Shadowrun - Earthdawn - Lliferock (35 page)

BOOK: Shadowrun - Earthdawn - Lliferock
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Gvint paused for a moment before continuing. “The ceremony has ended,” he said. “Now the celebration begins.”

As the brotherhood filed outside, Pabl joined Jan and Celagri. “I am glad you two were here for this,” he said. “It means a great deal to me.”

Jan stood slowly, trying to remain steady on his legs. “I’m amazed,” he said. “Honored and amazed.” He reached out to touch Pabl’s skin. “Aren’t you hurt?”

“No.”

“The magic protected you?”

“I felt pain if that’s what you mean, but the ritual did prevent my flesh from burning to ash.”

Celagri merely shook her head. “And I thought some of our rites were vicious.”

This Book Belongs to: Andrew Tobin (black _ [email protected]) Liferock 

289


Jak Koke

“What do we call you now?” Jan asked.

“To you, I am still Pabl Evr. Almost never does the liferock change who we are by the Naming. I have gained an obsidiman name which makes me a complete part of the brotherhood, an equal adult. Outside the Dreaming, not much will change. Even my brothers will continue to call me Pabl.”

Pabl escorted them through the curtains and into the night. Clear sky, studded with stars. The moon shone a quarter crescent in the southwest. Pabl stopped in the entryway, noticing that the engravings had changed. His entire Awakening had been etched into the rock. Fine lines of script and petroglyphs told of his travels and discoveries.

Bintr and Gvint, helped by two others, brought out the food while Hagnit lit the bonfire in the flat space next to the temple. A cauldron of leek soup was set next to the fire, and loaves and loaves of sweet wheat bread were stacked adjacent, along with several huge caskets of beer.

There was Fael — a sweet dessert made from mangos, bananas and dates. Plus one of Pabl’s favorites, a nut loaf sea-soned with mushrooms and garlic. The food kept coming as he grabbed some bread and filled it with soup. Jan and Celagri followed his example.

Music started, drums and chanting, and soon many brothers joined together in dance. The obsidimen removed their ceremonial robes and painted their skin with colored chalk paste — just like they had before the attack on the miners. This time, however, the paints they used were the colors of nature: green and brown, the clear blue of water and the yellow of lichens.

The body chalk caught the light of the bonfire, making them look like an undulating mosaic as they danced — a single entity of swirling color and changing patterns. Their movements started out graceful and slow, but grew faster and more agile as the drums increased the tempo. It was not a This Book Belongs to: Andrew Tobin (black _ [email protected]) Liferock 

290


Jak Koke

magical dance, but a dance of thanks and celebration.

Later, as the night wore on and hungers abated, Hagnit performed the Legend of the First Naming. And afterwards, Pabl said goodnight to Jan and Celagri, who would sleep in the temple.

When the newest member of the Garen Brotherhood merged for the evening, outside under a scintillating midnight blue sky, he felt stronger than he ever had, more complete and happier than he could remember.

The gentle, cradling weightlessness of the liferock enveloped him. Come Erthastrion Therr Hom. Join us.

He began the fall and lost sight of the world.

This Book Belongs to: Andrew Tobin (black _ [email protected])  Acknowledgements 

Greg Gorden and Christopher Kubasik must be praised for creating an inventive and complex fantasy world. Lou Prosperi did a superb job of developing Earthdawn, and he helped shape the plot of Liferock from the very early stages.

Credit should also go to my first reader, Seana Davidson, and to my final readers, Marsh Cassady, Jonathan Bond, Tom Lindell, and Karawynn Long. I also need to thank Don Gerrard for guiding me through the process of getting the publishing rights back from FASA Corporation so that the book could finally see print. Thanks to the editor and publisher at FASA, Donna Ippolito and Mort Weisman, for agreeing to let me publish the book with the Earthdawn elements intact.

And finally my enthusiastic appreciation goes to Crystal Larson for donating her time and artistic talents and (again) to Karawynn at Per Aspera Press for her donation of publishing and design expertise in making the physical book a reality.

Thanks one and all. I couldn’t have done it without you.

291

Jak Koke is the author of five fantasy novels, including the Locus number one bestsellers Stranger Souls and Beyond the Pale.

He works both as a research scientist at the University of Washington and as a freelance editor and writing coach.

Jak lives in Seattle with his partner and two daughters, and keeps a web site at
www.jakkoke.com.

BOOK: Shadowrun - Earthdawn - Lliferock
13.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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