Read Darkthunder's Way Online

Authors: Tom Deitz

Tags: #Fantasy

Darkthunder's Way

BOOK: Darkthunder's Way
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Table of Contents

Copyright

Darkthunder’s Way

TO KLON

Acknowledgments

PART I

Chapter I: Raven’s Call

Chapter II: Threats

Chapter III: He-Goes-About

Chapter IV: Speaking of Ships

Chapter V: Odd Man Out

Chapter VI: Secrets

Chapter VII: Sails

Chapter VIII: Company

Chapter IX: Revelation

Chapter X: Partying and Parting

Chapter XI: Tracks and Tracking

Chapter XII: Spies and Spying

Chapter XIII: Confessions

PART II

Chapter XIV: Into the Asi

Chapter XV: Tsistu

Chapter XVI: Where-It-Made-a-Noise-as-of-Thunder

Chapter XVII: The Great Uktena Hunt

Chapter XVIII: Regrouping

Chapter XIX: Yanu

Chapter XX: Shifting Scales

Chapter XXI: Healing

Chapter XXII: Home

PART III

Chapter XXIII: Bad Things

Chapter XXIV: Words on the Winds

Chapter XXV: Thunders of the Mind

Chapter XXVI: Masks

Chapter XXVII: Turned Stones

Epilogue: Ashes

Author’s Note

About the Author

Darkthunder’s Way

By Tom Deitz

Copyright 2015 by Estate of Thomas Deitz

Cover Copyright 2015 by Untreed Reads Publishing

Cover Design by Tom Webster

The author is hereby established as the sole holder of the copyright. Either the publisher (Untreed Reads) or author may enforce copyrights to the fullest extent.

Previously published in print, 1989

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. The characters, dialogue and events in this book are wholly fictional, and any resemblance to companies and actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Also by Tom Dietz and Untreed Reads Publishing

Windmaster’s Bane

Fireshaper’s Doom

www.untreedreads.com

Darkthunder’s Way

Tom Deitz

TO KLON

for more than he can imagine

Acknowledgments

Mary Ellen Brooks

Monnie D. Dean

Beulah N. Deitz

Adele Leone

Chris Miller

Jon Monk

John R. Newell

Vickie R. Sharp

Barbara Strickland

Brad Strickland

and a special thanks to

Frances Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner

PART I

THINGS FALL APART

Chapter I: Raven’s Call

(Enotah County, Georgia

Friday, August 16

afternoon)

Mad David Sullivan had been reading so much Welsh poetry the last few days he had almost begun to think in triads.

His three best friends, for instance, Alec McLean, “Runnerman” Darrell Buchanan, and Gary “G-Man” Hudson.

Or, a couple of hours earlier that August afternoon, the three hottest places on earth: the Sahara Desert, Death Valley, and the Fiddlers’ Convention at the Enotah Mountain Fair.

And for the moment, and rather esoterically, the three aspects of music that were simultaneously impacting on his psyche.

There was the literal music in the air to start with: the plunking and sawing that blared from beneath the huge green tent that dominated that portion of Enotah County High’s athletic field not given over to parking. But instead of the bluegrass and country that had been the fair’s sole issue for as long as David could remember, this year the sponsoring local Lions’ Club had magnanimously decided to set aside one day for folk music in its less insular manifestations. So it was that “Down Yonder,” “Wildwood Flower,” and “Orange Blossom Special” had given way to the Irish jigs and reels of Doctor Faddy, the Middle Eastern mandolin melodies of Nelson Morgan, and the soft, plaintive dulcimer of Bethany Van Over. Only a few moments before a North Carolina singer billed only as “John” had marched himself and his wide black hat and his silver-strung guitar offstage. David had particularly enjoyed his set. The guy apparently knew hundreds of ballads so ancient and obscure no one else recalled them at all; but more to the point, there had been a special magic about him, as if he
believed
the strange things he sang of. Never had David heard “Tam-Lin” performed with such conviction.

It was a song about the Faeries, he knew: whimsy to most folks—or romance, if they understood it at all. But for him it held darker implications. For Mad David Sullivan, like the fabled, willful Janet of the song, had also rescued a loved one, if not from the Queen of the Fairies’ apocryphal Tithe to Hell, at least from the clutches of the quasi-mythical beings the Irish called the Sidhe. Over a year had passed since he had met them, and things had never been quite the same after.

But music (to continue that particular triad) was not only a thing of the ear that day; it was a thing of life itself: of a late summer afternoon in a north Georgia county so remote it was nearly in North Carolina; of a sun that was hot like the blacksmith’s forge in the Early Settlers display; and earth that was dry as Byron Herbert Reece’s elegized bones—but with the first cool wind of an early autumn taking the edge off both and a pile of clouds in the west that hinted softly of thunder. David had only to look around him to see that world; to gaze beyond the glaring windshields and shimmering paint of countless outland vehicles and the sunglasses and hats of their even more countless passengers to where mountains rose in an ever-receding tumble of age-softened humps, each in a paler shade of blue, all accented here and there by the clear blaze of warm, sunlit water. Music of the earth, for certain. And of the skies.

But of all the musics haunting Mad David Sullivan, the one that sang most joyfully in his soul was that constant, silent symphony he heard whenever he looked at the red-haired girl walking beside him through the trampled grass, her slender body clad in white shorts, green Alarm T-shirt, and with a certain silver ring on her finger. Liz Hughes was her name, a friend since childhood. And now, so recently he still couldn’t quite believe it himself,
his…
His what? Girlfriend? Nah, that sounded far too frivolous. His lady? Too pompous, too remote. Maybe just
his
—except that also sold her short, because in spite of being only seventeen, Liz Hughes was for sure and for real her own woman. She also loved him, and he loved her, and both those things looked like going on forever.

(The three women he loved most: all Liz Hughes.)

But if that was so, why had she just said what she had?

They had left the tent only moments before and were threading their way around the hulking Winnebagos that packed this part of the field. A snack had been their avowed intention, but something about the music, something about the songs of betrayed or unrequited love—“Little Matty Groves,” for instance—had made David raise
that
topic one more time.

A clearing of throat, a pause, a cough, and the words had tumbled out for at least the tenth time in half as many days: “Look, Liz, are you
sure
you won’t change your mind ’bout going back to Lakeview?” Lakeview Academy was the private high school Liz had attended the previous year in Gainesville, Georgia: fifty miles to the south, beyond the mountains.

And the inevitable response: a heavy sigh, a casting of green eyes to the left as shoulders and neck muscles tensed and prettily pointy features grimaced irritably. And this time a dead stop. He halted too, and stared at her, blue eyes wide and waiting. Then came the words he had dreaded, though her tone carried less anger than frustration: “Do we
have
to go through this again? Can’t you ever take me at my word? It’s not like I’m doing it to hurt you; it’s something I have to do because it’s best for me.”

“But
Liz,
” David protested feebly. “School’s not
that
bad up here. ’Sides, we’ve only got one more year. Surely you can stick it out that long.”

“Yeah, one more year; then it’s off to U.G.A. for both of us. Surely
you
can stick it out
that
long!”

David raised a quizzical black eyebrow into the unruly blond mop that a month before had been quite a high-tech haircut, and chuckled evilly. Liz promptly blushed to her ears.

“Only a year,” she repeated, to get unflustered.

“But I can’t
wait
that long!” he exploded. “I mean, crap, girl; things have just started goin’ good for us. We’ve been fiddling around so long, not knowin’ and wonderin’ and makin’ fools of ourselves, and then suddenly it just happens. I
love
you; can’t you see that? I can’t stand the notion of not havin’ you around!”

“I’ll be home on weekends, David, most of ’em, anyway, now that I’ve got a car. And believe me, I won’t be spending ’em sitting in my mama’s parlor! Besides, you’ve still got Alec and your MacTyrie Gang buddies. I don’t have any close friends in Gainesville—not like here, anyway.”

David stuffed his hands in his scruffy cutoffs and looked away. “Yeah, but Alec’s
a…
Well, it’s just not the same! I mean he’s my best friend, and all; always has been, always will be. But he’s—well, there’re some things you just can’t
do
with him! I—”

He stopped in mid-sentence and blushed, wishing he hadn’t put it quite that way for fear Liz would think him thrall to the same gonadal zombiehood as all the other local boys—not that it wasn’t necessarily true, sometimes, or that she necessarily disapproved. In fact,
that
had been one of the things they’d discovered that summer—shoot, that
month.
They’d not
done
it yet—not quite. But oh Godall-mighty, what an almost! For the millionth time, he recalled that magical first occasion; him fresh from six weeks at the Governor’s Honors Program in Valdosta (he was wearing the black Commarts jersey even now, the same one he’d had on that night), and Liz home from a trip to San Francisco. They’d met at B.A. Cove out from his house, had finally opened up to each other, and things had simply followed the logical progression…to a point. They’d chickened out somewhere around the waistline and compromised by going skinny-dipping.

Things had taken a more sinister turn, then, as David found himself taken prisoner by a vengeful Faery woman and drawn once more into affairs of that other World which lay unseen around his own. But he didn’t want to think about that now—he’d had enough arcane adventures to last him a lifetime. For the moment, he just wanted to be a normal kid: a nice north Georgia boy with a good mind, a strong, healthy body, and a mighty fine-looking girlfriend who was smart as a whip in the bargain.
Startin’ to sound like Uncle Dale, kid,
he told himself, and realized they were walking again.

Liz broke in on his reverie. “You were glad enough of Alec’s company until this summer.”

David’s face clouded. “That’s not fair! We grew up together—course you and I did too, but it wasn’t the same. And anyway, I haven’t seen him much lately, in case you haven’t noticed.”

“Would you like to?”

A shrug. “He’s been part of me forever, always the same, always solid, reliable Alec. But things with you and me have changed, gotten better—which I guess doesn’t mean I still don’t want to keep the other good things in my life.” He shook his head as if to clear it. “Gaaa—I can’t even talk straight. I mean a man can have a girlfriend and still hang out with his buddies—can’t he?”

BOOK: Darkthunder's Way
13.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Penal Colony by Richard Herley
Stamping Ground by Loren D. Estleman
Elizabeth Street by Fabiano, Laurie
Four Week Fiance 2 by J. S. Cooper, Helen Cooper
Seeing Off the Johns by Rene S Perez II
The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw
Crazy Sweet by Tara Janzen