It has been a while since I have posted any of Shattered. But, since the new year dawned, I have written at least 5,000 words a week on this. So, I thought I would share out a few scenes or parts of scenes for your enjoyment. I’d love to hear what you think as I’m writing through this novel.
Just a note, this is still very rough. I read through it and pulled out a few big mistakes, but you will find typos and things that do not quite make sense. Just roll with it!
For the entire first Episode, see this link: https://aaron-brander.com/tag/shattered/
Percy heaved a great sigh, the force of which stirred up dust from the old parchment that he was studying. The Farming Practices of the Mid-Velurian Peasant Class made for a long and boring day. And yet, his desire and his purpose was to learn all there was to know of the world. It was the very reason he had constructed the Tower of Knowledge many years ago, when he was still a young man.
Percy was no longer that young man in physical appearance. He was not much in physical appearance at all. Percy had left that all behind after helping his friends rid the world of evil at the Battle of Utand. Since then, his hair had grown stringy and wild with neglect. His body had wasted away until he was little more than flesh and bones. His gaunt aspect exaggerated the hook of his sharp nose.
He looked up from Farming Practices and out of the window to his right. He was in the room at the top of the tower and the views of the surrounding countryside from twenty stories up were magnificent.
Percy hardly noticed it anymore. He had no eye for the mountains rising magnificently on the horizon, the wide, brown river cutting across the landscape and past the tower, or the dark, full pine forest that radiated out from the tower. Instead, his mind was on the hundred or so books in his reading room. They were the books that he was currently studying. His mind was quick and sharp, and he devoured the knowledge in the books faster than most would devour a good meal after days living off of roots and berries.
Most books, that was. He had been working on Farming Practices for at least an hour now, and was barely half way through it. At this pace, he was starting to wonder if he would get the typical four books in today.
It was time for a change of scenery. That was what he needed to get his mind going again.
Percy stood, and walked slowly and painfully down the stairs. He wondered where that unreliable apprentice of his was. What was his name again? Ah, yes. Petr.
Percy was so in thrall to his own thoughts that he once again walked right passed Petr and the breakfast that he held out to him. Petr did his best to keep his master fed, but it was a rare success to bring the meal to bear.
Down Percy went, passing through floor after floor of reading rooms full of books and scrolls and parchments. Percy passed his living quarters on the tenth floor, and Petr’s rooms on the ninth, and the kitchen, and the reception hall and the art gallery, and the treasure room. He did not notice where he was going so intent was he on his musings. Petr trailed silently behind, ready to intervene if his master did not realize he was walking down the stairs or out a window.
Percy reached the ground floor and walked out of the tower towards the training ground. Petr was surprised and a bit concerned. He had not tended to the training ground in years, as Percy had not paid attention to it in thrice as long. Since the Battle, Percy had not trained once.
Percy stopped walking and blinked a few times. He looked around, clearly confused to be out of doors. The wind rustled his stringy, white hair as absentmindedly as Percy himself.
“What a strange place to find myself,” Percy muttered. He looked at the training grounds, and smiled. The smile lit his face, and had Petr been close enough, he would have seen a glimpse of the man Percy once was.
Percy moved a few more steps and stepped in front of the training ground. He faced into what was essentially a large cave, except the cave was completely above ground and man made. Inside the dome of the cave, half walls, barrels, crates and cliffs formed cover and variation in terrain. The dome was solidly built out of stone, and invested with runes of power meant to contain the fury of Percy’s spells within the cave. Percy wielded great power and he did not want to level the surrounding landscape when he was practicing.
Petr took a gamble on his master’s mood and muttered the incantation that brought the training ground to life.
Out of the dome, a dozen ugly goblins charged forward in a rough wedge. The leading goblin, a particular rough and dirty specimen hefted a giant mace as he bellowed.
Percy looked up and regarded the mass of marauding goblins. His bushy eyebrows raised up and he was genuinely startled. Petr cringed and hoped that he had not overstepped the bounds. He readied the spell that would override the training spells and send the goblins back to whatever dimension they had been pulled from.
Then Percy turned to face them. His eyes lost their glaze of introspection and he focused intently on the leading goblin.
There was no sound. There was no fury. There were no screams. One moment the ugly thing was charging and yelling. The next it was bloody, messy goo covering the the other goblins and stopping them short in their bewilderment.
Percy pointed at the next goblin, his focus never wavering. This time a narrow, controlled beam of fire drilled through its head. Percy turned to the next and killed it with a beam of ice. It was light for the next, then wind flung a goblin hard against a wall. The earth opened and took a pair down before closing and crushing them out of site. Percy killed each goblin with precision and control and gruesome variety.
“Thank you Petr, that’s enough for now.”
Petr regarded his master with awe and not a little fear.
“Master, that was astounding. Would you teach me how?”
Percy smiled. “Of course not. There is no need. What would be the point in learning destructive magics like those when there is no one that would benefit. We must focus your learning and studying on farming and weather and government. We will find ways to better the lives of our fellow men.”
Percy turned and began walking to the tower to begin the long ascent to his room. He wasn’t sure what it was that led him down to the tower.
“Was that you, Wodanaz? I have not heard from you in many years.” Percy said to the air. Like every time he had asked since the Battle, there was no response.