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Pandemonium: Excerpt from Chapter 1

Official account of the upcoming Pandemonium Series. Gain exclusive access to the first few chapters of the first installment.


Breaking through the armoured defenses of the evergreen fortress was the penetrating morning light, seeping through any and every crack of the cavernous forest. The thickness of the melancholic clouds could barely contain the brightness of the morning, and they drifted purposefully in the sky, before thinning, dissolving and dissipating into the grey abyss. Whilst the weather concealed the time of day ever so efficiently under its cloak of grey, it was now finally a routine for Thalir to be up and roaring to go an hour after sunrise. He let out a brief sigh, as he stopped on the cliff edge. New day, same routine, he thought. He couldn’t concern himself with the bigger picture of the land, as his own village was suffering. He closed his eyes, feeling the cold air biting at his skin as he set his mind straight. Training. Endurance. Precision. Commitment. Those things were under his control, they were in his physical power and his will could influence them. He could shoot a bow truer, he could wield a sword more fiercely and he could run further and quicker. Deep breath in, and an even deeper breath out before Thalir briskly jumped forward and set off on yet another morning run.

Darting past clusters of rocks and trees, his mind sifted through the events of recent weeks; the new members of the Vanguard, the increasing presence of the Garde, people’s heightened worries about the war effort. He shook his head as his breath quickened, jumping over a large rock, landing with a thump. Running on the cliff edge, the village of Cireuin lay quietly in a valley of tree and rock. It’s people resided far away from the conflict to act as a production farm for the Garda, yet close enough to the Wall to be charged with conscription with new recruits. It was becoming so evidently clearer as the male population of Cireuin thinned; the female population was now being charged with mining, forging, and heavy farming. Sure, it may be toughening them up and the village did its best to stay strong, but the morale was being spread thin, Thalir thought. At least he and the Vanguard would be there as a last line of support.


Suddenly, Thalir stopped abruptly, skidding on the ground to the sudden surprise of some nearby crows. They cawed angrily at him, as they jumped off the frail branch on which they were previously perched and flew away slowly into the distance. Breathing heavily, Thalir had not realised how far he had run this time. Every day he would focus on the same loop, trying to do it quicker, and to beat his former self. He would venture as far as the outskirts of the village, the radius to which he knew counted as the borderlands of Cireuin, and was under the jurisdiction of the mayor. However, he was certainly heavily distracted, and had not realised that he was past the borderlands. It had become so systematic, and he had let it become a habit to let his mind wander, and go on ventures of its own as ran and scoured the borderlands, the home of the Vanguard. Here, the trees were taller, denser and thicker, the ground was softer and mossier, he reflected, thinking even that it would have been better to set up camp here. It could be much more of a stronghold, even comparable to the realms of the Druids with the right vision, manpower and determination. The Vanguard could convert this deeper forest into a true den, a leafy conflux of operations. They could have concealed watch towers, training grounds, camouflage preparation, and would still be close enough to the stream to benefit from the water. He shook his head, realising that his mind continued to wonder as he had caught his breath and was now wasting his workout. His former self was beating him, and that was against the plan. It would thwart his improvement, and progression, and Thalir dared not overthink that it would derail him from his purpose. No, stay on track. Improvise, overcome and exceed. Bigger loop today, more distance. Even though you took a break, you go again tomorrow, with no break.

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