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ebooks: The Inshkin Chronicles – Chapter VII
Chilliwack author Dennis Tkach has written an historical epic seeking to follow in the tradition of imaginative classics as diverse as Dune, Snow White, and Lord Of The Rings. The book, now available for the first time, is being serialized by Today Media Group.
Each week we will bring you another installment from this fantastic journey as the adventure unfolds, taking twists and turns, exploring a world which existed far before our own time but which, as you will discover, has many hidden parallels.
The Inshkin Chronicles takes its readers one million years into the past to time hitherto unexplored and undreamt of by archeologists and historians.
Once upon a very, very long time ago, there lived a little berry farmer by the name of Pynch Beamcheeks. Rising from the humblest of beginnings Pynch’s story tells of the making of a hero.
The Inshkin Chronicles is also the story of the first intelligent life on Earth, long before Adam and the coming of Man. It was a time when Chaos sought to plunge a dagger into the heart of a young world full of promise, a world of Order.
I do not believe true happiness, during this state of mortal probation, can ever be attained. Yet perfection is as real as the desire to achieve it. We must learn a lesson from the flowers. They ask only for the kiss of the morning dew, the warm caress of the afternoon sun, and an occasional visit from a bee. If you understand this, you can approach the unattainable.
– from a conversation with a wizard
The difficult journey was, at long last, behind him. In real time, the passage on foot would have taken months. For the Guardians of Order there was Otherwhen, a dimension where all worldly understanding of space and time ceased to exist. It was not without its dangers. There were those who, dabbling with the arcane spell of passage through Otherwhen, found themselves hopelessly lost and never able to return. For Adepts such as Calabar, dimension-hopping posed a less serious challenge, though a challenge nonetheless. It was a great mental and physical drain on their energy flow. Still, time and circumstance sometimes necessitated riding the ethereal currents. In Otherwhen, Castle Dagomar and Banne Bolok were less than a hummingbird’s heartbeat away.
On the high rooftop of the White Tower, the Wizard of Shen Rothor drew in a long, deep breath of fresh morning air as he watched the sun peek over the western profile of the Brothers of the Sun. Closing his eyes, he began to utter the mantra of enchantment that would carry him to his first home on Dawn.
When he next opened his eyes, Calabar found himself standing on a marble balcony, looking out over a very different region of Dawn. Here, at the top of the world, everything appeared in hues of blue and white. In every direction the land of perpetual winter surrounding the temple mountain stretched out into a horizon that seemed as endless as it was magnificent. His eyes misted over with memory. Here was a crystalline world of eerie quiet, broken only by the wind blowing across mountains so high, they made those around Castle Dagomar seem mere hills.
His heart thudding in anticipation, the old Guardian turned his back on the frozen vista and stepped from the balcony into the chamber beyond—his chamber. Nothing about it had changed since the last time he’d left its comforting confines, at the end of The First Age—a time that he wished could be burned from his memory. A large canopied bed dominated the center of the spacious room. Moving slowly and painfully, feeling the full effects of ethereal travel, Calabar collapsed onto its soft, cool pillows. It was the last thing he remembered.
As he surrendered to the welcome embrace of dreamless slumber, unseen forces began the process of purification, scouring the wizard of all worldly stain. Deep within, an essence at the very core of his being grew and unfurled like the petals of a flower touched by the sun of a new day. The power for this miraculous spiritual and physical rejuvenation sprang from the D’ru D’rau D’reeche Manii, the universal source of All. It touched and enfolded him in its warmth.
In the quietude of the moment, a voice spoke to him from within. “Why, my son, have you waited so long to come home?”
The spirit of the wizard whispered in response, Because of the shame, Father. Though his words pulled at scars covering ancient wounds that had never completely healed, he also felt a soothing release from what those cruel memories represented.
The voice of his father replied, “From this day forth, what has passed, I remember not.”
In that most precious of moments, Calabar knew he was being forgiven. Perhaps now, he could forgive himself. For Calabar, Firstborn of Lehi-om, this was indeed the heralding of a new day.
When Calabar opened his eyes, it was with a restored sense of peace and well-being. Vitality, not felt in more centuries than the wizard cared to count, had returned. He smiled at the attendants gathered around his bed, dutifully waiting for him to rise. They greeted him reverently before washing and clothing him in the raiment of his great office. They seemed to exude a quiet joy as they worked. In their eyes they were not attending Calabar, the Wizard of Shen Rothor; they were in the physical presence of the First Born.
A senior attendant with a face that itched at Calabar’s memory entered the chamber. He carried a rosewood case, which he held out to the Guardian of Order. As he lifted the lid, the wizard’s eyes misted over at the sight of the silver medallion within: the seal of his office. Calabar lifted it and slipped its chain over his head, feeling the weight of the pendant settle over his heart. As it did, the room darkened, its dimming light replaced by a wondrous blue glow emanating from the wizard.
With bows of reverence, the servants drifted from the chamber. The old attendant hesitated at the veil covering the portal and turned, smiling, to speak two of the most endearing words to ever fall on the Guardian’s ears: “Welcome home.”
Calabar looked down at the medallion, his fingers tracing the engraved image of an eagle in flight within a six-pointed star. A soft voice called his name, interrupting his contemplation. He turned and bade its owner to enter, surprised when a child of no more than eight summers peeked through the veil. A huge smile dominated his cherubic face, full of the happy innocence generally seen only in the faces of children at play. The wizard returned the lad’s smile, beckoning him inside.
“It is a great thrill to meet you, sir,” the boy greeted him in the tongue of the Ancients. “Everyone in the temple has been buzzing for weeks, anticipating your return! And now here you are. If you are ready, I have been sent to take you to a special place.”
Calabar raised surprised eyebrows at the language, but replied in the same tongue, his eyes dancing with interest, as he had no idea what place that might be. “A special place, is it? And you mentioned that everyone has been expecting me for weeks? Funny; I hadn’t even entertained the thought of coming to Banne Bolok until but a few days ago.”
The boy simply shrugged and produced another grin.
“And what, if I may ask, is your name?”
“Jizzlefallazar, sir, but most people call me by my nickname: Moab’a. It means—”
“I know what it means,” Calabar interrupted with a chuckle. “In the idiom of the common tongue spoken where I live, you would be called Happy!” He put his arm around the child. “And I think that is what I will call you. So, Happy, tell me why someone as young as you is serving here in the temple. Are your parents also temple workers?”
The boy’s answer surprised him. “Oh no, sir! You see, I haven’t been born yet. And my parents, they haven’t even met each other. But that will happen soon. I am still a few Dawn years away from leaving Banne Bolok. I’ve waited this long, I can wait a little longer.” He tipped his head up and added in an excited whisper, “There are some here who tell me that one day I am going to be a famous!”
“Oh-ho!” exclaimed Calabar, “A famous, is it? Well then, in that case, your famousness, I would consider it a rare honor to have you escort me to this ‘special place.’”
With a giggle the little spirit called Happy grasped the wizard’s hand and led him through the veil. Outside his chamber, Calabar paused in the long, deeply carpeted hall as another flood of memories swept over him. “Do you know that, as a boy, I used to run up and down these halls, getting into all kinds of mischief?”
The lad fixed him with a wide-eyed look of interest. “It is hard to imagine you as a boy, sir. I mean . . . you are old. Really, really old. Someone told me earlier that you were older than dirt.”
Calabar laughed. “That may be true; however, I was once as you are now. And, as I am now,” he playfully tweaked the boy’s nose, “you will one day be, too.”
At the corridor’s end they passed through another portal and descended a long, winding staircase wide enough to accommodate six Calabars or a dozen Happys. It seemed to go on forever, down innumerable levels into the bowels of the mountain. Temple workers began to materialize, passing the pair as they moved up or down the staircase, tending to their duties. They greeted Calabar, not with bows or curtsies befitting recognition of his great office, but rather with warm smiles and an occasional polite, “Good day.” It reminded the wizard that Banne Bolok was a place where all were regarded as equal, even those of his rank. The activity also reminded him that there were parts of the temple that were as busy as festival days at Kell.
Eventually they left the stairs for a grand hallway with a cathedral-like ceiling and softer light radiating from walls of mountain granite. Calabar imagined they must now be in one of the very lowest levels of the temple. If he had ever been to this place before, he had no memory of it.
A short walk brought them to an immense archway of intricately carved and polished white marble that contrasted sharply with the gray, darkly veined granite walls. Beyond lay an unnatural darkness, and Calabar sensed that in this place, light was never meant to be welcome. Calabar let his eyes roam over the runes and symbols belonging to The Ancient of Days. He ran a hand over the group of symbols on one side of the arch, recalling Alpha, that singular moment when his universe and the ascension of He-Who-Will-Not-Be-Denied exploded into existence—the moment when a new universe was added to the endless chain of All.
Happy interrupted Calabar’s thoughts by tugging on the sleeve of his robe. “Sir, you must proceed from here on your own. Beyond, I cannot go.”
Calabar nodded his understanding. Crouching down, he gave the child a warm hug. Although Happy was not yet in possession of a physical body, the wizard felt the boy’s warmth and affection. “Thank you, Happy, for the pleasure of meeting you. One day, perhaps, we will meet again. You will find, when you leave this hallowed ground, that the world awaiting you is very different—very different indeed.” He looked intently into the boy’s eyes. “It will be different, but I can also guarantee you that it will also be interesting and fulfilling beyond measure.”
Calabar watched as Happy skipped merrily away, pausing and turning to wave before disappearing from sight. With a sigh, the Guardian of Order walked through the portal and into the darkness beyond.
For More On The Inshkin Chronicles or to buy a copy please visit the website at inshkinchronicles.com.
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