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Ashovania's Demon

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Blurb

In the year 814, the country of Ashovania is reaching a tipping point in a 100-year civil war. Both factions, Avalon, and Alastair, are battling over the illustrious and mysterious Arcane Rune, which is said to bring prosperity to the soil of the planet. However, things go wrong when the king of Avalon is killed, and his son gains control of the kingdom. He is unfit to helm the war, almost dooming Avalon completely. Not to mention that he's been suffering from hallucinations of a demon. The story revolves around several people in the country, their connection with the rune, and the explanation of what the demon actually is.

I've been published in such publications as Suspense Magazine, Lycan Valley Press, The Fictional Cafe, Drunk Monkeys, Red Fez and others. I've currently self published three novels. I plan to release more shorts and novels. Honestly, I'm just a wisp of smoke gliding across the astral plane, purposely creating thoughtful stories to keep you up at night.

Ashovania's Demon is created by Derrick R. Lafayette, an EGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1
Gamon, the King of Avalon, couldn't sleep the night before The Battle of Osk Shallows. His gut, which was subterranean in nature, repeatedly sent him signals that tomorrow he was going to die. Normally he was good at being logical, not relying on instinct, but now he was failing at that. The helmet felt tighter than usual when placed on his head. It didn't feel like protection, it felt like the wooden gallows. Even the gray skies scared him. The gloom, and fog, walking hand-in-hand blindly with his troops, faith in every footstep. His sweat went unnoticed in the climate, only he knew how terrified he really was.He could fool the others, wearing the face of a confident man, but his gut, and now his heart, knew the overwhelming truth. His would-be killer, Drago, didn't sleep at all. He was too busy keeping his mouth open outside the castle. Collecting the raindrops into a worthy drink of natural water. His comrade Paskel, hoped that bird s**t would fall and teach Drago to keep his mouth closed. The two of them had moved up in rank, and at tomorrow's battle, the King of Avalon would be in attendance. This will be the closest they ever got to him, and Drago could almost taste the blood on his sword. Knowing full well it would be his infamous rapier to do it, to finally get an edge in the civil war. To get his name known as more than just 'Alastair's dog.' Gamon's son however, slept like a baby, though grown by all standards. He'd at least seen thirty summers. And not only did he slumber during the day, but during The Battle of Osk Shallows as well. He was the definition of terrible nepotism, not only was he not fit to wear the crown, he wouldn't even be suited to clean it. But it's not his fault entirely when your father is basically a deity. And unbeknownst to most people, Gamon was immortal. No one knew. They didn't know Drago was immortal also, but rumors swirled about, nicknaming him 'The immortal knight.' When the steel of two immortals meet, both men are reduced to human. They can kill each other. The scary part isn't The Battle of Osk Shallows, it's what happens after it, that's where the tale begins. Because if anything were to happen to Gamon, nothing was in place to stop his son from taking over. Which would put the Prince at the top. Which is where no one in Avalon wanted him to be. But without preventative measures, and the war costing both sides immeasurable damage, no rule, law, or prophecy was set in place. Having the Prince there was worse than the blind leading the blind, it was more like the deaf conducting a symphony. The year is 814, and man isn't old enough to realize that war is immoral, yet at times it is entirely necessary. Their realm is akin to earth, but about one-sixth its size, and nameless. Only referred to as 'The Planet.' It contains five regions: Kliahoqari in the west, Oskea in the east, Oglolor in the north, Bruahm in the south, and Ashovania in the middle. The middle region contains two kingdoms, Avalon and Alastair, who have been locked in a civil war for a little over a century. Avalon with a slight advantage. However, the power dynamic shifted during the Battle of Osk Shallows... Pools of black water nested in the muddy battlefield like craters on the moon. By the time anyone arrives, the heavy rainstorm ceases to a weak dew. The eerie silence kisses the bland sky in such a way you'd think the dead was going to rise. Vultures slept longer, gaining more energy before the Battle of Osk Shallows, fantasizing over the feast of fallen soldiers at day's end. Eventually the steel did clash. And with an ephemeral pause, as if all of Ashovania took an abysmal breath to contemplate such bloodshed, it happened. The steel tip of a rapier pierced straight through his heart, and escaped out his back, nearly missing his spine. Drago, the immortal knight, succeeded in bringing down the King, with the total combat zone as his audience. The wounded ruler now confined to a regal deathbed. Passing on his legacy before plunging into a coma, the infinite inescapable dream. Now the Prince helms a war he cannot win. Four Months later, during The Failed Siege of Veodia. Wake up... The enemy's castle walls are quivering with dust falling atop the Prince's crimson hair. Brick meshed with concrete dissipating into clouds of gray. Columns tumbling like rooks filled on a chessboard, leaning on its neighboring piece. The Prince discovers himself revisiting his own body. The crust still hasn't left his eyes yet. Hisvision blurred, as fire sprouts into the nearby corridor, claiming the hallway as its own. The smell of burning concrete wafts around him. "A dragon...inside the castle?" he ponders. Visceral screams echo behind him, holding reminisce of the soldiers he left there to save himself. The guilt-ridden hands of the Prince are lifted to his ears. Sweat emptying down his face, as he hears these words in his skull. "The immortal knight, Drago, will be the death of me...and you." Slightly coherent, he wields his sword and readies an attack position. In a fluke-like clash, he dodges the nearby enemy's advance and impales him in the stomach. They're both shocked at the outcome, especially the victor. This is the Prince's first kill. Now questioning his own validation as a warrior, he thrusts further until the hilt kisses his bellybutton. "If anyone is living from the Avalon kingdom, scream to the gates of Arcadia!" a voice cries out. Arcadia for them is equivalent to heaven. "I am alive, your Prince, I am not dead!" The Prince angles the sword downward and watches the dead body slowly slide off, taking his murder-virginity with it. Still trembling, he sprints towards the voice of his comrade. Which to him holds the tune of a savior, and the melody of a scapegoat. The ceiling finally surrenders with gigantic concrete pieces crashing to the floor. Blessings reveal themselves as we match the voice to a face. Leo, the captain of the dragon cavalry, extends his hand to the Prince. He makes it to the armored laced dragon and speedily mounts it. Flaming arrows screech a piercing noise as they fly by inches from his ears, leaving his lobes promptly singed. He secretly yearnsfor the damage to his ears to stop the voices in his head. Necromancers run into the dilapidated hallway and begin to conjure the lifeless; even the dead has work to do. Their hands glow pearl white and re-animates the skeleton from the corpse. The monstrosity lives as the skin and organs drip off its frame like melted candle wax. "No rest for the fallen. Leo, breathe fire upon that wretched man's undying soul!" The dragon extends his wings and opens his oversized mouth. Bright orange and red cinders assemble in the center creating a powerful blast of fire, as the majestic creature swoops out the entrance of the crumbling castle. The cavalry and the Prince fly away amongst a brightly lit metropolis with a wide array of colors, purple, dark blue, and jungle green, emanating from below. This is the city of Veodia. "You are the only survivor? Did you see Felicity?"questions Leo. "Last I saw she was struck down by an enforcer," lies the Prince. He still isn't accustomed to speaking gospel. But memory served the truth of his yellow-souled departure. He only seen Felicity when he fled, leaving his unit to die. The fortress falls. By now it's from a bird's-eye view, free of danger. It is an Alastair fortress. The Alastair kingdom, starved of natural resources, resorted to mass manufacturing. Humans caged under more humans all eating the cloned meat in closet apartments. Battle-torn cities spliced with novice skyscrapers made mostly of concrete. Every year one would collapse on its own.Normally the fallen high-rise would end up colliding with bunkers, and castles, all harboring the distinct smell of contamination. Anti-pollution masks on every child, whereas a mere sneeze could mean certain death. A dystopian wasteland meshed with crude machinery, and disjointed roadways. But, they are light-years ahead technologically of all the other regions. They receive steel, and materials from Oskea, in exchange for their futuristic know-how. Barter is man's first science. Nevertheless, the Oskeashold no desire for war. "No soul should be lifted by the hands of another." The words ring so true that many don't believe it, labeling them idealist. Two Avalonian soldiers drift behind on their dragons while Leo and the Prince soar forward, after the failed siege at Veodia. They peer down at the advanced landscape, now blemished by the crumbled castle. "Hard to fathom that this used to be farmland, now I don't know what it is." one soldier says to the other. "Aye, back then it was ruled by the Arcane. Word has it that the peace during that era was created through covered up deaths that the militia sought necessary." "The rune changed all that. I heard that the initial carrier of the relic dodged an assassination attempt from the Arcane some two-hundred, three hundred years ago." "I've heard this as well, instead of sharing it, he went into exile, where his mind decayed from hallucinations of a demon. I wonder what happened to him?" "I don't know, but he was revered as a prophet, and now..." ...he is the King of Avalon. Able to start his new life in secrecy, no one associated him with the exiled carrier from yesteryear. Whenever the question arises of how he obtained the rune, rumors has it that the prophet, who then abandoned the physical world, chose him. Plus, with the right amount of time, you begin to craft your own truth. "Blasphemous in a way, but ironically we live by strict religion." "Ironic indeed." The dragons, carrying the few lasting Avalon soldiers, flap their massive wings over the illuminating cities to descend on a more rural farmland area. Countryside in appearance, with small patches of protesters scattered throughout, sharing a common goal to end the war. Some dirt roads, miles and miles of plant nurseries with flourished bright red and yellow flowers.

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