I'm BaaaAAAAAAaack Episode V: The Second Project

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Get the Star Wars reference? Get it? Get it?

Anyways, this is an actual novel I'm working on (27,000 words in, by the way) about a nineteen year old boy from Victorian England transported to a magical place called the All World. You can read any selection in any order, feel free to read and critique.

Arthur Cavendish is taken to the All World for the first time and arrives with the wizard Feign on Ghala, the living mountain.

“Good,” said Feign, “Then we’d better get off this mountain. It being alive and all, it may not take kindly to noticing us.” Feign trekked down the mountain with Arthur following close behind.

“Wait wait wait wait wait wait WAIT!A mountain?”

“Yes,” Feign said with a smirk, “His name is Ghala. He was created at the Dawn of Creation by Lord Vile himself...hmph...he must have tampered with the transportation process.”

“He? The mountain is a he?”

“Of course. There are several ways to tell what gender a mountain is.”

The two reached a gap allowing Arthur to catch up with him. “So what? Is it going to harm us?”

Feign shrugged, “Most likely.”

As if in answer a great boulder came crashing down the slopes, jagged, twisted and malformed it crashed down, sending splintering rock and kicking up a veil of dust in its path.

Feign raised his stave to it and muttered an incantation Cavendish did not know, and a jet of red light rocketed forth from his stave and hit the boulder, shattering it.



“I want you to do something.”

“What’s that?”


Feign smacked the end of his stave into Arthur’s chest and he toppled over the gap just as another boulder arrived. Feign struck Arthur in the chest with a jet of blue light that threw him to the other side of the mountain.

Arthur tried to warn Feign of the oncoming boulder, but he could only whisper a hoarse “Amadeus.”

Impact. Amadeus was swept over the gap by the boulder.


No body, falling past the gap or near the ledge. What had become of him.

Arthur had no time to think, as an avalanche was descending upon him. He rose to his feet and his legs carried him. Boulders crashed, sending splinters everywhere. He felt a jab in his back and his mouth clenched at the pain. For a moment his eyes shut but he opened them for a sharp turn around the cliff side.

The ground gave way below him.

Arthur grasped the ledge just in time, and adrenalin surged through him, shaking him. Use it. Take this advantage and use it, goddammit!

He thrust himself back onto the cliff side and ran faster than before. A thunderous boom that sounded strangely like a roar followed.


He bore his heels into the rock and ran. He stumbled from the velocity of his feet hitting the ground and pressed on.

Where had Feign gone? He had been hit by the boulder yet nothing remained of him. Were the laws of physics different in this world? How had Feign died and nothing was left of him.

Dammit, Amadeus, what did you do?

Now he found himself running for his life, his hands over his head as if that would protect him from the shower of rocks. Blow by blow they struck him. Blood followed and still he carried on. His forehead was smeared with red which fell into his eyes, so he groped along the edge of the cliff side. He would survive. He would survive!

Rocks showered down on him from all directions, assaulting his head and back and shoulder. He fell to the ground and the world swam around him.

I’m going to die. I’m going to die.

He spotted a figure on the horizon as the blackness crept on the edge of his vision.

The creature grew closer, muttering incantations. The blackness edged its way even further through his vision.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry,” said the voice, “I’m a Rockhewn.” He noticed the creature had no eyes. He was smeared with dirt and dust which caked his face. His hair was neatly matted down his head and cascaded down his shoulders. The eyes were black emptiness yet as he stared it look like he could see in some strange way. Cavendish racked his brain for answers.

A Cavewarden.

The shower of boulders ceased; and the darkness claimed him.

The creature carried him, muttering a incantation in an inhuman tongue. “Sleep now, my rockbrothers,” he said in between incantations. Cavendish was cradled between his arms, and between another incantation he said “So this is the Pure One. Funny. I expected taller.”

Another incantation and the rocks froze in midair, as if suspended by some sort of string. Then fell harmlessly around them and with a small rumble they fell over the side.

“Be at peace, Ghala.”

The mountain Ghala let out a thunderous rumble of “FAAARRAAAGAAAR!”

“You know my name,” said Faragar, his voice bent with determination, “Good. Now if you please, Ghala,” his tone was one of sarcastic welcome. It had a sweet, almost airy quality with a sharp edge underneath it, “If you do not give us a path off this mountain I will tear you down pebble by pebble, so I would be eternally grateful if you could give us a way off this twisted winding path of an excuse you call a mountain!”

Ghala let out a rumble of defeat, and the rocks vibrated. Rumbled as if there was an earthquake, and the ground split apart. Pebbles bounced along the ground with every booming sound, and a great pillar flew from the mountain and tilted at an angle downwards. It lay there, suspended in midair. Faragar felt around with his foot for the way off, and the mountain created further rumbling to help the Cavewarden find it.

He pressed his foot against it to measure its strength of the bridge, and after he pressed his foot down a good six times he walked down it, slowly but surely he descended the mountain and onto the planes.

“The planes of Morgoro,” said Faragar, “Oh, how I have missed you.” He gazed at Cavendish’s bloody, unconscious body. “Now what happened to you? Does Feign’s Pure One know nothing of the rock-lore?” Faragar allowed himself to laugh, but his smile soon faded. “What happened to Feign? Do you know?” He’d have to ask Feign’s little Arthur Cavendish boy once he woke up.

For now, Faragar carried him through the plains of Morgoro, and to the town of Morgoro Rockhewn.

When Arthur arrived in Morgoro Rockhewn

Cavendish awoke to find himself propped up in a bed in a small tent in the left corner of the room. There was a basin in the right corner opposite him filled with water sullied with red, presumably blood. There was a washcloth on the rocky ground next to it. The tent itself seemed to be made from lions skin. It let in an amount of light that allowed him to see and cast a feeling of warmth over his belly. When he tried to move, however, he found that he was stricken with pain and could not. As if by instinct he put a hand to his face and dabbed at it. The bleeding had stopped, but the blood had dried into a crisp blackened state. It was the same on both shoulders and behind his legs. He noted the sheets to the beds had excessive amounts of blood on them. He had passed out. He knew it.

A woman and a man entered, both without eyes. The man had broad shoulders and looked to be taller than Cavendish. His arms looked, in Cavendish’s eyes, to be the size of barrels. He wore an ashen white tunic the same as the woman. Both tunics were held together at the shoulders with red leaves, perfectly smoothed. The tunic was tinged brownish-gray, with lines of red, Cavendish guessed from his plight on the mountain. He recognized him as the man from the mountain with the dark hair that cascaded down to his shoulders. Only now it was tied by a band in a ponytail. Dust shrouded his limbs and made them look a dark ashen gray, despite the natural bronzed color of his skin.

The woman was shapely and carried more muscle than he was accustomed to seeing in all of London. She had short, blonde hair covered in a thin layer of dirt which did take a little away from her beauty. Cavendish thought if someone were to bathe her for a while she could look beautiful. Her hips were wide, yet she had a peculiar appeal about her strength, as if her muscularity had an pleasant look to it.. He saw a weapon that was not quite a sword, yet not quite a dagger attached to her hip. She bore a commanding, yet strangely comforting presence. Like the man, the woman was covered in dust, yet her skin underneath seemed white like parchment. She held herself fully erect the way Feign had when Cavendish had first met him.

“Where am I?” Cavendish moaned.

“Morgoro Rockhewn,” said the woman, “My husband Faragar,” she indicated with a tilt of her head to the man behind him, “saved you on the mountain. The two glanced at each other with the kind of look that told Cavendish that they had been happy together for many years. Yet a nagging thought tugged at the back of his mind. Rockhewn. Where had he heard that term before?

“You’re Cavewardens.”

Faragar frowned, and put his hands on the woman’s shoulders, “Is he ill, Vallow? Is he not a human? I thought humans could see...”

“He is not ill,” said Vallow, “He is simply a stranger to the All World. Tell me, Arthur Cavendish, do you know what a Rockhewn is?”

How did she know his name? How--? “Someone who controls rocks?” He winced at his answer and Vallow sat on the bed beside him. “More than that. she took his hands in hers. “We shape the stones of the land. We create and build all that the you see. Every rock, pebble and mountain is the creation of us and our ancestors. We create metals and weapons from our stones. Our lore is strong in this village.”

Cavendish tried to sit down but Vallow placed a cold hand on his chest and eased him back down. “Stay here, you are too weak.”

“How...how would you know?”

“Faragar tended to your wounds.”

At this, Faragar approached with the sullied washcloth once again and dabbed at Cavendish’s shoulder. “You’ll be all right. It’s just a bit of blood.”

Vallow playfully slapped Faragar’s arm. “A bit of blood? He was near death when you brought him to us.”

I almost died?

“How long have I been out?”

“Threescore days.”

Sixty days! “What...what happened on that mountain? Ghala, was it?”

Faragar’s dabbing grew to a hard scrubbing, and the dirt on Cavendish’s shoulder traded places with the washcloth. He winced at the pain and tried to stand up. Again Vallow pushed him down. “We were hoping you could tell us,” Vallow said.

Cavendish felt a pounding force like a hammer inside his head, clawing to get out and he fell back into the pillows. Faragar moved to wash the washcloth clean in the basin to the left. “I think...Ghala attacked us.”

Vallow turned to Faragar. “You didn’t tell me he was on Ghala!”

“I thought it was of little consequence!”

“Feign takes great care with where he brings people to the All World. Do you not remember the last time?”

So others have been here? “Feign is dead.” Cavendish said before he knew he had spoken.

Both looked at him, thunderstruck, their mouths agape. “...Dead?” said Vallow, “That’s impossible. He’s the Allfatherer of the All World. Her hand clenched on Cavendish’s chest which made him wince. “How did he die?”

“There was a gap in the cliff side. Too far--we couldn’t jump over it. Boulders were rolling down at us. Amadeus,” he choked on the word Amadeus, “Feign destroyed the first boulder. He shot me across with this blue light and before I could warn him he--” Cavendish faltered, “The boulder took him. There was no trace of a body.”

“Then he’s probably alive.” Faragar said without looking up from the basin.

How? “How could he possibly be alive? He was flattened by a jagged boulder. He could have been impaled!

“And yet there was no trace of a body,” Faragar said, “Feign is the Allfatherer, the corporeal embodiment of the All-World’s magic. He would not die so easily.”

“He’s right,” Vallow said, “We’ve seen Feign survive worse. (Well, not seen, but there are stories) Did you know he was lit on fire once?”

“On fire!” His shock made the couple laugh. “How did he survive.”

Faragar approached with the washcloth again and dabbed at the side of Cavendish’s head. “It is not our place to question how Feign does what he does.”

“I..I have been called the Pure One...what does that mean?” Cavendish asked.

The two laughed. “I would have expected Feign to have told you this,” Vallow said, “It means that since you are the only one in the All World without a counterpart on Earth, your soul is free to come here at will. You simply have to learn how to do it.”


Faragar chimed in, “And your soul is pure, unlike the horrible sinfulness of our people. With your Purity we may be able to destroy Lord Vile once and for all.”

“And Lord Vile is this--he’s the All World’s evil wrapped up in one being.”

“That he is,” Vallow said, and jumped up from the bed. “We--we should leave,” she said quietly, bowing her head. “You need rest. Gather your strength. You will see the town of Morgoro Rockhewn tomorrow.”

Faragar slipped the cloth away from his head and placed it beside the basin and left with Vallow. “Is he really our salvation?” he whispered.

“He’d better be,” Vallow said, “Otherwise we’re all doomed.”

During the first attack on the village

Cavendish awoke the next morning to a bone-chilling cry. He heard flesh torn by metal and a loud thump as a body hit the ground, followed by a ravenous shriek. He tried to get up to investigate but the pain in his body forced him back down. It commanded him to lay in bed.




He tried to pry through the pain--to force it back down and work through it yet it persisted, driving him back down after every attempt. With his every struggle the rhythmic hammering inside his skull increased in ferocity.

Dammit. Get up! There are people dying outside this tent and you’re just going to lie here while everyone else gets massacred? ON YOUR FEET, CAVENDISH!

With great struggle and through a series of muffled grunts through clenched teeth he managed to stand, though on hand braced him against the bed. He listened to what sounded like a battle. Sword clashing against sword and the twang of bowstrings.

With an effort he took a step forward. Not so hard, he told himself, this is easy, this is easy.

Vallow burst through the tent, carrying a crossbow in her arms, a bow slung around her shoulderand a quiver of arrows strapped to her thigh. She forced the crossbow and a handful of arrows into Cavendish’s arms with enough force to knock him stumble backwards.

“Take this!” she said through a panicked expression. Her words split his skull, “Take it and do not leave this tent!” Vallow unslung her bow and stormed out. The tent flap opened just enough for Cavendish to catch a glimpse of the leg of the attacker. It was blueish purple as if it were covered completely in bruises. He noticed a black cloak and mail before the tent flap closed. He heard Vallow’s arrows hitting their mark with a thunk and three bodies hit the ground.

Cavendish stood with the crossbow in his arms and the arrows on the bed. He shook with dreadful anticipation. There was a low, gutteral cry of “Where is the Pure One? Find him! Find him now!”

What the hell are these things? What manner of creature are they? Nothing from his world sounded so inhuman. Yet it was human.

Wasn’t it?

No. It couldn’t be. Nothing human could be so vile.

“LORD Vile...heh.”

Cavendish listened to the battle raging on, the whole while following his orders to stay put. He heard the anguished cries of Cavewardens and the bestial moans of their attackers. Neither side sounded human.

What surprised him was the fact that he didn’t bat an eye throughout the entire incident.

A creature entered his tent and Cavendish jumped in surprise, scrambling to fit an arrow into the crossbow. The creature managed to raise a scimitar above its head when he let the arrow fly. It grazed the creature’s neck so that it hung sideways. The head bobbed about in a near-comical manner.


It ran at Cavendish in a wild fury and before he knew what he had done Cavendish kicked it, forcing it to stumble back and fall to the ground. The limbs flailed but made no attempt to get up. He peered over the creature as a child would when meeting a stranger. “What are you?” He struggled to level his voice.

“I serve Lord Vile,” the creature said in a low base voice that sounded like maggots crawling through a piece of meat, “and I do not answer to you, Pure One.”

“Really?” Cavendish said in mock-surprise as he fitted another arrow in and poised it at the creature’s neck so that a black muddy substance he assumed peeked out. “I have a feeling you’re about to change your mind.”

The creature gave a sigh of defeat and growled “I’m a Skullharrower. I serve Lord Vile. A sinner in life, tempted in the end and a killer in death.”

“You’re a coward yet,” Cavendish muttered, edging the crossbow back only a bit. “What do you want with Morgoro Rockhewn?”

At this, the creature smiled, exposing yellow, rotted teeth and he found it had no tongue.

And yet it talked. Interesting. . . .

It’s only response was the word “You.”

Everyone here has died because of me? These people--these Cavewardens--they risk their own lives so that I can keep mine?

“You’re lying.”

“Disbelief is the most powerful of weapons.”

He had heard that before. . . . Amadeus. . . . Feign. When he first met him. The Skullharrower let out a laugh like a banshee’s wail. Cavendish’s brow furrowed and he let out an internal scream. He pressed his lips together and pointed the crossbow at the creature’s neck once more.

“I suppose you’re going to kill me now, oh mighty Pure One,” the creature mocked, “The GREAT Arthur Cavendish.” His muscles clenched and every part of his body told him to pull the trigger. KILL THE BLOODY THING!

Yet the crossbow clattered to the floor.

The Skullharrower scowled as if there was something bitter in its mouth. “Why won’t you kill me?”

Cavendish rose to his feet and felt a sharp pang of pain in his sides.

“What are you waiting for?”

Cavendish cast a sorrowful glance over his shoulder. He stoppedand tried to listen for survivors over the Skullharrowers screams and protests.The sound of battle was fading, leaving behind only the moans of the sick. The wounded. The dying.

“KILL ME!” The Skullharrower commanded, “I tried to kill you. TAKE YOUR VENGEANCE!”


The Skullharrower let out another banshee-like wail and writhed around on the floor. Cavendish expected it to start foaming at the mouth.

But it didn’t. He almost felt sorry for it.


Cavendish spoke with dispassion, emotionless to the thing’s screams. His face betrayed neither fear nor anger when he said “You’re dead already.”

Cavendish exited the tent to see Morgoro Rockhewn for the first time. It was as if the town were carved from a mountainside. There was not a blade of grass in sight, only the bumpy terrain of rocks, pebbles and stones. Blood spattered boulders and the sides of tents were torn apart by sword heaves and fallen bodies. The dead swarmed the ground. He could easily spot the eyeless Cavewardens lying mangled in pools of blood. Their hands clutched swords, lances, bows, scimitars and a seemingly endless paraphernalia. Some had slash marks across the arms to prove they put up a fight, others had gashes through their necks and chest, dying without the chance to raise their weapons. Many died weaponless. Their skin was tinged with an ashen gray color he had seen in all Rockhewns he had met and limbs scattered the ground.

They gave their lives for me. I don’t deserve this. I am not worth saving.

“What bastards did this?” His hands balled up into fists. All around him were the bodies of the Skullharrowers. Few wore as few clothes as the one he met in the tent. Most of them were shrouded in black cloaks and mail to match. Their blades and arrowheads were either gray or black, as if they all had a fondness for the color. The mud-like blood spattered them and the ground near them. Their cloaked waved and billowed in a crisp wind. Even in death the creatures looked vapid.

They died for me.


The shrouded creatures looked ghostly in their cloaks, which put Cavendish into a state of uneasiness. Their blood mixed with the blood of the Cavewardens.

They didn’t deserve that.

They didn’t deserve to share the same ground as the Cavewardens.

Cavendish groped for the meaning behind it all. All of this was his fault. His fault and no others. The Skullharrowers came for him. The Cavewardens died for him. Why? Why did they have to die for him? He could not grasp their intentions. He reached out for it, yet it slipped through his fingers. Why lay down your life for a man who had been unconscious for sixty days. A man you’ve never even met? They had even healed him! They owed him nothing!

Vertigo struck him with enough force to send him reeling. Be struggled for breath. He didn’t deserve it. He didn’t--why would they die for him?

He looked for survivors, sitting on a boulder and continuing his struggle for breath. Through his haze he counted eleven survivors--eleven survivors outside their tents.

Two approached him. Two he knew.

“It’s the only way to kill them,” Vallow said, gesturing to the Skullharrowers. Until now he had not noticed that every one of them dead lay headless. “They’re mostly dead and they feel no pain. They don’t have the nerves to feel them. The only way to kill them--” she pantomimed swinging a sword, “--is to cut off their heads.”

“What are they?” Cavendish’s words were brimming with hate. “What made them what they are? One of them spoke to me. They called themselves ‘a sinner in life, tempted in the end and a killer in death.’ What does that mean?”

Faragar took a step forward, “They serve Lord Vile.”

“I KNOW THAT!” Cavendish snapped, then shrank away from Faragar, who showed no contempt at his words. In a quieter voice he said “I know that, but what are they?”

Vallow stepped forward. “They are the ones who seek to destroy everything we have ever built! They--” Faragar reigned her in with a hand on her shoulder. “She’s right,” Faragar said, “But that’s not all. They were once Cavewardens themselves.”

What kind of evil kills their own kind? No. This wasn’t evil. This was something more. Cavendish grimaced at the thought.

“They were once Cavewardens,” Faragar continued, “They were sinners. Rapists. Thieves. Killers. Eventually when they committed enough atrocities they earned a visit from Lord Vile. He would visit them--promise them power. Money. Anything they asked for. Most of them say yes. The ones who say no are killed. They die either way. Few survive a visit from Lord Vile.”

When he was done Vallow indicated to Cavendish with her head, as if telling Faragar to talk to him and said “Let me know when you’re done. I must tend to the wounded.

As Vallow walked off, Faragar turned to Cavendish. “You seem troubled,” he said.

“I am.” he said, swallowing the bile of his thoughts, “I--this attack--this thing is evil. Such evil shouldn’t be possible.”

“And yet it is,” Faragar said with a forced, unconvincing laugh. “They came for you, but they did not find you. That is what matters.”

“Perhaps it would have been better if they did take me,” Cavendish muttered, “Better for this place. For Morgoro Rockhewn.” He could not bring himself to meet Faragar’s gaze.

“How? Why would you want to be taken by the Skullharrowers.”

“It would have saved lives. These people would never have had to die for me. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve your help and now there’s no way I can repay you--” he gestured toward the dead, “For this.”

As if on cue, Vallow let out an agonized cry of “FARAGAR! FARAGAR COME QUICK!”

Faragar was bounding down the village before Cavendish even noticed he was gone. He saw Vallow dragging a body into the street and immediately his heart sank. He didn’t need to see it to know who it was. Yet he did not tear his gaze away from the sight of a boy no older than twelve with a slit throat and blood all over his belly. The eyes stared unblinkingly, emptily into space.


Vallow hugged her child close. “My fault,” she muttered, “My fault. I should have been there to protect you.”

The other Cavewardens crowded around the body and Faragar had to push his way past them. “Out of my way. Out of my way THAT’S MY SON!” His heavy, tree-trunk like arms pushed the eleven aside to the sight of Vallow cradling Calist’s dead body.

“My boy,” he muttered through choked sobs. “My little boy. . . .”

Cavendish wanted to scream. It’s not your fault! Damn it all to hell! You aren’t to blame! If I wasn’t here he wouldn’t have died in the first place. Blame me for this happening. Blame me!

Lord Vile, you will pay for this.”

“I’m going to Eldeglast,” he said quietly.

Cavendish leapt to his feet and proclaimed even louder “I’m going to Eldeglast!”

Faragar gaped in surprise. Indeed, the whole village seemed startled by Cavendish’s announcement. “Why?” Vallow asked from afar.

Without thinking, Feign’s words returned to him. “We need the Highguardians and the Bloodlustors if we’re going to fight Lord Vile. They will rally behind me. I know it!

“But I cannot go alone.”

Vallow stepped forward. “I will aid you in your quest, Arthur Cavendish.” She pulled her blade from its scabbard.

Faragar, too, stepped forward. “I will accompany you and my wife,” he said.

Yet no one else spoke a word. Their blood soaked hands merely sagged at their sides.

“The rest of you!” Cavendish ordered, “Tend to your wounded. Clean your village. It will be returned to its former glory. I promise you this.” Without another word he returned to his tent.

He entered to find Feign sitting on the bed.

He wore a cool comforting smile that seemed to spread throughout his whole face. He had his chin pressed against his neck and had his stave cradled between his legs. “You have done well, Arthur Cavendish,” he said, “Already you are forming a company to bring you to Eldeglast.”

“And will you be a part of that company--” he had to force himself to say deliberately “Feign?”

“Patience, my friend. I shall accompany you in time. For now, I have simply come to offer you a gift.” He closed his eyes and hummed softly to himself. His stave glowed bright blue and a form began to take shape beside the bed.

It was exactly twice as tall as Cavendish with a rough, bark-like substance for skin with human hair that reached his shoulders and a beard that reached his waist. Moss besprinkled his hair and beard and random patches.

“His name is Roan,” Feign said, “And he belongs to the race of Oakenrelics. I have been speaking with him for quite some time now. He is a member of the Highguardians and has agreed to help you.

“Now,” said Feign with a smile, “Your adventure begins.”

A personal favorite of mine, Arthur Cavendish has a talk with a rather eccentric Dark Lord

A Chat With Lord Vile

When Arthur Cavendish regained consciousness he found himself inside an infinite whiteness. The void stretched on for as far as he could see, and he found a single chair in the midst of it all; he climbed to his feet and stumbled into it.

As soon as he did, a man appeared in the chair opposite him. He had the demeanor of a circus showman. He had pitch black hair that covered part of his face so that his left eye was shrouded. Each strand of hair seemed visible, and he exuded a kind of cocky confidence in his mannerisms. He was fidgeting with his hands, crossing and uncrossing his legs. He wore a suit that had a bright golden color against a silver coating beneath it. His legs were spread apart with a diamond tipped cane between them. He rested both hands on them and gave Cavendish an 'I know something you don't know' smile.

"Arthur Cavendish," the man crossed his legs and rested his cane along one leg. "I've been dying to chat with you for quite some time. May I call you Cavendish?" The man's smile faded, and the happiness left his voice, "Or do you prefer 'Pure One?'

Cavendish's jaw clenched. "Lord Vile."

The man uncrossed his legs and looked as if he had to resist the urge to stand up. His limbs crackled with life as he sprang erect in his chair. He wore a smile that exposed his teeth "You know my name!" he shouted, "I'm impressed!"

"What do you want with me?"

Vile shoulders sagged and he put on a mock-frown. "Aw, sticking to one sentence answers, are we? You know Cavendish, you're no fun at all, but I digress. I simply want to talk." his voice sprang to a louder pitch like an attacking snake "Is that acceptable?"

"What do you want with me?" Cavendish repeated. Don't show him any emotion. Don't give him what he wants. You're a blank slate, remember that.

Lord Vile twirled his cane and allowed it to land to the left of his chair, crossed his legs and said "We're going the broken record route, are we...heh. Well Cavendish--or Arthur--can I call you Arthur? Well, Arthur, I wanted to let you know I'm not the kind of guy Feign, Vallow, Faragar and everyone else is making me out to be," his cane came to the ground with a heavy thud while he jumped to his feet at the same time. He circled the chair and said "For example, I could have let my Skullharrowers kill you."

"And yet they didn't..."

Vile put a finger up as if he were testing the wind direction. "For good reason!" He jumped over his chair and stepped so that he was on all fours and inches away from Cavendish's face. "They laid waste to an entire village, didn't they? What's one more person to them? What, you think those pathetic Rockhewnes SCARED them away? Nuh-uh. Someone called them off." His words tip toed from one to the next "And guess. Who. It. Was."

Cavendish glowered at him.

"Come on...say it!"

No answer.

Vile put a finger to his ear, "Say it!"

No response,

"It was me!" he said, leaping to his feet and dropping back down into his chair. His cane slapped against the ground. He wore an eerie smile etched across his face. "So next time you have the urge to go ruining centuries of work, just remember one thing!" the laughter and joy were swept out of his voice as he said "If I wanted to, I could kill you and all your friends with a simple nod of my head." He stood up and patted Cavendish's lap. "'kay? Okay. That's all I wanted to say," again the mirth faded from his voice. "I'll be talking to you again soon Cavendish. For now...have your fun."

Arthur Cavendish discovers he has an unusual ability to wield lightning which he can’t control. When attacked by a grittier version of the amazons, it’s called down and her burns down an entire city with it. The following takes place directly afterwards:

A Talk by the Fire

When the three were safely away from the Bwalan Wilderness they made camp. For a long while nobody said a word. Vallow was roasting rabbit over the fire when she spoke up. “How did you do that?”

Cavendish coveted her gaze, yet shied away from it all the same. “I don’t know.”

“It takes power.”

“I don’t care.”

“No one else has that kind of power--”

Cavendish whirled to face her in a fit of anger. “I DON’T CARE!” he shouted.

Dead. My fault.

“I’m no worse than the Skullharrowers. I’m like the Aezires. I am evil.”

“You did what you had to,” said Vallow, “Don’t worry, killing gets easier.”

“Killing gets--?” Cavendish choked on the words. “I don’t want it to get easier! I just killed an entire city! It was an accident, I--!” He faltered. “I don’t want to kill.”

“A hero who does not kill,” Vallow said, grimacing at her own words, “How does that work? You brought the Aezires to justice.”

With an effort Cavendish remained in his seat, drumming his fingers. “I’m not a hero, Vallow. And that wasn’t justice, that was revenge. People can rarely stomach justice.”

“They deserved to die.” Vallow said, her voice changing to one of defiance.

“Oh and those men?” Cavendish retorted, cocking his head to one side. “I suppose they deserved to die, too!”

Vallow’s eyebrow vanished beneath her hair. The fire crackled upward by Vallow’s own rage. “You know what I mean!”

“I DON’T! I REALLY DON’T, VALLOW!” Cavendish shrieked, “I laid waste to an entire city. Innocent people. CHILDREN. What part of this are you not getting?”

“You think you’re the only one on our side who has killed innocent people and children?” Vallow retorted.

Roan watched their argument expressionless.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You should talk to Feign sometime.”

Cavendish opened his mouth to speak, then shut it again. “I won’t become a killer,” he said, “God help me, I’m not killing anyone.”

“You could jeopardize the All World with that vow, Arthur. What will you do when an Aezire has you cornered? Lay down your life?”

“If it will spare innocent people, yes! I won’t kill, Vallow. I. Won’t. Kill.”

Vallow sighed in defeat. “Suit yourself,” she said in a tone that suggested they would discuss the topic later.

Another favorite of mine, Feign makes his return after a long departure and enlists Faragar in to help him fight off Lord Vile’s attack on the Rock Lore. Along the way back to Morgoro Rockhewn, Feign relays some of the All World’s history.

The day’s journey was long and arduous. The two were constantly on the lookout for falling tree branches, fires blazing and passing Aezires.

The two found themselves amidst a tangle of leaves and vines, a smell of wet moss hanging in the air. Feign raised his stave and with a blue glow from its tip the curled back like frightened children, shrinking from the light.

The two walked five paces to find a branch in their way. Feign cocked an eyebrow in Faragar’s direction. “Allow me,” said Faragar and he drew his sword from his scabbard and cut the log cleanly in half, sending splintered wood in all directions.

Feign kept his gaze ahead when he said “You want to ask me something, don’t you, Faragar?”

“How’d you know?”

“Heh. . .I have my ways. By all means, lad, speak up.”

“That stave,” Faragar said, indicating to the rhythmic glow protruding from its tip, “I’ve always been curious. I’ve heard the stories and all, but how does it work?”

The ground was now softer below them, sending their boots deeper into the ground so that they struggled to pick them out. “I thought everyone knew the origins of my stave.” said Feign,

“Well, you’re the corporeal form of the All World’s magic, I always assume the mighty Allfathererer could just conjure it up. Is that untrue?”

“The furthest from the truth I can imagine,” said Feign, “and yet. . .heh. . .it’s always the most popular theory. No, I carved this staff many eons ago.

“You see, when Regina created the All World with her singing and departed to the High Heaven, the last gift she gave to it was me as its guardian and protector. I soon encountered a problem, however. Be it a sour note of Regina’s when she conjured me or a simple imperfection of mine. I couldn’t channel my magic outwards.

“For three hundred years I struggled to find a Channel. Stones, rings, even a few fairy tales about magic wands. None of them worked.” Feign added in a quieter voice “Took me six months to carve that wand, too.

“Naturally, I began to get frustrated. Lord Vile was increasing in strength every day that I tarried. Yet I could no way to delay him from taking corporeal form.

“It was. . .heh. . .it was soon after he started amassing an army of Skullharrowers and Kratol that I found a way to Channel my magic. I guided an expedition through the Boiling Sea where I found Yggdrasil at its center, the connection between our world and Arthur Cavendish’s. I carved my stave from it, and Yggdrasil spoke to me.

“ ‘I have heard much about you, Feign Allfathererer,’ it said, ‘Your quest to find a Channel has reached fame in every corner of the All World. I bless your staff to Channel the most powerful magic imaginable.’

“So I returned with my staff after thanking Yggrasil completely and I found myself leading an army within ten years. My name was infamous among the Skullharrowers. When I rode my horse Veil into battle the enemy cowered at the sight of me. After a battle in the Valley of the Dead the named me Skinslaughterer. I seem to have many named throughout the All World. Soothsayer, Skinslaughterer, Aggrailia, Lightwielder, Allfathererer, Highfather. Oh, so many names.

“In the Last Battle of the First War the Kratol and the Skullharrowers joined forces for one last attack in what is now Eldeglast. Lord Vile led them now, his skin as black as pitch. It looked like it was carved from coal. He bore his red eyes into me, and I into his. I fought no one but Lord Vile that day. That was the day we Broke the world.

“We desecrated the All World in our battle, and both sides were long dead when our battle had only begun. He was strong, I remember that. He wielded a black blade (he seems to always have an affinity for black) against my own stave. We cracked the earth down to its very core. He knocked me through a crack in the world and I lashed him with a wild string of argent and took him wHe fell with me, his sword poised to strike. I deflected the blow and tried for my own. He struck it aside with an easy parry. It went on for days like that. Strike, parry, strike, parry. It went on until we hit the core of the world.

“I remember it looked like a cave. There was a shallow pool of water and stalagmites, stalactites. It was deathly cold down there. Only my blue flame illuminated our battle.

“At last I struck a blow that knocked him back. He fell to the floor and gasped for breath. I saw him take a new shape. That of a fly’s head, a man’s body and a spider’s legs. I know not how he did this or why, but in that time I managed to call for help, and Regina came from the High Heaven and lifted me up with her singing. Together we rebuilt the All World and the Second Age began.

“It has been hundreds upon thousands of year since then, yet I remember it better than anything in my long, long life. Lord Vile remains at the center of the All World to this day, but I can never destroy his spirit. He sends it out to Corrupt the weak and create new armies. I fear one day he will return.”

Faragar let out a low whistle. “And you’ve had that staff for more than one hundred thousand years?”

“For Five Ages,” he said, smiling to himself. The memory gave him a strong sense of nostalgia. “I will have it for. . .heh. . .four more.”

“And what then?”

With his stave, Feign pushed back a branch and the light of the sun came into view. The two shielded their eyes from the sun’s onslaught, unused to the light outside the Bwalan Wilderness. “Look at that,” Feign said, “We’re here. We’ll be in Morgoro Rockhewn yet.”

And lastly, my second favorite part, Arthur, Vallow and Roan venture to meet the Rune People in order to try to control his lightning. They discover Arthur Cavendish is a product of Lord Vile’s creations. When Skullharrowers attack Cavendish is able to control his lightning for the first time.


“Are there any rooms in this place at all?” Cavendish asked. All around him were expansive hallways lit dimly by torches on either side so that the center remained untouched by the fire’s light. Smoke cast a veil over his vision and filled his lungs and nose so that he nearly gagged.

Each hallway turned at a ninety degree angle which led to more hallways. They wandered for hours on end when Vallow clenched her fists and sifted her fingers. “This isn’t a labyrinth. I know enough of the tales to tell you enough of the tales to tell you that. But I always thought it would be a bit more . . .grand.”

Roan walked back and forth on the balls of his feet to his heels. His left hand was crossed to the loop of his belt where his wooden axe lay. His fingers lightly danced around the handle as if he were massaging it. At the same time he bore a look of readiness. Capable of of swinging his six foot axe from its loop and striking an opponent down in the same motion.

Vallow’s head perked up like a rabbits and she sniffed the air. “That scent. I’ve never smelled it before. It’s--”

“Like brimstone?” Cavendish finished.

She turned to Cavendish, cocking an eyebrow in disbelief. “You smell it, too?”

“It doesn’t take someone with a sense of smell as strong as yours to get THAT scent. Oh god it’s rank.” He scowled at it. A scowl which quickly turned to fear when he heard footsteps at the end of the hallway.

Vallow said nothing, but she nodded to Cavendish to take out his sica blade as she knocked an arrow into her bow. He tried to hold it so that it did not look foreign in his hands, but he had a feeling it did not work.

“Away.” Roan said.


“Rune People. Incredibly paranoid. Away.”

Apprehensively and under Roan’s heavy glare Vallow slung her bow over her shoulder again and nodded to Cavendish to sheath his own weapon.

The footsteps were louder now, and from the end of the left hallway came a figure bathed in a sky blue cloak that concealed his features from the company. The cloak draped over his body like it was tied down by weights. A hood concealed the figure’s face so that it was opaque to all who tried to see under the hood. His arms hung at his sides and the sleeves shot down to his calves. The end of the robe dragged seemingly endlessly behind him, as though re made of wisps of smoke. It made a hissing sound as the figure pressed forward, speaking in a low whisper so the company could barely hear it.

“It mustn’t see the runeses, dearie. No, it wantses it for itself. Oh yes. Yes it does. They wantses the runeses. Well they can’ts have my runeses I says. No. They’re mine. I made them myself. I dids dear and I’m not sharing.”

The hiss of the figure’s mutterings started the group and Roan threw himself in front of Vallow and Cavendish, tossing his arms to either side. The creature looked up. “What? Whats are they? Whats are they? Does they want my runeses do they?”

“No runes.” Roan said.

“NO RUNSES, HAVE I?” the figure barked so that Roan smiled. “I HAVE THE RUNSES. YOU SEESES THEM! YOU SEESES THEM!” The figure threw back its hood to show his face covered in strange circular markings. There was one on the left side of his jaw carved in fresh blood.

“IT’S MINE!!” the figure spewed saliva everywhere. “MY RUNESES! WHAT DOES THEY WANT?”

Vallow stepped forward, vainly trying to hide the quiver of fear in her voice. “We come with the Lightning Wielder.”

At this the creature’s eyes widened. “NO. We don’ts wants to Lightning Wielder. Not here. Come backs later.”

Vallow pressed forward. “We need to know how he can wield it. Please!” Her face betrayed her agony.

By now there were Rune People flocking to the hallway by the dozens. Hushed murmurs wove their way through the crowd. “Lightning Wielder?” “They is a plight on our land” “They cannots be allowed to lives.” “GETS HIM OUT! GETS HIM OUTS OF HERES!” “No no no no no not listening.”

Roan reached for his axe but did not release it from the loop. His eyes flicked from Rune Person to Rune Person. The group closed in on them. Vallow fitted an arrow and drew it to her cheek. Cavendish fumbled over his weapon and decided it was better to put it away. He pressed himself flat against the wall as if he could shrink away and hide forever. Shrink into it and wake up again in London. He wished to be home with his siblings on the farm.

All a dream. All a dream.

“He needs help!” Vallow pressed, “He needs to know how to wield his power.

“He can’ts wield it,” said their leader in the sky blue robe as he thrust an accusing finger at him, “The Lightning Wielder is a product or LORD VILE!”

A barbaric roar met their leader’s cry. “KILLS IT!” “MAIMS IT.” “BURNS IT!”

Soon all three had their backs to the wall and Roan had his axe out and clenched in his hands. HE swung out them only to find it stopped by wild argent. When he swung their runes glowed all over their bodies creating a barrier. Their eyes turned a pasty white and flames of argent stuck him back. Vallow was disarmed by a burst of emerald flame from a rune on the palm of one of their hands.

“They’re lying,” she said under her breath and in a louder voice she shouted “You’re LYING!”

“The runses do not lie!” Their leader hissed. “Lord Vile created him for a purpes. And thats purpose wills be fulfilled bys him!”

Their leader lashed out argent of his own, and Cavendish raised an arm to deflect it. He felt the electrical tingle he had felt with the Aezires and managed to shout “NO!” before the lightning encircled the argent, riding it back to their leader and knocking him into the rest.


“The Runes do not lie,” Vallow breathed.

A Rune Person reached out for Cavendish’s shoulder to find himself electrocuted. He slumped to the groundople backed away. Cavendish knelt down, his hands floated just above the Rune Person’s body but shied away from impact. “Is he dead, Vallow?” his voice was stained with urgency, “Vallow is he dead?”

Vallow moved to him and Cavendish flinched away.

“Don’t touch me!” he held his hands in a sort of surrender “DON’T TOUCH ME!”

Roan slinked into the shadows, his gripon his axe tightening. The Rune People scurried off in all directions. Only a handful remained in the hall. Roan frowned, not knowing what to do with the situation. He held his tongue as always and did his best not to be seen.

“He’s alive,” Vallow breathed, “But barely.” She stood up and Cavendish flinched again, hitting his head against the wall.


A bolt of lightning rocketed down and struck Vallow square in the chest. At the same time a bolt of argent struck Cavendish across the face and he hit his head a second time and slumped to the ground, unconscious.

When he awoke he found himself in the midst of an impenetrable blackness. He did not need to guess where he was. He knew it. And he knew who was responsible.


Lord Vile’s hissing voice laughed and slithered into Cavendish’s ear. There was the sound of disembodied clapping. “Bravo, bravo, bravo,” Cavendish,” Vile squealed. “I’d have guessed you were too stupid to know it was me.” Lord Vile appeared in a cloud of brimstone wearing red leather against black silk in a three piece suit. He tugged on his blazer and looked like he was resisting the urge to jump for joy. “Life’s full of surprises, baby!”

“What have you done?” Cavendish shrieked, a wild fury flaring up in his eyes.

“Think of it as a demonstration,” Vile said, conjuring up a cane and twirling it about with an eerie grin etched across his face. “of the power I can achieve,” he touched a finger to Cavendish’s nose, “Through you.”

Cavendish put his hands to his breasts. “Through me? You--you really did create me, didn’t you?”

Lord Vile threw a finger above his head “Ya hear that, ladies and gentlemen? He can be taught!” Lord Vile licked his lips and cooed at Cavendish “That lightning is just as much a part of me as it is a part of you. It tethers me to the All World. With your help I’ll be back in no time!” Cavendish struggled to construe what he meant by ‘back in no time.’

Lord Vile peered over to Cavendish, leaning into his face. “You, Arthur Cavendish, are chaos incarnate.” He took him by the cheeks. “You wonderful, wonderful boy. You are a force that nobody can control. Not even me! You’ll destroy the All World!” mirth bubbled in his voice, “AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!”

He gripped his cane tight and twirled it around as he walked in circles around Cavendish. Cavendish felt a strange mixture of amusement and intimidation.

“As for the whole Vallow incident,” Lord Vile said, “That was me. Think of it as a bit of foreshadowing. A sneak peek at what’s to come. It hasn’t happen yet.” His voice shrank to a whisper, “But it will. Last I checked, you nearly killed a Rune Person.” He pulled up the sleeve to his red leather blazer and checked a watch. “Oh, look at the time you simply must be going. His cane smacked against Arthur’s head and he stumbled back before crumpling to the floor. “Arthur?” he said. “Arthur!”

“ARTHUR!” Vallow said, her face was close to his and it took him a moment to realize she was crouched over him, her hands fumbling for his pulse. “Oh, thank god you’re okay.”

Cavendish tried to raise his head to find the hammering had returned. With an effort he met Vallow’s gaze. “Please tell me I’m back on London.” he murmured.

A smile touched Vallow’s lips. “No such luck, honey. Now, I’ve got good news and bad news.”

She gripped Cavendish’s forearm and hefted him to his feet. Cavendish cocked an eyebrow. “Go on.”

“The good news is that since we couldn’t find a doorway out of here Roan made one. We’re closer to Eldeglast, now. The bad news is that we’re in the Dailor Country.”

“You’ll have to elaborate.”

“King Dailor is easily swayed, and Lord Vile has poisoned his mind. Skullharrowers are welcome here.”

Roan spoke from behind them. “And an army awaits us.”

The two sprang with life and bolted for an opening in the hallway. Roan must have pounded the whole in the wall, creating the pile of dust and rubble at his feet. They exited to a field of open grass at the bottom of a hill. Above them was an army of Skullharrowers, all cloaked and shrouded, sitting atop black mares with visible skeletons.

Roan spun his axe in his hand and Vallow nocked an arrow, drawing the bowstring to her cheek. Yet despite it all, Cavendish had a feeling of serenity. The smell of decaying flesh held no meaning to him, and the roar and clatter of weapons was of little consequence. He remembered Lord Vile. He had created him, hadn’t he? He was created to serve chaos. He was chaos.

And yet he had free will.

Cavendish restrained his companions, spreading his arms out. “No.” he said. “Allow me.” Order flew into his mind as the clouds darkened. It all made sense. The whole world--this strange world made perfect sense to him, even if he couldn’t put it into words.

A deafening crack resounded, causing his companions to flinch and the hills were blanketed with darkness.

Lightning Wielder...heh.

The darkness was supreme, and nobody could see one another. Vallow groped desperately for her companions. The sky was lit up with sudden cracks. Skullharrowers fell by the score. Lightning flashed like fireworks, felling their foes with ease. A steady rumble drowned out all the screams of their foes as fires erupted. A drenching rain came down, suppressing the fires and slackening the horses grasp on the hill. They stretched and rolled lightning striking them on the way down in bolts of light. Vallow let arrows fly when lightning showed her a fow and Roan felled the few that made their way close to them.

The pacing of the lightning increased, striking down in rapid bolts. Again. Again. Again.

And then the clarity was lost. Cavendish felt his hold on the lightning slipping. He was tumbling out of his order and embracing the chaos he was created for. Lightning danced near the feet of his companions.

Not like this! I will not let them die!

“Roan, I need you to do something for me.”


“Knock me out.”

Cavendish did not have time to feel the blow before the blackness claimed him.

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@dngn4774 said:

@primepower53: Someone's been busy. You make me feel so lazy. xD

Yes. I have been busy over the past few months. I can't go a day without at least writing SOMEthing.

@awesam said:

@dngn4774: That's just because you are lazy.

I don't doubt it.