Towers of Grynn - Brothers of the Tamberlands - Preview

Stormclouds

The laughter of young children echoed like dull bells in Carrig's ears. Excitement at the enormity of tomorrow could be felt on the air. Young men clamored across the rooftops around the village square preparing decorations, pale wraiths against a starburst night. The old man hobbled against a weary cane towards the center fountain. The stone countenance of Emperor Barius Leriot gazed across the pristine square, his horse posed in gentle fury his steady hand pointed eastward. Carrig sat beneath the murky, outstretched arm as was his custom on clear nights. A deep, aged, and shaky sigh escaped him as he positioned himself for a bit of comfort.   As he turned his eyes towards the eastern horizon, the world became clear. The plume of white smoke gently shifted from Mount Naris, a thousand miles away yet as close to Carrig as his hand. Quiet and safety; continued peace in his lifetime. The spirits moved carelessly through his vision as he slowly panned the horizon. Great spirits of earth stood in stark contrast against their sisters of the sea, who sang hauntingly while the playful and mischievous wind crossed brooding fire, content in the moment of their immeasurable life. Carrig’s eyes had seen it so many times in his life. Everything was as it had been for the last seventy years and the thousand before that. The Rain Festival would go as it always had and-   A bead of sweat broke out across the seer's brow as a dark shadow bellowed out of the distant volcano. In his eyes, the lush grasslands of the Empire turned yellow, around him the world faded to dust. The Demon-King had found his escape from the spiritual iron that held him for a lifetime and more. The screaming cry of a child tore him from his vision with a splitting pain. He put his hand to his head and stood, barely keeping himself up as his strength failed him. Warmth, sticky and wet, covered his hand.   A nearby guard put a strong arm under him. "Uncle. Are you ok?" The voice was familiar, that of his young neighbor, a boy he had watched grow into a man like a son. He reached a bloody hand to the boy's face, his voice shaky and distant.   "Three days. The Demon-King has found his escape. Warn the Emperor. Warn the people. The rains will not come. The tide will ebb and the skies will burn. Agramin rises and we will all fall to his torment. "The old man raised a withered hand to point at the distance. The guard followed his motion, looking out at the hills, a dark shadow against a starburst sky. Sixteen years later  

CHAPTER ONE

  Eolann shifted uncomfortably as the priest added the family log to the fire, the whittled slivers catching quick and adding a sweet, crackling aroma to the smokey courtyard. He had been ten at the last baptism he attended, that of his sickly cousin. They weren't his favorite ceremonies. Much too long and the smoke made his eyes water. But he stood at the front, a hand on his sister's shoulder. He watched through the fire as his mother handed the three-week-old boy to the priest, his hands covered in thick mineral wool. The boy cried. A sorrowful, deep cry.   "Today, we mark the birth of a new child to the Saoghair's. We offer the boy to our Lord of Fire, Inesis. May his flame cleanse the child of the sins of his family. May the fire cleanse our sins, just as it cleansed the world of evil." The priest's voice was solid, commanding. Had to be over the cries of the child. Eolann shifted again as the distant Guardbell rang the time. He still had an hour.   The priest placed the baby over the fire, and let out the deep, warlike yell of the priesthood. "May the child be blessed by this fire and come out as pure as our Lord!" Eolann gripped his sister's shoulder as the scream increased. His father stepped forward, prepared to snatch his youngest from the flame when the priest gave the signal. The tongues licked as his legs for a brief second.   "I present to our Lord for his consideration, Finbar, son of Tadgh Saoghair, son of Colm of Rochdale." At the name of their grandfather, the priest let go of Finbar, and before he touched the log his father had snatched him from the fire. Tadgh patted the boy gently, careful of the redness around his legs. Their mother waited as the priest continued to speak, finishing his exultations to Inesis. Eolann held in his distaste for the show as best he could. He didn't want to arrive at the barracks fresh from a whipping, embarrassing the family in front of the whole village.   The Saoghair's eventually found themselves on the road towards home. Small trees waved gently in the spring breeze, a flowery scent drifting across the fields and hills. Eolann walked behind his mother, who cooed at the baby. Finbar. He figured he should get used to saying his name, rather than just calling him 'the baby'. His sister Aiofe danced ahead of their small group, reddish braids circling her head. He became lost in his quiet thoughts. The little simplicities and the quiet walks. He would miss that for sure. After a period of walking, with little breath wasted on words between any of them, the family came to a well-known fork in the road. The eastern path led home, to their village, their homestead. The farm and cattle. The apple orchard. The well with the little nook that Eolann and Aoife would hide in as children. That Finbar would hide in as he got older. Memories. Eolann stepped quicker, catching up to his father. The words he had practiced for weeks never came as Tadgh put a strong hand on the boy's shoulder. He nodded, then gestured his ruddy head to his wife. Eolann straightened up as his mother stepped alongside Tadgh, a blissful if tired smile on her lips.   "Something the matter, boys?" She looked between the two.   "Ma- Mother," Eolann took a deep breath. "I've decided it's time I try to join the guard. I know I said I would stay on till my birthday, but everyone from the village and town has already joined and-"   "Abriea's boy didn't leave. You can stay a little bit longer. It certainly would be safer. Tadgh, talk some sense into him."   The graying man just shook his head, gathered Finbar up in his arms, and walked down the road, whistling at Aiofe to follow.   "He tried. Tried to get me to stay at least another week." Eolann sighed, taking his mother's empty hands in his. "I need to go. You and dad have the homestead under control, and Aiofe is old enough to help with it, and Finbar on top of that. And soon he'll be old enough and Aoife will have married a strong man to come and help as well."   She ran a trembling hand through his hair, resting it at the nape of his neck as she looked up at him. "You've grown so much Eolann. Don't you ever forget us son. Or where you've come from." Tears welled in her eyes as her son looked away.   "I must go. Now. Tell Aoife I'll write to her as soon as I can." Eolann turned his back and ran, leaving his mother to crumple into tears at the side of the road.


Eolann reached the outskirts of Bruryles by evening. As he came to the gate he slowed, a small crowd of people waiting to enter before nightfall. He took the time to catch his breath and wipe what remained of the tears from his cheeks. The crowd moved quickly, with few stops by the guards. As Eolann stepped through, no one paid him any attention. The walled town initially opened up to a spacious market, stalls and stands shuttered for the night, with a few exceptions. Eolann looked for the one thing he came for, hoping he hadn't missed them.   At the northern edge of the market the flag of the Tamberland Guard. Eolann let out a cheek-puffing sigh as he rushed over. Only one other person was at the station, manned by a jovial looking older soldier with a well-shaped beard and a smile in his eyes. The man standing at the desk put down the quill in his hand and straightened up standing only slightly taller than Eolann.   "Well then, Brech, we shall see you at dawn. Can't wait to see how the Captain handles having such a renowned swordsman joining his ranks." The soldier stood as well, offering a hand. The man took it firmly.   "I've heard much about his... tough training regimen. I look forward to it." His voice was airy, yet forceful as if he was fighting for how to say the words. He turned, revealing a surly face of dark, powerful features. He glanced over Eolann quickly before scoffing and pushing past him, walking out into the evening crowds. Eolann turned his attention to the soldier, who glanced at a small contraption on the desk.   "If you're looking to sign up, cutting it a little close, kid. What's your name?" He sprinkled a dash of sand over the fresh signature, shook off the excess, made a note on a separate scrap to the side.   "Oh, I'm sorry. I ran all the way from Condongay. Glad I made it still."   The soldier's eyes kept smiling through a downturned expression. "Your name, kid."   "Eolann. Eolann Saoghair."   "How's Saoghair spelled? Never mind." He jotted down the name. "You know what you're signing up for, right? Eight years of marching, camping out in the cold, the heat, the bugs. Getting yelled at? Possibly getting killed, or worse, injured? And that's just the first part of training, which starts tomorrow, at dawn. You actually ready to put yourself through that?"   Eolann stammered.   "Of course you are. Otherwise, you wouldn't have run all the way from a goat-sty like Condongay just to talk to me. I know a few ladies who would, mind. Not kids like you though." He handed Eolann the quill. "Sign and I'll see you at dawn, Saoghair." Taking the reddish-yellow feather with a nervous chuckle, Eolann began to shakily put down his name under the glorious flourish of a Gilrea Brech. Straight lines and uneven spacing glared up at him as he finished. He placed the quill down and sighed. [I]Am I really ready for this? His jaw clenched in worry as the soldier took a look at the paper.   "Ah. I did spell it wrong. No matter." The soldier extended his open hand to Eolann. "I'm Dimoriat Grós. I expect to see you in the morning, Master Saoghair." Eolann took his hand, which squeezed firmly. Grós looked around the market. His little stand was the last one open. "Give me a hand with closing up and we can head over to the tavern, meet some of the other conscripts. Get you a room or a least a few feet of floor, eh?"   Eolann nodded, a small, secret weight lifting off of him. He hadn't planned any of this venture through, and hadn't even crossed the prospect of where he would sleep or eat before the initial day of training. He assisted the Dimoriat with securing what bits of parchment and quills were around, then helped pull the folding stand up against the stone wall of what smelled like a bakery. The Dimoriat was only a few years older than Eolann, prone to talking about himself as they worked. Eolann politely held up his end of conversation as he followed the soldier down one of the broad main streets. Though a city, the trip across Bruyles was surprisingly short.   "...And here we are, The Auburn Hog. Owners’ an old veteran, served the Temple when the Southern states revolted. Lost his eye at the Battle of Muldoor. Good fellow. Has a couple of granddaughters. Don't talk to them, unless you want him 'verra upset wit ya!” He laughed at his own joke as he held the door to the three storey building open.   Inside was a lively mass of mostly men. Tough, older types were leading a raucous chorus of 'Last of Your Memory' while swaggering younger men of bravado kept drink flowing. In one corner the mood was quieter. Boys was what they were. Was what Eolann was now that he surveyed the warmly lit room. Huddled around a few worn tables eating a simple evening meal, some shrinking at every loud yell or the occasional fallen mug. Others pale, quiet, unmoving. Grós gestured Eolann to follow him over.   "This will be your group. Ninety-seven of you, all starting tomorrow. Hey!" Grós' voice rang out, shaking some of the lads from their food and thoughts. "Don't let the food get cold, or the Captain will make you eat it in the morning. Nothing goes to waste within the the Tamberlands." He gestured for Eolann to sit. "One of the girls will be by shortly with some grub. Eat up, because it will be a while before you get anything like it again. Enjoy your night, boys." With a friendly wave, he jaunted off into the crowd of the tavern, with scattered cheers and jests thrown out as he made his way through.   Eolann looked at the gathered group. A few more than he had initially noticed seemed more relaxed, but most were in various states of obvious stress. Eolann wondered if he looked the same. After a moment, a young woman came around and put down a plate of hard meat, cheese, and an apple. He thanked her and quickly tore a piece of meat off. Dry. He chewed through the meal calmly and kept an eye on those nearest him. None seemed to want to talk. He didn't blame them. As the night in the tavern carried on, a few of the young group left for rooms upstairs. A couple coaxed friends, urging them to get some rest. Plenty of earthen bowls were left with solidifying stew, or partially nibbled cheeses on platters. Eolann looked at his own plate, empty. He lost himself in thought.   The sharp bang of metal on wood stirred him. He looked directly into the face of a young woman with dark hair and piercing eyes.   “So, your the pathetic recruit that couldn’t get here at a decent hour? Gods, you’re all elbows.” The woman pulled at one of his arms, dancing a pattern up it with her thumb and- No. She used a tool, not unlike father’s dividers from when he was in the navy as a navigator.She was measuring him. Eolann reeled back as he observed the tool closer. The woman’s arm shone like bronze and didn’t hold the instrument. Rather, the two were connected together.   “Your arm! What is that?” Eolann exclaimed.   “Hmm? Oh, the Gods didn’t see fit to give me one. So my father made me one. Got a problem with that, kid?”   “No. Of course not. I’d just never seen such a, well, thing.”   “Most haven’t. At least not this side of the Empire. Gods. I hope you don’t grow too fast. If I put a month of work into this armor for you and you turn into a hulking bear I’ll be fixing to tear your skin off to make you fit.”   “I’m sorry, what?”   The woman rolled her eyes. “I’ve got fifteen sets of armor to make for you lot. Quartermaster Ros gives me the jobs so she doesn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy of ordering those death traps they issue out closer to the Capitol. Damn things rarely fit properly anyway, and can’t hold up to my own fist let alone a spear. You bring your own weapons? Be a waste. The tools I make are the best in the province.”   She rambled on as she continued to measure Eolann. He had trouble keeping up with the names and places she spouted and occasionally felt like she was making up words.   “I’m sorry, ma’am.” She stopped short with a glare like death. “I didn’t catch your name?”   The woman let go of Eolann then tapped her metal arm, the measuring tool flicking away with a swish. In its place, a pair of thick prong-like protrusions which she held out to Eolann. “Catillia. Blacksmith for the Tamberland Guard.”   With a touch of uncertainty, Eolann took the end of her arm in his hand. “Eolann Saoghair. New recruit,” he chuckled.    
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This is a free Preview of WIP Brothers of the Tamberlands, a middle fantasy adventure set in the world of the Towers of Grynn. To read more, be sure to follow the world below!


Comments

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15 May, 2020 18:58

Nice little writing piece. Did notice a few oddities in the writing:  

Young men clamored across the rooftops around the village square preparing decorations, pale wraiths against a starburst night. The old man hobbled against a weary cane towards the center fountain. The stone countenance of Emperor Barius Leriot gazed across the pristine square, his horse posed in gentle fury as a steady hand pointed eastward.
  This is a bit weird. It's alluding to anaphora and the similarity of the sentences, without virtually any variation, is slightly offputting for me when you're describing. This kind of thing is good when making a point or attempting to emphasize one character trait but the difference in subjects immediately makes me reread to see if I missed something.  
Great spirits of earth and sea, playful and mischievous wind, brooding fire content at the moment.
  Slightly weird grammar here. You could make the list with semicolons(which would also allow you to add commas in a few other places to fix some things) or add "and" somewhere. Similarly, I can't tell if the "content at the moment" is meant to align with all of the spirits or just the "brooding fire." I would really just suggest reworking this a bit.  
A bead of sweat broke out across the seer's
  This is a bit more of a nitpick. I can make an educated guess that Carrig is "the seer" but it could also just be a really weird switch to a different character as Carrig's name isn't mentioned again in that section. I would suggest giving a few more hints to the fact that Carrig is a seer before this. If I'm fully wrong and Carrig isn't a seer, then you probably also need to make that a bit more clear. It's just a little murky.  
Much too long and the smoke made his eyes water.
  Much doesn't seem like the right word. Maybe something like "far too long" as it's fits a bit better to the unit of measurement that is being used.  
At the name of their grandfather, the priest let go of Finbar, and before he touched the log his father had snatched him from the fire.
  This is something I have to consciously fix. It's a list of events only two long so your commas are a little weird. If I recall my grammar lessons correctly, it should be written like this: "At the name of their grandfather, the priest let go of Finbar and, before he touched the log, his father snatched him from the fire." Other note with this is that the word "had" creates a slight problem with the tense as it would need to be "before he HAD touched" for the "had"s to align.  
He didn't want to arrive at the barracks fresh from a whipping, embarrassing the family in front of the whole village.
  That confused me so much. What whipping and why? Maybe a mention to it before? I am so confused about the sudden mention of a whipping without much prior evidence of it. Is that what he has an hour until? I don't know and it confused me.  
The eastern path led home, to their village, their homestead. The farm and cattle. The apple orchard.
  I don't really know how to feel about this because, on one hand, it does create a sense of emphasis but, on the other, it seems slightly unnecessary to alter grammar for that. I just wanted to mention it. I also didn't grab it all, but whatever.  
The well with the little nook that Eolann and Aoife would hide in as children. That Finbar would hide in as he got older.
  You could probably make the period a comma as it suggests a mental change of thought. Not two ideas, but one that changed. You also, one word later, use the one-word sentence of "Memories" which I would suggest adding some adjectives to "Such blissful memories."  
"I've decided it's time I try to join the guard. I know I said I would stay on till my birthday, but everyone from the village and town has already joined and-" "Abriea's boy didn't leave. You can stay a little bit longer. It certainly would be safer. Tadgh, talk some sense into him."
  Generally, you should separate these by the paragraphs. Sometimes you can get away with two people talking in one paragraph but it requires a fine touch and the transition between the speakers to be more than a space.  
Eolann straightened up as his mother stepped alongside Tadgh, a blissful if tired smile on her lips. "Something the matter, boys?" She looked between the two.
  I would suggest mentioning that her smile falling, either completely or just for a moment. It just makes it seem like they are giving off sorrowful energy and adds a tone shift. Also, you should have commas either side of "if tired."  
She ran a trembling hand through his hair, resting it at the nape of his neck as she looked up at him.
  This action would be hard while walking. You probably want to change it or mention that they stopped walking -- as I think that's what was going on. I get distracted easily and, for all I know, they could have been standing on a boat(which they weren't as you mentioned a fork in the road).  
The walled town initially opened up to a spacious market, stalls and stands shuttered for the night, with a few exceptions.
  Sometimes working with commas is hard. This is one such instance. I would suggest making it a little more clear as to what the exceptions were through a form of the following sentence: "The walled town initially opened up to a spacious market with stalls and stands, other than a few exceptions, shuttered for the night."  
Eolann took his hand, which squeezed firmly.
  You should change the wording a bit: "Eolann took his hand, the man's grip firm." That's not great but it's just something to suggest that the man's grip was firm not the hand as it's slightly weird to refer to the hand in that manner.   --   Sorry. Seems like I only noticed weird grammar bits. The worldbuilding seems fairly detailed, though it's clear that there's not much shown in this snippet. There are a few writing ticks that you have but nothing detrimental. The story was interesting, though slightly weird that this was one section as there wasn't really any reason to not separate the beginning and the main story. I can't really comment on the plot as this appears to just be an introduction. Nice work.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
15 May, 2020 19:11

Thanks! A couple of those were missed enters on transscription from one app to another. It's a full draft of the first 3 chapters (eventually), just to see if anyone other than me actually wants the full story.   I've unfortunetly got a movie script style of laying things out in my head, so scene intro and what is happening around the characters is very important to me.   Thanks for the feedback!

Now working on
The Hylian Fantasy
23 May, 2020 23:51

I'm really liking what more you've added. This time I have a few different style notes:  

“Alright, maggots! Rise and shine!”
  Maybe you should come up with a different creature to use as it's unlikely a fantasy world would use the same term as we would.  
“Isn’t that Brech?” Eolann wondered.
  Aloud or to himself?  
the girl, Lìosa snapped.
  The way that's written implies to people in a weird way. Should be "the girl, Lìosa, snapped"  
I'm Dimoriat Grós
  Backtracking here, maybe you should mention that that's a rank as I was confused why you were calling him "the Dimoriat"(assuming this is unique to your world and I'm not just ignorant   You suddenly mention Gilrea at the beginning of Chapter 3 with only a single, rather confusing, mention prior. Seemed kind of weird to me as your main characters meeting should be an important scene(again, I'm assuming with random information I've stored). A small scene somewhere at the end of chapter two would be nice as that chapter seems super short. It just was jarring to suddenly have mention of another character that had no previous introduction being friendly with a different character out of nowhere.   That was interesting. I'm assuming that you're in the middle of writing and a few of the issues I mentioned should be solved as you continue to work with these chapters. Especially because that last paragraph was... interesting.   By no means are these critiques any comment on your writing. The style is wonderful and suited for a full novel I would adore to read. Great work and I hope to continue to see more!

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
24 May, 2020 03:32

Aye, Chapter 2 is not complete. I'm attempting to make the relationship with Gilrea have moments of Eolann attempting to put names to faces until they are forced together as a team with Líosa, Colyn and Sezig.   Dimoriat is indeed a rank, and may change. I'm struggling with how best to put that.   Maggots, like Cortex metal and Verti, are Universal.

Now working on
The Hylian Fantasy