Category Archives: Novella

Under the Mountain – Part Seven

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six,

Ru closed his eyes, ignoring the sensation. Then they were in a different place. There was nothingness all around them. Ru looked right and left. Mereb and Shannon were there.

“What is this place?” Ru asked.

“It’s a mindscape,” Lazarus said, appearing beside them. Ru jumped. Lazarus began to lead them away. Where, he didn’t know. There were no landmakrs, no scenery to help orient himself. He only knew they were moving.

Laz continued talking as he walked, “This place is outside your conscious mind on the edges of the spirit realm. The white blankness you see is called the Veil. If you find a place where it looks like you can go through, don’t. It will separate your spirit from your body and you will die.”

After a short distance they halted. “Ru, you are able to enhance our spells and make them more potent, right?” Lazarus asked him.

Ru nodded, “If I have adrenaline to draw from. I don’t have much right now. The fighting is over.”

“Illyoten has been fighting the demon lord, you can take over for him and he can concentrate on healing with Shannon.” Continue reading


Under the Mountain – Part Six

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five,

Ru swore and started getting to his feet. “That will have to do Illyoten,” He said. “Thanks.”

“I need your help over here, Ill!” Shannon called.

“A moment!” He called back then spoke hurriedly to Ru, “The demon lord is a mind mage. He got in my head and trapped me in a childhood memory then tried to kill me by corrupting the memory. I was able to fight him off only by healing him. I’m not sure why that hurts him but it was enough to drive him from my mind.”

“Thanks, that helps.” Ru said. Illyoten nodded and hurried over to help Shannon with the rest of the wounded. Ru picked up his sword and shield and began to bark out orders in rapid succession. As he did, he opened his tin of millwax and began to apply it rapidly to the emptied runic carvings on his gear.

“Everyone recharge your gear now, quickly. It’s going to be a dicey fight but focus on those demonlings. Shannon; fighters up as soon as possible everyone else is secondary. Lazarus; find out where the demon lord is pulling power from and cut him off. Cryan; I need to you figure out how to keep that lava from reaching us. Illyoten; figure out if you can use the healing trick on the demon lord from this distance.”

Illyoten nodded, “Lazarus, I may need your assistance in reaching his roots. They are not of this world but perhaps as a source mage, you could connect me to him.”

The two men sat facing each other in meditation pose, bowed their head and closed their eyes, focused on their respective assignments. Continue reading

Under the Mountain – Part Five

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four,

A thunderous lightning bolt streaked across the room striking into a deep cut he had made previously. The beast convulsed and twitched – howling in agony. Ru grinned again, Cryan had helped him carve that particular rune spell on his hilts. He could only do it once in a fight but it was usually worth it, despite the ringing it left in his ears.

Then Ru was charging back in, swords slashing in the air in front of him, sending more arcs of energy before he reengaged in melee with the beast. Ru never missed. He couldn’t, not with something that huge. The demon, in turn, swiped and bit at him and despite Ru’s best efforts to dodge and twist he was not as nimble as Krolis and could not remain uninjured. Shannon was as quick as she could be to heal him, halting all healing on other members of their party for a moment while she rapidly repaired damage to Ru.

He flung out more arcs of energy from his sword, doing everything in his power to keep the demon’s attention on him. Despite that, the demon still bit or swiped at the fighters on the ground, slowly beating through the magical shields until there were only two left. Continue reading

Under the Mountain – Part Four

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three,

Ru blinked and looked around. “He was just here…”

They started to search the immediate vicinity but Mereb stopped them by holding up his hands and saying, “Stop moving about, you’re jumbling up his root trail.”

They all froze. Mereb’s eyes unfocused for a few minutes. Then his head snapped up and he stared down the narrowest tunnel.

“Holy Maker,” He said. “He’s gone into the cavern.”

Ru rushed down the tunnel and to the cavern entrance, the group following on his heels. There, in the center of the wide open expanse, was Illyoten. He was wandering aimlessly, peering up at the walls and ceiling, then down at the floor. So far he had not disturbed the gigantic sleeping form of the demon wolf.

“Illyoten!” Ru hissed but the man didn’t appear to hear him. Ru didn’t dare say anything louder. He turned to Laz.

“Is it a spell of some kind?” Ru asked.

Laz frowned, eyes locked on Illyoten. “There is….something. It feels like mind magery but it’s…different.”

“Can you stop it? Or find out where it’s coming from?”

Laz shook his head, “I’m trying but whatever it is, it’s evading me.” Continue reading

Under the Mountain – Part Three

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One, Part Two

Rugaba mulled it over a minute then shrugged, “Alright then. Laz would you scout a bit first? I’d like to know where the other team is at if you can manage it.”

Lazarus nodded and left.

They ate and his teammates got some much needed rest. Illyoten did not rest with them. He could pull the energy he needed from the power Lazarus fed him. It would reinvigorate his body but eventually he would need some true rest for his mind. That would be the wise thing to do.

Instead, Illyoten used his rest time to reinvigorate the bodies of his companions. He could not renew them the way he did for himself but he could cause their bodies to relax more fully as they dozed. He also encouraged their stomachs to digest the food quickly to replace the blood and body mass they had lost.

Healer magic was wondrous but it could not simply make something out of nothing. When you lose blood it’s gone. It can’t be replaced from thin air. It needs water and minerals and more. The same rule applied for closing up wounds. Just like a mason can’t build a wall without materials to work with, Illyoten could not cause skin to grow closed or a lung to function properly without enough of the body’s own flesh to work with.

In the moment the healing is needed, he pulled materials from various other parts of the body; minerals from the bones, skin from callouses, cartilage from the ears. Most of it was unnoticeable unless there was a lot of healing needed in a short amount of time. If that was the case then a good recovery period was needed as soon as it was possible. So now, while the team ate and rested, he hurried their digestion along and directed every scrap of it to refill the places he had had to cannibalize to mend their wounds. Continue reading

Under the Mountain – Part Two

*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One

Ru spotted Laz and Mereb returning from far down the tunnel. He and Illyoten got to their feet as they approached.

“We’ve got a problem,” Laz said without preamble. Ru whistled and waved the rest of the team to join them. When they were all gathered Lazarus explained.

“About a half mile ahead the tunnel splits. Both paths meander a bit and both are chock-full of demons. We didn’t dare get too close to the demons without a mirage to hide us but I was able to feel out the path ahead. After another half mile the tunnels converge into one tunnel again. That was the limit of my range though, I couldn’t feel much beyond that. I get the vague impression there’s a large cavern and there’s definitely a demonic presence in it but I can’t tell what or how many from this distance. We’ll have to get closer.”

“So which tunnel do we take?” Tophus asked at once.

“If we choose one then the demons in the other could flank us,” Ru said.

“Or run us in circles,” Laz added.

“Or just escape back the way we came in,” Illyoten pointed out.

“We’ll have to split up,” Ru said. “Each group takes a tunnel.” Continue reading

Under the Mountain – Part One

*Listen to the Audio*

Rugaba slammed his shield into the demonling as it launched itself toward him. He followed up by slapping it across the snout with the flat of his sword. It didn’t do any damage but it did exactly what he wanted. The demonling roared in fury, losing all sense to it’s attacks.. He blocked each wild scrape and bite, muttering words that activated the spells carved upon his reinforced armor and shield. Most of the creatures attacks scraped harmlessly against his steel. But one attack slipped through and left a large gash in his side. Ru gasped but held his defenses against the enraged creature.

“I’m on it!” Came a cry from behind him though he couldn’t tell which of their healers had spoken through the noise of the fight. A second later he felt his wound close and the pain subsided. The place where he had been wounded radiated energy now, pulsing through him with each beat of his heart. At the same instant a lance of wickedly cold ice shot past him and impaled his attacker against the wall. It wasn’t dead yet but it would be soon.

“Incoming!” Tophus shouted from further down the tunnel. More demonlings were barrelling down the hallway toward them. Tophus, with his tall shield, stood ready to meet them but he could not stop them all. If the demonlings got through, they could reach the other, more vulnerable magi. Rugaba shouted and another spell triggered, this one granting him more speed. He charged, pumping his legs hard. He closed the distance to Tophus in only a few great strides, reaching the other man just as the demonlings converged on him. Continue reading