Tag Archives: Rhys

Goals

Well, it’s here again.  Another November.  Also known as the craziest month of the year.  I’ve run Kickstarters in November before, and I’ve done NaNoWriMo on two different occasions.

This year, I’m doing both—at the same time.

Truth be told, this year, I’m trying to see if I can reach three goals by the end of the month.  It’s going to be insane.  It’s going to be intense.

For the Kickstarter, we need to raise $15,000 in order to secure the minimum order from our manufacturer.  It’d be even better if we managed to pull off more than that, because I have so many cool things lined up that I’d love to see if we could hit.

In case you haven’t seen all the KS links plastered all over the site, here’s another one.

 

On the NaNoWriMo side of things, I’m also still working on Quantum Quest.  This year’s book is going to focus on a novelization for the upcoming game, and we’re including some pretty cool things from the Tellest universe.  One of them is a hero who wasn’t on the front cover of the game box.  When you’re thinking of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff, I know who you’re thinking of.  That’s right.  Rhys Oberon.

That was who you were thinking of.  Right?

Rhys has only had one small starring role so far.  He was the character who set a lot of time traveling shenanigans in motion in Keeper of the Void.  But he’s a huge character in the grand tapestry of Tellest.  I haven’t had a chance to write a follow-up story for him, but I’m definitely going to make attempts to get at least one more short out for him before QQ and its novelization release.

And even if you haven’t realized it, he’s had his hand involved in some of the other events in the Tellest books so far.

For the Quantum Quest book, I need to complete 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’ve pulled it off before, but never with so much else riding on my shoulders.  With two big convention weekends this month, it’s going to be interesting to see if I can pull it off.

I should probably abstain from writing big ol’ blog posts, huh?

Finally, this last goal is more for myself than for my creative passions.  I’m a little too old to be as pudgy as I am.  Rhianna and I found a lifestyle change that’s been working out for us pretty well.  I’d love to drop another 10 lbs by the end of the month.  So that’s it.  The third goal is a little bit of weight loss.

The conventions are certainly not going to help with that.

So that’s it for now, but I’m going to be a little bit more vocal on this site as the Kickstarter and NaNoWriMo go on.  You can actually see a sneak peek of the QQ novelization if you head over to the campaign page.  I think you’ll like what you read!

Cheers,

Mike

Keeper of the Void, Part Two

Once again, I want to thank everyone for their support of Tellest as we draw to close the first phase of our stories.  It was with all of you that we went on this journey, and I’m excited about taking the next steps.  Be on the lookout for more stories, art and other projects in the weeks to come.  Thank you so much!

 Keeper of the Void

A Story by Michael DeAngelo

-Part Two-

Before his eyes, the orb grew dark, his reflection peering back at him.  He did not realize it, but a great influx of mist had entered the void.  He shook his head, freeing himself of the trance that held his attention to the orbs.

“You see now what you are needed for?” Nyrshia asked.

Rhys turned and glared at the keeper of the void.  “No, not really.  Nothing I saw looked out of the ordinary in the slightest.”

“Because you’ve already set things right,” Vedas insisted.

“How could I set things right?  I’ve never seen any of those people in my life.”

Vedas shook his head while Nyrshia seemed to float away in the mist.  “You still don’t understand, do you?  Time is not some arrow shot forth to meet an end.  It is a series of waves on a distant shore, cascading against rocks, sending ripples through the ocean.  You are merely a ripple, Rhys, neither here nor there.  You’ve rescued these people from a break in the timeline, yet you’ve never strayed from your own.”

“You told me to witness the events in the orb, and so I have.  Give me the mirror, and let me be on my way.”

A smirk was all Rhys could see as Nyrshia disappeared into the mist.  “Very well.  Give him what he seeks, Vedas.”

While the keeper of the void disappeared into the miasma from whence she came, Vedas stepped forward.  He tossed the item to Rhys, watching as the human sprung forth to catch it.

“You know the power that thing holds, don’t you?” the cobalt-hued warrior asked.

“I’m aware,” Rhys insisted.  “I can save my people with this.”

“At the cost of your soul, perhaps.”

“Let me worry about my soul.”

As he said the words, though, the orb beside him transitioned once more.  He saw the woman inside, her smile so disarming he almost dropped the mirror.  Vedas caught that surprise, arching his eyebrow.

“You know, you should never steal something from a thief,” Rhys mentioned.

“And why is that?”

“Because they’ll steal something back.”

Before he had the opportunity to reflect on that comment—that threat—Vedas could feel his feet leaving the ground.  Rhys was already in motion, grabbing the orb beside him and holding it close to his chest.  He took several bounding steps while Vedas floated in the air.

“Your tricks will not work for long, boy!” Vedas cried.  “When I find you, I’ll rip out your insides and feast on your bones!”

As Rhys drew farther away, he snapped his fingers.  Vedas plummeted from the air, landing in a heap.  Mist scattered about, and when he rose to his feet, the human was gone.

Rhys inhaled a deep breath, straining through the miasma of the void.  With every long, quick stride, he could feel his lungs burning in his chest.  He couldn’t stop running, though.  Vedas’ words may very well have been true—perhaps his kind enjoyed the taste of human flesh.

Throughout his ceaseless race, Rhys could not find the exit.  Without any observable landmarks, there wasn’t even a sure way to know he had kept to the same direction.  Wary he may have been running right back to Vedas, he gripped the mirror and the sphere tighter.

“You know not what you do,” Nyrshia’s voice echoed out among the void.  It was almost as if it was rising from the ground beneath every one of the thief’s footfalls.  “Return the orb to us and all will be forgiven.”

Though her words sent a shiver up his spine, Rhys noted the concern in her tone.  The orb could be stolen—she was fearful of that.  Almost as soon as he considered that, he could see a swirling vortex in the distance: the exit.

“No matter what happens, you can’t bring her back,” Nyrshia insisted.  “It is a fixed point in time.  She was meant to be lost.”

That insight cascaded over him like a raging waterfall.  His pace waned for a moment, and he reflected on that idea.  His brow furled, and he resumed his hasty sprint, blood pumping furiously through his veins.

When he arrived at the portal, he could feel the perspiration soaking through his tunic.  A few labored breaths were all he allowed himself before he lifted the orb, peering at its contents.  Sure enough, it was the familiar woman again, peering back out at him as though she knew she was being watched.

“I don’t care what she says.  I’ll find a way to save you, Mother.”

One last burning breath was all he was afforded before he flung himself into the portal.  He wasn’t instantly faced with the lush countryside he had come from, though.  A tangible darkness swirled all around him, oppressive and filled with an unfamiliar energy.

A resounding crack echoed in that small area.  He lifted the mirror and saw his reflection, still unmarred.  Another crack roared out in that pocket of swirling energy, and he drew back, gazing at his other pilfered item.

The orb no longer displayed a single uniform image.  Dozens of events and places were shown across its cracked surface, and as it continued to lose its integrity, still more images appeared.

As though a powerful gust of wind had buffeted him, he was knocked aside.  Rhys watched while the orb rose in the air, luminescing between each of its many cracks.  The vortex, that little pocket of the void that he had entered, filled with that same bright light.  Silence entered the place—not the absence of sound, but the complete destruction of it, Rhys realized.  For as the orb continued to deteriorate, he could feel himself pulled toward it.  That painful tug had him screaming, but no sound emerged from his lips.  A shard of mirrored glass flew toward the floating sphere, and it took all his effort to turn the mirror about.

Fragments of glass remained, enough to see he was being stretched and torn in much the same manner.

The pain and the fear became too much to bear.  Rhys ceased fighting against that ominous pull and waited for the inevitable end.  Before his eyes, the orb exploded outward.  Hundreds of shards, many infinitesimally small, others large and vibrant, stopped in the air, locked in place.  He saw his outstretched hand and realized he, too, was unable to move.

The roaring of air preceded anything else, but the blinding radiance was quick to follow.  At once, those shards—of the orb and the mirror—drew inward, along with the man who dared to interfere with time.  In mere seconds, all those fragments collided and disappeared within the central point of the portal, where the orb had been suspended.  The portal, too, closed and faded.

All was quiet in the void, the displaced miasma settling once more.  Muted footsteps made their way toward where the vortex had been.  Vedas crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at the emptiness of the place.  He sensed the arrival of another  and pivoted back to the keeper of the void.

“He took the bait,” Vedas said.

“We knew he would,” Nyrshia replied.  “He is a part of time’s grand tapestry now.  Let’s hope he is good with a needle and thread.”

Vedas couldn’t bring himself to offer up even a polite grin.  Another orb swept by him, and he peered at its contents.  Sure enough, he knew the inhabitant.

Rhys climbed to his feet in a foreign time and place.  The mirror was shattered, though the frame was whole.  And beside him, a single fragment of the orb remained.

“It begins,” Vedas said.

The keeper of the void was already shaking her head.  “It continues.”

Keeper of the Void, Part One

Well folks, this is it.  The final story in Tales of Tellest, our first big push for this literary universe.  Now don’t you fret or anything, we’re already hard at work with some follow-up material—including sequels to the five novellas from Phase One.

Keeper of the Void, this last story, is meant to be a pretty big deal.  It subtly connects all the stories that we’ve produced for Tales of Tellest, and gives us a golden opportunity to explore different places (among other things) in this world.  I don’t want to say too much more, so give this tale a shot.  Hope you enjoy it!

 

 Keeper of the Void

A Story by Michael DeAngelo

-Part One-

 

The orbs crackled with energy as he drew near, each violet sphere resonating a low hum that echoed through the place in every direction.  Mist hung low against the floor, obscuring every footfall, but he was sure he would remain upright.  Above him, an array of lights hung among a mass of pinks and purples, swirls of black drawing everything closer together.  It was beautiful—and terrifying.

A strange man stood before him, his attire made all the more expressive by the light of the constellations.  Golden armor sat upon cobalt skin, more ornate than anything.  His broad muscles and imposing stature were foreign, even to the visitor, who had seen much war throughout his lifetime.  Held against the stranger’s hip, he saw the mirror that was rightly his, its pearl frame shimmering in the darkness.

“Why have you brought me here?” he asked the fearsome fellow.  “Who are you?”

A mighty, bellowing laugh erupted from behind a wicked, toothy grin.  “Peculiar questions, considering the circumstances.  You would think you ought to first question where here is.  But it takes much more than this to surprise someone like you, Rhys Oberon, doesn’t it?”

“Smoke and mirrors,” Rhys said.  “I’ve seen it all before.”

“You know places of power exist within the darkest corners of Tellest.  What makes it so hard to believe that—”

“Let’s drop the formalities,” Rhys interrupted.  “You obviously want something from me.  You’ve already got the mirror I went out of my way to—”

“Liberate.”

“We can call it that.  You could have taken that and disappeared, but you didn’t.  Why?”

“Turn around.”

“I’m not going anywhere without that mirror.”

“Appease me,” the hulking, blue-hued brute said.

Rhys pivoted back on his heel, but when he saw the nearest orb, all covered by violet mist, he couldn’t sate his curiosity.  As the billowing smoke cleared within that ball of light, the image there could be seen more clearly.  His lips parted, and he reached out to it.

There before him, within the orb, was a replaying of events not an hour before.  Rhys could see himself walking beneath a stone bridge—inverted on its underside, suspended by manipulated gravity—while guards patrolled above, completely unaware of his presence.  Only several meters away, the mirror sat upon a marble pedestal, just waiting to be plucked.

“What is this?” Rhys muttered.

“Smoke and mirrors,” the stranger echoed.  “Though not altogether mundane in their presence.  I am Vedas, a sort of… caretaker of this place.”

Rhys turned about, his eyebrows arched.  “And what is this place if it is no mere trick?”

Vedas wore that disarming smile again, though he shook his head.  “Perhaps we had better save that explanation for later.  The keeper has plans for you.”  Without further urging, he strode through the mist, deeper into the unknown.  When he heard the muted steps behind him, he pointed to the other orbs they passed.

“These all represent events in the history of your world.  Some you may recognize from myth and legend, others might have been written of in letters to your lords from far-off places.  Some of them may even have been seen before your eyes.”

Sprinting to catch up, Rhys turned and backpedaled before the caretaker.  “You said events.  So these aren’t just places.  These are times?”

“That is correct.”

“And you can go back and forth as you please?”

Vedas laughed and tapped his shining breastplate.  “Not without some assistance.”

“And that time we just came from—my time—was that your time as well?  Or was that event somehow important enough to venture to?”

Vedas chortled and continued forward, nearly trampling the visitor.  “You’re asking all the right questions, boy, but don’t think yourself more important than you are.  You’re just a thief, a means to an end.”

“I’m a treasure hunter,” Rhys protested.

“You’re a scoundrel, through and through.  Even a thief has his merits, however.  And with your… ability… you managed to steal the mirror out from under the noses of those who would guard it without spilling a single drop of blood.  You made my job infinitely easier.”

Rhys cast a scornful gaze at the cobalt guardian.  “You expect me to believe you came for the mirror and that alone?  You could have left me there to be captured.  You wasted your time digging a pit you would have known I could have easily escaped from.  No, you wanted me to follow you here.”

“What I want is not what is important,” Vedas said.  “After all, I answer to a higher power, just as you do.  In time, you will meet them both.  Let’s hope you meet mine before you meet yours.”

As the strange being proceeded further into the void, the miasma seemed to crest over the path.  It carried with it more of those spheres, images dancing within them.  The nearest one danced toward Rhys, rocking this way and that on invisible waves.  When he drew his focus toward it, the orb slowed, almost as if it were looking back at him, observing the observer.

A girl inside the orb looked about.  She searched for whatever otherworldly visitor was watching her.  The girl shrugged and reached out, and the thief extended his arm to meet hers.  The orb pulled back, and when it did, her hand landed on the black cat that had leapt atop her desk.  She slid a book before her and swept it open.  A bright emerald light cast out from that book, stealing away Rhys’ vision.  When he blinked away that discomfort, the orb was trailing away, back to the mist.

Alone then, he couldn’t dismiss the sensations that loomed within the void.  His hair stood on his arms, and he was unsure whether the blame was to be placed on the aberrant cold—a frigidness that seemed to be collecting inside of him and radiating outward—or the absolute vastness about the place.  The void seemed endless, and even standing still, he felt as though he had traveled for miles.

“Vedas?” the lone human asked.

When no response came, he started forward, even as another wave of miasma was cast over the formless surface Rhys walked upon.  More orbs spun about, each displaying a moment in time he was unfamiliar with.  A warrior stood beside dwarves, lightning jolting outward from his fingers.  In another orb, an elven maiden hid from ferocious goblins, ready to pounce from her cover at a moment’s notice.  Still another focused on a young man on his horse, traveling furiously across an open plain.

Every time they drew close, Rhys reached out to touch them.  And every time, they bounded away like bashful children.

Alone once again, the visitor to the void narrowed his eyes.  “Enough!” he shouted.  “Either tell me what you brought me here for or send me back.  No more games.”

“I assure you, this is no game, Rhys Oberon.”  It was not Vedas’ voice that reached him, but a rich, deep, feminine voice, that filled the void.  Her voice came to him from every direction, a whisper that held in it the power of a shout.

Before him, the mist shifted, parting way for the remarkable figure.  She was tall and lithe, swirls of color etched into her smooth, pale skin.  Rhys couldn’t determine her age, for the stranger had a youthful enough form, but in her amber eyes belied untold wisdom.  Even more striking were the adornments about her.  She wore a feathered circlet, the dark plumage flanking a trio of gems: two sun-speckled garnets and a bright ruby in the center.  Her dark outfit swayed with an otherworldly presence as she drew nearer to the visitor.

Rhys couldn’t mask his feelings.  She seemed familiar and gentle, but he was unable to halt the shiver from rippling up his spine.

Behind her, Vedas reappeared, his bold azure skin seeming somewhat duller in her presence.  When he noticed Rhys’ intent focus, his lips drew back into that wicked grin.  “I present to you Nyrshia, the keeper of the void.”

The human swallowed away his tension and dared a step forward.  “And who are you?  Was it you that brought me here?”

“I am everything that never was and all that will come to pass.  I am the advocate of time, the physical manifestation of infinite realities.  I am the keeper of the void, and in many ways, I am the void.”

“And can I expect the same enigmatic presence from you as I received from your henchman?”  Vedas flashed a toothy grin.  “You’ve brought me here for some reason, yet I am still unaware what that is.”

Nyrshia arched a dark eyebrow.  “You are brazen and bold, Oberon.  It makes you dangerous.  It makes you worthy.  You are here because you have been recruited.”

“I don’t remember signing up for anything you have to offer.  All I want is the mirror, and then I’ll be on my way.”

“What you want is irrelevant,” the keeper said, her voice resonating with a rich timbre.  “This is not an offer.  It is not a request.  You have already agreed to lend your skills to my cause.”

“Enough,” he spat.  “Enough riddles, enough cryptic whispers.  I want to know why I was brought here, or I want to be dismissed.”

“Hold your tongue, boy,” Vedas challenged.  “We find you humorous to a point, but know your limits.  I could crush you like an insect, and that only pales in comparison to what the mistress could do to you.”

The keeper of the void raised her hand to placate her champion.  Rhys could see the subtle violet sparks that seemed to leap from her fingers.  “Very well, Rhys.  It would be only fair to tell you what is required of you.

“Vedas is a capable advocate.  He is dependable and loyal, which I find are good qualities… most of the time.  Despite his presence and his ferocious capability, he can be a bit too focused.  That is where you come in.”  Those sparks on her hand gave way to a powerful flash of energy.  In an instant, a dark sphere was hovering between her fingers, a single fleck of light visible there.

“Time is infinite.  There are more possibilities to an event than you can comprehend.  But there is also a narrow line that exists that was once the truest expression of fate’s trajectory.  It was stable, and it kept your world safe.”

“Along with countless other worlds,” Vedas spoke, a scowl etched upon his face.

“Permutations of the timeline have ebbed and flowed like waves on the shore, and many of these possibilities are considered acceptable.  Sometimes, however, an inconsistency makes all time unstable.”

As Nyrshia spoke, the fleck of light within the orb grew at an exponential rate until it filled the sphere.  The image displayed showed the violent crash of an island descending into the sea.  A shift in perspective presented an elf, drenched and weary on a distant shore.

The contents of the orb swirled about once more, finally settling on a woman with pleasant features and a disarming smile.  Rhys’ widening eyes deceived his stoic observation.  He remained quiet while the image transformed again, that time to a foreign land filled with golden statues and ornate arches.

“These events are all in jeopardy, you see,” Nyrshia said.  “One of those inconsistencies I mentioned earlier.”

“And you expect me to help piece them back together,” Rhys said.

Her golden eyes narrowed as her lips curled upward.  “I know you shall, child.  I am offering you the knowledge that could assist you in that inevitability.  Perhaps it would not be unwise for you to familiarize yourself with the various points of history in your world that could be at risk.”

Rhys harrumphed and crossed his arms over his chest.  He cast his gaze at the orb once more and watched as the images continued to cycle through.