Saturday, September 13, 2014

Who Says Comedic Timing is Difficult?

I usually don't crack up while sitting in a theater, but X-Men: Days of Future Past nailed this scene, and I snorted like a total dufus. Oh, and I noticed that Frozen's "Let It Go" is very similar to Eric Clapton's "Let It Grow."

X-MEN: Days of Future Past

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUoBakUTTWE&feature=youtu.be


Let it Grow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V069wWEnCys



Saturday, August 23, 2014

I Don't Believe In Coincidences!

I had been soliciting Legion of Dwellers starting three years ago to several in the entertainment world. I feel that As Above, So Below is more than closely related to my Legion of Dwellers. My book was completed and solicited  by late 2011 and into early 2012. The film article about As Above, So Below is dated 4/22/13.


My pitch to various talent agents for Legion of Dwellers:

Beneath the glimmering lights of Paris, young congregate in grottos—makeshift, gateway dens to the catacombs, filled with torn couches, melted candles, and various curiosities. It is here Emma and Killian meet Sophie, a cunning, pink-haired pickpocket, and Maurice, a superstitious thespian.

The four trade stories in the grotto, each dare the other to test their limits in the catacombs. Only the bold journey through tunnels filled with ancient, forgotten, open burials of the dead. Tagging and posting your exploits is the goal. Skulls and bones are piled neatly in the catacombs—by the thousands, they stretch forever along the walls of the tunnels, originally dug by guards of the old Roman Empire.


Emma, Killian, Sophie, and Maurice, prepare to make their mark on the world, by tagging the deepest sections ever tread. Yet when darkness becomes deception, one reveals something in the underworld which threatens to destroy them all.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17301948-legion-of-dwellers?from_search=true


As Above, So Below Synopsis: 

When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, As Above, So Below reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all. Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil) and directed by John Erick Dowdle, the psychological thriller is produced by Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Drew Dowdle and Patrick Aiello. Alex Hedlund serves as the executive producer.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2870612/

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/legendary-and-the-dowdle-brothers-to-make-archaelogical-found-footage-pic-exclusive-do-not-post-1200375118/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-KIzzF3S0o


Very disappointing!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Calling All Readers and Authors! Support Hachette Books!

In the spirit of fair enterprise, I'd like to lend my personal support to Hachette Books in their current negotiations. Below is a letter I received from the CEO of Hachette Book Group, Michael Pietsch, which I believe to be a trustworthy estimation of how things are progressing on Hachette's contract front, but I'll let you judge for yourself.


                                                                  8/14/14

Thank you for sending me your thoughts about Amazon’s letter to KDP authors.  Below is a note of clarification that I’ve sent to those who passed along Amazon’s complaints, which I thought you might want to see as well.

It’s heartening to hear your thoughtful comments.  Thanks again for writing.

Yours,

Michael Pietsch
CEO, Hachette Book Group

Thank you for writing to me in response to Amazon’s email.  I appreciate that you care enough about books to take the time to write.  We usually don’t comment publicly while negotiating, but I’ve received a lot of requests for Hachette’s response to the issues raised by Amazon, and want to reply with a few facts.
·        Hachette sets prices for our books entirely on our own, not in collusion with anyone.
·        We set our ebook prices far below corresponding print book prices, reflecting savings in manufacturing and shipping.
·        More than 80% of the ebooks we publish are priced at $9.99 or lower.
·        Those few priced higher—most at $11.99 and $12.99—are less than half the price of their print versions.
·        Those higher priced ebooks will have lower prices soon, when the paperback version is published.
·        The invention of mass-market paperbacks was great for all because it was not intended to replace hardbacks but to create a new format available later, at a lower price.
As a publisher, we work to bring a variety of great books to readers, in a variety of formats and prices.  We know by experience that there is not one appropriate price for all ebooks, and that all ebooks do not belong in the same $9.99 box.  Unlike retailers, publishers invest heavily in individual books, often for years, before we see any revenue.  We invest in advances against royalties, editing, design, production, marketing, warehousing, shipping, piracy protection, and more.  We recoup these costs from sales of all the versions of the book that we publish—hardcover, paperback, large print, audio, and ebook.  While ebooks do not have the $2-$3 costs of manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping that print books have, their selling price carries a share of all our investments in the book. 

This dispute started because Amazon is seeking a lot more profit and even more market share, at the expense of authors, bricks and mortar bookstores, and ourselves.  Both Hachette and Amazon are big businesses and neither should claim a monopoly on enlightenment, but we do believe in a book industry where talent is respected and choice continues to be offered to the reading public.
Once again, we call on Amazon to withdraw the sanctions against Hachette’s authors that they have unilaterally imposed, and restore their books to normal levels of availability.  We are negotiating in good faith.  These punitive actions are not necessary, nor what we would expect from a trusted business partner.
Thank you again and best wishes,
Michael Pietsch
_____________________________________
Michael Pietsch | Chief Executive Officer
237 Park Avenue New York NY 10017





Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Experts Review Legion of Dwellers

I want to thank my two 2014 ABNA expert reviewers for reading and reviewing a small, early, and first draft sample of my finished novel, Legion of Dwellers. And while not all of what's listed below seems impressive at first glance, I'll attempt to dissect meaning behind the expert's review.


THE GOOD.


Feedback

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

Excitement is the strongest aspect of this excerpt. You capture our interest immediately.

What aspect needs the most work?

What I would like to see here is a bit of description about the young man attacked in the beginning so we can imagine the look on his face as he is going thru the horrible attack. I think the character Emma could use a bit of development so we understand what she looks like because her mother is so obsessed with her looks.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

This work has promise and its easy to see with development how it could land up in a movie directors hands.

THE BAD.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The writing is okay if a little too verbose.

THE UGLY.

What aspect needs the most work?

Neither the mother or Emma are likeable. Emma seems like a selfish brat, the only thing the Y&A audience might identify with is wanting to be allowed more freedom, she doesn't seem to be someone you would want to be like. Her mother seems like a woman desperately trying to look and act younger than she is, while being saddled with a daughter that she keeps for appearances sake but really does not want because it interferes with the life she want to lead.
Needs editing, removing words in places would make the story flow better, (example: shopping scene).

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

I have no interest in reading more about either of them and I would not want my impressionable children reading this book.
While I would hate to see anything bad happen to Emma she seems like she is just looking for the wrong thing. Both she and her mother need a serious attitude adjustment and that may happen in the book, but I already dislike them so much I don't want to find out.
Again. I'd like to thank both 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award expert reviewers for their time, and insightful remarks. The first reviewer seems more like my target audience. She's probably 20-30 years old, and likes action, adventure, and probably graphic novels. More importantly, she sees where the story's potential truly lies. This appears to really be her genre. I also appreciated her remarks on improvements for existing scenes.

Reviewer number two...let me digress for a moment. People who claim to love Howard Stern's radio show listen for an average of 2 hours a day. The people that protest everything about Howard Stern, meaning that they HATE him, listen for an average of 2 and 1/2 hours a day. This was a first draft, 5,000 word sample size of something I rushed to enter the ABNA deadline. I'm proud reviewer number two had such a strong, visceral reaction to my characters. That means I did my job as a writer. I made my characters real, even to reviewer number two, who obviously hated them to the extreme. I made them so real, that reviewer number two protested too much. But I bet of all the scripts she loved and passed on to the next round, she remembered my characters most vividly, maybe even still. The last thing I want is for people to feel indifferent about my writing. I would love for many more people to, in the words of reviewer number two, "have no interest in reading more about either of them and I would not want my impressionable children reading this book." Because to me, that means Legion of Dwellers is going to be a huge hit.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

LEGION of DWELLERS Earlier Release of Chapters 2 and 4

This first draft is dedicated to my good friend Rebecca Veight


The Underground




“What’s a grotto?” She trailed off. Her eyes instantly glanced over at the two strangers sprawled out, they handed a bottle back and forth to each other, as they talked.

One of the strangers in the room, a young male spoke up with a thick Parisian accent. “A grotto is just a glorified party room for those who don’t care to dress up to impress the aristocracy in the clubs up there.” He pointed at the ceiling. “Vive la France!” He straightened himself, saluting Killian’s shirt with the French flag painted on his chest.

“What?” Emma asked.

The young man stood from his sprawled sitting position and bowed, tipping his red beret cap. “Where are my manners? I am Maurice,” he then pointed to the young attractive, pink haired girl with a pixie cut, her head shaved on the sides and back, sitting next to him, “and this is my associate, Sophie.”

“I’m Emma, and this is my…” She looked at him, not sure he was her boyfriend, she said, “This is Killian.”

Killian glared at Maurice and Sophie from the entrance of the grotto, but remained utterly silent. He made Maurice noticeably uncomfortable with his stare, his arms crossed, and his scowl. Emma tried to put her arm around Killian, but he shrugged it off. She looked up and over at the front of his face, as Sophie’s innocently cute face hid a cunning nature which her street savvy eyes could not. Sophie pretended indifference to them, tipping the bottle up, and drinking, while subtle watching the room.

“So, you are both fellow cataphiles like us? No?” Maurice tensely grinned and twirled his beret like a steering wheel.

With his chin protruded, Killian said nothing, so Emma spoke again. “What’s a cataphile? And for goodness sake, will someone tell me what a grotto is?” Her tone, riled, it loudly vibrated off the interior walls.
Sophie took another swig and then placed the bagged bottle, scrunching it with a paper rustling, glass clang on the ground. She put her index finger to her lips. “Shhhh, they’ll here you,” she said the rest in French, “you stupid American girl.”

“Who, other people?” Emma only knew English.

Ha, she scornfully laughed. “No, the police.” She took another swig from the bottle. “They patrol some of the shallow tunnels trying to catch cataphiles like us.”

Emma shrugged her shoulders. “So.”

“So they’ll through you in jail if you’re caught down here,” Maurice said.

Sophie leaned over and kissed Maurice on the lips. The two of them shamelessly exhibited their passions as if they were the only ones in the grotto. Killian ushered Emma over toward the large, dirt stained, and shredded fabric chair across the room from Maurice and Sophie. He sat, watching as a voyeur, rubbing his pronounced chin, but he was not deriving enjoyment, he was thinking. Emma, oblivious to his expressions, hopped on his lap and began kissing him as well. She closed her eyes, as Killian teased, while rubbing his lips across hers, yet he angled his head, and inspected Sophie and Maurice who enjoyed being watched. Then, all at once, Killian broke lips, held Emma back, and pointed to an overused, dark blue backpack, flopped over on the ground next to Maurice.

“Hey, what’s in there?”

“Here?” Maurice’s eyes lit up and he too pushed Sophie to the side, flipping her off the chair entirely, as he reached for the backpack.

Emma wrinkled her nose and pouted, taking a place on the hard armrest. Sophie frowned and rolled her eyes at Maurice from the floor, locking lips only with the bagged bottle now.

“Don’t get him started.” Sophie groaned, as she wiped mouth.

Emma, now interested, leaned in their direction. “Why, what’s in there?”

Killian keenly waited, hiding his eagerness well, as Maurice opened his backpack and pulled out several random items most cataphiles carried in the tunnels. He placed in a pile, water, batteries, food, and a flashlight from out of his backpack, while digging toward the bottom.

“I’m going to be the first cataphile to kill a Dweller down here in these catacombs.” Maurice gaily said.

“Not this again.” Sophie shook her head, and then removed her button down gray shirt, revealing a black sleeveless camisole, along with an inked left arm, covered in pink tattoos from her deltoid to her elbow.

Her eyes asquint, Emma removed herself from the hard armrest and stood. “What’s a Dweller?”

“Um, uh.” Maurice scratched his scalp rapidly, with a confused look. “Let me show you.” He pulled a flask out first. “This is Holy Water.” He placed next to the outside of the bag. “And if that doesn’t work, I’ve got this beauty.” He pulled a handgun from his bag.

Emma gasped, jolting back. “Are you insane?”

“Relax, it’s safe.”

“Yeah right!”

“Here,” Maurice put it back in his bag. “Happy now? Anyway, I have this,” he flashed an old video tape. “This is proof that Dwellers exist.”

Sophie rolled her head back at him. “You only see what you want to see.”

The two of them began to argue violently in French, and then they began kissing each other’s necks. Emma put her hands on her hips, but Killian remained emotionless as a calculating onlooker.

“Hello! Can you two please stop the gross public display of affection,” she said, gesturing toward Maurice, “and you, finish what you were telling me.”


“Oh yes,” he wiped his lips, pushing Sophie off to the side again. Maurice tied his firebrick red, shoulder length dreadlocks with a white rubber band. “This is a grotto. This is a lime stone room that has evolved over the years as a hangout for cataphiles before they make the trek as deep as they can into the tunnels. When a cataphile makes it deeper than anyone else has ever been before, he tags it, as a badge of honor, which is worthy of respect.” Maurice shook a can of spray paint from his bag. “And then you take a picture or video and brag to other cataphiles about it.”




Mortals, Immortals, and Portals




“That is not why I am here.” Acuumyn knew their intentions were pure. He got up and walked over to a large, ancient stone wall in amongst the ruins, urging Revekka and Maximilian to follow him. “This is the lone reason I have come.” He pressed three small stones in coded succession along the wall, and a larger, several ton sized piece of rock ground, as it slid back and sideways on its own. Acuumyn reached inside and pulled out two separate scrolls from the large wall. Both coiled tightly, and tied with cloth in the middle, but flaring out wider at the ends. One was beige and the other was transparent, and while both were rolled securely, tied with cloth ribbons, one ribbon was blue and the other green. He then turned and handed a scroll to each of them.

“What’s this?” Maximilian asked, attempted to untie his scroll.

Acuumyn quickly put his fingers on Maximilian’s hand. “No,” he calmly said. “If the Shroud captures you or the scroll, not knowing what you have will be a benefit.”

Maximilian looked at the scroll and then up at Acuumyn. “I understand.”

“Good, now I need each of you to take the farthest route from the other until you deliver this to Caron at the castle…”

Revekka interrupted. “Have you not heard? Caron is gravely injured from his encounter with the dark lord of the Shroud, Malum.”

Acuumyn arched his neck until his chin hit his chest. “I had not heard.” His head sprung up, he looked intensely into Revekka’s eyes. “And what of my son? What of Appollos?”

Revekka stared back for an eternal second. “I don’t know.”

“He’s alright.” Maximilian nodded. “Benoit has informed me that everyone else is intact and doing well.”

Acuumyn, relieved, inhaled with renewed strength and hope. “All is not lost.” He walked through the ruins, inviting his two companions to have a seat next to him on large stones in among the Grecian relics. “Come, tell me, what have your missions revealed, what have I missed?” He patted the large stone seat in front where they should sit and face him as they spoke. “Humanity has not detected our presence. Yet we have been here since the beginning, and have fought to free them.”

Revekka and Maximilian sat down, holding a gaze at each other with an inquisitive frustration. Each waited and silently wanted the other to talk first. Neither spoke, so Acuumyn urged them to tell him once more.

“It’s gotten so much worse,” Maximilian said, breaking his silence first. He frowned and looked away and down, while he rolled his tongue inside his mouth. He had become discouraged, frustrated by his time on earth. “As you already know, the young knights who were trained to destroy the Shroud, have not only joined the dark lord, Malum, but have become a powerful force of shadow warriors, loyal only to him throughout the earth.”

“I see,” Acuumyn said, his countenance filled with regret. “Malum has bigger plans than previously thought.”

“That is not all,” Maximilian continued. “The former knights have grown powerful with the Shroud, and they do many things without conscience. They have influenced humanity on a subconscious level, spreading fear, doubt, paranoia, and hopelessness throughout the earth.” He became more aggravated when hearing his own words. “Malum has appointed certain shadow warriors as princes over many governments of the earth, to control the leaders, and their masses. Malum has spread fear even among immortals of an all knowing and almighty one referred to simply as, the first immortal, and there are even rumblings that Dwellers, once extinct, have risen again. In fact, there have been many recent disappearances in Paris, the last being a mother and her young daughter disappearing. Some say the Dwellers live under the city in a maze of catacombs…”

Acuumyn interrupted. He nodded, and took several contemplative breaths, before thanking Maximilian for his unfinished report. “I have heard all that I need. You have done well, so consider your former mission both a success and concluded at this point.” He turned his attention toward Revekka. “What of you?” He opened his hand and rubbed his chin.

First, Revekka gave a sorrowful glance at Maximilian before turning her head in Acuumyn’s direction. “All that was said is true, and more I’m afraid.”

“But you are an empath.” Acuumyn paused, raising an eyebrow. “How is it you have not become insane from the suffering you have experienced through humanity?”

Her face remained soft. Her eyes glimmered with optimism. The halfings still live, and I believe in the prophesy. Where many of the young, immortal knights failed, the halflings will triumph.”

“Is that it?” Maximilian replied with haste, shaking his head with a mocking, loud puff of air out his nostrils. “They don’t have what it takes to wipe out the Shroud’s approaching army. The immortal war is coming to earth, and you place all of your hopes on two aimless teenagers?” He scoffed

Thursday, October 31, 2013

LEGION OF DWELLERS

This is a first draft release of Legion of Dwellers. You are getting the first page and part of chapter three. Enjoy.






Chance Encounters






It was late, in the early, dark hours before the approaching dawn. The once lively crowd had lulled. Most of the partygoers either had left the club on the lower east side of Paris for the night, or had fallen asleep wherever they could rest their heads. The band played a last song, as workers swept the floors while preparing to close. The trumpeter blew the loudest notes, his cheeks ballooning with redness, purposely waking the sleeping heads, rousing them to go home.

Of the handful of patrons remaining, one young man in particular, had left his slumbering girlfriend inside for a few extra minutes of rest before stumbling out into the dark street to clear his own head. With a few deep breaths of briskly chilled air, the young man began to wake from his hard nap. He looked up at the sky, what was sunny and warm earlier, was now black and unusually cool for a night at this time of year. He watched his breath crystalize upward, mixing with the air, forming clouds of fleeting vapor. He automatically glanced up and behind his shoulder as the club preemptively shut off the all the lights out front on the street where he stood, yet still, the music blared throughout the club and filtered into the mostly abandoned city lane. A worker closed the front side windows to the club, muffling the loud trumpeter’s horn. No longer feeling warm air from behind, the young man huddled his shoulder, flipped the collar of his jacket up against his neck, covering a black scorpion tattoo outlined with red ink, which stretched from his earlobe to the top of his shoulder. He vigorously rubbed his hands together, and blew warmth from his breath into them. He peeked in through the window of the door at his girlfriend, but her head remained unmoved on the tabletop, so he turned and shivered as the cool air gradually woke him.

         Across from the club, past the broad, main road, in the shadows of a long narrow street between buildings, he saw a large pile of trash move without cause. He looked back into the club once more at his girlfriend, and then trotted across the street to investigate. He crept slowly as he neared the trash pile. He paused stilly whenever it occasionally shook, nonetheless curiosity inched him forward. On the tips of his toes, he stretched his neck out in order to catch a glimpse. However, the pile of trash was heaped up, stacked too high and wide for any view around or over top. Closer he quietly shuffled his feet, stepping to the side for a full on view. The murky night, along with the shadows cast by the alley, made it nearly impossible to see, but something slouched and recessed in the dark corner on the other side of the bags of garbage.

He looked back at the club, now at a distance behind him across the street. A deep foreboding rot in his bones and uneasiness filled his chest and stomach. He readied himself to silently back away from the dark alley and toward the safety of the club. But at that moment, the clouds in the sky parted, allowing the moon to rain scattered beams of ghostly light upon the alleyway, revealing a sight so foul, his body seized and grim fear held his breath. A grotesque beast of legendary urban myth, feasted on the remains of the day’s garbage. Spiny vertebrae protruded from the beasts back. Grayish green, waxy, glossed skin gave the beast an oily appearance. It was boney and bare, with the exception of a loincloth. When the darkness parted upon the alley, a thin sliver of the moon descended in a sideways slant upon the creature’s eyes. They were large saucers, dead as coal, and devoid of emotion, as the young man saw his reflection in the beast eyes. The unworldly beast held a stare at the young man, each sized up the other. The young man’s eyes widened, as the creature’s eyes narrowed. One was prey, the other was a predator, and for a brief moment, each knew what the other one was thinking.

The beast growled with a low pitch and angled its body, springing back in a pouncing position. The young man panted heavily, refusing to blink or look away. Time seemed to slow, with each subtle movement magnified in the tense alleyway standoff. When the beastly creature growled again, the young man backed away in nervous expectation, stumbling, his feet tangled, but he remained upright, collecting his calm. However, when the monster spoke words to him, he recoiled backwards, straight legged, his body jerked off the ground, and his color blanched, draining him until only the hue of terror remained. Unconscious survival turned him around, while pure adrenaline propelled a burst of swiftness toward the club, were the boisterous music continued to play. He could still see people in the windows, sweeping, stacking chairs, and playing music.

For a moment, all he could hear was his own heart and the sound of his fearfully labored breaths. Then he heard an ominous voice from behind, yet he resisted the temptation to look back. He kept his eyes fixed on the club where his girlfriend slept. He had to make it back to her. There was no choice, nor doubt he could and would make the short distance from the alley to the club, because only a street separated them.
“Where do you think you’re going?” The creature soared like a puma with speed and power well beyond that of any human.

The young man ran from the alley. His heart thumped rapidly as he felt the beast’s nostrils huffing warm, foul breath down the back of his neck. A fleetingly smile crossed his face, for he had made it out of the alley and onto the street, but the creature pinged from one wall to another and bounded down on top of the young man’s back with ease.

“Ah!” The young man screamed as the band played the last note of the final song louder to wake the few remaining patrons before the club closed. “Help me!” He wailed, his face down, his stomach touching the ground. He reached toward the club where his sleeping girlfriend stretched and yawned, pulling her head from off the table. She looked from side to side and around the club for her boyfriend, but she did not see him, so she sat and waited.

The creature leaned on top of his back with heaviness, making simple movements impossible. Nevertheless, the young man slowly propped one elbow up and then awkwardly the other. He struggled as he crawled toward the club on his belly. Yet soon the beast easily dragged him by the ankle back into the alley. Screaming and flailing his legs, the young man frantically clawed at the street’s cold ground. Icy hooks sank into his flesh, taming him by penetrating deeply into the muscle fibers around his spine. The young man rang out a shrill cry that was accompanied by a gush of red fluid from his back. With the last of his strength, he ripped his leg from the beast’s hand and freed himself. He shouted at the club, waiting for help from anyone who might possibly hear him.


The creature ground its fangs back and forth, irritated by the young man’s resilience. It aggressively thrust a hand of razor tipped, black talons again into his back, and with one more violent push, it twisted until the young man was subdued. The young man’s head and limbs flopped down, but his eyes remained open, blankly staring at the club. The beast pulled him by the leg back into the alley, leaving a trail of bright, freshly smeared blood, disappearing into the darkness as the last song softened into silence.




Immortals

    Acuumyn turned his back and summoned an opening between distant places. A colorful vortex appeared, hidden to the world in among the Grecian ruins, and he readied himself to return from where he had come.

“Wait!” Revekka grabbed his shoulder. “Before you go through the aperture, I just want to say…” Her eyes briefly shifted downward, then back up at him, as his aguish became hers. You shouldn’t think of yourself as a failure.” She gently slid her hand off his arm.

He turned toward the vortex, glanced over his shoulder at her, giving a saddened smile, and said, “I was supposed to be the Acuumyn who established peace, security, and a utopia for earth and Eruditus, and I did fail.”
More words felt wrong, as she cradled her hands together, close to her chest, and with her neck and head downcast, her long, flowing locks tumbled slowly forward from off her back shoulders, covering her face from dispirit.

Maximilian, already flustered, advanced toward Acuumyn. “You must not lose faith now.” He shook his warlike fist.

The aperture swirled before them. Revekka lifted her head, smiling forcibly. Acuumyn turned, facing both of them one last time.

“Yes,” Revekka exclaimed joyously, waiting on encouragement. “There is always hope. I feel it with all that I am.”

“I will deliver this with power and speed.” Maximilian squeezed his hand, holding his scroll high in the air. “And then I will protect the halfings from the Shroud. I will prepare the children who were chosen by the Artifex to free this realm forever from evil.” His chest raised, he tightened his teeth and focused his eyes with uncommon resolve. “I will finish Benoit’s training as a knight, so he may lead the likes of Appollos, and Aurielle, and the precious few other Galinea that are left from the knighthood for earth’s sake.”

Acuumyn perked up. His face shined with pride, as he looked approvingly upon Maximilian before turning his attention to Revekka. “And what of you?” He asked.
“I have been gifted a vision by the Celestial Pyre,” She said. Maximilian gasped. He kneeled before her, bowing.
Acuumyn’s demeanor did not change. He wrapped his hands behind his back and reverently nodded. “The Celestial Pyre speaks to no one, or at least it has not in hundreds of years.”

“But it spoke to me,” she said, with sincerity.

Maximilian slowly lifted himself off his knees, kept quiet, and inquisitively gazed between Revekka and Acuumyn.

A tense moment passed, and then Acuumyn shook his finger at her. “You have Empathic abilities, so it stands to reason you are more sensitive to the Celestial Pyre. It is the flame that burns day and night underneath the castle, for it is the spiritual source of all life, and its symbol has given you a sign with meaning greater than what we know.” Acuumyn rubbed his chin, looking at her, while tilting his head from left to right.

“It told me to…”

Acuumyn abruptly held his hand up and stopped her. “What the Celestial Pyre showed you was for you alone.”

“Then I must give its message before I deliver this scroll.”

“Agreed,” Acuumyn simply said. “Which way does the Celestial Pyre send you?”

“To the south.”

“Then, Maximilian, you need to travel the northern most route until you reach the castle, so the two of you never come close to each other once I leave this place.”