For the moment I am taking a slight break from the world of Arthurian Legend. I hope you have enjoyed what I have put out so far. The following is a rough excerpt of the current novel I am working on. The novel is tentatively titled “Isis’ Savior”.
It is about a young woman who is on the brink of mastery in the world of Alchemy. Unfortunately she has been charged with bringing the love of the Mother Goddess Isis back into the world. Sadly there are people out there who don’t want her to accomplish this task. To impede her progress they have taken the one person in the world that means the most to her – her grandfather.
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Iseult tossed and turned in her sleep before waking with a gasp. The thin, cotton night gown she wore did nothing to ward of the chill from her terrifying dream. The morning dawn was just beginning to paint the sky with vibrant hues. As she listened to the birdsong in the early morning, Iseult tried to control her breathing. She lay there with matted hair and wild eyes as a bead of crimson trailed out of her nose. As a tear rolled down her cheek Iseult whispered, “No!”
Swiftly she sat up and threw her embroidered blankets off and made her way to the study in bare feet. Upon entering the candelabra cast a golden glow about the room, illuminating the desk in front of her and the stone floor beneath. Paying no mind to the damp stones Iseult flew to the desk.
The minute Iseult sat down she pulled paper and quills to her and began to furiously write down all she knew. Iseult never noticed the candelabra dim or the blood running down her face as she relentlessly made her way through scrawling pages of notes. As she turned one page and then the next blood from her nose fell onto the pages.
While lost in her thoughts, Iseult never noticed as her blood began to form in runes on the paper. Without warning the papers on the desk began to glow. When the glow caught Iseult’s attention her eyes widened and she let out a faint shriek.
The light grabbed Iseult and pulled her towards the paper. Iseult twisted and turned in her struggle to break free of the light. The slippers on her feet left a fuzzy trail as she was dragged towards her desk. Despite her struggling Iseults hand finally made contact with the glowing paper.
When the light subsided Iseult looked around her only to find that she was in a dingy stone cell with a fire on the wall for light. The walls around her were covered with mold and in the distance Iseult could hear the moans of people in trouble.
Before she could get her bearings a male voice said, “Well, if it isn’t a tainted Kleopatra.”
Iseult whipped her head left and right before settling in on the growing image in front of her.
With an obstinate set to her chin, Iseult rose to her feet and declared, “I am not tainted. My honor is as clear as yours.”
The mysterious voice chuckled darkly from the shadows that surrounded him.
“I’m not tainted. My honor is as clean as yours,” she stated forcefully once more.
“I doubt that, little Kleopatra. My blood is clean,” the man said snidely. His mention of blood had Iseult raising her hand to her face in an attempt to wipe it clean.
After that insinuation the man stepped into the light Iseult saw sallow skin full of angry pockmarks and thick jet-black hair with a silver stripe down the center. His pale lips were set in a disdainful frown. His eyes a frosty blue. All in all the sight of this man caused Iseult to give an involuntary shudder.
With a smug sigh the man continued, “You disappoint me, young Kleopatra.”
Taking a calming breath Iseult replied, “How so?”
With a slight quirk to his thin lips the man replied, “Your reaction to my presence is the same as everyone else’s. Revulsion.
“Sadly that is a response I’m used to receiving from my guests.”
“Are all your guests behind bars,” Iseult asked smartly.
“Touché, young Kleopatra.”
Iseult gave her host a sour smile for the acknowledgement before asking, “Might I have the name of my host?”
The sallow skinned man looked at her intently before answering, “I see the spawn of the Stone Goddess taught you manners. My name, young Kleopatra, is Bricius Aielius. You may call me Bryce.” Throughout his introduction Bryce never raised his voice above a cold whisper.
“You know more than you should, Mr. Aielius. Perhaps you could see your way to returning my grandfather,” Iseult insisted calmly.
“The key to breaking the valued and vaunted Isis Charm,” Bryce insisted in a cold whisper.
“My grandfather,” Iseult demanded, her voice getting ever so slightly harder.
“I wouldn’t worry about him. He’s safe,” a sharp female voice assured from the darkness.
That voice, with its nails-on-chalkboard quality, caused Iseult to become as pallid as a ghostly moon. She knew that voice and there was no way in the nine pits of hell that she could be here. She couldn’t be in bed with this family.
“Gwendolyn,” Iseult shakily muttered as her eyebrows extended to her hair line.
“Yes, child. Now what is the key,” Gwendolyn demanded as she stepped into the light. Her red hair glittered like a thousand rubies on fire. Her lips were painted a garish shade of red that they looked as though they were bleeding. Those tainted lips were set to a cruel parody of a smile that no one could mistake for warmth. Her lilac colored eyes were as cold and dead as Iseult had ever seen.
“How could you? He’s your father,” Iseult cried.
“The old man means about as much to me as you do. Now how do I break the charm,” Gwendolyn almost shrieked at the child she had given birth to.
“I don’t know. I didn’t design or brew it,” Iseult stated boldly.
“The key for your grandfather,” Bryce taunted.
“Give me my grandfather,” Iseult demanded.
“The key,” Gwendolyn demanded harshly.
Iseult stuck her chin out and stared straight ahead as she intoned, “I cannot give you what I do not have. Now give me my grandfather,” Iseult forcefully demanded.
“Perhaps you should think about it,” Bryce coolly informed. With that he motioned for Gwendolyn to follow him.
When Iseult could no longer hear the breathing of another soul she tumbled to the floor in exhaustion. As the cell she was in cooled off Iseult began to shiver. Drawing her thing gown closer Iseult began to mutter to herself as she surveyed the damp cell she had ended up in.
The stone beneath her bare feet was cold and sharp; the bars of the cell were made of hard iron. There was no window to provide air in the little cell. Wall sconces surrounded the outside of the cell. The fires that glowed from within them provided no warmth.
Seeing no way out of her cell, Iseult began to think on her predicament. There had to be a way out, this much she was certain of. The shrieking creak of a rusty hinge bought Iseult out of her thoughts.
Wildly she began to look around the room. Unfortunately the darkness outside of the torch light was impenetrable. The scent however was not. Cinnamon and saffron wafted heavily through the air.
Iseult knew better than to start a conversation with her newest visitor while they were in a room by themselves. That was fine to do on a crowded street, not in a prison cell where other alchemists had ways of listening in that science could only dream of.
With her back to the cell bars Iseult looked to the ceiling of the stone prison. As it she concentrated on it Iseult found it to be exceedingly odd. It looked as though it were the night sky and yet there was no moon.
Taking a shaky breath, Iseult uttered, “Where in the name of all that is holy am I?” She was not expecting an answer.
“They can’t hear or see me. You, on the other hand, are fair game. Listen and listen well. This place is like nowhere you’ve ever been. It is as old as the ancient world. Unfortunately, it is extremely hostile to any that consider religion a safe haven. This place is basically Primordial Chaos embodied.
“The only ones that are safe here are those that relish chaotic darkness. An exceedingly pale man rules this place and his heart is as black as they come. The old man isn’t worth it, save yourself. Everything is here,” Aldman finished in a hoarse whisper.
Within seconds the smell of cinnamon and saffron dissipated leaving Iseult alone once more. Taking heart at the strange warning, Iseult began to pace her cell. Scrutinizing the floor and bars of her cell Iseult saw nothing but a bare room. This cell made Selk’s sitting room look lavishly furnished!
Before she could pace another length in her cell, Iseult heard creaking hinges. “I don’t have what you want,” Iseult declared to the shadows.
“Are you sure about that,” Bryce asked as he stood just outside the light of the cell.
“Positive,” Iseult firmly declared.
“Such a pity,” Bryce murmured as he dropped a heavy package just out of Iseult’s reach.
When the package hit the ground it rolled into the light. One end of the package was dripping a bright red color. The other end had a wrinkled hand with a very familiar ring on it.
Iseult shook as tears leaked from her violet eyes. “What have you done,” she asked in trembling tones.