Tales of the Crystal
Don't miss this epic tale of magic and warriors in a desperate race against superior forces to save the center of all civilization.
The center of civilization, the thousand year old Crystal comprised of hundreds of souls, is under magical attack from unknown forces. Crystal warriors recalled from the far reaches of the land must battle a force four times their number. A horrendous, devastating weapon band long ago may be their only choice. Will they be forced to use it?
Tarina, known as Awiel of the Dance, is a sexy and talented Veil Dancer and Crystal Seeress. Born of the desert, her physical and crystal magic abilities exceed most others.
Rowan - captain of the Crystal Warrior Elite. His task is to organize an army from few resources to battle four times their number. The horrors he must use to save the Crystal are devastating
Darian - a young Crystal Warrior who explores the vastness of the deep desert and discovers an ancient temple. The ways he learns from his deep desert friends serve him well.
Rashid - a rich mercenary of the deep desert and fellow explorer who leads the group that discovers the ancient temple.
Many others play important roles in this tale of villans and heroes.
Where to buy:
Kindle · Nook · Tablet - 162 Pages · $2.99
***** More of the same characters I loved in the first book and more. I loved the story. I'd recommend it. ·· JD King
***** The power of the Crystal and the power of the crystal warriors makes for a great battle scene. Tarina is one tough and beautiful young lady. ·· W.R. Masters
***** Excellent story. I devoured this book in a day and a half... Overall, I enjoyed the banter between the various characters, the insight into the hierarchy of the Crystal City, and, of course, the intrigue behind the battle between the forces of good and evil. Well done! ·· Patricia Hamill on Goodreads
He arose gently so as not to let his head roll off, splashed some water on his face, and breathed deeply. The wine soon took effect, hair of the dog, and reason returned. Last night was his last night of civilization, such as it was here in the desert, for today he must seek a horse and strikeout across the plains for Crystal City. A general recall was out for all crystal warriors, no reasons why, and he must go. He walked about gathering up his clothes, found his travel pack, and stepped out into the bright sun. He found a food vendor, had some of the local strong coffee and got the name of a reliable local horse trader.
Meanwhile elsewhere in the small desert town a tall, slender young man named Darian tucked his small semi-clear diamond crystal amulet into his shirt, stood up and used his dusty deep desert hat to slap the dust from his dun colored clothes. Great puffs of dust arose only to settle back in the same place, there was no breeze. Now he must find sustenance starting with some of the local dark, strong brew and find a horse. It was a long journey from the deep desert where only fools and those about to become fools dared venture, and there was still a long journey ahead of him to the crystal castle.
He found his dark, strong coffee along with some flatbread, sauce, and eggs and directions to a reliable trader of horses and camels. Finding the trader he set his things down in the shade, talked to the trader for a moment, and went to inspect the sturdy Arabian stallion, the best horse the man currently had for sale. As he was checking the horse’s hooves the trader went to talk to someone else who came to his lot, a very big man in bright colors and long blond hair. After a few moments of animated discussion the big man strode over to the horse, grabbed the bridle and said, “Thank you, my man, for inspecting my horse. Very thoughtful of you.”
Darian shook his long dark hair back and nonchalantly replied, “Oh, think nothing of it. I was glad to do it for the horse is mine.”
“Oh, I think there’s been some mistake. As you can plainly see there is but one horse here, and I am the buyer. I have pressing business up north.”
“One horse, yes. One buyer, yes, me, for I too have pressing business up north.” And so the banter went for several more minutes, each time the words becoming a little more heated.
The big gaudily dressed blonde man said, “Listen, you scruffy desert rat. We’ll settle this once and for all. Best two falls out of three!”
Darian turned with his hands on his hips, cocked his head and slowly said, “You pompous peacock! The day I can’t take an overgrown blowhard like you is the day I’ll…” He left the sentence trail off, pointed to a freshly cleaned empty corral and said, “Over there!” They both strode to separate ends of the corral and began stripping, each was careful to hide his crystal amulet in the pile of clothing.
The trader, being a clever businessmen, began hawking out front and selling a low priced admission to the promised event. Very clever in that by charging admission it promised something worth paying for and the amount was something everyone could afford. Already he, his younger brother, and two of his cousins were circulating taking bets.
When the big blonde stepped out of his corner there were ooo’s and ahh’s for his arms and chest rippled with muscles and he played it up. Apparently the half jug of wine and later breakfast cleared his head enough to take on this contest. He stood up to his full six foot two inches and flexed.
Darian stripped down to his britches and desert boots. He was tall and slender, six feet tall, his stomach muscles shown as did the muscles of his arms and chest as if they were steel cables drawn taught. He was sinewy and quick. The trader saw his crystal amulet and knew what that meant. He told his brother and cousins to take bets on the big blonde against the dark haired one hoping to clean up on this sudden knowledge.
The two contestants circled each other feeling each other out, fainting, dodging, quick stepping. Tyros feinted to the left and lunged in to grab Darian in a crushing bear hug. Only Darian wasn’t there. Instead he moved to Tyros’ right where his leg was, placed his toes behind the knee and stepped down sideways while bringing his right elbow hard against the back of Tyros’ head. The big blonde muscleman went down and sprawled forward in a cloud of dust. The bettors ooo’d in shock. The trader’s people hustled through the crowd collecting and taking bets on the dark haired Darian, figuring the next fall would most likely go to the big man, he wouldn’t be fooled twice with the same trick.
The big man slowly picked himself up spitting dust and dirt, shook the dust from his hair, and rubbed the back of his head. “You move well,” he said with a new respect in his voice.
They slowly circled each other again hands moving, legs dancing, each one surprisingly light on his feet for their size. Darian gave a lurch which turned out to be a feint designed to pull Tyros off balance but instead Tyros did a large feint of his own. Darian went for it but recovered in time not to lose his balance. They stood there, two mighty warriors locked together hand on forearm, neither one able to pull or push the other off balance. Tyros’ biceps and forearms bulged, the veins standing out. Darian’s sinewy arm showing bulging muscles, his forearm and grip like a cast iron vice.
Tyros shifted his stance pulling Darian toward his hip. But Darian had a defense for this too by ceasing resistance, crouching forward while turning and putting his shoulder into Tyros’ chest, their right arms still locked, and pulling. In theory Tyros would lose his balance and end up on his back. But Tyros was wary of this opponent and knew this move. He rolled smoothly onto his back and used the forward momentum of his doubled up knees to knock Darian over. With arms still locked he would pull Darian’s arm behind his back by rolling to his feet. Only Darian knew this one too and rolled rather than being knocked forward.
With forearms still locked he jerked Tyros who rolled and jerked Darian who rolled and jerked Tyros and so it went around the corral until Tyros managed to break the grip, with lightning speed grabbed with his other hand and pulled Darian off balance. Darian flew forward awkwardly but recovered in midair and tucked into a roll which took him back toward his own corner where he checked the roll and came up standing. The crowd applauded and after a moment of debate it was agreed that the big blonde won that round, such agreement being prompted and seconded by spectators paid a little dividend by the trader. He and his cousins would go home rich this day.
When Darian rolled up in his corner his feet caught his things so that when he stood his diamond crystal amulet was exposed. Seeing this he hurriedly picked it up and dusted it off and started to bury it again beneath his clothing on the ground. But Tyros caught a glimpse, reached down toward his own things and while walking toward Darian hung his own diamond crystal amulet about his neck. Darian straightened up, saw the amulet, and looked up in puzzlement. The big blonde said, “I should have recognized the sergeant’s training the minute you bested me that first throw. Welcome brother. My name is Tyros.”
Darian reached down, retrieved his amulet, clasped Tyros’ forearm, this time not so ferociously, smiled and said, “Darian. The sergeant teaches well.” Tyros laughed. The crowd boo’d. They wanted to see more sport and have a chance to get their money back.
Sensing a small fortune slipping away on the breeze the trader hurried over and took the two warriors by their arms. “Gentlemen, gentlemen, let us not be hasty. There are profits to be made here, and I am a generous man. There are now two horses, one for each of you - half price!” He smiled his broadest smile. “And saddles, half price. You must wrestle once more and one of you must fall.” He looked at them quizzically from one to the other rubbing his hands together. After a moment of silence he added, “I’ll throw in the bridles. Gentlemen, please…”
Tyros stood tall looking over the head of the trader at the ladies that gathered at the edge of the corral. Some wore thin veils, some not, all smiled at him. He smiled at them, some he recognized, all he slept with. With his pearly whites gleaming he looked down at the trader, then it Darian and said, “Of course you will take the fall.”
Darian cocked one eye, the sunlight gleaming off his dark hair in spite of the dust, gave a half smile and softly said, “Courtesy dictates, after you.”
“But as you can see, I am clearly the larger, the more powerful, and I have my fans.” He winked at the ladies who sighed and giggled.
Darian looked at the trader. “We may need a third horse,” he returned his gaze to Tyros, “for your ego.”
Tyros shrugged and said, “Then let us fight for three horses. However many, you will take the fall.” And he turned back toward his corner taking the precious amulet off and burying it in his clothes. He turned and flexed his massive muscles only to see Darian sitting in his corner with his legs crossed over one another, his hands relaxed palms up, thumb and forefinger touching. It looked as though the fool was meditating. He walked over to stand in front of Darian, his huge shadow putting the slender man in shade, and in a boisterous voice said, “Get up, man. Get up and let me teach you how to fall!” Darian didn’t budge. Tyros looked around at the crowd, smiling. Low murmurs began within the crowd.
The trader, his brother and his cousins circulated among the crowd taking bets on the big blonde warrior because before he sank into his meditating state Darian looked at him and said, “Insal’ de hoch, al demir,” which was a deep desert saying meaning, “The way of the wind is strongest.” This saying came from the deep desert nomadic tribes, the ones that did not war against themselves and have never been captured nor defeated by any other tribes. The saying meant that the wind was stronger than even the rock and the sand because the wind could take any shape, move the sand, and wear away the rock. This man had been among the tribes. He would not be so easily defeated.
Tyros finished his circle of the crowd, flexed his muscles, looked again at Darian and shouted, “You!” He reached down to grab Darian by the shoulder but suddenly he wasn’t there. His huge hand closed on thin air.
From behind the big man came a voice, “Looking for me?” There stood Darian calmly with his hand on his hips. From the crowd came a collective “ooo.”
“So!” Shouted the big man, embarrassed. “We are to use magic are we?”
“No,” replied Darian calmly. “Just knowledge, of which you seem to possess little.” The remark was barbed to aggravate the big blonde, which it did. He rushed at Darian with both hands raised to chest level but again Darian was quicker. Only his foot was there which Tyros tripped over, stumbled forward three or four steps but did not fall. “Your soft living has made you clumsy,” taunted Darian. Angered even further Tyros charged again this time anticipating Darian’s moves. Before reaching him the big man jinked to the left right into Darian. But Darian was as shapeless as the wind, he rolled around Tyros and pushed him in the back as he rushed past. Again Tyros stumbled three or four steps but did not fall. There was hardly a sound from the crowd as if they were holding their breath.
Tyros turned, his face flushed, sweat gleaming through the hair on his chest. He raised his arms straight up into the air and bellowed like a wounded bull. Tent stanchions five hundred feet away vibrated with the force of his yell. He stomped over to where Darian stood, both hands clenched tightly into fists, literally steaming as the hot sun dried the sweat in his long blonde hair. He stopped in front of the dark tanned slender warrior who stood there calmly, not even winded. Tyros took a boxer’s stance and threw three fast, carefully calculated left jabs with his mighty fist followed by a powerful right that would have devastated most opponents. But again Darian was as the wind. The three jabs found only empty space, the right was grabbed and pulled down, under, and through Tyros’ own legs so that he landed on his back with a thundering crash.
After lying there a second dazed, trying to catch his breath, the heavily muscled warrior slammed his fist down on the ground with such force that it startled people and horses for several vending stalls in either direction. He lay there defeated. The trader and his relatives were related. They took in a month’s worth of earnings this day. Several people were congratulating Darian, the few that bet on him.
The big warrior forced himself up, dusted himself off and walked over to Darian. He was, above all, a crystal warrior and all the discipline that entails. He grab Darian’s forearm, slapped him on the shoulder, and with all the anger gone from his face said, “You must teach me these mysterious ways, brother!” Darian clasped back and smiled. Suddenly several beautiful women were all over the big blonde warrior, kissing his wounds, cooing at him, asking him where it hurt. He looked at Darian with lifted eyebrows and shrugged.
The trader came over wearing a huge smile and showed the two men, and gaggle of fussing ladies, over to a trough of fresh water where they could clean up. His two cousins were tallying fistfuls of exchange notes while his younger brother hefted bags of gold and copper coins.
As the two warriors stood there glistening in the sun, water dripping from their long hair, the trader brought forth a bay colored Arabian fully saddled and began to barter. Since they helped to make this such a profitable day he would be generous and give them this horse at half price. The saddle, too, was only half price. Why, he was such a generous fellow he would throw in both bridles. Tyros looked at Darian who rolled his eyes and sighed. The big warrior, having been dried off by several ladies who wanted to touch his muscular torso let his tunic fall in place, the crystal amulet now back around his neck. He put one big hand heavily on the trader’s shoulder and squeezing lightly but firmly told him the new terms. They would have both horses, saddles, bridles, and feed for a week for the original price of the white Arabian and saddle. Feeling the pressure on his shoulder and seeing unwavering determination in their eyes he smiled and said, “Of course, gentlemen, of course.” Tyros relaxed his grip. The trader, never one to pass up an opportunity said, “Perhaps I can interest you gentlemen in traveling cloaks? The finest suede on the outside, they will withstand any weather, wind, rain, sandstorms. The finest wool on the inside. Tightly woven, water resistant, yet it breathes. It gets very cold out on the plains. For you, a special price…?” He looked at them with raised eyebrows. They looked at the cloak he was holding, at each other, and laughed. At least this man was honest, sold quality goods, and you couldn’t help but like him. Darian chose a cloak of desert colors, Tyros a light grey. Yes, indeed, this was a profitable day for the trader. He might even go home and kiss his wife. He shuddered at the thought.
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