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People streamed through the halls; peasents, merchants, soldiers and Heralds... but he paid them no heed. Although it seemed chaos overran the sea of humanity that choked the castles interior, they parted as he swiftly strode through them, never missing a step and never slowing down; the only acknowledgement of the severity of the surrounding scene was a grim nod to the Stallion Herald upon passing and the return nod and bark of orders given to captains and soldiers that began to resound in his wake.

He turned off the main corridor, towards the king's war room in the west end of the castle, leaving the shouts, sobs and cries to fade away and the dull thud of his leather boots to carry him forward. Every so often, foot soldiers would pass by in groups of five with halberds in hand, casting nervous glances his way, but they recieved no grim nods as he kept his silent, quick pace. He could see the massive oak doors at the far end of the narrow hall and the guardsmen on either side, standing like golems in their stoic pose.

As he approached, the sentries moved as one to open the doors, making no sound nor giving any indication that they were doing anything more than opening a door, but the man knew better. They were trained well...very well.

The king looked up as the sheaf of maps and parchments shuffled then fluttered like lazy leaves in the dying season. Even in such disheartening times, he felt a surge of warmth for the Bear Herald, as he had always felt for many from the Red Bear Clan.

The Bear Herald was huge--in height and girth. Many would mistake the barrel belly to be the result of one too many tavern visits( which may not be too far from truth) but Korayne knew that was not the case; he knew the muscles were as hard as steel and the vigorous bear kintras allowed nothing less. Shaking away the stirrings of fond memories, Korayne regarded the shaggy, red-bearded Herald with a cool inquisitive look.

At the sight of King Korayne's subtle blue-eyed inquiry, Donon-edel, ambassador to the Great Clans of the Bear,son to the Red Bear Clan chieftan, Herald and long time friend to the noble man before him, bent his knee and bowed his head to Korayne, the dire news like poison on his lips as he spat them forth in heart-breaking disgust to his liege,"..they are here."

Korayne's body became rigid; his cool, blue eyes became ice as the message burned through his veins like liquid fire.
"Less than a day to the east. Border skirmishes began last night, but...," Donon hesitated before going on, the horrors that he was about to relay were naught but stories told to disobedient children. Taking in a deep breath, the Bear Herald contiued, "but the scouts sent back were always killed within their first few strides, as if our foe knew when and...and..," with a shuddering breath his fears were exhaled," my lord, the tales are true, the Sha's of the enemy have been twisted with sorcery. The animal spirits within seemed forced out--there is no humanity in their eyes, Korayne;... I watched.. as they sent droves of them to their deaths, all for the sake of post-poning the news of their arrival."

The fire in Korayne's veins froze. He knew that the self-proclaimed emporer, Kani-Athar, had always delved in the dark arts and that his armies have been decimating everything in their path, but to think that he has found a way to distort the Sha that the sacred spirits grant to men is a concept truly frightening.

"It is time, then, my friend," Korayne said, beckoning Donon-edel to rise,"The battle has finally been brought to the Heartlands and I'll expect no aid to reach us in time. Assemble the Heralds here. Relay orders through the Adepts and Apprentice Heralds to prepare for war. Dark days are upon us .... dark days indeed."

"The path to enlightenment is paved in suffering....

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The following comments are for "Falling Kingdoms; prelude"
by terayne

I have had this story line rambling through my head for years; a martial art fantasy. I have developed the characters and the storyline, but I have dwelled upon this beginning piece and never went any further. I have second guessed myself time and time again, leaving me feeling disheartend that I'll never be anything more than a machine operater looking from paycheck to paycheck and seeing my life slip away before I've realized what has happened. I hope I'm wrong and that this site will help me continue my passion for this story. I have read other stories within this site and have been amazed at the talent within and that seems to be a beacon for me to continue on. So, please, good or bad, tell me what you think while bearing in mind it is still early in the story and I have a long road to travel.

( Posted by: terayne [Member] On: May 11, 2004 )

I like it
This is good, a good start you have. A little confusing for me, but maybe just me. The discriptions are great. I'll be keeping up with this one.

( Posted by: ArturHawking [Member] On: May 13, 2004 )

Its a very good work of art. A little confused about the beginning, but I'm it'll pick up soon enough. The descriptions are very vivid. You certainly have a way with words. I keep you story in mind when I'm on this site.

( Posted by: Witness95 [Member] On: May 19, 2004 )

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