Forgotten Lands

Before the fall…

Before the curse…

Before we forgot about them…

Rastain Forgotten Lands

A second sneak peak of the graphic novel is now available in an updated version with new content and pages. I have found this project to be extremely rewarding but challenging as well.  Layout and graphic content  are the first points of contention. I tend to go back again and again wanting to add “just one more thing”. Capturing the right look and feel has also been something I have paid a lot of attention to.

The atmosphere and the story line is what I have found to be interesting and the most challenging. Telling tales with words and pictures at the same time is so different then just writing a short story or novel. Point of view, context, dialogue and flow are still the same, however the way you deliver them is where the challenge arises. So far I have focused on the presentation and storyline. so you may find some grammar issues or syntax issues but its a work in progress that I wanted to share along the way. I wanted to show the stages and the progress over time from beginning to end product.

I wont bore you with words and paragraphs any longer. I hope you enjoy the sample and keep in mind this is an evolving project, as you can see from this sample and the first.

https://rksouliske.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/kaldrbane-comic-sampler-1.pdf

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The Dragon lily

Lilly incursion promo 1

The last three nights she has invaded my dreams. I don’t normally put much thought or meaning into dreams, but I cannot deny theses dreams. They are vivid dreams. She is always there, her beauty is intoxicating and I feel connected to her in ways I cannot explain.

I don’t feel disconnected like I normally do in dreams. No, these dreams feel more like memories or soon to be memories.

“Something is coming, something big and soon.”

This is what echoes in my mind as I wake. The dream fades but her face doesn’t. She’s with me throughout the day lingering in my mind. The slightest thought or smell brings her back into my thoughts.

I tried to explain it to people, my friends and family, but they just smiled at me and told me to spend less time on the internet. It’s frustrating as I wonder if she is having the same dreams. Is it just me and are they just dreams? Is it something more, something much larger? Is it really possible that she can be having the same dreams? There’s a part of me that wants her to be having the same dreams, just to validate what it is that I have been experiencing. I also want to spare her the experience, since the nature of the dreams isn’t always pleasurable.

The re-education camps or specialized training camps as they called them, is where we first appear in my dreams. They are nothing more than internment camps, no matter what the government designates them as. Executive orders state the purpose of the camps to be for training and reintegration back into the work force. Only problem with that is not many people leave the camps. The few that do leave the camps are usually no better off than they were before.

 “The government is mother, is father” is the mantra they now live by.

We survive the camps and for one reason or another we are released. The dreams never clearly state why, but I get the feeling once again something big is about to happen.

I see the world as one would see it from outer space, and as always her face. We are fighting some unknown force, always on the run. We only have each other and we depend on that. I feel like I have known her, that somehow I have been connected to her my entire life.

I see her broken and defiant in front of an unknown enemy, I try to reach her side, I need to rescue her but I’m prevented from doing so. She looks at me, and I can see it in her eyes, she feels it as well.

She whispers “Something is coming…..”

The world is suddenly burning. The stars are blotted out as I float above it all. I can hear what sounds like a dragon roaring in the distance. It’s shadow covers over the earth as it burns. I awake and stare into the darkness. I want to close my eyes and return. I need to return but I dare not. The sense of apprehension is thick and palatable, it drives me to remember and keep her image alive in my mind.

I need to find her. She’s out there.

“Lily” I whisper her name and close my eyes.

Maybe she will hear me and whisper my name back….

Kaldr Bane Chronicles

Kaldr Bane Chronicles, is the newest project I am working on. A graphic novel/comic series set before the events in my novel “Ancient Darkness”.

I wanted to share a sneak peak “work in progress” with everyone. It’s just the cover and 2 preview pages. I hope everyone enjoys it. I’m excited to start this project. I wont deny the fact that its loads of fun as well.

https://rksouliske.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/kaldrbane.pdf

Kaldr Bane Chronicles

“During the time of the guilds and the Elden wars, a young ranger sets out to unify the Elves and forge a foundation for peace.
  Rastain Monsaic’s mysterious past will shape the things to come for the world of Shadora.”

A chance meeting ?

paligar 1

The road to burrowers end was only a three days journey from Xanter, for anyone other than a changeling that is. The world seemed to always get in the way of the journey for most changelings. A small twist in the road meant a new area to investigate and new wonders to experience.

Copper noticed the warm glow of the fire ahead. He had been traveling along the road for what seemed like years to him. He was just about to camp himself for the night, but it was fortunate enough that someone else was in need of his company. He smiled as he skipped ahead. He knew they would be excited to see him, whoever they were.

“Hello !!! fellow traveler” Copper called out merrily, as he approached the campsite.

The old man sitting at the fire turned and looked sternly at the changeling. The old man’s long white beard twitched slightly as he realized the new comer was just a changeling traveling along the road.

“Hello there little one.” his voice was serious and copper paid no attention to that. He was transfixed on the ruined tower and crumbled walls just a short distance away from the road. The moons full light lit the ancient tower in a pale glow as it filtered through the trees stopping just short of the campsite. Copper looked on in wonder as he imagined an imaginary line separating the tower and the campsite. This line, in the changelings mind, prevented the moon light from crossing. To copper this was an odd occurrence, certainly one that led him to many new questions.

“Do you think it’s haunted?” Copper asked as he seated himself near the fire.

“The ruins?” The old man asked as he looked over his shoulder. He smiled knowingly as he returned his gaze on the changeling.

“yes the ruins.” Copper answered as he looked quizzically at the old man. Such an odd answer for such an obvious question, he thought as he settled himself in.

“The only spirits that dwell there are ones of memories and regrets.”  A sadness appeared across the old man’s face for a moment as he paused to gather himself.

“Trust me on this little one, the arrogance and ego of men is all that echoes amongst those dusty rooms.”

 Copper looked over at the ruins longingly. He smiled and looked at the old man.

“My name is Copper Tenderfoot” He smiled innocently; the old man had to have heard of him before. It would take a few minutes he supposed for the realization to settle in.

“Copper is it?” The old man smiled

“A fitting name for a changeling.” He always enjoyed talking with changelings. Of all the races in shadora the changeling race was the one race with a unique perspective on spirituality, morality, and anything else for that matter.

“I am very fond of it myself,now that you mention it “ Copper answered as beamed in satisfaction.

“Master Copper, I wonder if you would indulge me for a bit and listen to a tale I have been working on” The old man leaned forward and grinned as he spoke.

Copper loved a good story, he wasn’t too sure about this old man’s ability to tell tales but he would give him the courtesy of listening.

“I love a good story!” he answered as he settled himself in a bit more.

“Excellent… Excellent my boy” The old man smiled as he leaned back and started to tell his tale….

There was once a man who wanted a second chance to go back in time and do it all over again. He believed he was in control of what once was.  He pleaded with the creator daily to allow him to go back into time and undo all that had already been done in his life. The creator granted his request and sent the man back to his early youth.

The younger version of the man had no recollection of his older wiser self and simply went on is way in life. He made all the same choices and all the same mistakes.  The creator returned and showed the man what once was and what was once again.

“I don’t understand!” The man cried…

“I wanted to avoid all those things that I did and all the pain I endured.”

It never dawned on the man that his hindsight was guiding him. He did not possess the ability to see the paths and choices he could or would make. He wasn’t a god and he could only see the moment.

The creator smiled and asked him a simple question.

“Can you control when you are born?”

“No” the man answered.

“Can you control how the weather will be today?”

“Of course not”

The man was getting frustrated he couldn’t understand what the creator was trying to say.

“I don’t understand, what’s the point of these questions?” He boldly inquired.

“You think that you control all your actions and choices do you not?”

“Of course I have freewill!”

“Can you control what others will say and do? Can you control what lies in wait around the next corner?”

“No” the man answered as realization started to settle in.

“You can determine what steps you will take but I control where they lead you and what will or will not be in your path next” The creator answered.

“Now go and play and stop trying to be something you are not”

The old man ended his small tale and looked at copper. The changeling was looking deep into the fire his forehead creased in concentration.

“Well?” The old man asked.

“It was a good story, but..” Copper hesitated.

“But what?” The old man was surprised at Copper’s hesitation.

“You see changelings don’t view the world like that.” He perked up instantly the more he talked.

“To us the idea of choice is natural its part of the world. We choose and we follow our choices, we don’t regret them, unless of course you lose a limb or something, that might be a bit regrettable but then again you get to use a cane!”

The old man chuckled and Copper smiled back as he continued on explaining his view of the story.

“I don’t know much about the creator, or free willies, but I don’t think he, or maybe she, or maybe it, bothers much with what we do day by day. It’s only the real big things that matter not the small things.”

“Really?” The old man mused as he slowly stood up.

“Master Copper you have an amazing journey ahead of you. I suggest you remember my story. It may one day serve you well.” He smiled and started to head off toward the old ruins.

“Wait! Where you going?” Copper jumped to his feet, but the old man had disappeared.

“You never told me your name” He whispered as he stared frightfully at the ruins.

“I knew there were ghosts in there.”

 

 

Remembrance

Rastain Monsaic - Ancient Darkness - R.K.Souliske

“I have a proud heritage, one that stems not from nobility and long lineages but from honor and courage. My parents fought during the great war. The war that the elves call “the time of great sorrow”, while the dwarves grumble and swear “Told you so”. Some misguided humans, who desire power over all else called it “the time of great strength”. Regardless of what the great war was called it was a dark time that ripped apart all of Shadora.

The scars across the land still remain, even as the shadows of evil slowly slip away. We must always remain vigilante and never let the blood of our forefathers be in vain. Peace and freedom for all the races was won, not by just one person but by all. Today we see our memory slowly fade and our endurance falter. We let politics and the games of kings decide our fates. The battles that once were waged with magic and steel are now fought in the shadows with daggers and decrees. The blood of our forefathers cries out for us to remember. Remember what it was they fought for..”

Ash put the quill down as he stretched. He had been at his desk for hours, writing and rewriting the same speech over and over again. He wasn’t a politician, he was a warrior like his father and mother. The others though felt differently. They hung the very future of the kingdom on his shoulders, upon his family’s name.

A soft knock at the door interrupted his thinking. He sighed in relief as he looked up at the old tattered Kaldr bane flag that hung on the wall. He let his hand run along the flags torn edges as he remembered his father and mother.

“Enter” he answered as the soft knock sounded once again. The door slowly opened as a young maid entered. Her long blond hair cascaded down over her face as she entered with her head bowed.

“I apologize for the intrusion sire.” She spoke softly as she entered the room.

“Stop that. How many times must I tell you Summer, do not call me sire and do not act like you are my servant.” Ash answered with irritation.

Summer smiled and nodded. She could hear his father in his tone.

“The dwarves and the elven representatives are waiting for you in the main hall.” She smiled as Ash frowned. He hated meeting with politicians and it showed on his face and in his overall demeanor.

“just to be forewarned, they are not happy”

“Who the dwarves or the elves?” Ash asked, even though he already knew the answer.

“Both of them” Summer answered as she picked up his cloak from a chair and held it for him.

“Of course they are unhappy…. they expect the impossible. They both want their way and have thousands of reasons why it must be so.” Ash grumbled as he headed for the door. He stopped and turned abruptly.

“What would our father have done in this situation?” He asked Summer.

She had been with his father and mother for many years following the great war, after they had found her barely alive They had nursed her back to health and took her in like family. They never asked her why she was left for dead on the roadside, nor did they ever wonder about it. Summer had grown up with Ash. She was his older sister. She was elven by heritage, but she was a Monsaic by right.

“He would have simply burnt Xanter to the ground” She smirked as she left the room.

***

Extended Universe excerpt from future projects and novels that are in the works. I hope you Enjoy!

The aftermath

poster concept 6 final

The morning came quickly as the first gray rays of light entered the valley. The gray overcast skies loomed overhead but a fresh light covering of snow seemed to cast the valley in a dazzling display of sparkling light. Kiera was the first to rise. She had sat and watched the early hours of dawn transform from darkness to light. The gray skies still existed but a new day had dawned. The fresh snow seemed to have given the world a different perspective, one that did not go on noticed by Kiera. She felt a new sense of purpose an urgency that forced her to press on. She smiled and thought of her mentor.
“Belief… that’s where it starts, from there everything else grows…” Icardan stood behind her as he spoke. She turned to him in surprise and wondered how the priest could have known her current thoughts.
“How could you know what I was…?”  She was interrupted by him as he turned and headed down the rock strewn ledge.
“Did I read your mind? It was all over your face… I have seen it a hundred times before…the moment one realizes that the day is new as is the journey…”
He turned and beckoned her to follow.
“Come on, let us leave the dreary talk behind and set forth on the adventure of a life time… I have a feeling that this quest of yours will be one that makes the tales of old seem to pale in comparison.”
Kiera smiled and pulled her pack on, she felt the sense of excitement in her grow as they headed down the valley.

They had traveled for several hours before they came across the burnt out settlement. The small wooden huts smoldered in the cold valley air, as the smell of burnt flesh still lingered in the air. The bodies lay piled in a gruesome heap in the midst of the small settlements center. The ground was covered in blood and entrails as if the settlers had been butchered and then the mangled remains just left where they fell. Kiera leaned over the edge of a rock and vomited at the gruesome sight. These weren’t soldiers or rebels they were old men, woman and young children. The Erahaim flag was pitched in the middle of the gruesome tower of flesh, proudly fluttering in the cold breeze.  Kiera dropped to her knees as the tears welled up in her eyes. She had wanted a reason to justify her fight against the Erahaim and now she was given it. She hated them now more then ever, her fear and hopelessness seemed to suddenly melt away under the intense flare of hatred and anger.
Icardan drew his sword and slashed the flag down. He picked it up with the tip of his sword as if it was infected and vile smelling. He dropped it into the nearest smoldering fire. With solemn determination he went from each burnt out hut gathering any wood or oil that he could find. He stacked the wood at the base of the pillar of flesh, while he soaked it in oil as well. Kiera joined as well and they went methodically and silently through out the village gathering what they could to create a funeral pyre.

Several hours later they stood silently watching the flames roar and engulf the bodies. They stood for as long as they could in silent reverence until the stench and smoke overwhelmed them. Icardan stood at the edge of the village looking back one last time before they headed down the road.
“Someone will see the fire and come to investigate” His tone was emotionless as he merely stated facts. Kiera was taken a bit back by his emotionless response but she said nothing, she herself felt numb and emotionless as well. The Erahaim and their hosts of demon warriors had declared war against Shadora and now all those that refused to worship and submit would suffer the fate of those in the village.
“We best move on and get as far from here as we can then. Hopefully no one was near enough to get here before we are long gone.” Kiera drew her own sword and kept it gripped tightly as she ran off down the road. Icardan looked at her for a moment and followed.

Excerpt from Ancient Darkness – A novel by R.K. Souliske

Available where ever books are sold on August 20th 2013

Incursion


“Are you a religious man doc?”

 “I consider myself a man of faith if that’s what you mean.” The doctor answered, noting John’s sudden change of focus. Taking the focus off of himself and projecting the conversation towards another. He needed to guide John back.

 “So were you religiously motivated? Are you trying to tell me God told you to commit this crime?” The harsh disapproving tone in the doctor’s voice was not missed by John.

“No doc, this has nothing to do with God… at least not in the sense you are suggesting.” John sighed, like an adult trying to explain the simplest of things to a stubborn child.

 “Do you truly believe that God would create a vast universe full of mystery and beauty and thousands upon billions of stars and galaxies and then make life only possible here on this little dirt ball of a planet?”

John’s question once again confused the doctor. Nothing seemed connected. Every question and statement John was making pointed in several different directions at once. The patient’s psychosis was splintering off into any direction that his imagination dared venture at. John’s mind was at the whim of his own fantasy. The most puzzling part was John showed no sign of derangement or paranoia that most subjects would have shown. Instead he appeared frustrated. The doctor got the sense that John was fighting against something. John was desperately trying to sum up a much larger story in mere moments.

 “Such things are better left to theologians and scholars; their time is much better spent debating such things. Our time now is better served in getting to the core of your problems.”

 “But that’s the very problem that exists, we let others tell us what to think! They are counting on that! The more lost we are in our ways of thinking and understanding of the universe and our place in it. The better off they are!” John’s frustration was evident as he continued to look at the clock.

 “Everyday of our lives we walk around ignorant of what really is going on around us. We hear stories, rumors but we just shove them off as conspiracy and fantasy. Have you ever once stopped and thought, why does every story, myth from every culture of the world since the dawn of civilization always seem to tell us the same story?” John sighed as he tried to tell the doctor everything he knew and had discovered.

 “We have been lied to, manipulated and controlled for centuries. That’s all over now. The two sides have drawn a line in the sand and one of them has decided to step over that line.” John was getting frantic he could feel the rumbling from deep within the ground even from several stories up. He focused his mind and took a deep breathe. He needed the doctor to understand and not just right him off as a lunatic.

Just a small excerpt from one of the novels that I have been kicking around over in the background.