Darkness Falling - An epic fantasy by Mark Franzosa


When the entire world seems to be crumbling around him, a young man escapes his home to embark on an adventure which will change the course of history.

    Sart was never a people person. From a young age, he always had trouble with his peers. He tried to go through the correct channels to change things, but it never worked out. After his attempts to help a young girl go awry, he flees his home, vowing to return for revenge. Sart finds himself alone in the woods, with no idea where to go, until he encounters the beautiful elf Selene. Together, they are sent on a perilous journey to recover enchanted artifacts from dangerous orcs on the other side of the continent. They are beleaguered from the outset with attacks from vampires, dragons, and dwarves—and they still have the orcs to contend with! Sart’s main objective is to return to his village and take revenge for the wrongs he has suffered, and with a like-minded partner in Selene, he just might achieve it. Together they forge ahead, right or wrong, and the world will tremble before them.


  Slowly, deliberately, he turned his back on the town below and walked the winding path going into the trees. Although it was still morning, the trees overhead filtered out most of the light, leaving it cool and dim once totally inside the forest canopy. The path led into the woods for a few hundred yards before it slowly disappeared and vanished altogether. It was obvious this was about as far into the forest as anyone ever went who wanted to return.
    Sart pressed on, determined not to be slowed down. The town would soon find out he was nowhere around, if they hadn’t already, and he wanted to put some distance between him and them. He was now farther from human civilization alone than he had ever been his entire life. The guild council kept a tight grip on the townsfolk and made sure they never strayed far. The invisibility spell he had used was a spell that was outlawed by the guild leaders. Spell-casters knew it existed but weren’t taught it. The council didn’t want anyone but themselves to have access to such power.
    “Stupid vines,” he muttered as his foot became twisted in yet another tangle of vines at his feet. He seemed to be walking into every tangle in the forest and the lack of light did not make his going easier. He sat down and pulled out the magic tome.
    “There must be something in here to help,” he said as he began turning pages looking at all the spells. He didn’t understand a lot of the words or the language they were written in, but he finally found a spell called ball of light, which was written in a language he understood. Casting that spell created a floating ball of light above his head that followed him and lit up the space around him.
    With a newfound sense of purpose and confidence, he set out again, making much better time than before. Mile after mile, he went into the forest. It must have been early in the afternoon when he sat down for a break that he had an uneasy feeling of being watched. He pulled out his sword and shield and continued on his way, but twigs cracking in the darkness beyond his light kept his nerves on edge. He had heard all the stories of undead walking these woods, of wraiths and demons hunting lost hapless victims.
    “They are just stories made to scare you, just stories,” he said to try to assure himself.
    He started moving faster, but the sounds in the forest just out of sight kept up with him. He decided his best chance would be to suddenly run as fast as possible, maybe he could outrun whatever was keeping to the shadows. He looked for a break in the trees where he could run in a fairly straight path. Once he saw his opportunity he took off through the forest. At first he thought his plan was working as the noises around him stopped, however, his joy was short-lived. He had gone about a hundred yards when his foot caught on a trip-line on the ground. This caused a log that had been set up next to the path to swing out and hit him in the side. As the log slammed into him, it sent him sprawling into a very large, very hard tree. He thought he heard some laughter, which was replaced with darkness as he blacked out.