“Great writing, vivid characters, and a wicked plot” – BookedIn
Fire is forbidden to mages, when Dekor is finally shown it he falls to the lust of the flame. The way of the warlock is a path to darkness, not one for a graduate mage to even consider.
“Unique and interesting. Quality writing that expressed a very well thought out and original plot… combined with some very original characters” – Lucidity
The door to the archive swung open. The guard stood silently observing the figure as it flitted down the long, narrow aisles. Keeping her wings folded tightly against her back to avoid disturbing the stacked scrolls, the girl tiptoed along the racks searching for the prophecy. Her long white hair flowed like a mountain stream as she scoured the shelves searching for the elusive scroll. Her master had sent her on this errand as he could not access the archives himself and his absence from the throne room would have been noticed by more than just the palace guard.
Moving with a subtle grace, Regina swept around the end of an aisle, rising to a higher shelf as though the scroll that she sought was drawing her to itself. There, glowing softly among the thousands like it, sat the one scroll which was know by all. There was not a soul in the heavenlies who did not whisper of The Prophecy.
Standing like a guilty child before a disappointed father, Regina reached out a trembling hand and pulled the scroll from the stack. Her heart leapt to her throat as the stack suddenly tumbled inward filling the vacant space. There was no way she could sneak it back now. Regina tried parting the scrolls, but it was a though they had become fused together, the light fading from them as she watched. Panic gripped her heart; she could feel it pounding in her chest. She had never felt like this before, excitement and fear coursing through her system, shattering her peace. She ran.
Clutching the scroll tightly in her hand, her bare feet pounding on the cold stone floor, Regina ran as quickly as possible, her wings dragging along the shelves sending scrolls cascading to the floor behind her. Scrolls danced and spun about the ground, those losing their seals springing open and turning to dust in an instant. She dared not look back; her only thoughts now were on flight.
The guards watched impassively as Regina flashed by them. Their only response was a single blink to remove the dust from their eyes. Out into the open courtyard she fled. Thrusting her white feathered wings as wide as they would go, she lifted into the air soaring higher and higher, faster and faster, until the rushing of the wind finally drowned out the beating of her heart. Ahead lay the circle of towers whose spires were lost among the ethereal clouds and whose foundations were buried in the fathomless sea.
Regina fixed her eyes on the distant towers, forcing herself on despite the growing fears in her mind. Was she doing the right thing? Was Nehushtan the one she should obey? Who was pulling Nehushtan’s strings? She was not convinced it was the One as he so convincingly claimed.
As the towers drew ever nearer, Regina veered to the left disappearing into the cool caress of the clouds, which were a soothing balm on her pale skin. Thrusting down hard with her wings she climbed above the clouds into the bright light shining from the towers. Regina took a short, sharp breath, swallowing hard. For a faltering moment she was drawn to the Tower of Truth, and its cleansing light. The scroll in her hand felt as heaving as the guilt of a thief caught in the act. Regina spun around and, turning her back on the Truth, she dived into the cloud layer headed toward the Servant Tower with its heavy stone-browed windows and broad spiralling staircases where Nehushtan waited in a recessed cloister.
“You took your time,” Nehushtan said holding out his hand for the scroll.
Regina eyed him cautiously. Something about him was different; a subtle change, but what?
“The archive is no small matter,” she replied thrusting the scroll toward him.
Nehushtan stepped forward, his feet protruding slightly from beneath his long, flowing robe. Then she saw it. The change was not noticeable to a human eye but to a celestial being it was obvious.
“What has become of your robe?”
“Nothing,” Nehushtan said tightly. “It is the same as it ever was.”
He snatched the scroll from her hand. It was then she felt the air swirling about her own feet. Nehushtan’s mouth curled into a smile.
“Welcome to the fold, Regina.”
“What do you mean?” Regina made a futile swipe at the scroll.
“Oh no, this is for someone else.” Nehushtan touched the scroll to his lips. “He’ll be so pleased.”
“Who will?” Regina stepped back, looking around the room for the true recipient of the prophecy.
“He’s not here.” Nehushtan’s smile broadened. “He’s over there,” he said pointing the scroll at the Tower of Truth.
“You cannot possibly mean…” Regina’s eyes widened, her mouth opened and closed involuntary.
“No, not him,” Nehushtan sniggered. “Silly girl.”
“Come.” A single, disembodied word was spoken into the room. Both Nehushtan and Regina froze.
“Oh, no,” they both whispered as a white mist enveloped them.
When the mist lifted from them they were standing with their arms at their sides facing a large circular bronze table supported on the back of a six-legged, white marble dragon. The north rim of the table was supported on the broad head of the dragon, the south upon its twin tails. The east and west rested upon the dragon’s spread wings. The surface of the table shimmered, forming into a loose collection of islands which shifted slowly around in a turbulent bronze sea.
To Regina’s right an archway opened in the wall. An angel much taller and broader than either Nehushtan or Regina entered through the arch. The angel looked at the two of them, first at their faces and then at the floor and the golden bonds swirling about their feet holding them fast.
“Why are we here?” Regina whispered.
“Why are you whispering?” snapped Nehushtan tersely.
“I have no doubt that we shall soon find out.” The third angel walked over to the bronze table and began stirring the sea with a finger. “Oh look, the little boats are all trapped in in my whirlpool,” he said gleefully.
“Will they perish, Accuson?” The voice spoke calmly, emanating from within a serene white light which shone from a throne of ordinary stone. All three angles fell to their knees, the gold bonds on their feet flexing to accommodate them.
“My Lord, I had no idea…” the third angel began.
“Why do you try to deceive me, Accuson?” the voice said. “What am I?”
“You are many things, my Lord,” Accuson smiled to himself.
“Rise and look at me, all of you, and I will tell what will be.”
“Subterfuge, social issues, religious freedom, dragons and magic. I definitely want to read where the very real characters head to next.” – Melissa Hosler
“A halo of soft golden light was falling beyond Shadow Hill.”
That was all Mathew Bridle had when he sat down to write his first novel. Two and half weeks later, The Rising, a 1980’s style slasher, was finished. Others would quickly follow in different genres: 3 Phaze (sci-fi), Lagoon (sci-fi horror), A World Lies Bleeding (sci-fi), King of Kings (fantasy), Mark (incomplete sci-fi) until Emun of Mor (fantasy).
It was on a train journey from Manchester to London that Emun, a character originally from King of Kings, walked into Mathew’s thoughts and took up residence. It took a full year to put together the 155,000-word epic fantasy, but it was time well spent. Not merely because of the quality of the work but also the world that was formed. Emun of Mor was published by an indie press, Vamplit Publishing, where it did nothing. It was hacked apart twice before it became Young Warlock in which time 5 years had passed and his life-long love of fantasy had found a home.
Among Mathew’s friends, Eric C. Williams a noted sci-fi author from the 1960s and ‘70s, helped to shape his writing with his depth of knowledge and story-crafting skills. Other writers too from his local writing circle, helped to guide and structure his language and worlds. Without these valuable inputs, Mathew believes that he would not have the skill he possesses today.
Writing has grown from a hobby to a passion, whether that is fantasy, history, screenplays or novels, so long as it is writing. He has a love of writing challenges, to be given a set of words and a random topic and 10 minutes to get started. He is a true believer that there is no such thing as writer’s block, after all, no one has talker’s block. So long as you have something to say, then you have something to write; even if it is just jibber-jabber, isn’t that what the best blogs are made of?
Currently, Mathew is working on the third instalment of The One Saga: Dark Mistress, Masterplayer – a historical spy story with Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, and Rain, a comic vampire noir TV series.
“As long as there are words, there is always something to write.” Mathew Bridle