The ice cave’s warm air surprised me. My frozen fingers began to thaw, and I removed my cloak. Water trickled somewhere, with an echo that came to us like a drumbeat. After the rift of Earth and Faythander, evolution had changed more than just the species inhabiting each world.
Magic had transformed Faythander from a world like Earth into a world alien to humans. The ice caves were evidence of it. The walls sparkled, humming with magic trapped beneath. They shone crystalline blue. Bursts of magical energy sparked like lightning through the walls, warming the air while managing to keep the walls frozen.
Kull and Heidel removed their cloaks. Heidel grasped her knife, its blade glowing blue in the sparking magic.
“Be cautious,” she said in hushed tones. “These caverns will be quick enough to pass through, but they are filled with magic.”
A thin layer of sand coated the floor. Our boots made little sound as we walked, the magical bursts lighting our path. The cave grew wider and taller until our footsteps echoed through an immense chamber.
Heidel kept her knife close.
The trickle of water grew louder. Stalagmites and stalactites rose from the ground and grew from the ceilings, some of them taller than Kull. Blue crystals, like those in Fan’twar’s chamber, grew like sentinels guarding our path.
Our footsteps echoed off the walls. Heidel’s gaze grew sharper under the light. Kull’s face remained calm, though the light made his chiseled features more pronounced.
For once, Kull and Heidel didn’t argue. They didn’t even talk. But I didn’t blame them. We didn’t need the attention. If something dangerous lurked in these caverns, talking would draw it to us more quickly.
The tunnel dropped at a steep angle. As we descended, a huge lake came into view, and the rhythmic sound of waves filled the still air. Turquoise water lapped at a shore of silver sand. Though the magical glow lit the water, it didn’t shine far enough to illuminate the far shore. The preserved wooden husks of several Viking ships lay on the near bank. Rusted breastplates and helms littered the area around the vessels.
“Brimlake,” Heidel whispered. “These are the sacred waters our first ancestors found when they crossed into Faythander. The other shore lies in Earth Kingdom.”
“Amazing,” I answered, speaking softly.
Kull pointed to a tunnel down shore. “We’ll follow the lake out of the cave. It should lead us to the temple.”
My shoes sank into the sand as I followed the Wults along the water’s edge. Rippling waves lapped at the shore as I peered across the lake. It looked so beautiful, but I couldn’t push away the feeling that something dark lurked here. The uneasy feeling grew until I felt my skin break out in a cold sweat, as if something sensed my magic. I tried to focus on anything but the lake.
Heidel’s black blade glinted off the water. I watched the steady, back-and-forth motion of her braid, but still, the feeling wouldn’t relent.
What fictional world would you want to live in?
I would want to live in the Star Trek universe. There really isn’t a futuristic universe to compare with the creativity found in the Star Trek worlds. It’s an optimistic look at the future, and while many books or movies tend to shed a negative light on what’s to come, I like how Star Trek focuses more on the positive.
It’s also a very creative universe, with a diversity of worlds and alien species. There really is no limit to what can be discovered. Star Trek gave me inspiration for my own novels, and helped me create Faythander.
While my world wasn’t a sci-fi planet like those portrayed in Star Trek, it was inhabited by a variety of species, and I didn’t want them all to fit snugly into a certain stereotype. The pixies are seven-feet tall. The elves are technologically advanced, and are building a Mars colony. The Wults are descended from the Vikings, and I tried to stay true to their culture. The dragons evolved from dinosaurs, and resemble Apatosaurus’ and the like.
In future books, I will delve into the other races found in Faythander, and I have a few surprises planned.