Princess Angelterra, and her lady knight and trusted friend, Jeela, are being chased in a far away land as they set out on a treacherous journey to find a way back home. This second installment of the Vision Dream Series also follows the exploits of seven groups of allies located in seven separate parts of this world as they all attempt to do their part in pushing back against the evil sorcerer, Shutharja…
-FROM her narrow escape with the help of two wizards and a revered monk, only to find herself face-to-face with a dark and powerful agent of the sorcerer, Shutharja, in a horrible, dead place called the Devil’s Forest. An agent of evil who plays a vital part in solving the quest riddle revealed to her in the “Vision Dream.” Angelterra must find way to call upon her maturing magic to aid her in this dangerous showdown;
-TO The struggles of two awkward, preteen wizards who must unleash the true power of an ancient spell by tapping into their budding love for one another…
-TO Angelterra’s childhood love who must sail his tiny three-ship armada directly into the heart of the enemy’s massive fleet on a suicide mission to destroy the world’s most unholy relic…
-TO Three young friends who find themselves with a diversionary force deep behind enemy lines. Each of them are trying to do their part while trying to stay alive…
-TO The treachery of one of Angelterra’s trusted advisors during her absence…
-TO A young captain who is imprisoned after stumbling upon a traitorous plot. He must rely on a haunting, deformed girl with lovely green eyes and a surprising secret to help him expose the perpetrator…
-TO An expert archer who is entranced by a woman from a culture he once despised and must then leave her on a secret mission deep in enemy territory…
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to continue the story of my main character, Princess Angelterra as she finds herself thousands of miles from home. I wanted to explore the far southern kingdoms that surround the Imperial Sea. This book has several sets of new characters and takes place in several parts of this world simultaneously. It give the reader a chance to visit many of the wonder places in this world.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
ome of the new characters I created for this book came from the areas in which the action takes place. Hardabinia, for instance, was modeled loosely after ancient India. I created characters that reflected that land. I also created a pair of young wizards, who must struggle with their own awkwardness as well as with powerful sorcerers.
“My Master, how long will you keep them under the Brumous of Mentis curse?”
The question came from somewhere on the other side of the thick haze that shrouded her from the world and from her own thoughts.
For as long as she could remember, all she knew, all she thought, was what was being whispered to her by the ever-present, pacifying voice in her head. It kept assuring her, over and over, that she would be there soon and that everything was splendid, so she need not worry. Each time this thick mind fog would start to lift, each time she felt as if she could form her own thoughts from out of the thick, sickening-sweet mind mist, that most detestable, mollifying voice would call her back again to the depths of the intoxicating chaos in which she found herself trapped. And, almost as if in punishment for trying to think, her head began to whirl and whirl in the nauseousness of that incessant reassuring chant, making it impossible for her to concentrate on any one thought or any single idea.
“As long as there is a need to placate their curiosity, my much-too-curious apprentice,” said an ominous and imposing voice that somehow sounded so familiar to her.
“Why, of course, My Master,” said the apprentice with a velvety smooth voice. “Your wisdom of such things is well-known.”
Who was this Master? She was positive that she somehow knew him, but this apprentice was entirely unfamiliar to her. Just what did these two want with her? Nothing good, Angelterra thought. Then, she reveled in the fact that she had actually formed a coherent thought on her own. Was the wicked fog starting to wear off?
Now, now, young Princess, quiet all your troubling thoughts. Everything is fine. Think no more about these people, about this ship, about this place. Soon, the voyage will be over, and you will be happy again. Everything is splendid….
Yes, she answered obediently as her mind slipped once again into the reassuring fog, everything is truly wonderful now.
“The Hardabinian is a simple matter to hold sway, but my Prize, on the other hand, constantly battles me with her stubborn will and her annoying propensity for questioning everything,” grumbled the dark, sinister voice of the Master.
“Could Our Prize be perhaps, say…a wizard?” inquired the apprentice.
“Quell thy ambitions, my much-too-eager apprentice. My beautiful Prize shall be my gift to our Sovereign Shutharja,” the Master said simply.
Somehow, the statement of frustration by the Master about her stubbornness gave Angelterra a brief sense of triumph, but for what she could not focus enough to know. She drifted on the shifting currents of constant reassurance that everything was fine, while listening to bits of conversations from the men around her, hearing bits of the constant dull roar of the sea, catching bits of the creaking and complaining sounds given off by the ships heavy beams.
Suddenly, a deafening crack broke through her haze and blasted her ears just as a gust of wind knocked her roughly against the ship’s sidewall. Instinctively, she covered her ears with both hands and ducked her head. A thunder of shouts and commotion erupted all around her as the crew of this ship was scrambling franticly this way and that. Angelterra watched as everyone rushed around her, and then she realized that that horrible fog, which had gripped and clawed at her mind so completely, had just dissipated and the unremitting reassuring voice had finally, mercifully, fallen silent.
She found herself sitting with her back leaning against the high side rail of a ship. All around her were stacks of crates and barrels. Her hands were not bound in any way. The mind fog, it seemed to her, must have been considered by her captives a sufficient enough method of detention as to render binding her unwarranted. Then, she glanced over to amidship and saw, in the dim light of the deck torches, a crowd of rough and dirty sailors encircling someone who was lying unmoving upon the deck. Angelterra immediately recognized the black cloak the unconscious man was wearing. He was the man from the long boat…her captor…or at least he had been. A light tug on her shoulder caused her to whip around to see a still groggy, puzzled Jeela staring at her for an explanation. Angelterra put a finger to her lips to shush her lady knight. No one paid heed to the two women as they sat silently watching the scene unfolding before them amidship.
“Master? Are thou all right?” said a voice whom Angelterra recognized as the apprentice’s. The man belonging to that voice was the one who was standing over a now lifeless older man. The apprentice stared down at the older man she assumed must be the master with only mild curiosity displayed on his gaunt face…and not a hint of alarm.
“He doeth not move. Dead be he?” came a loud gruff voice.
“Nay, Captain Vadarnig, I feel that his heart still beats, though faint and perhaps not for long,” said the apprentice matter-of-factly.
“Blast sorcerer, went ye need ‘em the most, they keel over on ye,” complained Captain Vadarnig. “What of these bedevil charm sails of his? They be nearly rippin’ me newly acquired ship apart as it tis.”
“This spell does not require the caster, once it has been set,” replied the apprentice. “Your new ship will survive the voyage unscathed.”
“Vile a cuss as this one was, I says let ‘im sleep the sleep of the dead,” said Captain Vadarnig, and he spat on the deck near the unconscious master.
“Careful of thy tongue when speaking of thy superiors, Captain. My Master is a dangerous man and would not take kindly to such words,” threatened the apprentice with oily smoothness.
“Now, what’s a servant like ye’self going to do? Ye be nothing more than a novice.” scoffed the Captain, which caused several men to jeer and chuckle. “Ye Master’s nearly a dead man. Burned badly he be, by what looked to be wizard’s magic no less. Be a fitting end.”
“Why, it tis true, he is nearly dead, Captain. Thank thee for thy genuine concern on his behalf. But with my master in such a state and unable to…to fulfill his duties, I now become the master of this mission, of this crew, and…” the apprentice pointed at the captain. “…of you. Thou shalt now be taking thy orders from me.”
“Ho, from a lowly apprentice, I be takin’ me orders, eh? Even though ye be dealing in the darkest of magics, ye still be only a mere student. So, I says to ye, “Blast ye!’ The mission and me very pretty cargo all be mine now, boy,” laughed the captain, and his men whistled at the thought of the women captives. “I shall be taking thy master’s share of the reward. It be a hard thing we done, killing the Teneusian captain and stealing ‘is ship. I shall be sharing a bit of that reward with me crew for some fine bit of throat cutting.” The last caused the men to laugh and cheer, pleased with the promise of extra treasure.
“I think, Captain Vadarnig, you will find my training is more than complete,” hissed the apprentice. The young apprentice frowned so sternly at the captain as to make the older man take pause.
Then, the apprentice calmly lifted his hand, holding up only his index finger. The young man seemed to examine his finger intimately for a brief moment before suddenly jetting out that finger directly at the captain in a quick stabbing motion. A brilliantly horrid-red lightning ripped through the gap between that slender accusing finger of the apprentice and the barrel chest of the captain with a piercing crack. Instantly, the old captain flew backwards and slammed against the wall of the captain’s cabin before dropping to the deck in a heap of smoking, charred flesh and shredded clothing. The scorched, blackened face of the captain stared at them all vacantly through its empty sockets, eyes boiled away by the intense flame of magic, and his mouth was still agape in a frozen display of surprise.
Angelterra saw the shock and fear upon the face of her lady knight, as Jeela searched desperately for her blade. The Princess shook her head slightly to still her knight. The two of them must remain calm, must appear subdued.
“First Mate Garjaur, tell me who is thy master now?” asked the apprentice smugly.
“Why thou be, My Lord Sorcerer Yezvardil,” replied the first mate, his voice sounding visibly shaken. The first mate bowed deeply in respect to his new lord.
Pointing at the first mate with the same slender finger that had just blasted the old captain into a charred corpse in an instant, the Lord Yezvardil said, “Well said. You show promise, First Mate, for recognizing that after an apprentice has let loose his first spell kill, he is advanced to rank of sorcerer that very moment. Your insight has earned you command of this wretched vessel, Captain Garjaur.”
“Thank thee, in the name of our Sovereign Lord,” said Garjaur.
Then, Lord Yezvardil eyed each and every marauder standing before him, studying each of their scarred and craggy faces for a moment before adding, in almost a whisper, “And it shan’t be my last kill either, most assuredly, gentleman.”
“Pretend to be in the trance again,” Angelterra quickly whispered to Jeela.
She tried draining all the thoughts from her mind and stared straight ahead in an effort to keep from drawing the men’s attention. Perhaps this would somehow keep them safe for a while longer.
“What of these…passengers, My Lord Sorcerer,” asked the newly forged captain.
Yezvardil gazed over at Angelterra and Jeela. He stared at them intently as if he was searching for something in his concentration before saying. “Tis strange, I sense no magic in this pair. I would have thought differently. They are harmless. Take them to my former master’s quarters, and as for me, I shall now bunk in the captain’s quarters.”
“Yes, My Lord Yezvardil,” replied the captain.
“My Ladies, there is no need to feign the spell trance. I am quite aware that it is now broken. No harm will come to either of you if you follow all my instructions,” said Yezvardil, then he added sinisterly, “And you will follow my instructions exactly.”
Angelterra kept all thoughts from her mind and simply nodded. She saw, out the corner of her eye, that Jeela nodded to their new captor as well.
“Good. Now, you may relax, for my Most Sovereign Lord, the Arch-necromancer of the Great Fallen Spirits of the pit, Shutharja, wishes to offer you both safe passage on your voyage. And he no doubt looks forward to your company when you arrive at his palace in Venordaladia.”
At the last, the new captain, all of the crew and even Yezvardil himself slammed their fists to their chests in salute of their sovereign and lord and shouted in unison, “Shutharja, se Mihtig! Shutharja, the Mighty!”
Angelterra realized with horror that all the arrogance, all the smugness, all the ambition had drained from this newly spawned sorcerer, born out of cruel violence, as he now revealed the countenance of a genuine zealot for his unholy sovereign.
“You…you are taking us to Venordaladia?” asked Angelterra.
“Soon enough. But for now, come make thyself comfortable, Princess,” offered Lord Yezvardil, and he held out a hand to Angelterra and Jeela. Neither one took it, as they arose to follow their new jailor to a more comfortable prison. Jeela pulled down her hood to uncover her face and head.
“Now, now, what have we here?” exclaimed Lord Yezvardil who could not hide the astonishment in his voice. The sorcerer walked round Jeela inspecting her closely, while shaking his head. “Fascinating. And thou was not considered the prize? Curious. My old master, it appears, was much more out of touch than I imagined. Though he was away during the time of the preferment.”
Angelterra wondered what could have captivated Yezvardil so much about her young lady knight. She glanced over at Jeela who appeared to be equally as puzzled by this sudden attention.
“My Lord, the young girl is but a mild handmaiden in my service,” said Angelterra protectively, recognizing that Yezvardil did not know Jeela’s true identity. “Her name is Meleanara. She be quite useful to me, but of no importance to such a Lord as thyself.”
“Mild? Somehow I doubt that,” replied Lord Yezvardil with a smirk. “Change of plans. We shall first see how important she is when I present you both personally to Jol-Setherath,” replied Lord Yezvardil. “That meeting should prove more than noteworthy.” And Lord Yezvardil chuckled softly to himself.
“Beg ye, pardon, My Lord. But what shall I do with Lord Urzondur?” asked the captain.
“A wizard with powers greater than any I have ever witnessed before shattered him so completely that I fear he shall not make it through the night. If he were a man of a lesser station, I would toss him overboard to put the poor fellow out of his agony. But Lord Urzondur has proven himself a cunning tool of our Lord and the Great Fallen Spirits.” After uttering the last, Yezvardil placed a hand on his heart for a brief moment before continuing, “take him to my chamber. By the will of the Great Fallen Spirits, I shall perform the Rites of the Pit on him. Then with his life force given to They of the Pit, I shall toss his drained carcass overboard.”
Born in Detroit in the late fifties, I lived first on the Eastside in a small flat. We moved every few years until we finally migrated all the way over to the Westside, and not far from the famed Eight Mile Road. While growing up in the Motor City, I loved to play games that relied on my imagination. I really enjoyed pretending to be a cowboy when I was very young. Westerns were big in those days, and I watched a lot of the Lone Ranger, Cheyenne, Zoro, and the like. And I loved my plastic holsters, plastic bullets and real smoking cap guns. As I got a little older, I developed such a fascination with space that it bordered on an obsession. The space race with the, then, Soviet Union, was in full swing. I spent a lot of time pretending to be an astronaut. I was in heaven when I received a Mattel Matt Mason action figure. I was glued to the TV watching such shows as Lost in Space, Thunderbirds and, of course, Star Trek. All these shows help to grow my imagination. Of course, I was caught up in the British invasion of music in the sixties like everyone else. And dreamed of becoming a rock star…perhaps the first rock star to the moon.
In school, I found I loved to write stories. I kept a notebook dedicated to just that. Writing was a way to free my imagination and let it run wild. I thought books were the greatest invention ever, and I still do. The first book that had a really deep effect on me was Flowers for Algernon. In school, I read the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings both of which sent my imagination into overdrive.
At the age of twenty, I joined the U.S. Navy, working on aircraft electronics. I spent six years serving with an A-6E bomber squadron (this bomber is now retired. Boy, that makes me feel old) stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. I deployed aboard first, the USS Enterprise and then later on the USS Coral Sea aircraft carriers, cruising the western Pacific to ports in such wonderful countries as the Philippines, Korea, Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong. There are not many places to go on an aircraft carrier, so I took up reading. And I read and read and read. Heck, I was walking on the hanger deck arround dozens of aircraft that were being repaired reading away (a dangerous thing to do) when I walked straight into the open hatch of an F-14 and landed square on my behind. Now that is suffering for your art. I was also writing while cruising the oceans for months. Every night I would sit off to one corner of my berthing compartment and write for hours.
After discharge, I decided to go to college and learn a thing or two about writing. I enrolled at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and studied English, Literature and several writing styles such as novel, short story, and playwriting. I joined the Naval Air Reserve to help pay for college and became a Navy Journalist, writing news and feature stories for a tiny military newspaper.
After a few years, I left Washington State for Columbia, SC to help my family in their small businesses. A couple years later, I met someone who lived in Virginia and decided to move here. I started to work as an ad designer for a small daily newspaper, which covers the Shenandoah Valley areas called the Northern Virginia Daily in the late nineties. I moved up the ranks there to become the director of technology responsible for technology strategies and planning; purchases and financing for technology capital expenditures; vendor negotiations and relations; server, network, and security administration and so on. I decided to start a family, and we raised two wonderful sons: one who is now 14 and one who is 9. I did manage to write a little, but not as much as I would have liked.
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