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Guardians of the Rift By J.C. Bell
Free Fantasy eBook

Genre/Category: Fantasy Books
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Guardians of the Rift By J.C. Bell
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Ebook Synopsis

The Immortals, the Chosen, the armies of elven, dwarven and human warriors . . . they are the Guardians of the Rift.  Together, they must stand fast before the Black Door as the entire might of the Dark Army spills into their world.  Millions upon millions of dead worlds have aligned against them, and they will stop at nothing to eradicate the final vestiges of life from their world.

With the Destroyer gone – captive to the Tree of Death – the Guardians of the Rift are all that remains to stop the progression of the Plague and the end of all life.

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Journey’s end . . . 

After a rampage of destruction that took him through some of the darkest realms of the universe, he had finally arrived – Ki'minsyllessil, the darkest world yet. 

This was it . . . the source.  He sensed it, hidden somewhere deep within the colossal trunk of the tower-like tree – the Graelic.  The tree once worshipped by the elves as a god of purity and life, had been poisoned by an undead heart that was corrupt and evil beyond imagining.

The moment his bare foot touched the world’s soil the source sensed him as well.  The roots that covered the land were suddenly ripping free from the ground, uncoiling in his direction.  A swarm of vines fell from the sky, darting towards him. 

But it didn’t matter . . . it was time to do what he was born to do.  It was time to destroy the source, to tear out the hellish heart and send it back to the Void where it belonged. 

“You’re telling me Anon’s somewhere up there?” Alec asked, as if oblivious to the ten foot thick black root rising up above his head, or the many barbed vines slithering from the sky. 

If Anon was truly up there, then why couldn’t he sense him?  In the tree . . . in the world, he felt only madness and death.  He craned his neck upwards, but saw only an endless black trunk and a sky full of skeletal branches. 

“Unfortunately, yes,” his companion and guide, the Dead God Imorbis whispered in reply. 

Anon . . . if Imorbis was to be believed (even after tearing through his mind, Alec wasn’t sure he was) Anon could very well be a true god, or at the least a direct conduit to the power of this so-called Maker.  And the tree had taken him!  If so, how in the dead was he supposed to prevail when even the Maker had not?  Considering the ominous sight of the towering tree in front of him and the depths of evil within, he began to wonder how far he could trust Imorbis – or his own power for that matter, so closely tied were the two.  Could he face such an evil?  Did he actually have a choice?  The only certainty was that this was his destiny, he had to face this evil – and if his life was to have any meaning . . . he had to win.   

“Well then, if Anon’s up there, you may want to leave now, Imorbis,” Alec said, sparing the former Dead God a backward glance.  “I’m not sure what’s gonna happen when I try to save him . . . but I can guarantee you it won’t be good.” 

As ever, Imorbis wore a skin of dark energy that turned him into a living shadow.  But somehow, in this place, he appeared more solid and real and could have almost passed for a living being.  Alec didn’t have to read his mind to tell that the Dead God was eager to see his plan fulfilled and had no intention of leaving.  He had planned for ages for this moment, and Alec knew nothing would keep him from missing it – this was Imorbis’ destiny as well.  Alec had seen the Dead God’s mind, and the countless evils he had unleashed upon the universe.  He could even make a strong case that the spread of the Plague was his doing – without-a-doubt it was his creation.  Still though, Alec saw something else in the being when he tore through his mind.  Hidden deep within the pile of shadows and fleshless bones there existed the remnants of a gifted and highly intelligent young man who was once capable of love, and cared deeply for those he called friends.  The infection erased such thoughts – to be replaced by the Hunger, but now, nearly devoid of the dark power, bits and pieces of that young man began to return.  Despite all the evil that Imorbis had done, he was trying to set things right – a feeling Alec knew well.  Because of that, Alec couldn’t help but feel a shred of sympathy for him, and felt it necessary to at least offer up a warning before he unleashed the full might of his power and gave the Dead God his final death.   

Imorbis didn’t respond, nor did he have to.  He looked on at the towering tree, lost in memories of the past.  The layer of dark energy that held his body together vibrated as if in anticipation. 

Alec turned away from him – Imorbis didn’t need a warning, he knew damn well this was where his life would finally end. 

He gave his full attention to the deadly onslaught of roots and vines, which continued to tear free of the earth, rising up hundreds of feet into the air.  For a moment they hovered over their heads, slowly swaying back and forth . . . then they smashed downward . . .  A million vines with needle sharp tips joined them, falling like rain from the sky to dive straight towards the pair . . . 

Alec’s bare flesh became black flames.  His aura swelled, becoming a pulsating wave of dark energy.  As if effortlessly, Alec disintegrated everything the Dead Tree sent.  The roots fell upon the pair in a shower of dust.  The vines withered and retracted to the dark recesses of the night.  More came . . . more took their place . . .  

Alec grinned as they came on, then he destroyed them all . . . for as far as he could see.  The sight of the tree evaporating made it hard to keep his grin in check before it became a smile.  But he knew he must be cautiously optimistic.  It was a small victory, and granted it was a small display of his power, but the roots were an inconsequential obstacle . . . the true evil had yet to be faced.  His power may seem limitless, but so too did the evil in this world.  The last thing he wanted was to realize his new-found power did have a limit, and to find it before he was able to defeat thesource.   Apparently, the source held similar thoughts, for it was holding back as well, and now the distant mountains of roots remained deceptively still. 

“Looks like your old pal isn’t too happy to see you, Imorbis,” Alec said, the black flames retracting into his body. 

“Humph . . . yes, he’s unhappy to say the least.  But most likely, I am too insignificant to occupy his thoughts.  You however, seem to have drawn his full attention.” 

“No doubt, exactly as you anticipated . . .”  

Imorbis fought well to keep the smile from creeping into his shadowy features. 

“Well then, you may as well see to it that I’m properly introduced . . . shall we?” Alec asked, waving his hand towards the Graelic. 

“After you,” Imorbis replied, no longer able to keep the smile from arcing on his face. 

Alec headed out, not entirely comfortable having the Dead God at his back, but far more afraid of what dwelt ahead of him.