Today I welcome author T. Sae-Low to the blog to tell us about Genesis, book one of the Prophecy Rock series.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the
Disputed Lands, Prince Aric sits third in line to the crown of
Vicedonia. Seeking to escape the overwhelming shadow of his elder
brother, and to prove to his father, the king, that he is indeed a
worthy successor, Aric embarks on a path into the darkest corners of
Eos. On his journey, he will encounter the sinister magic of the Dark
Forest, the epic battlegrounds of Lake Raphia, and discover the harsh
realities of what it truly means to be king.
In the first book of
the Prophecy Rock Series, fates will collide in this epic tale of
action, loyalty, and love, where the ultimate meaning of true sacrifice
will be discovered.
T. Sae-Low was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Youngest of
three siblings, he spent his childhood buried in comic books, drawing
his favorite characters and creating plenty of his own. Over the years,
he translated his creative passion into writing. Genesis is his debut
novel. He has worked in videogames, recruitment, fundraising, and is
currently teaching third grade. He lives in Los Angeles with his dog
For more information about T. Sae-Low, Genesis, and the Prophecy
Rock Series, visit www.tsaelow.com
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As Octavius stood above the cliff’s edge, peering
down at Carhay, he could not imagine a more blissful city. Carhay was
situated on the edge of the River Fate, between the looming Gemini
Mountains. On the northern side of the city sat the Onyx Waterfall,
cascading into a pool of shimmering turquoise below, so clear Octavius
could see the rainbow colored fish swimming about from where he stood.
On the southern edge roared the Kalandes Waterfall, crashing below onto
the most exquisite temple Octavius had ever seen. Three stories tall
with a sunburst emblazoned upon its entrance. It was painted in various
shades of red, white, and gold. The temple’s peaked roof split the
rolling water into two separate streams as it roared down upon it.
Octavius could see villagers, dressed in simple robes of white and
crimson, moving about the temple grounds, crossing the intricately
designed wooden bridge that served as the temple’s entrance. Both
waterfalls connected into a glistening river below that snaked through
the center of the small village. Heaven on Eos, Octavius thought. It’s a shame that it needs to be burned to the ground.
Carhay sat on the southern edge of the Disputed Lands. For
centuries, war had been waged upon these grounds without a victor being
crowned. Geographically, the area was nigh impossible to navigate. The
territories in the north of the Disputed Lands were more populated,
where grassy valleys and thick forests covered the land, but the south
told a different story. Jagged peaks covered a majority of the
landscape, with icy ledges and a wind so cold it stabbed the heart of
you when the faintest breeze whispered by. The roads—if you were to call
them roads— as they were more akin to a sea of shattered daggers, were
riddled with the bones and carcasses of people who had braved the
journey, but had only succeeded in meeting the One earlier than they had
In the midst of a land that resembled more death than life,
sat the city of Carhay. A blossoming rose found on the outskirts of
existence. Just above the foothills, the city had been uniquely isolated
from the rest of the world. Shrouded by low hanging clouds, Carhay was a
mythical city realized. Unfortunately, passage through the city was
strategically the most direct route for the Vicedonian Kingdom. Any
attempt to circumnavigate the Gemini Mountains would delay the planned
military offensive by days they could ill afford to lose. Octavius’
intuition told him that his army could easily proceed through the city
without incident. The villagers did not seem to be of a warring nature,
no soldiers could be seen, nor weapons of any kind either. But since the
king had decreed that Carhay was to be burnt to the ground, Octavius
knew what had to be done.
Octavius took one final look at the city, closed his eyes,
and bowed his head as if to offer one final prayer to the people below.
He raised his arm, and at the moment he waved it forward, the deafening
roar of the army echoed across the valley, and the trembling ground
beneath its feet shook the mountains into submission. The bright sunlit
sky darkened as arrows and boulders soared without restraint, violently
finding their targets below. Villagers ran for shelter, but there was
limited protection to be found. The shrill cries of the villagers could
be heard from high above where Octavius still stood. Honor. Duty. Kingdom;
was the sole thought that ran through his mind now. Once ordered, the
assault could not be taken back. It was for the greater good and
prosperity of the kingdom that such a sacrifice had to be made. Such
sacrifices were necessary.
“This needs to be done…this must be done.” And with that Octavius began his descent into the fray.
“Poppa! Mama! Kimi!” shouted Raden as he rushed back home from
the fields he tilled daily. The lone thoughts of a seven year old boy
who only minutes ago, believed life to be full of promise and
opportunity. Now, as the Vicedonian army poured into his peaceful
village, he saw that opportunity burn away into ashes as flames consumed
the world around him.
Raden ran past the school, the market, and the blacksmith’s
shop, choking on the smoke billowing from their charred remains. In his
hurry to get home, Raden’s foot caught against the branch of a fallen
tree, sending him tumbling into the dirt road. Pain shot up his back,
shoulders, and head as he finally skidded to a halt. Confused and dazed,
the spinning world slowly came back into focus. His eyes centered on a
shadow off in the distance. A lone figure stood atop the mountain’s
edge. He appeared to be watching the attack from above, hesitant to join
in. Was it doubt that held him back? Raden found him strange and out of
place, but the sound of a burning house nearby collapsing to the ground
refocused his priorities. He shot back up to his feet, ignoring the
fresh cuts and bruises, and ran home. He turned the last corner to his
house and made a beeline to his family. Thankfully, his house was still
untouched. He raced up the front stairs and burst open the door.
“Raden! You’re safe!” shouted his mother. She clutched him tightly to her bosom, Raden grasping her in kind.
“Quickly, we have to get out of here before the soldiers find
us.” Raden’s father hastily threw day old rice cakes into a bag, slung
it over his shoulder, and clutched Kimi, only six months old, in his
arms. He exited through the backdoor, his family following close behind
him. The view from their home was unimaginable, fires blazed across the
entire village, the Grand Temple of the One peeling apart piece by
piece. Vicedonian soldiers flooded the streets, killing
indiscriminately. Raden’s father quickly refocused his family’s
attention, before the grief could consume and paralyze them. “Follow me,
the army ravaged the village, swords unsheathed within the blink of an
eye, transforming from polished virgin steel to maroon soaked
instruments of final release. They cleaved through the villagers, from
men to women to even children. As the remaining forces reached the
bottom, villagers escaped out the entrances of their homes, hoping to
find liberation from this sudden nightmare, but were instead greeted by
the sting of unexpected arrows.
Everything appeared to move in slow motion as Raden followed
his parents through the high grass of the city’s outskirts. The grass
stood seven feet tall and easily concealed them as they headed
“We have to make it to the next village and warn them. Stay low and
quiet. Follow me.” Raden’s father moved nimbly through the grass.
Raden, clutching his mother’s hand stared at the ground, fighting with
every fiber of his being to not let his emotions overwhelm him. They
made their way close to the outer edge of the village, the sound of the
River Fate flowing nearby, guiding them step-by-step. Suddenly, the
sound of footsteps halted their advance.
“I thought I saw something move over there,” an unfamiliar
voice spoke nearby. The proximity of the strange voice sent a shiver of
fear racing down Raden’s spine. He was on the verge of crying when his
father covered his mouth. They remained completely still and silent for
what seemed like an eternity. When Raden’s father believed it to be
safe, they slowly continued their escape.
Octavius looked on at the scene he had brought into existence.
He could see villagers fall, every shriek of pain as distinct as notes
on a piano. Catapults continued their bombardment. The booming
explosions were deafening as wood and tile debris shot up into the sky
and rained back down. Far worse than the sight of it all was the
smell—charred wood had combined with burning flesh and the saturated
blood of the villagers to create a stench so foul that Octavius needed
to cover his mouth.
All in all the assault had taken little time to complete. The
so-called “enemy” was in truth comprised of completely harmless and
unarmed villagers, making the mission all the more swift. Nothing
remained. The river that snaked through the center had been transformed
from a clear mirror of reflection into a clouded fog of burgundy. As the
army settled into their victory, beginning their search for riches and
other valuables, Octavius left his soldiers to their own devices, but
called for his second in command.
“Sergeant Markus! What is the status of the perimeter?”
“Sir. We have soldiers patrolling the edges of the River Fate
for any escapees. Every possible route is blocked off. No one is making
it out of this place.”
“You better hope so. The king doesn’t tolerate failure. We both know that.”
Raden’s family had made it down to the edge of the River Fate,
narrowly escaping capture. They could see the river flowing peacefully
downstream. All they needed to do now was stay close to the shoreline
and head south to the next village. There they could find help. The
voices they had heard earlier were now gone. Only the sounds of nature
filled the air. Raden’s mother remained completely silent, but her lips
mouthed the Prayers of Deliverance to the One over and over again. Deliver
us unto paradise, drowning the darkness away with the light of your
glory; reunite us in our lives and in our dreams. Save us and keep us
until the end. Raden found himself mouthing the prayer
instinctively too. They followed the river as it bent to the left and
saw no movement ahead of them. A brief sigh of relief released from
their bodies, the tightness in their muscles finding respite in the
growing success of their escape.
It was then that circumstances betrayed their fervent prayers.
As Raden’s father continued to move forward, Kimi let out a shrill cry.
The family hunkered low, hoping her cry was drowned out by the sound of
the river, but it wasn’t.
“Who goes there?” a voice called out ahead of them. The sound
of grass brushing aside grew louder as the voice drew nearer.
“Show yourself!” the voice ordered them.
The family remained still. Raden stared into his parent’s
eyes, wondering if this might be the last time he would see them. How he
wished he could take back that thought. A soldier appeared out of
nowhere, grabbing a hold of his father.
“I’ve got them! They’re over here!”
Raden’s father struggled with all his might, but was no match
for the armed soldier. In the chaos of the moment, Raden’s father
dropped Kimi to the ground. Somehow, Raden managed to pick her up. He
was about to hand Kimi to his mom when another soldier appeared out of
the high grass, knocking her to the ground.
“Run, Raden! Escape into the river! Go! Save Kimi!” his father
called out while the soldier continued his brutal attack. Raden raced
to the river’s edge, but couldn’t bring himself to jump in. His love for
his family pulled him back. He turned around, hoping he would somehow
see his parents unharmed, that this was all a bad nightmare. But when he
did, he saw his father’s lifeless body, and his mother collapsed onto
the ground, and with the last bit of life she had, she whispered to him.
He jumped into the river and let fate take its course.
Excerpted from Genesis by T. Sae-Low. Copyright © 2013 by T. Sae-Low.
No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without
permission in writing from the author.