The garrison consisted only of human cavalry with no goblin infantry. They wore uniforms and armor identical to the Captain at the head of the prison convoy. The guards near the barracks saluted him as he passed on his way to the castle gate. The gesture consisted of flexing their right arm out with a fist at its end, then thumping it over their hearts and holding the pose. The Captain gave a similar response.
Linvin pressed his luck and whispered to the goblin at the rear of their group. “Who are they?”
In spite of the warnings and punishments, the goblin looked carefully about for anyone paying attention. When he determined no one was watching him, he responded. “They are the sickles to the wheat. They are the cleavers to the meat. They are the wolves that drive our feet. Those men are the Elite Mandrean Imperial Guard. They are the finest fighting force in the world. No cavalry compares to the power and precision of those men.”
“They began years ago as a small unit assigned to personally protect Lord Mandrean. They were bodyguards. Over the years they grew into the most devastating force in the army. In many battles larger forces turned and ran at the mere sight of their polished shields in the distance.
“They are unflinching butchers on a scale that dwarfs even my murderous brethren. Entire villages will be burned without a soul left alive if the slightest resistance is shown. Their atrocities are an equal match for their skill. My people know that well.
“Their greatest weapon is intimidation. They give no quarter and have no signal for retreat. Crimes they commit are absolved. Their loyalty to the Emperor is total. It is by their hand that He rules all. They will give their lives for him. Every man fears them. Every goblin resents them. They are the slave drivers. Their cruelty nearly equals the starvation we faced in the Goblin Nations. Their day will come.”
“Your people have shown themselves to be no different in my experience,” Linvin countered. “You are receiving the treatment you have given over the centuries. I have seen my share of burnt villages over the years with Goblin blades lodged in blackened corpses.”
“We kill for what is rightfully ours,” the goblin growled. “They kill for sport.”
“I suppose you have taken no pleasure in your murders?” Linvin asked.
“Those we kill deserve death. This world should be ours. It will be ours when all of you wretched beings are dealt with and we reclaim our birthright.”
“If it is pity you sought form me, you will be disappointed,” Linvin corrected. “You and the Mandrean Imperial Guard are merely two sides of the same coin. Call it what you will. If your positions were reversed the treatment would be no different. For once, you serve those who mistreat you. What irony that you feel the brand from the same boot you wear.”
The soldier was infuriated by the remark and impulsively attempted to act on his feelings. As the goblin reached for his weapon, a high-pitched whine proceeded a swift sword stroke through his neck. The head fell to the ground as the Captain returned his long sword to its scabbard.
I was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children. At the age of five my Father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada. We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga. The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.
When I was thirteen, my Father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled. It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose. I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire. My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby. That irony was part of the attraction for me. After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire? Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie. It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story. By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.
Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home. In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow.
I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife. As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales. For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book. I hold my position in the greatest esteem.
While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my Mother, became terminally ill. She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world. With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.
When my Father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my Mother was equally proud. I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, “Quest for the Red Sapphire.” May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.
Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/
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