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Slice 333 of 365

I decided to take a shot and unofficially partake in NaNoWriMo. To finish the Jersey Justice sequel I probably need about fifty thousand more words but I don’t feel finishing an existing work is in the spirit of the month. I could work on the third installment, but I felt like I need a real change, and it would be weird to work on three before two is done.

I’ve had this idea for a while, and honestly, may have opened a Pandora’s box because it’s a seven book series. If I actually get far enough and it works out I’ll have to finish two sequels before I can get back to this, but, oh well.

I am going to give you what I wrote today, mostly because I don’t have the energy left to continue with this post and it’s getting close to bed time. I wrote over two thousand words, it is raw and unedited. I read through it just once after I finished writing and corrected a few typos, that’s it.

I give you The 7th Realm

He could hear them. He could smell them, which meant they were much too close. He thought he smelled three of them. The long legs of the Acklins gave them great speed due to their increased stride. His bow and arrow lost during the chase.

Thunder boomed in the valley, echoing off the mountain peaks. It sounded like a battlefield full of cannon fire. In the distance, the blue sky and white clouds were quickly being replaced by pure blackness. It looked like the end of days.

There was an uneasy evilness to it that he could not understand. The feeling in his gut forced him to run faster. Up the mountain along his path the rocks became boulders and running became more difficult.

B’Nye the hunter had left his hut this morning just as the sun was rising. His loving wife, Willa, as always, had gotten up to make him breakfast. She was a good wife, although a nag on occasion. B’Nye believed he deserved that sometimes.

“Be careful on your trek,” Willa said, as B’Nye left the house.

She knew the danger of the Acklins as well as anyone. Acklins had killed her parents. She and her two sisters had almost been killed as well but a hunter from the next clan over had seen the Acklins. The hunter tracked them to their hut but was only in time to save the children.

The hunter took the children back with him to his hut and his clan, the Corr`Bram. The hunter and his wife, who had three boys of their own, took in, and raised the three girls as their own. Willa and her sisters learned the ways of the Corr`Bram.

B’Nye was raised in his village in his clan’s way, the Corr`Em. Corr was the province where these two clans lived. There were five clans total. The Corr`Mic, Corr`Jo, and the Corr`Bec.

The Corr people were inner dwellers of the 1st Realm. Their people were the one hundred and forty-second generation removed from the parting of the realms. The Corr people were demure in size. B’Nye stood four feet, one inch tall, and was large for a Corr. Their features were mostly human, except for a short tail at the base of their spines and their slightly larger, flatter noses, giving them a heightened sense of smell.

A non-visible aspect of the Corr’s was the ability to speak to one’s spouse telepathically. It could only be done when they were together and looking at each other. Often times husbands accidentally slipped with information they should not. This never happened to the wives.

The clans were friendly and worked together when necessary. There was no feuding among clans. Intermarriage was tolerated if a match had not already been promised.

B’Nye and Willa met accidentally one spring afternoon as he was hunting, his first solo hunt, and she was out searching for soup ingredients in the forest for her mother.

B’Nye heard a noise behind him. He turned, bow raised, ready to shoot the deer he hoped had made the sound. Twenty yards away he eyed a girl, no, a young woman, who took his breath away. Willa’s simple beauty filled B’Nye’s heart with feelings he’d never experienced before.

Willa looked at him curiously. “Are you going to shoot me?” she asked with a coy smile.

“Huh?” he said, suddenly realizing his bow was still raised, and arrow ready to fly. Lowering his weapon, he said, “I’m sorry. I thought you were a deer. I was hoping for a large buck.”

Raising her hand to her head and gesturing down her body, she said, “Dear sir, as you can see, I am not a buck.”

B’Nye took this as invitation to examine her more closely. She looked to be about fifteen- or sixteen-years old. B’Nye was seventeen. Willa’s eyes were a golden green that caught the sunlight like an angel catching a star. A mound of red hair was piled on her head appearing to stay there by magic. Her slender body was sheathed in a modest dress adorned with a red bow on the right side.

As B’Nye studied Willa, she took the same opportunity. He appeared to be a little older than she. His clothing was typical of a boy his age out hunting, a modest tunic, his quiver and bow. Chestnut hair tied neatly at the base of his neck. A red stone hung from a leather strip around his neck. His eyes met hers. He was a boy on the verge of being a man.

B’Nye thought about that day as Willa shut the door. He thought about that day often. It was one of his happiest memories. It helped get him through his long hunting trips.

He was thinking about that day now as he raced up the mountainside for his life. The Acklins were gaining ground and the boulders were getting bigger, slowing B’Nye’s pace even more. The Acklin’s stench was activating his gag reflex. He ignored it as best he could, and begged his stubby legs to take him safely back to his wife and children.

He could hear Willa’s voice now. “Don’t get to close to the Acklin Region. You know how you always get too close and cause trouble.” She warned him this morning at breakfast. She warned him every time he went out hunting. The nag loved him. He loved her too. Funny things B’Nye thought about while running for his life.

This scenario had happened before. He would not pay attention in the forest, and wander over the boundary line. Even one step would set the Acklins off on a pursuit. The several previous times it happened in the past B’Nye was able to get away. Inadvertently, he had told Willa through their non-verbal communication before he realized it. After she got done throttling him, he had wished the Acklins captured him.

The Acklins were faster due to their size, but they were not very bright. They could be easily distracted by an outside force, an animal or a noise.

The dark clouds were getting closer, and the horizon was disappearing into them. The thunder claps from minutes ago sounded like a wee baby’s cry compared to the booming explosion that sounded above B’Nye’s head. He was startled, but this was just the distraction he needed to gain some ground.

After looking up to make sure that a real explosion had not occurred, he put his body in forward and sprinted to the next boulder which now required climbing. Scaling the rock he reached the top, and noticed the Acklin’s scent had decreased slightly. They had not starting pursuit again yet.

Rain began to fall as a bright flash of lightning lit up the sky overhead. Little fingers of light blazed to the ground, igniting a sapling a hundred yards away. The rate of rain increased quickly as B’Nye scrambled up the next rock face. They were getting steeper and slippery, with less hand and foot holds. He was cornering himself at this rate.

He was no match for three Acklins. He was no match for one Acklin.

At one time in their tumultuous history the Acklin and the Corr had lived in peace. At this point it is hard to know what is history and what is legend, but it happened one hundred and forty three generations ago, just before the separation of the realms.

The Acklin had always lived in the valley next to Mount Eldred, where B’Nye was being hunted right now. Each region governed itself in relative peace. Disputes were always settled without any hostilities. On the last day of the last harvest, without warning, the Acklin leader, Dinia, attacked the entire Corr region for no apparent reason.

The Corr fought as best they could, completely unprepared. Women, children and the elders were sent to hide in the forest. It took three days for The Acklins to trample every village and touch every clan in the Corr region. When the smoke cleared the Corr had lost half its men and almost no structures had survived.

The Acklin offered no explanation and the attacks continued on a smaller scale for the next twenty years until finally, the separation of the realms occured.

Now there were treaties, and if the Corr just stayed on their side the Acklins were not aggressive. No reason was ever given for the initial slaughter. History and legend differ on the cause.

The great master became bored and sent the Acklin to battle on a whim was the legend. The history suggests that Dinia’s spouse was a greedy wench and ordered her husband to attack or be alone. There were other variations of both stories that had survived, and been passed down since, what is now known as, the Acklin Attacks.

No one could be sure exactly what happened or why. Just that it helped cause the separation of the realms and the universe has not been the same since. There were other stories of a lost soul who will one day return the seven realms to their original one and reunite all its peoples.

It was midafternoon, but B’Nye thought it looked like the middle of the night. The storm was raging around him. The small tree that had been struck by lightning was now a full-fledged forest fire. The scent of Acklin had invaded his nose again. They had found him and their numbers had increased.

B’Nye had no choice but to keep climbing. His foot slipped, and he slid down a boulder face ten feet or so. The smell of Acklin permeated his nose, they were right behind him. Regaining his footing B’Nye found the strength to leap to the next boulder. Turning quickly he saw the fire sweeping across the treetops, the rain doing nothing to stop it. The rain was coming down in torrents. From this elevation he could see several streams rising quickly and the river was already flooding the fields.

What was happening? How could things flood so fast? It had only been raining for several minutes, hadn’t it?

B’Nye’s thoughts betrayed him. He let his mind wander a moment too long. An Acklin’s bony hand made it over the rock face. Grabbing B’Nye’s foot the Acklin pulled hard, removing his shoe. Missing his left shoe he fell backward onto the boulder. The Acklin crested the top of the stone mass, left shoe still in hand.

B’Nye skittered back in a crab walk until he hit the next boulder and had nowhere else to go. In a panic, he looked around. To his right was a fist sized stone. He grabbed it quickly, took aim in the complete darkness, except for the natural electricity in the air. He launched his projectile, but could not see it hit its target. The lightning had taken a small break.

Upon the next bolt of lightning B’Nye saw the Ackling clutch it’s chest, stagger backwards, and fall. He breathed in a sigh a relief and sucked in water because the rain was so torrential. A heavy waterfall was hitting him from the boulder above.

Another hand came over the top of the boulder. B’Nye quickly got to his feet and began scaling the rock he had become trapped against. He felt a hand touch his shoed foot, but he was able to pull away. Atop the next boulder B’Nye the hunter decided it was time to take a stand. He could no longer run and his patience had run out.

He turned to face his pursuers. The tempest had risen from the bowels of hell. The end of the world could not be far off. At that moment B’Nye thought of his family. He had been so concerned with his own welfare that he had not thought of Willa and the children surviving this unprecedented storm. He wanted to be there to comfort them right now. He would have to live through this first.

Three Acklins had traversed the boulder wall while B’Nye’s thoughts were with his family. Raising his fist to the sky he screamed, “I will not die tonight!”

There was a crack of thunder and a lightning strike.

When the smoke cleared, B’Nye the hunter had vanished.

Until tomorrow…