Portals – First Installment

Portals
By Sheri L. McGathy

Part One (As is, And I really mean that Smile)
Copyright® – No part of this may be reproduced without permission)

Prologue

Lord Daytus forced his armor-clad hand tighter about the reins as he looked down from his lofty perch. The battle had gone as anticipated; he was victorious. Now, all he need do was claim his prize.

He allowed a covetous leer to replace the stern countenance he had maintained throughout the siege. The leer grew wider . . . eager . . . as he kneed his mount forward to begin his descent to the valley floor below and onward to the fortress.

The dual moons of Egressus peered lazily down at him from their regal perch in the darkening skies. Their waning faces lent an eerie light to his descent, amplifying his form to create a long, pale shadow that fouled the land as it passed over–an omen of pending doom.

Having reached the causeway, he kicked his mount into a fleet-footed prance and drew under the arched gateway to emerge within the outer bailey. His heart raced with his eagerness. He had waited a very long time for this precise moment . . . he intended to relish it.

Looking about, he saw that his men had already commandeered the area and were about administrating the law . . . his law.

Spying a Spirit Raider Commander, he waved him near. “Where are they? I would see them grovel.”

The man seemed to squirm, unable to meet his steely stare as he stammered, “My Lord, they have fled. The Wizard Ja Aval must have opened the portals and sent them through. There is no one of import left here.”

“What!” Lord Daytus bellowed, outrage turning his eyes a fiery red. He slammed his mailed fist against his leg and dismounted, causing many to drop their heads or lower their eyes as he passed.

“Follow me, and send word that I would have Tar-Varel brought here. The portals must be traced, no matter how long it takes, nor how exacting that task becomes.” Silently, he promised, They will not escape me so easily. I will know the direction they have fled, and then . . . then, they are mine!

Clinching his fists tightly to his sides, he entered the Hall, barely able to stifle a growl as he peered down at the shimmering pile of powdered residue left by the recently opened portal.

Throwing his head back, he howled into the dark, barren chamber, “Ja Aval, how did you know? Old man, if you can still hear me, know this: You will not fulfill your ambitions, not while I remain determined to thwart you. I concede the battle, for now, but the final victory shall be mine. It will be me controlling the Orb . . . me transforming the worlds…not your weak, chosen few. This, I promise you!”

A phantom breeze rose, whipped at his cloak, its breath sending the pile of gossamer residue leaping over his boots. A distant cackle echoed through the chamber, chasing the breeze, and he knew Ja Aval had heard.

Continued in Chapter One
"Dione Amber Clancy Blume–'Rest in Peace'"

Coming next month!

Please Note:

Copyright® – No part of this may be reproduced without permission)