Chapter Twenty-one continued3

The Winds of Chance part four

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“You’re not. I’ve thought about it,” Faunos admitted, “a lot since the Quezelus shipped out. But I couldn’t even begin to search till I come properly into the Power. Till I come of age. I told you -- five years if I had a teacher, but I don’t have one, and it’ll likely take closer to a decade for me to puzzle it out for myself.”

“And I told you, I can help,” Soran added, “in more ways than you know.” He caught Faunos by the shoulders, dumped him on the bunk and nuzzled the bruise he had branded into the skin of his neck. The pad of his tongue caressed it and his voice was muffled. “It’s in my own interests to find the foci. I’ve no respect for men like Azhtoc, Druyus, Baobo. But the common people of Vayal deserve to know the truth, and to live.”

“Do they?” Faunos sounded less than convinced.

“They’ve done much to deserve the drowning that’s in store for them, it’s true,” Soran admitted. “They’ve systematically destroyed your people, and they have a price to pay for it. But it was done out of ignorance and superstition, Faunos. Set them a price to pay for their crimes. Make it a high price. Let the guilty pay it, and let the young, who’ve not yet been taught to hate and fear, grow up in a world without priest-kings and witchfinders.” He kissed the hollow of Faunos’s throat. “If you’re the One -- and I have to believe you are -- the prophecy says you’ll tear down the empire. It’s rotten, ready to fall, and I’ll be the last to grieve as it crumbles. But if the ancient books are right, you also have the Power to hold back the sea, to defy the gods themselves. Perhaps the common people of Vayal, unburdened by priests and kings, can begin again.”

“Sweet Helios!” Faunos’s face twisted. “It’s not much you ask of me! And I think you ask too much -- I can’t defy Hurcan! All I want is to find one of the colonies where the Zeheftimen settled, and vanish among them. Let me walk into the midst of people who look and sound like me, and … disappear.”

Soran brushed the copper hair back from his brow and explored the shape of the shell of one ear. Another plain gold sleeper was pierced into the lobe, and he fingered it. “You’ll wear your valuables for me. Soon. Tonight, perhaps, while these two ships make their way to Thebes, and thence into strange waters neither of us knows.”

Again, Faunos groaned. “I don’t understand. You talk in such riddles, you should have been a damned oracle yourself.”

The observation made Soran laugh. “It’ll take months, years, to follow the legends, find the temple and the tomb. So you have all the time in the world to study, become a master in this arcane skill. Become a man.” He arched both brows at Faunos. “Iridan told me to study. He told me as plainly as an oracle can, the foci do exist, and they won’t, can’t, remain lost forever.” He laid one fingertip on Faunos’s nose. “Do you want to live Galen’s dream?”

“Do you?” Faunos looked troubled. “Are you trying to make a fool of me?”

But Soran kissed him, long and hard, to dispel the notion. “If there’s a fool on this ship, it’s probably me. I’ve just thrown over my rank and title, abdicated from any expectation I ever had to wear the double crown, and willingly made myself as fugitive, with the rage of Azhtoc and the lust of Druyus snapping at my heels.” He mocked himself with a wry grin. “And I assure you, Faunos Phinneas Aeson, my lord, the decision wasn’t made lightly.”

The words seem to befuddle Faunos. Soran waited patiently. “Why?” he asked at last, a simple question begging the most complex answers.

Soran had spent the night brooding on the same question, but answers remained far from easy. “Because I’m tired of hunting down souls like you, so Druyus can maim and kill you.” These were the thoughts that had haunted him, but they sounded odd, being clothed in words. “Because I’ve learned the lie Azhtoc is perpetuating. Because I believe Vayal will be destroyed at the whim of Hurucan and Volcos, while Azhtoc and Druyus are too interested in protecting their rank and wealth to do anything to stop it happening.” He heard the anger in his own voice, and took a deep breath. The next took a great deal of courage. “Because I have the blind faith in the One described in the prophecy … and because I love you.”

How difficult it was to say it. The words were almost trapped in his throat, unspoken -- not because they were untrue, but because the admission inspired more fear than any demon that ever escaped from the gates of Hados. He girded his loins and looked into Faunos’s face.

The Zeheftiman wore a deep frown. His eyes were solemn. “You know your business, I suppose,” Faunos admitted. “But if it’s the people of Vayal you want to rescue, it’d be easier to use your own fortune to buy a fleet of ships, and invite them to flee over the horizon when Hurucan and Volcos decide the moment of doom has arrived.”

“It would,” Soran agreed. “I thought this much, too. But if it were possible to save Vayal … if the Power were enough to fetch back Zeheft …” He lifted one brow at Faunos. “You’re not the slightest bit intrigued?”

“Of course I am,” Faunos muttered.

“And it doesn’t move you at all,” Soran pressed, “that I love you?”

“It would,” Faunos admitted, “if I believed it, but those words are too easy to say, and they’re said far too often -- and every time they’re uttered, they make trouble.”

A groan of sheer frustration escaped Soran’s chest. “You still think I’m trying to deceive you?”

“Or perhaps you’re deceiving yourself,” Faunos allowed. “Don’t wound me, Soran. I’ve done nothing to earn such harsh punishment.”

With a soft curse, Soran caught him in both arms and crushed the breath out of him. “I’ve thought of nothing but you since the night you walked out on me, in the gypsy camp.”

Faunos whispered something in a language far too old for Soran to know what he had said. “I’ve dreamed of you,” he confessed. “I don’t deny I behaved badly that night. I behaved like a houri, and you treated me like one. It was a lover I wanted.”

“And you won one,” Soran said sharply. “Or do you mean it was a beloved you wanted? Because you won one of those, too, though you didn’t know it at the time.” He held Faunos’s face against his shoulder and kissed the warm crown of his head. “No matter. It may take days and weeks for me to convince you I’m speaking the truth, but eventually, you’ll learn to trust me.”

“Eventually?” Faunos echoed, and wriggled loose to see Soran’s face. “You’re staying, then? This ship is bound for Thebes, it’s not turning around, back to Vayal?”

“We’re going to drop off this ridiculous cargo in Thebes and then victual for a long, long expedition.” Soran glanced out through the sternports at the inviting, forbidding expanse of the ocean. “Somewhere in those books of yours there’ll be clues, pointers, stories, legends in which are buried grains of truth. The clues to the location of the tomb and the temple will be there, I’m certain of it. And you have the skills to read those books. You’ll find the clues. The Incaria and the Quezelus will get us there.”

The green Keltoi eyes were wide. “My gods,” Faunos whispered hoarsely, “you’re serious.”

“Absolutely serious.” Soran stretched every bone and muscle. “I’ve already told Priolas everything I know, and he’s taken the commission. The Incari sails for me. At this moment, Priolas is telling his kinsman Senmet everything he learned from me -- everything Iridan told me, and all I was able to learn in the Library. Then they’ll be looking at you, my sweet, for answers ... and you’d better have them, since two ships and two crews will be languishing, waiting for a word from you.”

“Answers?” Faunos echoed. “I don’t have any answers!”

Turn page to Chapter Twenty-one continued...

Return to Chapter Twenty...

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.

Soon you'll be able to order prints, treeshirts, mugs, mousepads and a lot more, featuring this artwork and manufactured in the US by

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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