Feel Real Fantasy blog tour celebrating the completion of the Rys Rising series by Tracy Falbe. Here's an excerpt from the first novel, Rys Rising.
This scene takes place in the city of Jingten. It is a remote colony where tabre magic masters have bred a new race of magical beings called rys. The tabre tightly control the small rys population, and the leader Daykash Breymer has decided to use corporeal punishment against Onja. The rys Dacian watches as the brutality unfolds…
Onja said no more, and the Daykash ordered that the charge be officially read against her. A Nebakarz priest named Dutan stepped forward. He lifted a small wafer thin disc of stone upon which was inscribed the charge. Willful wandering the tabre legal system called it.
Then her sentence was read. She was to endure eight strokes of the phliamel. Although rumor had already informed all gathered what the sentence would be, discomfort still rippled through the assembled rys upon hearing the sentence.
A priest, named Angpar who was young and just advanced from being an acolyte, stepped out from behind the Daykash and held out the thin long stick that was split three times at one end where crystals were attached. The thinness of the stick gave it springiness so that its crystal-barbed splinters could deliver a whip-like sting.
Breymer said, “Long centuries ago, before tabre had fully come to master and appreciate the orderly joys of civilization, harsh methods were employed to teach us discipline. I have decided that the use of the phlia-mel has become necessary again because the rys are a young breed and, as this female has shown, have need of discipline.”
No one among the hundreds of rys said anything, but Dacian could feel the collective protest caged all around him. He felt he should say something. Ask for mercy at least, but so many things held him back. Was he wrong to question his elders? Did he want to jeopardize his future as a Nebakarz? Did he have any reason to risk himself on account of this female who ignored the law?
“Begin,” was all the Daykash said, and the two priests who had escorted Onja earlier swiftly grabbed her again and pushed her to her knees. Angpar walked around the trio and regarded his subject. He shook the phlia-mel once so that all could see the spring in the rod, and then he reached down and yanked off her cloak and whipped it aside. He seemed eager to have at her.
Onja’s clothing was meager. She wore only a small vest and shorts and her lower back was already properly exposed. Dacian could see the muscles in her back tense in anticipation of the abuse, but she did not look over her shoulder at her punisher.
Angpar raised the phlia-mel, but his eagerness faded for a moment, and he contemplated his next action as if he suddenly realized that the world would change when he lowered his arm. Then his self righteousness returned and he swung at the rys female hard. The crystal barbs flashed with white light when they struck Onja’s blue skin and her cry mixed with the meaty thwap of the rod hitting her. She lunged forward automatically but her handlers yanked her back in place.
Many rys cried out or gasped, and some turned away, and before anyone could recover from their disgust, Angpar hit her again. The Daykash fixed an emotionless gaze on Onja. Dacian could not see her face but he imagined her grimace.
Dacian looked at Halor urgently. His lips trembled with outrage. “Stop this,” he begged.
“It will be over soon,” Halor said woodenly. His eyes insisted on obedience.
When the third blow fell, Onja’s cry was louder. Dacian heard her take a deep breath to brace herself for the next stroke. As she filled her lungs with this painful gasp, Dacian felt all his rational reasons for standing by collapse like a hillside soaked by torrential rain. He looked at the tabre priests and acolytes lined up on both sides of him. They watched the punishment raptly. Where was their compassion for her suffering? They were all civilized creatures, but Dacian realized that their values did not entirely extend to their much-maligned rys cousins. They would watch Onja endure eight strokes from the phlia-mel and agree with the Daykash that it was necessary and proper. Civilization required order but was brutality the only path to that end?
Angpar gave Onja her fourth stroke. Her sentence was half complete.
“Stop!” Dacian shouted. He rushed forward and felt Halor grab him but he shook him off and moved toward Angpar.
He spun Angpar away from the female and then shoved his chest so that he fell on his butt. Dacian’s magic erupted. The crystals of the phlia-mel disintegrated in three successive blue flashes and the old wood of the rod burst into flames. His next spell cracked the domux and it fell off Onja’s wrists. Its enchanted crystals lost their power and faded to pebbles.
As the tabre holding Onja shifted to intervene with Dacian, he raised both of his hands into their faces. They were swept backwards off their feet by the hot blasting force of his attack spell.
Onja had collapsed forward and she was trying to push herself up but the pain in her back was nearly paralyzing. Purple bleeding blisters ravaged her sleek youthful back. She looked over her shoulder at Dacian. Agony twisted her tear-streaked face, but gratitude radiated from her eyes, and he could believe that she would honor him forever.
“Onja,” he whispered, casting his mind toward her thoughts, her soul. He felt her lifeforce. It was hot and powerful, too powerful for her to have endured this gross mistreatment.
Distracted entirely by the sight of his downtrodden damsel, Dacian had no shield spell ready when the magic of the Daykash netted him. The spells of many tabre priests piled on next, and Dacian could not move. His legs began to wobble and the blood in his veins became hot and painful.
Dacian summoned his power and began to untangle the spells gripping his body. In this crisis, he suddenly realized that he could throw off their attacks. He was very powerful. He would teach them not to abuse a rys female for a petty infraction.
Halor was shouting for him and pushing his way through the tabre. But it was not the voice of his Master that got through to Dacian’s enraged mind. It was her voice.
“Do not fight them,” Onja said. “Not yet.”
Dacian looked at her again. She had managed to roll onto her side, and her call to patience intrigued him. Not yet? What does she mean? Dacian thought. Even without an answer, he would do as she asked. He relaxed and the spells of the tabre bit into him vindictively. Defenseless again, Dacian crumbled in pain.
Halor put his arms around his pupil. “Enough!” he called. “Enough. Stop!” Then in a softer voice he spoke to Dacian. “Yield. Do nothing, I beg you.”
Dacian nodded and was not ungrateful for the protective embrace of his Master.
Tracy Falbe invites you to give her characters a chance to feel real to you. The Rys Rising fantasy series is driven by magic, passion, bravery, ambition, conquest, and defeat. Rys Rising: Book I is a free ebook and hopefully your gateway to an epic reading experience.
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