Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ship Wrecked

The night crept up on the boat as the choppy seas rocked it.  Rain had began to pelt on the wooden deck.  Commands were shouted back and forth and the deck hands did their work to secure the rigging.  Below decks the people huddled together while other crew men secured the cargo.  The shifting waves made it all but impossible for the passengers to maintain a steady footing.  Lia brushed back her blond hair as she glanced around at the miserable human women and children.  The elf may have been smaller than them by height and build, but her hard heart made her feel sturdier than the whimpering people.  She stopped breathing for a moment, taking in the sounds of outside the protective hull.  Scrapping sounds whispered under the crashing waves and shouting men.  Taking one more look at the humans Lia grabbed onto the hilt of her sword and made her way up to the deck.

Chaos greeted her as she eyed first the scrambling deck hands, then what they were scrambling from.  Lizard-man like beasts with spears in hand, were boarding the boat. Drawing her sword the elf headed for the port side of the stern to rid the boat of its new pests.

On the starboard side of the bow several other passengers were also fighting the marine beasts. A human passenger, Drarun, used his fists and feet to hold off the attackers. He had spotted them first and had called the alarm, and had only managed to throw off a few of the lizard men from climbing. He moaned a sigh of regret at the loss of a dwarf that had helped him.  The boat had tipped and threw off the dwarf's footing when Drarun had tried to get by to get to the next lizard man. The dwarf had fallen overboard as the boat rocked by the stormy seas. Now all the man could do was help the next deckhand from being speared by the lizard man's weapon.

Blue lizards had leaped out of the water, and lizard men scaled the hull to clash steel with an armored human named Alistair, equipped with a morning star. As the blue lizard attacked a crew man, the man engaged it, only a moment too late as the deckhand was killed.  Alistair swung his morning star with a practiced hand, ending the beast with a sickening thud to the head. Several deck hands tried with all their might to either escape or help the fight, only to end up slain.

Drarun rushed to help the man in armor. Kicking and punching the unwelcome beasts. They were able to spear him several times leaving him bloody but still on his feet, fighting will all of his might. Drarun rained down a flurry of fists upon the creature, pushing the lizard man's lifeless body off the deck.

On the port side of the bow another passenger, Melandra the half-elf fought off large crabs that snapped at her.  With an expert swing she was able to slice under the shell splitting it open. She roared her triumph over the ocean, only to see a expanse of crabs in the water gathering closer to the hull.

Lia had her own worries as she fought along side two dwarves. They were surrounded by crabs, lizard men and blue lizards alike.  The boat swayed and she could't get a good shot at the nasty crab in front of her.  It snapped at her, grabbing enough of her leg to do a bit of damage before she swung again with a perfect deadly stroke.  It's snapping claws fell lifeless in front of her.

A shuddering sound came from the boat itself, and screams from the cabin followed.  The creaking and cracking of splintering wood was followed by the rush of water and more screams.  Lia swore and tried to hold on to her footing as the stern lifted drastically.  Something was pulling the bow down, whether it was the water or something in it didn't matter.  Things were starting to look hopeless.

In the cabin, Kalim the dwarf that was sucked into the boat after going over board, was finding this just as harrowing.  Human women and children were screaming when they could get enough air.  One child in the back was having a hard time of it, Kalim could tell that the little one was not going to make it.  He tried to swim over to the child, only to see a great tentacle wrap around the small figure and disappear into the depths. Heart sinking he made his way to the stairs, unable to help anyone but himself as the tentacle snatched more and more of the humans.

Kalim's problems spiked when he noticed an oily slick spreading on the surface of the water.  It didn't take him long to realize it was lamp oil.  He swam harder, spotting the torches getting closer and closer to the water's surface as the boat sank.  Two torches or the latter to his freedom of this watery grave.  He could grab one, but not both.  He began to climb.

Out on the deck, the battle continued. Drarun and Alistair moved to starboard, another lizard man had boarded and was attacking a crew man.  Alistair rushed passed Drarun, pushing the other man into the outside wall of the cabin hold. He needed to save the crew man.  He would not let another innocent die.  With one solid swing the morning star found its target and crushed the scull of the attacker.

The crew man was safe, and Drarun took that moment to rush past to reach yet more the the beasts. He was weak and wounded but steadied himself to fight on. He would not give up.

A high pitch sound broke through the raging storm. Lia turned to attack the blue lizard perched on the side, only to watch it jump back into the water. Other beasts followed suit.

Melandra looked around, not sure what was happening.  She made her way to starboard.

A moment later a waved crashed into the boat, flames rushed out of the cabin and everyone was flung into the water.  The boat was no more than a pile of burning wood and debris.

Each of the surviving passengers and crew splashed around for survival, while the sound of the storm was drowned by the sound of the dying.

To be cont...

Friday, February 24, 2012

BRoP: Interview with Cole Gibsen

Blog Ring of Power Presents

The Writing Life of Author Cole Gibsen

BRoP Interview part 2 
If you missed part 1, stop by T.W. Fendley's blog 

When Cole Gibsen isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug--provided no one is looking. She debuts in March with two young adult novels--KATANA on March 8 from Flux and BREATHLESS by March 27 from Crescent Moon Press.

BRoP:  What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Do you use pen and paper or computer? Work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc. 

Cole:  I try to write every day, Monday through Friday. And I do the majority of my writing on my run down little laptop (even though I have a fabulous brand new PC upstairs. I know. It doesn’t make sense to me, either.) As long as my house is clean, I like to write at home. But if it’s messy, I can’t concentrate. It’s an OCD thing.

BRoP:  How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life? 

Cole:  I do not write on the weekends. Sure, that’s valuable writing time down the drain, but it’s important to me to spend time with my family.

BRoP:  When do you write? 

Cole:  My daughter goes to preschool for two and a half hours every day. That’s the only time I have to cram as much uninterrupted writing time in as I can. Some days, it’s barely more than a couple hundred words.

BRoP:  How much time per day do you spend on your writing? 

Cole:  If I’m lucky, two hours. Sometimes less. That roughly enables me to write one book a year. Next fall my daughter starts school full time, so I’m excited to see what I can accomplish with a lot more writing time.

BRoP:  Other than your family, what has been your greatest source of support? 

Cole:  My crit partners. I wouldn’t be where I am without their advice and support.

Cole Gibsen debuts in March with two young adult novels–KATANA on March 8 from Flux and BREATHLESS by Crescent Moon Press on March 27.

Learn about Cole's Creative Process as the Blog Ring of Power continues her interview with Sandra Ulbrich Almazan on Monday --- Click Here

Where can your readers stalk you?
Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both!

KATANA: Kill Bill meets Buffy in this supernatural samurai tale. Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline gave her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn't explain her dreams of fifteenth-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings. While worrying that she's going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she's harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior. Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana--a deadly Japanese sword that's also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she's always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

BREATHLESS: In a world where death is an ever-present shadow and motives are as dark as the bottom of the ocean, Edith must decide if her life is worth risking for a love that can't survive past the shore. Obituary-reading emo girl Edith Small is broken - the end result of forcing herself inside a mold that doesn't fit. All she wants is to conform to her strict sergeant stepfather's rules long enough to make it to graduation day. But a boat accident threatens to unravel the life Edith has worked so hard to keep. After waking up in a hospital with a lacerated shoulder, Edith fakes amnesia. Because admitting she received her injuries from a blue-haired girl who breathes underwater is all the reason Sir needs to send Edith on the first bus to military school. Safe at home, Edith struggles to put the nightmare behind her. But the mysterious creatures that live in the ocean aren't about to let her forget. After meeting Bastin - a strange boy with silver hair and black eyes - on a secluded dock, Edith learns about the war raging undersea to end human existence. A war that Edith, unwittingly, has become the key to winning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Blog Hopping Meme

I've been focusing on tid-bits for writers on Wednesdays but this time I think I'm going to switch it up, again.  Don't worry, next week we will go back to our regularly scheduled tips and links.  

I was tagged by fellow Blog Ring of Power host, Dean C. Rich and thought this would be fun.  The rest of the Ring has been tagged as well, I hope you check out their blogs to see the answers they provided.

Blog Hopping Meme

      1. What is your dream vacation?
A week in a cabin, in the forest, with supplies to last us the entire time I'm there. While I learn how to hunt with archery. The supplies are for the fact that I'm not sure if I could really kill anything.
2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
I'm more spontaneous than I should be.  I try to plan, but the plans are always loosely set, just in case I end up doing something else. 
3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don’t dare to do.
Skydiving, I would love to feel the rush of the fall, but I think I'd have a heart attack before my coach jumper (don't know what they are actually called) pulled the string. There's a reason why you can't jump alone your first 10 times. 
4.  your biggest phobia?
Loosing my kids in any way.  
5. If you were stranded on a desert island – what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop, or family).
I would say, A Swiss army knife, boat and a fishing net, if I were thinking clearly. But it would be more like: A book, pen and notepad.  I'm a true geek/obsessive writer like that. 
6. Name three blessings in your life.
My three kids.
7. What was your nickname in High School?
Emmy- it stuck with me since childhood
8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?
The government should not have paying jobs, it is a civil service, it should not be a place of power.
9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?
Tasslehoff Burrfoot, in Dragons of Autumn Twilight. He's a fun character and even though he goes through some crap, it would be worth it to be him for a day.  I love Kenders!
10. What is your favorite quote?
Don't worry about the future, forget about the past, live for today, for today won't last. (not sure who said this first, but it was part of the Skills USA motto for me, and stuck with me ever since)

Ok, so it's time to play tag!
Kela McClelland
and anyone else who wishes it, consider yourself tagged.  Please stop by each of these great blogs, look for their answers and make a comment. I'm sure they would appreciate it. 

Here are the questions you can cut and copy to use for your own blog:

Blog Hopping Meme

      1. What is your dream vacation?
2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead?
3. Tell us one thing you want to do but don’t dare to do.
4.  your biggest phobia?
5. If you were stranded on a desert island – what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop, or family).
6. Name three blessings in your life.
7. What was your nickname in High School?
8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him?
9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be?
10. What is your favorite quote?

Tag seven other bloggers

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Way In #2

Ladarius stepped lightly, studying the walls with expert eyes.  His search for traps led him down the tunnel to find three things. Two doors, a strange glowing glyph on them both and no physical traps to disarm.  Disappointed he looked back at his companions, all watching him with weary eyes. "There is nothing here but some strange glowing markings."

"Hold still." The mage insisted as he made his way to him.

Taking a step back, Ladarious stepped on another glyph in the floor. He froze not knowing what to do.

"You idiot! I had told you to stay still. This could blow you away, remain as you are while I study these.  Any movement may set them all.  We have no way of knowing what they will do until I've looked them over. Now stay still."

Serral glided behind the mage, inspecting the glyphs with a trained eye. "I have a spell that can absorb the magic, but this is of a strength where I alone will not be enough."

The mage nodded. "I will assist you."

They both pulled out components and the sound of the language of magic filled the air. A buzzing followed before the three glyphs dropped, leaving Ladarius able to move once more.  He stayed his ground, not wanting to trigger another magical.  Serral opened the door to the right, looking into the heavy darkness beyond.  Carmon pushed a hand through, only to see it disappear into a black abyss.  Withdrawing his hand the companions stood looking at each other for a moment before the door closed and another glyph surged over it.

"What's going on?" Called Nimue who stood with Mavra at the crumbled entrance.

Carmon looked at them then back at the other two companions. "I do not have the power to remove the spell again."

Nimue was moving up the hall, "Then we move on. Are there any traps?"

"No physical ones." Ladarius answered as he looked around the floor. "The glyph on the floor is gone, I'll keep going. Carmon, stay near me, just in case I run into something else magical."

"I will remain a few steps behind." The mage folded his arms under his robes. "Lead on."

The two made their way up the tunnel, with no other disruptions.  Coming to the opening of a large great room, they stopped.  The walls were polished and there were four weight baring pillars set a few feet away from the each of the four corners.  In the center stood a metal statue of a suit of armor. In its grip it held a sword and mace, tips resting on the floor. Beyond, a set of stairs led up.

Ladarius waved for the others to catch up to them.  Each one moved with a slow but steady caution and when they gazed upon the room the tension was a solid thing between them.

"It doesn't look like there is anything in the room." Nimue stated.  Her voice echoed off the smooth glowing blue striated walls. A creak and grown followed as the statue began to move. "It seems I misspoke."

The group only hesitated a moment, watching the metal man move toward them. Ladarius dashed to the left, his speed lending to his expert hiding abilities, to the others he seemed to have just disappeared. Carmon really did just disappear before their eyes. Nimue and Serral moved as one to the right positioning themselves near the right wall far enough away to come up with a plan, but close enough to keep the statue's attention.  Mavra stayed near the pillar in which they came out behind.  His magic crossbow at the ready.

There was no thwang of a bolt string, for there was no string on the bow.  Magic bolts flew toward the statue, gaining its attention on the dark elf. A small burn mark showed against its armor but nothing more.  It moved quickly, but before it could reach Mavra, the dark elf dropped his crossbow. He drew his black bladed sword with one smooth movement.  Slashing at the metal with a echoing clang. In an instant the sword was coated in ice.

Nimue and Serral rushed from the side, dodging the armored arms swinging out toward them. It only noticed their approach for a moment before it turned back to Mavra. Nimue slashed out with both her blades. The grating metal against metal was more productive than the companions could have hopes as part of its armor plating fell away, relieving glowing gems and moving parts inside. The statue turned to fully face the skilled attack.

Carmon's invisible form moved up beside Mavra imbuing him with magical strength and resilience. Serral had the same thoughts as he too cast a spell, surging Nimue with the gift of the goddess' strength. Distracted by the spell, Nimue did not react fast enough to the statues retaliation and she was slashed in the side by the machine's great sword.

Ladarius came out of now where pouncing on the metal armor with deadly precision , ripping away more of the armor plating.  Mavra took that moment to slash again with his ice weapon, freezing a few of the moving parts and allowing Nimue to slash at it once again. Little by little the companions hacked away at the machine until it fell away in frozen pieces.

Serral took care of Nimue's wounds with the blessings of his goddess. Murmuring her thanks she began sifting through the parts. The glow of the gems made them easy to spot through the debris.  Gathering them up, she caught a movement in the corner of her eye, they all did.  Standing on the steps was the fiend they had encountered and lost track of once before.  It gave a salute with a evil smile before vanishing yet again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Publishing War

The Publishing War has begun. Amazon vs. Barnes & Nobles affects each and everyone of us.


The Publishing War has begun. Amazon vs. Barnes & Nobles affects each and everyone of us.

At first glance it looks like a corporate war between giants on the book market that is of little interest to the little people. Yet, the foot soldiers in that war are writers, especially those writers who finally began to believe in their chance to find fame and fortune through self-publishing.
So what are the battle lines?
On one side, we have Amazon, or more specifically, Amazon’s publishing arm KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) that now requires exclusivity from its authors. Last week, Barnes & Nobles responded to Amazon’s exclusivity’s policy by declaring it would refuse to distribute any books published by Amazon. B&N was soon followed by Indie Commerce and other smaller publishers, joining the movement to boycott Amazon.
Some aspects of this boycott are still unclear. Does it also cover books published by Smashwords and then distributed to Amazon? Does it affect only print books or also ebooks? These practical sides of the boycott are still being debated as the publishing world is polishing its weapons.
Ironically, in the 70′s, when B&N, then only a retailer, entered the world of publishing, it created an uproar in the publishing world that was ignored by B&N and did nothing to prevent its success.
Early last January, rumors of B&N’s intention to sell its publishing arm Sterling following losses of earning began to fly around. Bought by B&N in 2003 for $115M, it now boasts an estimated 6,000 plus title base of e-books and print books. Its catalog includes more than 500 books in the Barnes & Noble Classics and its Library of Essential Reader series. Sterling reported $6 million losses for the quarter ending last October, less than the $12 million for the previous quarter but losses nevertheless.
It might well be that B&N’s opening salvo against Amazon is a move to raise the value of Sterling prior to selling it rather than a move to define the face of tomorrow’s publishing market, but the growing number of smaller publishers following B&N’s lead are definitely boycotting Amazon in order to fight the exclusivity clause in KDP and the right for authors to have their work available to all and not only though one outlet, even a giant one such as Amazon.
Another reason that might have caused B&N’s retaliatory move against Amazon is the rumor that Amazon intends to open a pilot retail shop in Seattle, a real threat of encroachment in the physical retail dominance that still belongs to B&N.
While the two giants, Amazon and B&N, are defining the lines of battle, authors are not the only ones likely to suffer the consequences of this war. Authors will have to choose a camp, decide where to publish knowing that whatever their decision, it implies loosing exposure from the other camp.
Yet, as ultimately, readers are the customers, they will inevitably be dragged in this conflict. As books are formatted to fit certain ereaders and the next move might be to ban downloading books from the other side on proprietary ereaders, they will have to carefully choose which ereader they purchase, Kindle or Nook, as it might dictate which books they will have access to.
So while the giants are fighting to reap more dollars, it is individual authors and readers that will suffer from this war fallout.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Helpful Links.

There is a lot of information out there.  So much to learn and so many blogs that have the point down. Do I need to repeat what others have said? I could give you the run down in my words, try to hook you with my own voice, but I like sharing.  I hate thinking of the blog sphere as one big competition to get attention when I can do some research for you fine folks out there, hook elbows with my writer buddies, and show you insight from where I've spotted it.  So, in taking a page from the great and powerful Joyce Alton who does this every now and again on her blog Yesternight's Voyage.

Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors K.M. Weiland asks the question: Does your story have too many Characters?
Her blog has many interesting facts and tid-bits that have helped me personally, so I wanted to share the love.

The Bookshelf Muse: Guest C. S. Lakin writes The Plot Thickens  
Get into the concept with C.S. on the importance of layering plot. Its a great post, inviting a writer to look at their life and the plot within to understand the many layers that go into a novels plot.
This blog is a writers dream come true.  They have links to character traits, emotional behaviors, Settings, meaning of weather, color, texture, shape. The list goes on and on.  They are my go-to whenever I write a scene and want to drive home what I'm saying.  I recommend this to everyone who even scribbles down a few words.

Questions and Archetypes: by J.W. Troemner Tells us a bit about pacing. A fellow AQCer J.W.'s blog is great because she gets right to the point and helps you understand things, that and she has a Friday Food Fest. Food, cant beat that! 

Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing: By Martina  What Isn't On the Page, A Writers Guide to Growing. I love this post because it gets into the writers head, what the reader doesn't see. The conflict in the writers mind as we create and recreate. 

There are so many blogs out there. So much for anyone to take in.  What are your favorite blogs? I would love to link up to them. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Blog Ring of Power

Welcome to a world where imagination entwines into reality. Thoughts take shape and dance with the written word. Several minds collide twisting as rings around a planet of ideas.

Thanks to the brain child of an AQC friend of mine, T. Bruce, I'll be joining a group of fellow writers in a blog ring.  We have several ideas floating about waiting to become cross blog events.  It should be interesting, I can't wait to see this baby grow.

There are six of us joining the ring, aspiring writers T. Bruce, Dawn G. Sparrow, D. C. Rich and well... me. We also have two published writers to grace our ring, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, and T.W. Fendley. This should be quite the journey.

 T. Bruce - Terri Bruce Net
As I said, this is her brain baby, on her blog she writes about point of view and other helpful tips on writing.  She is very insightful and thought provoking. She has said that she writes genre-crossing speculative fiction that defies labels - her first novel has been described as "Bladerunner crossed with The Turn of the Screw" while her second novel has been described as "Bridget Jones goes go the afterlife." 

Dean C. Rich - The Write Time
He's been on this blog, I've been on his.  He also ended up winning the January Blog contest in our Speculative Fiction group on AQC for most posts and comments on other blogs.  His blog deals with time management and motivation.  

These next two were introduced to us via the great and powerful... T.Bruce. It was there, I had to say it. 

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan - Speculative Fiction Author
She writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. She holds contests and interesting facts on her blog.   

T.W. Fendley - TW
Historical Fantasy and Science Fiction Author.  Her web-site has contests, giveaways and updates. She is part of several different group blogs. 

So take a look at each of my buddies. Our ring will be swirling around the planet of ideas.  This should be an interesting group, I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday Writer: Agent Query Connect

Every writer needs a support group, a gathering of like minds to help that person grow and become more than just a teller of tales.  Most writers, I have noticed, are finding groups online or in their community.  With that in mind I had researched online and physical writers groups.  I've traveled the e-highways and was pleasantly surprised when I was searching for agents and stopped at Agent Query Connect. My search had ended, this was the perfect group for me.

AQC is a forum for writers by writers.  This smorgusbord of information by hundreds of talented knowlageable and helpful people. It has been one of the highest assets of my writing.  Disscussing things such as the dreaded Query, (in short: a letter to agents asking for representation) to things such as what an agent looks for and how to make that pesky first sentence, paragraph and chapter able to hook the reader.  There is advice for any aspect of writing.  Each genre has it's own group to get together and share chapters to review or other genre related aspects. There is even a game forum to relax and have a bit of fun.

I have learned so much from all my new friends at AQC, found a few critique partners and even have guest posted on a few blogs of theirs.  I would suggest everyone who enjoys the art of writing to give this forum a look.  You'll like what you see.

You can also find some of the members on their blogs take a look. :)
Moderator of the genre group in which I'm involved, she is known as Clippership to the world of AQC
Yesternight's Voyage by Joyce Alton.  I have a post on her blog.
One of my favorite crit partners and amazing minds. She has a world building series on her blog.
Verbose Veracity by E.F. Jace  Yes, I have a post on her blog.
A motivational writer, and he knows how to keep his time managed
The Write Time by D. C. Rich. Great posts and lots of info to think about. I posted here too.
A talent of giving advice to other writers
Terri Bruce gives us insight on her website blog. No, I don't have a post here, but the others I've mentioned do.

That's not the only friends I have on AQC, the list is longer than comprehension and there are new members every day! More minds to share in the art that we covet.

Do you have a specific writers group you stick with? Do you go it alone? Do you prefer the touch of person to person or forums?  I would love your input and any other suggestions of the long list of writers groups out there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Way In

Deep into the cavern they traveled, fleeing the orc horde that camped near the collapsed opening.  They needed to find a way out, a way to escape the army.  However, there was no way out, but there was a way in.  For each new cave that broke from the tunnels, unease grew among the companions.

Reaching another large cavern the companions came upon a dead end.  The smell of decay and the putrid stench of the trolls they had slain gave the piles of soft plant life a repulsive edge.  The group hesitated in the tunnel, scanning the area for any other life. Mavra began to cast, the twisting of words echoing past the dripping of water from beyond the darkness. Lights began to glow, softly at first until they were bright enough to see around.  They danced in front of the dark elf, making his dark skin glow grey.  He pushed the lights into the beyond, searching for the next opening.

There was nothing to find.  Stalactites hung low, reaching for the floor only blocking the view slightly. The sound of water coming from the stone teeth.  One by one each person entered, weaving around the moss and dripping stone.  They fanned out, searching the wall. For what else could they do.  They were trapped.

Mavra pushed deepest into the cave as they all scanned the walls.  He placed his hand against the stone and push. When the stone moved, ever so slightly, he backed off.

"'ere," He called. "I think there is something 'ere."

The companions came forth, surrounding him as they gazed at the small seem in the otherwise solid surface.
The mage, Carmon rubbed his stubby chin of his otherwise elven face. "I wonder what could be behind this... door? Yes it must be a door, look at how the seem goes up and across so neatly."

"I'm more concerned on how long before our 'friends' above come looking around." Nimue said as she crossed her arms. "We need to open this and go through, we can't go back."

Ladarius looked at the raven haired woman and nodded before placing his clawed hands against the door.  He pushed, straining his muscles with the attempt, but only dust fell from his exertions.  Nimue moved up beside him and pushed as well. However, her efforts were less effective than his own.

The vampire shook his head and stood on the other side of the Lion-man. "Together. We must do this together."

Shoulder to shoulder the companions stood.  Carmon had no room to help and so he stepped back.  Mavra took his place between Ladarious and Serral. Placing their hands on the stone they all began to push, straining muscles to meet their goal.

Slowly, the stone began to budge.  The grating sound of movement gave a wind of confidence to the companions and what once moved slowly was now collapsing with the force.  They jumped out of the way, dodging the falling rock, all but the dark elf.  Mavra was pinned by the legs, choking on the blood from the crushing wounds.

Serral hovered over the dark elf, the prayers of his goddess on the lips of the vampire.  He crouched down and as Ladarios and Nimue removed the stone slab from Mavra, the wounds began to heal.  Blood remained but there was no bruising.

Once they recovered from the fallen stone, the companions gazed into the tunnel.  A blue glow from the walls caught their attention.  The magical stone reached out across the walls in veins.  More mysteries to behold.

"I'll go first." Ladarius stated, climbing over the rocks to enter the tunnel.  "I'll check for traps, stay here."

To be continued...