These are the last two and a half pages that make up the Prologue. I hope peeking inside the book has been fun – maybe I’ll have to post more excerpts soon!
The time after the invoking of the Opening Marks was critical to an Augira. During those moments, the Auri that was being accessed could be Commanded any way the Augira willed. By focusing on a Command, an Augira could use the Auri for a multitude of purposes. After creating the Command, it was imperative to trace the Closing Marks, lest an Augira’s thoughts wander. If that happened, the Command would be nullified and nothing would happen upon completion of the Closing Marks. Without a strong will to imprint an Augira’s Command on the Auri between the Opening and Closing Marks, the raw power simply slid back into its normal, life-sustaining state, unused. Perfect focus was imperative if an Augira wanted to be able to Command the Auri they had been gifted with access to.
Of course, using life force for purposes other than the one it was intended for had consequences. As Augiri tapped into their Auri, their lifespan shortened. This happened every time they used it; more Auri was needed for larger, more complex Commands, so Augiri who did such works needed to ensure that they didn’t use so much Auri that they were left without enough to stay alive. Most Augiri lived only half as long as other people, barely reaching their fiftieth year; some, who were often untrained, overdrew their Auri early on and were killed by their own over-reaching Command. There were ways around that problem, though, but many people found them distasteful and…messy. Kortara had not been one of those people.
Taking the lives of others had never bothered him all that much.
Kortara made sure that his blood and the boy’s had completely mingled, then he set the knife down on the stone as he focused on his Command. He then used his right hand to trace another complicated symbol in the air – the Closing Marks – while blood slowly dripped down his arm to the floor. As Kortara finished, the boy’s body suddenly went stiff, and then his slow breathing stopped. He was dead.
Surely, this time…he thought. It has to work!
Kortara moved his focus inward, trying to sense whether or not he had finally, finally been successful. Immediately, he knew. He felt nothing.
He had failed. Again.
With a cry of anguish, he fell to the floor.
“Why?!” Kortara screamed, his voiced bouncing off the stone walls, “Why doesn’t it work?!” His voice shook with anger and frustration.
“How much longer must I be a captive, imprisoned in the mind of another?!”
Kortara howled with an animalistic rage, slamming his bloody hands down on the stone floor. He continued to wail and yell as his vision went black, and darkness overtook him.
Pevnir heard the cacophony within the chamber, but he didn’t move from his position outside the door. This was not the first time that he had heard such sounds from the chamber, and he imagined that it would not be the last. Rebirth was something that even the Nameless One had never attempted. Pevnir had no doubts about his leader’s abilities, but he imagined that this working of Auri was particular; he had no idea just what Kortara would need to do for it to work. Pevnir was just glad that he could be a part of it.
They were bringing about a new age to Alcostia – to the world!
After the chamber had been silent for about a half an hour, Pevnir gingerly entered. As he had expected, his leader was unconscious on the floor. He gently picked up the leaden body and carried him out the doors. The guard nearest to where Pevnir had waited outside the chamber gestured that he had alerted the others and that they would take care of the dead boy’s body and the cleaning, as usual. Pevnir nodded and continued down the hall.
He held the unconscious man cradled in his arms, carrying him all the way through the secret passageway that led to his chambers. They entered the Regial Suite through the hidden door that lay behind an ancient tapestry depicting Evangela’s victory at Kortara’s Ruin.
I always find the placement of this tapestry ironic, thought Pevnir. Maybe my dear ruler has a sense of humor. He smiled at the thought, placing the unconscious man on his bed. Pevnir then took the time to wash the blood from the ruler’s hands and arms, checking to make sure that none had gotten on his robes. He was lucky tonight; the regial robes were still spotless.
After one final check, Pevnir departed the same way he had entered. Although this evening had not been a success for his exalted leader, Pevnir was certain of his eventual triumph.
And then, he thought, the world will tremble before his might.