Authors: Larry Itejere
Tags: #fantasy, #magic, #epic fantasy, #action adventure, #series, #kids book
Copyright © 2014 Larry Itejere
The sound of soldiers and their
horses could be heard around camp as tents were set up for the
night. Nearly eight thousand men moved about, carrying out their
varying tasks as lights from the campfires lit the area. In the
midst of the sea of people, a man in his thirties which was close
to his middle years, stepped out of his tent and into the cold
winter’s night. Resting on the man’s chest was an amulet that he
tucked underneath his garment the jewel of the one endowed with the
power of an Anamerian. Outside, the steady snowflakes that had
fallen during their journey had stopped, leaving a white blanket
over the area. With a quick glance at his surroundings, the
Anamerian made his way to the back of his tent, staying close to
the edge. He stopped a quarter of the way to the back, poured out
the contents in his cup, and then shook his hand in a whipping
motion, clearing out the remaining drops. Satisfied that the cup
was clean enough, he made his way back to the front of his tent. On
opposite sides of his entrance, two guards were sitting on the
ground with their legs crossed, unperturbed by the chilly night,
even though one could see that their clothing provided no
protection from the cold.
These guards were Ackalans,
which means “Guardians,” and no ordinary men. The Anamerian lifted
his tent flap and walked inside, aware that the Ackalans were
watching, even though no heads were raised. They sat there like
statues, unruffled by the wind or cold.
Inside the Anamerian’s tent was
a small, ornate table that stood two feet from the ground. On top
of the table was an ink jar with a feathered pen. Beside the jar
was an open scroll of paper with a small clay oil lamp next to
The glow from the oil lamp lit
the area around the table that showed signs of use. The Anamerian
walked over to the cushion behind the table and sat down, crossing
his legs. As he leaned forward, the light from the oil lamp
illuminated his face. His eyes were amber, and his cheekbones were
well-defined behind his trimmed beard and mustache. Lost in his
thoughts, the Anamerian lifted the feathered pen and began to
write, as visions of the events that led him and the men he was now
leading reopened in his mind.
“How did we get here in such a
short time?” he wondered. “Our people have changed because of this
war that leaves those who survive in bondage, and in only seventeen
The words seemed to strike a
nerve and he paused, trying to stop his hand from shaking as the
amulet underneath his shirt lit up and the oil lamp on his table
suddenly began to flutter.
He took in several deep breaths
to dowse his anger as a sense of determination slowly overcame what
was once a personal guilt. As the tension in his body began to
abate, the light of the oil lamp stopped wavering. The Anamerian
released his grip on his pen, placing it back on the table. He
rested his head on his palm and moved his finger back and forth
across his forehead, staring at the paper in front of him; his
expression was deliberative, as if deciding whether or not to
continue writing. Time passed before he reached out and picked up
his pen again.
“The land and its people have
changed,” he wrote as his hand moved across the page, “because of
the one referred to as Gaid’dum, which means Death’s Soul. Some
believe he has all of the keys of creation, which would make him
immortal, and so cannot be killed or bound by men. Some say, at his
command, he could move the Earth itself, while others claim that he
is a god.
“While rumors of his power
continue to spread across the land, there are those of us who know
the truth about him.
“Records from archives reveal
that a boy, whose name was Sullivan, touched what no man was
“Immediately, the power within
the scroll claimed his body without him knowing. It began twisting
his mind, leaving him with a single desire: the uncontrollable urge
to find and acquire the power of creation from the other keys that
were spread across the land. While no one knew how he did it.
Sullivan was somehow able to obtain most of them; and as his power
grew, so did his influence on mankind. Creatures from the abyss
once regarded as myth began to appear, serving his purpose as they
slowly destroyed the land.
“Thousands have lost their
lives in our fight for freedom, which now hangs at the verge of
annihilation with the memories of the once-glorious days of the
empire fading with the dead like long-forgotten dreams.
“Our enemies appear out of
balls of fire and disappear with the wind. They destroy everything
in their path, sweeping across this land like an avalanche; taking
homes, mothers, fathers, children, and their livestock.
“They kill everything without
regard, and all that remains at the aftermath are mutilated bodies.
Then there are the markings, charred, concave ring formations that
appear on the ground the only sign of their presence.
“In most cities and towns
destroyed by these creatures, their great walls and gates provided
no security, as they were not touched; but inside were the same
charred concave rings with the dead strewn everywhere. While death
and suffering loom over the land like the headsman’s ax, we find
hope in the three that lead our cause. Though never been seen by
most of the people in this company, the rumors of their ability and
strength have spread across the land, as far as Gariban, north of
Ditra-Vashine to the land south past Eura. They alone stand as a
beacon of hope for all. Why these three were chosen to be
responsible for the fate of so many, including mine, I do not know,
but I believe it is no coincidence they lead our fight today; were
it not for them, our cause would be futile.
“Over the years, we’ve found
representatives and rulers from what remains of the four Kingdoms
which are represented by the prominent cities of Bremah,
Ditra-Vashine, Eura, and Bayshia, building our army with the hope
of new dawn and the day when we shall take off the head of the
Sunlight crept into Iseac's
room, slowly reaching out till it brushed over his face, pulling
the twelve-year-old away from the place he would have liked to stay
another minute. It was that dream−the one he started having when he
turned nine. In his dream, he always found himself at the entrance
of a cave in an area that was densely forested.
The entryway into the cave was
triangular in shape, with three deep cuts on top that looked like
claws. Moss and vines covered most of the area surrounding the
entrance, making it appear ominous, but Iseac was not afraid.
He’d also come to notice that
there was a stillness to the place. It lacked the natural sounds
you would expect in the middle of the woods. The trees around him
stood in silence, allowing little beams of light to shine through
tiny gaps between their branches; so he knew it was still
Iseac walked into the dark
cave, which slowly narrowed the farther in he went. Drawn by
something he could not explain, and with each step he took, his
feet made a soft creaking sound, like slipping stones. This sound
quickly faded, until he could only hear himself breathing against
the sound of his footsteps. After several minutes of walking in
pitch blackness, the narrow entrance opened up into a wider area. A
section of the cave was lit by bright yellow stalactites that ran
into areas he could not see. The roof had touches of shimmering
blue streaks that ran along their spiky tips. Several feet from his
position, he could see a gold wreath, which rested next to three
clay balls sitting atop a boulder. The boulder stood about four
feet from the ground, with the top flat, and its body was
cylindrical in shape, as if man—made. It had similar blue streaks
on the roof running down its side.
Iseac walked over to the balls
and could see cracks in them revealing a glowing, silver-like
He placed the wreath on his
head; it seemed to fit perfectly. When he broke open each clay
shell, he found three shiny statues in the form of young men. Two
of the statues had something in their hands, one a bow and the
other a sword. The third held nothing; its hands were missing.
He found himself entranced by
their magnificence as he brushed his hands over them. They were
smooth as an eggshell and strong as a crystal, and what he found
fascinating about the silver-like objects was that they were not
cool to the touch, as one would expect of the metal. Whenever he
began to study them, he woke up.
Though sporadic, the dream was
exactly the same, except for one thing. The expressions on the
statues were different; it was as if they had a life of their own,
with their form changing slightly every time.
Unaware, Iseac began developing
a strong kinship to the statues, a link or connection of sort,
which he could not explain. Whenever he woke from one of this
dreams, he stayed in bed, hoping to make it return, but never able
to. He tried figuring out if a particular thing or pattern
triggered the dream, determining over time, that it had nothing to
do with his food, mood, drink, or even the weather. He needed to
find a way to trigger it on his own, as the urges to remain in the
cave continue to grow with each episode.
The sun was over the horizon
when Iseac woke up from the dream. It had been three weeks since
his last one and it weighed on his mind as he got ready and left
with his father for their farm.
Out in the field, Iseac had no
idea his father was watching him throughout the morning as they
“Iseac!” his father beckoned,
gesturing for him to come over. It was the middle of the day now.
Iseac stopped what he was doing and began making his way over to
his father, unaware of how little he’d accomplished in clearing the
weeds around the still-germinating crops.
Is it already noon? Iseac
thought as he made his way. It was the indicator they were halfway
through for the day.
Lenard sat under the tree at
the center of the farm, away from the sun, as Iseac approached.
“You seem distracted, son; is
everything all right?” he asked as Iseac sat down.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“I have seen you working
before, you know; is there something wrong?” Lenard asked more
pointedly as Iseac shook his head.
“Then what’s the matter?”
Was it that obvious, Iseac
thought as he moved closer to his father, who was handing him some
bread, cheese, and smoked meat that they’d packed.
Iseac was quiet for a minute,
looking out into the field with the sun blazing overhead; that was
when he noticed for the first time how little he’d done in clearing
Normally he would have covered
twice the area in the length of time they’d been working. He knew
he couldn’t shrug off his father’s question and that he was waiting
for an explanation.
“Something I can’t really
explain happened again to me last night.”
Lenard gave him a quizzical
look, the one that said, ‘Do you really want me to ask?’ so Iseac
proceeded to tell him about his dream and why it was troubling
Lenard listened intently as he
ate and drank from a leather pouch containing water that he had
buried in the ground to keep cool while they were working.
When Iseac was done narrating
the events of his dream and how he felt after each episode, Lenard
brushed the crumbs off his fingers and sighed with his last bite
disappearing. After a few seconds of pondering what Iseac had told
him, which was more than most fathers would have done for a
twelve-year-old, he said thoughtfully, “Have you heard the story of
the Ackalan, or Kalans of the Silver Scroll, as they are now known,
“Yes,” Iseac replied, wondering
why or how it related to his dream.
Lenard gave Iseac a knowing
look. His head tilted slightly with brows raised, urging him to
“I heard they were a chosen
group of men given charge to protect some silver scroll of
creation,” Iseac said.
“More than that,” Lenard
replied, as he told Iseac the story of the man who was chosen to be
the first watcher of the scrolls of creation and how his dream led
to the discovery of the po’ra fruit that ran through the veins of
every true Ackalan today.
Iseac looked at his father,
trying to draw some correlation to his issue as his father
continued to speak. “Dreams are life’s truth. They tell of one's
desires, fears, and fantasies. They sometimes even give glimpses
into our future. The key to your dreams is finding out what the
three statues represent. The fact that they are made of a
silver-like material could mean that your fate might be tied to
theirs, but that is only if your reflection appears on the statues,
I was once told. Does it?” Lenard asked curiously.