Elemental: Destiny's Embers

Elemental: Destiny's Embers

by Bradley Wardell


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345517869
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/24/2010
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Brad Wardell is the President & CEO of Stardock, a Midwestern software company. Mr. Wardell is the lead designer of Elemental: War of Magic and is active in software development, designing and coding many Stardock products.  His other activities include being a Microsoft MVP, blogger, podcaster and featured columnist. Wardell is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he met his wife Debbie Wardell, with whom he has three children.  In his free time he enjoys beekeeping.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

He shouldn’t be so far outside the walls.

He shouldn’t be away from work so long.

He definitely shouldn’t be wasting so much time on what was probably a fool’s errand; it was stupid to expect that he’d find any more of the stones out here, even if he looked for hours.

He could hear Saren now: Stupid boy. Stupid Xander, where were you? What were you doing? I had messages for you to carry, money for you to earn, money to line my pocket, money to feed you and me. You let me down, boy, you let us down, and now what will we have for supper?

The old man had been like a father to him, Xander reflected. Best to cut his losses now and get back to the Keep while it was still light out. How much longer did he have? He looked up. The afternoon sun, peeking between the leaves of the forest canopy far above, was going down already. Another hour or so of light. He ought to get back. He could hear Saren’s disapproving voice in his mind.

He could hear Geni’s, too.

Oh, Xander. You shouldn’t have.

Five more minutes, he thought. If I don’t find one in five more minutes, I’ll turn back. He noted the trail markings, and took a few hesitant steps deeper into the forest. The Keeper’s Wood. He’d roamed it since he was a boy; knew every one of these trails like the back of his hand. There was no reason to be afraid of anything in here, was there? No reason to be hesitant about what might lurk around the next bend in the path, or behind the massive tree trunks that blocked the way in front of him?

No. No reason at all.

Except that Lord Ambrose had declared the wood off-limits a month earlier. On the day the Knights had ridden in from the West, the Keeper—and his Council—had issued several proclamations. Times have changed, Lord Ambrose had said. Things are no longer as they were. In order to ensure the safety of the Keep and all its residents, I hereby make, in the name of the King, the following proclamations. The wood, off-limits to all but those on the Keeper’s business. Etc., etc.

Well, Xander thought. He intended the stones for Geni. So by the strict letter of the law, he was, in fact, here on Lord Ambrose’s business. Because Geni was Ambrose’s business, wasn’t she?

He sighed. Somehow, he didn’t think the Lord would see it that way, if Xander were caught and brought before him.

Best to finish here, and get out.

The trail narrowed; it led him downhill to the banks of a small stream. The spring rains had been falling pretty hard for the last week; the little stream had overflowed its bank. He left the path, walked alongside the water for a while, heading back upstream, in the direction of the Keep, using the roots and limbs of some of the trees to keep his balance, to keep from falling in. He was wearing the boots he’d found the other day, and if he got them wet . . .

Treat these well, boy, you could work for a year and not earn enough to buy another pair like them, the devil’s own luck you have, finding them in the first place, having them turn out to be your size in the second, boy, boy are you listening, boy?

There’d be hell to pay, he knew.

He walked for a while longer, was about to give up when he saw a glint on the far side of the little stream; something reflecting the last light of the dying sun. It looked like . . . it might be . . . no way to be certain, of course, except to get closer.

It was a good ten feet to the other side of the stream. He was no athlete, Xander knew. He was small for his age, fifteen, and barely a hundred and twenty pounds, and not blessed with the coordination other boys his age were already displaying—the kind of coordination that made for a good warrior. What he was, though, was fast. Nimble. That was what made him such a good messenger.

Closer. How to get closer?

With a running start, that kind of speed might let him jump across the bank. Might. Only one way to find out, wasn’t there?

He took a deep breath, a couple of steps back, and leapt.

He didn’t make it. But luck was with him. Just as he jumped, he caught sight of a flat rock in the middle of the stream. A dry-looking rock, sticking up out of the water. The jump took him to that, and from that a second jump took him to the other side. And the thing he’d seen glittering in the sun. He bent down and picked it up. He smiled.

It was a small black stone, shaped like an arrowhead—triangular, smooth to the touch on one side, like crystal, rough on the other. A midnight stone—the second one he’d found in the afternoon’s searching. Geni would like this one even better than the first; he was sure of it. The shape of it, the way it sparkled . . .

Oh, Xander. You shouldn’t have.

He smiled to himself, picturing her. The look on her face.

If my father found out you were in the wood . . .

Who’s going to tell him? You?

No. Of course not. But it’s not safe.

I was careful. I stuck to the trails. Don’t worry about me.

But I do.

Xander pictured himself handing her the stone. Their fingers touch. Their eyes meet.

His stomach rumbled. He pictured another scene.

You let me down, boy, you let us down, and now what will we have for supper?

He blinked, came out of his little reverie, and saw that the shadows around him had lengthened even further. Saren would kill him. And rightfully so. Too dark to run any more messages today, by the time he got back to the Keep. Too dark, even, he realized, to use the trails, overgrown as they’d gotten in the last few weeks. The stream, though, would lead him out. A longer route, but he would end up at the same place when he finished. Everything would be fine.

Except it wasn’t.

When he came up out of the wood, when he got to the gate, the three of them were there, waiting for him.

Morlis, Vincor, Oro.

He didn’t understand why they hated him so. Geni said it was because they were jealous of him, because he was smart and they weren’t, but Xander doubted that. Saren said they were jealous, too, though not because of his brains, but rather because of the fact that he had made friends with Geni and they hadn’t. That was probably closer to the truth, Xander thought, but the real reason they tormented him, he’d decided, was that he was an easy target. He was alone. Always alone. An orphan, with no family—no brothers, no cousins, no father, no uncle or grandfather even—to protect him.

“Well, if it isn’t the skeleton boy.” The biggest of the three youths, the one standing in the middle, took a step forward. Morlis had been a bully for as long as Xander had known him. Had always been big for his age, too. Big, and stupid. He was wearing a stable boy’s uniform: tan trousers and jerkin, worn black leather boots. Xander could smell him from where he stood. Morlis had been working in those clothes all day, no doubt. He’d probably work in them tomorrow, too. Probably he’d die in them as well. Xander almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

“What do you want?”

A second boy stepped forward as Xander spoke.

Vincor. He was smaller than Morlis—a year younger than him, too. Fifteen, Xander’s own age. The two of them had been friends for a few days, when Xander had first gone to work for Saren. Now . . .

“You hear that, Mor?” Vincor said. “Skelly acts like he don’t know what we want. You know what we want, skelly. We want to know what you been doin’ in the wood.”

“None of your business.”

“So you say.” That was the third boy speaking. Oro. He was the oldest of the three—and by far the most dangerous. Not as big as Morlis, maybe not even as smart as Vincor, but nastier than the two of them combined. “I say different.”

“Let me pass,” Xander said.

Oro shook his head. Over his shoulder, in the fading light, Xander saw the walls of the Keep, and the outlines of the South Gate. Safety. It seemed a long way off.

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Elemental: Destiny's Embers 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rolled her eyes. "No one can hurt me."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
creaps in slowly, pounces on an invisible warrior, and lands on her back"oops, good first try? i should practice more." - fadepaw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope theres a second because this one left me hanging!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dampyre More than 1 year ago
This book is based on a world thought up by Stardock's (indie software developer known for titles Galactic Civilizations, Sins of a Solar Empire, WindowBlinds, DesktopX, and more) own CEO Brad Wardell. This unique envisioning of a world where a terrible war between titanic powers have let a cruel sparse environment where the civilizations of men and fallen struggle to once again thrive... Not only is the book on my preorder list but so is the game... Oh by the way according to Brad owners of the book will get access to a mini campagin for the game! 2 thumbs up
marlowwe More than 1 year ago
Although the story has a fairly standard hero-archetype-like plot I am relieved by the fact that Brad Wardell is writing the book. With that in mind, the book's selling point will definitely be Brad's contribution - having the lead game designer write a professional fantasy book will address the most common issue with these type of books: inconsistent lore, deus ex machina type characters and a generally substandard feel. Owing to Brad's efforts, I anticipate this book having none of these problems. Readers will most likely get the best bang for their buck by purchasing it along with the game - having an enriching back story to complement the game will most definitely be a bonus. Keep an eye out for this book as it's fairly rare to have this kind of dedication by the author.
EB_James More than 1 year ago
I'm stoked for the game Elemental: War of Magic. While book reading has not been a hobby of mine for a long time, my wife is an avid reader and she enjoys fantasy. She enjoys fantasy strategy games on an introductory level, and would probably enjoy E:WoM as well. I'm seriously considering picking up a copy of this book not for me but for her, then when E:WoM is released, she might be able to hit a higher level of immersion in both single and multi-player. Who knows, maybe I'd give it a read also. Other users had noted that the world itself and it's backstory will be quite large. The game itself will have a lot of content, but will be limited by the scope that the game covers. This book will likely serve as a companion book for the game in the sense that it reinforces and expounds upon content in the game. Further it should have additional content making it stand alone. It's a shame it isn't released during the months before the release of the game. Also, I do think it's cool that it's authored by Stardock's CEO, Brad Wardell. His connection to his customer base is formidable.
TOWDrac More than 1 year ago
Right off the bat, I will say I can highly recommend at least checking this out -- I used to say check it out if you are at all interested in the world of Elemental, but now I say check it out if you are at all interested in a rich, engrossing fantasy world that lives and breathes and allows for true immersion. Not only do I think it will be a great asset to the full experience of the Elemental world, I also think it will be a great book in its own right. To be truthful, the whole "find the ancient artifact" plot point concerns me, but Brad Wardell has the ability to pull this off well and make it fresh. I must say, I am very excited to read this book!
unacomn More than 1 year ago
I've read quite a few books based on video games over the past few years, but this one has peaked my interest. When I first saw Elemental War of Magic I associated it with Master of Magic, a game that in essence had no story, it left a lot to the imagination. Stardock has taken another approach with Elemental. Reading about the battle between the Fallen and the Kingdom of Men, about the origins of the races and the of the world made me realize that Stardock put a lot of effort into giving Elemental a good background story. This is where this books comes in. It is more than a background story. It is a method by which I can see just how talented the storyteller is, beceause there's a good chance I will read at least part of the book before I can get the game. Then there's what the book can add to the gaming experience. In Elemental you take the role of the ruler of a kingdom. The book is about a simple man, an adventurer. The perspective it offers will help to create a more complete picture of what this universe has to offer. What's more, the book is valueable because the insight it offers into the game will allow dedicated players to expand upon the lore, with their own campaigns. I have no doubt that the book will offer a great deal of detail about the world. I'm looking forward to it just as much as the game itself.