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Prelude to a Hero: Chronicles of a Hero, #1

Prelude to a Hero: Chronicles of a Hero, #1

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Prelude to a Hero: Chronicles of a Hero, #1

ratings:
5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
265 pages
3 hours
Released:
Jan 27, 2015
ISBN:
9781507098004
Format:
Book

Description

Nerd. Introvert. He was the hero they never knew they wanted.
 

All Wendell hoped for was a decent job, a hot new car and a girlfriend to match.

What he got was the mantle of a legendary hero, the heart of a girl who had no idea who he really was…and a diamond bigger than his fist.

What could possibly go wrong?

-------------------

Prelude to a Hero is book one in the Chronicles of a Hero series, by Jaime Buckley.

If you enjoyed Tiffany Aching, Harry Potter or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then you'll love this humorous, original epic fantasy, packed with magic, mystery and sharp kicks to the funny bone.

Buy a copy today!

Released:
Jan 27, 2015
ISBN:
9781507098004
Format:
Book

About the author

JAIME BUCKLEY IS A professional illustrator, author, husband, father of 13 & grandfather. When he’s not engaged in hunting monsters, acting as a survival flotation device or a master sliver-picker-outer (just ask his little kids), he’s also a cartoonist, game creator, podcaster and avid teacher. Jaime is known best for his WANTED HERO world--specifically his main Chronicles of a Hero series. His book Advanced WORLDBUILDING, continues to assist writers in building fictional worlds faster, easier and in more detail than ever before. Jaime continues to gain popularity  by pampering his fans through WantedHeroWorld.com, an interactive online world where he shares secret story lore, magic, maps, interviews & artwork never revealed to the public. He lives in Utah with his wife, Kathilynn, his organically grown fan club and loves communicating with readers from all over the world. You can connect with Jaime through the Wanted Hero website or emailing him at jaimebuckley@wantedhero.com. 

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Prelude to a Hero - Jaime Buckley

Guide

PREFACE

We knew we were the center of the universe.

We knew the Earth was flat.

We knew nothing existed smaller than the naked eye could see.

We knew only birds and bugs could fly upon the wind.

Yes, we knew so many things…even if it was only for a moment.

There is so much more to see than our little world; a vast universe of conflicts and miracles to which we are blind. Limiting our imaginations by our perceptions, we would never believe the actual truth.

What if both science and religion were right? If theology was mathematical perfection and science was the perfect religion? What if battles between good and evil were real…and so were gods and devils? And what if magic wasn’t an invention of fantasy, but a word used to describe principles not yet understood by the average mind?

What if I told you we were unknowing benefactors of sacrifices made by valiant men, women and children who defied the gaping jaws of Hell—while the blood of friends, neighbors and family stained the ground at their feet.

This story begins with a stranger. A self-proclaimed coward. A mere boy from a different world—who united the hearts of nations by accident.

Some will say this is nothing but a tale of fiction. Let them think as they will.

After all…I can’t fix stupid.

CHAPTER 1

TRUST

Who are you?

I am the storyteller. I’m the friend, the neighbor, the stranger on the street. I’m the one who watches, contemplates and shares.

But, who are you?

Soon, he remembered.

Soon we will see his face!

His stomach leaped.

How many times had Shea heard his father speak those words?

Hundreds? Thousands?

He had walked this scorched stone path with his arms tied over his chest, enduring the parched winds, while staring at the back of his father’s robe since he was nine.

That is when his father had discovered his gift for discerning truth.

Then Shea’s father, as the High Elder, began instructing, requiring him to follow and observe.

Having grown, his eyes were now fixed upon his father’s hooded head.

Just as the High Elder predicted, the people and the Council had spoken…and his only son took the life pledge of service, joining him upon the Iskäri High Council.

Being only sixteen, Shea felt honored to be the youngest elder in the history of the Council. Days later, Shea privately exulted as he received the crucial calling as the one who would confirm the royal bloodline.

Shea was discovered to be the only one who held the ability to look into the past and future of a life and discover the truth of ones purpose.

An exceedingly rare gift.

The bloodline would be presented to Shea, the birthright confirmed…and then the Ithäri would be bestowed upon the rightful heir.

The Hero.

Shea wondered as he trailed behind his father…how many generations of High Elders had walked this path of sagging steps, each hoping they might be the one to see the Hero face to face?

Habitually ignoring the growing din, Shea allowed himself to be lulled by the rhythmic scratching of his father’s sandals as he scuffled along. Childhood memories he enjoyed of Dark Lord Mahan and the Hero tumbled from one to another in his mind.

Naughty children are sent to Unrest and given to Mahan, his mother would tell him, yet the gentle threatenings tugged at the corner of his lips. All mothers warned their children of such things, encouraging obedience to the Iskari way of life.

But Shea spent most of his childhood under the direct tutelage of his father.

He cherished the long evenings spent wrapped in thick arms, on his father’s lap, in front of a popping fire, while the scratchy fibers of his father’s robe made his cheek itch. Shea brought his hand to his face while the encompassing adoration filled his chest again and he embraced echoes of whispered tales about the heroes past and the one hero yet to come.

He knew now, as he always had.

This time Mahan will fall.

…and he would help make it happen!

Though childhood traditions had created an unfaltering bond between father and son, Shea and his father spent much time in silence these days. The inexplicable desire to find acceptance burdened Shea’s every thought.

It was time for the Hero to be retrieved.

For hundreds of years the Iskari High Council watched for signs of movement. Shadows, reaching across the seas, encroaching upon the peaceful inhabitants of this world. Signs of armies marching,  the touch of dark magic upon the land.

Signs of the enemy seeking their master once more.

Because of this, Shea’s father dared suggest they should act against tradition and reason!

Often Council meetings were adjourned following raised voices and conflicting views, without resolution.

We are being watched! the High Elder would argue. The Hero must be gathered and empowered in secret…

After all these years and the stories of his own purpose, Shea felt…cheated.

Indignation threatened to suffocate him.

He clenched his teeth, He thinks I’m still a child.

Shea was convinced that he was being robbed of his greatest privilege and purpose, by his own father.

He doesn’t trust me.

The uncaring wind whipped around him, wailing in vain as it snapped the hood from Shea’s naked skull. Blinking his watering eyes, he lowered his chaffed head and pushed on up the long callous path to the edge of the Pinnacle.

The place of seeing.

Mimicking his father, Shea stood erect on the ridge that thirstily lunged out over the boundless chasm.

Just beyond his outstretched fingertips the chittering grains of sand whizzed and whirled and echoed from every direction, like swarms of angry hornets…yet only the scathing wind assaulted him.

This was only the beginning power of the Pinnacle.

The violent ballet beckoned as Shea peered over the ridge, always curious to catch a glance of the seemingly endless gorge…where millions of worlds dwelt together within the raging storm.

It was here that, those who had the eyes to see and the ability to command, could look upon the inhabitants of distant lands.

It was here that the High Elder collected his knowledge.

Knowledge only he could both witness and understand.

Shea stood back as the High Elder drew in a deep breath through wide nostrils, closing his wrinkled eyes.

The sand before them pulsed, gathering in trails, as if magnets attracting sand were dancing in the chaos. Pouring in from the storm, the sand quickly organized itself into many conversing figures.

Once, Shea had questioned his father about why they came.

He answered, "There is one in the sand with a rosy aura. This is the life and movements of a young man who has been placed upon a strange world, Earth, to hide him.

He is the one I observe.

It is my calling to protect him."

Shea pondered those words. Protect him? Is this what all this potting and rebellion is about? Years of bedtime tales and dreams suddenly took root and sprang to life in his young soul.

Shea leaned forward, squinting in vain to peer deeper into the magic, hoping to see the boy’s face—to look in his eyes.

It never happened.

Not growing up…and not now.

Generations of High Elders had been watching over the young Hero since he was a helpless infant, placed in the arms of adoring parents who would never know where he really came from. Elders who continued waiting for the day when the Hero would awaken Ithäri, the Gem of the Gods.

It was time.

The young man was needed now, to come home, reclaim his birthright…and save his people.

Even now, for the hundredth time, Shea’s shoulders sagged, disappointed. He did not have his father’s gift and could not even see the coloring his father spoke of.

Soon, Shea sighed.

While the High Elder was engrossed, something peculiar caught Shea’s eye.

Stray grains of sand, slithered past his feet. His eyes drifted over the trail…sands tumbling up the path, unaffected by the wind.

That is…not right.

A piercing apprehension seized his gut.

An evil spirit?

Here? How…..?

Perplexed, he watched the slithering strands accumulate into a churning mound behind his father.

He had been warned years ago not to break the concentration of one calling forth the sands. To do so could risk the mind…and life of the summoner.

Should I…?

His mind went blank.

The sands tumbled forward, seeping into a dark, blood-red mud, gathering and molding, taking shape.

Slowly rising from the ground, stretched the form of a giant asp, its  tongue flickering to taste the wind.

I-it can’t be, Shea blinked, the Pinnacle is protected. Only those who command the sands may pass…or allow passage!

Only when it slithered around the body his father, encompassing the High Elder just beyond touch…rising to meet the sands of Earth…did Shea find his voice.

"Father!" he warned, yelling above the din.

Startled, the High Elder’s narrowed eyes flickered open and darted questioningly to his son and back to the sand.

Calmly stretching out his hand, he quickly waved through the scene before him, severing the link to Earth.  In an instant, the figures collapsed into swirling streams, launching themselves back into the chasm once more.

All except for the asp.

Unaffected, it twisted and turned, gripping the old man’s chest.

Shea gagged at the metallic odor of blood steaming from the sand, smothering the air while the snake probed, flicking its tongue around his father’s face and brow.

Waiting desperately, Shea held his breath. Why is he not reacting?

The High Elder concentrated with a lifetime of practiced skill to clear all thoughts from his consciousness.

He knew why the creature had come.

The snake lingered, tasting the air, waiting for some weakness to snatch—something that would betray the Hero’s location.

The moments stretched past.

Then minutes.

Exploding with repressed uncertainty, Shea thrust his hands through the sleeves of his robe and commanded, "Ish-Krothi Umbällä!"

Fingers gripping an invisible sphere now stretched and forcefully hurled the collected energy at his father.

The asp sparked, bursting into flames as the impact knocked it to the edge of the Pinnacle. Thousands of scales fell tinkling to the unyielding stone as red glass.

No! cried the High Elder, eyes narrowing and face flushed. "Now the Dark Lord will know we hide something from him!"

He looked at the small shards of glass around his feet, the red residue slowly fading from the shiny surfaces. The creases in his forehead deepened, his lips pressed together in a tight line.

Instantly Shea realized, too late, the consequences of his actions.

As a boy, he had waited long hours for his father to return from Council meetings specifically designated to protecting the Hero. Now as a member of the High Council, he learned the challenges of weaving intricate deceptions of ignorance or complacency kept the prying eyes of shadow at bay.

Now, in one hasty breath, the methodically orchestrated plans of both his father and the Council, had been compromised.

This will not bode well, he sighed inwardly.

A deep frown on his face, the High Elder turned sharply, yanking the hood over his head. Without a word, he attacked the steep winding path.

Shea anxiously kept pace with the High Elder’s lengthy stride until they were just outside Sanctuary’s walls.

Father, I …

Raising a hand, the High Elder neither slowed nor turned. Control and unity, young man, he cut in a cool tone. "This is always about self control and unity. That is how we will defeat the enemy. Not with a careless display of personal power and…parlor tricks!"

I’m sorry, Father, Shea justified, bowing his head.

The High Elder slowed, the edgy tone causing his rigid pace to falter. He stopped to study Shea’s face with a piercing gaze. Moments passed, but he said nothing.

Truly, Shea insisted softly, looking up meekly. I sought only to keep the boy …and you, safe.

The small wrinkles in the corner of his eyes offered a faint smile as the High Elder slowly exhaled.

Shea was young.

Sixteen was too young, in his opinion, to carry such a burden as the Council.

The High Elder’s role, as a father, was now secondary to the calling of an Elder. However, youth and inexperience were no excuse for irrational behavior and stepping outside one’s calling.

Young Elder, you have forgotten your place, doubted my calling, and challenged my stewardship.

At the formal address, Shea squared his shoulders, pain flickering in his eyes.

"High Elder, I do not doubt your position, NOR would I dare to challenge your stewardship, he emphasized in lowered tones. I have only opposed your decisions on retrieving the boy. There is too much risk involved. Thus, I believe this important task should only be entrusted to the Council as a whole. The bloodline will need protection. Our protection."

It was the same argument.

We are too arrogant in our own abilities, because we have knowledge and powers, replied the High Elder, fortifying his point with volume. Insanity!

Shea watched his father turn his head from side to side, then raising his hands to the sky, anguishing, "Mahan has already enslaved half…HALF!…of this world! And he was banished over 600 years ago!"

Pleading, eye to eye, Elder,… he sighed patiently, "Son. Do you not remember he still lives because the last Hero had compassion for his friend? Mahan is cunning and his influence grows in ways we can only measure by destruction and death.

Have you and the others truly convinced yourselves that we are beyond destruction? Or even worse…corruption?

Chin raised to the challenge, "And what of your plan, Father? Spitting venomous condemnation into his words. Will you really send a selfish, free-willed outcast to retrieve our last hope for all creation? One who shirks his responsibilities, subsisting in pubs to return so intoxicated that he often mistakes the pig pen for his cottage?

He can’t even find the bathroom in the dark!"

The High Elder couldn’t help chuckling at his son’s accurate perception of one of Sanctuary’s oldest residents.

"No. Dax can find the bathroom in the dark, Shea…he simply finds it inconvenient when intoxicated and therefore, chooses not to."

Shea grimaced,"That’s just…sick."

"Nevertheless, it does not disqualify him for the task at hand. We all have a purpose.

"Remember how he suffers and what has been taken from him. It should soften your heart, if nothing else.

Trust me when I say he knows what’s expected and understands the gravity."

Shea was unconvinced. You misplace your trust in a fool, father.

No, son. The High Elder smiled, placing a confident hand on his son’s chest, I am placing my trust in a friend.

Resigned, the young elder lowered his head and closed his eyes.

Patting his son’s shoulder, the High Elder grinned wide. Have confidence. The Dark Lord will never suspect what is about to happen…..and we will do what has never been done before.

Shea sighed, muttering under his breath, That’s what I’m afraid of.

CHAPTER 2

HERO?

Now, distant worlds and exploding magic are pretty cool. Frankly, I quite like the bit about shape shifting sand. But don’t get distracted.

Aren’t you wondering who the Council is watching?

Miniskirts, frosted hair, lipstick and fingernails.

Wendell shuttered as he moved through the crowd.

Doesn’t she know how ridiculous that looks?

It wasn’t that Wendell was a mean or cruel teenager…it was just such a shock!

Dodging a wild kick from an asian girl being swung about by her exuberant father, Wendell had nearly collided with one of many mothers within the crowd.

Wha—WOAH! Knees buckling, Wendell caught himself from smacking into the woman. The visual of her explosive, multi-colored hairdo, coupled with the orange skin, tight, faded jeans and sequin covered pockets,  well…it made his eyes hurt.

A lot.

Maybe it was the neon green eyeshadow, bright red lipstick and open mouth gun chewing that back handed his senses?

I’m gonna need therapy.

Luckily the woman hadn’t noticed his expression and Wendell was quickly able to scurry away without disturbing the joyful family occasion.

Then again, he had to wonder—was this kind of makeup-meets-the-trowel technique something older men actually found attractive?

Pushing the golden tassel from his face, Wendell bounced up again, trying to get a better view of the field, which had instantly flooded with expectant parents after the ceremony. Hundreds of people hugging and squealing, cheering and whooping along side their high school graduates.

Another jump. Come on, mom—where ARE you? Timing was critical at this point.

They would be looking.

Hundreds of parents, wherever Wendell looked, smiled, laughed and took pictures of their high school children…all amidst a sea of black robes.

Wendell snorted to himself as he shifted through the crowd. We look like grim reapers at an old people buffet.

The humor was fleeting. Time was running out.

Just breathe, Wendell. Stay calm. As soon as you find mom, you can ditch this field of crazy people and never come back. You’ll never have to see any of them again.

Another jump.

Nothing.

He pushed on.

Principle Larsen stood in a small circle of teachers and smartly dressed parents, occasionally pausing to wipe the sweat from his chunky cheeks and receding hairline. There was no secret that Larsen was more interested in securing his retirement than anything else, which meant creating and maintaining social connections in the community. If there was one path to job security, influential friends and benefactors was it.

Dipmier! he snapped, seeing Wendell pop into view.

Skidding to a halt, Sir!

Larsen waved a pudgy finger in the opposite direction.

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  • (5/5)
    As Wendell, basically a no body, is planning how to get himself a girlfriend, he is kidnapped by a little green, smelly, foul mouthed creature, Dax. He wakes up at the feet of a blue man that proceeds to tell him how he is the last of a bloodline and that he is there to collect his treasure. What he doesn’t learn is that the treasure comes with a great cost.Wendell is now a Hero to protect Iskari from Dark Lord Mahan. He doesn’t really want the job and is told that in a month he can return the power to the High Elders. When he befriends a local person, his attitude starts to change about wanting nothing more than to go home.Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse when Wendell learns that Dax grabbed the wrong person. That he is now an immortal Hero that is not going to survive the use of his abilities to stop Dark Lord Mahan and he cannot just simply give the power back. Now the High Elders are back to square one.I really liked this story. It’s short, about 110 pages, but I could not get enough. The story flowed well, I got sucked right into it, and I really liked how Wendell progressed. My only complaint is that the story was too short. It looks like the other stories in the series are graphic novels. I will definitely be getting those to read. This is a great science fiction story about a reluctant hero.