaft of the arrow, and with a tug, he ripped it free from its place of burial. The dragon noticed. It shrieked and blasted flames again, and Caleb wrapped his arms around the neck as he would a tree as the monster spun in a complete circle. In what he thought was his last action in mortality, Caleb pulled himself the final distance and clung to the beast’s horns. Desperately, he flung himself forward. One hand held fast to a horn, and the other drove the arrow hard into a large golden eye. Before he knew what was happening, the ground was speeding towards them again, and a shriek rang in his ears. Time ceased its march and sped up a thousand fold all at once. He saw mountains and forests blurring toward them. He felt his grip loosen and the sensation of falling free through the air. Somehow he was conscious enough to see trees rushing toward him, so close now he could see individual branches and leaves. Father. Leila. Goodbye. He braced himself for feeling the limbs and rocks pass through his body and break him to pieces, but just as his vision was failing, a massive dragon wing spread under him and covered all he could see in a bony blanket of dark red veins.