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Neil Charles Cladingboel
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Book Excerpts
- Reflections
- The Anvil Amulet
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- Reflections
- The Anvil Amulet
- Wraith Tide
- Tale Spin: A Short Story Collection

Reflections (Book Excerpt)
         by Neil Charles Cladingboel
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Book One of The Erebus Equilibrium

Copyright 2000 Neil Charles Cladingboel and Publishing Inc.


The Watcher had learned to be patient. Centuries of exile roaming from one stolen life to another, waiting for opportunities so often missed that still, after all these eons, he had not fulfilled his all-consuming desire.

He had been cast out for so long now, he often wondered if his gods would ever return him to Erebus and the throne that he hungered to regain. Banishment and perdition had only served to feed his wrath; determined always to defeat his usurpers and regain control of all that was once his. He had fallen to the dark side yes, but he believed his reasons had been pure of heart and his expulsion was a constant reminder of the losses he had suffered. Perhaps then it was only fate, divine or otherwise, that had allowed him to escape his incarceration in Tartarus? It had been the beginning of a quest through countless lifetimes in search of vengeance and retribution.

He could remember the sequence of events as if it were only yesterday, when in fact, numerous centuries had passed. There had been rumours of fire demons falling from the sky for some time. Stories told of huge, anvil-like rocks with flaming tails streaking across the upper worlds causing phenomenal changes to climate and weather. Deluges of rain usually preceded the coming of these anvils. Ferocious storms, floods, then massive earthquakes when the flaming monoliths finally crashed to the earth itself.

History told of the strange events that followed the coming of the anvils. Although the Watcher could only guess that divine powers were at work, he was patient to wait out the firestorms, safe in the prescient knowledge that no harm would come to himself or his fellow Titans, so cruelly banished to the Underworld. He believed it then to be a time of change, it certainly had been from that time on, though by now of course he knew the anvils by their modern names: Comets and Meteors. Nothing more than discarded rocks from the gardens of the gods, yet able to wreak havoc on humanity with devastating aftermath of global disaster.

And so he watched then, as he does now, the stolen glass he had secreted from Erebus before his confinement, waiting for a sign from these gods. And when at last the heavens became silent, the gods had come to him in the form of white light and searing flame leaping forth from the surface of his mirrored glass. The flames had engulfed him totally yet he remained unharmed, curious that he had not been instantly incinerated. Instead, he found himself staring at the disappearing vision of blinding light and fire, not from the bowels of Tartarus, but back on Earth, in an overcrowded market place flooded with crowds of panicked villagers, fleeing the torrents of water from the torrential rain that had preceded the latest falling of the anvils.

Freedom from perdition yet still exiled from his kingdom. Doomed to suffer an eternity of immortality among the living until the gods showed him a way to regain his rightful place in Erebus, as guardian of the dead.

Century after century he had watched and waited for the signs. Long ago he had mastered the secret of the light in his glass. From then on, the glass always foretold the coming of the anvils, feeding him with its unearthly power of fire and light. Showing him the faces of the Chosen Ones, the mortal keys that could one day unlock his passage back to Erebus. Countless times he had tried and countless times he had failed. Other forces were afoot and so newer tactics were always required. Lately, he was fearful his immortality was waning. The gods had not yet decided to renew his weary human host and perhaps the next chance would be his last. Soon though, he knew the One would come. The undisputed key to his immortal destiny.

Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Neil Charles Cladingboel, All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

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