What even is this?

This is my personal blog where I showcase some of my works in progress and offer a platform to connect with me while I try to publish my books!
This lets you get sneak peaks at my books in their raw form and before they’re even released.
I currently have one full length novel and a handful of short stories written and am working on my second novel which I hope to finish this year, and I’ll keep you updated with shorts in my free time.
Thank you!

– Patrick

A Rogue’s Parting

The room was black and the rogue was about. The sky had only just begun brightening with merely the faintest hints of light at the edge of the horizon, and he had finally found his opportunity.
He wiped his brow and crept carefully along the wooden floor of the bedroom as its owner snored gently in the bliss of sleep.
The rogue stooped with the grace of a swan and let his hands find their way to the object he sought, an object which held incalculable value to him at the moment.
At last, he had it in his grasp. Now the only thing he had to do was get to the balcony. He stepped lightly as he walked and adjusted his weight as a loose board creaked noisily underfoot. The rogue winced, but the breathing remained rhythmic, and he had yet to be discovered.

The balcony—and freedom—were so close that he could taste it. But it only took a cleared throat, just as his fingers were opening the shutters, to let him know that the jig was up. The balcony doors opened to allow just a faint bit of light inside.

The rogue turned himself around slowly, smiling as disarmingly as he could and the object in his hand was revealed… His pants.

A feminine voice spoke out, quite properly miffed by the sound of it.
“Dammit Seb, you promised you would stay this time!” she said.
A rather buxom lady was now quite angrily approaching him, covered only by a blanket as Sebastian di Lucca tried his best to back away.
“You always do this!” the woman continued. “You show up for a week and promise that you’re a changed man—you try to walk back into my life with gifts and praise, saying ‘Oh, you’re so beautiful, I only have eyes for you now Charlotte’ and fool that I am I believe you. Well, not this time, you’re not climbing out in the night—I’m throwing you out!”
Charlotte threw the rogue’s belongings at him as he tried to keep them from flying out the window; while she did, the blanket wrapped about her body fell to the floor and the rogue couldn’t help but steal a glance at her lovely curves, but now was not the time for regret.
“Please Charlotte, I can explain!” Sebastian cried. He raised his hands in a futile act of contrition, but it was too late.

Charlotte had had enough, and as Sebastian’s buttocks touched the railing he knew his fate was sealed. The rogue did his best to cushion his fall from the second story window as his former lover pushed him over the balustrade and into a trough of water below. Sebastian thought the splash probably woke more than a few people in the courtyard.
Charlotte saw where he had landed and snorted, then clapped her hands and brushed them clean of him.

“Serves you right!” she said, and disappeared into the bedroom.

Sebastian spit some water from his mouth like a marble fountain and sighed.
“Oh well, looks like maybe Victoria is the one for me this week,” he said. Then he laughed and pulled himself from his soggy abode.

The search goes on…

Sorry for the long absence, I moved to a different state, had a baby, and did some other fun stuff! But I haven’t stopped writing, and my novel is nearing completion! Here’s a little bit from the most recent parts.

 

The Regilo’s tail left a distinct trail through the fine dust coating the temple floor. Seb followed it through the labyrinth of hallways, lit in sickly green by lanternfire, casting twisted shadows upon the walls. Each new hall he passed was covered in mosaics and intricate reliefs, telling the history of a distant and tremendous past. There was enough insight into Iram’s society for a team of scholars to spend a lifetime here, but Sebastian’s attention was elsewhere.

The trail led him to a square room some twenty feet across. It seemed relatively drab compared to the halls he had been wandering, but the trail ended here and it looked as though the Regilo had disappeared into thin air.

“Secret chamber?” Sebastian muttered to himself. He at least hoped that it wasn’t more magic, otherwise he would be there for a very long time.

The rogue scanned the room looking for pressure plates, odd looking fixtures, anything out of the ordinary that might trigger a trapdoor or hatch to open. (Once he had burgled a gangster’s house to find that one of the candelabras would tip to reveal a hidden stash within a liquor cabinet.) The floors seemed clear of anything suspicious, so Seb turned his attention to the walls. Two of the three were bare stone, but the third had upon it a scene in a mix of high and low relief that appeared to depict the story of how Hannibal had destroyed his brothers’ kingdoms and his creation of Iram.

Sebastian examined the carving top to bottom; one scene showed Hannibal in the desert, conversing with the Marid, one showed him razing the towers of his elder brothers to the ground as their armies watched in terror, and the next showed the king interceding between the two rival kings as they kneeled, collapsed and struggling to grip their swords while their attendants looked on. More scenes showed Hannibal weaving sorceries in the desert, and the creation of the first water, but there was nothing that seemed strange to Sebastian’s unschooled eyes.

Then Sebastian paused, returning to the scene of Hannibal and his brothers. It didn’t seem out of place, but for some reason it nagged him. He squinted, examining it closer.

Hannibal held a rod, a symbol of his might, pointed straight outwards between his two brothers, whose eyes remained locked. The attendants all had their focus on the Magi King. Above them all were the moon and the stars. No—not just stars, Sebastian realized: constellations.

Sebastian was no expert, but he could recognize The Trident, with its forks always pointed to the south. Meaning south was behind Hannibal. Then it struck him, why would Hannibal intercede when his brothers had already been brought to submission? He would try reason first wouldn’t he? Sebastian reached his hand out and grasped the figure of the king and found it to be slightly worn in the center.

He twisted it, fearing that the hand-high figure would snap at any moment, but instead it gave with a small pop and began to turn. Sebastian kept twisting and the sculpture continued turning until the Magi King now faced the opposite direction, his staff pointed to the desert. Hannibal wasn’t intervening between his brothers, he was leading their people to his new kingdom.

Sebastian smiled with self-satisfaction as the statue clicked into place and a low rumbling accompanied one of the massive floor-stones receding into the wall behind it. Seb craned his neck and looked inside the secret passage to find a dimly lit ramp descending into an unknown level. Before he could examine the passage in depth, the massive stone floor began to close; Sebastian rolled down the ramp into the unmapped maze. He just hoped there weren’t any other secret passages he had missed.

An Unexpected Rescue!

Safaa and Kahina woke to an amber light outside their carriage. The ghost was confused and thought that maybe dawn had already come, but the smell of smoke told them otherwise.

“Fire!” someone shouted from inside the camp. Bandits rushed to and fro, grabbing blankets and water. Two of the wagons had burst into flames and were burning white-hot.

“Did someone knock over a lantern?” Safaa wondered aloud.

Kahina was not sure herself, but curiosity became concern when there was a brief commotion outside their cart, followed by silence. A shadow crept outside their wagon, slow and deadly, and the pair were very aware that the monster which hunted them was still on the loose.

“Could it… do you think the ghul might have lit the fire?” Kahina asked quietly.

Safaa did not know what to say. It was smart, surely such a plan was not outside the realm of possibility.

“Stay behind me Safaa, you’re hurt, and it’s me it wants,” whispered Kahina.

“Kahina, no! I promised Sebastian I would protect you. I can cry out. If the bandits return they might drive the creature away.” replied the ghost.

“No, we cannot!” whispered the sorceress. “I would rather die than give them what they seek. This way, at least we might have a chance. Better than to die as slaves.”

Safaa protested, but she was feeling weak, and Kahina pushed in front of the possessed rogue to the door of the cabin. The shadow crept from one side of the wagon to the other while the captives inside sat bravely, despite the nervous sweat dripping from their pores.

The shadow inserted a key into the lock on the door and Kahina bit back her desire to do just as Safaa had suggested and cry out for help. She stood and prepared to fight for her life as the lock clicked and the door was released. It swung open with slow care.

The sorceress’s eyes bulged, then she exhaled a deep sigh of relief. Safaa held on to the magi’s sleeve and looked with confusion between Kahina and the stranger at the door.

“Quick, let’s get you out of those chains,” said the man.

“Please do; I nearly died from fright,” admitted the sorceress.

Safaa looked with even more confusion at the man when he held the spirit’s shoulder with familiarity and undid her bindings. Kahina sensed the ghost’s confusion.

“Oh, this is awkward,” the magi whispered, biting her lip. “Safaa? Let me introduce you to Mister Hanno.”

 

Kahina grabbed their belongings and they ran away into the night before stopping to speak again. Hanno assisted Safaa up the hill and soon they were in sight of Voliban’s mighty walls. Sebastian’s friend stopped and set the rogue down, deciding that they had gone far enough to be safe for a moment.

“Sebastian, what is wrong with you brother? You haven’t said more than two words, did they cut out your tongue too when they beat you?” Hanno chided jokingly. He was worried Sebastian was hurt worse than he let on. He was even more confused when Sebastian merely smiled and blushed as the rogue turned his face.

“Uhh—perhaps I might explain,” said Kahina.

She regaled the swordsman with a brief retelling of their journey so far, but when the sorceress got to the part about Safaa being the one inside Sebastian’s body Hanno stopped her with an outstretched hand.

“You did what?” he said, partly confused, partly angry that they would play a trick like this.

“Sebastian, what nonsense is she speaking?” Hanno asked of his old friend.

Safaa looked between them nervously and cleared her throat.

“Thank… thank you for saving us Mister Hanno. But, uh, Miss Kahina is telling the truth,” Safaa replied.

Hanno stood and looked flabbergasted for a moment, then turned his head and closed his eyes as he pinched the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and thumb, and clenched his jaw. Safaa and Kahina watched him do this, and the magi woman began to fidget.

“Hanno—” began the sorceress.

“WHAT PART OF THIS IS TAKING CARE OF SEBASTIAN!?” Hanno shouted suddenly.

“Please, Mister. Kahina only-” Safaa started to say.

“Nope! No, you shut up Sebastian. Or Safaa, or whoever you are. I am talking with this woman right here. What did I say?” Hanno continued, directing his attention to the sorceress.

“Hanno, I am sorry,” apologized the magi.

“Sorry? Kahina, look—turn your head to the left and look. Sebastian is covered in bruises, apparently you are contracting with demons, and now he is possessed by the ghost of a dead woman. Do you see how any of this might be a little bit, oh I don’t know, completely and utterly NOT SAFE!?”

Hanno sighed a deep and resigned sigh and pinched his nose again. Then he shook his head and opened his eyes and sighed one more time.

“Well, at least the both—three of you—are safe for now. Let’s go meet with Maestro Ludovico,” Hanno said at last.

“Is he here as well?” Kahina asked, suddenly even more nervous to meet the man who had trained Sebastian.

Hanno smiled, just as easygoing as Sebastian, if not more.

“Well of course! Who do you think was lighting the fires?” he said.

The Spirit Awakens.

“… Sebastian looked at the tomb and found it to be a fine and sturdy structure, crafted in stone with a domed roof. Safaa’s family must have had better fortunes in the past, he thought, but grave robbing was beneath even him. A chill ran up his spine as Sebastian looked at the heavy wooden door that composed its entrance.

“Can you help me here Sebastian?” Kahina asked.

The old doorway had been sealed shut from time and the elements and did not budge as she tried to open it. The rogue was exhausted, tired and worn down, but he did as she asked and put his weight behind it and opened the door with a grunt. It swung open with a rasping groan, and a wave of tomb air rife with staleness and moisture struck them in the face. Kahina coughed and waved her hand in front of her face to ward off the dust and took the first step inside.

“So what are we doing here Kahina?” Sebastian asked. He found himself wishing that they had brought a lamp, or even a candle as he peeked inside the gloomy crypt.

“We are holding a séance,” she explained. “We must find her body first, then hopefully I can rouse her spirit and get it to return to her and speak with us.”

“Isn’t that just a bit… macabre?” asked the rogue, shuddering as he stepped down into the tomb.

“I do not like it any more than you do, I promise. But unless you have a better idea this is what we must do,” Kahina said. “Come, help me find which grave is hers.”

The rogue went left, and Kahina went right as they searched each sarcophagus in the round room. Sebastian squinted in the gloomy light to read the names but found Safaa’s resting place on the far-left side of the tomb.

“Kahina, I think this is it,” said Sebastian, calling over his shoulder to his companion.

The sorceress joined him beside the sarcophagus and looked for herself.

“Well, let’s open it,” she replied.

The stone lid of the funerary box must have weighed three times as much as Sebastian or more. Together Sebastian and Kahina struggled and pushed the stone off, grinding with every inch traveled and every drop of sweat from their brows. At last they created a space big enough to see the body within.

Safaa was dry—mummified even. But even so, they could see a glimpse of the beauty she had once been. Sebastian saw more than passing similarity to Kahina herself, and furrowed his brow as he thought of what might have happened if he hadn’t checked on the sorceress the night before.

The exertion had tired him even more, so the rogue sat to the side and let the magi woman work. Kahina opened a small flask at her side and placed a few drops of the oil upon Safaa’s eyes and lips and began to murmur. The magi woman took out a small tinderbox and lit it, then used it to light some incense which she placed around the body.

Sebastian listened closely to Kahina’s words, but try as he might he could not decipher a language he had ever heard before. Or if it was even a human tongue at all. In fact, he was having difficulty concentrating on much of anything for that matter. Kahina’s words droned and melded together like an endless and breathless chant. Soon Sebastian found himself developing a pounding and fierce headache; it was so piercing it began to feel as though pokers were being driven from within his skull and into his eyes. He could hear a girl’s sobbing, echoing throughout the chamber like bells in an empty temple.

It’s coming, oh it’s coming,” said the voice, through sobbing gasps.

“Did you hear that?” Sebastian asked. Or, at least he thought he asked. If Kahina had heard him she did not acknowledge it as she continued to chant.

Please, please don’t let it take me. It’s so cold.

It must be Safaa,” thought Sebastian, who else could it be? The pain in his skull was so intense it was nearly blinding, so white-hot that it was all he could manage not to cry out in pain as he clutched his head between his hands and covered his ears in an attempt to drown out the chanting and the voice of Safaa.

Through the chanting and the crying voice he lost all perception of who he was, and could no longer feel his limbs nor see any light. And then the chanting stopped.

“Safaa…?” Kahina asked questioningly. She was somewhere in front of him, but Sebastian could not see her. But then something happened which surprised them both.

“Who are you?” Safaa answered. But the voice was no longer ghostly, no longer even that of a young woman, it was his own voice.

“Am… am I alive?” Safaa asked, sounding just as perturbed by her voice as Sebastian was trapped inside.

“Are you Safaa?” Kahina asked again.

“I am—Or at least, I was,” replied the ghost.

“Oh… oh no,” Kahina said. Her heart sank to the pit of her stomach and the magi finally realized that she may have made a mistake.

The ghost looked at Kahina and suddenly a memory came flooding back to Safaa. A look of panic flashed across Sebastian’s face and the ghost possessed rogue grasped Kahina’s arms tightly and took her by surprise.

“Is it here!?” shouted the ghost as it stared into Kahina’s shocked and terrified face. “Does it know where you are!?”

“Seb—Safaa? Who? What do you mean?” the magi managed to sputter.

“The Silat! Is it here?” Said the ghost, still panicking.

“No—I do not think so! Please let me go!” Kahina cried.

Safaa released her grip, leaving white marks behind on the sorceresses wrists from her unfamiliar strength. Sebastian’s face was apologetic, but the ghost used his eyes and warily looked about for any signs of danger.

“What does it want from me?” asked Kahina as she massaged her arms. Thinking of a way she could undo this séance and return Sebastian to his body.

The ghost stopped scanning the room and looked the magi in the eyes before raising an eyebrow in a way that seemed so unfamiliar on the face Kahina had grown to know.

“Don’t you know…?” asked Safaa. “He wants your heart.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voices in the dark.

Sebastian was glad to be away from the crowds, but as they turned down yet another empty street he began to feel uneasy. It was quiet—silent even, and not a creature stirred on the road they were on besides them. The breeze blew a chilly evening wind as it passed over the grates of a cistern, and Sebastian shivered deeply. The feeling was so heavy that Kahina too took notice of it, and seemed concerned.

“I do not like this street, Sebastian,” she said, wringing her hands as she glanced about. “Let us be off it as quick as we can.”

Sebastian nodded as best as he could manage behind his bags. He was about to suggest they return to the main street and find an inn, but he felt the blood drain from his face and his words fail him as an unearthly voice crooned.

Help…

The voice was of a woman, and it sounded like it came from everywhere all at once. Kahina stood closer to Sebastian and they listened closely as the voice repeated the word, and then some.

Help, must help…” it called again.

This time, Sebastian could pinpoint the direction of the plea more clearly, though it sounded just as unearthly. Or was it a plea at all? The words were right, but the tone… sounded somehow anxious, not fearful.

“Well?” Sebastian said to the sorceress.

Kahina’s eyebrows pinched together, but she understood his line of thought and nodded.

They followed the voice. It flowed from one street to another as the sky grew dark, and still they followed it, compelled. Sebastian and Kahina turned the corner once more and came to an alley which was a dead end. Sebastian set down his bags and walked slowly down the path. There were no other exits, no place that someone could hide; but who had called them?

At the end of the alley was nothing but a square well, sealed with a metal grate. The rogue sat upon the well’s edge and looked around, but could see nothing out of the ordinary.

Help…

Sebastian’s blood froze. The hairs on his body all rose and unison and he turned his head. Slowly, so slowly he turned, afraid of what he had heard.

He looked at the grate stopped.

There was a hand, pale and corpselike, pointing up the alley from whence he came. And behind the hand—eyes—hollow, sunken eyes. Its voice was quiet as a whisper, quieter now, so silent that he was afraid the beat of his heart might drown it out.

Help… her.

“AAAAAARRRRAGGGGHH!” Sebastian bellowed, nearly tripping as he drew his sword. He spun to face the nameless voice behind the grate, adrenaline overcoming fear. But the hand was gone, and so too the eyes. The rogue breathed heavily, hyperventilating as blood rushed back into his face. He did not dare blink as he stood, staring at the well. After what felt like an eternity his breathing calmed and he sheathed his sword.

“Are you okay!?” Kahina asked, quite concerned.

Sebastian walked briskly past her and picked up the bags he had set down.

“There was someone in the well,” he whispered.

“What? What do you mean?” said Kahina.

“I told you, there was someone in the well!” Sebastian whispered tersely. “Or something—I don’t know! But I want nothing to do with it. Let’s get out of here.”

He stomped off ridiculously, fuming to himself over having startled the way he had. Kahina watched him with a puzzled look on her face and followed, glancing back at the well which had terrified her bodyguard.