This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Whispers of prayers replaced laughter and witty remarks. No one was playing brave now. Since those mountains loomed over the horizon, Noah’s gallant companions became pious.
“We rest here,” the old caravan master announced, his voice strong for his age. Ironically, that wrinkled man was the only source of reassurance for a green caravan guard like Noah. Unlike the muscular men in this company, the old caravan master had been keeping his calm since they departed from the city, as if he was leisurely walking his horse by the lake of some shady oasis, not braving the perils of the bleak desert with a caravan that would definitely be tempting for wandering bandits. Anyway, with the edge of man’s world at sight, mortal robbers of flesh and blood should be the least of anyone’s concern right now.
All men dismounted, and so did Noah. An order to rest should be an easy one to comply with, if only there was a tree trunk to tie his horse to. “Open your eyes and watch, boy.” The caravan master must have noticed Noah’s perplexity. The old man was still on horseback when he nodded toward the other guards who took down a few barrels from the cart. The men implanted the barrels in the sand and now they had a few hitch poles for their horses. Holding his horse by its reins, Noah trudged through sand to tie his courser to one those implanted barrels.
“You have to dust your hands a little bit if you want a barrel, boy,” a muscular guard snapped at Noah when he approached a hitch pole.
“Easy on him.” The caravan master glared at the muscular fellow. “It’s his first ride as a guard.”
“I rode ten times already when I was his age.” The guard smirked.
“And that’s why you trembled when you saw the demons’ mountains, right?” Noah taunted.
The muscular guard shoved him, and suddenly, all other guards were mad at Noah, yelling and cursing and wagging firm fingers. Surprised by their exaggerated fury, Noah stepped back, his hand reaching the hilt of his sword.
“Enough, you fools!” the caravan master bellowed, still mounting his horse. “Couldn’t you make your fuss a little louder?”
“You should teach that boy how to hold his tongue.” The muscular guard pointed his finger at Noah.
“And you should pick an opponent your size,” the caravan master rebuked the muscular guard before he beckoned to Noah, “Come.”
Noah caught up with the old man, who nudged his horse away from the caravan, just enough to be out of earshot. Time to teach the green guard a lesson, Noah thought. He wasn’t in the mood to hear lessons. However, he should be grateful to the old man who had prevented an upcoming bloody clash. Needless to say who would have bled if Noah had drawn that sword in front of a dozen furious guards.
“Tell me, boy,” said the caravan master. “What did your parents tell you about demons?”
Noah rubbed his head, trying to recall anything he might have heard from his parents. “They never talked about them.”
“Exactly.” The old man leaned toward Noah. “The men behind us are not much different from your parents; they never say the name of the dwellers of the Great Desert.” He nodded toward the distant mountains. “Especially, when we are so close from the lands they reside in.”
The notion of being just a few miles away from some demon unnerved Noah. “You think if we mention them, they may. . .”
“It doesn’t matter what I think, boy.” The old man gestured toward the guards. “I just want you to understand that these men are nervous so that you don’t get into trouble one more time. Because if you do, I won’t be there to stop them from killing you.”
The caravan master wheeled his horse, but before he went away, Noah said, “You are not afraid because you know those demons do not exist, right?”
The old man pulled the reins of his horse and let in a deep breath. “Two days ago, I was on my way back to Kahora when I saw that man coming out from the Great Desert on a black stallion. My men, terrified, thought he was a demon chasing them. But when he came closer, we realized he was only a lost, exhausted traveler who would kill for a sip of water.”
The old man’s tale confused Noah a bit. “What are trying to tell me? That the Great Desert is inhabited by men like you and me?”
The old man turned to him. “I’m trying to tell you that not everything you hear—”
"A leopard! ”
While Noah was looking around to find the beast, he heard a roar followed by a grunt, and then a few men hooting. A guard had struck the leopard dead with a thrown spear; Noah deduced after he found the beast’s corpse at last. Well, the sight of a dead leopard was much relieving than an alive one. Especially, if it was moving toward you.
But for some reason, the old man didn’t seem impressed at all. He even looked concerned as he gazed at the vacant desert behind them. “We must leave now, men. Mount your horses,” he urged his guards who barely got some rest. The order made them disgruntled, but no one dared to disobey the veteran caravan master.
But Noah dared to approach the old man. “Something wrong?”
“The Ghosts.” The caravan master was still gazing at the horizon. “They have sent an eye, and the eye saw us. Now they know we are here.”
“Ghosts? But I thought you don’t believe in—”
“The Ghosts are real, boy. I have seen the corpses they leave behind.” For the first time, the reserved caravan master sounded nervous. “Now put your arse on a saddle.”
Noah swallowed. He had never wielded his sword in a real fight. “You know how to defeat them, right?”
“No one fights a Ghost, naive. I grew old because I always ran away. Now move or we leave you behind!”
Noah didn’t need more persuasion to sprint toward his horse. He hurriedly untied it, but there was that heavy barrel which was still stuck in the sand. He called out to the guards to help him return that barrel to the cart, but no one paid him heed as they were already mounting their horses.
“Forget the damned barrel now! You are hindering us, boy!” the caravan master nudged his horse onward, the rest of the guards following him. Noah, jumbled by their rush, struggled with the stirrup before he swung up the saddle.
And then, that shriek echoed in the desert.
“Blast!” One of the guards looked back, his jaw dropped. Noah didn’t need to be a seasoned guard to know what that shriek was; the terrified look on everybody’s faces said it all.
It was the shriek of a Ghost.
Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
Satabda Chatterjee: Each and every charecter develops during the whole course of the journey and keeps secretly love for the princess . However the way that writter expressed each situatuons that the princess faced quite relevant and keeps the suspense always at the end of the chapter. . . .which makes the reader m...
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.
maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...
mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!
Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...
ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...
annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...
Jason Phang: More, I want MORE! Your stories are keeping me from games and (gasp) even sleep! Each chapter brought fresh hooks that I willingly wolfed down (pun intended) and I just couldn't bear going to sleep not knowing what happens next to Lindsay and Wayne. I also loved how the epilogue was done. Excelle...
spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...