Monday, September 1, 2014

Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Book I, Part 1

After a year-long hiatus, I've got a small, 10-part novella written for your reading pleasure (or torture, depending on how you feel about my writing) over the next couple of weeks. The story follows an indifferent jock who is chosen for an epic fantasy adventure, much to the chagrin of his fantasy book nerd companion.

Expect future installments every couple of days!

the Quarterback

Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie
by Marty Reeder

Book I:
Sorcerer of the Order of the Extraction Lode Stones

Part 1

“Nice going, Elaine,” Cyrus Knowles quipped, spinning a football in his hand with blatant disregard for the librarian’s disapproving glare.

“It’s not ‘Elaine.’ Just because my parents lacked creativity doesn’t signify I deserve punishment. My name is ‘Lady Elaryindril’! It means ‘Legendary Bearer of the Dragon Flower’ in the Fåasverthy Mountain Elf dialect.” Elaine, er, Lady Elaryindril, glowered at Cyrus over the hefty volume she cradled.

The two could not have created a more opposite duo. Cyrus sported his red and black letterman jacket as if the two never parted until he could swap it for his jersey. His hair was short, his shoes made for all the athletic moves that a library prohibits, and his demeanor, one of complete disregard for academics. Lady Elaryindril, presented a long, straight dress with earthy colors that was laced together on the sides with string-like cords. Even though her hair was braided into a complicated series of tumbling folds, it still reached nearly down to her waist. Her respect for books and bookishness bordered, Cyrus would say, on the extreme.

The contrast between the two explained Cyrus’s frustration with their current predicament. “Did ya think, Elaine, that if you wouldn’t’ve whined about me being too loud with my buddies while you were trying to read, Mrs. Avalon wouldn’t’ve made us partners in this stupid project?”

“For the last time, Troll-for-Brains, it’s Lady Elaryindril!”

Cyrus guffawed. “Alright. If we’re going by fancy titles, then I’m, Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback of the Crater High School Football Team. Now we know what to call each other, and since you’ve had Mrs. Avalon’s Science Fiction and Fantasy class (and probably listened in class this year), I vote that you’re in charge of doing our End of the Year Literature Project.”

“Fµlchãnkürst,” Lady Elaryindril muttered below her breath.

“Hey, Lazy Elar-an-drip, just because you read a bunch of stories about magic people who never take showers doesn’t mean you can cuss me out in dwarf warlock language or whatever.”

“It’s the Dark Tongue of Chöeklht-aakishk,” a voice intervened, “3rd Epoch dialect, if I’m not mistaken.”

The voice, to Cyrus’s surprise came--not from Elaryindril--but from a man who silently stole up beside the quarrelling pair. Both of them turned to face the tall figure. His crooked form was only partially hidden by layered cloaks and robes, while his face remained set behind a cascading beard of silver that dripped down to almost his waist.

“Who are you?” Elaryindril and Cyrus both exhaled.

“I am the Great Sorcerer, Dëwht-åh-mæhrø, of the Order of the Extraction Lode Stones.”

Cyrus Knowles lifted his eyebrows and looked around as if expecting to see a hidden camera somewhere. Elaryindril looked as if she might faint. “Nüflæyvlyn.”

Dëwht-åh-mæhrø bowed his head respectfully at the--apparent--compliment.

Cyrus looked at Elaryindril, “What’s your dad doing here?”

“For all the fairy droppings in Kroglömoc, jock head, this isn’t my dad. This is a magical being from a mystical land!” Lady Elaryindril could not take her eyes off of the otherworldly form in front of her. “This is everything I’ve ever dreamed about!”

Dëwht-åh-mæhrø nodded. “I’ve come become because my land is in great peril, and you are the only person who can save it.”

Lady Elaryindril nearly swooned. “Oh Dëwht-åh-mæhrø, I’ve been preparing for this moment all my life! What do you need from me? I can identify each gemstone in the Federational Empire Provinces by sound alone.”

It was not until after revealing her impressive skill set that Elaryindril noticed that the sage old man was not looking at her. Dëwht-åh-mæhrø unveiled a gnarled staff from his robes with a black rock embedded in its top and pointed it to an increasingly disinterested Cyrus Knowles. “Nay, child, I come not for you, but for him.”

“What?” Elaryindril bordered on blaspheming the name of Brâlxdrghl.

“Your gatekeeper,” Dëwht-åh-mæhrø responded, “when I asked where I could find him, she looked at a magic box and sent me this way. Then she marked me with a special amulet to protect me.” Dëwht-åh-mæhrø lifted one of the school’s visitor passes off a lanyard buried somewhere around his neck.

Cyrus found his grip on the football before looking up and seeing the visitor pass sitting in front of him and Elaryindril staring at him in disbelief. “Wait a second. You come for me? Is this some freaky recruiting gimmick? Coach said that the community college would stop at nothing to get their hands on me.”

Dëwht-åh-mæhrø did not look like the type to be usually at a loss for words. Now, however, he sat silent, contemplating. “I know not of that which you refer, but I do not trifle when I say that if you do not come with me within the next phases of the great burning globe’s traversing of the sky, then my land will be in danger of ultimate annihilation.”

Lady Elaryindril had been too stunned to say anything, but now jumped in. “Not that I doubt your necromancing, Dëwht-åh-mæhrø, but are you quite sure you’ve got the right person? I’m pretty sure you came for me.”

“Dude,” Cyrus started to fidget, “I’m not one to side with elf-lady here, but she’s got a point. I’m not your ogre warrior or whatever.”

Dëwht-åh-mæhrø shifted his stance for a moment. “Are you not the one they call, Saye Rünowele da Dertjerack?”

Cyrus shook his head definitively. “Uh, nope. You’ve got the wrong guy. Sorry, Dude.” Then, to himself, “Awkward.”

Elaryindril perked her ears. “Wait, say that name again?”

Dëwht-åh-mæhrø repeated, “Saye Rünowele da Dertjerack.”

“I don’t believe it,” Elaryindril set down her book on an end table. “Pig-Skin Flinger, listen carefully. He is saying ‘Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback.’ His ear is not accustomed to our rural, coarse dialect, but just sound it out: ‘Saye Rü’-- ‘Cyrus’--and ‘nowele’-- ‘Knowles’--then ‘da Dertjerack’-- ‘the Quarterback.’ He really is here for you.”

Cyrus thought through what Dëwht-åh-mæhrø said and Elaryindril’s translation. “What’s going on?”


“Let’s get one thing straight, Dude-Tomato, the only reason I’m here right now is because any excuse to leave a library is a good excuse--and there’s still a small chance that you’re just an really weird and desperate recruiter.” Cyrus Knowles could not tell if Dëwht-åh-mæhrø heard him or not. The wizened old man had taken them to the north parking lot and crouched down at the storm drain.

“Dude, did someone clog the storm drain? Your world is in more peril than you’re letting on.”

“Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback, you need to show Dëwht-åh-mæhrø more respect!” Lady Elaryindril scolded.

“Sorry, Gemstone-Listening Maiden, I thought Dewt-ster was the one that asked me the huge favor of saving his bacon after mumbling something kind of like my name. I don’t even know why you’re here.”

Elaryindril hardened. “Because, Cyrus Knowles, because I deserve this more than you. I insist on at least being a consultant.”

“Consultant. Right. Well, get out your fantasy encyclopedia set to see what it says about sewage systems, ‘cause Magic Man don’t seem interested in much else.”

Elaryindril about rebuffed her counterpart, but both of them snapped their mouths shut as they observed Dëwht-åh-mæhrø waver his gnarled staff, over the storm drain grate. Incredibly, the grate suddenly scraped out of its place and hovered just below the staff as Dëwht-åh-mæhrø, with intense focus, guided it to the side before setting it down on the pavement.

“Quickly, down the portal. I must activate it before that angry-looking warrior apprehends us,” Dëwht-åh-mæhrø told the still gaping teenagers. “I distrust that even the protection amulet could keep us safe!”

Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback managed to glance towards the indicated warrior, noticing Vice-Principal Miller heading towards them, fuming.

“Well, he’s off his rocker or I am,” Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback said, “but either way, I ain’t going to let Miller suspend me for skipping class.” Using all the athleticism at his disposal, he gripped his football and scaled down the utility ladder in the storm drain. Lady Elaryindril cradled her book next to her chest and followed, and then Dëwht-åh-mæhrø.

Just as they heard the voice of Vice-Principal Miller demand an explanation for them being out of class, Dëwht-åh-mæhrø flipped his staff upside-down slapped it on the ground. The world they knew disappeared.

End Part 1 of Book I: Sorcerer of the Order of the Extraction Lode Stones of Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie

©2014 Marty Reeder