To Everna and Beyond!
The official blog and novelblog for Evernade Saga and FireHeart Saga by Andry Chang
"Come forth, Paladins! Fulfill your destiny!"
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The first one was just trial-and-errors
All I got was just French kisses
The second was a total jeopardy
Parted when understandings went awry
I remember the third with guilt and regret
I could've been wise and never-ever left
The fourth was the way you looked at me
When it changed, you just had to leave me
You must choose the right way this time
Before your time in this world turn to fade
It's your heart to follow
And let your feelings flow
And love will lead you home
And love will lead you home
Some said I'm just an useless loser
Some said I'll end up a pauper
Some said I'll never grow up at all
Some said my future will be my fall
For me, I just go on and do my best
And prove to the world I passed the life's test
In love, in work, a lasting family
And something for the world to remember me by
And I keep myself reminding
Follow your heart, trust your feeling
And love will lead you home
And love will lead you home
As he continues walking the next day, Robert finds himself just about ten miles away from Vochaux, the harbor city in Southern Arcadia. He watches the city from the cliffs afar, and also the numerous ships harbored there. From fishing boats, Balsas, Caravels, Frigates, Carracks, up to the huge battleships: Galleons and a Man o’ War. They’re so numerous, like a swarm of ants surrounding a big cake.
As a fugitive, Robert should choose to avoid the city, continue his journey along the Grad Mountains and keep in the wilderness. But that if you want to spend six months just to reach Lore – and Robert doesn’t have that much time.
So, Robert resorts to what people say, ‘Sneaking into the lion’s den’. He rests in a thicket seven miles from Vochaux and prepares his disguise.
My face? Ah, now my hair is much longer and I haven’t shaved for a month or so, so it’ll help a bit. I’m wearing this shirt I bought from a peasant on top of my armor. This cloak is also a great help. But... how about my saber? No matter how well I hide it, the guards will search my backpack and find it there. But... aha! I have an idea! How about I summon Algaban in a remote place and entrust Grimlock under her care? That’ll...
‘Well, well, well, Robert Chandler’s caught daydreaming. Not red-handed as I expected, but this is pathetic. So much for you and your Eagle Eye.’
Robert is startled and quickly draws Grimlock, but a scimitar lands in front of Robert’s neck. One slight move and the scimitar will slit Robert’s throat. Robert recognizes the owner of that Dancing Scimitar.
‘The one and only,’ says the woman corsair. ‘It’s disappointing, really to find you off your guard.’
‘I was focusing my mind entirely on something else,’ says Robert. ‘We fought together in Enia’s Sanctum, and you don’t have the mythril greaves – that made us even steven. Is it about the bounty on my head?’
‘Well, they want you there alive, but I can settle for half with you dead.’
‘In that case...’
Suddenly Robert swings his saber with great speed and lands it right on Sheena’s throat.
‘...I can settle for fulfilling half of my promise to my friend Andreas with you dead.’
Right on that moment, Robert feels something sharp on his back. Apparently, two men come from his front and back. The one coming from the front aims at Robert with his bow and arrow, saying,
‘Hey, don’t forget about us, Robbie. We can settle for fulfilling half of our grudge with you dead.’
‘Baxter and Ellephar,’ says Robert coolly. ‘I’m surprised you two are still dogging Sheena around. Oh yes, she always ends up saving your asses, that’s why.’
Sheena replies, calming her two companions Robert provoked, ‘Nay, Robbie. That’s because we think and act alike, and we share the same vision.
‘Yeah. A bandit and two bandits, that’s obvious.’
‘Actually, we need some more cash to buy a ship and go pirating, and the bounty on you will suffice.’
‘Well, as this is a stalemate,’ says Robert, “we can settle this thing. Like man... and woman. I’ll have a duel with Sheena. If I win, I’ll walk away. But if Sheena wins, my life is at her disposal. How about that?’
‘Fair enough,’ says Sheena. ‘But it’ll be better if you just surrender and come with us quietly.’
‘That’s not my plan. You see, I must go someplace to prove my innocence. I didn’t kill the Pope, but you won’t believe me anyway.’
Baxter cuts in, ‘But still, you already got Algaban on your side. Sheena’ll be no match for you.’
‘You’re welcome to try, Baxter. It’s three versus one then, no summons, although I’m not sure whether I can defeat Sheena alone.’
‘Rubbish! Don’t even think of cheating, boy. If you want to play fair, let’s do it, but with OUR rules! And don’t even think of escapin’!’ Baxter shouts angrily.
‘Well, what are we waiting for? On guard!’ says Sheena impatiently. She steps back and draws her second scimitar. Baxter and Ellephar also keep a distance from Robert. The three-versus-one fight is about to erupt.
Robert is also ready with his stance, holding his saber firmly with both hands.
‘Time to die, Robert Chandler,’ says Baxter.
‘D’uh,’ says Ellephar.
Then, with a sudden jerk, Robert attacks! He launches the Twin Dragons Scour the Seas attack – the two-way or double-strike fiery slashes – towards Sheena, whom he thinks is the strongest of the three. Strike her down first, and her two sidekicks will be much easier to subdue.
Sheena parries it with Quicksand Blade Lock, absorbing Robert’s attacks and redirects them so they only slash the air. And then a high kick comes from Sheena, utilizing the extra energy from Robert’s attacks – the Red Scorpion Kick, and Robert leans back to avoid it. The kick misses Robert. Had it found its target, Robert would be stunned, immobile and became a sitting duck for the three rogues.
At the same time, Ellephar thrusts his spear several times very quickly – the Barracuda Spear Thrusts skill. Robert quickly withdraws his attack and retaliates with the Blue Dragon’s Roar of Pain, shouting on Ellephar with the fire aura-reinforced deafening sound wave, another new move he learned from Algaban. Ellephar stops his attack at once. He feels very dizzy and deafened, carelessly raising his two hands to cover his ears.
Robert takes full advantage of this chance by serving Ellephar a hearty Red Dragon’s Hellraiser – the improved variant of Rising Dragon Uppercut Slash and combines it with Green Dragon Dive Strike – the improved variant of Dragon Hammering Down. Robert leaves Ellephar lying there. Thanks to Ellephar’s iron half-plate armor, thick skin and fat on his body, he doesn’t die, but is severely injured. Robert has subdued one out of three, and two more to go.
Sheena hides her horror and distraught of being outnumbered by taunting Robert.
‘Hey, hey, Robert. What’s wrong with you? You fight like an old man. Where’s the Champion of Light I once fought with?’
‘Got some bugbear problems yesterday, and bandit problems today. But if you keep fighting like an old lady, Sheena, I’m going to enjoy this walk in the park.’
‘We’ll see,’ says Sheena, attacking Robert fiercely with her skill, Sandstorm Skirmish, a combination of multiple high-speed thrusts and slashes, aiming to almost every weak spot possibility on Robert’s body.
This time Robert blocks several slashes and thrusts and avoids the rest, moving gracefully like a dancing dragon. Nevertheless, five strikes land on Robert’s body and blood oozes out from his wounds, adding to yesterday’s, weakening him.
Robert now realizes that it’s time to finish this fight and shake them away while he has enough energy to do so. He charges his energy in seconds and Baxter’s arrow is deflected by the fire aura field around Robert’s body. And then Rob launches his finishing move just like in his fight against Zal’fira, Regrets of the Dragon.
He attacks Sheena first, moving hyper-quickly as though vanishing. Suddenly sounds of clanging metals are heard and new wounds sprout blood all over Sheena’s body. The corsair is now bleeding here and there, losing her balance.
Robert’s frenzy attack doesn’t stop there. His next target is Baxter. With terror in his face, Baxter aims with his bow, but actually he doesn’t know where to aim to. A gust of wind hits his face and Baxter feels as though his soul is blown away. No way can he block that kind of attack with his wooden longbow. His life is like an egg on the edge of a bull’s horn.
Suddenly, he can see Robert! Does Baxter also have Robert’s natural talent, Eagle Eye? Or he develops new abilities and strengths in this crisis? No. Actually, Robert stops midway, vomiting blood. Baxter, the born opportunist shoots!
The arrow darts towards Robert like a crow diving on its prey – Soulsnatcher Crow, straight to Robert’s throat. Sensing danger, Robert moves aside by his reflexes. The arrow goes past him, leaving a slight graze on the skin of his neck.
That was close, Robert thinks. But that move was over my limit. Moving that quick really drained all my energy! And now I’m doomed, I can’t fight anymore!
Sheena staggers forward, trying hard to walk straight and tall in triumph, saying,
‘Robert, the merciful. You didn’t kill us. You only wanted to weaken us so you can escape, didn’t you? So you only use half of your power to hurt two birds with one stone. Had you only attacked me, I’d be dead with torn limbs! But no, your move got the better of you. Thanks to my muscle-enfeebling powder, you were hurting yourself without knowing it.’
Robert grunts. I’ve been had! Years of hunting bandits and I didn’t see that coming! She must’ve used that powder when she countered my attack with her kick. Plus, I must split my attention to three opponents at once! I can’t blame anyone on this. I’m just having a bad day and heck of a trouble!
With that thought, Robert falls on his knees, too weak to go on. He surrenders so his life might be spared. His only regret is he didn’t make it to Lore to ask Rael’charon to help him. Now he must face the trials in Valanis all by himself, and face the judges who listen to no one but their own voices.
Baxter and Ellephar use this opportunity to have their revenge on Robert. Baxter takex the first turn by delivering a good, hard punch on Robert’s jaw, saying,
‘That’s for making us lose our hunting licenses.’
Ellephar kicks Robert’s stomach, saying,
‘D’uh, and that’s for reporting us to the guild.’
‘You two deserved that,’ says Robert. ‘If I didn’t do that, somebody else would.’
Baxter replies, ‘So for that, you must pay!’ He lands a kick on Robert’s face, stomps on the back of the silver-haired hunter’s head and pushes it with his feet to the ground. That’s just the worst humiliation Robert has ever got in his lifetime.
If Rob still has some strength in him, he would’ve gone berserk and Baxter would be in a worse state than dead.
Instead, Robert doesn’t resist at all. He doesn’t say a word as words will be useless. Under insults and physical abuse, Rob doesn’t even move. Then Baxter and Ellephar bind him with a tough rope and drag Robert all the way to Vochaux.
Sheena, on the other hand, suffers lots of wounds all over her body as the result of the Regrets of the Dragon. She is in the same state as Ellephar, weakened and hurt, but she walks steadily and briskly to keep her integrity intact in front of her two sidekicks. Thoughts of satisfaction keep ringing inside her head.
Got you now, Rob. I hope the bounty is worth the wounds I took. I don’t care whether you are guilty or innocent, but I’ll name my ship after you: Robert the Sea Robber.
The Pope’s murder has set the entire Continent of Aurelia in an uproar. Almost everybody talks about it. Not an hour passes without a word of ‘Pope Killer’ or ‘The Pope is killed’ filling the air, not only in towns and cities, but in villages, too.
Noises also come from the coastal plains near Vochaux, Arcadia. But these are different kind of noises: battle and screams. The screams are mostly eerie and inhuman, band we can be absolutely sure when we come closer to the spot.
There, we see a man fighting against two large beasts. The beasts are bear-like. They walk straight on two hind legs. Their ears are long, wide and furry. Bugbears, what we usually call them, are real tough monsters to fight against. No ordinary weapon can actually hurt them. They seem to ‘suck’ the weapons into their extra-thick fur as though they’re wearing rubber armors. And beware of their special attacks, the Bear Hug, the Bugbear Terror and the Sitting Bear Drop, because you can no longer feel your bones after you got any one of them.
It seems the unlucky man who encountered the two blokes is certainly going to be bugbears’ dinner with bones crushed into powder. But actually, the bugbears are the unlucky ones, because he is our hero, Robert Chandler.
‘Why so?’ you may say. ‘Look, he’s a bloody mess already. His shirt is soaked with blood.’ But then, just look again. Look hard. It’s not only Robert’s blood on his leather armor. He suffers a number of wounds, yes, but the bugbears’ blood is on him as well. As he unleashes his combined moves of Sleeping Dragon Curls Up and Rising Dragon Uppercut Slash, inflicting enough roasting cuts on his target bugbear, making it stumble and fall.
But it’s too early for Robert to rejoice, because right then the second bugbear slaps Robert’s back with such force, throwing him forward. Robert hits the ground face-down, with three long scratch marks that ripped his armor and blood coming out of the spot. It seems... Robert is dead! He, a Vadis’ champion who defeated Zal’fira and Omegron, met his demise by a bugbear! He didn’t suppose to die that easily, right?
An ordinary, unprotected human being will surely die, ripped open by bugbear claws. But Robert is protected by his studded leather armor plus the fire aura on his body, so he only suffers a minor scratch wound.
Wasting no time, Robert gets up, still staggering from the pain. The bugbear rushes towards him again, leaps real high and dives with Sitting Bear Drop to flatten Robert. Feeling a tremendous pressure on top of him, Robert quickly rolls aside. The butt drop misses Robert completely, but the impact force sends him flying. Robert lands on the ground. He stoops a bit, and using the pressure from the fall Robert springs forward, twice as fast as before. With the Dances of a Myriad Dragons, he inflicts deep cuts into the bugbear. The white great beast stumbles and falls.
Now we see two bugbears sprawling immobile on the ground, in agony between life and death. They’re twitching and shivering. Their blood, a greasy brown substance keeps coming out from the wounds on all over their bodies.
Robert is also weakened from his own wounds, but he can still move. Although once again he proves the saying: ‘Brain over Brawn’, he doesn’t collect his reward by finishing the bugbears off.
Instead, he takes out his healing salve, examines the bugbears’ wounds and dabs the salve on them, bit by bit. After he treated the wounds, the bugbears become quiet and calm. Robert looks at his salve, there’s not much left. He sighs a bit and shoves it back into his pocket. His heart smiles although he doesn’t show it.
They attacked me and bugbear blood is worth two months of good meals, I never kill anyone powerless and begging for my mercy. It’s a loss, honestly, but it savors my heart. This is the first time I’m happy during my two weeks on the run.
The bugbears indeed have a marvelous ability to heal very quickly, thanks to their special mud-like blood. The bugbear blood on Robert’s body also helps heal his wounds. His expended salve pays off after all. After only two hours, the bugbears are up and about again. Robert also gets up, and faces them with his hand on Grimlock.
Unexpectedly, the bugbears fall flat on the ground. Robert doesn’t show surprise on his face. He doesn’t know full well about bugbears’ nature, and wondering what their actions are for. And the answer readily becomes clear to Robert as the bugbears come close and rub their faces against Robert’s feet, purring like cats.
Robert perceives this as their way to express gratitude to Robert for saving their lives and mending their wounds. He still doesn’t move, but he stands easy now, still cautious, anticipating the beasts’ next move. Seeing that the beasts are still flat on the ground, Robert tries to bow too, lower to the ground than the bugbears.
Then the bugbears get up slowly. No sudden moves there. Robert follows suit. While doing so, suddenly Robert’s stomach grumbles. The bugbears are startled by it and stare at Robert. However, Robert doesn’t look panicked. He just pats his belly and points at his mouth, signifying that he is just hungry.
Instead of being furious, the two bugbears go away hastily. Robert looks at them and shrugs.
Strange creatures, bugbears are. The first minute they attacked us, the next minute they kneel before us, and then they go away just like that. Beasts’ mind... so simple, so pure. I wish humans can be like that, but then we better don’t. Humans must take care of this world with Vadis’ and Enia’s guidance.
Robert is still deep in his thoughts when the bugbears come back. They bring honeycombs and a few fish on their laps and put them in front of Robert. The silver-haired hunter can’t hide his surprise and shows them his rare smile of admiration. He bows low to honor and thank them. The bugbears growl merrily in response and slowly walk away.
Fascinating. Intelligent beasts, they are, just like Chiel, Carol’s micha. Maybe I camped too close to their lair and they attacked me because they felt threatened. Ambushing me before I hunt them, that was a very good strategy. Oh well, enough thinking about bugbears. Better fill my stomach and walk on.
I’ll sneak into Vochaux and board a ship bound for Lore. That’s the plan.
He sets up a campfire and roasts the fish on it. He eats them all but spares the honeycombs for later. Robert’s heart is full of gratitude to Vadis for providing him with food for perhaps the longest journey of his life.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
‘To the patrons of the Holy Ground, please welcome the Grand Envoy of the Emperor of Arcadia, Marquis Talbot Reis du Bois.’
Talbot, a tall, bald, skinny man enters the Inquisition Hall. He looks quite gaunt and rickety in his fifties, but his face is still radiant with intelligence. His eyes sweep around like a vulture, hungry for information and knowledge to help him win arguments. His black eyebrows and moustache are thin and extra-long. His thin beard, however, extends from his lips down and splits on the tip of the chin, making an impression of a serpent’s tongue. With his high-wide collar robe, all in all he looks like a cobra-man. His voice sounds buzzing and snake-like when he speaks.
‘Pardon me about zee interruption, Your Graces. Let Vadis be merciful upon my late coming. I also ‘ope zis doezn’t offend you.’
Cristophe stare at him with an utmost loathing. He hopes the Cardinals send this Talbot away. Cardinal Nicodemus replies,
‘By Vadis, you are pardoned, Monsieur Talbot. But the court is adjourned now. The next hearing will come into session when we apprehend the main suspect, and we won’t fail to invite you beforehand.’
‘But Your Graces, I am here just to deliver a message of very urgent importance from our Emperor, Sage the Fourth, so urgent and not secret that a special meeting is not necessary. Now is zee perfect time, with all zee prominent officers of Valanis in place. Now I ask for your permission to deliver it.’
‘Well, as this is the matter among sovereigns, we can lend ears to it. Do proceed,’ says Nicodemus.
‘Zank you,’ says Talbot, clearing his throat and taking out a sealed letter written on a piece of goatskin. And then he reads it aloud. Written in the letter is as follows:
To the Cardinals, Judges, Leaders of Valanis
To Whom It May Concern:
We, the Emperor of Arcadia, hereby plead to you, Protectors of the Right Way, to give freedom to our royal family members, H. R. H. Cristophe Jean de Galantine Deveraux, and Carolyn Lldamarí du Favre Deveraux, along with their companion, Lavennia Iris of Thyrine and place them under our supervision instead of custody.
I, the Emperor of Arcadia offer my soul in your disposal if they are found guilty as charged. As a servant of Vadis, my blood worth less than the Pope, but more than the three accused altogether, so it’ll be fitting for me to take their place.
Please give me your answer through my envoy, and perhaps, your immediate action as accordingly. For that, I thank you.
With a good will for a greater good,
- Sage IV Marcus de Nouvre Deveraux, Emperor of Arcadia
The letter has the Emperor’s seal on it.
Chris is thunderstruck on hearing that. His mind is racing.
Father... He uses his own life as collateral for our innocence? How unlike him! He is always so hard on me and Alexis, but he favors brother and somehow pushes me away. Why the sudden change? If it’s a matter of Arcadia’s honor, he still doesn’t have to do that. There must be other reasons, and filial love is certainly not one of it.
Chris is right. There must be another reason, and Cardinal Dulvenia is emphasizing that in her comment.
‘What a very, very intriguing offer your Emperor has. Fascinating, too. An Emperor, owner of the vastest territory and numerous kingdoms in Vadisdom, is willing to guarantee a bunch of convicts with his own life? For what reason? For the fact that they’re champions of Vadis? Cristophe and Carolyn’s royal status? Or what? It’s not in the letter!’
‘That because if an Emperor dies, ‘ees successor will step up in ‘ees place. But if a strong ally of Light dies, it’ll weaken zee Light Side. Finding zee chosen ones for Aegis, Yggdrasil and Eshmyria will be much more difficult indeed,’ says Talbot coolly.
‘Tchah, there are so many undiscovered talents out there, yet you say it’s difficult to replace them.’
‘Difficult, I said, and nearly impossible. Who else in zis world can summon Aegis, Eshmyria and Yggdrasil? Barely one in a million! And a prince, zee future Grand Marshal of Arcadia, one of zee leaders of zee empire. ‘ees true potency is yet to be found, but as zee direct descendant of Sage the Fireheart, I’m sure one day ‘ee can make ‘ees family proud.’
Cardinal Ladimenus adds his argument.
‘Monsieur Talbot, no matter how potential they are, but if they convert to the dark side and committed the basest of crimes, to let them live will be very dangerous indeed.’
‘Zat’s why it’s necessary for my liege to guarantee them. Not only his life will be at your disposal, zee criminals will also be stripped from their powers and be banished forever from Aurelia. Just think about it and consider. It’ll be our great empire’s contribution to Vadisianity.’
The judges then ask for time to confer among them. After a while, they sit straight again and Cardinal Nicodemus passes the decision.
‘After considering the offer, we came to think that we can’t afford another attack from inside should the heir invade Valanis before we execute Robert and his accomplices. Therefore, for that reason and that reason alone we decided to accept the Emperor of Arcadia’s guarantee.
Prince Cristophe, Lady Carolyn and Lady Iris, we will place you under Brother Andreas and Brother Bernides’ supervision. You are under city arrest. You must stay in Myrcalia at all times. Death for any of you setting one foot outside the one mile perimeter outside Myrcalia city gates. And for the supervisors, banishment and excommunication from the Church of Vadis.
If we find Robert and his friends guilty as charged, Emperor Sage the Fourth will surrender his life in the Church of Vadis’ disposal, and eternal banishment from Aurelia for Cristophe, Carolyn and Iris, stripped off their titles and powers.
Decided as is. Court adjourned until further notice.
May Vadis’ justice rule supreme upon us.’
Carolyn and Iris sigh with relief. At least they got their freedom, though a limited one. The City of Myrcalia, Capital of Arcadia Empire is now their prison. In spite of all that, one thing for sure, they can’t hunt monsters anymore – as long as they’re still in probation.
Cristophe, however, doesn’t share his partners’ relief. He stares at Talbot du Bois with a very grim face.
That snake! He came without invitation and shoved his head into anything. I know father would never bail me out. Sacrificing his life for the champions? Pah! He’d rather do that for Alexis alone. And that put me in a more difficult situation. I’m free, all right, but I’m forever in their debt. Damn that Talbot! That’s why I hate that snake!
Talbot knows that Chris is staring at him. He stares back at Chris and puts on his most fiendish, snake-like smile yet.
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Meanwhile, back in Basilica Vadisium, Chris, Iris and Carol are having a bad time in the correction confinement cell, or in short, the dungeon.
‘Damn! What a mess we’re in! They confiscated our weapons and armors, and we’re stuck in this maggoty, magically sealed cell! Drat!’ says Chris very emotionally, pounding on the door with his fist.
‘Just get a grip, Chris! Now we’re supposed to think our way out of this mess, and we can’t do that hearing your complaints all the time!’ says Carolyn, irritated.
‘Prince or no prince, please work this out together with us,’ says Iris. ‘You can’t use your royal prestige to help you now. We got to use our wits to set ourselves free, and clear Robert’s name as well.’
‘You’re right, Iris,’ says Chris, moving away from the door and sits on the floor in front of his two friends. ‘But the problem is, they’re holding strong evidence: Robert’s kiliji. I think if Robert left it in the Pope’s room, he must be very idiotic. Someone must’ve used it to kill the Pope and threw all the blame to good ol’ Rob, and then we too. The whole thing is a set-up!’
‘It’s not like Robert at all,’ says Carol. ‘Something must’ve addled his mind. You know and I know he’s a very careful fellow.’
Iris adds, ‘And he will never endanger his and his friends’ lives on purpose. He doesn’t seek conflict; He prevents it.’
‘Nevertheless,’ says Chris. ‘His kiliji put his and our lives at stake. We must...’
As Chris is talking, the cell door opens behind him with a bang. A priest and two gruff-looking guards come in. The priest looks somewhat feeble, but his voice is louder than a squad commander.
‘Prince Cristophe, Lady Carolyn and Lady Iris! It’s time for your trial! Come with me to the Inquisition Hall! Guards, cuff them!’
Even Chris knows it’s no use trying to resist or escape. Their weapons are still stored somewhere, and killing the guards will only make their convictions more severe, and they will never see the light of day again.
Even if they try to escape, it won’t be possible now. The handcuffs are not ordinary ones for common criminals, as they are imbued with magical barriers. The barriers prohibit the use of inner strength, magic and special abilities.
Cristophe and his friends have no choice but to go quietly. It’s a long walk to the Inquisition Hall. And when they reach there they are already quite tired; their hands and feet are paining because of the weighty enchanted iron handcuffs. Their choices become even more limited in the courtroom, named the Inquisition Hall. Because anything they say here can be used against them by the judges.
The Inquisition Hall was normally used for purifying well-known and influential Vadisians as well as insiders from Paganism thoughts and trying them for offenses against Vadis religion codes. Three Cardinals sit on the high chairs reserved for judges, so it seems that they act as emergency judges to handle ultimately serious and unforgivable crimes in the Basilica (originally the Pope handled it personally). The Pope’s assassination is the ultimately ultimate offense of all. Cardinal Nicodemus conducts the trial as Head Judge.
‘Prince Cristophe Deveraux of Arcadia, Lady Carolyn of Thyrine and Lady Lavennia Iris of Thyrine, you three are accused of the murder of the Holy Pope, Xylen Felicitia. The penalty of this will be “The Living Hell”. Instead of putting you to death, we will imprison you forever in your own bodies plus you’ll be tortured each and every day for the rest of your lives. What do you plead?’
Carolyn answers, representing his friends, ‘Not guilty, Your Grace.’
‘We certainly wanted to believe so, but the proofs point out the other way. To make things clearer for us all, let us retrace this case chronologically. Sister Dulvenia, please proceed.’
Cardinal Dulvenia, a lady in her sixties, reads the review of the case of the Pope’s murder loudly like a young, energetic orator. Starting from the meeting between the Pope, the cardinals and the champions, then mentioning how Robert has spoken in defense of the Pope, his request to leave his guarding duty and his proposed ‘tactic’ to lure the heir into the open. But it turned out the Pope was found dead with Robert’s kiliji on her back.
Then, naturally, Robert has left the Basilica grounds in the stealthiest manner possible. And when the investigation in Robert’s room resulted with no clues – except of Robert’s friends out of their posts and gathered in the suspect’s room. That rose suspicion that Robert’s friends are in league with Robert, the prime suspect, and maybe, the heir himself or his cohort.
‘... And he most likely has a way to conceal the dark energy within him as he didn’t trigger the dark detectors during his stay in the Basilica. Brother Ladimenus and Brother Ryddus have sworn to that during the preliminary hearing.’
Cardinal Nicodemus concludes the review by saying, ‘That was the brief review of this case. And now, we present the witnesses. Brother Ladimenus, summon the first witness.’
Cardinal Ladimenus, the Third Judge, begins this session by speaking loudly, ‘Prince Cristophe, the guards at the North Gate testified that you let Robert leave the Basilica during the time of the crime.’
Chris answers, ‘Yes, Your Grace, but I didn’t know...’
‘And by so doing, he instructed you to gather your friends and leave at dawn to avoid suspicion, and then you would meet him in a certain place. We confiscated this letter,’ Ladimenus takes out a letter and holds it high so everybody can see it. ‘From you during the body search, and we have searched the entire area near the city gate, but he must’ve been fled. So, your accomplice has abandoned you. He made the hit, and you took the blame.’
Andreas talks in defense, ‘The darkness’ way of working indeed: sacrificing minions and pawns to reach their goals. But I tell you this and now. Robert will never abandon his friends. He went to find the best way or person to help them here. And he will come before you and prove his and their innocence.’
‘Your confidence astounds me, Brother Andreas,’ says Nicodemus. ‘You claim to have such a complete insight on the suspect’s mind. Yet one thing is still clearer: his kiliji in the Pope’s body.’
Nicodemus holds the prime proof: Robert’s blood-stained kiliji up high, saying, ‘What do you say to that?’
Iris takes her turn to talk, ‘Pardon me, Your Grace. But even every criminal in the world forbids himself to leave anything that can be used as a proof against him in the crime scene. Even if he is the heir and wanted to make a statement, he’ll be doing so when he marches with his armies to conquer all.
All these assassinations were just petty missions, to get rid of those who’ll stand in the front-most row against the heir. But you didn’t get any clue or proof whatsoever on them, right? A cardinal’s murder, the Arcadian palace attendant... The Pope was only an initiator. When she died, someone else can take her place and gather all forces of good to fight. Maybe the heir viewed Robert as a perfect candidate, so he framed him too. My theory is: Someone must’ve hypnotized him, stole his kiliji and used it to kill the Pope.’
‘Splendid! What a marvelous theory!’ says Dulvenia, clapping her hands energetically. ‘But it still doesn’t give you freedom. What we know is: Robert had a quarrel with the Pope. Maybe she revealed Robert’s true identity as the heir or anything that threatened him. And Robert killed her just to shut her mouth in a fit of anger. That was reckless, really, but if you’re really the heir, you won’t get many choices, will you? Being human, that kind of mistake happens every time. And that’s my theory.’
Cardinal Nicodemus and the other two judges, Cardinal Dulvenia and Cardinal Ladimenus then move close to each other and confer among them. About two minutes later, they go back to their seats and Cardinal Nicodemus speaks.
‘By the power granted upon me by Vadis, the Almighty and the Right Way, I now pronounce that this trial is adjourned. We will continue when we apprehend Robert, the prime suspect and make him appear before this court. In the mean time, Prince Cristophe, Lady Carolyn and Lady Lavennia Iris will stay apprehended in the dungeons until further notice. May the truth be known, and may Vadis’ justice rule supreme upon us all.’
Upon hearing that, Chris becomes emotional and mutters something like ‘It’s not fair!’ and ‘We are innocent, Vadis knows that!’ But Iris calms him, saying,
‘But only Vadis knows. The eye of justice is blind because the truth can only be witnessed at the time it occurred. Even if Robert tell the truth, will the blind believe it?’
Sunday, May 20, 2007
FIREHEART - MASKS OF THE SOUL
THE MARKED MAN
Marked and Enlightened
The situation is very peculiar near the city gates. It’s almost dawn, but all the guards there seem very active: moving to-and-fro in quick paces, and they look as though searching something.
That’s what Robert is observing from afar, up on the trees near the great city gates of Ascension.
This is supposed to be a mere quarrel. But why are the guards searching? There must be something worse going on, but what? I better stay here. Dawn is breaking and Chris must’ve been coming with the others.
Suddenly a presence alerts Robert. He looks around and keeps himself hidden and silent until he is sure about it. And then, he sees two people coming and talking with each other, more like arguing, though. They are two guards of the Basilica – a pikeman and a crossbowman.
‘Whaddaya mean by zat? ‘Ee must’ve been far away by now.’
‘I daresay he’s still around here, waiting for his accomplices! That’s what Cardinal Ladimenus said!’
The crossbowman grunts stubbornly, saying, ‘That bloody ‘eir of ze devil! ‘Ee killed ze Pope, betrayin’ ‘eer trust in ‘im... I say we must hunt ‘im down to every corner of zis world!’
As expected, it naturally comes to Robert no matter how cold-faced he can be. His mistake has landed him into this state. And now he knows one thing: He’s the number one public enemy now. And what’s worse, everyone thinks Robert is Vordac’s heir. Which is likely so, because Robert also fought in full contact against Paliades and the Deathblade in Enia’s Sanctum.
But now, only Robert knows about his own actions since he left the Basilica Vadisium. He could’ve sworn that he didn’t kill the Pope, but his kiliji sword proved the contrary.
‘And hunt him we shall. I bet they will set the price on his head so high, the king’s ransom will be like bread money compared to it,’ says the pikeman.
The crossbowman continues, ‘But I ‘eard ‘ees swordplay is superb, with ze legendary Dragon Saber Grimlock and ze Great Dragon Algaban as ‘ees teacher.’
The pikeman chuckles, saying, ‘Ah, don’t worry, mate. We two can take him down. Algaban wouldn’t be very happy now Robert turns out to be the heir, you know? He is blessed no more.’
‘Right-o. Well, we bezzer move now before someone elze finds ‘im and takes ‘im down before we do.’
Robert chooses to remain silent on his spot until the two guards go out of sight. And when he’s sure they are gone far away, out of sight, he begins to think hard.
Blessed no more... Is that really so? Algaban, I wish you can hear me now. Have you abandoned me too?
A pause. Silence.
Suddenly, Robert hears Algaban’s telepathic voice ringing in his mind, answering him.
Never, Robert. Never. You know and I know you didn’t do it. Because if you did, if you have a glint or a speck of Vordac within you, I’ve already devoured you back in Hvalgarr!
I’m very sorry, O’ Great One, for doubting you.
It’s all human, Robert. I too share humanity within me. I shouldn’t have let the weapons chose their masters in the first place. Much chaos has happened with just four of the Adair’s Arsenal in the open. They kept moving from hand to hand and ended up in wrong hands.
But you can’t help it, right? You can’t stop Grimlock from choosing me. I say you’ve done your best, and we, the Bearers of the Light will do the rest. There’s no such thing as an evil or good weapon, only people. People can bring good or mayhem with weapons, weapons can’t do that if there are no people to move them.
Your words kept my heart at ease, Robert. Thank you.
So did yours, Algaban. But where must I go now? Every bounty hunter in the entire Aurelia has marked me already as we spoke!
Algaban gives an advice.
Practically, nowhere. But the best place you can go to begin your investigation to find the real culprit is the Basilica Vadisium. But if you want to play it safe, you must go first to the place where there are people who trust you the most, and people who are wise enough to help clear your name!
People who trust me the most and people wise enough to help me. Where can I find those sorts? I have no family. My teachers? Algaban, Walthorn... Hulferd! Yes, Hulferd in Rand! And a wise person... Oh, yes! I know him! The wisest one, he who has all the answers... Rael’charon! I must go to Lore!
Quick thinking, Robert. You figured it out yourself. Well, the rest is up to you now. Just be cautious, we don’t want Grimlock to fall in the wrong hands, right?
Thanks for your advice, O’ Great One.
Don’t thank me, Little One. Thank Vadis.
But why? I just got a feeling that he has abandoned me lately.
No, Robert, he has not. In fact, he is helping you by sending me to protect you. He also sent Eidos and Hernan to help you in the Black Forest. He’s been watching you and giving you ways out from tight spots. I’d say you are truly blessed, Little One.
Ah! All this time I was a blind fool, but now my eyes are open. I’ll begin my journey now, and pray that I won’t get caught along the way. Chris, Carol, Andre, Iris... so long. I hope you’re not in trouble. I pray may our paths will meet again – in this life or the next.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Debu-debu cahaya bertebaran di Gizmoa. Tak banyak dan hanya terlihat sesaat, tapi ada. Pemilik debu itu, seorang peri mungil, berlarian ke semua penjuru hutan dengan panik. Sejak pagi ia sudah begitu. Banyak yang menoleh heran padanya, tapi tak banyak yang nekad bertanya. Peri, dalam keadaan marah atau panik, berbahaya bagi banyak makhluk hidup.
“Halooo..!” seru peri itu pada beberapa Muphi yang sedang merumput. “Apakah kalian melihat milikku yang berharga? Kecil dan bercahaya—kira-kira sebesar ini?” Si peri menangkupkan tangannya untuk memberi tahu para Muphi tentang ukurannya.
“Tidak,” jawab seekor dari mereka. “Kau yakin milikmu yang berharga itu ada di sini?”
Si peri mengangguk pasti. “Ya. Aku yakin ia dibawa melewati tempat ini.”
“Kau ceroboh sekali!” omel seekor yang lain. “Mengapa sampai bisa kehilangan benda itu?”
Wajah si peri semakin murung. “Aku tidak tahu! Tadi malam kutaruh di sampingku, sebelum aku tidur, dan pagi-pagi sudah hilang. Seseorang telah mencurinya!”
Para Muphi berpandangan. Semua tahu kalau Peri tidur di atas jalinan benang halus keemasan yang dibuat dari debu-debu cahaya, yang mereka rajut sendiri, yang akan memudar dan hilang sepenuhnya menjelang matahari terbit. Tetapi peri yang satu ini, rupanya menaruh hatinya di samping tubuhnya semalam. Peri yang tidur tanpa hatinya akan bermimpi indah, banyak peri yang melakukannya, hanya saja yang satu ini bernasib malang. Hatinya dicuri.
“Siapa yang tega melakukannya?”
“Kau sendiri kenapa begitu ceroboh?”
“Aku tidak tahu!” ulang si peri, semakin panik. “Aku begitu ingin bermimpi, dan biasanya tidak ada apa-apa, tapi kali ini...”
Kumpulan itu semakin ramai. Sebagian menyalahkan si peri, dan sisanya memaki si pencuri. Tapi tak satu pun yang memberi petunjuk pada si peri mengenai hatinya yang hilang itu.
“Oh, sudahlah! Aku akan mencari lagi sebelum jejak cahayanya menghilang!” si peri akhirnya meninggalkan sekumpulan Muphi itu, ke arah ceceran debu cahaya yang menempel di rumput, tanah, batu, daun dan batang pohon, yang diikutinya sepanjang pagi ini. Ceceran ini pasti berasal dari hatinya dan ia tahu pasti, kalau jejak cahaya ini habis, berarti hatinya sudah kehilangan cahaya, dan itu berarti...
Tidak! Tidak! Si peri menggelengkan kepalanya, merasa ngeri. Ia tidak bisa membayangkan apa yang akan terjadi kalau cahayanya habis!
Jejak itu membawa si peri ke arah pinggiran hutan. Oh tidak, batinnya dengan gelisah. Di luar Gizmoa sihir akan memudar...kekuatanku akan terkikis...dan aku tidak tahu apa yang akan terjadi kalau sampai hatiku jatuh ke tangan manusia...
Sebuah sulur menghantam tanah di sebelahnya dan si peri terlonjak kaget. Ia menoleh ke arah datangnya sulur. Hanya Bubaglop tua yang jahil. Mereka tidak suka makan peri, karena darah peri pahit rasanya. Tapi Bubaglop yang satu ini senang menakuti peri-peri.
“Jangan ganggu aku!” teriak si peri marah, lalu terbang lebih tinggi.
Bubaglop itu tidak peduli, malah mengejar si peri dengan sulur-sulurnya, semakin tinggi melewati dahan, batang dan rumpun dedaunan, berlomba dengan sayap mungil si peri. Beberapa bagian pepohonan rusak tertampar sulur dan berjatuhan ke tanah. Sial bagi si Bubaglop, peri kecil itu terlalu lincah baginya. Ia lolos.
Melayang di tepi hutan, si peri kebingungan.
Apa yang harus kulakukan sekarang? keluhnya putus asa. Seandainya saja tadi malam aku tidak melepaskan hatiku!
Ia turun ke atas sebuah batu besar, duduk di sana. Letih dan bingung membuatnya tak tahu harus mencari ke mana lagi, karena sihir memudar di luar hutan Gizmoa, sehingga jejak cahaya tak terlihat lagi sekarang. Tak tahan lagi, peri mungil itu menangis tersedu-sedu.
Sebuah suara terdengar. Si peri menurunkan tangannya dan langsung terlonjak. Ada sebuah wajah berbintik-bintik yang begitu dekat dengan tubuhnya. Rambutnya merah ikal. Tampangnya bandel.
“Jangan takut begitu, memangnya aku seseram itu?” sahut anak laki-laki itu kesal. “Tampangku tidak seseram Arugis, atau kau mau bandingkan aku dengan wajah Tuan Bitsenbol di Arian, kau tahu—yang menjual senjata itu? Wajahnya terbakar semasa muda dan lihat saja sekarang, hantu pun terbirit-birit kalau berpapasan dengannya! Tapi masih belum ada apa-apanya kalau dibandingkan Nenek Gerilda! Bayangkan, dia...”
“Kau membuatnya bingung, Kid,” sebuah tangan menarik wajah itu pergi, dan wajah lain menggantikannya. Seorang pemuda berwajah tegas dengan rambut coklat tua yang sedikit terlalu panjang. Sejujurnya, wajah ini lebih membuat si peri takut, tapi daripada anak laki-laki tadi ia lebih suka bicara dengan si pemuda.
Si peri menatap dengan air mata yang masih bergulir di pipi.
“Jangan takut,” kata si pemuda. “Namaku Dios. Apa yang membuatmu menangis?”
Kebingungan semakin melanda si peri. Manusia ini mengajaknya bicara! Sungguh in ingin, tapi bagaimana caranya? Ia berusaha, dengan suara keras, menjawab pertanyaan pemuda bernama Dios itu, tapi sia-sia. Ada ikatan sihir yang membuat manusia dan peri tidak akan bisa berbicara secara verbal. Keputusasaan ini membuatnya menangis lagi.
“Hei, jangan menangis lagi. Kurasa aku tahu apa yang terjadi padamu,” kata Dios. “Kau kehilangan hatimu, bukan?”
Si peri terheran-heran. Bagaimana manusia ini bisa tahu?
“Cahayamu sangat pudar. Pasti hatimu tidak sedang berada di dalam tubuhmu, bukan?”
Si peri mengangguk. Darimana kau tahu?
“Kau lihat kristal ini?” Dios menunjuk kristal bening yang menempel di pangkal pedangnya. “Ini kristal es, dibuat oleh Ratu Peri. Karena kekuatan peri menempel di sana, aku bisa berkomunikasi dengan peri. Tidak banyak, tapi lumayanlah.”
Ooohh! Aku lega sekali!
Dios tersenyum. “Jangan khawatir. Kurasa aku tahu ke mana hatimu dibawa pergi.”
Dios mengangguk, lalu menghunus pedangnya, menyentuhkannya ke tanah dengan kedua tangan di gagangnya. Setelah beberapa saat ia mengayunkan pedangnya, hembusan hawa dingin membuat rerumputan membeku di banyak titik, mengurung titik-titik cahaya di dalam kristal es.
Jejak cahaya! Kau membuatnya terlihat, terimakasih banyak! Si peri girang bukan buatan.
“Nah, ayo kita cari hatimu!” Dios berjalan mengikuti jejak cahaya yang membeku itu, melintasi padang rumput, diikuti si peri yang terbang di atasnya dengan lega.
“Lho? Hei.. mau ke mana kalian? Halooooo??!” Kid menghentakkan sebelah kakinya dengan kesal, apalagi karena baik Dios maupun si peri sama sekali tidak berpaling. Jengkel, akhirnya ia berteriak, “Dios! Aku tunggu di sini saja! Aku mau tidur!”
Dios hanya melambaikan sebelah tangannya tanpa menoleh. Kid menghela nafas. Tak ada gunanya mengikuti mereka!
Sementara itu jejak cahaya membawa mereka ke sebuah pondok tak jauh dari tepi hutan, bersinggungan dengan padang rumput yang sangat luas. Di kejauhan, puncak bebukitan berpendar oleh sinar matahari yang bergeser ke peraduannya. Si peri mulai disergap gelisah, tahu waktunya tak banyak lagi. Kalau hati itu tidak bisa kudapatkan sebelum malam tiba...
“Lihat, ada sebuah pondok di sana,” Dios berkata padanya. “Kristal-kristal emas ini menuju ke sana. Kau pasti bisa temukan hatimu di sana!”
Si peri tersenyum tipis.
Mereka tiba di pintu pondok yang lengang itu. Dios mengetuk pintu.
Sebuah suara serak menjawab, “Siapa?”
“Aku seorang pengembara, bersama temanku, aku ingin bertanya barang sejenak!”
Pintu itu berderit keras ketika dibuka. Seorang lelaki separuh baya muncul di pintu, badannya kurus dan matanya letih. “Ada apa?” tanyanya. Tetapi sebelum Dios sempat menjawab, ia melihat si peri, dan langsung berseru, “Kau tidak mengatakan temanmu seorang peri!”
Ia langsung menutup pintu, tetapi tangan Dios yang kekar menahan pintu itu tetap terbuka, dan ia memaksa masuk. Si peri dengan mudah terbang di antara celah.
“Keluar! Keluar kau dari rumahku!”
Baik Dios maupun si peri tidak menggubrisnya.
Rumah itu kecil saja, hanya satu ruangan luas. Di sudut, di atas pembaringan, seseorang terbujur. Si peri langsung terbang ke sana, dan Dios tahu kenapa.
Seorang wanita yang kelihatan sangat sakit balas menatap mereka dengan lemah. Di tangannya ada sesuatu yang mungil dan bercahaya. Mengertilah si peri. Laki-laki tadi memerlukan hati peri untuk menyembuhkan istrinya.
Hati itu menatapnya penuh kerinduan.
“Mengertilah...” ucap si lelaki. “Aku sangat mencintainya. Takkan mungkin aku hidup tanpanya, karena itulah kucuri hatimu...”
Si peri masih menatap hatinya.
“Separuh hidup kuhabiskan bersama istriku, belahan jiwaku, aku ingin mati lebih dulu darinya... tetapi penyakit ini, tidak hanya menggerogoti hidupnya, tetapi hidupku juga...”
Dios bisa melihat hati itu berdenyut lemah. Seakan tahu sebentar lagi takdirnya bisa berubah. Matahari mulai tenggelam di puncak bebukitan. Hati sang peri mulai meredup. Mereka terbenam dalam hening.
“Maafkan aku,” akhirnya si lelaki berkata. Ia meraih hati itu, lalu diserahkannya pada si peri. “Maafkan aku karena telah mencuri hatimu. Kulakukan itu hanya untuk membelokkan takdir yang menimpa kami. Tetapi sekarang aku menyerah, akan kuhadapi saja takdir itu..”
“Kau yakin?” Dios bertanya. Ia menatap istri lelaki itu, yang balas memandangnya dengan nafas terputus-putus. Wanita ini sedang sekarat. Pantas saja suaminya mencari hati peri. Menelan hati peri akan membuat semua sakitnya sirna.
Air mata menggenangi sudut matanya ketika berkata,” Ya. Usia bukan sahabat kami lagi sekarang. Tetapi kami masih punya cinta. Setidaknya kami masih bisa berbagi cinta di ujung usianya.”
Tangannya terulur. Hati si peri berpendar penuh harapan, menginginkan tempatnya semula di dalam tubuh si peri.
Lama mereka terdiam.
“Ambillah,” bisik si lelaki.
Tetapi si peri menggeleng. Tidak. Selamatkanlah istrimu. Dengan pedih ditatapnya hatinya.
Lelaki itu tercengang, lalu menangis bahagia. “Terima kasih! Terima kasih banyak!”
Dan peri itu, bersama Dios, pergi.
Matahari sudah digantikan bulan ketika mereka melintasi padang dalam perjalanan kembali ke Gizmoa. Bulan yang terindah yang pernah disaksikan Dios seumur hidupnya. Ditatapnya si peri.
“Kau cantik sekali,” ucapnya heran. Rasanya tadi si peri tidak secantik tadi.
Si peri tersenyum, dan Dios terpesona melihatnya.
“Kau tidak apa-apa? Maksudku, menyerahkan hatimu seperti itu...”
Si peri meletakkan tangannya di bibir Dios.
Jangan bicara lagi.. aku ingin berterima kasih padamu..
“Untuk apa? Aku tidak berhasil membuatmu memperoleh kembali hatimu.”
Terimakasih untuk kebaikanmu hari ini. Dios, ketahuilah, tak ada peri yang akan bisa bertahan hidup tanpa hatinya.
“Apa?!” Dios terkejut. “Lalu kenapa kau berikan hatimu padanya?”
Si peri menghela nafas, lalu di antara senyumnya, sebutir air mata melintasi pipi mungilnya. Wanita itu lebih membutuhkannya. Tak bisakah kaulihat cinta di antara mereka?
“Tapi menyerahkan hatimu berarti kau..”
Jangan khawatir. Aku akan baik-baik saja. Tapi aku masih punya sisa sihir, akan kuberikan padamu... kau akan mendapatkan seorang gadis yang sangat istimewa, jagalah dia. Nah, selamat tinggal...
Si peri mencium pipi Dios, lalu tersenyum untuk terakhir kalinya. Perlahan, tubuhnya memudar, mengurai menjadi debu cahaya yang sangat banyak, yang terbang perlahan ke angkasa.
Dios menatap langit. “Selamat jalan...”
Padang rumput itu senyap kembali.
Jakarta. 15 Mei 2007. To my sanctuary.
May 15, 2007 Permalink
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Because of the many submissions we receive, we must strictly adhere to word-count requirements and the descriptions that follow. We are currently acquiring only the following: romance, horror, Westerns, historical fiction, and thrillers. Specific guidelines for each category follow, but generally:
Please mail a cover letter, synopsis (roughly 5 pages) and the first three chapters of your work—no complete manuscripts unless specifically requested.
At this time we do not accept queries via e-mail.
Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope (of sufficient size) for possible return of proposal or manuscript. No material will be returned without an SASE.
All material must be typed and double-spaced.
Name, address, phone number and e-mail of author should be on the first page of the manuscript, and a header for subsequent pages should contain the author’s first name and title.
Retain a copy of all material sent in case the original gets lost in the mail.
Our review process typically takes 6-8 months.The elements of a ROMANCE
All Romances should be approximately 80,000–100,000 words.
We are seeking sensual romances with intriguing plots, strong writing, and a pace that grabs readers’ attention from page one and holds it to the very end. We look for interesting, three-dimensional characters who are separated by emotional conflict or the twists and turns of the plot. But in the end they overcome the barriers keeping them apart and live happily ever after. We particularly enjoy humor where appropriate, and originality—either in plot, character, or writing style—that will differentiate the story from others of the genre without losing the distinct flavor of a romance.
We are currently acquiring the following categories of ROMANCE:
HISTORICAL: We’re looking to be swept away to a different time. Though historical detail and period costume should be accurate, the main focus should center on the developing relationship between the heroine and hero.
There are no restrictions on settings, but we prefer the book to take place before 1900.
FUTURISTIC: Futuristics contain all the elements of romance—beautiful heroine, dashing hero, some conflict that separates them, a happy ending, etc.—but they are set in lavish lands on distant worlds. Avoid science-fiction-type hardware, technology, etc. The greatest challenge of a futuristic is building a world that is unique and yet accessible to the reader.
TIME-TRAVEL: A hero or heroine travels through time and falls in love. For present-to-past time-travel, traditional guidelines for historical romance apply. The challenge here is to maintain credibility during the transition between the present and the past. The fun is seeing another way of life through the eyes of someone from a different time. The conflict and resolution of the romance arise from the fact that the hero and heroine are from different eras, but should involve more than the secret that one comes from the future.
Beware of philosophizing about the meaning of time, and how the past affects the present. No time machines, please.
PARANORMAL: Either a historical or contemporary romance with magic, witches, ghosts, vampires, etc., as a subsidiary element. The tone can be humorous or dark, but it must have a happy ending.
CONTEMPORARY/ROMANTIC COMEDIES: Fun and whimsical, these books should showcase your sense of humor and focus on a modern couple in a zany situation.
CHICK LIT: The fundamental distinction of chick lit is the author’s voice. We’re looking for a fresh, witty and conversational tone, usually in the first person. Many times chick lit is combined with other subgenres, such as mystery, time-travel, or paranormal. Although romance does not have to be the primary focus of the book, it should be one of the elements. We’re looking to go beyond the typical “small town girl moves to the big city” plot—so be creative.
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE: This genre blends all the action of a page-turning thriller with a highly charged and sensual romance.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN ROMANCE: The authors are allowed to use their imaginations when writing a traditional contemporary romance novel for Dorchester Publishing. The characters should both be of African American heritage, the heroine should not be physically involved with any man at the time of the couple’s meeting and the hero should not be emotionally involved with any other woman. The couple can be involved in a contemporary drama, mystery, adventure or suspense. The story can be sexy or sweet. The couple must end up together at the story’s end.
The manuscript should be approximately 90,000 words or 400 double-spaced typed pages. The submission must include a detailed synopsis.
Please forward queries and materials to:
Dorchester African American Romancesc/o Monica Harris522 East 20th Street, #6DNew York, NY 10009917-584-6915
Exciting novels set in the Old West (before 1900 and west of the Mississippi River) with three-dimensional characters and strong plots. Historical accuracy is important, but should not eclipse the story. In addition to traditional heroes, Native Americans, women, African Americans, etc., are fine as protagonists.
Finished manuscripts should be 70,000–90,000 words.
Sweeping sagas set in the Old West, containing all of the general elements of Westerns, but with a larger scope and greater cast of characters.
Finished manuscripts should be 80,000–100,000 words.
Suspenseful, terrifying novels with dark atmosphere and chilling plots. Contemporary settings are preferred, but historical settings are possible if well done. Supernatural horrors (ghosts, vampires, demons, monsters, etc.) are preferred, although psychological suspense and killers on the loose can work if well-handled and original, and if the focus of the book remains horror and fear, not mystery. Please avoid science fiction, fantasy and mystery novels.
Finished manuscripts should be 80,000–100,000 words and addressed to the attention of Don D’Auria, Executive Editor.
These are exciting, fast-paced novels filled with high tension and gripping characters. Finished manuscripts should be 80,000–100,000 and addressed to the attention of Don D’Auria, Executive Editor.
TECHNOTHRILLERS: Action-filled, contemporary or near-future thrillers with emphasis on cutting-edge technology, frequently featuring advanced jets, submarines, weaponry, etc. Conflict should be on a large, usually international, scale.
SUSPENSE THRILLERS: A dangerous criminal is on the loose and it’s one man’s (or woman’s) job to stop him before more people get hurt. Please note that this is not a Whodunit-type mystery. The question should not be who the killer is, but rather will he (or she) be stopped before killing again.
POLICE PROCEDURALS: Similar to a suspense thriller, but additional emphasis is placed on police methods, forensics and other means of tracking and capturing the killers. Sense of authenticity is important, and all details must be accurate.
POLITICAL THRILLERS: Fast-paced novels filled with intrigue and danger, usually set at least partly in Washington, but often with international scope. Authenticity is important and these novels should provide an insider’s view of the corridors of power.
LEGAL THRILLERS: Compelling novels of suspense in a legal or judicial setting. Avoid mysteries or Whodunits. Emphasis should not be on identifying a killer, but rather on a danger or threat to the main character.
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Robert walks hurriedly out from the Restricted Area. Luckily no one there suspects Robert on anything. They think he must be in some kind of urgent mission from the Pope. Robert tries hard to look calm, but his mind is racing wildly.
This is madness. All Vadis' teachings still can't change her. She's still in love with her obsessions, her beauty and lust. Now I have to flee from her sight because of that. Perfect piety and wisdom are just her masks, hiding the beast within.
Now what? I must take my friends out from here, but they are now in separate places around the Basilica. There's no way I can find them all quickly.
Then suddenly an idea comes to him. Instead of going around the Basilica, Robert goes directly to the dormitories. He enters his room, packs his things and finds that his kiliji is not on his back.
Damn! It's missing! I must've left it in the Pope's room! Now she has more leverage to force me! No way, I must flee immediately! No time to take the others! But if I left, they'll be in trouble. What should I do? Oh, I know.
Robert takes out a paper and a quill, and after scribbling a memo on it, he puts it on the table, finishes packing and goes out at once.
He walks towards the North Gate, and the guards there stop him, saying, 'Sir Robert? Aren't you supposed to guard the Pope in the Central Chambers?'
Robert doesn't look nervous at all because he is ready with an answer.
'The Pope sent me away on a secret mission. Don't tell this to anyone else except my partners. If you try to confirm this with the Pope, she'll deny that because if she does, it won't be a secret anymore.'
'Lo, what's so secret, Rob?' says a voice. Robert turns around and finds Chris standing behind him. 'Are you trying to go away without us?'
'On the contrary, my friend,' says Robert, still calmly. 'Gather our friends, go packing and look at the note I left you in my room. Follow the instruction there and you'll know. Go now! Leave your post and make haste!'
Chris is a bit confused on hearing that, but he immediately responds, 'Okay, Rob. You're the leader. We'll follow your instructions.'
'Good. See you later, my friend.'
'You too, my friend.'
Robert immediately walks away through the gate, and vanishes into the darkness of night. And Chris sets off at once to gather the rest of the party.
Meanwhile, in the Restricted Area, a nun is standing in front of the Pope's room, knocking on the door.
'Your Grace. Your Grace, your tonic is ready. Do you wish to take it now or later?'
There's no response from inside.
'Your Grace, are you sleeping? Please, Your Grace, it's almost time for your dawn praying. Please, Your Grace!'
Still, no answer from inside, although the nun rose her voice a bit on the last sentence so the Pope can hear it. The nun sighs, and the female guards are also a bit puzzled upon this.
Maybe Pope Xylen is angry? Or too tired? Or fell sick because of her excessive fatigue? Never once in her fifteen years reign she missed the dawn praying. She always gives perfect practices of discipline, and her wisdom exceeds her predecessors. Why breaking it now?
The nun waits for another minute, and then she realizes that Pope Xylen will punish her severely if she fails to remind the Pope about crucial rituals like this. So, once again, this time with a loud voice, the nun calls.
'Your Grace, please wake up! Please, for Vadis' sake, for the fellow believers' sake!'
The nun said that with her voice trembling and her body shivering all over. She'd rather be punished for insolence than negligence. But still, she receives no answer. So, gathering her last drops of courage, the nun talks to the guards.
'Please let me in. You know the Pope didn't answer at all, so I think there must be something wrong with her. Sister Nabelia! Go to Cardinal Ryddus and see if he can override the magical lock on this door! Go now!'
Nabelia, the servant nun's companion rushes away to carry out her instruction, while the servant nun outstretches her hand to the door.
'Let's check if the door is all right. I want to break an entrance. Should the Pope is angry; I'll take all the blame.'
The nun touches the door. Nothing happens, but she is still tense. Now comes the difficult part. She tries to push the door open. Although it's a heavy door, a woman can open it without much difficulty. And to her surprise, the door opens!
She begins to worry. The magical lock is not on! Only the Pope and Cardinal Ryddus know the spell to open it! If the Pope didn't neglect to put the lock back, I'm afraid...
As the nun comes in, her worry proves to be true. She shrieks in extreme horror at the sight in front of her. There, on the marble floor, Pope Xylen Felicitia lies face down, unmoving. Her blue hair is dipped in a puddle of blood under her body. And the most saddening thing is, there's a curved long sword stuck on her back. Her body and her rare-fabric nightgown are all covered in blood. The wall just behind her, the marble table and two square-shaped marble vases are also splattered with blood.
There's no mistaking it. The Pope was murdered! Someone used the curved sword to take her life away. The guards are also dismayed on seeing that proof of failure, and one of them immediately runs away, shouting an alarm.
'Murder! The Pope is murdered! The Pope is murdered! She's dead! Sound the alarm!'
Soon the alarms and the shouts of 'The Pope is murdered!' spread in the Basilica like wildfire. All who hear that are panicked, like a body that just lost a head. Terror and chaos spread in this holy ground as the Pope's blood tainted it. Some fall on their knees, some faint, and the rest rush to the Restricted Zone. They don't believe what they just heard, and now they don't believe their eyes.
Cristophe is walking with Carol and Iris to find Andreas when they hear the news, and they can swear that nothing is as shocking as this one in their entire life.
Chris exclaims, 'WHAT!? Pope Xylen was murdered during our watch!? That's... that's IMPOSSIBLE!'
'And Robert left the Basilica? This is very odd. Very odd indeed,' says Carolyn, shaking her head in disbelief.
'Shall we go to the death scene or to the dormitories first?' Iris asks.
'Rob instructed us to go to his room, so we'll do what he told. It might be related to this matter,' says Chris.
Iris adds, 'It's all so... suspicious.'
They all go to the west wing dormitories immediately, and not seeing Andreas there, they decide to go directly to Robert's room. In there, they only find a letter on top of the table. Chris picks up the single-folded letter, and together with Carol and Iris read it without speaking. Robert's writing is as bad as ever, but it is still readable.
The Pope can't be trusted. She banished me from Valanis. She took my kiliji, please ask her to return it to me. Leave the Basilica at once, and meet me just outside the North City Gate before noon. If you don't find me there, that means I fled for my life, parted from you for your own good. My quarrel with the Pope doesn't concern you, and I hope she is alive and well because the war against the heir has begun.
And for you, take care. Keep this secret.
From his writing, we can say that Robert wrote that in a great hurry, but kept his habit on trying to explain everything. When Chris and the others are a bit thoughtful, trying to make ends meet, suddenly there's a loud banging on the door. Startled, Iris moves towards the door. Chris puts Robert's letter beneath his armor as the door opens and several people rush in.
Father Andreas and Father Bernides are among them, with a very concerned look on their faces. Cardinal Ryddus, on the other hand, shouts with authority.
'Robert Chandler! Surrender yourself at once!'
'But he is not here, Father Ryddus,' says Bernides.
Ryddus is disgruntled, and then shouts to the guards, 'Search this place! Search for clues of his whereabouts! Strands of his hair, drops of blood, anything!'
Then, turning again, Ryddus just realizes something.
'And... what are his friends doing here? ARREST THEM! Interrogate them in the dungeons!'
'Wait! Wait!' says Chris. 'We just arrived here. We have nothing to do with the Pope's murder.'
'But you are his friends, right? That's just enough to charge you on conspiracy to assassinate the Pope, and the penalty is death! Robert used his kiliji to kill the Pope, and left it there! It's obvious! He's the killer!'
'Hold on a minute, Father Ryddus!' says Andreas. 'I know Robert, I've been with him for quite a long time, and I'm absolutely sure he didn't do such thing!'
Ryddus cuts in, 'Unless he is the heir.'
That word alone throws the entire room into silence. Robert is the heir. Maybe. It's no use arguing about other possibilities when almost everybody is in panic. The formidable defense in Basilica Vadisium was breached by a traitor, an insider, the man the Pope counted on most.
Reasons are futile now, when despair fills the air. Chris, Iris and Carolyn don't have a choice but to follow the guards quietly.
'Don't worry, my friends. I'll help you out of this. I think Robert is framed. I got a number of good reasons why,' says Andreas.
'I don't know him much,' says Father Bernides the morbit. 'But I'll help you ponder on this matter because I need to help Prince Cristophe.'
Andreas talks on, trying to calm his friends, 'Be patient, my friends. By Vadis, we will clear this matter up and clear our names... and Robert's too.'
End of Chapter IX
Blog Jockey (BJ Vadis)
Vadis Productions - Release Your Imagination!
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As night comes that very day, Robert and his friends are still fulfilling their duties to guard Xylen, the Supreme Leader of Vadisianity.
They are stationed in separate areas within the Basilica Vadisium. Carol guards the west wing dormitories, Iris the southern parts, rooms for research and study, Andreas the east wing dormitories, and Chris the north gates.
The central area looks secure, says Robert in his mind. I hope it stays this way after we're gone. Vordac surely understands that they cannot defeat the Forces of Light by killing their leader. As long as we keep our faith, we can still fight back. Being a part of the Light Side is my new life's resolve. My homeland can wait. Eloise can wait. I'm fighting for them; that's my priority.
The giant bell in the topmost tower of Basilica Vadisium clangs ten times. Robert rubs his face, trying to keep himself awake after five sleepless nights.
'Robert Chandler... Sir?'
Robert is startled. He turns back quickly, his hand on his Grimlock that hangs on his back. To his relief, it's only a Vadisian monk.
The monk is not surprised on seeing Robert's reaction, and speaks in a grim voice, 'You are expected in Her Holy Grace's room on the double. Please, follow me.'
Robert doesn't bother to ask for reasons. He just follows the monk towards the Pope's bedroom, in a Restricted Area where men are forbidden to enter.
The monk leaves Robert at the area entrance, saying, 'Just walk straight and you'll find a carved, big, white door. Report yourself to the guards, they will inform the Pope and she will give you permission to come in. Praise Vadis.'
Robert nods and walks staright through the gate into the Restricted Area. The nuns there stare at Robert warily, but as it was the Pope's order, they don't do anything else. Robert does exactly like the monk's direction, and the Pope lets him in.
Soon Robert finds himself in one of the grandest bedroom he has ever seen. Everything here like the dining room is mostly made of marble. The bed lies in the middle a round, big, marble bed with fluffy white mattress on top of it. Marble statues, table and wardrobes are placed around the wall with alabaster pillars.
Robert looks around. Among the beautiful, state-of-art things in the bedroom, nothing compares with the occupant: a beautiful, blue-haired and blue-eyed lady lying on the bed.
She is dressed in a long night gown made of very rare fabric that's thinner than silk, but do not look transparent at all. Nevertheless, a highly esteemed lady like Xylen should never wear it outside the so-called 'Restricted Area', because it'll ruin her honor and decency. Robert is stunned. He never saw a Pope that looked like that before. He smells... trouble.
Xylen, on seeing Robert's awkwardness, says in a soothing yet seducing tone,
'Don't be afraid, Robert. It's only me. Come closer.'
Robert hesitates, but then he takes three steps forward. He still doesn't trust Xylen, and more so when he meets her in an indecent fashion like now.
'Come closer. Or do you want me to come to you?'
Although this is such an outrage in Robert's eyes, but Robert's rudeness will be an outright insolence. So, Robert takes five more steps forward with extreme caution.
'Come closer, I said. Real close.'
'This is as far as I can go, Your Grace unless you are properly dressed first.'
'Know you what of proper? Know you what of holy? That was what you think of me eh, Robert?' says Xylen, now sounds a bit irritated. 'Oh, yes, I can read your mind. And now let me say the same thing to you: Know you what of proper? Know you what of holy?
You only know it's holy and proper when you see it with your own eyes! Only the surface, and never within! You have disappointed me by saying that you're leaving, and now your thoughts of me disappoint me once more! You think I can rely fully on the magical mechanisms and guards alone? No, Robert. I need you to stay near me all the time until the heir is vanquished!
I let the other champions hunt the heir down, but at least one must stay. I thought you and your friends fill stay here as long as it takes, but no, you're no different than the others. You'd rather use me as bait to lure the heir to attack quickly and you'll leave here quickly so you can return to your homeland and visit your beloved!'
Robert is thunderstruck. This woman can read my thoughts! My innermost secrets are in her hands now! If she tells anyone else about this, I'll be doomed!
'Oh yes, Robert. You'll certainly be doomed if I tell anyone how improper and unholy you are. A secret, forbidden love affair with a princess. You'd rather go and persuade her to give her status up and follow you than to undertake a mission that is holy and proper in the whole.
But, then again, what use is holiness and properness if they deprive us of the things we really want in life? They deprive us of our own happiness!'
'What do you mean by that? I'm willing to give up my happiness for the sake of others,' says Robert.
'Tsk, tsk. But you are wrong, Robert. You don't have to give up your happiness for others' sake. You can always search for other things that can make you happy.'
'You can find yourself another lover. Take your friend, the sorceress for instance. She has her eyes on you, no doubt about that. Why don't you accept her love? You two can be happy, you know.'
'That's really none of your business.'
'Oh yes, that's not my business, mind. But my business is what I'm going to offer you: myself.'
'What? Oh, no, no, that's not possible.'
'Why not? Am I not beautiful enough for you?' says Xylen, crawling on her bed to go near Robert. Her moves are so seductive, Robert's heart races on seeing that. She continues,
'Or is that because I'm a Pope? Oh, forget that. In here, we are just a man and a woman. And I have the power and authority to determine what's holy and proper around here. Besides, Vadis didn't teach us to commit celibacy to serve him, right? So, I'm going to change things up. I'll be the first Pope with a husband and we both will make history!'
'Please, Your Grace, don't make me do things against my heart! Indeed, you are very beautiful, perhaps more than anyone I know. But we have our own responsibilities! You are the Pope, leader of all Vadisians in the world! You'll mar Vadis' face if you do this!'
'Didn't we all? Sinners everywhere, including you and me. You and your little secrets, me and mine.'
Xylen is now real close with Robert. Robert tries to back away, but Xylen moves even closer.
'No, My Grace, please don't do this. I beg you.'
'I can't. You see, my innermost desire in my life is to make love with a stud like you. What use is all my beauty treatment if no man can feel my body, my silky skin and my blossomy lips?'
'It's a waste, honestly, but for the sake of all Eternia, If I were you, it's a worthy sacrifice.'
'Oho, but you're not me and I am I. And I say, I want you.'
Xylen keeps pushing forward, cornering Robert on a wall, saying,
'It's a curse being beautiful, you know. The thought of getting myself tasted keeps torturing me, every day and every night. I can't live the rest of my life in peace until I feel it. I desperately need to feel it. To feel... you.'
'No... no... Don't.'
Before Robert can push her away, Xylen presses her body against Robert's. Robert feels his heart throbbing uncontrollably, his blood boiling and rising to his head, and he's shivering all over.
'Or at least, give me a bit of satisfaction through...'
Xylen hugs Robert tightly.
Her face is right in front of Robert's.
She closes her eyes. Robert is totally mesmerized now.
Without warning, Xylen kisses Robert's lips.
It's a kiss of passion alone, a total submission to lust, not to love. It's a very dangerous game that can ruin someone's reputation and someone's life. Only true love based on a firm commitment can prevent that.
That very thought snaps Robert back to his senses.
Oh, no! Eloise! I won't submit myself to this!
Robert pushes himself away from that kiss, preventing himself from betraying his own true love and making the worst mistake of his life.
'No, I still can't.'
'What, not even a perfect kiss? You disappoint me, Robert. How dare you refuse this offer no other man can get? Being the "Protector of the Pope" and all the privileges that come with it?'
'Because nothing worth more than true love. I'm sorry, My Grace. But my heart belongs to another.'
Suddenly the Pope bursts out in anger and slaps Robert's face.
'Get out! Out! No one has ever, ever insulted me like this in my entire lifetime! But you! A Pope, insulted by a lowly bounty hunter! Get out of here now! Leave the Basilica right now, and don't let me see your face again! EVER! You're discommunicated from the Church of Vadis!'
'As you wish, Your Grace,' Robert responds.
Xylen mutters some kind of spell, and the door to her bedroom is magically unlocked. Robert bows slightly and then opens the door and gets out immediately. As the door shuts, Xylen picks a statue of Vadis made from a single pearl and throws it to the door. The statue hits the door and breaks up in pieces.
Xylen grunts and grits her teeth in her wrath, and then she suddenly smiles. She has one hand on her back and takes out a sword. It's Robert's father, Emmerich's kiliji sword. Apparently she stole it when Robert was totally mesmerized and distracted, and now she hugs it lovingly, thinking.
Oh, well, at least this is not a total loss. I lost a man, but got his sword. A souvenir for a soul masked in decency and holiness. When I became myself, all I got was a rude rejection. Know you what of proper? Know you what of holy? Aren't they just masks of your soul, imprisoning you in a cursed life, depriving you from the true happiness? What an irony!
Xylen keeps hugging the kiliji. She's laughing with tears coming out from her eyes, and cries in her laughter.
Blog Jockey (BJ Vadis)
Vadis Productions - Release Your Imagination!
Vadis Portal Site : http://vadis.tk
FireHeart NovelBlog : http://fireheart.tk
GetAmped KICK ASS Inc. : http://kickassinc.blogspot.com
Vadis Main Site : http://vadis.multiply.com
Saturday, May 12, 2007
|The Forgotten Heroes : Prolog|
Kehidupan dan Kematian
Orang besar diingat atas karya besar yang dibuat dalam hidupnya. Martir diingat atas pengorbanan yang diberikan melalui kematiannya. Seorang pahlawan, diingat atas keduanya, perjuangannya dalam kehidupannya maupun kematiannya. Orang-orang akan teringat, dan terinspirasi olehnya. Tapi, bahkan pahlawan yang terbesar pun tidak akan diingat selamanya. Pada akhirnya semua akan sirna dimakan waktu, kenangan akan terlupakan, buku-buku sejarah akan hancur menjadi debu. Lidah-lidah para pencerita akan semakin kaku dan kelu, menganggap semua itu tak berguna lagi untuk diceritakan. Mereka akan dilupakan, dan dunia tetap akan berjalan terus.
Aku Kuga, yang pada suatu waktu pernah disebut-sebut sebagai Sang Dewa Perang, panglima perang dan pendekar pedang yang tak terkalahkan. Ditakuti musuh-musuhku, yang gemetar tubuhnya ketika namaku disebutkan. Dicintai oleh rakyat dan ribuan prajuritku, yang rela mati demi aku di medan pertempuran. Namaku dinyanyikan oleh bocah-bocah di seluruh penjuru dunia ketika mereka bermain-main dengan pedang kayu. Akulah yang disebut orang-orang sebagai pahlawan terbesar yang pernah ada. Yang pada akhirnya, ternyata hanyalah seorang manusia bodoh yang tidak paham untuk apa sebenarnya aku hidup dan untuk apa sebenarnya aku mati. Tidak paham, untuk apa aku mendapat kesempatan hidup setelah matiku, dan untuk apa aku mendapat kesempatan mati setelah hidupku. Dan untuk itu, sebenarnya aku tidak pantas disebut sebagai orang besar, apalagi seorang pahlawan.
Kisah ini adalah kisah para pendahuluku. Mereka yang kehidupan dan kematiannya menjadi kenanganku kala aku kecil, menjadi inspirasi kala aku belajar memegang pedang. Bagiku, merekalah pahlawanku. Tapi, ketika aku tumbuh menjadi besar, aku melupakannya. Melupakan apa yang mereka perjuangkan kala hidup, dan apa yang mereka korbankan kala mati. Sesuatu yang seharusnya tidak boleh aku lakukan, jika aku ingin memahami apa yang menjadi tujuan sebenarnya kehidupan dan kematianku.
Kehidupan dan Kematian, bukanlah dua sisi mata uang yang dapat dipisahkan begitu saja. Kematian bukanlah kebalikan dari kehidupan, melainkan hanyalah ketiadaan dari kehidupan, seperti halnya gelap dari terang, atau sunyi dari bising. Lebih jauh lagi, ketiadaan itu mungkin bukan suatu akhir, hanyalah permulaan dari sesuatu yang lain. Aku sudah merasakannya. Tapi, aku masih tetap belum mengerti sepenuhnya.Aku Kuga, dan jangan panggil aku pahlawan lagi.
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
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C******* Publishing LLC Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Architecture; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Business; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Criticism; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Film; Finance; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Legal; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Radio; Religious; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Technology; Theatre; Thrillers; Translations; Travel; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Cynical; Dark; Experimental; Mainstream; Niche; Popular; Satirical; Serious; Traditional
D** Books, Inc. Fantasy; Fiction; Horror; Sci-Fi
D********'s Publishers, Ltd Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Adventure; Autobiography; Biography; Culture; Current Affairs; Drama; Fantasy; Health; Historical; Horror; How-to; Humour; Men's Interests; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Psychology; Romance; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Spiritual; Suspense; Thrillers; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Mainstream; Positive
D***** Publishing Company Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Biography; Crime; Culture; Drama; Fantasy; Historical; Humour; Men's Interests; Mystery; Psychology; Religious; Romance; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Spiritual; Suspense; Thrillers; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Family; Preferred styles: Commercial; Contemporary; Literary; Mainstream; Positive; Traditional
E*****'s C*** Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Erotic; Fantasy; Gothic; Historical; Horror; Mystery; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Mainstream
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eP****-o*****.com Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Crime; Fantasy; Gothic; Historical; Literature; Mystery; Sci-Fi; Suspense; Markets: Academic; Adult; Children's; Family; Professional; Youth
F***** Press Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Fantasy; Historical; Mystery; Religious; Sci-Fi; Spiritual; Suspense; Technology; Travel; Markets: Adult
F*** G**** Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Reference; Scripts; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Culture; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Finance; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Horror; Humour; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Photography; Psychology; Radio; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Thrillers; Travel; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Children's; Family; Professional; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Cynical; Light; Popular; Positive; Serious; Traditional
F**** S***** Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Areas include: Adventure; Fantasy; Historical; Humour; Mystery; Sci-Fi; Sport; Suspense; Markets: Children's; Youth; Preferred styles: Commercial; Contemporary; Literary; Mainstream
G****** Press Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Adventure; Biography; Culture; Drama; Erotic; Fantasy; Mystery; Religious; Romance; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Suspense; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Literary
H******* T**** Publishing, LLC Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Adventure; Biography; Fantasy; Historical; Markets: Adult; Children's; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Positive
L******* R*** Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Architecture; Arts; Autobiography; Biography; Business; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Criticism; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Finance; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Technology; Theatre; Thrillers; Translations; Travel; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Family; Professional; Youth; Preferred styles: Literary; Mainstream
N* Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Architecture; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Business; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Fantasy; Finance; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Radio; Religious; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Technology; Theatre; Thrillers; Translations; Travel; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Children's; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Literary
P******* Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Adventure; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Business; Crafts; Crime; Criticism; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Film; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Legal; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Politics; Psychology; Radio; Religious; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Theatre; Thrillers; Travel; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Preferred styles: Mainstream; Popular
S********* Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Adventure; Autobiography; Biography; Crime; Current Affairs; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Gothic; Historical; Horror; Humour; Lifestyle; Literature; Mystery; New Age; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Thrillers; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Children's; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Dark; Experimental; Mainstream; Niche; Popular; Positive; Serious; Traditional
S******** E**** Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Reference; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Architecture; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Business; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Criticism; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Film; Finance; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Legal; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Radio; Religious; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Technology; Theatre; Thrillers; Translations; Travel; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Academic; Adult; Children's; Family; Professional; Youth; Preferred styles: Commercial; Contemporary; Experimental; In-depth; Literary; Mainstream; Niche; Popular; Positive; Progressive; Serious; Traditional
S*****B****.com Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Fantasy; Horror; Mystery; Sci-Fi; Markets: Adult
T****** C*********, LLC Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Reference; Areas include: Adventure; Criticism; Culture; Fantasy; Gothic; Historical; Horror; Humour; Literature; Media; Military; Mystery; Nature; Religious; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Translations; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Academic; Children's; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Literary; Mainstream
T*** Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Reference; Areas include: Adventure; Anthropology; Antiques; Archaeology; Architecture; Arts; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Business; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Criticism; Culture; Current Affairs; Design; Drama; Entertainment; Erotic; Fantasy; Film; Finance; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Legal; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Media; Medicine; Men's Interests; Military; Music; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Photography; Politics; Psychology; Radio; Religious; Romance; Science; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Technology; Theatre; Thrillers; Translations; Travel; TV; Westerns; Women's Interests; Markets: Academic; Adult; Children's; Family; Professional; Youth
T***** H**** Books Adventure; Nonfiction; Fantasy; Fiction; Health; Historical; Horror; How-to; Humour; Mystery; Psychology; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Religious; Thrillers; Women's Interests
T**** House Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; Areas include: Adventure; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Current Affairs; Fantasy; Finance; How-to; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Men's Interests; Mystery; Nature; Psychology; Religious; Romance; Science; Self-Help; Spiritual; Suspense; Thrillers; Women's Interests; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Mainstream; Positive
T****** S**** Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Adventure; Erotic; Fantasy; Gothic; Historical; Horror; Humour; Mystery; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Westerns; Markets: Adult; Preferred styles: Experimental; Literary
W***B*** Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Areas include: Adventure; Fantasy; Horror; Literature; Mystery; Suspense; Thrillers; Travel; TV; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Commercial; Contemporary; Dark; Literary; Mainstream; Niche; Popular; Traditional
W****F*** Publishing Publishes: Fiction; Poetry; Areas include: Arts; Crime; Culture; Current Affairs; Drama; Entertainment; Fantasy; Historical; Horror; Humour; Leisure; Literature; Mystery; Philosophy; Photography; Psychology; Religious; Romance; Sci-Fi; Short Stories; Suspense; Thrillers; Markets: Adult; Family; Youth; Preferred styles: Contemporary; Literary; Mainstream; Traditional
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