SIBUN: Emily Bankston - Chapter One


            July 6, 2001. Baton Rouge, LA.
            Karen Bankston kept checking her watch. What was supposed to have been a routine visit had turned into an additional two hours of tests and waiting on the doctor. No wonder people were called patients and not referred to as clients or customers. One had to be patient just to go to the doctor these days, and the old cliché “the customer is always right” seldom (if ever) held true. Didn’t physicians realize other people’s time was just as valuable as theirs? Apparently they did not.
            Karen looked down at her watch again, irritated with the idea that she should have been home nearly an hour ago. She just hoped the girls were doing okay. This was her first time to leave them home alone. Maybe that’s why she felt so anxious. She wanted to call, but it was posted not to use one’s cell phone in the rooms. If the assistant would hurry up, she would be able to checkout and leave.
            Just then, Karen heard a tap at the door. About time, she wanted to mutter aloud, though she thought better against it. It wasn’t the young girl’s fault. Although, Karen did wonder how the poor girl handled the doctor’s apparent careless approach to punctuality. Maybe it was something one had to get used to in the medical field: Everyone catering to the smart, rich doctors. Karen bet doctors would sing a different tune if they were the patient. She took pleasure in knowing they would eventually get theirs. Everyone got sick; everyone got old. One could not be his or her own physician forever.
            “Hi, Mrs. Bankston. Sorry for your wait.”
            “That’s okay,” Karen lied.
            “The results for your lab work all came back fine. The doctor wants you to continue to take your meds as prescribed, and he’ll see you again in six months.” The assistant handed Karen a piece of paper. “Please take this to the checkout desk around the corner, and you can go ahead and schedule your next visit if you would like, Mrs. Bankston.”
            Finally, Karen thought, but managed to vocal a heartfelt “Thank you” instead.
            Making her way to the checkout counter, Karen considered scheduling her appointment seven or even eight month outs, just to make the doctor wait for her next time. Hump! She mumbled under her breath. Then again, she realized that would be impossible, because the doctor would only give her six months of refills and wouldn’t renew her medicines unless she came back as prescribed.
            Irritation crawled through her body. Karen tried to rationalize it. She hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch (due to her tests), her girls were alone, the doctor had taken forever, and now she’d be getting home late and have to cook with a splitting headache. Karen wondered if men ever even contemplated how difficult it was to be a mother, with the needs and wants of their husband and children constantly draining them. Whoever claimed being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t a real job needed to try it for a few months.
            On her way out, the flash on the television caught her attention. Karen turned to face the screen just in time to read the caption:

Rachel Ellis of Denham Springs, Louisiana.
Rachel is eight years old, has blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 4 ft. tall and weighs about 50 lbs. She was last seen at her home in Jubilee Manor. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Rachel Ellis, please contact the local police at…

            Karen couldn’t believe it! How had she missed this report? Jubilee Manor really wasn’t that far from where she lived. Jennifer and Emily were home, alone, right now. Karen couldn’t get out of the doctor’s office fast enough. She ran to her car as quickly as she could, pulling out her keys and tossing her purse to the passenger seat. The seatbelt wouldn’t cooperate, so she dismissed it with a grunt. Turning on the car and putting it in reverse, Karen found she had to wait on an elderly couple walking across the parking lot. The gentleman used a cane and his wife a walker, so they were none too fast.
            “Move it already!” Karen shouted. Thankfully, she was inside her vehicle with the windows up.
            The couple smiled and waved at her. Karen only gave them a despised look, so the couple quickly turned away and kept walking. No doubt they would talk about her during their two-hour wait for the doctor, Karen imagined.


            Finally able to get onto the road, Karen reached for her phone, only to be startled by the annoying seatbelt alarm. “Shut up already,” she shouted. It obeyed.
Karen retrieved her phone from her purse and tried calling home a couple of times with no answer. It didn’t take much for the panic to consume her. This was the first time she’d left her girls home alone, and now they weren’t picking up the phone.
            The previous attempts by her daughters to stay alone played out in Karen’s mind. Jennifer often complained about being treated like a baby, arguing that she was old enough to stay home. Karen had repeatedly rejected the idea on multiple occasions; but Jennifer and others kept saying that a fourteen-year-old girl was mature enough to trust at home, especially since they lived in a nice neighborhood with no crime. At least none reported or that they knew about.
            Today Karen had anticipated only being gone a few hours to her appointment, so she reluctantly left Jennifer and Emily at home while she went. She had not expected it to turn into four long hours. In her mind, it was a compromise. A way to ease into allowing her oldest daughter a little more responsibility, without giving herself a heart attack or nervous breakdown in the process. Karen regretted giving in, when all the while she knew better than to leave the girls by themselves.
            Karen still couldn’t reach the girls, so she called her husband.


            Trevor saw his wife’s name appear on the ID. “Hey, I’m about to go…”
            Karen didn’t wait for him to finish. “They won’t answer the phone, Trevor, they won’t answer the phone!”
            Trevor was confused. “Who? Who won’t answer the phone?” He had a meeting to go to. He didn’t have time for his wife’s emotional breakdown.
            “The girls,” Karen shouted, as if Trevor was stupid for even asking such a question. Who else would she be talking about? “I’ve tried calling four or five times, and they won’t answer.”
            Trevor could hear the panic in his wife’s voice, but the disrespect she often relayed frustrated him. He wanted to just hang up or shout back at her, but it would only make it worse. He thought about saying “Calm down” but that too would likely send her into orbit.
            “They probably went outside.” There was silence on the line, so Trevor continued. “You know they like to play together on the swings, pick flowers, and any number of things for hours in the backyard.”
            “But they were supposed to stay inside until I got home.”
            He could sense his wife calming, but only slightly. “Well, maybe they figured they could play outside and come back in before you got home, or hurry inside when they heard you drive up. You know how kids are.”
            Karen acknowledged it was possible, but she didn’t really believe it. It sounded more like Trever didn’t really care, and she was just wasting her breath being on the phone with him. She figured her time would be better spent trying to call the girls. They would be in for a serious spanking when she got home, and most likely be grounded for a good while also.
            Trevor, on the other hand, wasn’t really surprised the girls had not answered the phone. Although, honestly, he was more focused on his aggravation of having to attend a last minute meeting he didn’t really want to go to. He figured when Karen got home she would fuss at Jennifer and Emily for not answering her calls and for going out back instead of staying inside, and it would all be over by the time he got there. He would be a little late due to the last minute meeting anyway.


            When Karen finally reached her neighborhood and turned down Maple Street, she counted every house as she passed by them. As she neared 125 Maple Street, fear—no something much worse—gripped her soul, trying to strangle the very life from her as she saw the front door. It was open. Open! There was no reason for the entrance to their house to be wide open with only her two young daughters home alone.
            Her chest heaved. She couldn’t breathe. Karen wanted to jump out and run to the door before she could even finish pulling the car into the driveway. Slamming on the breaks just before plowing into the house, she couldn’t park fast enough. Thankful she was not bound by the uncooperative seatbelt, Karen burst from the car without turning off the engine. Hitting her elbow on the car door didn’t slow her down. Her frantic mind didn’t even register feeling it.
Likewise, the possibility of intruders being inside the home never crossed her mind. All Karen cared about was finding her babies. She rushed through the door, frantically calling their names and looking everywhere. She felt lightheaded and weak. She pushed through it into every room, searching first in Jennifer’s and then in Emily’s. They weren’t in their rooms, the bathrooms, living room or kitchen.
Running to the backdoor, Karen pulled the extra key that hung on the nail near the door, since her keys were still in the ignition of her running car and not in her hand. Its presence was evidence that the girls had not been playing in the backyard, but it didn’t stop Karen from forcing her way outside. She fought with the backdoor deadbolt, unable to steady her hand enough to put in the key. She cursed her husband for not having already replaced the lock like he had said he would for years.
The door was against her—everything was against her—trying to keep her from her babies. “Jennifer! Emily!” Karen screamed over and over again without ceasing. The news flash of the missing eight-year-old girl she’d seen while leaving the doctor’s office haunted her mind. Oh dear God, please not my babies!
Trevor! I need to call Trevor. That was all Karen could process at the moment. She couldn’t even remember Trevor’s cell or work number. Cell phone. Where is my cell phone? She had left it in the car.
Karen rushed back out of the house. Seeing her purse still sitting in the passenger seat, she stretched over the driver seat, grabbed it, and pulled it to her as if there was someone on the other end trying to steal it. Digging around for the phone, her purse acted as though it didn’t want to release it. She couldn’t find it. Where was it?
Frustration was gaining full control over the whole situation. Karen’s hands shook, more so than she could ever remember—although, at the present, she wasn’t remembering very much of anything. The only thing she cared about was finding her daughters.
Looking down, Karen realized her phone was sitting in the seat. She then recalled that she had been trying to call the girls, and must have put it on the seat instead of back into her purse. It had apparently slid under her purse, which was why she hadn’t immediately seen it.
Karen picked up the phone, called Trevor’s cell and listened impatiently to the ringing in her ear. Pick up! Pick up!
“Hi, you’ve reached Trever Bankston. Leave a message and I’ll hopefully return your call sooner rather than later.”
“Pick up the phone,” she shouted. Do you even care that our girls are missing? If you really cared you’d answer your phone! She hung up and tried three more times.
Maybe she shouldn’t have had such thoughts, given there was no way for Trevor to have known the girls were missing and not simply outside as he had suspected, but her emotions were pushed to the max—way past their limits. She needed comfort, reassurance, hope, and there was no one around to give it.

Playing Judas - Intro

One of the most famous, most controversial persons to have hanged himself was Judas Iscariot. Not only did he commit physical suicide by hanging himself, he also committed spiritual suicide by handing over his only means to salvation, Jesus Christ. I understand there may be some who possibly disagree, but if you have picked up this book I hope that you will read it to the end before making the decision to put it back down.

My goal in writing this work is to ask the reader to consider:

do i see myself in Judas iscariot?

It is estimated that approximately one million people commit suicide worldwide each year. How many are likewise committing spiritual suicide daily around the globe? With the former leading to the loss of life and the latter leading to the loss of soul, how many Professing Christians are Playing Judas each and every day? Are you? Am I?

I start with the premise that Judas Iscariot was an actual person, and although the scriptural accounts of him may not be in full they are accurate. I note this to explain that the purpose of this writing is not to verify the existence of Judas, or to prove the validity of scripture. There are other authors who have done such studies, some of which are included in my Sources, if one would like to peruse a study of Judas Iscariot outside of my current focus.

The reason for this work is not simply to cast stones at Judas, to begrudgingly make him the worst sinner of all times; for Paul said he was the chief among sinners [1 Timothy 1:15]. It is also not meant to merely boost self-righteousness in the heart of the reader or myself, by purely having us compare ourselves with him; as we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. [Romans 3:23] We do know that outside of Christ “there is none righteous, no, not one” [Romans 3:10], so to compare ourselves to see “who is better” would be quite a sinful folly.

What I would like to ask the reader to do is to examine the contents of this book in light of two verses:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [2 Timothy 3:16-17]

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [1 Corinthians 10:11]

Let the reader put away their critique of the original Hebrew and Greek, of the supposed errors within translations, and the possible inclusions of superstitions interwoven into the scriptures for just a moment, if you would. Let us take a look at Judas Iscariot as an example; as an admonition meant to reprove, correct, and instruct us. I believe we could all do well with a little bit of self-examination most days.

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. [1 Corinthians 10:12]

Dragon Child - Prologue


Nox (the night god) cast his cloak over Fargone, while the lustful breath of Ventus (the goddess of wind) did swirl violently at the demanding voice of Tonare (the god of thunder), as the envious fingers of Lux (the goddess of lightning) did highlight the dark sky. Sol (the day god) refused to be a spectator to such turmoil amidst the heavens, as his duty as guardian was over for a time. It was a great clash of strength and jealousy, but few did mind the windows to observe such fierce battles of the gods.

Praying to them did very little for those who dwelt in Fargone, and perhaps it would be a blessing if their denial of the gods did anger the deities enough to draw their attention. In the minds of many, the wrath of the gods would bring forth a longed for peace; for, in their fleshly torments, they considered not what may wait for their souls in the spirit realm. Surely, they would not be cast into the torments of outer darkness in the underworld by the god Dauthus in death, given they had been dealt such misfortune in life.

§           §           §           §

Fargone was a decaying settlement of exiles. It was here that one was sent if they were found to have the plague or sickness which could not be healed, to protect others from befalling to such punishments from the gods. Those born with abnormalities – whether of the mind, body, or senses – were often delivered to this desolate place, considering it the only way to remove such genes from infecting further into society. Likewise were those maidens found with child, having no husbands, abandoned in Fargone, being an embarrassment to their families. One was not sent unto nor happen upon Fargone as a place to heal and revive, but was rather delivered unto a cesspool therein to slowly decay and die.
             Lillian found herself alone and afraid, cast amongst the outskirts of the wasteland of desolate souls. She was only seventeen years old. How could such befall so young a child? He had promised her glory and riches, but above all, love; yet, he had defiled her, taken her purity, and all that she was, ripping it from her very soul without mercy. She was left broken, naked, and worthless, quivering within death’s grip upon the cold, winter ground. Lillian’s skin was numb, her lips cracked, and her body laced with blood and bruises. The small heartbeat within her bosom kept her straining for breath, begging for the gods to save her unborn child.
            Lillian barely felt the hint of a warm blanket cover her frozen body. Her muscles were too constricted to be startled, as she could scarcely make out the figure through the thin slit of her eyelids. She could sense the sound waves of a soft, encouraging voice, but her eardrums were too weak to give her any clear understanding as to what was being said. Lillian was merely at the mercy of whomever it was that had happened upon her. Perhaps they would show her some compassion. Oh, how she prayed that they might. Then she lost consciousness.
             Lillian awoke to find herself in an unknown place. The room was dim, with a single lantern giving it light. She lay upon a bed that was somewhat lumpy, covered with a wool blanket which smelt rather stale. But how could she complain? The hunched over shadow at the end of the room had clearly been her savior this night. The space may have been small, perhaps a poor widow’s cottage, but it was warm, cozy, and a safe place from the elements outside. Lillian’s lips held a faint smile, as she gently massaged her belly with her tender hands.
Though she hated the evil man with all her being, Lillian could never bring herself to kill the child within her. That had been why she was tormented and left for dead. She had fled when she was found with child, and the father had commanded her to rid herself of his offspring. He would not father a child with a harlot, nor would he marry one of inferior race. She had been discovered and chastised without pity, then discarded as pure filth in Fargone. Truth was, Lillian had been the virgin daughter of the lord of Clearbrooke, before her captivity by the very evil which did impregnate her and cast her away.
            The blood fled from Lillian’s face. She froze, trying to collect her thoughts and decipher whether she was awake or dreaming. Something was wrong, alarmingly wrong! It could not be! What had happened? She pressed harder, grasping handfuls of skin. Her belly was empty – empty. Surely, she could not have lost the life within her womb, not after all she had been through. Where was her baby?

Kristietiba - Purchase A Copy

Long before she was born, Kristietiba’s grandfather saved their land from the great darkness upon it. But evil never sleeps. It merely waits to strike yet again with greater force. And so it did.

Stolen away at birth, while her father’s castle did fall under attack, Kristietiba was delivered into the hands of those she knew not. Are they traitors to the crown or rather guardians of the newborn?

Though she is cared for and protected, Kristietiba soon feels neglected and in bondage. She wants her freedom, never imagining what it will eventually cost her. Raised with stories of truth and love, Kristietiba finds the words of many to be full of lies and hurt. Rebelling against everything she knows in her heart to be right, she cleaves to the empty promises given by those who only wish to take advantage of her.

Found in deep despair, by one who claims to have known her true parents, Kristietiba must decide whether to again trust in the stories she once believed. Encouraging words of deliverance do come from those in her path, while sorrow, shame, fear, and death push her to the brink of merely giving up.

Redemption draws nigh, even at the very moment when all seems lost. Prophecy has foretold his coming and his undying love for Kristietiba does bring him to her aid. He is Salvare of Neios, and does race to save Kristietiba from the servants of the dragon. Prophecy cannot fail, and neither can love.

Krisietiba is currently available in the following formats:

§ Amazon (paperback, Kindle)
§ Barnes and Noble (ePub)
§ CreateSpace (paperback)
§ Lulu (paperback, PDF)

Kristietiba - Chapter One

Treason 1

The night fog was thick and blinding, almost suffocating.
Dampness filled the air, carried by the wild breeze, cherishing its last breath granted by the recent storm. Humidity caused everything to feel sticky, with a most irritable mood. It was a darkness to be avoided, for such an hour was given to mischief and the things most unbecoming of a noble.

Rasul lay resting in his bed of oak, with golden plated rods protruding upward from the floor at the four corners, draped overhead by a scarlet canopy with gold trimming and tassels. With droopy eyes, he rubbed his lightly graying brown beard, while laying his head on the soft fluffy pillow. The satin sheets gave him solemn comfort, as he awaited the return of his wife.

Memories filled Rasul’s mind, as he dozed in and out of shallow sleep. Thoughts of his young bride and her delicate features vibrantly raced before him. Her faintly pinkish lips held such a heartfelt smile, with eyes of green which sparkled in the moon light. He loved to run his fingers through her silky black hair, while holding her tightly next to his heart. He missed her soft breath and gentle voice beside him.

Suddenly, a loud pounding pulled Rasul from his dream, as the door to the bedchamber broke open. Men, dressed in shinny armor the color of night, swarmed the room like shadows. Swords drawn upon him, Rasul forced his mind to grasp reality. His breath was short and shallow, surprised to be surrounded by armed soldiers. Questions of how and why quickly faded to the rear of his mind, while concern for his love sprang forth as a dagger within him.

Rasul tried to lift himself from his bed, but was held down by two of the men who bound him. A dark figure swiftly moved behind the soldiers and caught his glance. The face of a ghost, deathly grey, gazed upon him. Rasul tried to fight his bonds, but could not against the strength of the men. Neither could he scream for the guards, for his vocal chords refused to give sound.

With beady eyes, the hunched back figure peered into the face of Rasul. Studying each other both refused to blink. The men looked wild-eyed and blood thirsty, while the cloaked individual appeared sadistically in charge of them. Rasul was frustrated that he could not move, and was unable to yell to his guards. He thought it odd his men were not already there at his room, and feared the worst for his wife.

“My dear Rasul, oh how you have found yourself in such a predicament,” the dark figure hissed, pointing his boney finger toward Rasul.

Rasul tried to speak, but could not.

The figure waved his hand over Rasul’s face, and Rasul could sense the movement in his vocal chords return.

“Who are you, and what do you want?”

“Do you not recognize me, Rasul?”

All of a sudden, the assailant’s image changed from the ghostly bones to the form of a younger fellow. Rasul’s eyes widen, it could not be. It was now the young Maldinat who stood before him, but how was such possible? Rasul’s mind found itself fighting against such trickery. One could not be the other, nor the other the one. Maldinat was to be his most vigilant trust, to one day take the place of his high guard, in such a weary time. Hope…like the wilting of a rose which has lost its source of nourishment…faded from Rasul’s essence.

“Before you taste what lieth at death’s door Rasul, I want you to know that all you have has been taken from you this day. Tonight you shall be stripped of your kingdom, for it shall be given unto the mighty Apostas, new ruler of Varjama. He shall take your wife Tanar unto himself, and claim your new born child his own heir. Your mighty and faithful knights have chosen to follow rather than die.

“I would offer you the same choice, but we both know that the new king cannot truly rule well while the old king yet liveth. Do not linger long at trying to understand how such has come about, dear Rasul. The light dwelleth with light and the darkness with darkness, till the time cometh when the shadows of the darkness overcome the light by gradual persistence, layer by layer, point by point, precept upon precept, while the light does sit prideful in its glory. The light must bow to the darkness, just as the day must give way to the night.”

Tears pressed against the edges of Rasul’s eyes, but refused to escape down his cheeks. His heart groaned within his chest, while his muscles did tense and push against the soldiers’ holds upon him. Rasul’s face reddened with anger and determination to free himself to slay such a devil before him. Irritation did tingle throughout his body, driving him insane. He wanted to scream. He wanted to scream out to Tanar, his love, and to his new born child, having yet to see her, being born this very night.

“I have waited so long to witness the torments I now see in your eyes Rasul. Oh the pain and sorrow you must feel, knowing all is lost to you this night, and there is nothing you may do about it.

“Tonight is the end of an era Rasul. Tonight is the beginning of something much more powerful. Tonight you shall taste death, and tomorrow we shall taste new life.”

Maldinat slid his darkened dagger slowly through the ribs of Rasul, as if to linger his suffering unto death. The cold blade sliced through Rasul’s flesh, penetrating deep into his broken heart. Rasul gasped as he momentarily tensed, then released all resistance. His lips moved as though he were trying to speak.

Maldinat lowered his ear near Rasul’s mouth. He could feel his dry breath. At first, it was too quiet. Maldinat could not understand Rasul’s words. But then…faintly…he could hear them almost crystal clear.

“May God send the high prince of Himmel… the son of King Allmachtig… the mighty King Salvare… to save these people…” Rasul struggled for breath. “An unworthy servant have I been.”

Maldinat’s face twisted with fury. Such defiance in his moment of triumph was most distasteful. Maldinat drove his dragger deeper, with anger and malice, till Rasul’s life flowed freely from him. Tanar drifted slowly off Rasul’s lips, as his mind grew dark and his eyes glazed over in death.

§ § § §

Criada held delicately the first born daughter of Rasul and Tanar. The maid softly cleaned the little one with a damp warm cloth. She smiled at the child, thinking how beautiful new life was to behold. The babe’s light eyebrows and crystal blue eyes, rosy cheeks and long eyelashes made her so adorable. Criada hoped to have one of her own one day, but as a servant she knew her future may not hold such happiness.

“Criada, come help me child!” cried Parteira, the mid-wife. Parteira worked diligently to keep Tanar calm and breathing correctly, as she prepared to help deliver a second child. “I need your help over here, so place the baby in the bassinet,” she expressed hurriedly.

“Yes ‘em Parteira,” Criada submitted, as she gave the babe another smiling glance, before moving over to lay her down and return to Tanar.

“Please let me see her Criada,” Tanar whispered between contractions. “Please let me see my precious daughter.”

Criada brought the babe near Tanar. The child was now clean, wrapped in fine white linen. Her eyes were open so wide, as she looked around the room. Her little fingers interlaced with each other, while she gazed at her mother. Her tender face beamed, with a crooked grin.

“Oh, my precious Kristietiba,” Tanar smiled through her pain, gently touching her child’s cheek.

Tanar so longed to hold both her children near her heart. She could suffer the pain just a little while longer, for it would be worth it all in that moment of sweet embrace. She, her love Rasul, and their inheritances from heaven all together, oh what a marvelous day to behold.

“Ahhh…” Tanar jerked in pain, gritting her teeth and closing her eyes tightly, while grasping at her belly.

“Breathe my lady, breathe,” Parteira encouraged Tanar.

Criada rushed over to place the babe in the bassinet, returning quickly. Criada stood by Tanar’s side, caressing her hand and patting her forehead with a fresh damp cloth. Tanar was still exhausted from the birth of her first child, but would need to endure yet a little while longer for her second. She laid her head back on her pillow, for just a moment of relief, though she felt something was oddly different. It was like a peace, a disappearing of the pain, a loss of consciousness.

Suddenly, Criada noticed Tanar’s breathing weakened, while her fingers loosened within hers and went limp. She glanced at Tanar’s closing eyes, and noticed how pale she seemed. Criada twisted to face Parteira, with shock on her face. Parteira, stunned by the amount of blood which now covered the sheets, slowly returned a blank stare. Both knew such was not good, and Parteira knew she must rush to save the child.

Surprisingly, the door blew open abruptly. Parteira and Criada both jerked to see who would enter. Both knew that Rasul would not disturb them during the time of his children’s birth, and did know he had made declaration that the room was to be off limits to any and all persons but those of Parteira’s choosing. So, who was it that did barge in upon them in such a delicate hour?

A young man, dressed in a long beige tunic, overlain with a brown cloak, entered. He shut the door behind him, and faced the women.

“Fear not dear Parteira and Criada, for I have come in the name of Salvare.”

Although they somewhat knew the name he spoke, it did not comfort their anxious spirits. It did not explain his reason for being there, and already they were in panic as to the wellbeing of Tanar and her second child not yet born.

“You have broken into the room of Tanar, wife of King Rasul, have you gone mad?” Parteira questioned. “Get out! Get out! You are not permitted to be here! Do you not see that my lady is in the middle of childbirth?”

“My name is Ziener, seer of the mighty Salvare. I have been sent here this day to protect the child known as Kristietiba. The darkness is upon this place, and the workers of iniquity do now come to take heir to the throne. She must not be given unto them, nor shall they be allowed to take her.”

“Sir, you must leave, my lady is sick and the baby is not yet born,” declared Criada. She prayed the man would not notice the child in the bassinet, that the babe would remain silent.

Ziener moved close to Tanar, but was filled with restlessness. He placed his hand upon her brow and closed his eyes. The ladies watched him. His lips moved, but they heard no voice. Ziener could feel her life quickly leaving her, and sensed the child still within her womb. He pulled his hand back from her forehead, and turned to face them.

“If I do not let her go in peace, she will be slain by those men who come to take the babe already born. The daughter, yet within her womb, is not the one I seek.”

Shocked filled Parteira and Criada, leaving them to consider what they should do. No, you are crazy! They wanted to shout. Tanar would soon die, bleeding the way she was. So too would the child, if she could not deliver soon. And this crazy drunkard was already pronouncing her dead, desired to take the king’s child, while claiming the kingdom itself was under attack. What were they to do?

Just then, the child whimpered. Ziener turned toward her. There in the bassinet where Criada had laid her, smiling with her tender eyes, seemingly pointing at him. Ziener’s face lit up, as he went to her.

“The blessed Kristietiba,” he stared and whispered, reaching down to pull her to himself. “Oh my precious child, may the God of heaven grant you safety this night.”

As the ladies were about to move toward Ziener, the door to the room was forced open once more. Ziener drew the babe close to his chest, and twisted away from those who entered. Maldinat’s face expressed surprise to see the man before him. Everything was happening so fast, the ladies merely froze in place near Tanar.

Softly, as if all other sounds vanished away, they could hear a still small voice within their minds.

You must not tell them of Kristietiba, for this night have they come for her as they have for the whole realm of Varjama. Your king Rasul has been slain, and your queen Tanar does now fade away. Varjama shall be cast into dark times, for its lasciviousness and discontentment.But keep hope, for your time of struggle will not be more than you can endure. Salvare shall send you witnesses and comforters of himself, and shall one day come to set you free.You shall see her again when the time of reconciliation is at hand.“Seize him!” Maldinat shouted to his men, to grab hold of Ziener.

They rushed toward him, but the seer was no more. He had vanished.

Angered by Ziener’s disappearance, Maldinat turned to the mid-wife. “Tend to the birth of the heir to Varjama woman, and mind not the business of men!”

Parteira shuttered and tried to focus her attention back on Tanar. Criada slowly made her way by Tanar’s side, glancing at Maldinat and his men through the corner of her gaze. There was so much blood loss now, a tear escaped Parteira’s tender eyes. Criada continued to pat Tanar’s brow with a damp cloth, and Parteira worked to bring forth the child.

Much had transpired so quickly, the minds of the servants were constricted with what to do. Were they to believe the words of the man who called himself Ziener, or trust the entrance of Maldinat with his soldiers? The queen lay there dying, while Maldinat did not even appear to care, and the unknown man who called himself a seer of Salvare had just taken the king’s first born. Parteira and Criada met each other’s sights; their hearts did agree to keep what they knew a secret, for the sake of their own lives as well.

“You two,” Maldinat called out, pointing to two of his servants. “Stand guard here and watch. Bring me the child upon its birth, and deliver the mother to the flames of MuAlah. May she burn in torment with the fallen king, and their remembrance be no more.”

Parteira and Criada’s hearts pounded heavy with such words, but would not dare look upon Maldinat. They found themselves barely breathing, not wanting to do anything to draw his attention. They had grown to love the sweet, friendly company of Tanar, and it grieved their souls to hear one speak so ill of her. An acknowledgement of that which the seer had spoken to be reality, namely the fall of Varjama and her rulers, made their stomachs twist sickly.

Kristietiba - The Beginning

Following the legend of King’s Salvare’s triumph over the Darkness in the Land of Erde blossoms the tale of his most beloved Kristietiba. Loved before she was even conceived, Salvare did wait with patience for his long anticipated bride. He sent forth trusted persons into Varjama to watch and guard over his precious affection, but like Erde the Darkness grew great there by the seed of Rubicund. Hidden away at birth, his delicate rose was taken to a place whereby she would be nourished in peace and safety. When the time was right, Salvare would journey with his knights to take unto himself Kristietiba and free the souls of Varjama from the evil that plagued them. Unto Neios he would bring them all, to embrace the purity and marvels more radiant than any had ever seen.

But, between the appointed time of birth and the prophesied arrival of Salvare, we have the life of Kristietiba

The night fog was thick and blinding, almost suffocating. Dampness filled the air, carried by the wild breeze, cherishing its last breath granted by the recent storm. Humidity caused everything to feel sticky, with a most irritable mood. It was a darkness to be avoided, for such an hour was given to mischief and the things most unbecoming of a noble.

Publication Information

I thought I would take a moment to suggest a few sites which I have personally used to make my books available to a wider audience, hoping to come in contact with those who may be interested in reading them. I am sure there are plenty of other options available, so please feel free to share your suggestions and experiences, and I will try to update this list as I am made aware of new avenues to present our works to the public.

I have used Lulu since around 2007, when I published by first book, Ekleipsis. I have found it rather easy to use, and it is virtually free unless you decide to purchase a physical copy of your book yourself. It offers a gallery of pictures that may be customized and used as cover art, along with easy to use templates for different book sizes. They have created a pretty simple wizard which walks you through the conversion of your uploaded document into PDF, and walks you through uploading and customizing your cover. Although, I would suggest (if possible) converting your document into PDF yourself, setting all of your customizations to embed, then uploading your PDF file so that it remains more true to your original format.

With Lulu, you have the availability to create and sell paperback, hardback, and digital PDF download copies of your book directly from Lulu. You set the list price, based on what royalties you would like to receive over the cost charged by Lulu for manufacturing/selling/hosting items. This is a per item cost, not a monthly fee.

CreateSpace was the second place I found for self publication, without the high startup costs most companies seem to require. It is pretty simple to use, but does not have the gallery, templates, or wizard that Lulu offers. So, a suggestion, publish with both. This way you can use the same cover you generate with Lulu to upload to CreateSpace. Also, if you are unable to create your own PDF files, you may want to try CutePDF or use the one Lulu creates from your Word document; just remember to adhere to the format sizes given by Lulu and CreateSpace respectively.

With CreateSpace, you have the availability to create and sell paperback copies of your book directly from CreateSpace, along with the option to select for it to be listed at also. You are also issued an ISBN (free), but remember it is only usable within self-publishing through CreateSpace (not with Lulu, etc.). You set the list price, based on what royalties you would like to receive over the cost charged by CreateSpace or Amazon for manufacturing/selling items. This is a per item cost, not a monthly fee.

With Amazon’s free Kindle conversion tools, this site shares all you need so that you can covert and sell your book digitally in the Kindle format directly from Amazon.

With Barnes and Noble’s free online conversion tools, this site shares all you need so that you can covert and sell book digitally in the ePub format for the Nook/Nookcolor directly from Barnes and Noble.

Hope these links help encourage you to take your story to the next level; from your imagination, to paper and digital publication and distribution.