Prologue: 06 Go back home, Pon

Mood Music

Pon yanked his talisman out of the air. This time he thought enough to fold part of his jerkin around his hand before he clamped down on the stone. He could still feel its heat through the cloth.

Was there still a monster out there? Had it seen him? What could he do?

The old men of Between would have advised Pon to stay hidden. The old men would have never have left their village in the first place. That was why they had lived long enough to become old men. But no. Surely there was some other choice than hide or be eaten. Surely a real hero, a Rationalist word-wizard, would be able to do something.

Pon felt the edges of the Rationalist talisman in his pocket—an octagon of worn metal roughly the size of his palm. A word-magic mirror.

Now what was the rune sequence for ‘help?’ Pon scratched several onto the mirror’s surface until he got one he was pretty sure was right, but the metal remained dark. He was still too far away from the nation of word-magic. Its god wasn’t active here in the mountains.

Pon could do nothing but wait until the forest had grown absolutely silent again. By the time he felt safe enough to stand, full night had fallen.

The pop of the bones of his spine as he stood almost drove him back into his hole, but eventually Pon stood on the embankment below the empty road. He wondered what to do.

“Go back home,” he told himself softly, “the smart thing to do.” No, he needed to go forward. At least warn the rangers at the border-Keep. Defending their realm against incursions from the Kingdoms of Evil was their job, and besides, how could he get to the Keep ahead of the carriage?

“No, have to go back home.” No telling what his parents might say, but what choice did he have? Pon had traveled farther today in a single direction than he had ever traveled before, and now he turned, knowing he would never go farther.

Pon began to climb up the embankment to the road.

And there, in the tangle of moonlight and shadow cast by the trees, Pon saw the monster.

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  • dan

    So what do you think about the illustration and music thing? Does it work?

  • I had other music playing, so I can’t comment on that, but I liked the illustration. I’m curious if you drew it yourself, or if it was the work of a friend or something — I hadn’t formed a very firm mental image of Pon prior to seeing it, so it does contribute. Anyway, reading on now.

    • dan

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I did draw the illustration myself (I’m going to put a gallery up soon, and in the mean time you can see more KoE stuff on my deviant art page). And thanks for reading. I am eager to hear your opinion about the end of the prologue.
      And I’m looking forward to reading The Dryad’s Embrace.

  • BHS

    I’m glad I’m not the only author who likes to include mood music!

    I must say, you’re very good at leaving each chapter off on a note that makes me want to read more!

    • dan

      I haven’t included the mood music in the last couple of illustrations. Maybe I should go back and put it in.
      Actually, this isn’t the end. Just…keep reading (wincing)

  • villain42

    I am blind so I obviously couldnt see the illustration but for some odd reason neither could I hear the music.

    • dan

      How do you like the mood music? Is it worth it, or would you prefer to listen to your own?

      huh, something odd here. I had to replace the picture and music. Took the opportunity to swap out the original Metallica song for an a capella cover, which is hilarious!