Here’s the opening of my fantasy novel ‘House of Prension’.  You can read more at Scribd.com by following the link below.

A top review from Amazon.com wrote: 

“In this story a teenage boy of royalty is facing a maturity ritual and dealing with other royal protocol he is not really into while under the constant scrutiny of his older brother and throne heir. The author creates a whole new world with different classes of people and rituals. Yet with the style of writing the author makes everything so real, the reader has no problem imagining the world that has been created on the page. A lot of times in fantasy or Sci-Fi stories I tend to get lost at the beginning of the book, trying to figure out what’s what and who’s who in the author’s world. It usually takes me a few chapters to familiarize myself with the new world and its people. I didn’t have a problem at all following this author or keeping up with his imagination. Aulic is an interesting lead character and his life in Prension is intriguing. The author sets the stage for a wonderful novel sure to entertain and delight. In a few short pages I was deeply invested in the characters and story. The story flows smoothly and this is a book I would definitely buy.” — Amazon Top Reviewer

 

            Aulic Prension lay still on the courtyard bench against the backdrop of a peach-painted wall concentrating intently on thoughts of an obese waxen figure.  The figure was a pale white one, the unattractive white of sour milk, and around its base misshapen protuberances, small dried drippings and streams of wax, stood out in bumpy relief. 

The Grey Hour had settled in on Prension Town and the dwindling orange light was muted and meditative.  There was an anticipatory air before the lavish Autumn Girl dance set to begin in a few hours.  The moments before a dance were an odd time, perhaps, for a session of Dream Hand practice, but Corben Corsaire, the most respected Prension Dream Hand, was determined to squeeze in another session before Aulic’s Maturity Ritual.   

Even though he was intent on his teaching, Corben, an occasional painter with a remarkable eye for color, couldn’t help noticing that the tan-brown streaks in Aulic’s hair complemented the peach wall.  His concentrating face with its closed eyes was rendered especially striking by the distinct strip of scalp showing down the middle part of his hair.  It was an unusual but noble style, this scalp-strip, forbidden to all Prensioners except members of the royal family.  On Aulic, the strip worked unusually well, since his hair naturally had a center part.  On others, the strip was less felicitious.  His mother, Empress Landau, never looked quite right with it dividing her mounds of curling brown and blonde hair, and so she often favored an empresses’ headdress. 

“You must think of the Pudding Dinner Ghost legend.  That’s the kind of lumpishness and bumpy waxiness I’m imagining.”  Corben could keep the desired avatar firmly in mind even with his eyes open, a talent possessed in full only by the most masterful Dream Hands.  For Corben, it was as though the Pudding Dinner Ghost was vividly superimposed on the image of his pupil.

Under Corben’s tutelage, Aulic was attempting to envision this same waxwork.  If he summoned the Ghost to his mind in a full-fledged form, he’d be that much closer to mastering the creation of his own Dream Avatar. 

But Aulic found it difficult to focus on figure contemplation as dance tunes trickled from the windows of the ballroom where poko musicians were rehearsing.  The same dances were brought out each year to the Autumn Girl ball-goers’ predictable delight.  Though he tried to form the Ghost Corben had sculpted a few days before, Aulic’s attention was constantly drawn away by the interminable bolka rhythm.  Hearing the thudding of mallets on lizard skins, he could picture only the clicking of reveler’s shoes on the floor, the rhythmic signals of men’s extended arms, their festive finger clicks, and the circle of maidenly grins, moving in a blurry rotation. 

The annual ball extended back in time even before Dovan’s reign.  Girls would spend all summer anticipating the chance to demonstrate elegant heirloom gowns.  For centuries the ritual had endured, with the same bolkas and spanilles trotted out, the same baked mammals trussed up and smothered with sweetened fruit sauce, and the same spiced ciders and weed brews dispensed by poko attendants. 

            With such distractions rampant, Corben was not hopeful about the session’s outcome.  He knew Aulic possessed an agile mind and a memory attracted to facts and detail.  But his interest in dream arts was minimal and he was rarely engaged in creative tasks.  Corben felt his sensibility was analytical, one to cast an evaluating gaze over other’s creations.  It was not unusual for a Prension to be meditative, but few were so skeptical in their mindset.  Many courtiers found Aulic’s frequent acerbic comments unsettling, his spiked observations annoying, but Corben maintained an indulgent smile at his remarks.  Perhaps his mystical leanings, his devotion to the oft-disdained Dream Hand rites, encouraged him to empathize with the young rucklen.

Aulic perversely kept seeing an old emperor’s rigid face rather than Corben’s wax figure.  He was a Frissen Emperor Aulic had read of in the dense Brown Tomes that covered entire walls of the court library.  The emperor’s small, unattractive head came unbidden into his thoughts, its features pinched and squinted, his mouth ranting with ever increasing speed about insufficiently compliant neighbors on the Frissen borders.  Aulic recognized the head as that of Tor Molk, with his well-known nose appearing as small and squeezed as it was in the anecdotes, his eyes a drippy shade of moldy green and his hair plastered with sweat onto his short forehead.

Somehow this unpleasant head appeared of its own volition with a vividness Aulic never experienced with Corben’s inert figures.  With each effort he made to refocus, Molk’s visage grew denser and more insistent.   Just as the head’s jabbering reached a physically impossible rate, there was a clatter and intrusion of outside voices. 

A crowd had suddenly appeared in the courtyard.  A break had been called in the ball preparations and the toiling pokos and half-girls had quickly spilled outside, making dripping comments and laughing dull, half-girl laughs.  Concentration would be impossible with the crowd clustering in noisy batches.

“We should have gone to my wax hut!” Corben declaimed in frustration. 

 

Continue the chapter at the link below or buy on Kindle at Amazon!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/21149397/House-of-Prension-Chapter-One

House of Prension on Kindle

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