Chapter One - conclusion

The Wrath of Hurucan, part two
Return to The Wrath of Hurucan, part one

The bow was pitching hard. The deck dropped out from under his feet twice before he could clamber up behind the figurehead, and he lashed himself to the cleats used to secure deck cargo. Above and ahead of him, the great gilded dolphin of the figurehead seemed to skip across the wave crests, and behind him, the crew labored to make fast the galley’s single sail.

If an old trading galley could transform itself into a flying fish, the Incari flew, and Soran’s heart was in his mouth. His belly clenched both in dread and in exhilaration as the ship sped a single breath ahead of the wind, the storm, and her own destruction. Priolas had spent most of his life on these very decks. He knew this galley as no other man would ever know her -- and still Soran’s heart hammered against his ribs, while Vayal seemed a thousand leagues away.

He flung a prayer to Helios into the storm-dark sky -- Helios the Sun, whose blazing chariot was gone, invisible in the shroud of silver-green thrown up by Hurucan. The priest-kings of Vayal believed they were descended from Helios, but Soran had never been sure if it were true, or of the great warlords of the New Kingdom simply flattered themselves while Helios chose not to comment.

A bellow from the masthead caught his ear before the wind would quite tear it away. Horem was there, lashed to the wood. The boy’s eyes were the keenest aboard, and Priolas would have been waiting to hear his voice. "The Myrmidae!" He shouted. "I see the shoals of the Myrmidae, to starboard!"

Soran clung to the side, and as the ship rolled he caught a glimpse of frothing white water. The reef always broke surface at low tide, and was marked by a bell which floated in a buoyant cage, tethered to the rocks by a chain longer than a man was tall. Those rocks had killed many a ship, and the bell only served warning to the foolish. The tides ripped and tore around the Myrmidae, and when Hurucan was on the loose, Soran knew no more dangerous waters.

In the stern, Priolas and three of his strongest were leaning their combined weight on the immense steering oar, and the Incari bucked, heaved in protest as they struggled against the force of the current. It was as if the galley longed to drive herself up on the Myrmidae, impale herself there and die at the whim of Hurucan.

The chill which invaded Soran’s bone marrow had less to do with the breaking storm than with the breath of the vengeful god which he thought he felt on his neck every moment. The Myrmidae seemed to call to the galley with the roaring voice of the sea and the keening wail of the wind, and the Incari fought her master hard in her lust to answer.

"Sweet Helios," Soran muttered into the teeth of the gale, "sweet Helios of the millions of years, spare this poor ship and these poor souls, for we are innocent and bound only for home."

Yet even as he spoke the words, he heard the sound of a lie in his own ears. Innocent? Priolas the mariner might be innocent, and most of his crew. But how much blood stained Soran’s palms? They were as scarlet as the hands of any warrior, though he had never seen a battlefield and never would. These hands were heavy, burdened with the doom of so many, men and women alike. The amulet on his breast was gold and platinum -- the mark of his rank, his warrant to take life, the sanction of Imperial Vayal to go where he would in the Five Lands, without limit or hindrance. Five years, he had worn it, and lately he felt its weight, like a burden that would drag him also to his doom.

If he had not been born to it, he would have cast it into the ocean, let the tides ripping around the Myrmidae take it into Peseden’s green depths, where the souls of the Kushoi and the Neftish were said to dwell. And where the Zehefti would dwell this night, he thought. The sky was dark as night, while sunset lay hours away, and the storm had begun to break, full force, as Priolas and his men struggled to seduce the Incari away from the shoals.

"Sweet Helios," Soran prayed, shouting now into the fangs and claws of a salt-hard gale that seemed to strip the flesh from his face and flay his body, "Helios, if I’m the son of your rage, the heir of your fury, pluck me off this deck and let the rest go free! You know me, Helios -- long and long have you known me! Not all the ocean could purge the blood from these hands, so let Hurucan and Peseden have me, let the ship pass by!"

Thunder bellowed across the sea, lightning blinded him, and the salt spray stung in his nose and throat. For a moment he believed his prayer would be answered, and his heart leapt. The old gods were often deaf to the pleas of men, but Soran’s voice was unique among them. Seventh son of the seventh son. The witchfinder of Vayal.

His eyes squeezed shut as the Incari turned her high dolphin prow toward the Myrmidae, and he held his breath, in that moment waiting only to be taken.

Return to The Wrath of Hurucan, part one ...

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About Legends...

This story has its roots in the 1980s. About the time I signed with GMP, I was kicking around the idea for a massive novel -- the problem being, I had no time to develop it. At the time, one of my "literary friends" was Lane Ingram, who passed away some years ago. When Lane volunteered to develop the narrative from my storyline, I was surprised and very agreeable; and a version of it was circulated on a small scale, to a very appreciative audience!

Lane had no aspirations to be a professional novelist, which meant writing was fun, and remained fun, while I did battle with "style" and "technique." And then one day Lane was gone, without leaving much of anything to mark the place in the world which had once bee occupied by an individual who was large in every sense of the word.

Let's change that. I'm bringing LEGENDS "to the screen" in a form which preserves as much of Lane's input as I possibly can, while at the same time properly developing it, bringing it up to full professional standard ... cutting and trimming, correcting the errant, though enthusiastic, amateur ... polishing it to the professional sparkle you've come to expect from Mel Keegan.

LEGENDS will be Lane's memorial. Here's to you, kiddo, wherever you are: enjoy.

Ebook screenreaders:

Downloading LEGENDS and reading from the computer screen? Join the club! Most people are stuck in the same situation ... and it's a right-royal pain. At this time, MK also is still trying to make the transition to one of the ebook screenreaders. The price of most of them is still high, but in the course of shopping around, Mel has found two that are coming under extremely close scrutiny. The Bebook and the Sony look like being the best deals at this time. In due course, we'll be reviewing them right here. Mel Keegan has decided it's going to be one of these two -- but they're very comparable, so ... take your pick. Either one would be perfect for reading LEGENDS, or other digital novels.

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The art appearing on this site, illustrating elements of this novel, is by Jade, my cover artist from DreamCraft.

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The portfolio is still growing, and a gallery is online. Return to this page now and then to see new addition...

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Research Tales

A great deal of research for this novel was done, and subjects Atlantean most often begun with a study of the Trojan wars.

Why? Because the iLiad is one of the very oldest bodies of writing which is also extensive enough to be useful. The problem with the iLiad is -- unless you're fluent in Ancient Green (and who is?) you'll be working from the translations ... and the "disagreement" between them is counfounding for one who's not a Homerian scholar!

The solution? Track down a book that translates the translations -- gets them out of the rich, ripe, flowery language of poetry and into a solid historical context. And in this, MK lucked out. Such a book exists: The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. It reads like a novel, and if you wanted something to get your teeth into ... perhaps after watching the movie, Troy, or after reading Legends -- this is the book you've been looking for.

There's another very scholarly work, The Flood From Heaven by Eberhard Zanger, which "deciphers the evidence" and places Atlantis at Troy! Now, Legends is about five thousand miles from Zanger's work (literally -- due west!) but having said that, Zanger is to Plato what Strauss is to Homer, and the work was extremely helpful.

Now, working even further back through time, you want a "scholar" (and note the quotation marks on that word) who spent a lifetime researching (ouch!) Atlantis. And again, MK lucked out, because there is such a man. A very brilliant man by the name of Ignatius Donnelly, whose "pop-science" book, dating from 1882, is still in print today, in several editions! It's thorough, it's astonishing, and it makes ... quite a case for Atlantis. Not that anyone believes in such things. Right?

There are also some good documentaries on DVD, if this is altogether far too much reading!

And of course, if you want to get into the spirit of the thing (!) you can always put on Troy and let Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana and company provide the inspiration! Speaking of which, have you seen the director's cut? Highly recommended.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: Legends is copyright 2009 by Mel Keegan. Please do download the whole novel, which is in HTML format, compatible with your screenreader, PC or Mac. However ... please don't gift it to your friends. Instead, give them the url of this page and recommend that they download it for themselves. The reason is simple: author's income is earned via the adverting on these pages. If they're not loaded, nothing is earned. MK has bills to pay too, and for your cooperation ... thank you kindly!

Note that Legends is NOT covered by the "Creative Commons." This work is the intellectual property of Mel Keegan. If you would like to use parts of it elsewhere, please contact MK via this blog.

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