Chapter One: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows

Posted: July 20, 2013 in Novel: The Land Without Footprints, Uncategorized
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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

1 – Jordan

Don’t believe in yourself.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Don’t believe in yourself.

The chant wafted in through the open window. So many times Jordan had heard the song that he barely noticed its presence. Nightly, the Cult of Jesus repeated their mantra in hopes of enticing new believers to their dying cause: ruin the world and force Jesus to return. If people would not join by words and logic, then the cult hoped they would join by song and fear. Still Christian numbers dwindled; suicide attempts to prematurely reach heaven only added to its diminishment.

Jordan slashed a stroke across a canvas with a charcoal pencil. If he weren’t the son of a lord, perhaps he would turn his eyes toward art. Damyn, his bastard brother, suppressed a laugh. Truly, he lived up to his halfness. Of late he’d taken to wearing an undone tie. Perhaps one of such common birth couldn’t possess normal qualities.

Across the room, amongst the plush pillows, a redheaded woman shifted, her apple-shaped breasts heaving. Because red hair neared extinction, she was only the first real redhead Jordan had ever seen. If it weren’t for pictures, nobody would even suspect a human could own hair of such a color. Many dyed their hair red, though, or wore red wigs; even the poor used brewed teas and berries to maintain the popular trend.

“How is my likeness, m’lords?” the woman asked, unaware that only he, and not the bastard, was a lord.

“I’ve never seen a true artist draw in such a fashion,” Damyn said, pairing his words with a grin. He flicked his bastardly golden-flecked hair out of his face, the only sign of his otherness. Truly, his eyes were as blue as any other Dagen. “My brother has given you the desired likeness of all stylish women.”

“Truly. The popularity and intrigue of your nature will replace that of the Mona Lisa.” Jordan placed lumps about the chest area, exaggerated the nipples.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

“Can I see myself?” The woman came off the bed, but Jordan bid her to remain still, wondered if he should attempt to draw surroundings: the moonlit skylights, the ornate chandelier, the canopied bed.

“One cannot fully see themselves until the end.” Jordan penciled a shaggy mane around the woman’s alternate self. “Truly they cannot,”—he would’ve called her by her name if he knew it—“my lady.”

 

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

Death will grant us all release.

“Perhaps you should remove your skirts and whatever is underneath,” Jordan said.

“My skirts?” the woman repeated.

Jordan swallowed. “No nude can be considered a nude if the portrait is half-nude.”

The woman with a name but without a name stood, removed her skirts and undergarments, and then resituated herself atop the pillows without any further complaints. Truly, nudity caused a person to dissolve in such a way that only their private parts remained, Jordan reflected. And yet he was in no rush to have the rest of the woman reappear. No, his loins certainly didn’t want that either.

Damyn grinned, tapped him on the shoulder. Jordan figured it a cue to continue on with his work in which he had no ability to finish. Surely the bastard wasn’t indicating a shared erection.

“It is a crying shame that God didn’t bless us all with extraordinary talents,” Jordan said as the main door to the room opened. “Sometimes I feel sorry for my bastard brother or even my dear sister who has just entered here for not being so blessed.”

Cassandra left the door open and crossed the room as if she had a purpose besides walking. She had the blue, blue eyes and black, black hair that only a Dagen could. In pattern with the new-wave fashion, half her hair was braided while the opposite side hung loose and curled. And her one-shouldered dress was no dress at all, but rather pink-and-black paint used in such a way to resemble true clothing. The engagement ring on her finger wasn’t real either, just a statement to others that she could be theirs forever.

Marriage wasn’t the end of searching for a mating partner, but rather the beginning. Wives could have six rings on their fingers within a month of matrimony. In fact, six was about the norm. The saying went: A spouse to one is a spouse for all. Supposedly, a long time ago things had been different. But who could trust history?

Damyn shifted his gaze from the unclothed woman to his half-sister, folded his arms about his chest, and closed his mouth. When bearing one’s teeth did not expose happiness, it exposed hostility. Teeth always exposed intent. Even idiots knew that. Truly, Damyn was an idiot of body but not of mind.

Cassandra’s eyes went from the woman to the canvas to the woman and back again to the canvas. “Father wishes a word with you, Brother.”

Jordan knew he was the brother she meant. Nobody but a fool used wishes on a bastard. “Father should be more mindful of how he uses his wishes, Sister. All the stories show that one has a tendency to run out of magic if overused.”

Cassandra twirled her hair around her finger, looked off into the distance like the future lay nude before her eyes. “Should I tell Father that you’re busy drawing sticks?”

“Women are not sticks,” Jordan informed her.

“And yet sticks are what you draw when you look at a woman.” Cassandra started back from where she’d come. “You are not the first to be seduced by charm,” she told the woman with a name but without a name, “but hopefully you are the last.”

Absent of a farewell or closing the door, his sister left. And once she left, the woman with a name but without a name rematerialized to Jordan, no longer just suspended sexual organs. Once again she had a complete form and voice.

“In a world with laws you’d be condemned as a villain,” the woman screamed while she jumped back into her stockings and skirts and blouse and shoes.

Jordan mentally agreed because laws had always been the easiest way to decipher between villains and heroes: in a society that placed chains on every living being, his actions very well might have been deemed immoral. But what was good and bad to a free society?

“Even in this world I’ll call what you are,” the woman added, when she fixed her outfit the way she liked, breathed out some forceful breaths of hate, turned her face ugly with annoyance, and made her way closer to the door, “a villain that not even a hero would like to call his enemy. It’s disgusting how you misuse your freedom.”

Unsure of her parting words, Jordan crossed out the stick-figured portrait of the woman with a name but without a name. How could one misuse freedom? Wasn’t freedom the right to act in whatever way one liked?

“At least she had the decency to close the door upon her exit,” Damyn said, freeing his teeth once more for his overused grin. The bastard clapped him on the shoulder and hurried out, leaving the door ajar in his haste.

“At least,” Jordan agreed to himself, or perhaps to the words that, too, occupied the room.

Don’t believe in yourself.

Put your faith in someone else.

Death will grant us all release.

Place your head at our feet.

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