Friday, June 24, 2016

Fiction Friday: Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer (Part1)

I grew up reading the works of Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and Fritz Leiber.  Their writing instilled in me a love of Sword and Sorcery fiction that has never died.  Sadly, Sword and Sorcery has become a somewhat neglected genre over the past few decades, and I don't see it having much of a resurgence any time soon.  Most of the things that I'm seeing are smaller independent efforts like Steve Dilks' Gunthar series.  So I've been doing some writing lately and decided to write some of my own.  It's derivative and hackneyed, but I'm not sure that I care.  I'm having fun writing again, and in my mind that's what counts.  I decided to post the beginning of one of my stories here.  The story is finished, but I'm still editing it (I write like I paint, nothing is ever done), and perhaps I'll post the rest of it in pieces over several consecutive Fridays.  

Shadows of the Silent Sorcerer


John R. Lehman

A bitter wind moaned through the high crags, carrying with it the sharp tang of ice.  There would be snow by morning.  Here among the shattered peaks of blackened stone, the mournful tone of the wind was an eerie dirge blown to herald the death of the day and to foretell the birth of the coming night.
Behind the massive peaks, the sun struggled feebly against the onrushing night, its weakening rays now little more than a bloody smear on the jagged horizon.  In the failing light, darkness seemed to flow from the very pores of the broken landscape.  It was as if some subterranean reservoir of blackness no longer held in check by the bonds of the sun had been suddenly released to well upward, and seep out upon the earth reclaiming it for its own.
In the deepening gloom stood the figure of a man. No normal man, but a hulking giant, his thickly muscled body clothed in garments of rough fur as proof against the mountain cold.  The crimson light of the setting sun cast his brutal features in sharp relief lending a glint of infernal light to the single good eye that stared out of a heavily scarred face.  From his belt hung a short wide bladed sword, of the type that was favored by the wild men of the far-off jungles of Khelehm.  It was an inelegant weapon suited mostly to hacking in close quarters.  Not the weapon of a swordsman, it was the tool of a butcher.  This suited the man just fine for he was Kurach, once of Khelehm, but now a wanderer of far lands and a bloody-handed slayer of men.  Death and butchery were his business, and he knew them well.
It was death that Kurach looked upon now, and despite his blood-soaked life the sight gave him pause.  
The last light of the sun fell upon a grisly tableau.  Here at a slight widening of the steep mountain path, stood four wooden poles as thick as young trees embedded deeply into the rocky ground.  Upon three of the poles the skeletons of men had been lashed with rotting leather thongs.  In life they must have been large men, for their bones were still thick though the mountain winds and carrion birds had stripped them of their flesh.  To the hand of each corpse had been bound a weapon.  One held a rusting sword, another a spear, and the last an axe.  Rotting fragments of armor hung from the bones of each.  Their dead eye sockets seemed to stare toward the bloody sunset as if to have one last glimpse of the light before their eternal night.

* * * * *
(To be continued...)

So there you go, a sample of my derivative and cliched work, but I had fun writing it, and it gave me an excuse to draw another picture. I guess the good news is that not many people actually read this blog. :-) 
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