Friday, 9 September 2011

Godstorm pt. 5: Bright as Lightning

The Godstorm so far...
Part 1 - Clouds like Murder
Part 2 - Wailing Winds
Part 3 - Blood Rain
Part 4 - Dark Thunder
And now: Part 5 - Bright as Lightning

Ephea leaps in Brattur’s way, hoping beyond belief that a weapon from Kraius’ own armoury might take a blow or two from Thunder’s black blade. As the sword leaves its scabbard a stark flash of brightest white illuminates the hall. The sword in Ephea’s hand is alive, jagged with power. It is like looking at mirrors in the midday sun, blinding with afterimages.

Every god knows Thunder’s twin sword: Lightning.

Ephea does not understand. Legend holds that anyone not Starborn who wields Thunder or Lightning will be reduced to nothing but ash and memory. Yet somehow Ephea still stands. At the sight of the sword something stirs within him, something like nostalgia, the edge of something long forgotten, buried deep.

Reality crashes back in. Even with Lightning, Ephea knows he cannot beat Brattur; the godprince is a renowned warrior, veteran of countless battles. But the sword gives him hope that he might buy the godqueen time to recover. Beyond that, he cannot think. Brattur attacks.

Brattur feints a strike to the right which twists into a sudden stabbing thrust at Ephea’s heart. Ephea stumbles, but the speed Lightning lends him brings the sword across in time to parry the blow. He pushes Thunder up over his shoulder, past his face. Ephea ducks as Brattur flicks the sword back and it grumbles just over his head.

When the swords clash Ephea feels the dark strength of Thunder pressing against him, it is like an invisible wave grabbing every particle of his body and shoving him back. But that feeling takes hold of something else within him; some strange recognition.

As they strike and parry, Ephea feels something swell inside him, a memory of strength and might, a memory of war, a memory of millennia. It is a complex of memories, but it has a single name. As the memories grow within him so he grows, filling his armour, becoming taller than his opponent. Swordplay becomes familiar to him, second nature, and Brattur is caught off-guard by Ephea’s metamorphosis, he does not understand what is happening. He does not understand that a godking needs more than might and posturing, a godking needs cunning and strategy and foresight.

What seemed brutal and powerful to Ephea mere moments ago now seems clumsy, and he avoids Brattur’s strikes with ease. Then he sees an opening. He takes Brattur’s sword hand off at the wrist, Lightning barely slowing as it carves through bone and flesh alike.

Thunder falls to the floor and Brattur grabs at the stump of his wrist with his left hand, red blood bubbling through his fingers in pulsing gushes. The godprince staggers backwards, eyes wide, mouth gaping as he looks disbelievingly at Ephea-who-is-no-longer-Ephea.

“Father.” Brattur gasps.

And as if to underline this simple statement the armour on the altar sags and crashes as it collapses, empty.

Ephea is no more, he remembers now that he is Kraius, that he created a larval form of himself, a godseed, when he sensed the winds of rebellion, when he foresaw his own murder but not the direction from which it would come. Lightning was the trigger, with the sword in his hand all his disembodied power would be drawn back to him, and with it, his memories and his might.

Kraius reaches down and picks up Thunder from the cracked floor, flicking Brattur’s hand away. He takes a step towards his treacherous son, who stands straight, defiant despite his grievous wound. The traitor expects death. Kraius raises his foot and kicks his son square in the chest, launching him halfway down the centre aisle of the hall. Everyone hears Brattur’s ribs crack, even over Thunder’s angry rumbling.

Kraius raises the swords high.

“I am Kraius.” He roars. “Godking.”

The answering roar is deafening and Kraius grins savagely. It might take cunning and intelligence, but it was the power they respected.

He feels a light touch on his back, a gentle, chill waft of air as wide wings fold into themselves. He leans into the godqueen’s touch.

“Elenor,” he says, softly, “my queen.”

“My king.”

And that will do them, for now.

Later, when they are alone, when they are no longer required to be king and queen in front of their subjects, they can be husband and wife, and say everything.

Later still, Elenor turns to Kraius.

“I made a promise, while you were... away. I would still see it honoured.”

The Godstorm is over... almost. Come back next week for the epilogue, Clear Skies.


  1. Wow... I now demand longer stories like this! :D Your writing and storytelling is vivid and absorbing.

    I was not expecting the transformation. :) Favorite part would have to be Kraius kicking Brattur across the room. >:)

  2. This segment pays off wonderfully. The action sequence was a treasure. The a godking needs cunning and strategy and foresight has just the right amount of emphasis on foresight which serves as the keystone supporting this tale.

  3. Outstanding, I was expecting a David and Goliath scenario, and this ran quite a bit deeper than that.

    Did you outline the story at the very beginning John? Or do you just wait and see how the storyline unfolds on a week by week basis?

  4. Thank you for all your comments, Zaiure. =)
    I did enjoy writing the kick to the chest, so much more satisfying, I think, than killing Brattur.

    Thank you, Aidan. A lot hangs on this part, and I'm really hoping everyone who has liked it so far feels this is a satisfactory conclusion for this story (almost conclusion...).

    That's a complicated question, Steve... ;)
    Godstorm was essentially all written before I posted the first part (I'm too much of a control freak, I think, to not do it that way), although there has been some editing as I've been posting.

    My writing is usually a fairly organic process, detailed planning often kills a story for me, so I start with a rough idea (a seed ;) ) and let it flow. For example, I'm pretty sure when I began this I had the notion of Kraius/ Ephea (hence in part one Ephea having no memories from before his service to Kraius. There are hints... ;) ), but, for example, Elenor grew entirely from nothing as I was writing the story.

    And in my head this was going to be where the story finished, but when I wrote it I wasn't satisfied with that, there was a little more that needed telling...

  5. That was so good, clever old Kraius Godking forever - I just new Ephea was destined for greater things, but never guessed this Well told - I look forward to next week's episode.

  6. Thank you, Helen. There's a reason Kraius has been Godking for so many centuries... long may he reign! =D

  7. Hi there John -- well told, dramatic, and an interesting twist. Did enjoy this. Hopefully Ephea not entirely lost in all this, though I guess if he was a proto-Kraius then that may have been the whole of his destiny. Your almost there on serial one. :) St.

  8. Thanks Stephen, =)

    Glad you enjoyed it, and stuck with it! Having hit the end of serial one, I'm going to add a few thoughts about the experience to the end of the epilogue next week.

  9. "There's a reason Kraius has been Godking for so many centuries" -- Indeed! Didn't see that coming, but it's clever. Now, it's a gambit he won't be able to play twice, but then, I think he sent a proper message, and the seeds of rebellion have been squashed for a long time to come. And not just by fear, but as he intuits, out of respect as well.

    The action scene was hot! Good stuff, John.

  10. Thanks Rebecca. =D
    Action is another area I need to play with more. Not quite sure how much is too much or too little yet. I tried to get into some detail without getting bogged down in a lengthy blow-by-blow.