Friday, December 15, 2017

Book of Gods

Check out this excerpt from Book of Gods, a sci-fi novel by Pamito Rao, exclusive to the Wrath and Ruin boxed set.

Fire blazed from the twigs and wood in the center of the pit, into the night, illuminating the trees and casting a dim light on all the men surrounding it.
Twelve men sat around the crackling flame with shock in their eyes and their hearts racing, as their favorite storyteller’s terrifying tales of the ghastly giant Gorgs grew darker and sinister. No one dared make a sound lest they disturb Eliah’s train of thoughts as he recounted his days in battle. Soundlessly, they sat listening to the knight reveal what had happened to the men in his village. Their liquor lay forgotten on to their sides as they leaned forward in excitement.
“…and then he brought his axe down on the villager’s head and split it in two!”
Gasps sounded around the fire as men shook their head at the fate of the villager.
“What a fool! Who would approach a Gorg in such manner?” screamed a guard in disgust. “He should have listened to you and stayed behind!”
Eliah nodded as the memories of the giant monsters and continued. “I hid behind the only barrel there was left. The Gorg pulled apart the villager’s hands and threw it into the fire like it was a piece of wood. Everyone else was afraid but I held onto my sword tighter, waiting for the right moment to strike.” He held his head high, marveling at the appreciative looks of his fellow knights. “Then, when that beast least expected it, I lunged towards it and speared my sword into its eye, taking away its life force.”
A round of applause filled the air. “Bravo!” shouted one. “Well done, son!” shouted another.
Eliah’s eyes twinkled with excitement and his heart soared in pride as his fellow knights bestowed appreciation of his bravery. This is what he lived for — recognition and honor. He smiled and laughed as a few clicked their liquor bottles with his and he drank to the happiness of his heart. Then, his gaze landed on Marcus.
Marcus was one of the men who had joined along with Eliah. He was a brave warrior who had slewn quite a few men in wars, but even he hadn’t stood a chance when a Gorg came charging at him. He would have died that day in battle if it wasn’t for some of the other knights who had distracted the Gorg away from him.
Marcus’s stern glare disturbed Eliah. It was almost as if he knew what really happened in battle that day. Ever since the battle, Marcus had stopped trusting Eliah. No matter how hard he tried, the man wasn’t impressed by Eliah’s achievements like the rest of the knights.
“How did ye manage to escape the other Gorgs?”
Eliah was surprised. It had been a while since Marcus had asked him a question directly. This was his chance to get back in Marcus’s good graces. Maybe now, Marcus would learn to trust him.
Eliah smirked. “I did not have to do anything. After I killed the first Gorg, the others simply ran away from me.”
“And how did ye kill the Gorg, can ye explain that to us again?”
Eliah clutched his pint tightly in an effort to remain calm. Why wouldn’t he just believe him like the others? Marcus was trying to bait him. It wouldn’t work.
“I already explained this to you. Did I not? I climbed a tree and waited for the Gorg to come closer. When he did, I jumped from the tree and ran the spear right through its eyes. Everyone knows it’s the eyes of a Gorg that hold its life force. Once he was down, the others were so scared they ran away from me.”
“You must have remained deadly silent,” Marcus seethed. “How else would the Gorg not have seen you?”
Eliah thought of something to say. Marcus was right. No one could get away from a Gorg’s sight. Tall as these giants from planet Zoharg were, they had a clear vision from the top. No one could get away from them unless they were hidden inside a barrel.
Before Eliah could come up with an answer, another knight spoke for him. “That’s enough Marcus,” said one. “The man has proved time and again that he is a savage warrior. He saved the king and all of us in that battle. The least you can do is give him some respect!”
“Ye,” said another irritated man from the crowd. “Don’t disturb Eliah while he is in the middle of his story! If you have any brave tales of your own, you will get your chance but first let him finish!”
Eliah breathed a sigh of relief. If the others had believed Marcus and asked him to explain how he went undetected from the Grog, he would be in deep trouble.
“After I finished stabbing the Gorg atleast fifty times, I saw Balthasar riding upto me,” continued Eliah. “‘You are a brave man, Eliah,’ he said. ‘I want you to join my royal guard.’ And since then I am sworn to the knights of Tireol and haven’t left since.”
As his story finished, all the men began clapping. “What bravery!” exclaimed a few. “Bravo,” said others patting his back. A few older men ruffled his hair. “You deserved it boy. Well done!”
As they all walked back to their posts, Eliah turned back to his. He tried to remember the events that occurred that day and remembered a much different story. His stomach constricted at the horrors he had seen and his hands trembled at what could have happened had the Gorg really seen him.
They did not need to know that before throwing the barrel at the Gorg, he had pissed himself and hid behind the mountain of dead villagers who were ripped apart by the Gorg. He did not tell them that when they approached his body, he acted dead himself stopping his breath for as long as he could. He didn’t tell them that it was King Balthsar who had killed that Gorg with his powers not Eliah.
He did not tell them that his sword was untainted and that he had never had the courage to kill a single Gorg. He had never killed anyone before. He was a coward but he needed the fame. He craved it and he couldn’t help himself while telling stories. People always seemed to like him better when he was the savior in his stories. He had even bagged a wife with his lies. Her parents had been overjoyed to give her hand in his. The dead weren’t there to speak now, were they? No one would find out the truth until the dead suddenly decided to wake up and tell the whole world he was lying.
Fate always worked for him, it had worked every time he went to war. He had never had the need to lift his sword. Someone would always kill for him and then die during battle. He was always the one left to tell the story. And boy, did he know how to tell a story! He thought maybe shame would take over him after making himself the hero of the stories but for some reason it never came. In his mind, he was the hero and in his mind, he would always remain the victor.
He had watched many villagers die at the hands of the Gorgs and he wished he would never see it again but here he was, along with the other knights, guarding the eastern forests. Somewhere, still deep within these forests, lived the only remaining Gorg. King Balthasar had banished the one remaining Gorg to live there as he couldn’t destroy it on his own.
Eliah still didn’t know why. Balthasar had immense powers but had retracted from killing this one. He could only assume that its powers were too great for the king himself. It was the only one which could take any form or shape. He had seen it with his own eyes.
Just the thought made him shiver.
His eyes drifted to the other knights who still shared his story with one another, believing every word he said. They looked towards him and nodded in a sign of respect. It was a rare moment, as he felt small. Like he had betrayed his men. He had stolen the stories from all those brave men who fought the Gorgs and died during the war. He had been left behind to tell the tales and he had woven them to suit himself.
As the night sky darkened, and stars littered the sky, the leaves in the trees of the eastern forest fluttered along with the approaching wind. The guards on the eastern entrance quickly took their positions and eyed the forest. The eastern forest divided the two lands, the kingdom of Tireol and the Tryll kingdom. The forest was initially used as one of the ways to travel between the two lands but king Balthasar surrounded it with barricades and made it a prison for all the monsters who could not be killed. He exiled many dark sages to these forests when he became the king of Myrth and continued to exile people into this. The last one was the Gorg.
The guards stood at their posts staring ahead, their backs to the eerie forest of the east. A scratching noise sounded in the woods and Eliah spun to see where it came from. The sound stopped. He studied the trees behind him, the leaves rustled against the gentle breeze. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Since the time he had spent here, he had never seen anything go past him from the forest except raccoons and hedgehogs. He turned his head back again and smirked. His own stories had gotten to him.
The scratching sounds came again from behind and he turned towards the one tree that rose taller than the others. He watched it for a while longer. Nothing moved on the tree. Even the leaves seemed to stay still. When his eyes adjusted a little more to the darkness, he felt he saw something move within the thicket of trees. Then there was a sound, like the howl of a wolf.
His hands shivered as he moved to draw his sword, his eyes darting between the swoosh of the trees and the moving shadows. The other soldiers were far away, no one near him. He looked around to find the soldiers. The soldier on his right was gone.

He spun to see if the other soldier was still at his post but he too had disappeared. The scratching sound came again, this time, much closer to him. The hair on his neck stood alert of a presence behind him. Sweat pooled on his forehead and he tightened his hold on his sword. His legs trembled as the growl came closer and closer. He turned slowly, praying to the Gods above to send him a savior like they always did. He couldn’t die. He had cheated death several times in the past. As he turned, a pair of dark green eyes blinked up at him from a distance and before he could understand what he was seeing, it bared its fangs and pounced.

If you enjoyed the excerpt and want to keep reading, preorder Wrath and Ruin for only $.99 and get Book of Gods along with 23 other sci-fi/fantasy books!


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