Realms Faire is an annual event hosted by the brilliant indie science fiction and fantasy author M. Pax. Starting November 11th, you can enter to win some amazing prizes, including books, ebooks, jewelry, albums, giftcards, and a Kindle.
There are several fun events where playing is the name of the game! Visit the links below and help spread the word. Hashtag #grogz
Surrender your senses and enter the world of EXISTENCE, an intrinsically cinematic experience forged by the creative fire of audiomachine composer, Kevin Rix.
EXISTENCE is the culmination of two epic recording sessions that gave rise to the stirring stories of MILLENNIUM and the compelling final chapters of ORIGINS. An impassioned saga spanning 18 tracks—EXISTENCE is infused with the spirit of humanity.
audiomachine invites you on a journey through “Millennium”, with passage beyond the boundaries of time, as you endure an undying soul’s “Existence”. Surrender to an ideal of hope as it emerges “Beyond the Clouds”, breathing life into the promise of a “New Beginning”. Embark on a perilous journey as it surges through the “Destroyer”, leaving you to wander the ashes of a scorched earth during the “100 Years War”. Lament the loss of love and life as dreams collapse for “The Last Immortal”, whose harrowing past holds the key to salvation when “The Future is Upon Us”.
Music calls to the greatness living in all of us–the seed of every story planted firmly in the soul of the notes. Listen closely for the story your soul wants to tell as it evolves in audiomachine’s EXISTENCE.
— Commercial Blurb by Samantha Redstreake Geary
The World of EXISTENCE
Each day, author Amy Willoughby-Burle and I, unveiled “Tales of The Last Immortal”, inspired by audiomachine’s EXISTENCE. This was a collective performance—a collaboration between words and music! Fans chose the correct track that inspired each tale, and were entered to WIN SIGNED EXISTENCE albums by composer Kevin Rix! There were 5 chances to enter, starting Nov. 11th through the 15th. The commenting window for all chapters remained open until Sunday Nov. 17th, midnight EST!
6 chapters = 6 chances to win + a bonus challenge!
The EXISTENCE tracks were featured in the sidebar music player, for fans to listen to while making their choice. One guess per person/ per Chapter. Fans listed their choice of track & Chapter# in the comments section below! *For example: Tempest for Chapter 2
Fans on FB and Twitter were entered to WIN EXISTENCE albums for every “share” and “Retweet” of our featured posts.
WINNERS of Signed EXISTENCE Albums
Filipe — for naming Puff the Magic Dragon as the classic children’s tale that inspired our collaborative adventure!
WINNERS of EXISTENCE Albums
Social Media Winner — Rosa Fernández Muñoz
▶ Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to everyone who participated!
by Samantha Redstreake Geary
The skittering of rocks echoes off the slick walls, jolting me from my slumber. The boy has returned. He smells of the salty sea, his sweat heavy with honeyed anticipation.
“I’ve…I’ve come back…hope that’s alright. I…I brought you some of my Mum’s fish pie,” the boy offers, holding out a small package wrapped in worn cloth, tied loosely with weathered string.
I search the boy’s damp face for signs of fear. I find only daring. He is spirited, more so than even the bravest of men. I, above all others, have haunted the imagination of mortals. Fear dies a slow death in the hearts of man. Curiously, the seed of doubt failed to root in this boy.
“I..I thought we could chat a bit…share stories. I bet you’ve got smashing stories!” The boy fidgets, words spilling over his eager lips, “Loads better than books, I imagine.”
“My story, forged in the fires of folklore, is more than the dusty breath bound in books…more than the myths and legends that have left an indelible mark on your ancestors,” I reply, autumn mist curling and climbing its way up the boy. “My tale spans a millenium, its origins traced to an age of soaring stone spires, where noble kings waged fierce battles and pirates surged across the seas.”
“W-w-was there magic?” the boy asks, eyes wide with wonder.
I edge closer to the boy, steam rolling off the skin of the earth in waves that ripple and writhe through the air. “There is always magic.”
“Real magic?” the boy asks, his voice a sliver of sound, so bound up as it is in wonder.
I lower my face to his, the heat of my breath bringing a flush to his cheeks. So small he is, yet so brave. I fear more that he will leave than it seems he fears to stay. “Oh yes, child,” I reply. “Real magic and I shall tell you of it. But I warn you this—magic is not the stuff of fireflies and twinkling stars. It can be dark, my boy. It can be frightening. It is not a thing to trifle with, although many have made that mistake.”
The boy blinks. The dappled light lifts off his lashes like tiny jewels tossed into the sea soaked air. “The tale I know of magic is dark indeed,” I say and draw my face from his.
“Who was it that made the magic,” he asks, breathless against the thick misty air.
“It was me,” I say. “I was sought out in secret, for I have a power greater than that possessed by any prince or king. A gift more precious than plundered by any pirate deep at sea.”
“What can you do?” the boy whispers.
“Anything you dare to desire,” I say. “For a price.”
“Is it steep?” he asks, “The price to be paid?”
“The price of magic is steep indeed,” I say. “And it is not only the seeker of the magic who suffers to pay its ransom.”
“Will you tell me about it?” the boy asks, nervous to make the request.
“No,” I say and his face falls in disappointment. “I will show you.”
He takes in a breath and his excitement is tangible on his skin. I scoop the boy up and fling him onto my back. He wraps his legs firm around me and grips his fingers tight against my skin. Pounding across the dank and wet stones I hurl us out of the shadows and into the wet sunlight of the seashore. The cold, frothy waves crash against the hull of my ancient ship. The angry sea chops at us, fighting against our journey.
For hours we battle the ocean until ahead of us a great castle looms. Stone spires and forged iron gates look as real as they ever did. Men in metal line up for a battle I unwittingly set in motion. A battle that would initiate the end of my kind—except for me. It has been many ages since I saw another face like mine. They are but the magic of memory, but the sight of them pounds my heart strong against my chest.
“Are we not in the middle of the sea?” the boy shouts—his words whipped away in the wind even as he speaks them.
“This is but a picture of the past,” I speak in reply. If only I had enough magic to turn back time, I could stop this from happening…stop the shadow of death from falling upon this land. As powerful as I am, no one is that great.
As if he has heard my thoughts, the boy asks, “Are you sure?”
100 Years War
by Samantha Redstreake Geary
The boy’s challenge hints at something more. The sharp fingers of warning run along the edge of my spine.
“Tell me, what battle lies before us?” the boy asks, voice dripping with surprising vehemence.
“It is the final savage struggle for survival,” I reply, words heavy with remorse.
“The grisly end to a war waged over 100 years.” I bear the scars of this carnage still, the claws of guilt ripping away at my soul. “The sky rained with their blood. Their spirits soaked the land. The hungry mouth of time fed on their bones until there was nothing left but dust and the devil.”
He lives still…I can feel the weight of his presence in this world.
“Must’ve been awful,” the boy says, his eyes locked onto the nightmarish projection. The image wavers, a fleeting reflection in a sea of pain. “This war…how did it start?” the boy prods.
Anger boils to the surface, flooding my mouth with bitter rivers of sulfur. “With a wish for wealth and power in exchange for mercy. A life spared for a life eternal. My life in exchange for the lives of my soldiers…my family,” I whisper, hoping the wind would carry my confession across the boundaries of time.
“Who made this wish?” the boy demands, a spark of curious interest fueling his insistence.
“A king wielding a weapon of untold destruction. He would have killed me, had I not offered a temptation far greater than my blood on his sword. The gift of immortality was impossible to resist.” Memories flicker and flash before us, a haunting cast reenacting the final forgotten scene.
“With infinite power, the king wiped us from the pages of history. We are nothing more than stories that spill from the lips of mortals into the ears of their gullible young.” My illusion fades back into the sea, the waves swallowing what little remains of my shattered world.
“If you could…change the past…would you?” the boy asks.
“I would,” I say without hesitation. I search the boy’s eyes. There is something familiar hidden in their depths.
“What if the price was steep?” the boy asks, his voice trembling with an emotion I don’t understand.
“The price of magic is always steep.”
The Last Immortal
I know right away that something is gravely wrong.
“What do you know of magic, boy?” I ask, carefully. “Have you seen it before?”
“I have indeed,” the boy says.
My heart begins to race, my skin tingling with trepidation. I am not usually fearful, but fear grips tight to my throat.
“Let me be the one to show you this time,” the boy says and waves his hand through the mist.
What appears before us is not a mere reflection of time. It is time reversed. I have known illusion and what lies before me is not smoke and mirrors. It is the feel of wet stone beneath my feet, the smell of funeral pyre burning against my nose and the cries of my kind as they weep over the death of their own. I don’t understand how this magic has been done, but it has.
“Do you remember this moment?” the boy asks. It is the day I struck the deal intended to save myself and my kind in turn. I want to think that we are but looking at a memory, but I can feel myself split in two—half where I stand with the boy and half with the king. Somehow it is real. I am here again. Time turned back as I have longed for. I am struck with panic.
The king speaks and the boy mouths the words along with him. “I am the one who has killed your kind and by this sword I have stolen their powers,” the King says, speaking the words that have plagued me for all the ages. “I will have the magic of all your kind by the time I am through.” He raises this sword—alight with a dark magic that I had not seen in a thousand years. He could have killed me with one well placed strike. I had no doubt that he could accomplish it. He swings the sword forward.
“Immortality!” I shout just as I had then, spinning my mind to find some means of salvation.
The sword stops inches from my neck. “Shed my blood and you get my magic, but not my immortality. Spare me,” I say, ashamed that I thought of myself first…ashamed still. “And I will give you life unending. Is that not the ultimate power?”
“And the price?” the king asks.
“Shed no more blood, mine nor any of my kind,” I say.
“Agreed,” the king says, his voice as gnarly with hatred as I remember. I bestow upon him the most powerful and intricate magic I possess. I had thought my gift enough to satisfy him. But it only deepened his desire for destruction and fired a new determination to be the last of the immortals.
“What have I done?” I ask into the wind. “What can I do?”
With that question spoken into the air, the boy before me begins to change. He grows taller, broader, older—more familiar. I am dumbstruck.
“I am surprised you did not recognize me,” he says.
I am surprised as well.
“I am King Jacques of Honalee,” he says. “I have searched through endless lives for you. Waiting for this moment. Praying to whatever god would hear me—thinking none had.”
His face is the same as I recall it, but his eyes—they are different.
“For what exactly did you pray?” I ask, prepared to face his wrath—ready this time to right my wrong.
“Your gift of immortality has been a curse,” he says. “I could in fact die, and I did. Many times. Only to be born again over and over into nothingness. Forgotten by the world. Alone. Remembered by no one. Loved by no one. A miserable existence it has been indeed.”
“And you blame me?” I ask.
Had he not been the one to turn his back on our deal? Magic woven under the price of life and death cannot be undone—but it can be twisted. And so it seems it has.
“Life unending indeed,” King Jacques says. “Not the same thing as immortality, my friend. It took me ages to figure out how to return to this moment. Hundreds of lifetimes of half forgotten memories pieced together to learn what was needed to set this straight.”
“And what was that?” I ask.
“You,” he says. “And now, you will make things right.”
And then we are no longer two halves of ourselves—each watching the other as if in a play. I am one again with what was and so is Jacques. The King raises his sword above me again—dark magic flashing in the depths of my cave.
I ready myself for the fatal blow.
by Samantha Redstreake Geary
“I have lived a thousand lives,” the king whispers, his sword hovering in the space between life and death. “I would trade every last one of them for peace.”
“More bloodshed will not bring you peace,” I offer, my instincts screaming to survive while my mind surrenders to a fate I rightfully deserve.
“It is not your blood I seek. There’s been enough souls ripped from this realm by my hand,” the king concedes, pain and regret waging a silent battle in his eyes. “I’ve grown weary of war…”
The king meets my gaze, a smile creeping across his weathered face. “Perhaps we shall meet again…in the next life.”
The cursed blade winks in the light, moments before sinking its teeth into oblivion. Crimson rivers flow from the angry grimace where metal meets flesh.
“You are no longer alone, drakon,” the king utters, the last of his sins soaking into the earth. “Hear them calling for you?” he gasps, his broken body stumbling across the unforgiving rocks. “They are more than the magic of memories.”
The king of ages crumples to the ground in a cloud of crystal mist—the brutal breath of magic come to claim its debt.
I charge from the mouth of the cave, escaping the grip of darkness into the arms of an ancient sun.
My wings spread in rapture, eager to soar through skies burning with the promise of a new beginning.
The future will find us, not in the stale breath bound in books, nor as a fading figment of legends and lore, but amongst the stars, blazing a path through the heavens.
There will always be magic.
The magic of dragons.
Special thanks to audiomachine and the following authors for their generous contributions and support of Realms Faire:
- Kimberly Afe
- Sandra Ulbrich Almazan
- Jeffrey Beesler
- Angela Brown
- J.L. Cambell
- Katie Carroll
- Al Diaz
- Nicki Elson
- Laura Eno
- River Fairchild
- Julie Flanders
- Gwen Gardner
- Ellie Garratt
- Sheena-Kay Graham
- David Powers King
- Patricia Lynne
- K. E. Nowinsky
- M. Pax
- Christine Rains
- Melanie Schulz
- Catherine Stine
- Stephen Tremp
- Mary Waibel
- Cas Webb
- EJ Wesley
- Shah Wharton
- L. Diane Wolfe
- Amy Willoughby-Burle