Snippet from Chapter 14 Cosmogonic Marbles, now on promotion at http://www.amazon.com/Cosmogonic-Marbles-Botolf-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00E2SB1P4
Vortigern and Abellio made their way through the broken city of Acerii; in just a few days it had changed beyond the recognition of its former residents. A vast army of many tribes now camped across its wide streets; the forum, used as a parsnip field by the villagers, was now packed with circular tents and rang with the hammering of iron on anvils.
The troops were accompanied by a wide variety of campaign followers. There were hoards of whores, jumbles of jugglers, batters of bear baiters and a team of men who made allegations that they could only speak in alliterations. There were many slaves (including the newly enslaved women and children of Acerii); these tended the headmen and important warriors of the various factions of Vortigern’s sizeable army. Among the multitude were the shamans, witches, wizards, potion makers and necromancers. Some of the more famous of these had their own tents and entourages, but many more were simple village wise men or travelling fortune tellers.
On a raised Dais (formally the temple of Zeus the Protector), rubble had been cleared to build a make-shift headquarters. It was to here Vortigern and the God made their way, entering up by the worn steps into a busy command centre. Messages were being exchanged orally by generals to messengers and vice-versa; scribes sat cross-legged on the stone floor furiously scribbling down information to be sent out or that had been received. A group of scribes and scholars stood around a large round wooden table strewn with parchments and ancient tablets; they debated furiously while others deciphered words from long lost Latin and Aramaic texts.
“What progress has been made?” asked the King.
“We have ascertained, my Lord, that the gateway can be tuned using a series of incantations,” spoke a very nervous sorcerer.
“But as yet,” the Sorcerer gulped, “we have not been able to keep the gate tuned on one single destination.”
“Why?” asked the King. He was a simple minded man, a man of action, a man who liked things ‘done’, and if things were not ‘done’ then people tended to get ‘done’ by an axe.
The nervous Sorcerer looked around the table to his colleagues for support, but none was forthcoming, they hurriedly sifted through parchments and mumbled under their breath. “My Lord,” continued the Sorcerer reluctantly, “the texts are old, very old and many contradict each other as to the nature of the gateway and the precise order of the incantations.”
“Orders and texts do not concern me; find me a world to conquer …. or I will find new wise men.”
“Yes, my Lord.” All redoubled their efforts at the table.
“Incantations are all very well Vortigern, but let us see what I can do," said the God in the King’s ear.
“Very well,” said the King.
“I want to see the gateway,” he barked to a nearby soldier.
Down through the bathhouse ruins the King went, preceded by a soldier holding a torch and followed by the silent footsteps of the God of Apples, until they reached the vast cold chamber where the blue disc rotated and pulsated slowly in the air.
A second group of sorcerers and soldiers stood around the blue disc. One impressively dressed wizard, with the skulls of many small mammals forming a cloak, stood arms outstretched in front of a small round globe filled with what looked like white steam. When Vortigern approached all activity stopped and the wizard lowered his arms.
“What is the situation, Kronsoon the Magnificent?” asked the King in his usual bluff manner, which somehow made the word ‘magnificent’ sound like ‘common worm beneath my boot.’
“We have homed in on a suitable objective, my Lord, but it is difficult to get the gateway to remain stable, we have attempted several passages with no real success,” answered Kronsoon.
“Demonstrate,” said the King.
Kronsoon was one of the world’s more powerful wizards, he knew of and practiced many forms of magic, he had seen the physical power of mixing herbs, venoms and fungi, but even with his faith in the art of magic he had never imagined something as potent as this. This was real power; he could feel it in his veins. If he’d happened to have known what electricity was, Kronsoon would have described the feeling as electric. Not even his wildest mushroom-induced trip could have given him this sensation of the supernatural.
“You … solider,” said Kronsoon to the nearest wolf-headed man, who snapped out of a trance-like state and stepped forward immediately.
“Look, my Lord,” said Kronsoon to the King as he indicated that Vortigern should peer into the small globe.
At first Vortigern saw nothing but swirling clouds of white moving slowly across the surface, but within a moment or two the clouds began to thin out. He could see land, far off in the distance there was a green patchwork of fields bordered by rivers and dotted with settlements of some kind.
“What is it?” asked the King.
“It is another world, my Lord,” answered the wizard.
“Send him through,” said the King.
Kronsoon waved at the spellbound solider and pointed toward the gateway. At once the Wuffaga stepped forward and walked into the blue effervescent light disc. The soldier vanished instantly.
“Where is he?” asked the King.
“Keep watching the globe, my Lord,” answered Kronsoon.
Sure enough the solider appeared as a small man-shaped speck in the sky of the new world, he got smaller and smaller until he disappeared completely.
“We have been unable to get the gateway to … land as it were,” said Kronsoon.
“I believe I may help with that,” said Abellio.
Kronsoon shook himself slightly. He had seen the figure of the handsome man beside the King but somehow it hadn’t registered as being a person. Now he could see Abellio in full focus, his tall figure equalling that of the King.
“We just need to find an anchor,” continued the God.
“Anchor?” said Kronsoon.
“My dear wizard friend have I ever told you that the mind of a child is a wonderful thing.”
Abellio approached the gateway, with the surge of power it gave him he allowed his mind to reach out into the other world.
He searched … searched for a dreaming mind.