Book Title: Winter Night Falling
Series: Ti-aran Chronicles: Rise of the Guardians Book One
Author: Bryan R. South
Publisher: Freaky Fiction Writing
Cover Art: Bryan Rainey
Tour Organizer: Cu's Ebook Giveaways
The Four Kingdoms are in peril. A demon Lord thought forever imprisoned in limbo has escaped and begins to summon his Horde once again to take his revenge. In his twisted black iron tower he summons a massive wall of darkness that brings the winter storms in the fullest.
Now the Four Kingdoms are each proud and full of themselves. All the races of the realms must come together and fight the demon lord once again. Magic has been outlawed, and it is up to the reawakened Grand Mage, an eccentric old man, and what is left of the Mage Knights, as well as a budding Guardian to try to keep the peace.
Can the Grand Mage and his friends get the other kingdoms to move in time to stop the Demon Lord? Does the Demon Lord have more than one objective now that he is free? Only time will tell.
Excerpt - Battle at the keep in Joran's pass
Orion looked to Joran and then back to Greg and Zatch then nodded, he looked back at Joran.
“Well you heard the lady.”
Joran shook his head and followed Sarah to the stairwell and then up several sets of stairs until they stood upon the towers top. Sarah looked to the north and then turned and looked to him.
“Joran what I am about to do is very reckless. Chances are my attempt at taking a peek at things is going to bring back our cloaked friend. I need you to prevent me from falling over the side or being killed if you can.” Joran blinked and then gave a nod.
”What do you want me to do?”
“Hold me in your arms about the waist. If that cloaked man comes fling me down the stairs. “she said looking into his eyes.
Joran didn’t look away but he nodded.
”Alright. Don’t do anything to reckless though Milady. I happen to like you and would hate to have to find another tutor.”
Sarah lifted hand and caressed his cheek. ”Nor I. Let us begin.”
Sarah turned around to face to the north, and Joran stepped up to wrap his arms about her waist snugly but not enough to stop her breathing. Her long black hair whipped about them, and Joran could smell the scent of the soap she used to wash it last. Any young boys dream come true, holding such a beautiful woman close he thought. Sarah had begun an incantation it words sounded harsh and unfocused, but eventually he felt her unleash her power.
Sarah rode the currents of the wind in the form of a spell construct known as an arcane eye. Technically this was a spell from the First Order. She shouldn’t have been even able to cast it. She had memorized the incantation a long time ago having watched another Arch-Mage use it. The Arcane Eye floated up and over the wall and threw the storm, through it Sarah could see everything it did. She sent out a bit further sensing so far her attempt went undetected. Below the eye she saw the vanguard of the Horde roaming amongst themselves waiting for those in the keep to grow bold once more so they could rend flesh and deliver pain upon the humans once more.
Sarah sent the eye past the vanguard into the plains beyond. A Vast glowing red light lit the horizon and Sarah sent it there. What she saw sickened her. Demons worked to dig up the earth into channels, and into it they poured what looked to be human blood and body parts. She sent the eye higher into the air to take it all in at once. She physically exhaled in shock when she saw what they were doing. It was then the arcane eye was blasted out of the sky, pain shot back through the connection throwing Sarah, who screamed with Joran backwards and down the stairs.
They came to abrupt halt in one of the circular turns of the tower. He shot to his feet and drew his sword while shouting down the stairs for Zatch. He bent to examine Sarah. Blood flowed from her nose, her eyes were closed and she still breathed softly. He let out a sigh of relief. Greg came bounding up the stairs sword drawn.
“What happened?” he asked seeing Joran.
“I think one of those cloaked things blasted her. Come on lets go back up to the top and make sure it didn’t decide to drop in for visit.” said Joran charging up the stairs once he saw Orion and Zatch a few steps down.
Greg followed Joran up the stairs and into the windblown night atop of the tower. Joran slid to a stop just outside the door, for there as he had surmised stood one of the cloaked beings. An eerie green light came out from underneath the cowl of its robes.
”You were warned to stay out of the storm several times. Where is the lady? It is time for her to die.” It said in its sepulchral voice Joran began to circle to the left, while Greg circled to the right. Joran whispered a spell underneath his breath. That of a wind shield, and it appeared that Greg was doing the same. Joran looked to the cloaked being. “I think you have done enough. You cannot have her.”
The cloaked being uttered a low growl and flung a hand out towards Joran where a dark bolt of energy slammed into his wind shield and was reflected into the courtyards below. Joran didn’t hesitate he charged in with his sword, slashing away without thought. Greg followed his lead and attacked from the Opposite direction.
The cloaked being turned and slashed Greg upon the arm opening a deep wound in his sword arm with his black talons, causing him to drop his glowing red sword. Joran used that time to lay open a large slash in its back, and spun underneath a claw attack aimed for his head, and slashed open a leg as well as he circled away.
Suddenly the cloaked being was engulfed in a burst of fan shaped flames as Greg unleashed his magic. Orion burst out of the doorway and seeing what was occurring charged into battle as well. Joran followed his commander’s lead and slashed away at the being with reckless abandon. Soon the thing dropped to the ground and lay still. Zatch and Evan appeared in the doorway.
“By the gods. You killed one “said Zatch wandering over to examine the corpse.
Zatch kicked off the hood that covered the head to reveal a twisted human like face, just as a howl could be heard to the north.
“Ut oh.” said Evan from behind him. “Sound the alarm! Prepare for attack. Somehow this bastard was linked with the Horde!” shouted Orion. From below the sounds of men rushing through the snow could be heard as the soldiers below rushed to their posts.
Joran turned to look at Greg. “You should go get that stitched up my friend.” he said gesturing to the bloody wound in his arm.
Greg gave a nod and disappeared inside. Joran turned to find Orion peering into the night.
“Sarah?” he asked. Orion turned to study the young man. ”I think she will be alright. I had her moved inside the main building with the other injured. Come on let’s see if the Dwarves have finished those catapults I asked for a couple days ago.”
Orion turned and charged down the steps leaping two at a time. Joran followed his reckless commander as best as he could. A few minutes later they stood on the outer north wall where the Dwarves were loading a large stone into the bucket of the single catapult they had constructed.
“Just one?” Orion asked.
“Sorry lad it’s not like we have a lot of building material in here.” said the nearest Dwarf.
Unlike his brethren he was dressed in red robes, a long black beard that hung loosely in the wind. Orion gave a nod. ”We’ll take what we can. Joran you stay here an assist the Dwarves. I know as soon as they fire this thing all the winged demons in the Horde are going to fly up here and try and take our weapon out.”
Joran gave a nod and drew his sword.
“Not bloody likely “said the robed Dwarf. He turned and laid a hand upon the stone in the bucket and began an incantation. Joran blinked in surprise. This fellow was a mage! As he watched the dwarf, the stone in the basket began to glow red.
“Tee hee! Come on you bastards! “Cackled the robed dwarf.
From below the first elements of the enraged demons could be seen. There were so many different varieties and they charged forwards claws and weapon swinging madly. The dwarf next to him began to count softly to himself. when he reached the count of twenty five he pulled a lever and the catapult bucket as the pole swung upwards to fling the red stone into the night. It landed amidst a large group of demons and then there was a blast of heat felt clear back in the keep as the stone exploded.
“Tee hee!” said the Dwarf madly. Gesturing for his companions to load another stone and then turned to look at Joran.
“Get ready lad, here they come! “He said pointing to a group of winged demons launching themselves from the ground.
Joran steeled his self and waited and when the first landed on the wall next to him, swung his sword and cut it down. He did the same to the next, and the next. And then they were all around him. Several Dwarven Warriors entered the battle to help him with sword and axe.
The Catapult bucked once more and lobbed another fiery missile into the horde below. Several demons magically appeared on the walls and began to cut a path through the human soldiers. Several more used their talons to claw their way up the walls as well.
Orion’s bellow filled the keep with his commands. Joran swung his sword in a deadly arc and decapitated one of the flyers. Another clawed open his back and he spun and kicked it in the face. He felt blood flowing down his back but was determined to keep fighting. Suddenly a red demon with wings appeared over the wall. It incanted sharply and a blue ray slammed into the nearest Dwarf and turned him into an Ice Statue.
“Oh no you don’t!” said the red robed Dwarf throwing his axe at it. The red demon dropped low by stopping its wings and the axe flew over its head. The Dwarf scowled and went into a long incantation in response. Joran heard the Drakee intoning the same incantation and flew across the short distance to the wall’s crenel and jumped off at it, and drove his sword deep into its head. Unfortunately he didn’t realize the thing floated in the air about twenty feet off the ground. He rode its corpse down into the courtyard below and hit the ground hard, feeling one of his leg bones snap and he blacked out.
Orion watched Joran’s plunge with wide eyes. “That boy is insane!” he said to the Dwarf fighting next to him.
“Yup” said the Dwarf as he sank his battle axe deep into the chest of the demon next to him. “But he got that magic using demon off Akbar’s back”
The Catapult bucked against and unloaded another fiery payload into the demons below. The battle lasted for six hours, finally near dawn the demons began to withdraw from the outer walls and Orion leaned upon his sword heaving heavily. He turned to find his Dwarven friend doing the same with his axe. “Any longer and we would have been done in.” He stated.
The Dwarf nodded. “I believe that was the idea lad. “
Orion stood and looked around at the north wall. Bloodied and dead humans and dwarven soldiers were everywhere. “Day Watch above! “ he cried and made his way down below to find Zatch in a sling directing a work crew of disposing of the dead, Demon, Human and Dwarf alike.
“What happened to you?” asked Orion
“Eh? One of them got lucky and sank his teeth into my arm. Greg blasted it away with a fire bolt, the dolt. I got second degree burns on my arm now too.” Said Zatch.
Greg who was nearby had the nerve to blush. “But he was doing his job “said Zatch with a grin.
One of Orion’s aide de camps ran over. He was a captain of the Tiramon forced sent north from Tira. “Six hundred dead and another hundred and fifty wounded” he said handing a waterskin to Orion. Orion’s face blanched.
“That is a full third of our forces! “He said.
The aide nodded. ”I know sir. Let’s get you inside and get those cuts taken care of and we can plan the next move.” Orion nodded and clapped Zatch on the shoulder. “Come on. I know you got some tricks left in that head of yours I can use. You too sergeant.” he said walking back to the main gate of the Fortress proper.
“Joran?” asked Orion.
“Taken into the hospice to have that leg seen to, did you see that dive?” said Greg.
Orion chuckled. “That I did. I am going to start calling him mad man.” Zatch coughed.
“Let’s not mention that particular dive of reckless abandon to my sister shall we? She cares for the lad and is liable to break his other leg if she gets word of it.”
“YOU DID WHAT!?” came Sarah’s shout from the hospital rooms.
“Too late” chuckled Orion as the turned towards the hospice rooms. The scene when the three men entered the hospice was almost comical. Sarah had propped herself on an elbow and was busy lashing Joran who lay in the bed next to her his leg wrapped in bandages around a splint lay there and took it with a wan face.
“Leave the lad alone sister” said Zatch.
Sarah’s head spun to level her angry glare upon her brother. “WHAT?” she shrieked.
“I said leave him alone. He saved yet another mages life by his deed even if it was a stupid move. Next time look and see how high the Drakee is in the air Joran.” he said.
Sarah went then rose and wandered over to lay hand upon Joran’s face. “And hear I thought you were just lost in battle lust. I am sorry Joran.” she said softly looking into his eyes. Joran attempted a smile.
“Oh get a room already!” came a gruff voice a couple beds down. Joran turned to see who spoke and saw the red robed dwarven mage having his arm bandaged.
Orion chuckled. ”That is as much of a thank you as you are going to get from Akbar Joran.”
Orindyll Ravenslock – Arch mage of the First Order, Acting Grand Mage of the Orders of Five, Earl of Raven’s Bluff
J’Lann Silverhand-- Mage-Knight; First Sword of the 2nd Order, Later Preceptor (commanding officer) of the Mage-Knights.
Joran Silverhand—Mage-Knight; 3rd Order
Tomas Silverhand-- First thought to be a magus of the First Order; he is later discovered to be the Last of the Guardians, as well as a Divine Agent of Adara the Lost. Goddess of Knowledge, Nature, and Magic.
Count Evan Dupont-- Count of the Township of North Keep
Zatchion D’Orsk— Arch Magus of the 2nd Order. Great Grandson of Orindyll Ravenslock. Baron of Caer Percivor.
Sarah D’Orsk -- Arch Magus of the 3rd Order. Great Granddaughter of Orindyll Ravenslock.
Sirenthial Silverbranch -- Arch Magus of the 4th Order. Heir to the Elven Throne of Erinor. Chronicler of the Orders of Five.
Chase Summers – Mage-Knight of the First Order, Traitor
Gregory Pecorian – Mage-Knight of the 2nd Order; Sergeant
Aileen Mistwinter—an Elven Hunter of Erinor; Twin of Tariel
Tariel Mistwinter – An Elven Hunter of Erinor; Twin of Aileen
Duke Echias of High Point – Duke of the City of High Point.
Captain Rancos – Captain of the Black Watch of High Point
Jack – Arch Mage of the 5th order. From Tiramon
Haicho – A portly Journeyman Mage of the 5th Order from North Keep
Kelvin – Former Grand Mage of the Orders of Five; Arch Mage of the First Order, King of Tiramon
Arrowthorn— Ranger of Tiramon, Heir to the Throne of Tiramon. Kelvin’s son
Alindryia Silverbranch—Queen of the Elven Kingdom of Erinor. Priestess of Adara. Mother of Sirenthial
Korinthial Silverbranch—Son of Sirenthial, Heir Presumptive of the Elven Kingdom of Erinor. Blade-Weaver.
Sebastion Thr’ask— Mage-Knight of the 4th Order. First Sword.
Orion Brighthammer— Mage-Knight of the 3rd Order. First Sword
Erik Joruss— Heir to the throne of the High Kingdom of Pendys
General Tapi— General of the Armies of Tiramon
Tir’alac— Shadar-Hai War-Leader.
Balin Ironfist— Dwarven KingsGuard. The maker of Joran’s Broadsword (though both do not seem to mention it in the story) Brother to Borodor
Borodor Ironfist— Dwarven KingsGuard. Brother to Balin.
Lee Featherhand— Mage-Knight of the 2nd Order
Charles Stormcloak— Mage-Knight of the 5th Order
Brother Bradley— A powerful Priest of Galaen the Just. God of Justice
Akbar— Dwarven Journeymen Mage of the 2nd Order
Ermina— a Sylph bound to Joran’s Sword
Jarrack—A powerful Corrupted Portal Master of Limbo.
Cassandra— Lady of the Oak Glade, Guardian
Nysander – Shade of the Great Guardian of Erinor . Cassandra’s Grandfather.
Tyramononix—The Very First Guardian of the Four Kingdoms, Soul is bound to a Golden Torc Tomas wears
About the Author
Bryan R South was born and Raised in the Pacific Northwest. He Graduated Kamiakin Highschool in 1993 . Bryan has had several poems published and has been working on the Rise of the Guardians Series since he was 16, and did his senior year paper on being a fantasy novelist. He has worked as a Linecook, in construction, and other odd jobs. He resides with his wife and fell author, S. Cu’Anam Policar, and their children in the Pacific Northwest still.