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September 9, 2012
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Ok, so I am going to give this journal idea a go...

First off, thank you all for showing your support and giving me such great feedback on my work.  I will be continuing to add more work to my profile.  I have a few differ projects running at the present, so there should be a fair amount of new content coming to my page.  I just finished several commisioned pieces for the book Relics & Wonders: Lombard's Amulet.  The printed novel is now available on createspace.com and amazon.com.  The ebooks are available for Apple, Nook & Kindle devices.  Below, I am showcasing the prologue for this new novel.  Enjoy.


Everything happened so quickly, exactly as the kidnapper intended.  There were few creatures on this planet capable of infiltrating a palace full of elves without drawing attention to themselves; gnomes were one of them, and of all the gnomes who walked this earth, Zull was the most infamous.  With no remorse and a twinge of satisfaction, the gnome crept past the two guards posted outside the room of his intended victim.  With a flash of light they fell to the ground dead.  After removing their bodies from plain view, he opened the door they were protecting and found a thirteen year old girl asleep in her bed.  There she lay, alone and defenseless, or so the world was meant to believe.  He knew otherwise.  She was dangerous.  Deadly.  And one day soon, she would be the cause of the next wave of destruction to engulf the Northern Lands.  At least that was the plan of her cruel master, the Dark Elf of Aisilin, or Mahgus as he was known to the world.
The young girl's life was a sad tale of abuse and neglect.  She was a slave and lived as such.  But that was not Zull's concern, for gnomes were creatures incapable of empathy, despite the knowledge he possessed of her.  It was no secret that after the girl was weaned from her mother, Mahgus would beat her anytime she dared look him in the eye.  As she grew older his cruelty increased.  Fear was how he controlled her.  The child never spoke owing to a promise that Mahgus would personally remove her tongue if he ever heard a sound out of her.  Many, if they knew of his actions, would judge Mahgus as heartless and evil, but not Zull.  He was one of the few who knew the truth.  Mahgus was not torturing a defenseless child; he was perfecting a weapon.
The gnome etched toward the girl.  His eyes quickly fell upon a shining blue pendant worn around her neck.  To many it would seem a simple decoration, much like the fine silk fabric draped across the windows of her room.  However, Zull was more than just an average gnome—he was the world's leading authority in alchemy, potions, and charmed objects.  He also spent several years under Mahgus's employ and therefore knew his enemy well.  Jewelry would do no good to a slave whose will the Dark Elf needed to crush.  The necklace served an ulterior motive.  Like every method tactically devised against the girl, the pendant was designed to implement a level of control over her, and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mahgus would slaughter her if she ever took it off.
Zull's hand reached inside his pocket and his fingers wrapped around a glass vial.  He would not kill the girl yet, for if he did the Dark Elf's other plans would likely be accelerated.  Instead, he would take her away.  Only after he studied her and learned the secrets of her great power would he kill her.  And not just any death would suffice, for that was not Zull's style.  He preferred to be creative with how he disposed of his enemies.
The cork popped off the top of the vial and the young girl awoke with a jerk of movement.  Her eyes widened as she saw the face of her intruder standing nearby.  Zull grinned menacingly.  Due to Mahgus's conditioning, she was helpless.  The young slave possessed the power to destroy him, but feared her master's retribution over saving herself.  If she screamed, Mahgus would cut out her tongue.  If she used her abilities to defend herself, the Dark Elf would know she took off the necklace, and he threatened to kill her if she ever did so.
"Don't worry, my dear," said Zull. "Your nightmare is soon to be over." The gnome tossed the contents of the vial in her face.  Her eyes shut tight and she began to cough.  A few seconds later she drifted back to sleep. "Unfortunately, a worse dream is about to begin."
Zull tossed the vial on her bed along with a sealed parchment containing a fake ransom note.  Unless Mahgus was a complete fool, he would suspect it as a decoy.  Regardless, he had what he came to get and it was time to leave.
The gnome reached inside his pocket and pulled out a necklace of his own, although his was a simpler design with a ruby as the center.  He wrapped his tiny arms around the girl's waist and whispered an incantation.  Light from the relic surrounded the two and with a flash that awoke the rest of the palace the two disappeared.
Seconds later, two figures charged into the young slave's room.  Darkness shrouded their appearance, but could not mask their anger.
"She's gone, my lord.  How can this be?"
One of the two walked over to the girl's bed and his Elvin eyes quickly locked with both the parchment and the vial. "Zull," he sneered.
"The gnome?  Your former servant?"
"Yes," the Dark Elf replied.  He opened the parchment and read Zull's demands. "It appears we have a month to give in to his wishes or he will kill her."
"How do we handle this, my lord?"
"We'll just have to send someone to look for her," said Mahgus.
"Who, my lord?"
"Find me a tracker," the Dark Elf ordered. "And make sure he's a human."
"Why a human when one of our own brethren would be more capable?"
"Because Zull will not be looking for a human," reasoned Mahgus.
"As you wish, sire.  And what of the missing relics?  First the alchemist's cloak and now his necklace."
"My first concern is finding the girl," replied Mahgus. "The necklace will be with her.  As far as the cloak is concerned, I'll let Korin take care of that thief.  The two of them have history together."
"Yes, my lord.  As you wish."
The Dark Elf crumbled Zull's parchment and tossed it to the floor.  He admired his opponent's craftiness, but unfortunately for the gnome, his efforts were in vain.  Nothing could stop what the Dark Elf had planned for this world.  Not Zull.  Not Arslon, the Elvin King.  No one.
The humans were doomed.
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