In this, the finale of the Book of Deacon Trilogy, Myranda and the Chosen face their greatest challenges yet. Time is running out, and the Generals are growing desperate. Through victory and defeat, reunion and betrayal, neither the heroes nor their foes will rest until they have seen their task through to the end. The only question is, will it be the end of a war, or the end of times?
The Book of Deacon, Tome 3 : The Battle of Verril
Chronicling the tale of the Chosen is a monumental task, and one that cannot and must not remain half done. If you have read the volumes already written, then you know well the trials that heroes must face. Already there have been triumphs and there have been tragedies. Friends and allies have been pulled from the jaws of doom, while others have not been so fortunate. Despite these adventures, the truest tests of the Chosen still remain to be told. With these final pages, I shall set that right.
To do so I must begin where my last account ended. Myranda, a young and dedicated wizard, had returned. Believed dead by the other Chosen, she swept in to snatch her friends from defeat. When all had been brought to safety, and for a moment things seemed calm, she agreed to share the events of her absence. They begin where the others believed that Myranda's life had ended, in the lowest level of the personal menagerie of Demont, a general of the Northern Alliance. The devilish structure, filled with nightmarish creatures, was quickly consuming itself in out of control flames. She held the burning fort together with the strength of her will until she felt her friends had escaped, then relented, ready for the whole of the structure to collapse upon her, ready for fate to claim her. Fate, it seems, had other plans.
The boards beneath Myranda's feet gave way just as the remaining ceiling over her head did the same. The wizard dropped down into some sort of recess into the floor. Scrambling backwards away from the very fort that was coming down on top of her, Myranda’s desperate hands found their way to a metal handle. It was attached to a low door seemingly carved into the stone of the ground. With moments to spare she pulled it open and dragged herself into the blackness beyond. The roar of the structure collapsing on itself rumbled all around her as she clawed her way down the pitch black tunnel. As she did, the rumble became more muffled, debris settling in above her. She pushed aside the thought that it was burying her alive. So, too, did she ignore the concerns of what this place was or what she might find here. The only thought on her mind was survival. Get away from the fire, from the collapse. The rest could wait.
The fire had taken a greater toll on her legs than she had realized, as several attempts to stand failed. The sound of buckling stone behind her convinced her that it was better to crawl now than to die trying to walk. The smoke from the smoldering debris that had tumbled in behind her continued to burn at her lungs as she crept every inch of distance her body could offer before collapsing. The rumble and roar drifted away as Myranda's body finally reached its limit.
Perhaps hours, perhaps days later, Myranda's eyes opened to the blackness. The smoke no longer stung at her, but the air was stifling and stale. She coughed and sputtered as she rolled to her back. A sharp pain prompted her to pull something free that had jabbed her in the shoulder blade. As wakefulness fully returned to her, the stillness permitted the concerns she’d brushed away to rush back in. What was this place? If the monstrous creations she'd seen inside the fort were any indication, she shuddered to think of what kind of beasts might be kept in the catacombs beneath. In darkness such as this, her eyes may as well have been closed. Desperate for some form of information, she listened. Nothing. The silence was eerie, oppressive, and complete. Her nose and tongue told only of the acrid residue left from the burning wood, so she was left with touch alone. What it told her confused her.
The floor was . . . tile.
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