Thursday, February 15, 2007


A writing Sample from the upcoming Breakneck Books release: The Chronicles of Soone: The Rise of Lucin.
THE snow was falling heavily as Kale stood on the porch watching Olson chopping wood for the fire hearth. It was still very cold but he was getting used to it now. The countryside around their home was completely white except for the black spires of bare trees jutting up out of the surrounding hillsides. It was absolutely beautiful, he thought.
The women were inside finishing the supper dishes together and chatting away about their guest. Olson was puffing on his pipe, in between strokes with the axe. Kale thought, how strange to try and do such a strenuous task while inhaling flavored smoke. Still, the aroma was pleasant, hanging in the frigid evening air. The sun could still be seen vaguely through the thick clouds, casting a pale glow across the land as dusk battled for dominance.
“Would you like to take a whack at it, Master Soone?”
“Please, Kale is fine; and yes, I would be happy to.”
Kale jumped down off the porch and picked up another axe propped against the porch foundation and took up a position at the stump as Olson placed another thick log on top for him. He raised the axe high over his head and brought it down precisely, sending the two pieces of log down off the side of the stump.
It was satisfying, even relaxing in a way. Olson gave him a sly grin through his beard as he puffed again on his pipe. Kale placed another log up for the kill and then he brought the axe up for another hit. He looked at Mr. Barone again. Olson was blankly staring out into the trees around them. He was no longer puffing, but listening.
Then Kale noticed that the noises of nature around them had suddenly fallen silent. It would not have been strange had their not been so much activity from the cold climate birds and tree dwellers only a moment before. Then Kale felt something else—danger.
He heard only a whisper, like a blade dividing the air. The cracking and splitting of wood followed after as a large tree came crashing through the frozen limbs of the other trees. Kale jumped toward Olson and snared the older man in time to pull him out from under the thunderous explosion of wood and snow hitting the ground behind them.
Kale was back to his feet in a flash, rolling away from Olson as his kemstick leapt off of his leg to his hand. He did not ignite it; not yet.
Kale scanned the trees with his eyes trying to squint through the heavy flakes of falling snow. Olson lumbered back to his feet, shaking the snow off as he looked at the fallen timber lying in the place he had just been standing.
Kale was sure it was not an accident. His senses surveyed beyond his eyes, taking in every detail he could with his mind, but something seemed familiar about the lack of feedback he was getting from his surroundings.
Then, Kale heard it again; that whisper and his mind caught the source just in time. He snapped his arm up to the side of his head as the kemstick blazed to life. Something bounced off of its rod of dispersion energy and landed in the snow. He turned and found a sword, vibrating, blade straight down, in the snowy ground. The sword leapt out of the ground, sailing away to find the hand of its owner who was now visible in the clearing of trees ahead of them, about fifty yards away.
Kale half expected to see the dark clad wraith he had faced in the woods upon his arrival and again in the streets of Briceton. Instead, there was a human male of regal stature. He looked like a warrior and power emanated from him that Kale alone could sense.
“Lord Elam,” said Olson in hushed tones.
“I see they told me the truth, Olson Barone!” his voice boomed across the expanse between them. “You have broken the law by harboring this off-worlder!”
“But he is good. He fought away the Agonotti who invaded our town this morning.”
“You do not realize who you are dealing with, Barone. He is working with the Agonotti to deceive you. His people attacked our home city this afternoon, killing the twins and Colossus!”
“Colossus is dead?!”
“At the hand of one of these off-worlders, like him!”
That statement peaked Kale’s curiosity a great deal. Others like himself—off-worlders? Could his father have actually found him and so quickly? The thought was actually comforting at the moment.
“Surrender, off-worlder, and I will have mercy on you,” said Elam.
“Kale, you had better give up peacefully. We don’t dare oppose the Guardians,” instructed Olson, fearfully.
“So, this is a Guardian?”
“Lord Elam, the leader of the Guardians,” said Olson.
“I don’t need your mercy, sir! I haven’t done anything except try to help these people. Surely, that isn’t against your law.”
“You’re a spy and a murderer!” shouted Elam, angrily.
“I haven’t killed anyone except those creatures, so far!”
Elam shot forth in fury, his body spinning like a missile on target with his sword extended for the kill. He covered the distance between them in seconds. Kale’s weapon deflected Elam’s strike. The Guardian leader’s sword was suddenly encompassed in a dispersion field as well. “It looks like we have something in common after all, Elam,” said Kale.
There was a furious exchange of blows between them. Kale flipped away, for a moment sensing something in the trees behind him. Sniper!
He deflected one shot, allowing another to pass near him. He whipped another kemstick from his leg clip and hurled it at the tree about three feet below the sniper’s position. It severed the upper portion of the tree which toppled, under its own weight, and came crashing down into the snow with the shooter entangled among the branches. Kale engaged Elam again.
Kale noticed Olson on the porch trying to usher Juli and her mother back inside as the battled raged. It was best that they stay out of this—Kale certainly didn’t want Juli or her family hurt because of him. Elam was quite skilled with a blade and Kale knew it was time to up the ante a bit.
Kale flipped over the downed sniper’s roost and called his other kemstick to his hand from the snow, where it had landed. He launched into Elam again with dual kemsticks, trying to overpower the Guardian leader. The elder man blew him back into the air with a kinetic thrust. It was unexpected, but Kale recovered; somersaulting and then landing on his feet.
So, that’s how it’s going to be.
Kale noticed others rushing in on armed hover-bikes from the woods around them. He disengaged Elam to dash away from the streams of blaster shots coming at him. Kale ran into the woods as the hover-bikes followed; ten in all.
The shots pelted the snow and timber around him as he dodged about through the trees evading the attack. It was only a moment before the bikes would overtake him. Kale, unexpectedly, flipped back on the one bearing down upon him and made one exacting strike as he tumbled in the air past the pursuer. A momentary flash of light was all that the rider perceived. The rider’s body tumbled into the snow as the hover-bike veered and slammed into a tree.

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