Rainbow's Shadow Series
Exerpts
Rainbow's Shadow and the Tablet of Fate
                        Chapter 1: THE SHADOW WITHIN

Slivers of moonlight shone through dense fog as the clopping of
horse hooves echoed over a dilapidated cobble stone road.  The
stench of war was in the air and darkness riddled the land.  As horses
trudged over a deteriorated path, sludge of damp earth mixed with
the blood of warriors splattered across the trail.

Wounded warriors draped themselves on top of the armored animals.  No one spoke as
a horse from the front of the pack turned and faced the men. “We rest here,”
commanded the voice of a shadowy figure astride the lead horse.

The weary men slowed to a stop and dismounted their horses.  Complete exhaustion
filtered through the ranks of nearly one hundred warriors.  They fell to the ground and
huddled around one another.  Silence reigned as flasks of liquid passed through the
group.

The light from the moon disappeared as the fog increased.  The lead warrior, Tolar, a
large soldier with broken armor covering half of his body and most of his face, directed
his horse toward the men.  He surveyed his legion.  Wounded and exhausted, the men
gazed at their giant, but weakened, leader.

These men had been through something unspeakable.  Many nursed broken and
severed limbs.  More had been left behind for dead.  

Tolar could do nothing but trot past his men and soak in the utter defeat of the souls in
front of him.

When he reached the center of the group, he stopped his horse and gazed down at an
equally large warrior lying in exhaustion against a tree stump.  Fighting the pain from his
severed arm, the wounded warrior said, “We are no match for him without Eseph.”

Tolar remained silent, a look of utter despair on his face.   He wiped a drip of blood and
sweat from his brow.

Groans of pain and anguish increased as the men settled in for the night.  The fog
swirled and swelled within the encampment.  Tolar turned to dismount but heard a
disturbance from the front of the pack.  Looking up, he saw hordes of warriors
retreating in fear.  One of them screamed, “He has found us!  Malkuth has found us!”

Chaos ensued as the men reacted and grabbed their weapons.  Tolar shouted. “Stand
your ground.”  

The men formed a circle.

“Stand your ground, I say!”  

As the circle of warriors formed, the fog swelled and a misty white cloud engulfed the
perimeter.  

“Where are they?  Where are they?  I can’t see a thing!” shouted a fearful warrior in the
middle of the pack.

Sensing their fear, Tolar dismounted his horse and withdrew his sword.  He marched
with self confidence to the center of the circle.

“Stand your ground!”

He heard the clopping of horse hooves in the distance but could not see a thing.  The
men remained silent.

As the men readied themselves the fog dissipated around a shadowy figure in the
distance.

“No one move!” Tolar said.

The men readied their weapons.  The figure emerged from the fog but remained
unclear.  A shadowy figure with a dark cloak covering most of his body emerged and
stopped his horse.   

A warrior whispered. “It’s Malkuth!”

Tolar stared toward the men in uncomfortable silence.  

Malkuth spoke, “Finish this!”

From within the dense fog an arrow shot through the cloud and penetrated the
forehead of the warrior next to Tolar.  He dropped like a rock.

Tolar raised his sword in defiance and charged toward the enemy. “Attack!  Attack!”
Hordes of Scolits, greenish-skinned, muscular, part-human mutants, emerged from the
fog and attacked Tolar and his wounded troops.

A blow from a Scolit’s scorpion-like tail would begin a shape shifting morphing process
in its victims.  This transmutation would inject pure evil into the afflicted beings turning
them against their former brothers-in-arms.

When the mutants attacked, not only was their uncommon strength a concern, but the
instant infection from the venom of a Scolit’s tail was legendary.

As the men fought the onslaught of the Scolits it soon became apparent they were no
match for the overpowering strength and numbers of these mutant creatures.  One after
another the warriors fell to the power of the Scolits as Tolar gazed at an arrogant and
proud Malkuth survey over his conquest in the distance.

From behind Malkuth and his saliva-spewing, venom-spraying Scolits, a defeated Tolar
watched in disbelief as laser beams darted through the trees and the fog.  The lasers
hit and burned holes through the Scolits.  Tolar turned to see where this surprise
onslaught came from.

Malkuth jerked hard on the reins and turned his horse towards the disturbance.  One of
the wounded warriors shouted with enthusiasm, “It’s Eseph.  He’s made it.  It’s Eseph!”
From the fog, another shadowy figure emerged astride a white stallion.  As the fog
swirled around the image...

                                                     * * *

A football came barreling through the air and knocked a book from sweaty, clenched
hands.  The book fell title-side up.  
The Sorcerer’s Shadow rested at the foot of Bryan
Collins, a fantasy novel buff.  Bryan’s caramel brown hair complemented his athletic
build.  A typical sixteen year old, Bryan was angry eighty percent of the day for reasons
he couldn’t even understand.  

His escape from his overwhelming emotions was the world of The Sorcerer’s Shadow.   
To Bryan, the series represented an escape to a fantasy world whenever reality
threatened to overpower him.  

Frustrated by being hit by the football, Bryan looked up and shouted, “What the...”

His little brother, Will, a thirteen-year-old clone of him, and Will’s best friend Jimmy
Foster ran toward him.  Will always looked up to his older brother but clearly had a
personality of his own.  With their caramel brown hair and athletic builds it was obvious
the boys were brothers.  

Will was the type of kid who believed he could do anything no matter how outlandish it
may seem.  If something was possible, then he could accomplish it.  Bryan, on the other
hand, was more of a realist.  No matter how hard Will pushed, Bryan would continually
remind his brother of his limitations and the reality of the world they lived in.  
Irritated, Bryan jumped up.

“What in the heck are you two doing?  Can’t you see I’m reading here?”   

Will and Jimmy stopped in front of him, out of breath.  Jimmy was Will’s and Bryan’s next
door neighbor and Will’s best friend.  

Will picked up the book from the ground and said, “Sorry Bri, wanna play catch?”
Bryan said, “Catch?  Can’t you see I’m reading?”

“Not anymore.” Will said with a grin. “Come on, Bryan, we wanna work on some plays.  
You’ve been reading that thing all day.”

Bryan picked up The Sorcerer’s Shadow novel and glared at his brother.  “Leave me
alone.”

He walked away.
JOHN CICERO