Newest Book ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Three Preview

A couple of pieces of stuff from the forthcoming Lords of Kobol - Book Three: The Final Exodus.

First, a little glimpse at Lord Zeus' virtual temple services:

“It warms my heart to see so many of you here,” Zeus said from his raised marble platform.  “Yet again, you have broken records for participation in these temple services.”  The crowd cheered and Zeus raised his arms.  “The Lords of Kobol thank you.”

The crowd cheered again and Zeus bowed.  He motioned toward the banners that fluttered near him.  “You will see these on streets and buildings near you.  They are to serve as a reminder.  We have been here for you and we will continue to be here for you.”

Each of the banners was colored differently with stylized versions of each Olympian silhouetted on them.  Under the image, the banner stated the god’s name, and then Zeus’ newest invention, his catchphrase, “Power in Many.”

“’Power in Many,’” Zeus said.  “With all of the gods at your disposal, we cannot fail.”  The crowd cheered and Zeus bowed, saying, “So say we all.”

“So say we all!” came the thunderous response.  

Zeus’ image blinked away and he rubbed his temples.  The Streamchip gave him headaches but he knew that was a side effect.  

Those banners he's talking about?
That's what I have in mind.  There was an earlier post where I presented the few of these posters I made before my own lack of skill drove me to stop:

Now here's a bigger piece.  An entire chapter introducing an important secondary character:

37 Years Before the Final Exodus

Walter Mithras didn't feel like going to school today.  He sat slumped over his desk with his hand pressing the Streamset on his face while a virtual teacher droned on about vocabulary.  The ten-year-old was beginning to nod off when the woman said, "That's all for right now.  Come back in twenty."

Walter removed the headset and laid it on his desk.  He left his room and went into the hallway, wondering if his parents were about yet.  Quietly, he stepped into the hall, trying to minimize the creaks from the floorboards.  He stepped close to the wall and moved toward his parents’ bedroom.  With a single finger, he pushed open the door just enough for one eye to see inside.

He saw his father first, still in the clothes he wore last night.  He was propped up on the bed wearing his Streamset.  His fingers were twitching so Walter assumed he must be playing a game again.  He moved over a little more and caught sight of his mother.  She was sitting on her side of the bed, also wearing a Streamset.  She was breathing heavily and moaning.  Walter rolled his eyes knowing she was having sex.

Since they were otherwise engaged, he didn’t bother trying to conceal his movements in the hallway.  He walked on down toward the kitchen and opened the cupboard.  He sighed as he did, remembering there was little there this morning.  Another day, another missed opportunity for his parents to have gone to the store to cash in some points for food.  “The shit’s free …” he mumbled to himself.  Why don’t they bother?

He walked back to the living area and just stood.  There were clothes piled up all over.  His toys were tossed in a corner.  The shades were drawn.  Walter decided to let some light in so he went to the windows and pulled them wide.

“Good day, sir,” a small Cylon said.

“Hello, Rick,” Walter replied.  He stepped over the small robot and plopped onto the couch.  He watched the blue eye of the device sweep back and forth as it seemed to await instructions.  Before his father quit working, he used what little money he had saved up to buy the Cylon to help around the house.  Of course, Rick was too small to do much housework.  It could provide reminders, though.

“Rick,” he said, “when my parents come in here later, can you remind them to go to the store for food?”

“As you command,” Rick said.  The half-meter tall conical robot then rolled away from the couch.

“Hey,” Walter said, leaning over the couch to catch the device, “where is my brother?”

“Master Lawrence was greeted by friends two hours ago.”  The Cylon turned to finish speaking, “He has not been back since.”

Walter grinned, “Did he say when he would be back?”

“No, Master Walter.  He did not.”

“Thanks, Rick.”  Walter jumped off the couch and ran into the hall.  The Cylon followed him.

“Do you have any further instructions for me?”

Walter rolled his eyes.  Sometimes, the neediness of the Cylon annoyed him.  “Um ...  Pick up as much trash as you can and vacuum everything else.”

“As you command,” it said again in its mock-human voice before it turned and rolled away.

Walter stepped into the hallway and put his hand on Larry’s doorknob.  He was careful and quiet; not because he wanted to avoid disturbing his parents, but because his brother had been known to booby trap his room.  He turned the knob slowly and opened the door.  He didn’t take a step inside.  Instead, he looked at the floor in front of him and to the nightstand near the door.  He didn’t see any strings or other tell-tale signs.

Slowly, Walter walked inside.  Larry had been cleaning his room rather well lately.  The bed was made, there were no papers or school books scattered about.  A few dirty clothes were on the floor, but it was still a far sight cleaner than Walter’s room.  He moved quickly over to the desk and sat down.  He pushed the Streamset aside and began to leaf through a few papers on the desktop.

“Where was I?” he said to himself.  He pulled out one compaper.  When he activated it, he saw some science homework.  He turned it off and put it back into the stack.  He pulled out another compaper … no, this was regular paper.  It didn’t activate when he pressed the corner and it just had a few doodles on it.  Walter shook his head and replaced it as well.  When he reached for a notebook, a box with coins fell off the desk and opened on the carpet below.

Walter slid off the chair and picked up the box.  He quickly put the coins inside and, without leaving his crouched position, he put the box back on the desk.  He looked up and studied the shelves in front of him.  Being at this low angle, though, he saw a sheet of paper under a shelf above some books.  He crawled over, pulled out a few of the books and carefully removed the paper from under the shelf.  It had been taped there.

When he looked at it, he saw that the sheet had some pencil marks on the front.  No letters or numbers.  Not even doodles.  Just random marks.  Thinking it may have been compaper, Walter pressed the corner and it lit up.  Red swirls appeared and they bounced from pencil mark to pencil mark before settling into letters.  Walter’s eyebrows shot up and he smiled until he realized he couldn’t read the letters.

He stood and sat back down at the desk.  He held his forehead in his hand while he turned the paper around and around, tried pressing different parts of it … anything.  He blew air through his mouth and flapped his lips, rotating the compaper one more time.  He saw something that caught his eye.  One of the “letters” looked like a doodle he saw earlier.

He pulled out the sheet of paper from before, the one with doodles on it.  He laid it on the desktop next to the compaper and both pages now sprung to life.  It hadn’t seemed like compaper before, but now the doodle sheet glowed with blue streaks, dashing from doodle to doodle and then crossing from one sheet onto the other.

“Cool,” he said.  After a few moments, the sheet on the left contained text written in the red letters he couldn’t recognize.  On the right, after additional swirling, the blue lights resolved themselves into words he could read.  Walter started to read aloud, more excited to have solved a puzzle than anything else. 

“’And when you pray, do not pray as the heathens do.  Standing in the streets, on the steps of their temples, before the altars of their false gods.  When you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray like this, …’”

Walter pulled his head up from the pages and scrunched up his face.  He wasn’t sure what he wanted to find in his brother’s room … something salacious, he guessed … instead he finds some religious stuff about false gods?

He stopped reading aloud, but he did continue reading, “O Prometheus, holy messenger of the Great One, guide our lives according to Its will, support us and bless us as we seek to do your holy work.  Forgive our offenses and provide us with defenses against those who would deny yours and The One’s power.  These things we ask most humbly, amen.”

Walter was confused again.  He had never heard of an Olympian named Prometheus.  And what was the Great One?  He placed his finger on the side of the compaper to scroll down when he heard someone in the hallway behind him.

“Wally, what are you doing?” his mother asked.

He turned around in the chair quickly, blocking her view of the desk.  “I’m just messing around.”

She shook her head, “You know Larry won’t like that.”

“I know.”  Walter thought about turning back to the pages but his mom wasn’t leaving the doorway just yet.  “Where’s Dad?”

She rolled her eyes and stepped away from the door, “Zeus started his temple service and shut down the whole Stream.  You know your father, he thinks it’s important.”

Walter turned back around, nodding.  If Zeus was on, that meant no more school for at least another half an hour.  He scrolled down the pages, looking for anything that caught his eye.  He scrolled and scrolled.  And scrolled.  All he saw was, “heathens,” “idols,” “false gods,” “one whose name cannot be spoken,” blah-blah-blah.  Finally, he saw something about a sword, but he heard the front door open.

His head whipped around and he heard Larry’s voice.  He pinched the corners of both pages, shutting them off.  He slid one into the stack of papers on the desk and jammed the other under the second shelf atop some books.  He knew he wouldn’t be able to tape it back, but maybe he could sneak back in later to take care of it.

He quietly ran to the door and peeked into the hall.  He heard Larry speaking in the kitchen.  “Mom, when are you going to the store?  There’s nothing to eat.”

Walter ran from the room and tripped over Rick, which was rolling toward the living area, presumably to tell his mother about the reminder he programmed it to deliver.  Walter stubbed his toe on the wall and he flopped into his room and onto the bed.

He laid there for a moment, quietly cradling his foot and trying to catch his breath.  A second later, Larry was standing at his door.  “What are you doing?”

Walter shook his head, “I hurt my foot tripping over Rick.”

Larry squinted his eyes and then went into his room.  Walter stood up and walked to the door slowly, trying to not even breathe.  He listened to his brother’s every move, hoping to decipher where he was and what he was looking at.  He knew he would be found out.

A moment later, Larry stormed out of his room, looped into the hall and into Walter’s room, pushing him on the chest and knocking him back to the bed.  “What were you doing in my room?”

Walter had been beaten up by his brother before.  He was the little brother so he understood his lot in life.  Something, though, was different this time.  Larry didn’t seem as much angry as he was … afraid.

“I was … just looking around.”

Larry pulled back a little and closed his eyes.  “What did you see?”

For whatever reason, Walter felt the need to be honest.  “I saw the papers about false gods …”

Larry pushed him onto the bed again and leaned in close.  “Listen to me,” he said, whispering, “you cannot ever – and I mean never – tell anyone about those papers or … read them again or anything.  Do you understand?”

Again, Walter had to note the fear in his voice.  He nodded wordlessly and Larry stood up.  Walter was going to stand up, too, but Larry stayed there.  Staring at him.  “Never,” he said.

Just then, their mom walked by and said, “I told you to stay out of his room.”  

Next week, Book Three will be available for download.

No comments:

Post a Comment