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       Book of Dark #1: Always Stand Up, p.1

           Deepak Khanchandani
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Book of Dark #1: Always Stand Up

  Volume I: Rise of the Terralytes

  Book I: Always Stand Up


  Book of Dark

  Volume I: Rise of the Terralytes

  Book I: Always Stand Up

  Copyright © 2016 by Deepak Khanchandani

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.

  All characters, names, places, events and incidents in this publication are products of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictional manner. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or to actual events, is purely coincidental.

  ISBN: 978-83-946108-0-7

  Logo and cover artwork by Todd Terry.

  For Sanam, without whom this

  story would never have been told.

  A Call to Arms

  To the orphans around the world

  And to those who face bullies every day

  I wish I could give you majjikal powers

  So you could repel the evil in your way

  I haven’t got such abilities, though

  Majjik is not something I can do

  But I’m not the one you need, no

  The one who must stand up is you

  When surrounded by dread and darkness

  When faced with unrelenting harm

  Be brave, show mettle, be fearless

  And never forget, “kenid akhnayram”


  A Call to Arms


  How the Mighty Fall

  On Majjikons

  Gaia’s Triumvirate

  CHAPTER 1 One of Those Dreams

  CHAPTER 2 This is Our Land

  CHAPTER 3 Brok and the Man Under the Arches

  CHAPTER 4 The Bullies of John Atkins High

  CHAPTER 5 The New Girl

  CHAPTER 6 The Knight and the Monk

  CHAPTER 7 An Insane and Ridiculous Coincidence

  CHAPTER 8 An Elk in Valley Heights

  CHAPTER 9 Kenid Akhnayram

  CHAPTER 10 The Commotion in Chemistry

  CHAPTER 11 Always Stand Up

  CHAPTER 12 His Eminence

  To Be Continued…

  How the Mighty Fall

  Swords puncture the murk, emitting sparks of ice-blue and emerald green that guide the beaks and feathered heads through the inky skies.

  Hints of faces appear inside clouds within the smoke—an eye here, a mouth there—their owners materializing only to launch orbs against the storm of energy unleashed by the swords before vanishing once more into the Kaos-ether.

  The scales on her head and on her neck glint with the light of the fire—her fire—that engulfs the battlefield. Her eyes slant in rage as furious wings of feather swish by. She turns to aim her fire at them, but, as quickly as they appeared, they vanish into the smoke overhead.

  A dozen quivers of arrows follow them, and are lost to the opaque fumes—then the shriek of a large bird of prey, then a falling Majjikon—an arrow has found its mark. Explosions erupt across the darkened sky, and the ground beneath shudders with their aftershocks.

  She shakes her head to clear her thoughts, but the haze is incurable, for her thoughts are not her own. They belong to her rider, the Fargham Zohai—the only Dragon Rider ever to walk upon the earth. He directs her, and she swings her horned tail at the Majjikons now charging forth, each of whom wears the black, emblem-laden cloak. Each of whom wields the trademark sword and dagger of the PeaceKeeper.

  Leading the charge are the ones whose hands are bathed in green and blue, and all of the hues in between. They dominate the battlefield. They dominate his soldiers.

  Just behind them are the barely clothed men and scantily-clad women who fight his warriors with orbs of silvery-white. Their Queen rips off her vestments and her chest explodes into fur and muscle, her nails into claws.

  Her howl entices more of her kind to let out the beast within, and together, they take on his panther-mounted cavalry. Canine strength overpowers feline energy, as wolf claws rip out panther throats. Then, the pack bestows the same fate upon the now abandoned, ride-less soldiers.

  No matter, he tells himself, for his own majjik is strong. Gaia herself bends to his will, as does Kaos. Their powers now combine in his extremities, forming dark, turquoise plumes. The majjik rises from him and tackles the soldiers that have dared to march against him. The blue and green and silver cannot contain the Dark he has unleashed. It spreads through their bodies as if infecting their very souls. Watching the army succumb to his majjik pleases him. And he can sense that it pleases her too.

  Then, out of nowhere, there is lightning.

  The electricity courses through him. Where did it come from? What is this majjik that now unleashes itself upon him? He fights it, he strains to understand. And he must understand, for without comprehension there can be no cure. Alas, before he knows it, he is too late.

  The unfathomable majjik has claimed him.

  He hears her deep grumbles and knows that it is her end too. She burns like paper, her black scales dispersing into the swirling wind.

  He wills time to stop, but he knows it won’t heed. He can already hear innocent, adolescent screams—the desperate shrieks of his own offspring, who cannot understand what is happening to them. Or why.

  It is alright, my children, he communicates. Be still. It will all be over soon. And soon we will be together once again…

  But something has gone drastically wrong with the final spell. Once again, he struggles to understand. But he can no longer think straight. He feels his life slip away from him.

  And in the end, for all the dark majjik he commands, for all the Kaos energy at his fingertips, it ends like this.

  The Book… It falls away from him, banishing itself, out of Majjikon hands forever—the vessel that houses all his prowess, the culmination of all his knowledge and wisdom…

  Book of Dark.

  On Majjikons

  In the beginning they were just called Majjikons.

  Genetically almost human, they bore crucial differences.

  Gaians could harness the Power of Gaia—of Mother Earth.

  Solarians wielded the sun’s immense thermal Powers.

  The moon's gravity gave Lunirahs unique abilities.

  And Kaosites fed off the universe’s natural state of disorder and entropy.

  But this is not a story about them.

  This is not a story about Book of Dark.

  This is the story of a Majjikon who lost his memory.

  This is the story of a boy named Keane.

  Gaia’s Triumvirate

  And behold Yoverikh’s loins

  Shall bear two same to sight

  Each possessing unique powers

  Of the Dark, and of the Light

  Rodukai shall defend with own life

  Creations made by Yoverikh’s might

  Khavarakh will destroy all who

  Look upon sacred Creations with spite

  —translated excerpt from The Thuulmahrian Prophecies,

  Book IV, Hymn CXLIX, Verses XIII & XIV

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