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Author Topic: The Imperial Chronicles Series  (Read 471 times)
RJ1982
Swab

United States United States


« on: September 30, 2015, 01:19:06 am »

Hello! Where to start, hm... I'm not entirely sure as I am new to the idea of self promotion, but I suppose I'll learn as I go. I'm an author and am currently working on the second book in a series of novels set in a steampunk world. The first novel is available on Amazon, the link will be below.

Thoughts, ideas and suggestions are always welcome, as is simple conversation, I love a good debate!

I think that's everything to start with...

http://tinyurl.com/nazq37z
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RJ1982
Swab

United States United States


« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2015, 10:26:34 pm »

I realized that maybe I should include a snippet or something, so here is the Prologue and part of Chapter One. Enjoy. And yes, I know the formatting is a little wonky. It did not translate well from the finished copy to the forum, sorry about that.

The Imperial Chronicles:
Book One

Empire and Imperium


By R. L. Jordan



Prologue

  Stones lay scattered around the broken walls, the towers long since toppled, and the roofs open to the sky. For a place of legend, it wasn't so much a fabled city as it was a ruin that stank of ash and decay. Huddled against the cold and darkness, the three ragged men crowded around the fire.

  “Told you this was a bad idea, Gunner,” said the first, his face grizzled and scarred. “Ain't nothin' good ever come out of this place, not since the Fall anyway.”

  Gunner shook his head. He was younger than the other two, but larger. “That's shit, and you know it. All the stories say that this city was once the golden capital of the east.” He glanced around at the vacant and dilapidated buildings. “There's gotta be somethin' worth somethin' here,” he muttered.

  The smallest of the three men leaned in closer to the fire. He shook his head as he watched his breath in the cold, night air. “Can't believe I let you two talk me into this. Staying overnight in Risimbul.” He shook his head. “If the Lurkers don't get us-”

  Gunner swung out with his hand, slapping the back of the smaller man's head. “Shut up about those damn fairy tales, Jase! Ain't no such thing as Lurkers. That's just a load of bullshit they tell kids to keep 'em from runnin' off.” Glancing from Jase to the other man and back, Gunner barked a single humorless laugh. “I heard that the empire's the one that spread them stories, all so they could keep takin' the riches of the east for themselves.”

  The first man gestured around them at the ruined city. “You see any riches Gunner? Cause I sure don't.”

  Opening his mouth to comment, Gunner stopped and blinked as he saw movement in the shadows. “I think someone's here with us boys.” Rising, Gunner pulled the single shot pistol from his belt. Taking aim at the shadows, he bellowed. “Alright whoever you are. You come on out where we can see you.”

  “It’s the Lurkers,” whispered Jase as he tried to get closer to the fire. “I know it is.”

  “Shut up Jase!” said Gunner as he continued to watch the shadows. “Ain't no damn Lurkers! Probably just some-” His voice was cut off as his eyes turned a milky white.

  “No light,” hissed a voice as the shadowy figure stepped out from behind Gunner. As the color drained from Gunner's face, the shadowy figure grew more solid by the second. “No light,” it hissed before moving towards the next man.

  Cowering beside the fire, Jase could only whimper as all around him, the shadows came to life.

One

  The market was the usual riot of activity as merchants hawked their wares from stalls and shops while the city's populace moved between them. Innis'Ur was a city much like any other in the Empire, the architecture favored the simple lines of the mainland, even if the stone and wood were of a different type. Here in Innis'Ur, the provincial capital, the laws were a little lax. Moving among the crowds, Marcus Cray did his best to avoid the puddles, mud and the shouting merchants as they hawked their wares. Finally, he stopped at one of the stalls and glanced down at the small blue crystals that were laid out. Picking one up, he hefted the small stone in his palm before bringing it up before his dark eyes. Staring into its depths, he saw no visions like the Seers, nor did he feel the rush of power that the Il'Shar might. For him, it was just a stone, like any other; to everyone else it was ætherium, the concentrated solid form of the liquid known as æther.

  “Ah, a nice piece,” said the merchant as he moved to stand across from Marcus. He grinned as he gestured at the small stone. “From the mines at Alleria, the highest quality.”

  Marcus grunted. “I've seen better.”

  The merchant huffed as he ran one hand over his sparse white hair. “You will not find better outside of Imperial service sir, I assure you.”

  Chuckling, Marcus nodded. “Where do you think I've seen better quality? I served in the air fleet for fifteen years, but you're right. This is a good quality piece. How much?”

  The merchant smiled and spread his fingers. “Five crowns. It is worth twice that.”

  Marcus snorted. “It’s worth two crowns.” He shook his head as he regarded the small stone in his hand. “I'll give you two crowns and a silver penny, and I'm being generous at that.”

  Narrowing his eyes, the merchant quickly calculated the cost in his head. Each crown was worth ten silver pennies, and a silver penny was worth ten copper marks. With a small smile, he nodded once. “Two crowns and a penny. Done.” He held out his wrinkled hand for the coins and grinned. “But only because you were in the fleet.”

  Chuckling, Marcus shook his head as he reached into the coin purse at his belt and counted out the coins. “I'm sure you'd have come up with some kind of reason to accept,” he said as he dropped the coins into the merchant's hand. “My thanks.” The small blue crystal found its way into his coin purse and without another word he set off into the market.

  Making his way through the streets, Marcus glanced over at the tall clock tower as it began to ring the noon hour, its melodic bells chiming a tune. The twinkling music was drowned out by the hum of engines overhead. Marcus looked up just in time to see the iron clad airship appear over the rooftops, its metallic hull glinting in the sunlight as it angled towards the distant docking tower. He took in the blackened patches of hull, and the blisters that housed the ventral guns. The ship had definitely been in a fight, probably another raid by pirates, or one of the eastern nations.

  Marcus sighed as the stern of the ship disappeared over the rooftops. At thirty-two, he'd spent almost half of his life serving the Empire in one capacity or another. Idly, he fingered the small blue crystal that was safely stored in his coin purse. Airships, lights, radio, the distant Veil, ætherium had made it all possible, and it was the one resource on which the Empire's vast power depended.

  Taking a turn, Marcus made his way down one of the narrow side streets, the buildings on either side rising up and blocking out the sun. He could smell the oncoming rain, and knew within the hour the city would once more be wet and glistening with yet another storm. A few quick steps and he found himself standing in the entry hall of a row house. Sighing, he shut the door behind himself and glanced around his simple abode. Stairs led to the second floor, where a pair of bedrooms waited, while the first floor was finished off with a small parlor, and a dining room. The kitchen, as with most of the old town houses, was in the basement.

  A low roll of thunder and the first tinkling of rain drops against the cobble stones and window panes heralded the arrival of the storm. “Sooner than I thought,” mumbled Marcus as he fished around in the darkening entry hall until he found the long metal holder. The ætherium crystal fit snugly in the holder and with a soft grunt, Marcus dipped the holder into the wall mounted glass orbs. The soft translucent æther inside had a blue tint to it as the small crystal worked its magic. It was slow at first, but within a few seconds, the liquid glowed, its particles reacting to the presence of the ætherium. Pulling the long metal holder out, Marcus repeated the process with a second wall mounted orb before moving into the parlor.

  “Still living in this rat hole I see,” said the man in the chair.

  Marcus came to a stop just inside the doorway. He wasn't alarmed, rather he was annoyed. “What do you want Harrington?” he asked before he stepped further into the room and dipped the metal holder into a table top orb.

  As the room filled with the soft blue light, the man called Harrington shrugged as he leaned back in the chair and folded one leg over the other. His boots were perfectly polished, their black leather shining in the soft glow of the lamp. “It is not what I want,” he said. “Rather it is what your grandmother wants.” He picked an invisible piece of lint off of his pristine white uniform, its long coat pooling around his knees. “She sent me to retrieve you.”

  Chuckling, Marcus shook his head. “She sent one of the five Il'Shar granted to the family to retrieve me? What, was she expecting me to try and kill you?” He laid the metal holder aside and made his way back towards the entry hall. “You're leaving Harrington. Tell her I'm not returning.”

  Harrington slowly stood, bringing himself up to his full height. As he turned towards Marcus, the light caught his eyes, their cerulean blue glowing as he shook his head. “She’s dying.”

  Marcus stopped in the doorway, his back remaining to the man. “And why should I care?” he asked softly. “She disowned me when I went off to the academy, or have you forgotten?”

  There was a soft sigh preceding the soft footfalls as Harrington made his way towards Marcus. “You are the senior most claimant to the Province of Xanzia. Like it or not, you will be the Grand Duke, and if the rumors are true, you'll be swearing fealty to your cousin before long.”

  Turning slowly, Marcus's brows knit together as he regarded the older man in front of him. “My cousin?”

  “According to our sources,” began Harrington, “The Empress is not well. Your cousin Alexander is overseeing the day to day affairs of the Empire and will of course ascend to the throne should the unthinkable happen.”

  Marcus laughed softly. “My cousin. Our great grandparents were siblings, which hardly makes us family.” He finally turned to look at Harrington. “The only reason my family was even granted you and the other Il'Shar is because we may someday be in a position to claim the throne. And considering how far down the line I am, it’s not exactly likely.”

  Harrington shrugged. “Be that as it may, I have been assigned to your family, and your grandmother sent me to bring you home. You know if I go to the local garrison, they will assist me in returning you by force if necessary, but I would rather avoid that.”

  Drawing in a breath, Marcus sighed as he closed his eyes. He knew he was trapped. Within the Empire, there was no higher duty than to serve. Nowhere was this truer than in the life of the nobility. He knew that Harrington would make good on his threat if necessary, and that the local garrison would indeed aid him. “Fine,” said Marcus as he nodded. Opening his eyes, he glanced at Harrington. “Fine. When do we leave?”

  “Now,” said Harrington. He extended his arm towards the entry hall, a faint smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “I have a carriage waiting to take us to the docking tower.”

-

  The long hall was high, a full four stories, with galleries running along the second level. The center was left open, its length dotted with arches that supported the upper gallery. The entirety of the hall was made of white granite that reflected the light of the chandeliers that hung from the vaulted ceiling. The Court of Light it was called, the seat of power for the Empire. In the two thousand years of imperial history, the Court of Light had always been illuminated, a task that was much easier now thanks to the electric lights that had replaced the candles and oil lamps of centuries past.

  Along the curved, rear wall, a platform rose, with stairs leading up to it. From that platform if one looked out of the nearly floor to ceiling windows that filled the wall, one could see the northern shore of the Great North Bay, but it was the white marble throne that commanded the attention of the room. Resting atop the platform and inlaid with silver and gold, the White Throne of the Empire gave a view of the entire hall. Rising up above the throne, the gold eagle rested in the center of the sunburst, the symbol of the Empire itself. Wrought iron made up the armature of the sunburst, the points of which held precious sapphires. The symbol was mirrored in the inlay work of the hall's floor.

  Seated upon the throne, amidst the white banners of the Empire and the chandeliers that hung down from the lofty ceiling, Alexander Alister sighed to himself as he listened to the noble's request and tried not to fiddle with his close trimmed beard. The silver and gold circlet with its four points denoting his rank as the heir to the throne rested on his head, the weight not only keeping his short brown hair in place but also serving as a reminder of the responsibility that rested upon his shoulders. His teal eyes scanned the crowd of people for the countless time that day. Each had an issue to be heard, a petition to make, or a request of some kind.

  “We will of course submit to the will of the Empress,” said the noblewoman as she dropped into another curtsy and extended a sheaf of papers.

  With a vague wave of his hand, Alex gestured to one of the attending courtiers, signaling the man to accept the noble's papers. “Her Majesty will be happy to look into this matter,” said Alex. He glanced out at the sea of faces looking up at him as he slowly stood. “That will be all for today.” His voice was calm, the confident tenor of one who knew their place in the world. At thirty-seven, he had never known anything but responsibility and privilege in his life.

  The sudden outbreak in conversations as people speculated on the day's decisions and requests gave Alex the cover he needed to lean to his left and speak to the woman standing beside him. “How long do you think we can keep this up, Shiara?”

  Shiara was tall, nearly matching Alex's own height of six feet. Rail thin, she had an ethereal beauty about her as she stood dressed in the white robes of a Priestess of Inar with her hair pulled up under the semi-spherical headdress she wore. From the nearly white color of her eyebrows, one could only assume that her hair was the fairest of blondes. Forcing a smile, she glanced from Alex towards the crowd of people that were now starting to filter out of the throne room. “Are you asking me as your friend, or as the spiritual adviser to the Crown?”

  Sighing, Alex slowly stood and gestured for her to follow him as he made his way towards one of the side doors that led into the more private parts of the palace. “Will the answer be different either way?”

  Following after him, Shiara shook her head. “No. A few more weeks at most, and then you'll have to make it public. Already rumors are starting.”

  “Mm,” Alex grunted as he started to climb the stairs towards the higher floors. “I don't suppose we could have the Silent Voice deal with that.”

  Shiara snorted. “Please, tyranny doesn't suit you Alex. You'd never set spies and assassins on your own people.”

  As they reached a pair of ornately carved and inlaid doors, Alex came to a stop and glanced back at Shiara. “Of course, but how do I tell my people that their Empress is dying?” Without waiting for an answer, he pushed open the doors and stepped into the chamber beyond. While a large room, its decorations were simple. Tapestries and paintings decorated the walls, while large windows looked out into one of the many gardens of the palace. A large bed rested against one wall, and there laying upon it was the still form of an elderly woman. Stepping up to the bed, Alex watched the slow rise and fall of the woman's chest as she slept before turning back towards Shiara. “She sleeps.”

  Drawing in a breath, Shiara slowly sighed as she nodded. “Inar blesses her with another day.” She glanced at Alex, a faint smile crossing her lips. “Should we review the day's petitions then?”

  Groaning, Alex nodded. “Yes. Send for the others. We'll meet in the small hall.” Shiara bowed her head before turning and leaving. Now alone, Alex glanced down at the frail form of his grandmother. Her cheeks had grown hollow, wrinkles had settled around her eyes and mouth and her raven hair had long since turned white with wisps of stray strands curling around her face. Alex reached down and tucked the loose strands behind her ear, his fingers brushing her cheek. For a moment, her eyes fluttered open, their opaque and faded teal centers glancing about. “Good morning,” said Alex with a smile. “It’s me.”

  Ava closed her eyes and sighed. “Of course it is,” she said softly, her voice barely more than a whisper. “I was dreaming about when you were little, and learning to ice skate. You were so afraid of falling, do you remember?”

  Alex nodded. “I do. I had already fallen several times and was starting to get cold. You told me that an Alister never shows fear and never quits.”

  “You do remember,” smiled Ava as she opened her eyes once more. “And then I bundled you up, told you that sometimes we do make a strategic retreat and took you inside.”

  “You did,” chuckled Alex. “I still slip and fall when I ice skate.”

  Ava nodded slowly. “But you are no longer afraid of falling, and every winter you try again.”

  Alex's smile faded as stood silently for a moment. “I should tell you,” he said quietly, breaking the silence. “The chirurgeon says there is little more he can do now, other than make you comfortable.”

  “I am old,” said Ava. “It is my time.” She closed her eyes with a sigh. “You will rule well.”

  Alex stood by quietly until she was sleeping once more.
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