Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cloak of Shadows - Nature of Magic Blogfest

I don't really believe in rabbits in hats and coins that disappear, but I do believe there are things out there that can't be explained away with science and facts.  

That's why when Tessa announced The Nature of Magic Blogfest, I thought I'd enter something I have been tinkering with on the side. Its a story that just seems to simmer in the back of my mind refusing to go away.

Its a kind of magic. Its supernatural, actually...

Cloak of Shadows

The demon, Eligos, astride his specter-steed galloped in silence unseen by the men staggering along the filthy alley. No one heard the skeletal hooves. No one but Seth. He saw and fear vaulted his heart in his chest.
Up ahead, the dark form slid along the chipped brick wall. The sound whispered through Seth’s mind like an old dry snake; urgent and angry, it made the hairs on his neck spike. He picked up his pace no longer worried about being sensed. The edges of silhouetted wings sparked with purple light as the silence billowed out in front of the demon.
Seth broke into a run to keep up ignoring the pain in his knees. His long coat whipped as he flit through the night at incredible speed. His black hair fell into his eyes. He had to know where it was going. Why Eligos would dare to break into this realm.
The discoverer of hidden things, the demon could see the end of battles. But Seth knew no kings that reigned here. No knights spilled blood on this ground. The demon’s presence, out of time and place, made no sense. Seth had encountered Eligos only once before, a decade ago, when his marks were still new.
The specter slowed and Seth’s stomach dropped as he closed the distance. Dark flowed out from Eligos like a black cloud blotting out the street lights and the stars. Silence and terrible cold bled from the demon’s form and Seth, sensing that it would be soon, peeled the coat from his body even as he began to shiver. Cringing at the sound of the material brushing against itself, Seth kept his eyes on Eligos. It seemed to be waiting, almost trembling with anticipation.
Silencing his breaths, Seth chanced a closer look and then he heard them; the footsteps, light and quick, a woman crossing the mouth of the alley.  He strained to see through the haze that shrouded Eligos. Craning his neck, he spotted her. A woman, maybe late-twenties, her pale face tilted down as she dug in her purse.
A shuddering screech tore out of the demon and he swooped along the black asphalt, the whirling wind that followed after him whipping the trash and dirt into the air. Seth sprang after him, the prayers leaving his lips in fevered whispers. He leaped toward the woman, knowing the light that shone from the moon would slow the demon. Reaching for her, his palms and wrists already alight with the glowing script etched into his skin.
The demon howled, whirled away, and doubled back in a wave of sickening cold and heaviness. The woman screamed in his arms, but Seth held her fast. His arms burned with the light, his mind racing against the encroaching confusion. Eligos, spurned by the light, tore left at the last second and flew overhead, churning in a pulsing streak above their heads.
“Run!” Seth yelled and pushed the woman out in front of him back down the alley. “Don’t look back.”
Her dark eyes, terrified and filled with tears, stared at him with shock. Her body shook. “What is it…what is it?”
Seth shoved her again. “Go!”
Eligos’ shriek echoed over them, reverberating down the alley. The woman screamed and ran in the wrong direction. Seth reached out, his hands digging into the freezing mist of Eligos, and held on, whispering frantically the entire time. The demon screamed in pain. It lashed and whipped at Seth, foul stench and terrifying howls exploded around him. The script along his chest, written on his hands and wrists, pulsed with white light and Seth saw the demon grimace in pain.
Eligos turned on him, whirling on the ghostly steed. Time slowed and Seth saw the stringy white hair of the demon floating out as if under water. He felt his own body leave the ground and grit his teeth, his words coming out in grunts. They hit Eligos as pulses of light pushing the demon back.
Voice seething with hatred, Eligos hissed. “She will be ours. And then you will all be lost.”
Seth, engulfed in the dark cloud of cold, shuddered and twisted away from the demon. Howls, pierced through him and then a hand was on his shoulder. Eyes snapping to his right, he saw the woman, her pale face blurred by the mist. She shouted something to him.
He lost his grip and Eligos whipped out of his hands, the dark following after it as the demon wailed along the alley and was gone. Seth fell to the asphalt, his breath ragged.
She ran to him, her eyes wide. Her gaze went to the ink on his pale arms. Back to black it looked like the dark scrawls of a quill.  He pulled his long sleeves down quickly and struggled to his feet.
        “What…who are you?” she gasped.

That's it for my entry. Please stop by and read the other fascinating excerpts at Tessa's Blurb.

Until next time...go write!


Donna Hole said...

yeah; just send it along my way. I'll pay. .

Really excellent excerpt Raquel. Wow, this is so polished and . . believable.

Well done.


Tessa Conte said...

Oh wow! That was fantastic, I love it!! Demons and darkness and mysterious men saving the day... you can't get much better than that.

And I agree with Donna, this is very well written and absolutely compelling!

Thank you for taking part in our blogfest, don't forget to tune in on March 30th for the list of finalists.


Natasha Hanova said...

I like how Seth feels pain from using his power of speed. It gives it a 'real' feel. I was right there with him wondering why Eligos is in Seth's realm and hoped Seth didn't lose him. And I love how the woman started to say 'what are you?"

Great excerpt. I want more!

Michelle Gregory said...

i love the descriptions. great job.

Mary said...

More, please? I really want to know more about Seth and this woman he just saved. Excellent job.

Margo Berendsen said...

A gripping scene! I love the epic fight between good and evil and I loved the writing on his body that shone with light. And it's very intriguing that the woman he saved came back. Def. need to read more.

the magic over at my place

Margo Benson said...

Wonderful writing, thank you! A fabulous piece, so compelling - I really want to read it all.

MorningAJ said...

That was very exciting. I'd like to read more about Seth.

N. R. Williams said...

Excellent. I want to know who or what he is too.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Anonymous said...

So exciting! Very nice use of the supernatural as magic :)

Mara Nash said...

I totally loved this and want to read more!

stu said...

This is a really well written excerpt. I like it a lot.

Erin Kane Spock said...

I am excited that this is seeing the light of day. I love it and hope to see more!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Donna - Wow...thank you so much!

Tessa - This was a super fun blofest. So many great entries.

Natasha - I'm thrilled you noticed that. Thank you! =)

Michelle- Thank you.

Mary - I may take you up on that.

Margo - Its great you liked the woman's role, thanks.

Margo - You may see more soon...

Morning AJ - I'm writing more, so maybe. Thank you.

N.R. - Thank you...still forming him in my head.

stickynotestories - Whew! I was worried it might not qualify, but thats what I wrote. =)

Mara and Stu - I appreciate your encouragement...thanks a bunch.

Erin - Aww...shucks. You liked it when you read it and encouraged me. I'm truly grateful. =)

pat said...

This was action packed and exciting! The only thing that confused me was when he saw the demon both riding a horse and sliding along the wall. Is it like the shadow of a horseman on the wall?

That might be even creepier, if only its shadow can be seen!

Dawn Embers said...

Very well done. I like the descriptions within the paragraphs that really show the scene. Not sure what is going on either but I would like to know, that is for sure. Interesting to see a demon in one of these for the magic blogfest. Definitely makes my demon character seem almost angelic.

Great entry for the blogfest.

Nas Dean said...

Amazing! Really good characterisations! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Oooh, so scary--nice! Thanks for participating!

RosieC said...

This is a fantastic excerpt. Thanks so much for sharing. I want to read more. Now :)

Tessa Conte said...

You are a FINALIST! Votes are open now...

Amalia T said...

GREAT description in this piece! (sorry it took me so long to comment, I've had the tab with your page open since Sunday!!) You do such a good job with the imagery of Eligos. Super creepy!

Just Another Sarah said...

Yes, your descriptions are very well done! I really like the way you described the ink on his skin. :) That image definitely sticks with me!

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Wow. Hi Raquel, I haven't been by in ages and ages and look what I've been missing! This is excellent. I love your descriptive prose and your characters. I want to know more!

Congratulations on being a finalist, you deserve it!

~ that rebel, Olivia

Michelle Gregory said...

congrats on being in the top 5.

Carol Riggs said...

Hi Raquel! I hadn't been paying attention to this blogfest or the entries, but when I saw your name listed as a finalist I had to trot over. Very nice work! I LOVE some of your phrases and expressions. Great voice, cool story. :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

This was really good. I gotz chills!
Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Ooh..chills. That's good! Thanks!

Tessa Conte said...

You've made 2nd place in our Nature of Magic Blogfest! Let me know your email so we can sort out prizes! (tessaconte(at)gmail(dot)com)