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Shades of Grey and Black

By katydid

Action / Adventure

Prologue

The tunnels smelled of death and decay and echoed with both the ghosts of the dead and snarls of the living. The Dwarf scout, sent on ahead by his lieutenant commander Gorym, was used to the smell, not the sounds. He felt his body tense almost beyond tolerance each time he had to round a corner and the relief when the coast was clear was nearly as debilitating. There were half a dozen scouts each exploring different routes, following their commanders' orders. Dwarves who were, in turn, under orders from their lords to discover why there would be an increase in the presence of Darkspawn on the surface.

So far, there had been nothing beyond the normal influx, but this scout knew it had to be something more. His path seemed to stretch on forever and when he came to the end of the tunnel, he paused. There was an unholy red light just ahead and he thought he could hear something that sounded eerily like the marching of thousands of feet.

Tightening his hold on his longbow and shifting his quiver-full of arrows within easy reach, he inched forward, checking for Darkspawn in both directions before venturing any further. He found himself in a cavernous room, the ceiling soared away above him and, by the intense heat, he knew he had to be close to the lava pools well below Orzammar. Far across from him, through simmering air, he could make out massive doors and ancient Dwarven architecture. The sound of marching seemed to spike and he moved again, looking around at everything in the process.

He slowed as he realized the heat was roiling up from the chasm yawning before him and he ducked behind a large boulder. Feeling secure enough, he peeked over the edge and almost fell. His eyes took in the overwhelming scene about two-thirds of a mile below him and he muttered curses underneath his breath. He had seen hordes of Darkspawn before but nothing like this. Short, stubby Genlocks were shoving their way through menacing Hurlocks, while the Emissaries remained unmovable and hulking Ogres stared down them all, tossing them about as if they were nothing.

The scout was frozen in dismayed shock until another sound rose over everything and made him recoil against the boulder, his blood turning to ice in his veins. A huge, spiked dragon swooped down, the wind from its wings sending a whirl of hot, death-filled air to ruffle his hair. Its unholy roar filled the cavern and, with a resounding crash, it landed on a broken section of bridge that jutted over the chasm and studied those gathered beneath it. The sinewy neck went back and it arched its head up, letting out another roar before spreading its monstrous wings and taking flight. The scout remained frozen, stunned by the magnitude of what he had just seen and the effects of the dragon's - Archdemon's!! - his head told him, roar.

Suddenly a shout went up from the other side of the chasm and his mind yelled, Caught! even before his eyes found the Genlock. Immediately, and stupidly, he took off running, vainly trying to make it back to the tunnel.

He didn't.

There was a sharp twang and an arrow sank into his neck, dropping him.

The scout died a mere foot from his safety and with his last breath went that warning his commander so desperately needed: The Blight indeed was coming.


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Chapters
1. Prologue
Further Recommendations

taosgw74: If this is the authors first attempt at writing, I'm floored. I was engrossed in the plot from the get go.

Lydia Walters: I really enjoyed this novel. It gives us a view of what could be if we really tried.Also that there's nothing wrong with loving our LORD and our fellow humans. couldn't wait to get to each new chapter (mission). Thanks, Joe!

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

Jessica Esa: With a tantalising end to the first chapter, the authour has given us a treat and a welcome addition to the fantasy adventure genre. To limit it to just such would be an injustice however, as this novel clearly draws on elements of historical fiction, fairy tale and horror. Simply, there's someth...

Hali McGowan: when will the third book be done? I am absolutely hooked. I red the first two books within less than a week. I'm itching for the third one. The plotline is absolutely wonderful. I've never been much for sci-fi ish books. but you've got me hooked on this series

Laraine Smith: This should be a movie! You are talented! It is that good! Keep it up! It is visual! It grabbed me! Don't give up!

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

More Recommendations

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...

debmart6901: I could not put this story down. I stayed up reading when I should have been in bed. could not get enough, could not wait to find how it ended. Great story telling. Great detail. Loved it. The characters were very vivid.

aoifecollopy22: I loved how the author had the conflict come back later in the story. Also how they passed time without going over anything. That really helped move the story along. This kept my up for a few hours. YOU SHOULD READ THIS

Alisha Banks: You have me hooked! I immediately upon finishing the first book had to start the second. It is a captivating story and I can't wait to finish the other two book! I will definitely be recommending this book to others to read!

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