Authors: T C Southwell
Tags: #chaos, #undead, #stone warriors, #natural laws, #lawless, #staff of law, #crossbreeds
World Book Four
The Staff of
Published by T
C Southwell at Smashwords
2010 T C Southwell
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In a perfect
world, the breaking of the laws brings retribution to the alien
race - Truemen. A girl befriends a denizen of this strange land,
not knowing that she holds the key to her people’s fate. Truemen
hate the immortal Mujar and cast them into Pits, and the Hashon
Jahar sweep across the land, slaughtering all in their path. One
thing is certain; Truemankind is doomed unless fate changes.
changes for a chosen few, they set off for the Plains of Redemption
to escape the Hashon Jahar. A mad prince captures Talsy in a bid to
save himself, and Chanter creates a forbidden Mujar weapon so
Kieran can free her. The Starsword contains the Powers of Earth and
Fire, but it falls into the wrong hands, impossible though that
should have been, and is used to break the Staff of Law.
world descends into chaos, destined to unravel unless the Staff of
Law is restored, but the pieces are lost. Knowing that the world is
doomed, Chanter creates a safe haven for the Chosen, but Talsy
persuades the Mujar to take her on a quest to find the pieces of
the staff. During the quest, Talsy conceives Chanter’s child,
forcing the party to return to the vale to await his birth.
Yet even if
they find the last shard of the Staff of Law and make it whole, the
laws are lost forever, scattered by the winds and turned to dust...
Except for the ones the blind Mujar, Law, carries in his mind, but
he is lost in the chaos…
at Chanter and Kieran, then turned to stare into the fire once
more, sunk in her misery. For the past four days, she had been weak
and shaky, her stomach constantly queasy, robbing her of her
appetite. When she had asked the Mujar to help, he had regarded her
with deep sadness and shaken his head.
I cannot. It’s the child that makes you sick.”
pace they had been forced to set over the past half-moon added to
her illness. The Torrak Jahar still dogged them, two days behind
now because Chanter had gone back to lead them astray. The tireless
black army would soon make up the ground, however, not needing to
stop for sleep or food. The riderless horses had all left, peeling
off in groups to lead the Torrak Jahar away on false trails for a
weighed Talsy down no matter how much she slept. She clung to the
palomino mare that carried her all day, longing to climb off and
lie down. Chanter remained aloof and aloft as an eagle,
unsympathetic to her plight. Kieran had offered sympathy and help,
but she had rejected him. Since the night she had told him of the
child, he had become more helpful and considerate, which only irked
her in the face of Chanter’s lack. The Aggapae were supportive, and
Mita had brewed herbal tea that helped to settle her stomach and
allowed her to eat a little.
at the drooping girl on the other side of the fire, then turned to
the Mujar. “She looks sicker every day.”
nodded. “It will get worse, but I believe she’ll get better after a
while. Her body is adjusting to the thing it harbours.”
How can you call your son a ‘thing’?”
As yet, that’s all it is. I will never think of it as my son,
or lay claim to it. It’s her child. She wanted it, and she
conceived it through trickery.”
at the flames. “You have no idea the joy I would feel right now,”
he muttered, “if that was my son she carried.”
I wish it was.”
I know it’s not your fault, and -”
straightened and turned his head, his nostrils flared in alarm. He
adjusted his senses to exclude the visible world and sense only the
Powers, tuning his mind to the faint pinging that came along the
lines of Dolana. The tingle that had alerted him strengthened into
an icy wave that sent a frisson of fear through him. The pinging
grew louder, and the lines of silver power pulsed, brightening,
then growing dark. He leapt to his feet.
Up the trees, everyone!”
After a moment
of stunned immobility, the chosen jumped up. Mita and Brin helped
Talsy to a tree and boosted her up it. The Mujar cocked his head as
he tuned in to the approaching wave of Dolana.
Brin, send the horses away. Tell them to run... that way.” He
Brin flung his
silent warning to Task, and the horses quit the meadow nearby to
gallop into the darkness. Chanter listened. Kieran, last to climb a
tree, watched him with a frown. Talsy, who clung to the rough bark
of her sanctuary, looked as if she strived to keep the contents of
her stomach where they were, since the sudden tension would have
made her stomach knot. Chanter looked up, his eyes narrowing as he
stared into the distance. He approached the trees in which his
charges hid and took hold of two trunks. The fire leapt as he
reached for it, then the searing manifestation of Crayash filled
the air, winking out as he took control of it. A distant pinging
and crackling became audible, growing louder as it neared rapidly.
In the silver moonlight, the land around them was quiet and
the Crayash within him, drawing on the burning Power, the only one
that could counter Dolana. It filled him with its flames, and he
increased it. His skin glowed, lighted from within by the immense
power he now contained, and his flesh grew hot. The wave of Dolana
approached at the speed of a galloping horse. He braced himself,
readying his tongue to speak the strange god given words that could
command it. He sensed it crossing the hill not twenty man heights
away in a flare of bright silver that momentarily became a solid
sheet as the lines swelled and joined, shrivelling behind the wave
into darkness. The distant pinging increased to a cacophony of
crackling and crunching mixed with sharp reports. A tree in its
path shattered as the wave passed, falling in shards that broke
again as they struck the ground.
The wave raced
towards him, and he clung to the trees as it swallowed the ground
in front of him, turning everything it touched to stone. The
campfire guttered and went out as the logs became rock. As it swept
under his feet, he fanned the Crayash within him to ward off the
intense cold, throwing back his head with a cry of pain as two
Powers warred for his body. In the midst of his agony, he shouted
the guttural god words that commanded Dolana, stopping the
crackling advance of stone up the six trees that sheltered his
wards. The two he held contained Talsy and Kieran, and the creeping
stone stopped just below his hands. The intense Earthpower crept
much further up the other four trees, and a startled yelp came from
one of them.
passed, and Chanter dropped to his knees as the pain of the two
Powers abated. Trees around him cracked, too brittle to support
their weight. Branches snapped off and shattered on stone grass as
trunks cracked with sharp reports. The forest collapsed, crumbling
into rubble with a roar of brittle crashes. Within moments, all
that remained of the once proud trees were petrified, jagged stumps
and the shattered remains of leaves and branches. Squirrels, birds,
lizards and beetles lay amid the rubble as perfect, broken
to his feet and looked up at his wards’ pale, scared faces. “You
can come down now, it’s gone.”
down, landing lightly, and Talsy half fell from her tree, doubling
up to vomit behind a stump. The Aggapae shinnied down with
surprising agility for plainsmen, but Mita limped as she joined the
others around the remains of their fire. Everything they had left
behind, tents, blankets, food and water had been turned to stone.
Kieran squatted beside the stone satchel that held the two pieces
of staff and plucked at the rock. Brin lifted a boot and smashed
it, revealing the precious contents.
glanced up at Chanter. “Are the horses all right?”
looked at Brin, who nodded. “They were not caught by it.”
pale and sick as she tottered up and leant against Chanter,
shivering. He put an arm around her, sharing the warmth of the
Crayash that still burnt in him. The rest stared around at the
petrified landscape in stunned disbelief. Kieran crushed the
fragile grass, fascinated. The others settled on the ground with
crunching sounds as leaves and grass crumbled under their
Mita tried to
pull off her boot and muttered under her breath when it would not
move. After some poking and prodding, she spoke in a soft,
horrified tone. “I think my foot’s been turned to stone.”
over to her and placed his hands on the cold, hard shoe. He
examined it, then shook his head and banged it with his fist. The
stone boot shattered, revealing a soft pink foot inside, which Mita
rubbed and fondled with tears of relief in her eyes.
Just the boot,” Chanter pointed out unnecessarily, “but it was
He returned to
Talsy, for the night was chilly without a fire, and she huddled
close to him.
up from his contemplation of the stone grass and asked, “What was
Wild Earthpower. Very strong, travelling in a
Turning everything to stone.”
How did you stop it?” Kieran smiled. “Or is that a dumb
No, just difficult to answer.”
her head. “You countered it with Crayash.”
Only in my body. I used god words to stop it from climbing the
trees you were in.”
God words?” She frowned.
Words of power that command the elements.”
Handy,” Kieran muttered.
Very difficult to use. They came to me as the wave struck, and
as soon as I spoke them, they were gone.”
Another Mujar trick?” Talsy asked.
So why can’t you remember them?”
But you knew they would come,” she said.
Yet Dolana can’t harm you, so why would you ever need
shrugged. “I don’t know.”
You heard it coming, didn’t you?” Kieran asked.
nodded. “But there was no time to get to the horses and ride away.
We could not have outrun it.”
at him with a hopeful expression. “Will it stop the Torrak
Unfortunately, no. They’re already stone.”
snuggling close to his warmth. “Now we have no tents, blankets or
We’ll have to find a village and buy more,” Kieran said. “At
least we have some money.”
There’s one several leagues to the south; we can reach it
tomorrow,” Chanter told them.