Tales From a Thousand Worlds

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Category Archives: Novella

The Red Blade – Part Fourteen

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The city of Ardanium faded away in the distance as Carse stood at the prow of one of the many barges that plied the great river Shalahir. Ahead were the many cities that dotted the Swordlands before the river reached the distant one of Qaiqala, mightiest of them all. Behind, nothing existed for him any more in the city of his birth. Too many painful memories existed there, and too many questions that would be asked.

Follow this link for Part Fourteen of The Red Blade

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The Red Blade – Part Thirteen

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Stabbing pains lanced through Carse’s side as he ran through the city, his legs afire from fatigue and lungs rasping for air as he breathed. He pushed through the milling crowds, unconcerned about who saw him, or for any he knocked aside. At last he came to the entrance to the villa and once more his senses told him something was wrong. The gate sat part open, and yet the big black Kurushu man, Akamba, was nowhere to be seen, an unprecedented occurrence. Carse loosened the Red Blade in its scabbard and darted away from the gate itself, to a place further along the wall.

Follow this link for Part Thirteen of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Twelve

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Alsharak Abban, despite the words and fears of Athradies, had not proven as hard to track down as first expected, for he did not hide himself as he felt he had nothing to fear. That had proved a fatal miscalculation, for the Red Blade had snatched his life as well. Nor had he been the last to taste the touch of the Red Blade, for others followed, men of the various city-states of the Swordlands, or from far off lands beyond; Akuvians, Cahdians and Ishmarites, Metsheputi, Hashalites and Navodians, and more besides. And each time he took one of them, the pull of the sword grew stronger, more assured in its purpose, and yet the victims harder to find, their guards and wards more fiendish to evade, and their lives harder to take.

Follow this link for Part Twelve of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Eleven

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Carse let himself into the small place he had acquired, a building that was little more than a single roomed shack, set back from the river a way, in a part of the city where those who struggled to survive lived, yet had not succumbed to crushing poverty. The finery of his clothes would have stood out there like a gold coin in a beggar hand, and so he had wrapped himself in a voluminous cloak to disguise it, one old and worn, the hood of which was pulled over his head. To further mask his presence, to not appear as anything out of the ordinary, he had affected a slumped back and a limping gait.

Follow this link for Part Eleven of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Ten

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Carse had taken a seat in the corner of a small tavern, nursing a glass of red wine. He appeared to any that looked his way as if he was in deep contemplation of it, holding the glass up before him and staring at it with a rather vacant expression. In truth he surreptitiously listened in on conversations that swirled around him, for word of the slaying of Hatumses had seeped out, as had the manner in which the deed had occurred. With it came the whispered rumours and the wild theories, all of which saw it spread.

Follow this link for Part Ten of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Nine

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Deep shadows closed in around Carse. Clad head to toe in the darkest black, from the soft soled boots on his feet to the scarf wrapped about his head, he fused in with the night, all but unseen. Not alone did his outfit aid him in this. The storms of the day had abated, though not yet had the clouds departed, and they shrouded the stars and the moon so a deep stygian gloom clung to the city, seeping into all its corners and nooks. Torch light and lamp light, seeping out from behind shuttered windows, provided the scant illumination that Carse used to navigate his way through streets all but deserted. On the infrequent occasion that he perceived another, either seen or heard, he sunk into the shadows and wrapped himself in them. Holding as still as a statue, with nary a breath passing his lips, he disappeared from view, remaining so until they had passed on their way. Well used were the skills Prador had taught him that night, for he put them to good effect as unseen he closed upon his quarry.

Follow this link for Part Nine of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Eight

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Beneath Athradies’ villa there existed an old, dusty vault, a room in which Carse had never before set foot, nor even knew the existence of. Flimsy webs were strung out between walls and a row of marble columns, worn with age. The bronze glow of an arcane light that Carse had summoned up flickered across ancient tapestries and banners that hung from the walls and ceiling, all faded and frayed by the passage of years. Down between the columns, the floor had been worn by the tread of many feet so that a grove had been worn into it. Across the floor, a thick coating of dust lay, undisturbed by any until Athradies took Carse down there. The ceiling of the vault bore a painted mural, though age had not been kind to it, for the paint had cracked and peeled, with large sections missing, yet still Carse could make out much of what it had been of. Beneath a starry sky, a man strode, sword in hand, though most of the sword belonged to a section that was missing, while all around him fell creatures of dark and flame, and men of disfigured form.

Follow this link for Part Eight of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Seven

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An intense rumbling peel of thunder rolled across the darkening sky, a cacophonous report that promised much more to come. Across the gloom laden sky, vast banks of clouds piled up, spilling over each other in their haste to sweep down on Ardanium. The smell of approaching rain suffused the warm air. Soon would erupt one of the sudden summer storms that at times would crash across the plains, swelling the river fit to burst.

 

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The Red Blade – Part Six

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Soft light drifted into Athradies’ study. It came in through the wide open doors that lead out onto a balcony that overlooked the gardens of the villa, light curtains that swayed in a breeze pulled across the opening. Bundles of dusty old scrolls were piled up on a smooth polished wooden desk, with ink pots and quills scattered amongst them. More scrolls lined the room, packed tight in shelves that reached from floor to ceiling. Athradies rolled up one scroll with great care, binding it closed with a red cord before setting it down beside him.

Follow this link for Part Six of The Red Blade

The Red Blade – Part Five

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Carse drew himself up to his full height, his adolescent frame growing tall, though it had not as yet filled out to match, giving him a lanky appearance. He let air fill his lungs, breathing deep, as he prepared to let voice a song. Madame Natazde, of the cold, northern Navodian lands, stood across from him in the large and airy room she used to train him in, tapping a beat with one booted foot. A tall woman, taller even than he, with pale hair and eyes rarely seen among Akuvians, she had drilled Carse relentlessly from the day he had arrived at Athradies’ villa, day in and day out, no matter what other lessons he also had. Reading, writing and languages, swordplay and knife work, disarming traps and locks, the use of crossbows and the art of stealth, all had been imparted upon him, yet always Madame Natazde insisted that he spend each morning with her, moulding and strengthening his singing voice.

Follow this link for Part Five of The Red Blade