Today I’m offering you an excerpt from a fantasy novel called “The Rising Wind”. I hope you enjoy reading this!
Marc let out a small sigh of relief as the sound of flint striking steel rang out behind him. Sparks flickered dimly. Meanwhile the chattering grew still louder, like hundreds of sticks tapping against stone. The knight raised his sword and shield as if bracing to receive a line of charging infantry.
Finally, a torch guttered to life, revealing the passage once again. A gasp of fear choked in Marc’s throat and he recoiled in shock. Shuffling toward him came a legion of undead monsters such as he’d only ever heard of in myths and ghost stories. Skeletons without flesh, they staggered and swayed, moving not like men but sinister marionettes. Bones clanked together and rattled against the marble floor, filling the hall with that horrible chattering.
“Vantill’s mercy!” Marc cursed, backing away with wide eyes.
Garvorax barked a warning and grabbed his charge by the shoulder. “Stop!”
“What?” Marc turned and saw the cause for his guardian’s concern. He gasped. They stood right at the lip of the inky chasm that had so recently swallowed the others.
Facing the undead again, Marc ground his jaw and forced himself to shake off his fear, summoning the famous discipline of the Imperial knighthood. He assessed the situation as he’d been trained, and quickly gauged the enemy’s approach. At a guess, he and Garvorax had perhaps half a minute before they were overtaken. Marc then glanced up and down the corridor, searching for the nearest doorway. Down on the right, just at the cusp of the enemy’s advance, he spotted one, leading off into empty blackness.
“Do you want to run or jump?” Marc asked quickly.
“What?” Garvorax hissed.
“Run or jump? Hurry!”
Marc pointed with his sword. “That door.” By then the first of the skeletons had nearly reached it.
“You mean run toward those things?”
“It’s either that or we jump blind into the pit.”
Garvorax hesitated a moment, considering both options. “But what if that door leads to a dead end?”
“Then we’ll be no worse off than we are now.”
The goblin grunted and slung his broadsword across his back. Raising the torch with one hand, he grabbed the back of Marc’s belt with the other. “Run!” he barked.
The Rising Wind
Author: Ken Floro III
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
Have you ever dreamed of being swept into adventure alongside a dashing knight or two? Would you be outraged if you were suddenly thrust into terrifying dangers against your will? What if you found yourself trapped on a cursed island, in the middle of a haunted sea, surrounded by your worst enemies? When a conniving treasure-hunter hijacks the Rising Wind, its passengers will find themselves facing all this and more!
“The same trick didn’t work a third time. When Marc stepped into the ring of firelight and shouted a challenge, his adversaries shrank into the shadows across from him – more cautious now than they had been earlier. Their broad limbs and hulking silhouettes prowled the darkness at the edge of the forest, disguising their numbers. Standing exposed, in the open clearing, Marc felt vulnerable, but he knew he couldn’t run. For an anxious moment, he just stood there, uncertain what to do next. The curse of inexperience was lack of foresight, and Marc hadn’t stopped to calculate an alternative in case his original plan failed. Now he had to think on the spot. Unfortunately the present circumstance was no place for contemplation. So, in that dangerous moment, he acted on instinct.”
Ken was born and raised in the Southside of Saint Louis. By the way, did you know Saint Louis was named after King Louis IX? He was the only French monarch ever to be sainted, in part because he led two Crusades (which didn’t go so well), but mostly because his grandson, Phillip the Fair, sort of abducted the papacy to France after finagling one of his henchmen into becoming Pope. Since adding a saint to the family tree would put a little extra burnish on his royal reputation, Phillip had his pet Pope, Clement V, do him a solid. You’re welcome for the trivia.
Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, we were talking about Ken Floro III. After earning a degree in World Literature, followed by a degree in Culinary Arts, Ken soon made the obvious career move and went to work in medicine. If you’re having any trouble guessing why, then you’ve obviously never served time in the literary or culinary fields. A little taste of reality can suddenly turn a healthy paycheck, normal working hours, and long-term job security into sumptuous delicacies.
Despite the sudden change in his employment trajectory, Ken never turned away from his dream of writing. He’d nurtured a lifelong creative ambition, which had gained direction when a funny true story he wrote for a high school English class became so popular with his classmates they traded copies of it in the hall and passed them up and down the bus. After that, as they say, ‘the die was cast’.
By the way, the ancient historian Suetonius originally coined that phrase, claiming Julius Caesar said it when he crossed the River Rubicon – but in Latin, of course, iacta alea est. Ever since, those words have been used to indicate a portentous moment that affects the course of all subsequent history. In Caesar’s case, crossing the Rubicon sparked the first of the civil wars that ultimately destroyed the Roman Republic and replaced it with that institution most abhorrent to traditional Romans (who had all been conveniently killed or exiled by then): monarchy. In Ken’s case, in just means that English paper led him to focus on writing as a means to channel what the voices in his head kept telling him.
Wait! Did I say ‘the voices in his head’? Whoops, sorry. Just a little joke there – ha-ha! What I meant to say was that Ken turned to writing to express the, uh, inspiration he received from . . . the muses. That’s sounds less crazy, doesn’t it? Yeah, let’s go with that. The editor can fix all this later, right? Anyway, ever since that catalytic moment in high school, Ken has been writing as a hobby and a passion. Thus far, he’s published eight books, along with several other tidbits, all of which are available on his website, southsidecavaliers.com.