One More Enchanting Excerpt

 

An Enchanting Tale By Aaron Dennis
An Enchanting Tale
By Aaron Dennis

An Enchanting Tale is a Skyrim Fanfiction based on Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. Join our hero, S’maash, as he travels throughout the planes of Tamriel.

In this excerpt, S’maash and his friends meet with Falion, so they can travel to Deadlands.

At the courtyard, before the College of Winterhold, four adventurers met for a most daunting task. A chilly wind blew errant snowflakes about as dark clouds obscured the sun. The statue of Shalidor appeared to stand in approval as it loomed over the small group.

“I’m so glad you made it, brother. Having you by my side fills me with confidence,” S’maash cheered.

“It’s my pleasure to be here. I could never pass up a chance to stride through the planes of Oblivion,” S’maath admitted.

“This will be a most dangerous quest,” Brelyna remarked.

“A profitable one, to boot,” Zolara added, comically.

“I see why you needed a seasoned warrior, brother,” S’maath said in jest.

“Yes,” S’maash chuckled. “Let us make last minute preparations then. To my room.” The four convened in S’maash room, inside the Hall of Countenance. “Do we need any enchantments?”

“No,” Both Zolara and Brelyna announced.

S’maath stood smiling. He still wore the Glass Armor his brother had enchanted during their previous journey.

“I do not require anything, but you do,” S’maath proclaimed.

“How so?” the younger Elf asked with raised brow.

“I have brought you gifts.”

From a large travel trunk, one everyone had eyed previously in wonder, S’maath produced an ancient set of armor. It was eggshell white with hints of beige. The bony equipment was ominous in appearance.

“Bone Mould Armor,” S’maash asked.

“Aye, even the fine Nords of Skyrim have nothing so…terrifying,” S’maath commented.

“Where did you get this,” S’maash asked while running his hands over the individual pieces.

“Ilteriel crypts.”

It was their ancestor’s armor. S’maash saw one more piece in the trunk, a beautiful, Elven Greatsword. Its golden hue and feathery filigree was gorgeous.

“You robbed our ancestors’ grave?”

“Not robbed…borrowed. S’mael was the greatest warrior of our bloodline. I have my equipment, and it will one day lay ensconced in my own burial chamber. Should either one of us live long enough to have children, they may one day borrow my armor, and I will be proudly looking down upon them.”

S’maash smiled as he shook his head. “Then, I shall have to enchant this.”

“By all means, take your time,” Brelyna offered.

S’maash took the new equipment to the Arcane Enchanter and set himself to the task. In a fashion similar to his current equipment, he bestowed enchantments upon the Bone Mould Armor fortifying his new sword and spell style of fighting. Of all the pieces, the helmet was perhaps the most terrifying. S’mael’s old helmet was designed to resemble the head of a Dragon, or rather the skull of one. Upon completion of his task, the Enchanter nodded to the group.

“Off to Dartwing Cave,” Zolara said.

Clamor of cheers ensued. The group left Winterhold for their next adventure. After some travel across the paved road, they cut down a beaten trail. From there, it was not long before they saw the entrance of their destination through a blustery snowstorm.

Dartwing Cave’s interior was laden with ice. The short, round, entrance chamber was bedecked with tapestries. The dark cloths portrayed the Necromancer’s symbol, a skull surrounded by hands. An unseen source of lighting made it an easy journey into the cave’s deep. At the center of a large room stood Falion.

“Welcome to my workshop. This is where I perform rituals most minds cannot grasp,” he announced.

Four, stone pillars stood in support of the chamber. Worn shelving lined the walls. On the ground was an evil-looking depiction of the Mage’s symbol, an eye over a pentagram. Oddly, the eye was closed and the pentagram was actually a heptagram, a seven-pointed star.

“There is no time to waste,” Falion said, holding a bottle with glowing red and black liquid. “This is the Blood of Dagon. With this substance, I will hone upon his very essence, Deadlands. Please enter the design on the floor.” Once everyone gathered, Falion drew a Daedric Dagger, a red and black blade with sharp, serrated edges and hooks. “Hold still.”

He passed to each person and made a small cut upon their forearms. A single drop of blood from each dripped onto the design at their feet. He then took the Blood of Dagon and traced the four-pointed star in the design. Starting from the other end, he then traced the three-pointed star.

“Soltak. Malakar. I force this reality bend to my will. Dagon. Alatar. Send these warriors to Deadlands,” Falion announced, dramatically.

A red glow erupted from the star at the group’s feet. “Whoa,” Zolara exclaimed in surprise.

“Remember, now! You cannot return until you break the anchor from Dagon’s plane,” Falion yelled.

A violent sound like burning wind had assaulted the room. “How do we do that?” Brelyna yelled back.

“Just take the Greater Sigil Stone from the War Machine’s interior. It will suffice,” Falion screamed.

A flash of blinding, red light forced the group to shut their eyes. Then, darkness washed over them, silence. After vertigo accosted the group, they opened their eyes; a vast wasteland was revealed; hot winds blew.

“My goodness,” Brelyna whispered.

The group stood upon craggy, gray stone. Cracks and crevices glowed with lava flowing beneath. Around them, more of the lava bubbled, and heat wavered off its surface.

“Where do we go,” S’maath asked.

S’maash looked around. It was obvious the only path was the traversable stone before them. A bridge-like structure led to a spire in the distance. S’maash took the lead, walking carefully. Above them, an oppressive sky of red clouds thundered with fiery lightning.

“I had not expected this…perhaps I will wait for you here,” Zolara jested.

His joke was lost on the group as they were mesmerized by the wickedness of Deadlands. They pressed onwards, covering much of the stone ground, which gradually became smaller. Menacing lava beckoned on either side. Carefully, they made it to a narrow section of rock. From ruined arches, there hung large and bulky sacs of skin.

Zolara prodded at one. “I think there is something in here.”

After a second to check it, the Argonian found a Silver Ring and two Septims. There were a few more from several other arches along the span of the bridge.

“Come, we should make haste,” S’maath said.

The Dunmer brothers maintained the lead. As they came ever closer to the spire before, they encountered two Scamps, devilish denizens of Oblivion. Scamps were covered in shades of brown fur and were man-like in appearance, though they possessed goat legs and twisted faces. Their high-pitched grumbles were less than threatening, as were their Fire Balls.

S’maath ran out to them. With one, powerful swing of his Malachite blade, he cut one in half. S’maash charged the other. Seeing its comrade defeated, the Scamp tried to run away, but S’maash impaled it from the rear, lifted it off the ground then smashed it back onto the stone.

“That was a gruesome display,” Brelyna commented.

“Aye, and simple, too,” S’maath added.

“They say Scamp Skin can be used in alchemical studies,” Brelyna added.

Zolara obtained samples. Afterwards, they continued to the spire. It was a very tall tower, forged from Daedric metals. Like all things from Deadlands, it possessed a subtle glow of red, giving an eerie contrast to the darkness of steel.

“It looks as though these towers are connected,” S’maash said, looking around.

“Yes, this one appears to have a bridge to that one over to our right,” Brelyna said.

“But where is this War Machine,” Zolara asked.

“Likely, beyond those immense, barred gates,” S’maath said, pointing to the distance.

It was obvious that the towers and bridges had to be traversed in order to arrive at or around the gates.

“We could jump around the dark, gray mountains blocking our path, or we could constantly heal as we swim through the lava,” Zolara suggested.

“You try that, we will be more sensible,” S’maath retorted.

“Fine…if you want to do it the boring way,” the Argonian resigned.

They entered the first spire through a malevolent-looking door. It seemed as though the steel had been beaten to provide the appearance of a face, but it may have just been the odd lighting of Dagon’s plane. Naturally, the interior was reminiscent of the exterior.

 

The stone floor surrounded a round fire pit. The guttural grumbling of angry Dremora rang throughout as the demons clad in Daedric Armor—and brandishing War Hammers—came from alcoves in the round spire.

“I smell weakness,” a Dremora muttered.

Bolts from overcharged Walls of Thunder provided by both Brelyna and Zolara were more than ample for the weak Caitiffs. The sound of steel skittering over stone prevailed.

“Enjoy your last breath,” Brelyna said.

The scintillating drone of the spire itself was all that emanated. The group looked around for a clue; above them, an odd balcony was laden with red and black, bony hooks. It spiraled all along the walls towards the tower’s apex.

“Well…it’s up, we must travel,” S’maash ventured a guess.

Since it appeared a straight shot around the balcony protruding from the interior wall, the group needed to find the way to the initial step, which was many feet above them. Searching the area from which the Caitiffs came, they located a door. It led into a tight corridor on a slight incline, and it led to a juncture providing a way only left or right. The group took the right, also at an incline, where they were greeted by a Spider Daedra.

“Ack! Kill it!” Zolara demanded.

Upon seeing the intruders, the spider with voluptuous, lady torso, rubbed her heaving bosom while casting a protection spell. The elf brothers again took charge and made an easy kill.

Zolara studied the creature for a second then removed eggs and webbing. “I’ll bet these will come in handy.”

The group came upon the door the Spider Daedra was guarding and pushed beyond. They found themselves back in the center of the tower, only about a story higher, and on the spiraling balcony. Charging up the circular path—boots pounding—they cut through more Caitiffs. In their defeat, the enemies either slid down the balcony or fell over with a resounding thud.

“Quickly,” S’maash said.

Soon, the long, spiraling balcony led to another, twisted door. Beyond it was another tight corridor to their left. It led at a sloping decline, while a corridor to their right led up an incline. With a shrug, they continued up.

During the rush, S’maash broke through a trip wire. A massive, red, sword blade came crashing down, but the ever-vigilant Zolara noticed the situation unfold in the knick of time. He shoved the Dark Elf hard. The blow forced S’maash over and onto the ground, but safe from the trap.

“Apologies, friend, didn’t want to have to carry pieces of you back to Tamriel,” Zolara chuckled.

S’maash stood and looked at the slowly rising sword; the blade was serrated and deadly. He was glad to have only fallen over. The remainder of the group looked around briefly before continuing into the large room beyond the trap.

Four pillars with thick spikes were positioned in the center of the room. They were less for support and more for intimidation. Grumbling caught the explorers’ attention; a Daedroth had entered from the far end of the room. The scaly, large mouthed, crocodile-like demon stumbled about awkwardly before casting a protection spell and enveloping its body with a soft glow.

Zolara wasted no time, immediately firing erratic bolts of purple lightning- Wall of Storm. Brelyna followed suit with her own Wall of Ice; frozen shards of magicka quickly covered the ground. Once the beast was cold and slow, the Dunmer brothers hacked at it with their greatswords.

S’maash moved off to the Daedroth’s right. He slashed low at the knee joint causing great damage. His brother moved to the demon’s left. In a spinning motion, he brought his own blade across with much speed, thus hacking clean through the Daedroth’s arm. S’maash, as quickly as he initiated the first strike, brought his blade around his left shoulder then above his head, and finally brought the blade down in a smooth strike.

The Daedroth, being so tall, was cut badly from the chest; dark blood poured from the wound. Attempting to counteract, the demon grumbled and reached out with a powerful claw. Because S’maash was already standing low to the ground from his power strike, the Daedroth easily knocked him to the ground. Fortunately, continued blasts of magicka finally overtook the Daedroth. It collapsed dead.

“Ouch,” S’maash said, standing.

S’maath met his eyes with a slightly comical expression. S’maash knew what was coming.

“S’wit.”

“Yes, come on,” S’maash groaned.

Zolara pilfered some Daedroth Teeth. Then, the group continued into the hall from where the demon had emerged. Beyond the hall, were doors on either side of a large room. The group momentarily split as they checked the doors.

“Where does yours lead?” S’maath called out.

“Outside to the bridge,” Brelyna answered.

“Then we have our path,” S’maash said.

The group convened at Brelyna’s door. Bursting through and into the strange plane of Oblivion, the group ran across the precarious balcony, a long bridge with no rails. The craggy stone did not look strong, but looks were deceiving. From their new position, they gauged their surroundings.

Zolara pointed. “Look, that must be the War Machine.”

What they saw was nearly incomprehensible. The War Machine was a construct of Daedric steel, black with an eerie, red glow. Churning blades spun at the ends of what looked like horizontal pillars. It was unclear how the War Machine moved, but by the looks of it, it was creeping ever so slowly and unleashing a horrific, droning sound.

“Where is it going,” Brelyna asked.

They all traded glances. No one had a clue. With a frown, S’maash thought back to Falion’s words; he said that to return to Tamriel, since the portal shut behind them, they needed to retrieve the Greater Sigil Stone from inside the War Machine. What is the safest way to do this?

The War Machine was far below them, and aside from several, menacing mountains with sharp peaks, they saw only the door to the second spire at the far end of the bridge, but that spire didn’t appear to lead anywhere else. Furthermore, they needed to get to a second, much higher bridge, to reach a gate, which blocked the War Machine.

“What are you doing,” Brelyna asked him.

“I don’t, I don’t know where to go,” S’maash admitted while hot winds whipped about his head.

“The second spire might lead us where we need to be,” Zolara howled.

“It’s as good a plan as any,” S’maath replied.

They continued into the second spire, and much as the first, the interior held a red hue, and also like the first, they cut through a few Daedra before reaching the peak. The room was covered in some material not unlike batwings, though much sturdier. Two Dremora, one in black robes with a Daedric Greatsword, and one in Daedric Armor with a Daedric War Hammer, attacked.

“I will feast on your heart,” one claimed.

“I honor my Lord by destroying you,” the other shouted.

The demons were not overly difficult to fight, but after their defeat, the group found little other than some treasure in Hanging Sacs. “There’s nothing here,” S’maash complained.

“Not quite,” Brelyna rebutted.

On the far wall were large gears, which were built into the spire’s structure, and below them sat a lever. She pulled it, and the gears rolled with deafening clanks.

“What now,” S’maath asked.

“Let’s work our way back down and check the doors,” S’maash suggested.

All the running in the excruciating heat, down the batwings, and through the doors, was tiresome. Over an hour had passed since their arrival, and they had not stopped running or fighting. Finally, they reached a door that led back outside.

“Whoa!” Zolara called out.

He had taken the forefront after opening the door and was beset by fear. Beyond the door was nothing but a short bridge. Before anyone uttered another word, the tower rumbled. Holding onto each other and pushing back inside the tower, S’maath managed to tug the Argonian inside the spire.

“What,” Brelyna started, but the short bridge extended. From the opposing end, another spire across from them also extended its bridge. Once the portions met in the center, the bridge effectively connected the spires. “I suppose this is the way.”

“I think you’re right, Brelyna,” S’maath smiled.

Careful scrutiny of their surroundings revealed they were very high up. From their new perspective, the war machine looked like a creeping, mechanical Dragon, but without a head, wings, or tail.

“Hopefully, from the looks of it, this next spire will allow us to work our way down,” S’maash said.

They pushed through the door into the spire, expecting what the previous two held, yet all they saw was a grating of sorts. It was little more than a round, metal platform with several, large holes.

“There’s a switch over there,” S’maath exclaimed.

“Perhaps, we can take this down,” Brelyna offered.

S’maath looked from her to the switch. He walked over, passing some still bloody skeletons. When he reached for the mechanism Zolara howled a warning.

“What,” the Dark Elf asked.

“Why all the dead bodies,” Zolara asked with a point of his snout to the ground.

“I’m certain, it’s fine,” S’maath said, pulling the switch.

A jolt moved through the group. The lift clanked as it lowered them.

“I…am not so sure about this” S’maash said.

With furrowed brow, he looked over the bones, assuming they had simply died in the spire. After a moment, the reason became clear; the lift was lowering them onto large pikes built into the ground beneath.

“Move, move, move!” S’maath ordered, and shoved them all off.

By hopping off and dropping some ten feet below to the ground, they avoided death, yet the landing was less than gentle. They shook their heads in dismay before bolting through the only door in the spire. Outside, they were surprised to find themselves right, smack behind the War Machine.

Thanks for reading. Once everything is done, and I have the story just the way I like it, I’ll be releasing it to as many fanfiction sites as I can find. On top of that, since it’s also going through Smashwords’s premium catalogue, it’ll also be available through BnN and iBooks.

In the meantime, drop by the home page and check out one of the many other stories already available.

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Another Enchanting Excerpt

 

An Enchanting Tale By Aaron Dennis
An Enchanting Tale
By Aaron Dennis

An Enchanting Tale is a Skyrim Fanfiction. If you played Oblivion, you’ll like this excerpt. Our hero, S’maash, has wandered into an Ayleid ruin for exploration.

It’ll still be about two weeks before I get the updated version of the story out, but give it a peek and see what you think.

Freya stepped before Barbas. She walked lithely up the white steps to the square, white, stone door. Gorgeous arches stood partially covered by earth, moss, and insects. Small pieces of rubble were strewn about in the area above the door, where the rest of them stood waiting for Freya.

“Let’s head in then,” she announced.

S’maash casted a Candle Light spell. As the undulating sphere of light cast awkward shadows of the party, he was amazed in the difference of architecture between the Ayleids and the Dwemer. While Dwemer ruins were sharp and angular with their stonework, the Ayleids had a softer touch to the eye. Smooth, white walls lined the interior hall. It was very short and winding with an odd, scintillating, green glow hanging in the air. An unnerving hum emanated from an unseen source.

The view before them was of white pillars. The ground below was down quite a few steps. Those steps were exposed on either side. Their boots echoed off the far walls of the massive structure beneath them. Barbas and his crew noticed S’maash pause. He was taking in the sights.

“It’s a beautiful piece of architecture,” Elohar commented.

“Aye, that it is,” S’maash replied as his eyes scanned over the view.

Freya started walking down a winding hallway. The rest followed suit. A delicate grating of unknown metal lined the hallway on one side. White, stone walls lined the other. Beyond the grating, S’maash saw a chandelier hanging from the ceiling; its subtle, green radiance provided enough light to see without the use of magick.

A short trek through the hall led to an immediate dead end on the group’s right hand side. On the floor near the wall was a small, hexagonal cask. Elohar smiled as he pried it open. A tiny cloud of dust wafted away. Inside was nothing. Whoever had traveled through prior to their arrival had already pilfered its contents.

“What a shame,” he commented.

The noise created by Elohar drew the attention of a handful of Giant Rats. The squeaky beasts whined as they thundered over the stone floor, ringed tails flailing behind them. S’maash allowed the warriors to work for their money.

Barbas did not even move. Elohar fired three arrows quicker than S’maash had ever witnessed. Three of the Rats perished immediately. The fourth and final reached Freya’s feet. She kicked it in the face. As it writhed over, she chopped its head clean off with her war axe. Battle over.

“You elves eat these no,” Freya asked while looking at Elohar.

S’maash smiled. Elohar made a face of disgust.

“Wood Elves eat a lot of different meats, but it’ll be a cold day in Oblivion before this one feasts on vermin,” Elohar grumbled.

They turned to S’maash, but he simply shrugged. The left side of the hall rounded a corner to a tombstone shaped gate. Barbas pulled it open then stopped abruptly.

“See this press block? Ayleid ruins are full of these. They’re easy enough to spot if you look for the green jewel,” Barbas said.

“What do they do,” S’maash inquired.

“It’s how you open doors, disable traps, and other such things,” Elohar answered.

The four continued beyond the gate. Several chambers appeared to their left as they progressed. There was also a set of white stairs leading down. The crew continued beyond the chambers into a large room. Gas chambers lined the floor emitting a strange noxious cloud. They all paused.

“This is one of the old traps,” S’maash asked.

“Aye. Cover your faces with these,” Freya ordered as she handed out pieces of cloth.

The gas was a poisonous concoction of unknown agents. With cloth over their faces, the gas did little more than obscure their vision as they progressed. Not wanting to overstay his welcome, Elohar ran through the large chamber. The others followed suit. Beyond the gas, they paused for a moment to catch their breath and wipe tears from their eyes.

Anutwyll was a glorious sight to behold even for those who had traipsed through the ruins of the Ancient Elves many times. Its sublime architecture was breathtaking.

Their excursion beyond the gas chamber led them a wall with another press block. Barbas nodded to S’maash, who pressed it. A trio of stone pillars slowly slid into the ground, thus revealing an opening through the wall and into another room. S’maash was impressed at how smoothly the stones moved. They created very little sound.

Inside the new room was a sort of stone platform. Its utility was unknown, though it appeared to be more for aesthetics than actual use. On its top was a black, steel pedestal. Atop it, was a Varla stone; its gorgeous, white crystal was a feast for the eyes. Varla stones were multi faceted works of beauty.

“These fetch a few Septims,” Freya said.

“They function to replenish a weapon’s magickal property,” S’maash added.

“They function to replenish my Coin Purse,” Elohar replied in jest. They had a little laugh as Brabas plucked it from its resting place. “Good start, so far.”

After recovering that small fortune, the group rounded a set of stairs back to the gate they had entered originally. They pressed on through the ruin for sometime, but it didn’t appear to be very large, and its simple design made it easy to navigate. Before much longer, they came upon a tombstone shaped door depicting a glowing tree.

“These are strange doors,” S’maash commented.

“Let us press onwards and discover what lies beyond,” Barbas replied.

“Yes. I’m anxious to continue, but I am somewhat surprised,” S’maash said.

“Why’s that,” Elohar asked.

“I suppose I thought there would be more…well more objects. The Dwemer left behind many things. While not all valuable, their ruins hold many vases, pots, books, all types of things. I don’t see any of that here. It’s as though the whole of the Ayleid culture has vanished,” S’maash stated with wonder.

“I don’t know about any of that,” Freya remarked.

“How could you say that, cousin? When we traveled through Raldbthar we saw all those things S’maash mentioned,” Barbas said.

“That’s not what I meant, Barbas. I’m saying I don’t know about these Ancient Elves,” Freya snapped.

The Nords appeared to be growing irritated with on another. Elohar bumped S’maash with his elbow and motioned with his head.

“Nords are a loud bunch, eh?” he said it loud enough to draw the Nords’ attention.

“Why don’t you be quiet before I string you up with your own bow?” Freya howled in jest.

Again, they laughed. Their happy bickering echoed throughout the whole of Anutwyll. S’maash felt a bit of elation. His journey for knowledge had taken a very entertaining turn.

Ultimately, they progressed beyond the door into another expanse. It, too, held a scintillating hum as green light emanated from sources unseen. Silence prevailed for a short while. Then, S’maash spoke.

“I’m surprised there are no monsters lurking about in here.”

“Some say the dead roam the halls of Ayleid ruins. Reminds me of the Draugr in our homeland’s burial halls,” Freya replied.

She had peculiar way of speaking, S’maash noticed. She always rolled her R’s quite heavily. Elohar did not comment on the enemy situation, but raised an eyebrow in a comical fashion.

“This one does not like the undead,” Barbas said and chuckled.

“I can’t say I do, either,” S’maash commented.

“What do you hope to find behind these doors,” Freya asked.

“Something pertaining to old enchantments; I understand the Ayleids viewed the four forces of magick as being Earth, Water, Wind, and Light; Fire being a corruption of Light. If that is in fact truth then we, as modern mages, aren’t fully utilizing our Enchanting potential.

“I believe the Dwemer also held ancient secrets regarding Enchanting. The artifact, Volendrung, somehow fell into the hands of Malacath. It’s very curious. I understand that some artifacts cannot be disenchanted. Normally, an item is reduced to ash or debris, but somehow, these powerful artifacts resist the very force of disenchanting. I hope to find some clues here,” S’maash explained.

The Nords exchanged a tiresome look. “You should join the College of Winterhold. The crisp, snowy air of the north will do you well, Dark Elf,” Barbas said.

“What is this College?”

Barbas and Freya told S’maash what little they knew. Being Nord warriors, they had respect for magick, but no use for it, themselves.

“Then, once I finish I here I might make that journey,” S’maash replied, intrigued.

“You’ll freeze ‘til your blue…er, blue-er, in the face,” Elohar joked.

After the laughter subsided, they found a place to rest for the day. Soon, the food supply dwindled, so they took turns sleeping. The following morning, they eagerly resumed their search. It was not long before more gates were located. Elohar had taken the lead during their second day. A trip down flights of stairs brought them to an area full of Welkynd stones. Again, the hired muscle pocketed the treasure.

While the group debated how to spilt the money to be made from selling the riches, S’maash appreciated the sights. Several, glowing, rocky formations lined the ceiling. He paced around the room then approached the warriors.

“What are these gems,” S’maash asked, pointing to green rocks.

“Don’t know. All the ruins have them,” Freya answered.

S’maash made a mental note. While he stood in awe, Elohar sniffed about the large room. Spotting a long cask, he called them all over.

“Good, finally a chest. Bound to be something in there,” Barbas said.

In a corner, the cask sat covered in dust. Barbas knelt down before it in an attempt to open it. It was locked.

“Blasted elves…sorry,” he said with a gap-toothed grin.

“Blah, blah, blah,” Elohar responded.

The Bosmer made a sad attempt at pushing Barbas aside to check the chest’s lock, but Barbas, being as massive as he was, did not so much as budge. He, instead, grinned more widely. Freya laughed.

“Just move,” Elohar chuckled.

“No need. I’ll handle it,” Barbas replied.

He stood with such a power that Elohar had to hop back lithely. He moved, as all Wood Elves did, with an almost dance-like motion, thus avoiding a fall onto his seat. Barbas then raised his war hammer over his head. Once it reached its apex, all too close to the ceiling, the Nord pulled it and himself down. The head of the hammer smashed the chest open.

“A little elbow grease is all you need,” he said.

“You’d better hope you didn’t break anything worthwhile, you, you…brute!” Freya chastised.

Barbas shrugged before stepping away, allowing Freya to check the contents. Inside, she found a rotted, Coin Purse with thirty, old, gold coins predating the current Septim, stone jars containing Bone Meal, and some Ancient Elven equipment; one dagger, one bow, and some boots.

“So, we’ll be taking these as payment,” Elohar said immediately.

He snatched the bow from Freya’s hand, looking it over. The string had rotted away ages ago, but the bow itself was in excellent condition. S’maash noticed something about the boots. They possessed an eerie glow, something almost undetectable. He motioned to Freya for them.

“Now hold on, you agreed we got the spoils,” she said.

“No, it’s not that. I think they’re enchanted. That’s why I came here. Remember?” S’maash replied.

Looking the boots over, he felt the living vibration all enchanted gear possessed. He was sure they held some form of magick. Whatever the enchantment, he did not recognize it.

“Well,” Barbas asked.

S’maash met his eyes.  “I have never come across this one before. I don’t know what it is.”

“Let him have them. Not like they could fit our feet, anyway,” Barbas announced.

“They could fit mine,” Elohar interjected.

“Never mind, that; you’ve already got something,” Barbas retorted.

Elohar shrugged.

“Thank you. Let us continue,” S’maash said.

“There must be another press block in here somewhere,” Elohar said, looking about. “Normally dead ends like these have something hidden away. Ah, beneath the rubble.”

The chest had been set before the block, and since Barbas smashed the container, Elhoar booted the debris aside to step on the mechanism, which caused another set of stone pillars to slide away from the far wall on the other end of the room. Like all Ayleid designs, Anutwyll possessed hidden hallways for quick access to all areas within. They journeyed through the hall, passing more, green gems, and back to the ruin’s entrance.

“There you have it then,” S’maash grinned. “I’ll set up here and do some research on those odd, rock formations. You’re all free to go and everything we recovered is yours, except these boots, I guess.”

The group of warriors nodded, took their spoils, and left S’maash to his own devices. He was glad to have found something worth studying, but was unclear as to what exactly he had discovered. A few return trips to Bravil took place during which he purchased supplies. Unfortunately, the town didn’t possess an Arcane Enchanter, so he wasn’t able to learn what the Ancient Elven Boots did.

In an attempt to discern it for himself, he put them on his feet. They were the proper size. As he paced around the town, under the moonlight, he felt no difference. He jumped, ran, even stuck his fingers over an open flame. It burned as he had anticipated. After another night at The Lonely Suitor Lodge, the elf returned to Anutwyll where he took some samples of the gems from the ruin’s walls. Satisfied, he intended to take a break before returning to town and plan his next move.

“Well, well, well. What ‘ave we got, here?” an unfamiliar voice echoed behind him.

S’maash turned to see some bandits in furs and leather. One of them, likely the leader, was an Imperial brandishing a malevolent looking Ebony Dagger. The blade’s length was as ominous as the embossed, black metal from which it was forged.

The Imperial addressed the rest of his crew: a Khajiit, Orc, and two Imperial lasses. “Think we should gut him?”

They grinned.

“I’m just conducting studies,” S’maash choked.

“No, no, no. You’re just conductin’ studies in my ‘ome,” the Imperial replied.

S’maash furrowed his brow in thought. There had been no bedrolls or tents. It was obvious the bandits intended to make Anutwyll their new base camp. The Dark Elf hoped to avoid confrontation.

“Listen,” S’maash started.

Before he finished, the Imperial vaulted himself forwards. He delivered a powerful, left fist to S’maash’s midsection, causing him to bend over and drop to his knees. With no air in his lungs, the Khajiit and Orc easily took his arms behind his back and held his head in place by his hair. The elf tried to speak, but only gasped for air.

“This is the part where you fall down and bleed to death,” the Imperial said.

Then the man punched S’maash in the face until he blacked out.

Thanks for reading. If you need some kind of a fantasy to read today, drop by The Adventures of Larson and Garrett on Google+ The first three adventures are free; The Sleeping Tree, a Werewolf in the Dark, and Infestation

These books and more are available at Smashwords, but don’t just buy books from Smashwords. Sell books through Smashwords. Smashwords offers a super simple type of affiliate marketing where if you simply post a referral link on your site, and people buy the book through your link, you earn a portion of the sales.

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An Enchanting Tale update, background, and excerpt

 

An Enchanting Tale By Aaron Dennis
An Enchanting Tale
By Aaron Dennis

An Enchanting Tale was written back in April of 2012. I forget when exactly I finished it, but it was before The Dargonborn DLC had been made available.

While tying in the history of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, I came up with my own version of Tamriel, one where Ulfric rose to High King, the Forsworn still ran rampant, and the Dawn Guard were too stupid to kill a vampire.

An Enchanting Tale is about a dark elf named S’maash. He’s tired of working for the Mages’ Coalition in L’Thu Oad, a town in Morrowind, so he sets off to unravel the mysteries of enchanting.

It’s extremely odd that after I wrote this story, the Dragonborn DLC included things like bone mold armor, a Hermaus Mora quest, and other references to Morrowind….

Now, I originally wrote this story by capitalizing certain words, words that are capitalized in Skyrim like; Skull, Sneaking, Dark Elf, etc., and they are still capitalized in the excerpt, but for the sake of literary art, I will be fixing those issues for the new release.

Anyway, check out the excerpt!

S’maash always had an affinity for magick—Enchanting especially—his natural talent was rivaled only by his love for the art. In his days as a child of Morrowind, he ran about with his friends and siblings stirring up all sorts of trouble. While they mainly tried to stow away on Silt Striders, large insects utilized for the purposes of traveling long distances, S’maash normally found himself in trouble for different reasons; he generally skulked into a mage’s workshop to catch a glimpse of a master spell craftsman at work. Most of his endeavors ended with a slap to the back of the head followed by the derogatory you s’wit, but that did little dissuade him.

Upon reaching adulthood in the year 4 E 221, S’maash, a striking, young Dark Elf with a shock of gray hair on his head and a gray-blue complexion, took a job as an inventory manager for a local union of mages in the town of L’Thu Oad. It was a small settlement southwest of Narsis. His job with the Mages’ Coalition consisted of little more than taking notes on their studies and cataloguing their findings. Other menial tasks involving the organizing of reagents, Soul Gems, and magickal equipment kept him busy enough.

Although he did learn a great deal about enchantments, S’maash’s curiosity was never satiated. His knowledge of over fifty enchantments was a testament to the fact that knowledge led only to more curiosity, and that led him to speak to one of the elder mages, an old Altmer—or High Elf—named Rosoleola; he was the head of the Mages’ Coalition in L’Thu Oad. Ancient and surly with a shimmering gold hue to his skin, he was not an easy person to approach.

“Master?” S’maash called.

The old Altmer was stooped over an Arcane Enchanter, a vicious looking table adorned with the skull of a three-eyed beast, several candles, and a misty, green bauble. Rosoleola turned to the young S’maash while flipping through the pages of a journal.

“What now?” Rosoleola barked.

“I couldn’t help, but notice you’re attempting to enchant that Steel Dagger with Fire Damage,” S’maash stated the obvious. Rosoleola winced as he returned his steady gaze to his journal. He said nothing to the young Dunmer, so S’maash stirred nervously before breaking the silence. “Why is it that we can imbue a weapon with Fire Damage, but not a shield or gauntlets?”

“S’wit…must you ask such a foolish question?” The Altmer’s voice was raspy and full of arrogance.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, Sir. I’ve been watching and taking notes for these past seven years. Along the way, I have realized many truths, but some of them seem to have to no logical base.”

The old Altmer turned to S’maash. After eying the Dunmer with contempt, he pushed an errant strand of silver hair behind his ear.

“What are you babbling about now, boy?”

“Sir, a Flame Cloak spell can be cast by a mage. This provides him the ability to damage an opponent by merely standing adjacent him without so much as warming his own skin. Why not can a piece of Iron Armor be enchanted as such?”

Rosoleola was taken aback. He stared at the youth for a moment. The boy stood under torchlight with his feet firmly planted on the stone floor. The fires of passion and knowledge burned brightly in his red eyes. Rosoleola adjusted his burgundy robes before answering.

“Well now that is a question, isn’t it….” he said as he looked up to the high ceiling.

His tone had changed. It carried a hint of ancient wonder, of memories long forgotten. The torch fires wavered with the forces of magicka in the workshop, casting shadows of the banners and tapestries depicting the progressions of arcane studies. S’maash kept his gaze on the old Altmer, still awaiting a response. After a moment of silence, S’maash adjusted his own faded, blue robes. Rosoleola took a pensive inhalation before providing his insight.

“I can’t really answer that,” he said and paused. The furrow in his brow was indicative of wonder, something rarely experienced by the aged. “Get back to work. You have better things to do than question magickal theory. Go make sure all the reagents are accounted for. Last time I looked for Comberry it took me twenty minutes to find where Naralia put them,” Rosoleola barked.

S’maash nodded to his master. The response given was somewhat less impressive than he had anticipated, or more accurately, it was less inspiring. Rosoleola eyed the boy as he left. The truth was the old Altmer was impressed, but Altmers were not given to showing such things, especially not to non-Altmers, so Rosoleola returned to his enchantment, and S’maash returned to his menial tasks.

After reorganizing the reagents, the Argonian, Barters-with-Whispers, walked into the large storage room with a new task for S’maash. “Dunmer, fetch me the tome, The Studies of Wards,” the green, lizard-woman hissed.

S’maash stood from his crouching position as he turned a jar of Bone Meal so the label faced outwardly. He looked upon her. Barters-with-Whispers was an ancient, decrepit Argonian. Her faded, yellow robes draped off her wiry figure. Still, her demeanor was rather imposing.

“Yes, Ma’am.”

S’maash traveled through the short hallway over bronze carpeting to the study. While the floor of the workshop was of cold stone, its walls were gorgeous mahogany with darkened hues of deep brown. Massive, wooden shelving lined the walls of the library. Each shelf was filled from one end to the other with timeworn tomes. A mental segue took S’maash from his intended task. Dwemer Magick of Old, he thought to himself as his eyes caught glimpse of a leather bound book. He slowly and carefully took it from its place. The leather creaked as he opened it. While scanning over the pages, he saw the name Volendrung, an ancient war hammer. The Dwemer knew quite a bit about forging magick items.

“What are you doing, you lazy layabout?” Barters-with-Whispers shouted from across the room.

Startled, S’maash dropped the book. It fell to the floor with a heavy thud. He gave a weak smile, picked the tome from the floor, and replaced it on the shelf before grabbing what he was supposed to have grabbed in the first place. He handed the book over. It was difficult to read Argonians. Their scales made it nearly impossible to detect emotional cues in their faces; although, that day it was obvious she was not pleased.

“Apologies,” S’maash said.

“S’wit.”

The Argonian took the tome with narrowed eyes. She blinked once then left the young man to his own devices. A new curiosity brewed inside S’maash. He immediately ran out of the study, down the hall, and back to the Arcane Enchanter where Rosoleola was picking Soul Gems for his next task. The magickal gems were shades of blue and purple.

“Master,” S’maash called.

“Mmm? What now?” the Altmer asked without looking from his work.

“Which is the closest Dwemer ruin?”

“Oh, let’s see, should be Damlzthur. Why?”

“I need to study their artifacts. I have to know how they were able to create Volendrung.”

Rosoleola sighed as he shook his head in desperation. The boy’s inability to focus on his prescribed tasks was irritating the Altmer beyond belief.

“What nonsense are you spouting? Don’t you have better things to do?”

“With respect, Master, no I don’t. I need to understand,” S’maash replied.

The old Altmer stood as straight as his creaky body allowed. Finally, he turned to eye the Dark Elf.

“Mmm,” Rosoleola muttered as he stroked his long beard. “Well… it isn’t safe, you know?”

S’maash was slightly surprised. Not only did Rosoleola’s voice lose the twinge of aggravation, he had not expected understanding, much less the concern for his safety.

“You really care about Enchanting don’t you? I’ve watched you, you know? You’ve come a long way in a short time,” the old elf said as his head bobbed up and down a bit. “I undertook a few quests of my own around your age. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you an advance on your pay. Hire some men from the Reyda Tong. Maybe you can find what you’re looking for.”

Again, S’maash was astonished. “Thank you, Master!”

“Yes, yes. Here, this should be enough,” the Altmer said with a smile as he handed S’maash a small Coin Purse. “Don’t get yourself killed. You have a brilliant mind, but I fear that some things simply are what they are, so don’t get your hopes up. You hear me?”

“Yes, Master. Thank you again,” S’maash replied taking the gold.

Rosoleola replied with a simple waving of his hand, shooing the boy away. S’maash smiled from pointy ear to pointy ear while running out of the workshop. He crossed the stone paved road to a large, stone building, the home base of the Reyda Tong, which was a sort of guild for fighters in Morrowind. Its appearance came about after the dissolution of the Empire’s grip.

It was a warm evening in L’Thu Oad and a bead of sweat ran down S’maash’s face as he knocked on the wooden doors. A sign above read: Reyda Tong Fighters. The door opened seconds later, revealing another Dark Elf who looked much like S’maash.

“Oh, it’s you. Come in, brother,” the Elf replied.

“S’maath, Rosoleola gave me an advance on my pay. I need to hire a few of you to travel into Damlzthur,” S’maash said, excitedly.

S’maath was a few years older than his brother and much stockier. His thick, gray hair grew sharply and unkempt all about his head.

“Sounds dangerous. What has he got you searching for?”

“You misunderstand. The research is mine. I was reading through a tome on Dwemer magick. As you well know, I’ve been enthralled with the mysteries of Enchanting for some time. I believe there may be some answers stowed away in their old ruins.”

The brothers walked through the foyer, passing a rack of swords. Much like the mages’ workshop, the Reyda Tong’s office was bedecked with amazing tapestries depicting its own history, a much more violent one. It, too, was built of stone floors and beautiful woods.

Further inside, the two found themselves among mixed company; an Imperial lad, a Redguard woman, and another Dark Elf. The warriors all recognized S’maash and greeted him with a simple nod of the head. The Dunmer brothers took seats in a large room practically filled with mead and weapons. A fire burned in the stone pit at the far end of the room. The gentle crackling kept them from total silence.

“Fara, my brother says he wants to hire us for a trip into Damlzthur,” S’maath announced.

Fara, the Redguard, adjusted the straps of her Iron Breastplate as she fidgeted in her seat. Her dark face crinkled a bit while she considered the proposition.

“We have plenty of work here,” she snipped.

“I have payment,” S’maash interjected.

“How much?” The Imperial asked.

S’maath turned to his brother.

“Well,” S’maash started as he pulled the string on the Coin Purse. He poured the gold coins onto a round table by the Imperial. “Twenty five gold.”

The three warriors laughed at the paltry sum, but S’maath was sympathetic. Once the laughter died down, he took his glare off his comrades to look at his brother.

“How long would this trip be?”

S’maash took a moment to think before answering, “A week….”

“We’re not riskin’ life an’ limb for twenty five gold, boy,” the other Dark Elf replied.

S’maash looked at his brother questioningly.

“Why don’t you go home for now? I’ll see what we can do,” S’maath instructed his sibling.

S’maash took the gold into his Coin Purse and left for home slightly ashamed, but not defeated. The walk home was a rather slow one. Night had just settled in before he arrived at his own, front door. He heard the chirps of insects for a moment then entered his family’s abode. The shutting of the door behind him shut out the noise as well.

With their parents deceased, S’maath and S’maash lived in the modest home together. The young elf busied himself with dinner for the two. Not long after, S’maath entered the house finding Rat Stew warming over the fire.

“I had a long conversation with Fara,” he yelled out from the common area.

S’maash entered from the kitchen to find his brother standing proudly. “What did she say?”

“So long as the Reyda Tong can lay claim to any profitable artifacts, they’ll back your endeavor,” S’maath replied.

“Good news, then. I’d like to set out as soon as possible.”

“We can leave first thing in the morning. Numerius, the Imperial, will join us as well as Fara. It will just be the four of us, so we’ll need to be cautious”

“Of course.”

Thank you for reading. I’ll be doing one final round of editing before I release this fanfiction. Then, I need to edit and release Dragonslayer, the sequel to Gods and Dragons. As always, Gods and Dragons is free, so check it out.

These and many more books are available at Smashwords, but don’t just buy books from Smashwords. Sell books through Smashwords. Smashwords offers a super simple type of affiliate marketing where if you simply post a referral link on your site, and people buy the book through your link, you earn a portion of the sales.

Got a bookblog? Constantly discussing books with friends? Well, then, you’re selling books. Might as well earn a cut. Learn more here.

Skyrim fanfiction and other stuff

 

An Enchanting Tale By Aaron Dennis
An Enchanting Tale
By Aaron Dennis

Well, it’s no secret I’m always up to something, but I wanted to let everyone in on what all is going on. That up there is the new cover for An Enchanting Tale, a Skyrim fanfiction….

Otherside will soon be released through Amazon and CreateSpace, and then I have to upload it to Smashwords in order to make it available through all retailers. I’ll tell you guys when everything concerning Otherside is ready to go.

So, I also wrote this Skyrim fanfiction ages ago, back in April of 2012, I wrote and released An Enchanting Tale through Smashwords, but since it was fanfiction, and I can’t make a profit from it, I never considered having an actual cover made, but then I thought about it…well, recently, I thought about it.

I figure if had gotten a real cover for An Enchanting Tale, maybe more than 500 copies would be in circulation by now. Never too late, though.

Also, I just wrapped up another fanfiction. When I get the cover made up for it, I’ll let you guys in on what it’s all about, and finally, I am working on Dragonslayer, the sequel to Gods and Dragons, and the second book in The Dragon of Time series.

For poops and chuckles, here’s the prologue:

An amnesiac mercenary called Scar appeared in the middle of the territorial disputes of Tiamhaal. He brought a whirlwind of change; the kind of change no one expected. That man was in actuality the avatar of Eternus, the Dragon of Time, a being outside the realm of human comprehension. Eternus was the universe, it was the ineffable creator of all that was, but having taken a liking to a particular world, it sent a portion of itself to the world of men.

Crafted from the clay at the edge of the world and fashioned from the eight, guiding principles of man, Scar, the mercenary, was sent to slay the Dragons, and so he was named Sarkany, the Dragon Slayer, yet his fashioning was not without flaws, and he lost his memories. Finding himself traveling aimlessly, seeking only to learn of his origins, Scar was beset by Dracos, the followers of Drac, Dragon of Fire, and then he was manipulated by Zoltek, Negus of the Zmajans, followers of the Dragon of Destruction, and finally, the warrior was sent by King Gilgamesh of Satrone, a worshipper of Kulshedra, Dragon of Truth, to the ruined kingdom of Alduheim where answers lied ensconced in darkness.

It was there that he and his men found a paladin, a warrior named Ylithia, who fought in the name of Mekosh, a true God, the God of Severity, and even though paladins had always maintained that the Dragons were posing as Gods, most people of Tiamhaal had never taken them seriously, yet what was witnessed beneath the rubble of Alduheim united them in their efforts to reveal the truth to their kings and queens. The leaders of every tribe had established their own countries under the name of their Dragon Lord posing as God; constantly, they fought for territory, supremacy, religious beliefs, and even peace. Things changed when warriors of Kulshedra, Scultone, Fafnir, and Tiamat joined forces with Scar and Ylithia, but their plan to bring to light the lies of Dragons was short lived; Scar and Ylithia fell in love and left kings and pawns to squabble amidst themselves.

The two abandoned Gods and Dragons for a life of peace, but the spurned King Gilgamesh had other plans, and he sent his men to kill Scar, yet he was away, and it was Ylithia, who was cut down without mercy, and for that act of betrayal, Scar took his sword, joined his old friend, Labolas, invaded the impregnable palace, Inneshkigal, and killed Gilgamesh before all the Kulshedrans of Tironis. Upon the king’s death, Scar was transported to Drangue, where he battled the mighty Kulshedra, a misty whorl of a Dragon, and the Dragon Slayer took the beast’s soul.

Since then, the Kulshedrans have lost their powers—the ability to augment their armor through Dragon’s magic—and they struggle to maintain their borders, their culture, their lives, but Scar is far from finished; he owes someone a debt of blood, and so he has journeyed back to Usaj, the land of destruction ruled by the mighty Zoltek. In Meshoptam, capitol of Usaj, Scar, the pale skinned, seven foot giant in black, leather armor, slayed the Zmajan royal guards and came face to face to with an old foe….

If you like it, go grab your free copy of Gods and Dragons.

The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis
The Dragon of Time, Gods and Dragons By Aaron Dennis

Don’t just buy books from Smashwords. Sell books through Smashwords. Smashwords offers a super simple type of affiliate marketing where if you simply post a referral link on your site, and people buy the book through your link, you earn a portion of the sales.

Got a bookblog? Constantly discussing books with friends? Well, then, you’re selling books. Might as well earn a cut. Learn more here.

Otherside Giveaway

 

one does not simply meme read otherside

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Otherside by Aaron Dennis

Otherside

by Aaron Dennis

Giveaway ends November 20, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

So, you all remember I had trouble with Caliburn Press, and that I got my rights back for books such as Lokians and Shadowman, and that I just rewrote and re-released Lokians 1, which has been retitled as Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1, rather than Lokians, Book 1, Beyond the End of the World, but anyway….

I rewrote Shadowman, and changed the title, too. There’s enough stuff called Shadowman, so now, I call this voodoo, urban fantasy, Otherside.

A man witnesses a murder. The deceased speaks in riddles. Vertigo settles in….
Adja wakes to learn he’s got the mojo. The old woman teaches him the ways of Voodoo. He must stand alone, under the guidance of Bear, against Snake, a villain, a murderer, an innate force, but there are other forces amidst the crack between the worlds.
Are you brave enough to journey…to the otherside?

Here’s an excerpt:

I felt something moving me, kicking me. I woke up sprawled on the ground. My eyes rejected the sunlight coming in from the window. I looked at the old woman. She was wincing and kicking me in the hip. Slowly, I rose to my feet.

“Time to take them cast off,” she said.

She left and returned with another bowl and another concoction. Using a brown cloth to dab some brown liquid on the cast caused it to bubble and crack. Next, she peeled layers off then placed that cloth and bowl down to grab a second cloth, a green one, and another bowl with clear liquid. She washed my previously injured joints. The stiffness vanished.

“Eat,” she ordered while handing me a plate of dried fruits and nuts.

I tore into it ravenously before drinking a glass of water in one gulp. I felt that same, watery, effervescent euphoria of a week or so ago. It felt good. I felt right.

“You must done good, Adja, or you not be so happy,” she chirped.

“I guess,” I chuckled.

She handed me a knapsack. I opened it to find all my stuff inside; my two original mojo bags, and a new one. Half the bag was green cloth. The other half was blue flannel. I also found the knife. A fuzzy, brown, fur handle had replaced the old, snakeskin handle. Bear fur? I assumed. That brought back the image of Iboga, and I remembered turning into a bear. My surprise must have shown on my face because she laughed at me. This was the first time I had heard her belly laugh. It was contagious.

“You see them ghost?” she joked.

“Nah. Was I a bear,” I asked, sheepishly.

“No, but maybe one day. Iboga was showin’ you something.”

“So, I can’t turn into a bear?” I was disappointed.

“No. You can use Bear’s strength. Bear has much power. Use it, Adja. Your task come to an end now. Collect what you need then go face Snake. Plunge the knife deep into him.”

“Doesn’t he have a gun?”

“Them bullets no match for you, you a Shadowman now. You know what to do,” she said to me. “Finish it.”

She held my shoulder and shook it gently. Her smile gave me confidence. I was going to go exact revenge upon the man who killed her grandson. I was going to kill Snake and earn the respect of Bear.

If you like the excerpt, and you haven’t already entered the free, Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of this voodoo, urban fantasy, please enter now. Thanks.

Entry closes Nov. 20, 2016

Be like Good Guy Greg and spread the word!

good guy greg meme read otherside

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Otherside by Aaron Dennis

Otherside

by Aaron Dennis

Giveaway ends November 20, 2016.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Otherside By Aaron Dennis
Otherside
By Aaron Dennis

The Otherside giveaway has ended, but the fun has not.

Don’t just buy books from Smashwords. Sell books through Smashwords. Smashwords offers a super simple type of affiliate marketing where if you simply post a referral link on your site, and people buy the book through your link, you earn a portion of the sales.

Got a bookblog? Constantly discussing books with friends? Well, then, you’re selling books. Might as well earn a cut. Learn more here.

Beyond the End of the World now available for free

 

Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1 By Aaron Dennis
Beyond the End of the World, Lokians 1
By Aaron Dennis

Get it free on Smashwords

Beyond the End of the World is the first book in the Lokians scifi series. This series was originally released back in 2011, but it has since been rewritten.

Intelligent races travel through wormholes to explore the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Thewls inform Humans of a looming threat. Lokians are a ravenous race of space bugs. They harvest technology from advanced civilizations and integrate with it to mass produce living ships, dangerous vanguards, and formidable legions.
Captain O’Hara of Phoenix Crew travels with Thewls to retrieve an ancient vessel from a mysterious race simply known as travelers. Can a single craft be the key to saving the galaxy? Why do Thewls believe the travelers once visited Earth? Does O’Hara and Phoenix Crew have what it takes to obliterate the space bugs?

Check out an excerpt

The ground team watched a streak appear in the purple sky. A silver object was coming in from the southeast. As the crew steeled themselves, it drew closer. A moment later, the silver object was in full view, something shaped like the bottom of a shoe; a large circular area in front, a thinner elliptical center, and a small circular area at the rear. An odd silence prevailed as it drew closer and closer.

The captain thought it large for a shuttle. Maybe, it is a vanguard, he thought. It was possible that they had been misrepresenting themselves as Nandesrikahl suggested. O’Hara wanted to draw his gun and take aim or contact Miss Day and tell her to aim the Phoenix’s weapons. No, he knew jumping the gun had devastating impacts. If they had come in peace, the following, galactic blunder would henceforth be called pulling an O’Hara; he didn’t want that on his head.

The shuttle slowed to a halt in midair. It was like a great whale suspended in the ocean. There were no sounds at all. Then, a puff of wind hit the ground, blowing dust everywhere. The crew covered their eyes momentarily and a deep, droning sound rumbled for a second. A large panel opened from beneath the ship. A loading platform slid out until the edge touched the ground. A strange vehicle rolled out, something like a bulky all-terrain with tracks covering six wheels.

The enormous rover was shiny chrome with several, blue windows. It calmly pulled up a few yards from the crew. Shapes of men showed through the windows, and the windows themselves were the oddest part of the vehicle.

They weren’t made of glass. They weren’t made of any material. They were a force field with a light, blue tint. When doors opened upwards from both sides, like an old DeLorean, O’Hara about wet his britches. The vehicle hummed monotonously, and the strangest beings imaginable stepped out.

First, a tall figure worked its way off a seat. One leg clad in black armor then another protruded. A hand grabbed the side of the doorway, and a creature, this Thewl, pulled itself free. It had two arms, two legs, and a head, and it certainly moved like a bipedal being, but one, major difference in the legs was the extra joint; they were more akin to cat legs or frog legs with, long stocky toes, and the heel of the foot extended at an angle towards the calf.

After exiting, the Thewl extended a massive hand to help out more from the vehicle. Five in total gathered around the rover, looking towards the Humans and their vessel. That’s when O’Hara noticed another, bizarre difference; their skin.

At a distance, Thewls looked to be red, or mishmashed shades of red. Fitzpatrick had a better look through her binos, though; she saw their skin was actually translucent, like jellyfish men. It was their structure beneath the skin that was all shades of red, pink, purple, and orange, and she saw their faces quite clearly.

Their heads were similar to Human heads except they swelled out behind the face. They didn’t have eyelids, either; the eyes were completely covered by the thick membrane, which presumably covered their whole bodies, allowing slits for nostrils, and one for the mouth. Other than their hands and heads, they were all clad in black, armor plated suits, and were all very tall, perhaps eight feet.

As they started marching for the captain, who was flanked by Swain and Martinez, he raised his right hand in peace, before taking a step. The remaining crewmembers were on their guard, awe stricken though they were. Once everyone was within speaking range, O’Hara figured the ambassador was the one in red and black garb. His suit—for lack of a better term—was the only one with any color other than black. It had fewer, armor plates and seemed more comfortable, lighter than the others’.

“Ambassador Weh? I am Captain Riley O’Hara. Admiral Lay has asked us to receive you under a banner of peace. We welcome you,” he said, slowly.

The ambassador raised his right hand as well. The fingers were long, there were five, but with an extra joint. His skeletal structure was evident among a plethora of ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Their veins were shades of purple, pulsating beneath translucent skin. The tendons and ligaments were orange, and the muscles were shades of pink and red, and everything moved with an eerie fashion, not that it was any different from the way Human bodies moved, but no one ever caught a glimpse off the operating table.

“I am Weh, and it is a great honor to meet the men capable of securing their future through travels in space. There is much to discuss,” Weh proclaimed.

O’Hara and the others were taken aback by the guttural droning of his voice. It was monotone, but somehow musical and gurgling like the warble of a bird that sang only one note. During the greeting, several, other beings came walking out of the alien craft.

They carried chairs, and tables, and other objects. The Humans and Thewls worked together. Soon, an outdoor conference was in session.

The crew was shocked to see the size of the tables and chairs. They were much larger in order to accommodate Thewlian anatomy. Once everything settled down, the captain spoke loud enough to drown out the voices of the aliens, who were likely conversing about the oddities of Humans, and the chatter of Humans, who conversed about the aliens.

“Ambassador, I’m impressed you’ve mastered our language in such a short time. I’m also in disbelief that your kind can travel so quickly. I assume this means your people have mastered faster than light speed.”

“As far as language is concerned, we all find it simple to learn. We have existed for over four, million years and have learned many languages. We have also traveled space and time for three, million years, so it is not difficult for us to acclimate to our surrounding, social environment,” the ambassador replied.

The captain was astonished, though his reports had stated incredulous facts about Thewls, it was another thing to see them, hear them in person. He remained flabbergasted a moment, saying nothing. The ambassador’s hue then changed. It was like his face brightened.

“As you well know, Captain,” the ambassador continued. “The beacons you discovered were left behind four, thousand years ago. Their arrangement on this planet was meant to be a signal to any passing travelers, so they might rest or meet on neutral ground. Was there a need, the beacons were also meant to be used in unison to signal for help or relay some sort of message, and there was a need….”

“So…no one has attempted to colonize Eon,” the captain asked.

“Ah, Eon, you say; before your time, many of us were in agreement that this planet remain neutral territory. No one race dared to seize it, not that we blame you or your people for erecting a colony. You could not have known such details.

“Alas, there have been no meetings here in many centuries. There are other such planets, but this is trivial at the moment. We Thewls are in the throes of a crisis,” the ambassador said.

O’Hara stirred in his large seat. It was not the ambassador’s voice that was earnest, but his words, somehow, seemed genuine, and again, his face changed; it had grown darker, grim.

“The Lokians,” the captain finally said.

“Yes, the Lokians,” the alien nodded. “This insect-like breed; over our long existence we have encountered them on numerous occasions. The first was long before my time. They landed on our home world just after we began space travel. Our Element-115 is a very valuable resource, and the Lokians coveted such treasures.

“They came in relatively small numbers, but we were a peaceful people. We had no real weapons at the time. They came unannounced and attacked us. Most of them didn’t use weapons, but their superior, physical attributes nearly destroyed us.

“Fortunately, we drove them back with our superior numbers. After that encounter, we suspended space travel for a time to fortify our defenses. We engineered weapons. They came a second time, centuries later—still before my time—but we were prepared, or so we thought.

“You see, we were not the only ones who had prepared. We were not the only ones who had advanced. The Lokians are a strange race. They do not cogitate as you or I. They do not adapt or acclimate as you or I. No, these Lokians harvest other races, their technology, mainly. When they attacked the second time, they had augmented themselves physically by using some form of robotic technology. They were stronger, faster, and nearly indestructible. We fought long and hard, but they could not be driven back,” the ambassador took a pause.

O’Hara didn’t note any facial expressions. Thewls conveyed emotions differently, it was something in their faces, a chemical reaction, he thought, that made their color change, and darker seemed to connote darker emotions, sadness, anger, perhaps.

“So, the Lokians are on your planet now?”

“No, no, if you’ll allow me to give you the history, it will all become clear,” the ambassador said.

“I apologize, Ambassador, this is all so overwhelming.”

“Certainly, but we would like to enlist the help of your people, and so it is only proper to explain the situation,” he calmly continued. “We were staring extinction in the face. Everything seemed lost. One night, another volley of ships penetrated our skies.

“These ships were radically different than those of the Lokians. These vessels weren’t alive, yet danced across the horizon. Some of them landed, others fired energy based weaponry at our enemies. Then, strange men clad in suits of light demolished our opposition.

“It took less than a day to turn the tide. Our benefactors were impressive. In a week, the Lokians were banished to space, and once the threat ended, our saviors left as mysteriously as they had appeared, yet a few stayed behind. Twelve of them remained and helped us advance our civilization beyond our dreams. They stayed until we were able to stand on our own again, and then, they, too, left.

“Since then, we’ve encountered the Lokians again. On occasion, we fight a small fleet in the expanse of space. Once, we followed them to a small colony and helped another space faring race secure victory. This brings us to the present state of affairs.

“As I have said, the Lokians harvest technology. They amassed around our sun over two hundred years ago. The interference from the sun kept them hidden from our scanners and satellites. The Lokians are now not only able to bring their ships close to a sun, but they have the technology to create and utilize subspace, compactor photons.”

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