It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update on my writing, so there’s probably no better time to do that than when I’m finally beginning to hit my stride with the third and final book in The Luminous Legend.
Truthfully, I’m not as far along in the writing as I had hoped to be. In fact, I’m way behind. I’ve encountered some unforeseen difficulties with writing this part of the story, much of which came from an insufficient amount of preparation, but also occasionally was because of some nasty writer’s block that was going to rear its ugly head no matter what I did.
But I’m glad to say that I think I’ve climbed out of that funk. I can partially attribute this to a couple of very exciting developments regarding the publication of the book. I’m unable to share these details just yet, but their reveals aren’t too far off. In the meantime, I’ll be putting a lot more effort into livening this page up. I have a few updates I’d like to make, particularly with cleaning up the different sections that showcase my writing. I have lots of written pieces for the Buffalo Sabres, and my work with the entertainment website TheGeekiverse that I’d like to share here.
At some point, not far into the future, in fact, you’ll see a whole section of the site devoted to The Luminous Legend books, complete with guides, never-before-seen concept art, and some of my personal notes from the writing process.
With that on the way, here’s a new excerpt from the second book in the series, Radiant Fate. In this passage, which is actually the opening chapter of the book, you’ll be introduced to a brand new character, and be told the history of a certain mysterious, distant realm that you heard a lot about in the first book, but never got to see.
The Tower Mountains rose an incalculable height over Tordale’s surface, their imposing forms reaching high enough to pierce the clouds. Some of the tallest peaks were believed to stretch even further, as far as beyond the sky that canopied the continent, and into the heavens. Whether that myth was true or not, what was certain was that the mountains indeed passed through another realm in their ascent from the land below—the realm known as Skyscape, home to the mysterious and reclusive Emberlas.
Skyscape was a secluded domain concealed by the clouds which gathered beneath the tips of the tallest mountains. It rested countless miles above any other civilization, and there was no path to it that could be tread by hand or foot. It was only discovered when a wandering tribe of Emberlas of long ago found the natural phenomenon called Wind’s Way, where the winds from all directions gathered after their journey throughout the twisting maze of mountains, and joined into one tremendous gale that flowed skyward to an unknown destination.
When the Emberlas who first came upon Wind’s Way leapt into its billowing flow, the plumage over their bodies allowed them to soar along with the air current, climbing miles above Tordale and ascending far beyond where any other peoples had laid eyes upon. Wind’s Way eventually brought them to Skyscape, the realm hidden among the clouds that seemed untouched by any other living creatures. The Emberlas saw it as a paradise that was bereft of the war, pollution, and chaos that existed in so many regions below on the surface world, and they knew that they wanted it to be their kind’s home for the rest of history.
They could not return to the surface world right away, however, as there was no passage downward aside from a fall that would take them miles to the earth in a deathly descent. Realizing that their only way back was Wind’s Way, some of the Emberlas eventually learned over time to channel the magic dwelling within their beings and direct it to the very air about them. When they accomplished this, the Emberlas found that they could control the movement and nature of the air, bending it to their needs. These Emberlas became known as Aircasters, and they used their unprecedented ability to reverse the flow of Wind’s Way and return themselves to the continent floor.
They sought out the rest of their kin and told them of Skyscape, soon gathering together every living Emberlas and bringing them to Wind’s Way, where they left Tordale’s surface, never to call it home again.
The Emberlas did not step beyond or beneath Skyscape for thousands of years, until a young, bold princess descended from their lofty utopia to meet with the races of the surface world and reestablish some sort of bond. She was not yet twenty-five years of age at the time, but there was no one, not even her mother and father, who could keep her from completing what she believed was a worthy, and beneficial cause to both the Emberlas and Tordale’s other races.
She more than accomplished the task, forming a strong bond with King Arthus Hokara of the Tordalians, and eventually became the sworn guardian of his children, Prince Tridian and Princess Raissa Hokara.
Princess Dayneth was the first of the Emberlas to return to Tordale’s surface since her people first left, and now the younger of the Emberlas’s princesses would soon leave Skyscape, as well.
Princess Elisstriss did not possess the same icy, penetrating gaze that Dayneth did; a more meek and gentle spirit rested within her eyes. Her features were soft for an Emberlas, giving her a closer likeness to humans than the rest of her kind. Her snowy white hair fell far past her shoulders. Several of the long, wavy strands tinted with a cerulean hue, like the ocean’s waves. Close-fitting, teal robes concealed most of her petite form that would have been dwarfed by Dayneth’s tall figure. Only Elisstriss’s arms and the bands of white plumage remained uncovered by her attire.
But while her older sister was the more commanding of the Emberlas princesses at first glance, Elisstriss housed a power that Dayneth could never match.
Elisstriss was an Aircaster, one of the very greatest among her kind. It was because of that power that she felt it her duty to return to the surface world—for her home among the clouds was now threatened by an unforeseen darkness.
Elisstriss could still see it as she stood miles away in an opposite corner of Skyscape. To most eyes, it would have appeared as a faint, purple cloud lingering in the distance, and occasionally flickering with a violent light, no different than a storm cloud that slowly rolled across the horizon. But, like the rest of her people, Elisstriss’s far-seeing eyes allowed her to look deeper into the foreign energy, and behold its vile essence. The Emberlas may not have understood where it originated, or how it came to be, but they knew enough what it was—a dark, malevolent magic that intended to creep throughout all of Skyscape until it had corrupted the entire realm.
It engulfed the Spirit Shrine where the passage to Ralu lay, before the Emberlas were even aware of its presence. When they did confront it, then, they were proven powerless to halt its advance. Even the mightiest Aircasters among their kind, whose magical manipulation over the air around them granted the power to summon winds like that of a hurricane with the wave of a hand, were helpless to halt the dark energy’s continued progress. Several Emberlas perished in the endeavor, enduring a nightmarish demise as they were captured by the dark energy’s destructive touch.
Princess Elisstriss tried to block out those frightening memories and images. The Emberlas’s air magic had failed to eliminate the evil presence from Skyscape, but it still offered them a possible way to protect their realm.
Elisstriss turned her hawkish eyes to the portal that lay before her, a gaping hole in the clouds where a mighty gale emerged in its ascent along the mountains and into the skies. The Princess of the Emberlas peered through the portal, past the clouds that gathered near the peaks, past the mountainsides, and all the way down to the continent floor where the kingdom of Tordale lay as if painted upon a canvas.
She could only hope that the answer—the saving grace for the Emberlas—lay somewhere beneath.
Elisstriss turned back to the Emberlas who were to accompany her, a group of twenty brave soldiers who intended to protect her with their lives during this mission. Each wore silvery mail over their chest and torso, leaving their slender, feathered limbs bare. Half of them wielded spears that were longer than the soldiers were tall, with rods forged out of a clear, crystalline substance, and topped by gleaming metal blades. The other half of the soldiers wielded unique weapons that the Emberlas had invented themselves—steel blades crafted in the likeness of talons that fit over their hands and feet.
The head of the Emberlas royal guard, an elite warrior named Ausmus, stood at the front of the regiment. He was armed by two pairs of the steel talons, and though he wore silvery armor just like his fellow soldiers, his status was signified by an aqua-colored scarf that was bordered in white shapes that looked like clouds. His short hair spiked upward, as if it were the crest of a great hunting bird.
“We’re ready to descend when you are, your Highness,” Ausmus announced, a personal tone to his voice, despite the reverent title he ascribed to Elisstriss.
She nodded wordlessly. Elisstriss’s eyes washed over the collection of Emberlas soldiers who stood before her. “Thank you all, again, for choosing to join me. I am indebted to your bravery.”
Ausmus shook his head at the praise—a response that seemed to speak for all of the soldiers. “No, your Highness, we’re indebted to you,” he replied. “All of the Emberlas are for your willingness to meet this task.”
Elisstriss wore a solemn look over her face. She felt no pride or satisfaction from Ausmus’s lauding words as she turned back to Wind’s Way. “I do what must be done to save Skyscape.”
She said no more. She stepped closer to the gaping hole in the clouds, stopping just at the edge where Skyscape fell away to the earth. Elisstriss closed her eyes and brought her hands to her chest. She reached deep within herself, summoning the great power that rested in her being. When she felt it, touched it, she sent it spilling from her physical body and into the powerful air current that rose from beneath the clouds in front of her.Elisstriss melded her magic with the winds themselves, her mind, body, and spirit working as one to shape them to her desired state. The mighty gale sank beneath the clouds, its flow reversing and racing back down along the sides of the Tower Mountains.
She eventually opened her eyes. With her spell complete, Wind’s Way now allowed her and the Emberlas warriors a path to the surface of Tordale.
“We go,” Elisstriss said.
She spread her arms and leapt into the opening in the clouds. Ausmus was the next, and one by one, the rest of the Emberlas soldiers followed.
The air current of Wind’s Way caught the feathery bands along their bodies, carrying the Emberlas away from Skyscape and back down to Tordale.