The Abyss of Nil

       Allen Scovil / Fantasy
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Book I of

The Parables of the Game Master

Written by Allen Scovil
and illustrated by Theresa Scovil

Cover image: “The Power” Bruce Rolff/Hemera/Thinkstock
ISBN 978 1 31060 086 9

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead, is coincidental.

Published by Allen Scovil on Smashwords
Copyright 2015 Allen Scovil

Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only, and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and didn’t purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favourite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents
The Beginning of the Story

Chapter 10

Chapter 20

Chapter 30

The Final Chapter (Ch 33)

Preview Chapter of To Save a Dragon, Book II in the series, The Parables of the Game Master.

About the Author

By the Same Author

Arthur Pye snuck a peek at the clock as his grade-seven math teacher droned on about some equations that would be on next Monday’s test, and then gave a thumbs-up to Sammy and Dan when the bell rang—it was Friday, and that meant Rune Matrix at The Mystic Quest after school.

The three of them tore into the rather rundown specialty shop tucked away in an alley off the main street, past all the racks and shelves displaying packs of cards and other game paraphernalia for sale, and into the back room. Plopping themselves down at one of the long beat-up wooden tables, they dug out their plastic game pads and decks of cards from their backpacks and set them up while they waited for Hammer and his teammates, Jimmy and Will, to appear—which they did a couple of minutes later.
“What took you so long, slow poke?” Arthur taunted.
“Nothing you need to worry your little pea brain about,” sneered Hammer as he sat down. His name was actually Rick, but he’d gained the nickname ‘Hammer’—playing off of his family name, Hannenburg—from the aggressive way he played this game. “I’m here, and that’s all you need to worry about now. So show me your cards!”
“Not before you’ve flipped,” said Dan on Arthur’s right. “First things first.”
“Yeah, yeah,” said Rick, and pulled out his plastic coin, which had a ‘raido’ rune—for ‘Rick,’ of course—as tails, and a skull on the other for heads. “Call it!”
“Heads!” Sammy shouted out.
And so the game began.

A quarter of an hour later, Rick pulled two of his monsters off the table and dropped them into his card graveyard.
“Oo, the big sacrifice!” said Sammy. “What are you bringing out?”
Rick smirked, and made a show of laying his card down on the table beyond the pad where he’d assembled his matrix, the coloured pattern of crystal rune cards that he needed to energize his monsters.
“Abyss of Nil?!” Sammy threw up his hands. “The ‘Hammer’ has struck again!”
Arthur shivered as he looked at the card. “Where’d you get that? The internet?”
“Where else?” said Rick while everyone pulled their crystal cards from their pads and dropped them in their graveyards as the Abyss card demanded. “Thirty bucks gets you some pretty good cards there.”
“Yeah,” said Dan, “if you can trust them to send it to you.”
“I know this store,” Rick said. “It’s legit.”
On Rick’s right, Jimmy laid out a fresh matrix of black crystal-rune cards on his pad.
“Uh-oh,” said Sammy. “More bad news.”
Jimmy slapped the powerful card, Justicium, Lord of Darkness, which could attack several opponents at a time, onto the table. “That should take care of all your offence,” he said.
Arthur snatched up his card. “Rats! And our defence!”
Will slapped down his own attack card and said, “Your life points are zero!”
Arthur gathered up his cards. “Yup, I’m done.” He glanced again at Rick’s card, at the black abyss that spread into the sombre background of volcanoes, and then slumped back in his chair, arms crossed tightly.
The shop owner came from out front to see why they were raising their voices, and leaned casually against the door frame.
“We sure could use a Mount of Omnia,” Sammy said as he tried to regroup his remaining defence. If a player could lay that card on his game pad, his whole team could do whatever they wanted without crystal runes.
“Fifty dollars at least,” Rick shot back. “If you can even find one.”
“Sweet,” said Jimmy. “So if you had both Abyss of Nil and Mount of Omnia, you couldn’t lose.”
“Uh-uh, not so fast,” said the shop owner. “No team can have both—Rule of Exclusion.”
“Really?” Jimmy shrugged and pushed his glasses back into place. “Well, a guy can dream.”

Arthur gave an empty soft drink can a sharp kick, sending it clanking out into the roadway. They had lost.
How can anybody defend against cards like Abyss of Nil and Justicium, Lord of Darkness? he thought. Like, it’s totally unfair!
But so is Mount of Omnia. That’s how you play Rune Matrix after all, especially if you can afford to get one of those ultra-rares off the internet.
Abyss of Nil ….
That was more than a card for him—it was a nightmare. A couple of times in the last month he’d awakened from dreams where he lay at the abyss’s brink, helpless to resist as it pulled him towards the unrelenting blackness.

At home he dropped his backpack on the floor, went into the living-room and flopped in front of the TV to see what was on. A character in a situation comedy was making outrageous and insulting remarks about his neighbours to the raucous laughter of the audience, which Arthur didn’t find funny, so he flicked to the science fiction channel to see what was playing there—it was an episode he had seen many times.
His mother strolled in from the kitchen. “How was your day at school?”
Lousy, he thought. We lost at Rune Matrix. “Okay.”
“Did anything special happen?”
Rick’s team blew us away. “Nope.”
She sighed. “Do you have any homework?”
“I’ll do it after supper.”
“Thank you.” She gazed at him briefly before returning to meal preparation.
Arthur stared unseeing at the screen in front of him. His mother had looked kind of bothered, but that was her problem. Right now he was royally steamed.
After mashing the power button on the TV remote, he stomped upstairs to his bedroom to read comics. The top one was two years old and falling apart. Disgusted, he threw it as far as it would go and leaned wearily against the closed door. Lost and disconnected, he floated alone in a world that didn’t care about him. …
Yeah, as if!
He clenched his fists. Self-pity felt lousy, so he headed down to the den to play Urban Warfare until supper. He could at least vent his frustrations by blowing away enemies for a while.

The howling wind drove Arthur across the twilit desert. Ahead, a mountain, highlighted in fiery red by the aura of lava flowing around it, thrust its peak defiantly above a vast darkness that lay like a deep fog around its base.
Something seemed to be calling to him from that shadow—voiceless, wordless, implacable.
Cold with dread, he finally wrenched himself around into the wind and took a step, but fell as the suddenly-flowing sand started to carry him, as if part of the sinister plot to destroy him. He flipped around to face the approaching doom. It might be hidden from his sight, but he knew what it was—a calm lake unruffled by this hurricane wind, black against shadow, a vast pool of … nothing.
As the gloom enveloped him, he panicked and started to scramble, but his foot abruptly slipped into the edge of the sinister pool.
His eyes snapped open and focused on the familiar red digits of his clock radio. Sitting up, he took a minute to pull himself together before heading to the bathroom to pee.
The Abyss of Nil.

Arthur hurried on his way to school on Monday morning hoping fervently that he wouldn’t hear …
“Hey, dork-face!”
He froze.
It was Sid, his red-haired nemesis from grade eight who made a habit of haunting him whenever the mood hit him. Rumour had it that his real name was Siegfried, but nobody could ever get him to admit it.
He approached Arthur, a sneer on his face. “Hey Art,” he said, “I’m a little short on cash today. You wouldn’t happen to have some on you, would you? I’ll make it worth your while—you know, by not smashing your face in.” He clenched a fist meaningfully. “What do you think?”
Sighing, Arthur pulled the five-dollar bill out of his pocket and watched as his hope of buying a new pack of trading cards for his game collection disappeared into Sid’s pocket.
But it wasn’t a total loss—he still had a batch of loose change that he wasn’t about to tell Sid about.

Arthur peeked inside his lunch bag—empty. Glancing around the table in front of him, he spotted some familiar-looking trash, so he must have eaten the bag’s contents already. Disgusted, he laid his head on his arms. It
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