Bookworm–Snippet

19 Feb

Prologue

Alone in the darkness, he waited.

He had long since become accustomed to the gloom, even though he cursed it with every breath he took through his ravaged throat. The power that had once raised him high – which had made him among the strongest of sorcerers, the masters of the world – was all that kept him alive. It was a bitter irony that all of his power, all of the secrets he had won through dangerous research into the limits of magic, was all that kept him alive. The final curse from his enemy or an unexpected gift from his own patrons, there was no way to know. All that mattered was that he could not die.

Time moved quickly in the unchanging darkness. It had been years as mortals reckoned time since his final, catastrophic defeat, yet he could not help playing and replaying the struggle for power over and over again in his mind. If he’d done this, if he’d done that…but the one thought he never allowed himself to have was what would have happened if he’d chosen to avoid the temptations magic promised. To be someone happy, but small; never to have involved himself with the destiny of the entire world…it was a fate worse than death, worse than facing the ten million devils baying for his soul. He could not have avoided his reach for power, even knowing his possible fate. Power was all that had driven him for a very long time.

It had driven him to ruin. He had long since overcome the pangs of hunger or thirst; his magic kept him alive, against all reason. His soul remained chained in a body permanently on the verge of death. Madness had threatened more than once, assailing his mind and offering permanent release from torment, yet he refused to take the final step and plunge into the abyss. He didn’t want to die, or to lose himself. It was all that kept him together.

And there was the plan.

It had started life as a fantasy, one of many of the dreams of revenge that tormented him as he lay still and unmoving in the dark hall. He had returned to it again and again, until it had finally penetrated his mind that the plan was no fantasy. His power to influence the outside world was limited, subtle rather than the vast magical acts he had performed before his fall from grace, but it existed. Slowly, wary of signs that his enemies were waiting for him to reveal himself before destroying him, he reached out with his mind. Putting the pieces into play had required great care and the plan had come close to disaster more than once, but he was patient. His immortality, once a curse, allowed him to work slowly where mortal minds would have demanded speed.

A seed, planted in fertile soil. Promises made to those unable to see the long game. The slow corruption of those who believed themselves immune to vice. A hint of power here, an offer of wealth there…piece by piece, the tools came together. His influence reached back towards the home of his enemies and slowly intruded into their sphere. No one saw his hand behind a series of coincidences. They would never have believed in his existence if they hadn’t seen him, and no one had laid eyes on him for hundreds of years.

And slowly, but surely, the endgame came into view.

It was time to knock over the first domino…

And then a mighty empire would come tumbling down.

2 Responses to “Bookworm–Snippet”

  1. The Deposed King February 20, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Heh heh. Sounds like you’re going slightly differently from my suggestion on the other thread. But its all good. We are thinking in similar but surprisingly surprisingly divergent directions.

    Since this guy is used to working so slowly. I think that his problems will come with keeping up with the fast pace of the rest of the world when he actually gets to his endgame.

    The Deposed King

  2. chrishanger February 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Well, there has to be some kind of challenge for the heroine.

    Actually, once I had the basic outline for the universe set up, bits of the story just fell into place. I’ll have to start writing down the various notes and then start planning the story properly.

    Chris

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