Christian Laforet

The Fifth Monday Four: Ounta Part Three

Ben Van Dongen

Jagged talons and a cracked beak snapped at Aen. The old Aquillo, Lethwin, flapped his leathery wings, but they smacked the inward curving walls. Instead, the old bird screeched, sending spittle like sea spray. The dim candle went out, turning the shadowy corner into a dark void.

Jumping back, away from the grasping talons, Aen saw no more than the shine of the bird’s eyes. His skin burned from within as he fought his urge to change form, the recent rebuke from his mother fresh in his mind. Instead, he took up a defensive hunting stance he learned from his human tribe. He had no spear to keep the beast at bay, but the reflexes drilled into him on the hunt helped him dodge the swooping attacks from Lethwin.

“Mother. What do we do?” Aen stepped behind a nearby table.

“Be quiet! The old fool cannot see properly,” his mother chided. In a flash, her own eyes reflecting the meager remaining candle-light of the room, she charged at Lethwin. Ducking under a swooping wing and sidestepping a raking talon, she struck the Aquillo in the midsection.

Aen heard the huff from the old bird, a half cough, half wheeze. He could not make out her actions in the dark, but heard her call out in pain. Lethwin laughed, making Aen’s blood boil. He felt his bones ache to change. To give him the power to cut down the foe who threatened his mother. A shrill cry escaped him as he fought the desire to transform. (more…)

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The Fifth Monday Four: Ounta – Part Two

By Christian Laforet

The fire swirled and crackled. A knot in the pine log popped, sending a small army of embers floating into the night. Aen, laying in his sheep-skin sack, watched as his mother stoked the flames. Tartara had only been in his life for a few months, but that time had been a whirlwind of instruction. She had taught him how to use his gift—to shift between the form of man and tiger—along with other useful traits. During all of those lessons, however, she had managed to carefully avoid his only real question: what happened the day the humans found him? Whenever Aen would broach the subject, his mother would give a vague, unsatisfying answer. His favourite being, It was so long ago, I cannot clearly recall.

Her refusal to shed light on that day, the day he went to live with the human tribe, had become so expected, that he stopped asking about it. That is why, while camped on the north road to Nythland, with freshly killed rabbit cooking over the fire with fat, lazy snowflakes danced to the frozen earth around them, Aen was shocked when his mother began to speak of the past without prompting.

“We had been travelling for many days before we encountered the group of humans. Your father, his name was Morga, felt that our safety lie in hiding amongst their kind.” As she spoke, Tartara, kept her gaze on the browning meat of the rabbit.

Aen pushed himself to sitting. “Why are you telling this to me now?”

Slowly, the woman, clad in a layered cloak, turned her attention to her son. “The event still hurts like a fresh wound. I would prefer not tell you at, but if we are going to continue on our quest, you need to know what happened.” (more…)

Unintended Excerpt

We’re very pleased to bring you an excerpt from the novel Unintended, by Justine Alley Dowsett!

This book is available now! So if you enjoy what your read, make sure to pick up a copy. The e-book can be found here, and the physical copy, here.

Unintended

Chapter One

The rolling hills and grasslands of Ismera were strange to her in the beginning. Now, after nearly a month of riding through them, they had begun to seem commonplace. What the High Clan Chief’s daughter was not prepared for, however, were the high turrets of the palace she was headed towards and the sprawling city of Ismer that surrounded it. Even more surprising than all that was the fanfare that greeted her when at last she reached the city’s high-walled gate.

A handsome man atop a white horse rode boldly out to greet her, without so much as a weapon drawn or a friend to watch his back.

They are much more trusting here of strangers than they are back at home, she noted. Unless, it’s only that they don’t consider me a stranger.

Mackenzie en Shareed of Haldoram straightened her back, instinctively preparing herself to make a good impression. She felt her breath catch in her throat as he came closer and she realized that the man before her, with his sunny hair, tanned skin and bright blue eyes, could be none other than the man she’d ridden all the way here to marry. She felt her usually flawlessly tanned skin flush an uncomfortable shade of red as she watched him dismount and walk the rest of the way to her side, a wide grin spreading across his face at the sight of her.

I didn’t expect him to be so handsome. Kenzie found that as much as she might want to, she couldn’t deny the pounding of her heart or the fluttering in her stomach. I’m very fortunate to be attracted to him so easily.

If he took notice of her discomfort he didn’t show it, bowing over her hand and kissing it lightly. “Princess Mackenzie, let me be the first to welcome you to the City of Ismer.”

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, Kenzie reached for the marriage bracelet she’d woven herself for this very occasion. Unhooking it carefully from her belt, she caught his hand before he could take it away and swiftly wrapped the small, white-flowered wreath about his wrist, tying it with a practiced motion.

She could see in her husband-to-be’s eyes that he was confused, but she didn’t have time to explain it to him now. That would come later, after they were entwined together in their marriage bed. Right now, only the ritual mattered.

I have to do this now, she affirmed silently. Once I enter this city of theirs and am completely surrounded by Ismeran culture and politics it will be too late to marry him in my own way, in front of my people and by our customs. It’s the only way I will feel comfortable with his arrangement. I can marry him in the Ismeran way afterwards. (more…)

This year, Next Year

We’re getting to the end of 2016 and it’s the time of year for us at Adventure Worlds to take a look back on what we did and tried throughout the season, see what worked or didn’t, and make our plans for 2017. Sadly, that means you have to read this post instead of a story (like normal) but things will be changing and we thought it would be unfair to not let you in on it.

We’ve had some big personal strides this year, both Christian and Ben managed to write the first draft of a novel (Christian knocking out four drafts by the end of the year). They went to several events a month, hosting some and going out of town on two occasions. They also took the step to become an imprint under Mirror World Publishing, putting out the Illustrated Edition of No Light Tomorrow (the second printing of the year).

With all that, the story requirements of this site were mostly supported through submissions. Among the ever present and creative Edele Winnie taking lead most weeks, and local author Ed Gagnon filling in many times, we had submissions from around the world. It was exciting to work with so much diverse talent and to showcase their stories, but it also requires a big time commitment on our end to keep them posted regularly.

That said, this coming year will be a turning point for Adventure Worlds where we spend less time on the blog and more time on publishing. We currently have three books slated to come out in 2017 and they will take up the majority of our time. We will still be posting stories on this site, but rather than post a random story every other week, we will be featuring an author each month. That means we may have a one post story, a multiple post story, or even a couple of stories from a single author each month.

The Fifth Monday will continue as well (it’s too fun not to keep that going). This year, the fist story will be by Maine based Fantasy/Science fiction author Jason H. Abbott. He has a couple of blogs himself and posts every weekday over at Aethereal Engineer. The first part will be going up on the last Monday of January.

Also, look for the first Featured Author post by Edele Winnie on Monday January 2nd.

Thanks for sticking with us as we grow and transition from a jumble of posts from fledgling authors to a real publisher. We love what we do and this site is a large part of that. Have a great holiday season and a Happy New Year. We’ll see you bright and early in 2017.

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Four

By Edele Winnie

“Jocelyn, is it really you?” Carol asked the white-coated woman up on the catwalk. “I am so…. muddled.” Carol ran her hands through her brown hair but the confusion remained. They were surrounded by buzzing machines, tubes and metal catwalks. “What is this place?”

Jocelyn laughed. “It’s definitely not the bank. The Jocelyn who works there with you is just one version of me. A sister, if you like.”

Carol pointed at one of the large glass tubes. It was filled with green liquid and an exact copy of Carol herself, floating languidly. Beside that there were more tubes and copies. Carol shook her head, unable to find words. Beside her, Gary shifted into a quivering red cylinder shape.

“I see you’ve met Gary. He’s a portal jumper. A creature that can transfer between dimensions without decomposing.”

“You make me sound so dull.” Gary complained and transformed into a star shape. “I’m actually a star.”

Everything seemed to be swirling in her head and Carol looked for a place to sit. She settled on the bottom step of a metal ladder that led to a catwalk above.

Gary changed into a rhombus. “There was a cloh enforcer right behind us.” (more…)

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Three

By Christian Laforet

Carol stared at the wall. She wore an oven mitt on one hand, a baseball glove on the other, and a Kiss beach towel wrapped around her face. Clutched in the oven mitt was the biggest knife she could find in her silverware drawer. She wasn’t sure what she would do with the weapon if the ball-thing returned. Thanks to the fact that the towel kept sagging, blocking her vision, she was just as likely to stab herself as anything else.

The wall were the thing had disappeared looked the same as ever, sunflower yellow with a framed picture of a horse wearing a stovepipe hat hanging off to the left. But she knew what she had seen, and whether it was visible now or not, there was a hole in her wall.

She edged closer to the spot and slowly leveled the knife until the tip of the blade was half an inch from the yellow surface. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the rest of the way. The point of the knife did not stop at the wall, but slid right in. At first she told herself that the knife had cut through the wall itself, but there was no resistance. Besides, that theory was put to bed when she retracted the blade only to find the end of the knife gone. (more…)

Driving Through Time

By Christian Laforet

Grant hammered the gas pedal. Thankfully, there wasn’t much traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway heading towards Manitoba. The broken yellow line stretched out in front of him like an endless snake—a beast with no head. Aware of the cell phone sitting on the passenger seat, every few seconds he would tap the screen with his finger. The time appeared in bold—7:46 p.m., EST. That was not set in stone though. Soon he would pass into the Central Standard Time Zone and the numbers on his phone would flip back exactly one hour.

The sweat, breaking out along his forehead for the last thirty minutes, felt cold and abrasive on his skin. He wiped it away with his sleeve, but knew it would come back.

Flying past a sign announcing the upcoming border, Grant reminisced again about what his Grandpa told him when he was a kid. (more…)