Magic is a key component in just about every sword & sorcery novel, be it benevolent or for the darkest of evil. In one of my early stories, The Sword of Tyron (original title: Berbora), magic is used to transcend time itself. I’ll show you one of those scenes—but first, some backstory.

Tyron, a Kalkh mountain man in ancient times, grows enamored of legends about a once great city/state called Berbora, which fell into ruin a thousand years earlier due to what was called the Great Plague. Determined to walk among the remnants of the city, he undertakes a long and dangerous journey to where it had once stood. There, he saves the life of an old man named Zathras, a descendant of magicians. Zathras leads Tyron through the still impressive ruins, and in the courtyard of what had been the Palace of Gold he shows him the enigmatic Stone of Vorhashekkh. Shaped like an altar, the stone was forged by dark sorcerers eons ago. Tyron can feel its power.

Turns out Zathras has an agenda. He wants to restore Berbora to its previous glory by sending Tyron back in time—utilizing the Stone of Vorhashekkh—to a few months prior to the plague wiping out the city in an effort to prevent its destruction. Succeed at this, he says, and when he returns Tyron to the present time, Berbora will stand as powerful as ever.

Yep, Tyron thinks the old man is a few wineskins short of a six-pack. Still, he’s willing to give it a try, especially since the first time will only be a trial run in which Tyron will be able to see where he is, but he will not—must not, actually—remove himself from the stone. Here is the scene.

Waves of tingling energy permeated Tyron’s body as he lay down on the stone. Whether this emanated from the stone or from his own excitement he could not tell. Zathras stood on his left, both palms pressed flat on the stone near Tyron’s arm. To the west the sun had dropped farther behind the mountains, but as he stared in that direction Tyron suddenly understood what the old magician had meant. There was a rift in the mountains, one so narrow that he had not noticed it before, even though he had looked that way a number of times. The sun, which had disappeared minutes before, could now be seen through the fissure. A thin, concentrated beam of light poured down from the peaks into the stone below Tyron. The stone vibrated with the increased energy, causing Tyron’s body to shake uncontrollably. Zathras, close at hand, was suddenly gone, nor could Tyron see the gray sky above him. For an instant he imagined that he had gone blind. He wanted to leap to his feet and scream, but he remained motionless. Fearful, he shut his eyes tightly.

Seconds later the vibrations abated. Tyron slowly opened his eyes, and as light entered them he knew that his fears had been unfounded. The living stone beneath him was clearly visible, but all else that surrounded him was a blur. He wanted to rub his eyes, but he remembered Zathras’ warning. It was as though he were looking through layer upon layer of fine silk. He raised his head slightly and focused through the haze until his surroundings became clearer to him. He was still in the courtyard of the Palace of Gold, but this time no rubble littered the streets. The golden towers rose high in the air, and on the many steps leading to the palace’s great door he discerned men and women walking up and down. There were soldiers, warriors with heavy leather hauberks and glittering swords. And women, beautiful, golden haired women in flowing gowns of white and yellow. As they ran happily through the courtyard, one appeared to wave at Tyron. He called to her, but she did not hear him. She had merely been waving to another across the yard.

All about him the scene was one of joyfulness, of adventure. Tyron wanted to leap from the stone and pursue the lovely maidens. He wished to match arms in rough sport with the soldiers. He now believed that Zathras could accomplish what he said he could. Yes, Tyron was certain that the Berbora of the past was his. A decision had to be made, and quickly. By just getting to his feet he was positive that he could remain here. Did he wish to do that now, or should he wait until the next day? He could not be certain that it was the right thing to do, for Zathras had not told him so. Perhaps it would be best to return this time—

The golden towers suddenly vanished, and all about him the people seemed to shimmer as they faded slowly. It had ended! He was going to rejoin Zathras. In an instant he made up his mind: he would stay. With all his strength he willed himself to his feet, but his efforts were in vain, for he could not move. His exertions forced his head to the stone, where for a moment he blacked out. It was the increasing and decreasing vibrations of the Stone of Vorhashekkh that helped clear his head. He saw the concerned Zathras standing over him. The ruins of the Palace of Gold stood before him. The old magician helped Tyron up. He sat on the edge of the now silent stone, his head throbbing.

Just about anything goes in a sword & sorcery story. I’d forgotten how much fun it was writing The Sword of Tyron and its sequel, The Quest of Tyron. Both books are available in paperback and eBook from Amazon. Enjoy!

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