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This ongoing serial is, as are so many things, inspired by Lord of the Rings, but hopes to make for pleasurable light reading for those who want a a fast injection of medieval derring-do while they're perusing our dark literature. :) The second installment is coming up this April, but below is the first installment, which appeared in the March issue of Candelabra's ASCENSION literary magazine.

I share it here to titillate the readership on Lit.Org to let you know one kind of dark pleasure that's in store there, but by no means is the only style available in Ascension.

As always, these stories are not for those under 18, although this particular story so far does not figure as sexual or brutally violent.

Finder of Ancient Talisman, Part 1

Seamus looked up at the dark, tottering old tower.

Its ancient stones were like old bones, spilling onto the ground around them like shattered limbs and ribs of some long-slain warrior, still on the forgotten field of battle. Still, it was mostly intact and was yet a forboding sight, perhaps even more for being such a corpselike edifice, ancient in its deadness and evil for its leering open spaces. It beckoned the imagination to enter into its dark demesne, and it promised adventure. The dangerous nature of such a decayed structure also promised possible death or injury, but Seamus, like all young lads, felt himself invincible.

Much talk was made of the castle over the years, mostly as entertainment for the young ones but occassionally in conjecture of its final battle or possible remaining contents. Few adults felt they had the time to turn over the old stones for dusty relics, and always they forbade their children to do so even while titillating them with tales of the very same.

Seamus was the son of a Ranger, however, and explored every thing of mystery, natural or otherwise, that he could find within walking distance of his village. He would not be put off by the jealous warnings of his homebody elders.

The stories the elders told, of course, included any manner of traditional and scary fireside whispers, from kings' bones to liches and from gold coins to magickal swords. To look at the place was nearly to believe the tales, even for grownups, who disbelieved the old stories on the very principle of being grownups. Yet, the stories had been around for generations, and the ruins had stood for centuries.

To the logic of a rambunctious youth fueled with the blood of Rangers and the imagination of a drunken bard, there was truth in every tale. The challenge lay in finding it in the real world - and that was also where the love of life lay in the heart of young Seamus.

Early he'd left the village, having caught up with all of his chores over the several days before. His mother had noted his unusual industry and asked him what mischief he was plotting, but he assured her that he only wanted to save a day for himself, to see a nearby faire with some friends. That bought off his mother - it would not have bought off his father, killed in the deep forests by robbers years ago - and the day was his. Leaving at sunup guaranteed that he'd have time to reach the old fortress while there was yet light. It was only roughly ten miles away.

The Alienist


The following comments are for "Fantasy short story appearing as serial in CND: Ascension"
by The Alienist

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