Today I’m delighted to be part of the book blitz for ‘Eulogy for the Dawn’ by Jeramy Goble organised by Storytellers on Tour. I was hoping to have a review ready as part of this blitz, but unfortunately I have been ill all week and I haven’t quite finished reading it. However, I have been loving it so far and the review will be up next week, and for today I have an extract to whet your appetite as well as the chance to win a copy of the book for yourself.
Domaren constructs peace using his tools of war. He is a silencer of rebellions and a butcher of tyrants. To some, he is a champion defender. To others, he is a merciless eradicator. Together with his fellow Godknights, Domaren wields might and magic to carry out the will of the creators.
But the creators have suddenly gone silent.
As the last living Godknight present during the ancient rebellion known as Wrathlore, Domaren must rise above suspicions of deceit, faltering powers, and a world erupting in chaos if he hopes to learn the fate of the missing creators.
Domaren raced onto the bridge and blinked up through the rain in time to see Isnyra fold her wings back and land solidly next to him. Her massive dragon frame shot a wooden thud booming out in all directions. After swinging off his horse and tossing a torch to the nearby guard, he wiped his face and waited for Isnyra.
She shifted to her human form and joined him in a jog towards Prumo Hald’s main doors.
“What do you think they will say?” She asked.
A younger red dragon, and recently knighted, Isnyra was full of questions.
“I have no idea,” Domaren said. He sighed with dread as he spoke, and glanced at Isnyra who seemed locked in a forward stare before focusing back on the entrance. After the pair hopped to a stop in front of the doors, Domaren swung his arm back and pounded on them. Only the rain replied.
Isnyra added a kick.
“This is ridiculous,” she said.
Domaren added his complaint.
“What is the delay? Open the doors!” He yelled. After one last bang, he tilted his head back towards Isnyra.
“And honestly, I’m not sure I know what I would say if I heard the news that we are about to deliver,” he said. He uttered his comment of uncertainty with a measured concern.
The two godknights listened as the massive beams behind the doors slid out from their typical positions of prone reinforcement.
“Finally,” Isnyra said.
After dense rattles and bangs, the doors shook and cracked open, squeaking and groaning on their ancient hinges. Domaren and Isnyra marched through them the moment there was room, just as they and the other knights had countless times before. They then set off at a brisk pace while a guard shuffled along in a hasty attempt to keep up.
“Lord Domaren, Lady Isnyra,” the Prumo Hald guard said. “Please, this is highly irregular,” the guard said, each subsequent syllable escalating with agitation. He motioned for other guards back in the corridor to join him. As they stepped out from the shadow, their movements sent the dust and bits in the air whooshing and scattering about. After rushing over, the contingent of six guards stepped in front of the godknights and blocked their path.
“I must insist you wait here while we confirm your visitation with the Kihdai,” the original guard said firmly. His hand rested on his sword’s pommel, but he had not yet drawn it. Domaren looked down and smiled as the guard repositioned his hand. But like a parent tiring quickly of their cute but frustrating child after a vexing day, Domaren’s smile fell.
“You can insist all you like,” Domaren said. His voice dripped with annoyed emphasis. “But the Kihdai instructed me and Isnyra to report back to them at the earliest viable opportunity as to the status of the errand they charged us with. Do you understand?”
The guard’s hand slowly slipped down off the pommel towards the handle while Domaren tracked his movements. He then turned his head enough only to lock eyes quickly with Isnyra.
“I absolutely understand your statement, Lord Domaren, but we receive our directives from the Kihdai just as you do. Now, if you can respect the instructions they have given us, we will simply confer with our mutual… superiors… and arrange to escort you as soon as they have given us permission to do so.”
Domaren had a reply, but inspected the entire group of guards for their hand placements instead. Each now had their hands on their weapons. Their tense bodies stood rigid and ready. Feigning a sigh in order to look down and towards Isnyra, a sharp light growing brighter by the moment caught Domaren’s eye.
Before the knight’s name finished leaving his lips, Isnyra’s firestone unleashed a torrent of blinding light from her chest, across the entire expanse of Prumo Hald’s main hall. Almost as quickly as the light shot out, it subsided. Standing before the guards now were Domaren, Godknight of the Humans with Verikta, his ancient longsword in his hand, and Isnyra, Godknight of the Dragons, in her natural, red dragon form.
“Now, you must truly let us pass,” Isnyra said. Her vocal cords had morphed and swelled with her transformation from human to dragon. As she spoke, her normal volume smacked against the walls and rattled iron fixtures. She also sent paintings sliding on their hooks, leaving them unleveled and teetering.
Domaren slid his feet from his preparatory stance into an offensive one.
“Your delay is costing lives,” Domaren said. “Stand aside!”
Before the provocations escalated to violence, however, a voice bellowed from the opposite end of the hall.
Domaren held Verikta over his head but let his head fall to the side to peer between the guards. A large silhouette, a bit less than twice as tall as Domaren, loomed imposingly in the threshold of the distant room’s firelight.
“Where are the others?” The distant figure asked. “Please, come speak with us. Tell us what you have learned. Guards, thank you. You may let them pass.”
Domaren let his hand-and-a-half grip break apart as he slowly lowered Verikta. But as his arms fell, the corners of his mouth raised. Without saying a word, Domaren reiterated his authority with the guards, and slid Verikta into her scabbard.
“Come now,” the figure said. “We must have the latest news.” As he pivoted to return to the room he entered from, he heaved into another set of interior doors to open them far wider than needed only for himself. “Man and dragon, come along,” he announced, playfully.
Isnyra walked around the group of guards while Domaren walked straight forward and split them down the middle. The guards said nothing as the knight forced them to step back or bump into their fellow guards. Domaren held the eyes of the only guard that had spoken with them and continued silently reminding them of their place. After a few seconds and once Domaren felt he had made his point, he turned and jogged to catch up with Isnyra. Isnyra turned her massive head and neck toward him just as he caught up with her.
“Maybe we can discuss the topic of Prumo Hald guards needlessly delaying godknights from seeing to their business,” she whispered. But even in a whisper, Isnyra’s voice carried.
“What? Yes, perhaps,” the waiting figure replied. “But that isn’t quite as pressing as other news I hope you have for us.”
“Yes, of course,” Isnyra said in her dragon form’s, rumbling, alto voice.
The two knights arrived at the threshold of the next room and finally confirmed the identity of the figure whose voice they were confident they had recognized. The human Kihdai had been the one to welcome them. The form he had chosen at the birth of the virtues was that of a human, though noticeably larger and taller than natural humans..
“Kihdai,” Domaren said after stopping to bow.
Isnyra followed suit with a head bow of her own. “Kihdai.”
“Hello friends, yes, come, come,” he said. “Come in. Where are the others?”
“The answer to that forms the bulk of our news,” Isnyra said.
“I see,” answered the Kihdai. “Follow me. Let us share your news with the others as well.”
The Kihdai turned and marched towards the center of the sprawling and sparse room. As Domaren and Isnyra followed, they noticed the other Kihdai sitting in their massive but plain thrones, as they usually do when discussing matters of their creation. But the two knights could not determine the sensitivity or significance of any prior chatter as they approached the center of the room, for none of the Kihdai spoke. They merely turned their heads and watched their visitors step closer.
The responsibility of filling the silence fell to the popping and crackling of a substantial fire arrangement in front of the thrones. Running in a circular ditch a few meters in front of the Kihdai, the fire basked the gods in a gently wavering wealth of light. A bulky chandelier made of iron, matched in circumference to the fiery ring below, dangled freely from an anchor high above. The large iron ring accommodated some hundreds of candles. Layers of overlapping and dried wax drippings caked the sides and obscured large portions of the fixture’s metal.
“Please, knights,” the god suggested, “enter the circle and tell us what you have learned.”
The duo obliged as they were told and proceeded towards the fire circle as the creator returned to his throne. Domaren easily hopped over the fire with Isnyra following quickly after. The cavernous chamber and distance between thrones accommodated dragons easily. With another two dozen human paces, the two knights reached the center of the circle.
“Thank you for coming to us with whatever news you may have,” said the human Kihdai. “Please, begin when you are ready.”
“Why have only two of you come?” Another Kihdai asked. Her assumed form was that of a dragon. The dancing fire reflected off her scales and gave the impression her body changed colors with the flames.
“That is our news, dragon Kihdai,” Domaren replied. His words came slowly, and with a weight that frequently pulled his head down as he spoke. After looking to Isnyra as if still in disbelief, he continued. “It seems that the source of the uprisings across Stä Bläsjä are our some of our very own knights.”
The dwarf Kihdai roared as he shoved himself up out of his throne. “What? What evidence do you have of this?”
“A large, combined force confronted us when we arrived in the city of Mashka, dwarf Kihdai. Tens of thousands from most races as far as we could tell.” Isnyra paused to let the initial wave of unfortunate news settle before continuing.
Her next words carried with them a melancholy lilt as if still in disbelief, herself.
“Domaren and I had spoken with the other knights just days before and agreed to meet them in Mashka before traveling farther east to investigate various revolts, but… that meeting never happened. At least not as we had discussed previously.”
Another godknight, a female orc who had vacated her throne as well, paced in slow circles around it. Holding her hands behind her, she stared down deep in thought, but stopped for another question. She hinted at having hope that the allegations were false, but wavered towards certainty.
“And how did you confirm the other knights were part of this opposing force?”
“We saw them, orc Kihdai,” Domaren replied. As with his previous comments, Domaren struggled with saying more. “We spoke with them. And after, we had to fight them.”
Many of the Kihdai stopped pacing or peeled themselves away from their distractions of thought. Each creator then snapped their eyes into sharp focus on the pair of knights at the center of the circle.
“We all planned to meet at an abandoned farm on the outside of town,” Isnyra said, before Domaren continued.
“And when I arrived on the morning we had agreed to, I only found Isnyra, waiting. There was also a child who had apparently been compensated to stand and wait for our arrival to deliver us a message.”
“The message conveyed something that we would soon learn was in actuality, a ruse,” Isnyra continued. “It said that an ambush had delayed the others and to come quickly to assist. Naturally, we raced off to the defense of our fellow knights. But when we arrived at the new location, we found the large army, formed and ready.”
Domaren took a turn in continuing the account.
“Many races were on the field, but we could not confirm which, definitively. I don’t recall seeing any dragons,” he said, nodding thankfully at Isnyra.
“After we relayed this news to you,” Isnyra said, “we were planning to confirm who isn’t part of this treachery and organizing a proper response.”
“Thank you. We can appreciate that,” said the dwarf Kihdai, “but you still haven’t mentioned specifics regarding the other knights.”
“Yes, I apologize,” Domaren said. “Upon seeing the army, Isnyra and I approached.”
“Just the two of you?” the human Kihdai asked.
“Yes. We wanted to learn more about what was transpiring, and felt comfortable we could repulse them, or flee if necessary.”
“Unfortunately,” Isnyra continued, “we ended up having to flee.”
Domaren nodded at his fellow godknight, and then at the Kihdai before resuming.
“After crossing the field and closing the distance between the gathered army and ourselves, the other knights stepped out from behind the front ranks.”
Incredulous at what she must have felt were impending revelations, the dragon Kihdai folder her wings behind her and stomped towards Domaren and Isnyra. As she stepped wide over the recessed band of fire, she flipped her large tail up to protect it. Once on the interior of the circle, she relaxed her wings and let her tail slam to the floor with a meaty smack. She marched over to the two knights and slowed only when she was within half a wingspan of them. While looming over the knights, she spit her next words out sharply and slowly as her face twitched to contain her anger.
“What… did… they… say?” She asked.
Domaren took a careful moment to gather his thoughts and consider how he would present them. Not out of intimidation or worry about how the Kihdai would treat him or Isnyra—knowing the dragon Kihdai reserved her anger for the others—but again, because he still had trouble believing what he was about to say.
“The other knights spoke of dissatisfaction, Kihdai,” Domaren said, respectfully. “They cited a growing concern for the welfare of their people, mismanagement of creation, and regarding the proxies, what they felt was an exploitation of their rank.”
The human god spun towards Domaren and glared down at him with a newly manifested stare of hate. The truant knights were not there to receive his admonishment, but as the Kihdai blasted out in primordial rage, Domaren and Isnyra would temporarily have to do.
“Mismanagement?” He shouted. He turned towards the other Kihdai as he flailed and continued his roaring tirade. As he boomed and yelled louder and moved about with added animation, he squeezed a fist and fanned the ring of flame so that it grew three times in height.
“How can those to whom we have given everything, aspire to such egregious levels of idiocy that they think they can take issue with us, over anything?”
The god’s thundering question tore through the halls of Prumo Hald’s corridors, his disgusted and furious volume eclipsing Isnyra’s earlier rattles and vibrations. Sounds of falling frames and decorations popped out from various locations in Prumo Hald. Immediately following the human creator’s rhetorical question, yet another Kihdai, the elf creator, wasted no time in planning a response. The human Kihdai released his fist and allowed the flames to return to normal.
“Where are these fools at currently?” The elf god asked.
In an effort to reset his thoughts, Domaren blinked for the first time in what felt like decades. Glancing at Isnyra, he then swallowed only to wet his throat.
“We weren’t able to glean very many specifics—” Domaren attempted, before the dwarf Kihdai interrupted.
“Wait,” the dwarf Kihdai blurted. “What happened after they voiced their concerns? Was anything else said?”
Isnyra stammered slightly as she recalled the rest of the encounter.
“Oh, only that they had these concerns and that they wanted our help,” she said.
“Help with what?” The elf god asked. Her brewing assumptions caused her question to snip sharply.
“Help with fighting you,” Domaren said after hesitating. “Fighting the proxies. An absolute rebellion.”
“And how did you respond?” asked the human Kihdai, with an unsettling softness.
“We absolutely rejected the notion,” Domaren said as he motioned at Isnyra. “We challenged them on their motives, their thinking, and not only told them we disagreed with their justification, but told them why they would fail.”
For the first time since the conversation began, the Kihdai had no immediate reply. Isnyra concluded the story.
“We argued back and forth for a time,” she said, “but soon after that is when they gave their armies the order to charge. We fought for hours. At one point Domaren and I had become separated, but once we finally regrouped, we decided to break off and report what had transpired.”
Again, the room fell silent as the Kihdai processed the news, and undoubtedly considered their response. Breaking the silence, Isnyra spoke up once again.
“Kihdai, Domaren and I are loyal. We have confidence in you and are grateful for this existence. There are countless untold in the general population who feel the same way, and I know your proxies are of the same mind. Whatever action you wish taken, we will see to it.”
Domaren nodded at Isnyra’s prudence and her sentiment. “I agree with every word, absolutely.”
The elf Kihdai turned and added her dark encouragement.
“Good,” the elf Kihdai said, lingering on the word. “Good. And I’m sure we will want to discuss specific tactics, but I believe I speak for all Kihdai when I say we encourage you to conscript, recruit, or otherwise press anyone necessary into this cause. We will not tolerate rebellion.”
“Agreed,” boomed the dwarf god.
“Understood,” Domaren said. He was then prepared to let the conversation continue, but the notion of recruitment reminded him of an opportunity.
“I wonder, Kihdai,” he said. “There have been rumors for some time now, that there are some… demons that wish to abandon their ways. To escape eternal purgatory…”
The orc god bounced with a hearty a laugh.
“You can’t possibly be suggesting that we have anything to do with any of them,” she said.
Before she could continue, the dragon Kihdai responded.
“Their power… their decay magic… could potentially serve us as a significant benefit in this,” the Kihdai said. “Does anyone disagree?”
The human god looked up from his thoughts, but returned to them just as quickly. There were no objections.
The two knights stood patiently and dutifully, waiting for their next command from the Kihdai. The Kihdai that had originally remained seated were all standing now. Some stared into the fire, pensive with thought, while others continued pacing. Finally, the human Kihdai came to a halt, his ceased movement and loud, hearty stop catching the attention of the others. He looked around at the faces of his fellow creators to measure their disposition as if silently asking for their agreement on what he was about to say. He then turned slowly to face the two knights and stepped towards them.
Jeramy Goble is an epic fantasy and science-fiction author, originally from Morganton, North Carolina. While traveling with his sister, mother, and military father, Jeramy accumulated passions for the wonders of world faiths, and the excitement of science and technology. In addition to being an author, Jeramy is an IT professional, composer and avid gamer. After studying music, Jeramy received his bachelor’s degree in 2004. He and his wife, Julia, were married in 2010.
Prize: A print copy of Eulogy for the Dawn by Jeramy Goble – International
Grand prize: Hardcover copy
Runenrs-up: Paperback copy
Starts: September 1st, 2021 at 12:00am EST
Ends: September 6th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
You can enter HERE