All posts by enkousama

Episode 36: High and Marvelous

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This show needs a little backstory. I’ve been suffering from severe tooth ache since last Friday and have been on a wide variety of pain pill until yesterday. For a while I was even considering not doing the show because . . . well . . . crap load of pain – in my mouth.

Then everything changed once I did my root canal, got off most of the meds and bought this beautiful baby right here:

A 4 channel mixer - or as a fan called it "the nipple twister"
A 4 channel mixer – or as a fan called it “the nipple twister”

I love this thing. I spent a few hours fiddling around with it, making some weird noises and I HAD to record a podcast with this baby. The result will be clear once you hit play down below.

Also, in writing news, you are all cordially invited to the Pandora Chronicles Release party on the 23rd of October. There will be a cover release in the coming weeks.

But enough talk. Time for your weekly dose of insanity – this time with a soundtrack:

 

 

I tried counting how many songs I played but I got lost. Here’s a few gems: Word Up, Ain’t Nobody, Sweet Home Alabama,  Can’t Touch This, Blood Rave, The Name of the Game, Fatal, Avengers Theme, I’m Blue, Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill and Electro Suite.

I can promise you’ll be dancing and singing – just like I was behind that mic.

Disclaimer: I don’t own the movie mentioned nor the music played. If I did the movies would be better and the soundtracks louder.

 

 

Music:

Pink Steampunk Girl

Drev

www.fixtstore.com/drev

www.youtube.com/fixtmusic

Procreation – not always a good idea

Maybe I should re-title this post as “Why I fucking hate kids” but I suppose that may be too aggressive. I don’t necessary hate them – fear them is more along the lines.

Look folks I don’t have kids: I’m too young, too single and too self-involved to every include another person within my range let alone devote my life to some tiny sticky person that will suck away all my money and life force. And boy, does that piece of honesty makes me popular. I’m at that age now, where all of my friends are dating, maybe getting engaged, some even thinking of setting dates for that sham of a ceremony where you exchange rings, recite bad poetry (seriously, who the fuck reads Wilfred Owen at a wedding? Or Shakespeare – holy fucklets!!)  and lie in front of everybody when they say “till death do us part.” We all know it’s really “till you fuck up and I can afford a lawyer.”

And it’s only a matter of time before one of those friends phones me and goes “I have spawned” and I have to play god father (and not to good kind).

Here’s the kicker: kids love me. (Not for any illegal reasons or whatever. Seriously  I think I might be an anti-pedophile – the guy who hates kids on sight.) But the thing is I cannot treat anyone like a baby. I talk to people in the same way, be they 6 or 60. I believe in treating people of every age as a PERSON, regardless of how many candles you put on their birthday cake. And that’s why kids love me: I listen to them, just as I do with adults. In my mind I can’t separate the two. When I was a kid all I wanted was to be treated like a respected person: I remember one time I told a joke in an elevator to my granddad and he just burst out laughing in tears. It was the first time anyone had every given me that reaction and I LOVED it.

I don’t have much experience with kids, cos as I said my friends don’t have any (please continue wearing a rubber guys). Bottom line is I don’t know how to talk to them, so when I’m put in a situation where I have to do so, I talk to the kid like I would an adult (minus the swearing and overt sarcasm – but a little healthy dose of sarcasm cos you gotta train them early).

Still kids are horrible and here’s why: They are master trappers. What do they trap I hear you ask? – you, you poor dumb fucker. Cute is a terrible weapon. They have infectious laughter and sometimes they develop extraordinary talents which are put on youtube and every falls in love with them . . . AND THAT’S WHEN THEY GET YOU. That’s when the demands and the tantrums start. That’s when the illusion is shattered by hyperactive, crying, wailing, snot-bubble, dribbling, drooling, little bastards with impossible needs.

And parents, can you for all that is fucking holy in this shit hole of a planet, please stop posting pictures of your ugly babies online? I don’t mean to be mean (well maybe a little but how else are you gonna learn?) but not every baby is cute. Let’s look at this objectively: a megacephaloid (that’s big head, small body), with no distinctive intellect other than crawling under your foot and pooping everywhere, who indicate their every biological need (which is every five minutes) with ungodly amounts of screaming, at a pitch specifically designed to send the human brain into panic.

Yeah. Right. Cute. Uh-huh.

Granted sometimes you will hit an exception, but most kids are time bombs ready to go off – and the best part is, they come with a feral, stressed out mother, ready to bite your head off if you so much as walk by the kid in a wrong way. Every time I see a group of young pre-teens or something close by I think “Oh no. One of them is gonna cry and then the mother is gonna show up, and then there will be a situation as either the kids or the moms duke it out”.

So where am I going with this? Nowhere really. Maybe this is all an elaborate ploy to get Durex to sponsor me. Or maybe I’m just happy that every little gremlin I have to deal with belongs to someone else. Seriously you have no idea the relief I feel when those fuckers are GONE.

OK I’m done ranting. There’s no byline here, no promotion. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna get some emails about parents being offended about that ugly baby bit. Although if you are offended that I suggested some babies may be ugly – guess who’s got an ugly ass baby?

*Sigh*

Till next time guys.  Peace out.

Episode 35: Cyborgs

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This is a good one people. For one thing I was hyped up and full of energy. For another, I talk about cyborgs and all things robot. But instead of just nerding out (don’t worry I do that too), I explore what made people imagine such things.

Is it a fear of our own mortality? Is that why we seek to render ourselves invincible using science and technology?

Or is it more alien? The understanding of the unknown?

The show may get a little heavy and I did spin in circles at one point, but I left it there because I would like some feedback on this one. What do you guys think?

What’s your view point?

In other news, join us tonight for The Former Hero launch party, 7-9 CDT on Facebook.

And don’t forget to join us on the 25th (that’s 2 weeks people) same time, same place, for the Ebook Extravaganza.

You can win a shitload of prizes, including a kindle device, 6 paperbacks, ten ebooks, a spotlight and more. I explain all this in a very very (seriously bad) horrible Jeremy Irons accent. It kinda takes a tour around the world at one point, but hey – it’s comedy.

We also have a new theme song. It’s no longer Rapid Fire by Blue Stahli – nope, now we have Pink Steampunk Girl by Drev. Make sure to support the artists but clicking the links below.

OK I’m done. Enjoy the show:

 

 

 

Music:

Pink Steampunk Girl

Drev

www.fixtstore.com/drev

www.youtube.com/fixtmusic

The Warrior

Another one for the Epic Short Story Collection. This one is inspired by the Fighter class, the courageous front line warriors. They are all about courage – although sometimes courage can be defined in different ways.

Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe for more stories:

***

The Warrior

The party of four descended into the dungeon, going through a steep cave that served as its ominous entrance. Xyphos, the timid, yet surprisingly resourceful, mage conjured a glow from the jewel on his scepter. Behind him were the mercenary couple, Mara and Torrac, hauling the largest of packs. Their only reason for joining this party was money – and according to local sources, descend deep enough into this dungeon and riches were aplenty.

Of course, that meant that danger was aplenty too, which was why the Warrior opted to act as a vanguard for the party. Unlike other fighters who preferred heavy armor and shields, he only wore vambraces and greaves, with a short chest plate. His sword was strapped along his back and the shield slung on his back like a backpack. His master had once told him that it mattered not how heavy your armor was – a slow warrior was a dead warrior: advice the Warrior took to heart.

He re-joined his party and the foursome began their adventure.

The first levels were easy. At every corner animated skeletons came at them in hordes but a well-timed blow was enough to shatter them. They found a trio of goblins guarding a treasure chest and were armed with short bows. The Warrior hid behind his shield in a crouch and progressed forwards. Mara and Torrac raced towards the read guard goblins, their thick, dense armor proving a worthy adversary for the arrows, each of which was deflected. Torrac’s double-headed ax and Mara’s heavy saber cut through the goblins in one sweep. The Warrior knocked the last goblin on the ground and ran him through with his sword. Outside he saw a flash of magic fire and ran to assist Xyphos. He found the mage crouched in a corner, firing off blasts of magic at a swarm of bats and laughed.

“Come on,” he said as he fended off the bats with his sword and offered his hand to the mage. Xyphos smiled weakly as he got up and dusted himself off. The two mercenaries, who were busy filling their large packs with coin and jewels whooped in joy and Torrac tossed Xyphos a ruby.

“For lighting the way, little mage,” he said cockily.

“Are- are we done yet?” stammered Xyphos.

Torrac laughed. “The boy’s ready to leave after a few walking bones,” he joked to his woman.

She barked a laugh too. “No way am I leaving without filling at least on of these to the brim,” she said shaking her bag. “We are getting married after all. Houses and children cost money.”

“Here we go,” said Torrac rolling his eyes mockingly. He turned to Xyphos. “Sorry boy but you heard Her Ladyship. What do you think?” he directed to the Warrior.

The Warrior considered for a few seconds. The mercenaries were here for the money, but he was unclear why Xyphos had opted for adventure. It was most likely a part of his training as a mage, concluded the Warrior, despite not knowing anything about how mages were trained.

As for him, he liked the thrill and the challenge of the adventure. He longed to fight, and get paid for it.

“We go further,” he decided. He assumed that the rest of the dungeon wouldn’t be so challenging – an assumption which turned out to be correct.

The deeper levels of the dungeon were darker but the Warrior expected that. This was known as a spiral dungeon, which descended deeper underground. Each intersection housed tougher creatures and challenges, until at the very end of the dungeon lay the greatest treasure of all: either an enchanted weapon, or a magical item worth thousands of gold coins or a vein of jewels that could make a man wealthy enough to buy his own kingdom.

Sure enough, the traps were deadly, but the Warrior was too well experienced to fall for such things. He vaulted over rows of spikes, ducked beneath rigged arrow-firing mechanisms and even ran against a wall to avoid a pitfall. Ghouls and goblins and dagger-wielding wights filled most of the rooms and caverns, and the party had found their advantage in teamwork. Mara and Torrac were slow, but heavy, fighters, suited for smashing around big clumps of creatures. The Warrior always positioned one of them to guard Xyphos who picked at the enemy with kinetic blasts, fire lances and lightning bolts. The Warrior was the most agile, ducking in the midst of the enemy, sword and shield working in unison. Soon his armor was stained in black ichor and the foul smell of the undead. But the treasures were well worth the effort of getting them. Chest upon chest filled with pilfered jewels, mountains and mounds of gold coins, and priceless relics from holy places or artifacts of previous adventurers. Mara had more than filled her bag – she and her betrothed were happily lugging about half their weight in fortune. Even Xyphos had lined his pockets with gold.

“Listen to this,” he said, picking up a scroll. “According to this, there is a treasure within this dungeon; ‘a jewel the size of an infant, clearer than a midday sky, worth five kings and their men’.” He looked up. “I bet that’s a big jewel.”

“Now hang on,” called out Tarroc. “Is it your infant or my infant?” he asked with a smile.

“What’s the difference?” asked the mage.

Tarroc stood next to the mage and indicated the space between their heights with his hands. “About this much.” He and Mara burst out laughing and even Xyphos chuckled weakly.

“What say you then lads?” asked the woman of the group. “Shall we go the distance and nab that last treasure?”

“Hear, hear,” agreed Tarroc as he walked past the Warrior. “You coming?”

Something did not feel right. The Warrior’s instincts, which had saved his life many a time, warned him that there was something extremely dangerous in the lower bowels of this dungeon. Something that had prevented other adventurers from ever returning alive. Something beyond ghouls, goblins, imps and skeletons. But then he remembered what his master had told him: courage is taking action despite the fear. Courage is confronting the danger and challenging it. And if there was something the Warrior certainly did not lack it was courage.

“We go forwards,” he said, following Torrac. “But be cautious. Something dangerous lays ahead, I am sure.”

Before Torrac could reply, a violent kiss echoes in the chamber and a hideous monster reared into view. It was a giant Lizardman, with two long ugly heads coming from its neck and a wicked scimitar in one arm, a buckler in the other. Behind it, several others joined it. Torrac raised his axe, roared and barrelled into the enemy. His first strike cleaved a monster in two but he nearly got beheaded by a stray slash. The Warrior’s shield intercepted the strike and he beheaded the Lizardman instead.

“Watch out. They are smarted than they look,” he said as Mara joined the fray, brandishing her two handed saber. “Xyphos, cast your fire. They fear it.”

The mage whispered something and hear exploded from his scepter. One of the creatures caught on fire and scurried around screaming and hissing like a cat.

The Warrior found himself smiling as he was surrounded by the enemy. They came at him with swords, teeth and claws but he was the better fighter, dodging, blocking and striking back. His sword bit into their flesh and victory was hard won but won nonetheless. Torrac and Mara ganged up on the last creature as Xyphos saw a smaller Lizardman sun away and cast a kinetic blast on one of the overhanging stalagmites. It fell like a lance, impaling and crushing the creature. Meanwhile the mercenaries’ heavy weapons had torn the last of the creatures apart.

“Ha, ha,” laughed Torrac as he stepped on the corpse. “Is that what you call dangerous?”

As soon as he uttered the last syllable, the cavern darkened as a black tangible mist covered the ground. A dark tendril of darkness wrapped around Mara’s neck, lifting her off the ground. She struggled but her weapon had fallen from her hand and she was now closer to the ceiling. Then, darkness wrapped around her head and crushed her skull, before flinging her headless corpse around.

“Mara!” screamed Tarroc as he brandished his axe and raced for the darkness.

“No!” cried the Warrior but it was too late. A dark tendril impaled Torrac and tore him apart, spraying blood and gore everywhere.

“Demon,” cried hoarsely Xypher as he cowered against the wall. The Warrior remained silent and raised his shield, hoping it would be enough to at least deflect any tendrils aimed at him. But the darkness receded as if being sucked back to the lower levels from where it came. The Warrior stood up, all the while staring at where the demon had gone to.

“Oh no, oh no.” Xyphos was looking at the corpses of Mara and Tarroc, with sheer horror. He was shaking. “We have to get out of here,” he said. His voice crackled and broke. The Warrior approached him gently.

“No,” he said.

“But we have to. That thing will kill us all!” screamed Xyphos. The Warrior slapped the mage across the face.

“No,” he repeated. “We will not let their deaths be for naught. We press forwards, find the demon and slay it once and for all. Xyphos look at me.” He grabbed the mage’s face. “We will not let their deaths be in vain,” he said fiercely.

The mage nodded and the two followed the path the demon had receded to, one cautious step at a time.

The last dungeon was a giant circular hole, cut from crystal and black obsidian stone. In the middle of the enclave, like an altar, stood a giant gem, a crystal shard of massive proportions, hovering and slowly spinning.

And around it, a mass of darkness swirled. Tendrils of black whipped at the duo: the Warrior pushed the mage aside and deflected a tendril with his blade. Immediately the steel began to corrode. He unslung his shield, hoping his weapon would endure the fight.

Xyphos took off in a run.

“Where are you –”

Darkness surged and the Warrior had to evade another attack.

“Xyphos!”

But the mage was now being flung into the walls by a mass of darkness. The Warrior was on his own.

Darkness covered every crevice and all light was snuffed out, with only the soft glow of the crystal illuminating a tiny halo around it. The Warriors felt a series of blows on his shield and was thrown aside. Something felt odd at his side and he realized he had rolled on Xyphos’s backpack. Its contents were now spilled and the ground was littered with battered scrolls and spell crystals. The Warrior heard a phantasmal roar and felt something pierce his side. The pain flared as he checked his side and found his hand dam and sticky. The demon roared again and attacked. His shield took one blow whilst another speak of black stabbed into his legs. He screamed and fell, wounded.

“Are you dead yet?”

The voice was oddly familiar and yet it had none of its usual timidness. “Xyphos?” whispered the Warrior.

Next to the crystal, Xyphos appeared, healthy and undamaged, his hand on the crystal.

“How?” began the Warrior.

“this is a Soul Stone. With it I can control the essence of a demon,” said Xyphos smugly. “However I needed someone to clear the dungeon for me. Thank you for that.”

“You snake,” spat the Warrior.

“Oh please, spare me the drama,” replied the mage. “Who led you to this place? I did. Who urged you to go forwards? I did. Who told you about the crystal? I did. Don’t blame me if you were all too thick to see a trickster right in front of your eyes.”

“You mean a traitor!” roared the Warrior as he got to his knees. “Why are you doing this? Money? There are all the riches you can spend up there. So why?”

Xyphos laughed. “For power of course. Do you know who this is?” he said tapping the Soul Stone with his scepter. “This is an archdemon: Moribus the Assaulter.”

“The Black Calamity,” whispered the Warrior. He’d only heard children’s bedtime stories about the demon made out of black night and whose very presence signaled the death of entire villages.

“Exactly,” screeched Xyphos with glee. “Now I am the most powerful mage in existence. Moribus is under my control because I control his Soul Stone. And my very first order will be to kill you and that little village close by. Can’t leave any witnesses I’m afraid.”

The demon screamed again and the Warrior felt the black mass slither around him. His hands wandered on the ground until something bit into his fingers. He lifted the object. It looked like a small wooden tablet, thing and rectangular, with runes inscribed on it. A peddler in the village had sold it to Xyphos before they left for their quest; it was supposed to transport the user back to the village in case of an emergency. It must have spilled from Xyphos’ backpack after the traitor had pretended to be dead.

The mage motioned the tablet in the Warrior’s hands.

“What are you going to do with that?” he sneered. “I’m invincible.”

The darkness surged and descended on the Warrior just as he closed his eyes and snapped the tablet in half.

A second later he felt a light breeze and the evening warmth on his face. He opened his eyes and saw that he was on a prairie, just south of the village. From the distance, the entrance of the dungeon was just a black ominous mountain. Grimacing, the Warrior stood up and made his way towards the village, set on making them evacuate to a safer city.

After that, he would enlist the help of powerful mage and warriors and have them join him as he took revenge upon Xyphos and his pet demon. He was a warrior after all – and now he had a war to fight.

 

The War has just begun
The War has just begun

***

Hope you enjoyed that. I used obvious elements of role-playing games but I had to change the name to Warrior instead of Fighter because I don’t want to be sued by Dungeons and Dragons or wizards of the Coast or something.

Either way, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button for more epic stories.

Till next time guys,

Ryan

Cactus Rant

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OK, so Cactus (cactii?) – I hate this fucking thing. I mean what the fuck Nature? And what the fuck, People, for keeping these spiny freak shows as like pets or some shit?

These fuckers look like literal dick heads with a shitload of thorns that SHOOT INTO YOU if you touch, get close to or other wise do anything at all which the cactus deems unworthy. As far as I can tell, there is no medical super agent in a cactus, no drugs, no beautiful pretty flower, no even a good fruit – NOTHING.

Just those fucking thorns. Which hurt – like, a lot. Some people might even be allergic have to go to the emergency room. Or some people, and this might sound strange to you cactus loving freakazoids, might actually not like to have part of a plant INSIDE of them.

And really what’s the point of this thing? It doesn’t do anything!! (apart from sting like a motherfucker).

It’s the equivalent of fucking jellyfish in a pot – yeah, that’s what you have: a brainless, useless, remnant of nature’s diarrhea with thorns. How is this plant not extinct or something? Oh that’s right – It GROWS IN THE DESERT!!! Stop trying to decorate your shit with stuff that even God went “Huh, let’s put that aside for a second whilst we complete the T-Rex project.”

Look if you’re that bored or lonely get a dog or something. they are cute, they can love you back and if you listen to Carlos Mencia you can try making the dog lick your balls by putting peanut butter on them. (Although if you do you’re treading some thin ice – a dog can’t possibly view your ugly-ass man bag as a sexual object so it’s only there for the peanut butter. And it’s only a matter of time before the meat starts looking delicious – I mean the dog already tenderized it and shit . . . . . what are we talking about again?)

Point is stop putting motherfucking cactii in places where I have to access – like windows, the doorway, stairs, etc. Just cut that shit out. If you do insist in owning the plant version of Simon Cowell (spreading thorns instead of verbal miasma) at least put it somewhere it can’t harm others. Like a closet or something – Don’t worry you won’t kill it (IT GROWS IN THE MOTHERFUCKING DESERT. Nothing you can throw at it is gonna phase it.)

And if you do . . . well, good for you. This is a world where the Kardashians have an empire – there are more than enough little pricks.

End of rant.

Only acceptable cactus in the world is Togemen from Digimon.
Only acceptable cactus in the world is Togemen from Digimon.

Episode 34: the Secret of Success

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On today’s show I discuss the traits that some of the most successful icons have in order to succeed in their business.

Here are some sites that may be of interest folks:

25 common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs

3 ways to be successful 

How to be successful in life

12 weekend habits of highly successful people

6 things you should quit doing to be more successful

 

Most of it comes down to one thing: attitude. Your perspective towards your work and career. I think it all comes down to one thing at the end – you. You are the sole person who can make or break your own life and as daunting as that sounds, it can be a liberating aspect when you know that all you need to do to succeed is pull your head out off your ass.

Just sayin’.

I also talk a little about the religious disparity going on in my country and how in these times where the media bombards us with fear, it is very easy to watch the world shake beneath our feet. In times like these it is very easy to point the blame finger at someone and justify racism or religious hatred.

Look folks I get the idea of white privilege and some of you are going to misinterpret the first ten minutes of the show but that’s not the point. The point is I lived through a moment where I understood how easy it is to give in to the fear and how it can lead to some very ugly things if left unchecked.

Wow. Shit just got real there.

Anyway – enjoy the show and may you find your path to success:

 

 

Music:

Rapid Fire

Blue Stahli
www.fixtstore.com/bluestahli 
www.youtube.com/fixtmusic

 

PS. We have some ads this week.

1) Next Thursday Sept. 11, Author Jeffery Mays will be celebrating the release of his novel The Former Hero. Don’t forget to check out the release party on facebook, from 7-9 central. Details here

2) And on the same note . . . on the 25th of Sept AEC Stellar will be celebrating 4 releases by doing an Ebook Extravaganza, on facebook 7-9 Central. Join us for for author chats, behind the scenes and winning great prizes.

The Wizard

Back when I first started blogging I named my blog ‘Stories from the Voices in my Head’. My intention was to deliver short stories on a regular basis as training for my actual writing. They paid off well because less than a year later I got my deal with AEC Stellar. Unfortunately that didn’t leave much time for any writing, other than the projects I was writing to sell.

However, now that I have some spare time (a rare luxury), there’s been a story I wanted to write. For those of you who remember The Scribe and The Ranger, this is in the same world, the same theme and same epic feel. Maybe one day I’ll pack them all up and call it something obnoxious like ‘The Epic Collection’.

But for now, please enjoy the story:

***

The Wizard

 

The match was getting intense. Since the beginning the Wizard felt at a disadvantage, one that was clearly displayed as the First Rank wizard opposite him launched spell after spell in a series of quick evocations. The Wizard dodged a fire lance but stumbled in his own footing and was sent sprawling on the ground.

He heard the crowd snicker.

This was just unfair. He was only an apprentice level, taking his exam to reach Novice level, the lowest category a Wizard can be. It was quite shameful – when he first entered Endymion Castle, everyone had thought a genius had joined their ranks. They were in for quite a disappointment when five years later he was taking his Novice exam – something talented students overcame in their first year of study. It had taken him five times the time, and he was failing.

From the ground he palmed a fistful of dirt and threw it, muttering a kinetic spell. The First Rank easily dodged it but underestimated the blast. A speck of earth entered his eyes and he stumbled, giving the Wizard time to get back on his feet. The crowd began stirring, hungry for blood his blood. He cursed them all and launched his own, smaller, fire spell.

How dare they pit him, a complete novice, against a First Rank wizard?

First Rank meant the student was well on his way to becoming a Master, the beginning of the elite. What chance did her stand? This was obviously subterfuge – the school had had enough of his incompetence so they decided to fail him on purpose and thereby banish him.

The First Rank countered with a wind spell, extinguishing the Wizard’s pathetic spell with a gust of air. The current grew stronger and the Wizard felt himself being levitated. His legs kicked pathetically as he rose and suddenly fell on his face. Pain flared and his eyes watered immediately. He felt blood trickling from his nostrils . The crowd was now laughing as the First Rank made a spectacle out of him.

The Wizard felt like crying and screaming and hurting the First Rank. The first rule of magic was to never loose your focus but damn those rules. He wasn’t going to play by anyone’s rules any further – all he’d ever gotten from that was humiliation and defeat.

Lightning crackled violently in his hands and he cried a thunder spell whilst thrusting all that energy forwards. Of course he couldn’t control it: the spell hit the First Rank ans sent him hurtling backwards but the backlash exploded into the Wizard with as much force. Once again the Wizard was on the ground.

He crawled to his knees only to find the First Rank had already gotten to his feet. The kinetic spell he launched hit the Wizard fully in the chest and sent him spinning. The Wizard lied on the floor, winded and unable to breath.

“That’s enough,” cried the Professor, who acted as a judge for their match. “The winner is First Rank wizard Icarus.” He beamed at the victor. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you, Master,” said Icarus, sneering at the Wizard.

And just like that it was over – not just the match but also the Wizard’s life as a student at Endymion Castle.

It was the middle of the night, well past curfew, when the Wizard stealthily made his way towards the Archmage’s office. Since he was to be expelled and banished either way, the Wizard decided to indulge in the one curiosity he’d always had since first entering the school. It was five years ago when the Archmage, who acted as the school’s headmaster, took his new student for a tour around the Castle. The school did not get a lot of students and only the wealthy and those coming from strong bloodlines were privy to Endymion’s teachings. The Archmage had taken him to his office where he showed the Wizard a book: the legendary Spellbook of Endymion. As a child, the Wizard had heard about such a tome, one said to contain all the secrets of magic. It was a spell book, a powerful grimoire, unique in that only the ones chosen by the tome itself were allowed to gaze upon its contents. The Archmage had told him that no one in five hundred years had been powerful enough to open the Spellbook – not even himself. In fact he gave the Wizard a stern warning to never touch the book, since it contained such powerful magic that it would instantly kill those who picked it up without being chosen by the book itself.

Until tonight the Wizard had always fantasized of being the prodigy who opened the Spellbook of Endymion but now that he had nothing to lose and was out of time, he was adamant to try his luck with the legendary tome.

He entered the Archmage’s study to find it empty. He had correctly guessed that the Archmage’s sleeping quarters were separate from his study: a stroke of luck the Wizard was all too glad to exploit.

The Spellbook of Endymion was at the farthest wall, adjacent to a window. It sat on a wooden pedestal, devoid of any protection spells. There was no need for them – anyone who knew about the tome also knew of its destructive power. It was perhaps the only treasure in existence which protected itself.

The Wizard stepped up in front of the Spellbook until he could smell the old leather. He could feel power emanating from the book, a low but constant hum in the astral planes, like a coiled spring waiting, almost begging, to be released.

Before he could satisfy his curiosity something else caught the Wizard’s attention. He heard voices coming from one side of the study and upon investigation discovered that one of the heavy book cases could be pushed aside to reveal a narrow set of steps. The voices were coming from down there. Unable to stifle his curious nature, the Wizard descended the flight of steps. It was bathed in pitch black darkness and he had to feel his way down using the walls and the stone beneath his feet.

Finally he came to a small dimly lit circular chamber. The Archmage stood facing the wall opposite the stairs, across the room. His form was illuminated with torchlight and he was talking to someone in a low voice. Maybe the Archmage had been keeping a prisoner, or perhaps there was some enchanted item bestowed with speech that was kept here. Or perhaps, in his old age, the Archmage took to talking to himself.

The Wizard listened closely.

“All goes according to plan, Master,” he was saying. “The preparations for your return are nearly complete.”

The Wizard felt another presence in the room and was suddenly hit with a wave of primordial fear and horror. He watched as the darkness in front of the Archmage seemed to slither into the shape of a massive beast, one with three pairs of deep crimson eyes. The Archmage promptly knelt as the being manifested.

The Wizard could not be sure, and had no desire to inquire what the monster was, but judging form the massive power it had and the sheer terror it brought with it, there was only one option.

Demon.

When it spoke, it sounded like the grinding of stones and the crack of glass under heat.

“I get tired of waiting. Be quick with your duties, Archmage, and I shall reward you posthaste, once I conquer your world.”

“Yes, My Lord,” replied the Archmage.

The Wizard stared in horror. He could not believe what he was hearing. The Archmage, the wizard which everyone looked up to, a servant of a demon?

The Wizard looked up and his heart stopped. One of the demon’s three heads was looking directly at him.

No, it was looking past him, right into his soul, knowing everything he knew, every failure and desire, every intention.

Every fear.

“You have been careless Archmage,” roared the demon. The Wizard nearly doubled over with the sheer force of power. “You have been discovered.”

“Impossible,” cried the Archmage. But then he turned and saw the Wizard at the edge of the stairwell.

“You!”

“Kill him,” ordered the demon.

No longer caring for subtlety and stealth, the Wizard bolted up the stairs – just in time to avoid having his head seared off by the Archmage’s fire spell.

The Wizard got to the study and pushed the bookshelf back in place, securing it with a spell. It wouldn’t hold – of course not. This was the Archmage of Endymion Castle, the strongest wizard in existence. What chance did a failed apprentice have?

The bookshelf exploded into smithereens and the Archmage calmly made his way up the stairs, his hands crackling with power.

“Meddlesome little runt. Even on your last night at my school you are a thorn in my side.”

A stream of white energy shot at the Wizard. He rolled over the table and launched his own counter spell – a pathetic ball of green energy. It extinguished the moment it came in contact with the Archmage’s spell but had succeed in deflecting the attack and merely winging the Wizard in the shoulder.

The Wizard charged his thunder spell, hoping to catch the Archmage off guard with his strongest attack, but the Archmage was having none of it. The large oaken desk shot towards the Wizard slamming him violently against the wall, before a second blast of light from the Archmage punched into him. The Wizard felt as if he had been torn in half, his eyes bulging and lungs on fire. He was in more pain than he had ever been throughout his entire life. It dawned on him that he was going to die and there was nothing he could do to change that destiny.

“You’re a pathetic excuse for a wizard. You are a disgrace to this school, to your lineage and to magic in general. Just die already,” spat the Archmage as he charged another blast of light.

Something tugged at the corner of the Wizard’s mind: the Spellbook. He was right next to it. Every instinct told him to grab the ancient tome and given his lack of options and certainty of death, he opted to die from the Spellbook’s power rather than at the corrupt Archmage’s hands.

He lunged at the Spellbook and fully expected to be vaporized. Instead he lifted the tome, feeling the warmth and light it bathed him in.

“No,” cried the Archmage. “That’s impossible.”

But possible it was and the Wizard felt more powerful than he had ever felt in his life. Brimming with newfound power he took a step towards the Archmage, intent on retaliation.

But the Spellbook had other intentions. Light exploded from it, completely encasing the Wizard, bathing him – no, drowning him – in its power.

When he opened his eyes again, the Wizard felt normal. He looked around, expecting to be back at the Archmage’s study. Instead all he could see was a sea of red desert and canyons. The horizon was a barren wasteland of sand dunes and the sky was devoid of clouds dominated solely by a distant yet scorching sun.

He felt the weight of the book in his hands but none of its formidable magic. He tried prying it open, in search for answers to his predicament, but the Spellbook of Endymion remained shut, yielding no clue.

The Wizard was on his own.

“Where am I?”

***

The journey is not over
The journey is not over

Hope you enjoyed the story :)

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Later guys. Peace out,

Ryan