Rend the Dark
by Mark Gelineau, Joe King
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Cover (use links below to download)
The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.
Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.
Buy link: amzn.com/B015G6LSO4
Mailing List: www.gelineauandking.com/mailinglist
Amazon Author Pages:
Mark Gelineau: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Gelineau/e/B00I6TQUCE
Joe King: http://www.amazon.com/Joe-King/e/B01460OK50
Author Bios (Short)
Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories together for the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.
The boy felt it before he saw it.
There was a chill feeling, different from the usual cold that filled the stone halls of the orphanage. That cold was familiar and simple. You felt it in your bones. You endured it by hovering closer to the kitchen fire before the matron caught you, or by sharing a blanket with your chosen brothers and sisters.
But this was different. This was a sharp-edged cold. Like the glitter that came off the knife they used to kill the goats. Like the ice that sheathed the old tree outside and made the branches snap off. He did not feel this cold in his bones, but in his very soul. And it made him want to whimper with fear.
He had tried to keep quiet. Already many of the other orphans were angry at him. The dancers and jugglers had them clapping and laughing, a rare treat for the forgotten children housed here.
Until he had begun screaming and pointing at one of the performers.
He had ruined the show, and the embarrassed matron sent the children off to their dormitories immediately. Their anger was palpable, a terrible thing he felt all around, and he could hear harsh whispers up and down the halls of the old fortress that served as the orphanage. “Crazy is at it again,” he heard. “The lunatic’s seeing monsters again.” He knew if not for his friends, he would have suffered that night.
Hil tried to scramble away, but the dead-eyed man closed quickly, hefting a woodcutter’s axe above his head. Hil raised his hand in a helpless gesture to ward off the coming blow.
And then Riffolk was there, his sword swinging through the air and catching the bandit’s arm, severing it just below the elbow and sending the axe falling to the ground. Hil’s stomach clenched and his eyes went wide with a maddening horror as he watched blood pour from the terrible wound the bandit had suffered, and yet the man made no sound, no expression of pain as he swung again and again at Riffolk.
Riffolk pushed the bandit away and then stabbed him in the chest. Hil was no expert at swordplay, but he knew a sword through the heart should fell any man. But the words of the witch hunter, Ferran, rang in Hil’s ears as he watched the bandit push himself forward on Riffolk’s impaling blade to claw once more.
These are not men.
Hil watched in a helpless stupor as the thing tried to kill his friend. Riffolk desperately pulled the sword free from the thing’s chest and swung again, cutting into the leg. The blow glanced off the thick bone of the leg, but it was enough to topple the bandit.
As it fell, it looked at Hil with dull eyes. Through the blood-stained face, there was no twitch of muscle, no blinking of the eyes. Just the same, flat lifelessness. Then, reaching out with its one remaining arm, it began to crawl toward him.
She paused for a second. “There is a man, an acolyte like us, stationed down at the lowest level,” she said. “He lives a solitary life. Down in the very depths of the Abyss itself.” Mireia turned back to Hil. “And he has the single greatest responsibility in the world. He is the first person the creatures will encounter when they rise. And when they do, he knows he cannot win. His fight, as brief as it might be, serves only to warn the next station up, and so on. His duty is to die. So that others, and perhaps the rest of the world, may live.”
“That is so terribly sad,” Hil said, shaking his head. “He is so alone with his hopeless lot, merely waiting for his death.”
“You might think so, but it is far from the truth. I have met him, spoken to him once, when Ferran and I brought supplies down to his camp. He is warm and funny, and he lives life more fully than you or I will ever know.”
“But how?” Hil asked. “How can he be happy living in the shadow of death constantly?” His voice grew quieter. “How can any of us?”
Mireia looked up, seeking the weak gray light that filtered through the trees. “Because every day we live is a blessing. A blessing that has been given from all those who have come before us. A blessing earned with blood and sacrifice and love.” She looked at him, her eyes sparkling. “You asked me how I live with the horror around us. It’s because every day I think of that acolyte at the bottom of the Abyss. And every day, he thinks of us.”