Bone Spider excerpt:
The stone walls were shuffled out of place, some of them completely fallen out of formation, a puzzle of blocks uneven on the surface. Entire walls had collapsed, and the floor was jagged where it wasn’t interrupted by large sinkholes burrowing deep into the earth, so deep that they couldn’t see the bottom. In certain hallways, Invesia carried the dog while climbing along the rutted walls. The hallways were narrow and short; their heads ducked and tilted to walk through the jumble. As if the hallways were twisted like a snake, the walls swerved up and down; right to left. Their knees bent, putting pressure on their already tense muscles. Imagio constantly rubbed on his back calf, feeling a burning sting stabbing up to his back.
A couple of passages opened into larger rooms perforated with sinkholes. Some walls hung over the holes, counterweighted by avalanched stones. Portions of the ceiling had plummeted into the sinkhole chasms, creating openings into the upper floors.
Foreign writing layered the stones, a language that Invesia did not recognize. The blocky letters were partitioned with pictographs illustrating the words. As she scrambled through the passages, her mind attempted to identify the race belonging to the language.
They continued to crawl through collapsed passages, trimmed around the edges of sinkholes. They climbed up leaning walls, skirted along edges and squeezed between walls that were pushed against each other.
Invesia knew that the sinkholes had formed from the underground Lavaworm mazes, a creature long absent from that area but their devastation still remained. The Lavaworms consumed earth as they passed under the surface, and their bodies emitted so much heat that the underground caverns congealed stone into cylinders. The creature’s absence caused the tunnels to deteriorate, eventually collapsing into sinkholes. For the ruins to be effected so dramatically, Invesia realized a large nest must have had existed below them.
The sinkholes were rich with life; a natural cycle had formed in the unique habitat. The nut berry vines formed around the sinkhole walls, effectively solidifying and strengthening the layers of stone and mud to prevent further collapse. The sweet fruit surrounded a nut seed that was rich in protein. The vines only grew in the dark, a rare plant that didn’t need sunlight to prosper, thriving underground, in the dark; with little air.
The flores insects fed on the fruits while discarding the nut seeds that eventually dug into the ground and budded into more vines. The insects shimmered with an array of glossy colors, mostly in shades of silvery green, shiny blue and zealous yellow. The vibrant colors batted the walls with enough light that Invesia and Imagio did not require torches to navigate. Besides, they were too frightened to give away their location to the Viperaneas. If the insects were removed from their underground homes, they lost their colors and eventually died after two days. Their shiny colors helped them to coordinate swarms and attract mates.
The noris bats fed off of the insects, extremely hairy animals with wingspans three times the size of their bodies. The animals had a venomous bite and thick fangs that were needed to penetrate through the shells and fight through the insects’ incredible resiliency against poisons. A bat suckled on the insects for a long time before it peeled away the shells and fed on the innards.
The miser rats used the bats’ instincts to their advantage. The smart animals would capture large numbers of insects and collect them into cracks where the bats would convene. The rodents didn’t eat the insects but fed on bat droppings. Their droppings contained the discarded colors from the insects, easily discernible in the dark. In effect, the rats were attracted to shiny colors. Miners hated the pesky rodents because they stole valuable jewels and precious metals. To complete the cycle, the rodent droppings fertilized the vines.
by Jax E. Garson
copyright 2015 ladwigoma books
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Invesia and Imagio set out on their own adventure.
Invesia is tired of her husband but especially jealous of his grand adventures throughout the East. She escapes home, to remove herself from the stresses of her seeming indifferent husband and the nagging of endless chores around the farm. For once, she would like to explore on her own.
While hiding at the local inn, she is accompanied with her long lasting friend, Imagio. After daring to release hundreds of birds from their cages, Imagio and Invesia find themselves chased into the valley woodland by an angry mob. On their travels, they discover the ancient ruins of a forgotten kingdom, and something more insidious.
The mercenary Droth have returned, and they have been robbing and killing innocent people and animals.
While investigating a strange liquid that the Droth were cooking up, Invesia decides to revisit an old acquaintance, Fanillian the alchemist that apprenticed her. Their travels take them to Slinder where they reunite with the mercenaries from Nathist. With their help, they track down the source of the evil, following the course of Slinder’s escape from his pursuers many decades before.
Imagio and Invesia travel the forbidden parts of the East where ancient cities and castles had been buried to only discover a deadly secret lost from the Kadic War.