Here is the next sneak peek for book two of “Gray Sphere Saga”. This one continues with Dorn from the prologue finding his brother.
There will probably be another sneak peek as we get closer to the release of book two. Still more work to be done! Lots of editing!
Also below is another piece of art from book two; the emblem! A new orb, which one is this? You’ll find out eventually…
The artist is Michelle Ran and you can find more of her work on Instagram
I want to give special thanks to the patrons who’ve supported me thus far:
Hypermice, Sean Young, and Mister Artorias
Check back on Friday for more news, with another short to follow on Monday! As always if you want to read the latest story, support me on Patreon for just a dollar
Chapter One: Brothers
The Inferior Races of Coronam: Excerpt One
The trushans are a race that had considered themselves mighty at one point, their domain spread across the vast plains and hills at the heart of Kerden giving them access to any part of the continent. But their breadth was also their downfall. The trushans spread themselves thin and accepted all other races into their cities and leadership, allowing humanity to develop. The nations prior to Ragnos thrived with the trushans like animals, until finally the true idea of our superiority rose up from the first leader of Ragnos, Osten Ragnoren. The trushans now hide in their deserts and outskirts all around Ragnos, the majority of them camped out to the west, wishing they could gain back their prior strength, a dream that will never come true.
Dorn stood at the edge of the river, the sun’s rays warming his body. How many days have gone by since I became a traitor? He ran a hand over his arm, feeling multiple scabs of wounds made in past days. A splash broke the silence of the flowing water.
Looking to his right Dorn spotted a bucket tipped on its side by a trushan small in appearance, his body skinny, no muscles visible. A white robe adorned the trushan, a white journal poked out of the robe, hanging from a belt. The trushan’s red eyes met Dorn’s with a calculating stare.
“What a relief it is to see you Zorn,” Dorn said, breaking the silence.
Zorn knelt down, picking up the bucket and placing it back into the river, refilling it. “Should I even ask?” said Zorn, his voice evened, a higher pitch from the usual gruffness most trushan’s had.
Taking a deep breath, Dorn sunk his feet into the deep river, crossing its width slowly. He glanced to his left to see a trickle of red in the water, a sting along his left leg reminding him of another wound. “You can ask, brother. There is much to tell, and I need your help.”
Picking up the bucket, Zorn carried it away from the water and lowered it in a bed of grass. Reaching for a long stick leaning against a nearby tree, he dug the tip into the soft dirt and rested on it, watching Dorn cross the river. “You need my help? That is an oddity, Dorn, after everything that has happened.”
“Well yes, a lot has happened the past few days,” Dorn said reaching the other side. With axe in hand he dug the butt into the dirt and used the axe to pull his feet out of the water.
“No, I refer to the past. Though if you wish to include the mark of the traitor in the list of things that makes this odd, then we can do that.”
Walking over to the smaller trushan, Dorn stopped before him, his body overshadowing Zorn. “Please, brother, it has been a difficult time for me. I don’t have anyone else to turn to.”
“Of course I will help you, Dorn. You have to carry the bucket, though” Zorn said, turning and beginning to walk up the hill, his stick always ahead supporting his stride.
Strapping the axe to the side of his shell Dorn bent down and picked up the bucket. “Zorn, do you still practice the… Well, you know. I’m bleeding, so the hunters may find us.”
Zorn waved a hand. “There is no reason to hide. We won’t be at my home for long.” Zorn continued his pace up the gradual hill along a grassy field, a few trees with large leaves dotting the path. “As for your second unasked question, yes. My home is still hidden away and far from the nearby town. We won’t be found easily.”
“Great,” Dorn replied, pausing briefly to look down at his wounds. A speck of blood dripped off the leather armor covering his chest. Taking a deep breath, he resumed his stride. “How do you know we won’t be found?”
Zorn chuckled. “You wouldn’t leave an obvious trail through the forest. And I know not all of that blood is yours. Even though you leave an obvious trail now, that would require anyone following to get through the forest, first.”
Dorn looked back. From his vantage point atop the hill he could see the forest extend beyond his vision in either direction. Above the tops of the trees, he could make out massive gray clouds led by a breeze. “I wish you were wrong about the blood,” Dorn muttered to himself before turning back around. “How much further, brother?”
“It is just around the bend,” Zorn stated, walking down a decline that turned around a massive boulder set inside the side of the hill.
Following around the boulder, Dorn ran his fingers along its rough surface. Looking past, he spotted the wooden house dug into the side of another hill across a drop to a grassy field below. Only a window and door were visible, much of the house hidden inside the hill itself. “I hope you’ve made improvements. Last I was there I couldn’t stand straight.”
“Well… it is slightly better. I haven’t had time to improve it!” Zorn replied, walking along a grassy path around the drop towards the house.
Coming around, Dorn stopped before the house. “It is unnatural for our kind to hide in a hole.”
“Well, the books I keep would ruin in direct sunlight. And anyway, there is a certain comfort. If you hate it that much, Dorn, you are welcome stay outside.” Zorn turned the handle and stepped inside.
“No, I’d prefer not,” Dorn replied. Looking up one last time at the sun high above, Dorn saw the clouds starting to cover it, darkness spreading across the land. Following Zorn into the small house, he closed the door behind him and looked around.
Dorn watched Zorn walk around with ease, the point of his staff aimed towards different glass jars hanging from the ceiling, each one lighting up with a glow. The light revealed a table with chairs in the center of the room. In the corner sat a bookcase filled with books, and even more books stacked in front unable to fit. Past the table was a doorway into another room with a bed, a drawer, and a large crate with more books on top. “I appreciate you making the entrance have a higher ceiling. Now, if only you could extend that to the rest of the house,” Dorn stated, bending his head down. He set his bucket to the side before heading for one of the chairs to sit and leaning back with a sigh.
Zorn went into the other room, leaning his stick against a wall and returning with a rag and two cups. Dipping one of the cups of water into the bucket, he handed it to Dorn before dipping the second cup and placing it on the table. Submerging the rag into the water, he then handed it to Dorn.
Dabbing the towel against his open wound on his leg, Dorn held the cup and drank it in a few short gulps before handing it back to Zorn. “Are you going to ask anything?”
“What is there to ask?” Zorn replied, refilling the cup and placing it on the table before taking a seat of his own across from Dorn.
“You aren’t the least bit curious what happened to me, brother?” Dorn asked, dabbing at the wound on his stomach with the rag, blood beginning to stain it.
Zorn took his own cup in hand and took a sip. “Well, it seemed unnecessary for me to ask. I assumed you would tell me.”
Tossing the rag into the bucket, Dorn leaned forward and rested his arms on the table. “I have the mark of the traitor because I killed chieftain Thrak and Bran,” Dorn said, watching Zorn’s reaction. Seeing no response, he sighed. “You don’t care, though. You already have something else on your mind, so just tell me, brother.”
“To kill both chieftains and still escape, that’s impressive. I assume though, since you didn’t kill yourself, that you don’t truly believe you did it.”
“I don’t remember doing it… Dorn replied. “My memory is all foggy. A strange light filled my eyes. When I came to, both chieftains were dead and the only thing I could do was run.”
“Then it seems our goals have aligned,” Zorn replied, standing up and heading into another room.
“Aligned? How? I betrayed our people! You just dabbled in magic,” Dorn said watching Zorn knock books off the top of a crate hurriedly. “But it’s nothing new for us ‘red eyes’.”
Coming back to the table, Zorn spread a parchment across its surface, nearly knocking the cups of water over. Sitting back down, he stared at Dorn with focused eyes. “First off, don’t speak of our red eyes as a negative trait. The rest of our people simply don’t understand.”
“Shh!” Zorn looked down at the map, scanning its features. “You must embrace your heritage, Dorn.”
“Like you did with that spell years ago? people still are sus—”
“I said shh!” Zorn continued to scan the parchment, one hand holding back the edges of the map, a cup holding the other side from curling against his arms. “I’m sorry, you are right… But that’s my point, Dorn! Our goals have aligned! We’ve both made a terrible mistake, but our people still need our help! These words lead to our redemption.”
“How would these words…” Dorn began staring down at the strange symbols on the map. “How can you even read these?”
“It took a lot of practice. It’s a parchment I took from the ancient vaults of Tu’Dara, at the start of this war when no one was paying attention.”
Dorn picked up the cup holding the parchment and took a gulp. “Alright, so you broke more laws to seek to redemption. That makes sense, Zorn. So, what do these special symbols say?”
Zorn looked up with a scowl before grabbing the other cup and placing it on the parchment’s corner. “It is not breaking any laws. I am merely borrowing!”
Zorn huffed before continuing. “It is a description of where to find an ancient artifact left behind by the hero of our people, Kreturen.”
“Sure, a ‘hero’. If you want to believe such nonsense.”
Zorn looked up, snapping his beak in frustration. “It is not nonsense! Our people chose to forget him due to their foolishness!”
“Fine, fine. He’s a great hero! Tell me though, Zorn, is it smart to delve into more powerful magic again?”
Zorn looked back down at the parchment, studying the symbols once more. “I was a fool back then, Dorn. I have analyzed this from every direction and I know what to do this time. The power behind it is unimaginable. It would be amazing to study it, to become… closer to it. I want this orb. The problem is that I realized I need someone to follow me and help me. The artifact is located in the southern deserts. I am certain it is in the center of the Te’hevira Desert.”
Shaking his head, Dorn said, “Zorn, what you ask is unrealistic… The edge of the Te’hevira may be near us, but it isn’t small. It would take weeks to travel across it towards the center. That is assuming we even make it there… You know what they say.”
“That all life ends in Te’hevira. Trust me, Dorn, the risk is worth it. It could redeem us both!”
“How is that?”
Zorn leaned back, taking a deep breath, “This artifact, Dorn… with its power we could stop Ragnos. We could save our people with or without their help.”
Gulping down the rest of his water, Dorn leaned towards the bucket to pick up the rag and dab it against his wounds again. “Is there no other plan?”
“If you stay within the land of our people, you will be found and killed. As for me, assuming I’m not found with you, the hunters will eventually figure out that I had helped you, and I too will die. Like it or not, Dorn, it is the only option. Unless you want to become a hermit in another land,” Zorn chuckled.
“To sit around and waste away my life? I couldn’t do such a thing. We shall do your plan in hopes of helping our people.”
Zorn stood up and walked into the other room, returning with a dark bottle. “Then we shall rest this evening and start in the early morning. The journey will be difficult, but it’ll be like old times when we were kids!”
Dorn chuckled. “Good times those. With your smarts and my strength, the other kids couldn’t stop us.”