On the three islands of Aredona, a torn slave escapes life in shackles with help from a young criminal boy and adventures across the island. Here, the powers of magic are growing, infesting all that it touches, corrupting all that it sees. The slave and his companion must survive the horrors of Aredona while attempting to reach Dasderia, home city of the Aredona slave movement and end the totalitarian rule of the empire.
By J.B. Freecheck
First Draft of the Prologue
(This is a first draft, or merely an outline, I have edited it only to make it viewable to other readers, the final draft will certainly be an improvement)
The world was silent, not a single sound disturbed the peaceful night. My feet acted on their own accord, stealthy stepping around, above or between any obstacles with ease. For a forest, the Delburen Wood’s underbrush was surprisingly scarce compared to the large cottonwoods and birches that have over the last century invaded the forest floor.
My body, now drenched in sweat, was getting weaker with every step. I at least to my knowledge escaped without notice or suspicion. An open window was all I needed, to rid myself of the imprisonment I had suffered over the past couple of decades. By now they would of noticed my disappearance and at this moment be hunting me down, no doubt with Dasderian Trackers.
South Aredona’s east coast, home to the giant city of Dasderia. Slave-city is what we imprisoned like to call it. Slavers from all across Aredona’s three islands find themselves in that dreadful city once in their retched lives. I have it easy compared to the imprisoned there, never was I beaten till my limbs were incapable of movement or marked with razors between each of my fingers and toes. Shuddering at the thought, I carefully slid off of a rock ledge, only to find my feet didn’t hit the ground as expected, climbing back up, I stared into what looked to be more grass-coated land. Picking up a rock, I tossed it off the cliff. The stone passed right through it, sending a ripple of fog to erupt from where it hit. The fog spread, dissolving the earth that I had believed was real and replacing it with an abyss. Shocked, I took a step back. In front of me no forest remained, but a large chasm stretched a mile in every direction.
A mirage, I thought, suddenly understanding. Traps laid by Slavers, magical of course, used to stop escapees like me from getting farther than this point. I quickly spun around, expecting to see a party of men to take me back to the mill. Instead, I found nothing but forest. Something about tonight had me on edge, perhaps it was the day’s events, or the endless silence. Relieved, I sat down, feeling certain that I had a few seconds to spare. My thoughts drifted back to my escape, me stepping out onto a ledge under the window, another man following me. We both in unison scaled the wooden edge, climbing down to the first story roof. Together we watched many of our fellow slaves working in the fields beyond the four-story lumber mill, heaving axes and sawing trees into lumber, feeling for the first time in a long time a sense of freedom. Then I had leaped off the roof into their pond, and he did not follow, but ran toward the fields, leaving me alone. slyly I found myself prowling through my master’s gardens, evading the gardener slaves and taking off into the Delburen Forest, running as fast as I could, all the while thinking of why he did not join me.
Behind me, a twig snapped, tearing me from my memory and into reality. Jumping up onto my feet, I readied my fists, preparing for the worst. The darkness of the night shrouded the forest, yet the movements persisted. I scanned the surrounding cliff, nothing grew on it, for it was pure stone. A few hundred feet in front of me stood the woods, and the sounds continued. A branch cracked to my left, I twisted to see the source. Nothing, I muttered through clenched teeth. To my right, a bush shook, it’s leaves rustling piercing the silence. Facing the forest straight-on again, the trees started to sway back and forth, branches colliding with one another, more snapping, more rustles of leaves. Around me the wind started to pick up, soon the entire forest was shuddering.
Directly in front of me, concealed by the woods, an ominous voice penetrated the clamor, sending the world back into its original quiet. “Do you fear the darkness?” It asked mockingly. I searched for the source, slowly walking toward the forest.
“Who are you?” I shouted to the dark. What are you?
“Does the shadows unsettle you, do you fear the dark?” He asked again, this time with a irritated edge to his daunting voice.
Annoyed, I answered it’s question. “It is not the dark I fear, but what lies within it.” Picking up a stone, I chucked it toward the forest. Sailing through the air, sounds of snapping brushwood and crackling foliage followed, along with a disdainful snicker.
“No man can stand up against a foe of shadows, much less an army.” The voice sounded as if it was closer, chills ran down my spine and rattled my bones as it whispered. “Let the shadows take you.” The wind picked up again, gusts of air slammed into my sides, forcing me to fall to my knees, my head screaming from the pain. Twisting around me, the wind lifted me up, suspending me midair feet above the stone floor. “There is no escaping it, no running in fear. I am the embodiment of fear, I am the king of Night.” The figure finally stepped out of the woods, his body pitch black, tendrils of black mist swirling around him.
My throat was parched, my lips dry and my body broken. The closer he got, the more the violent the wind became. Suffocating me, crushing me and blinding me, it had no remorse. Soon I began to realize it was not air at all, but the wisps of mist that had surrounded the figure, it was the shadows, sent to end me.
Summoning up all the courage and energy I could muster, I shouted in a hoarse voice, but my question was clear. “What, what did you mean by an ‘army’?” Slowly my eyes started to close, I no longer had enough power to keep them open.
At last the figure stood before me, leaning in through the darkness, he whispered. “A diminishing world and the eradication of life.” Then, when I thought I could no longer go on, the shadows shot me toward the forest, my body hurled through the air, only to slam into a wall of dark. The figure laughed once more, the sound seemed to echo in the cloud of shadows I was contained in. “Let you be the first life to be sacrificed for my cause.” The pressure was overwhelming, crushing me into a ball and flinging me into the air. My eyes gave way, shutting me into an internal darkness.
I was falling, the deep abyss swallowing me up. Soon I will be in the unknown. That was my last thought, my corpse descending into the endless darkness, hoping that at least one of us escaped.
This is the first draft of the prologue to “The Slave of Aredona Coast”, if you have any feedback, please comment below.
Thank you for reading, “The Slave of Aredona Coast” will be released at the end of December, and the final draft of the prologue will be available in a month.
by J.B. Freecheck