A sneak peek at Chapter 1 of ‘The Rhise of Hope’

Cover by Nick Camilo

Chapter 1: The Meeting

Present Day

Leon felt an abundance of energy in the early morning hours, long before any of his friends awoke. Thank you Adonai, he thought, because he knew he would need it shortly. He remembered his vision, and the instructions Rohiel had given him. There was a lot that he was supposed to accomplish in a short amount of time.

As he held the old spear, its blade shone with a pale brilliant light in the darkness of the small bedroom. Leon knew it was not yet sunrise, and with little time to waste he moved with a purpose. He donned his well-crafted scale and plate armor that the dwarven smith had made, which served to mark his new identity: a Judge, a hero who hid the flawed man inside.

Leon stared at the helm in his hands. It was the last piece of the suit, and perhaps the most important. He couldn’t take any chances; if he stepped outside the room without it, he may be recognized. The multitude of wanted posters accused Leon of theft, impersonating a noble, and crimes against the crown. All of which, upon reflection, he had to admit were true.

He accepted the fact that he had taken the spear from his father’s manor when he left. Also, he had begrudgingly impersonated his pompous brother in order to gain entry to Agaprya. Albeit, it was to save Miala from a harrowing situation. Leon was still not entirely sure why they were charging him with ‘crimes against the crown’. Granted, one could easily argue that his killing Prince Gelan could’ve classified as such. The fly in the ointment was that technically, to the public, Leon Rhise was dead. So, unless his estranged father had changed his mind about not advertising the fact that Leon struck the killing blow to the prince, ‘crimes against the crown’ would remain a mystery.

The original lie that Lucien Rhise spread by means of the Herald Guild, that all had perished in the Dawnfire crash, was meant to save the respectability of their family name. So, he must have been quite surprised when Leon had unexpectedly showed up at home several weeks later. Disowned and kicked out shortly after his impromptu arrival, all he had to show for being a former Rhise was the mysterious spear he now carried, his Levigem necklace, and a reward for his capture or for proof of his death.

Needless to say, Leon didn’t feel comfortable making his identity known with those wanted posters strewn about. He put on the helm that Duamé had fashioned (which also served as a mask), and quietly left the room that had been provided for him the previous night. Their group had been allowed to stay the night before, at the behest of Princess Schalae. Using her status, she quite effectively maneuvered Head Archivist, Magnus, into a conversational corner – single-handedly forcing him to be hospitable to their ragtag crew. It had been an impressive feat, since not two hours before they had invaded and destroyed the undead that were in the sealed off Judge’s section of the Archive. Truly, she couldn’t have established more dominance towards the older gnome if she had left a puddle at his feet.

 Leon now walked through the Archive, noting that only a few of the robed researchers were also awake, and continuing the process of packing up the facility. Moving the entirety of the Archive to its new location in Last Bastion was a monumental effort, especially when one considered the countless types of knowledge housed within the old building in Agaprya. Leon couldn’t fault those who wanted to get an early start, just like he did.

The two closest dark robed archivists stopped their work to simply stare at him. Their gazes held an intensity that drove Leon to be uncomfortable. He didn’t really know what to expect from them. While he didn’t recognize them from the day before in the dim lighting of the early hour, Leon was certain that between the assistance that had been requested to bring cannons downstairs, and the purging of the undead from the Judge’s section, the legend of the new Judge had grown significantly overnight. Rumors sometimes seemed to travel faster than a mail carrier airship. He considered himself a normal person, just like anyone else, and had no idea how to handle others being fascinated with him. If those who were watching him wanted to gaze awkwardly in his direction, then by all means he was going to make them work for it.

“Good morning!” he called with a wave. “Did you two want to help me for a bit?”

Leon smiled under his helm as the now wide-eyed archivists pointed first at themselves, then each other, as if there was anyone else in the now empty main hall.

“Yeah! You two! I need to clear out some of the mess in the Judge’s section. Wanna help?”

The Judge’s section of the Archive was still untouched, except for Anissa’s body having been removed from where it had lain. In the back of Leon’s mind, a small part of him still couldn’t believe Anissa hadn’t risen as an undead fiend. Such was the norm, the status quo. The recently dead always rose again, with the sole purpose of killing the living. Yet, because Anissa had accepted Adonai as she lay dying, she hadn’t turned. Much to everyone’s amazement, her body was in repose, her soul and spirit at rest. Once, a bitter rivalry had existed between Mancers Anissa and Miala. The prior day saw that come to an end, with Anissa at peace in the aftermath of their battle against the undead.

Still, Leon wondered where exactly her body had gone.

Maybe Magnus would know, he mused to himself.

Now in the forgotten depths of the Judges section of the Archive, Leon walked into that room with Zans and Ritz, the archivists who seemed eager-to-help. The room was still lined with dry-rotted wooden shelves and detritus. What once must have been a trove of the former Judges and Adonai’s knowledge, was now rubble that had been defaced and destroyed by the undead over two centuries ago.

The three of them got to work clearing away debris– all the while wondering what secrets would now stay hidden forever. First, they removed the ruined books, then the shelves themselves. They moved the mess out of the Judge’s section and into the larger, abandoned lower Archive rooms. Throughout the entire process his two surprisingly muscular helpers asked Leon questions about himself, and what it was like to be a Judge.

Being conscientious of his answers, Leon didn’t reveal anything of his past, but instead talked to them about Adonai and being a representative for him. He described the attributes Rohiel instructed him to embody, a mantra that Leon strived to live by: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control. Hopefully Zans and Ritz could find value in them too.

The helpful archivists seemed to pay attention as they finished. It also seemed to Leon, as he thanked them for their help before they departed, that they might be a little star struck. Leon left the room completely bare, as he had been instructed to do in his dream. The only thing that remained was the stone table which stood in the center of it.

Atop the table, in the very center, was the lump of mysterious metal that appeared to match the spearhead– which currently radiated light in Leon’s hands. In his dream, one of the liches they defeated referred to the metal as aeonyte. Hopefully either Gionna Gærheart or Duamé Onyxwill would know more about it.

Knowing that a couple of hours had passed and that dawn was fast approaching, Leon went upstairs to find a washroom to bathe in. While he was bathing the spearhead winked off– which signaled dawn had arrived, and that Leon was short on time. When he finished and got dressed, Leon put the armor that Duamé created back on over his woolen arming shirt. He pulled on the scaled armor leggings and laced up the black leather steel toed boots. Then he put the helm back on with a sigh of resignation that this was his identity now.

Exiting his room once again, after having donned the helm, he was met by the multi-lensed glasses stare of the elderly gnome Gionna Gærheart. At a younger age she had invented the airship. Her war machines had allowed the kingdom of Xaelon to survive against the undead onslaught. Her intelligence was unrivaled, and despite her eccentricities she was quite interesting to be around.

“You are late, dearie,” she stated.

“Sorry, I got up early and came back to bathe and change. Is everyone already downstairs?” Leon asked.

“Princess Schalae hasn’t arrived yet but everyone else is waiting.” Without waiting further, she turned and walked away. Her purple and grey puffy ponytails swished, and her metallic cane rapped along the floor.

Leon accompanied her, and they both descended the stone stairwell to the main hall of the half empty Archive. Barrels and crates still lined portions of the walls, packed with books that were ready to be transported to the Archive’s new location. There were more workers of various races scuttling about now, working to safeguard the knowledge of their kingdom. Leon spotted Zans and Ritz talking to several of the other archivists, and they collectively stared at Leon as he waved to them. This seemed to be what they were waiting for, because suddenly the two archivists who had helped him seemed much more animated in the conversation they were having.

Waiting at the bottom of the stairwell, next to one of the large pillars which flanked the grand room, the rest of Leon’s companions stood, chatting quietly amongst themselves. The obligatory ‘good mornings’ were exchanged as everyone waited for the Princess of the North Elvenwood to arrive.

The gnomish head archivist, Magnus, ran down the stairs soon after Leon and Gionna arrived. Smoothing his white hair and beard, he took one look at the troupe, and grunted. When they had first arrived to clear out the forgotten section of the Archive the head archivist had looked panicked. This was reasonable since they were more than likely going to die in the attempt. Now he looked grumpy, probably more than a little irritated that the Princess had bullied him into hosting them. That didn’t stop Magnus from waiting with them for her arrival – albeit at a distance.

“Where did Anissa’s body go?” Leon asked Magnus, as the gnome was looking away.

“What?” Miala asked, shuffling over to join the conversation.

The gaze of Magnus fell over each of the group, finally settling on his ex-wife Gionna, before he replied, “I respectfully had her body moved. She is taken care of.”

The fiery red-headed Miala Mytheriyn might as well have been physically on fire. Of course, being a pyromancer, such a thing would be within her power, but would have proven exceptionally dangerous for Magnus. “Where is her body?” Miala demanded, her voice laced with both fire and ice.

It seemed to Leon that Magnus tried very hard to be brave in the face of the woman who was double his height. He stayed tight-lipped until Gionna walked over and tapped him with her cane. “Answer the question, Mags.”

Under pressure from both Miala and Gionna, Magnus folded like a cheap tent. “I… I had her cremated.”

The general process of packing the written material away to move it to the new Archive location was moderately disrupted at that moment, when everyone who had been working stopped to watch as the strange group of assorted people began to yell in unison at the Head Archivist.

“Keep your voices down! I don’t want the Mancer Academy to find out she died here when she was supposed to simply unseal a section!” Magnus hissed quietly. Looking around, the gnome yelled at all of the staff, “Get back to work!”

Leon gave a heavy sigh as he realized the only real material evidence that accepting the forgiveness of Adonai would prevent you from turning undead was gone. This slightly complicated things for him, and for spreading the word of Adonai throughout Xaelon. Upon reflection though, it would be a bit unsettling and dishonoring to just display an unaltered decomposing body. It is what it is. Leon thought, as he tried to calm everyone down – remembering Rohiel’s request that he work on exercising patience.

Leon didn’t have to be patient for very long, because two elven warriors, one bulky male and one lithe female, soon entered the Archive. A giant sword was strapped to the male’s back, while the woman had two knives on her thighs and a bow behind her. They looked like unusual elves, the male with a slightly longer than usual neck, and the woman having hair growing off her head like a willow tree’s branches. Their skin was like the color of tree bark, and they were carried a few boxes and a couple small barrels.

The Princess stood between them. Her skin was a light brown, and tresses of hair the color of evergreen needles were pulled back into a tightly braided ponytail. She no longer wore the black gown of mourning from the night before. Instead, Princess Schalae looked ready for travel. She wore a fitted leather jerkin, and had her medicinal bag strapped to her side. Bracers that appeared to be made of a dark, thick tree bark adorned each of her arms. Outside of her loose leather pants a quiver of arrows was strapped to her thigh, though Leon didn’t see a bow on her. Instead, she had two short and straight staves behind her back.

“Good morning everyone!” Schalae exclaimed.

The various responses seemed forced due to both propriety, and the early hour. Only Kelleren seemed to be as energetic as the Princess. The golden yellow dog all but jumped on her, his tail wagging.

“Oh, and hello to you too! How is my patient this morning?” Schalae asked, as she bent down to examine the bite wound she had treated on the dog’s foreleg the previous night.

Miala answered for her companion, “He says that what you did worked, and that he feels as healthy as a pup. Thank you again.”

Princess Schalae scratched Kelleren behind his ears – causing one of his legs to thump against the ground. She stood and smiled, “He is coming along fine indeed. So,” she clapped her hands together and rubbed them vigorously, “Who is hungry, and where shall we eat the breakfast we brought?”

Leon took that as his cue and stepped forward, “I prepared a place earlier this morning actually. If you could all please follow me back down to the Judge’s section.”

“Our resident Judge seems to have thought ahead! Lead on, good sir.” Princess Schalae said, as she held out her arm. Leon knew from etiquette he was meant to take it. He was, however, taken aback by her continued exuberance. Together they led the rest of their group down the many stairs, with Magnus and Miala both lagging slightly behind.

The brick and mortar masonry of the Archive’s above ground levels gave way to the huge, irregularly shaped stonework that managed to somehow fit perfectly together. They continued descending the stairs until they reached the area outside of the Judge’s section. The shelving Leon had moved in the early morning crowded around the side of the entrance, as did the two cannons they used to wipe out much of the undead horde. They lay spent, next to the pile of bones, old weapons, and armor the skeletal warriors had possessed.

Seeing all the work that had been done, Gionna observed, “Well, you have been busy, haven’t you, dearie?”

“We could’ve helped ya,” Duamé chimed in.

Leon smiled as he felt the dull ache of that morning’s exertion in his body. “It was no trouble really, besides, a couple of archivists helped. I was told to clear it out.”

“By whom?” Princess Schalae asked. She gripped Leon’s arm slightly tighter. Leon happened to catch Miala watching her, and saw her eyes narrow ever so slightly.

“By Rohiel. He’s a sort of teacher.” Leon responded.

Leon’s spear blade glowed brightly as they all made their way into the now empty Judge’s section. The bright light allowed him to see as Princess Schalae’s green brows rose at the spear. The only things that remained in the room now were the table, and the lump of Aeonyte that sat in the middle of it. Beyond that, the same large, monolithic stonework encompassed the walls, floor, and ceiling.

Leon gestured towards the table where the elven warrior placed the boxes he had been holding. The two silent elven warriors then bowed to their princess and took up positions behind her. “That is better. Now then, breakfast and then business!” Schalae exclaimed.

 She opened the boxes and began to take out various containers. Cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and nuts were displayed for everyone to partake of. However, the two small barrels with sloshing liquid inside caught Duamé’s attention. 

“Is… is that wot I think it is?” Duamé asked, pointing at the barrels.

Schalae smiled radiantly at him, and poured a cup of dark liquid from one of the barrels. Wordlessly, she handed it to the dwarf. He sipped it, and shuddered.

“Ahhhh… it’s been years since I’ve had a proper cup o’ java,” he sighed.

Gionna’s eyes lit up behind her multi-lensed spectacles as she took a cup as well. Meanwhile, Leon cocked his head in confusion. “Java?”

“One of the primary exports of the Elvenwood. It gives energy to the tired body,” Princess Schalae explained, as she handed everyone else, including her warriors, a cup.

Leon took a sip and found it to be slightly bitter, but otherwise delicious. He could almost feel his drooping eyelids perk up as the liquid slid down his throat. Glancing at Miala, he noted that she also seemed to enjoy it. She even put her finger into the liquid and used her pyromancy to heat it up, which caused steam to emanate from the cup. Leon observed Princess Schalae’s eyes go wide at the sight, but she said nothing further.

Everyone made their introductions, save Leon who only referred to himself as a Judge for now. He had no way of knowing whether the princess could be trusted fully yet. He begrudgingly knew that he would eventually have to reveal his identity to her. Of all people, she deserved to know. From what Prince Gelan had spoken of her, she was a wonderful person and truly gifted at all things medicinal. He had no idea if she knew the true story about Gelan’s death though. Or of his part in it. If his father, Lucien, really did have such extensive influence, there was no telling who he could have in his pocket. Even the elven princess.

“So, Judge, why would you come to a place such as this, hmm?” the Princess asked, “What exactly happened here?”

Under the watchful eyes of everyone present, Leon retold the events of what led them all there. How they came to the Judge’s section to learn more about Adonai. Hearing himself explain the sequence of one improbable coincidence after another, like a tapestry of life which had knitted them all together, Leon became aware of just how unlikely it was that they accidentally stumbled across each other. It had to be more than pure happenstance.

With occasional input from others in the group, Leon explained their assault on the fortified section of the Archive. Magnus tried to shed the best light possible on himself and his role of admitting them, while his ex-wife Gionna punctured whatever blown-up, self-important role he claimed. When she explained that he did everything other than bodily block them from entering the walled off section, the Princess glared at the elderly gnome. After that he didn’t speak again for some time.

After recapping the events, up to the point where Anissa died and did not rise again, Schalae stopped everyone and asked to do her own medical examination of the fallen aquamancer. She had the same reaction as everyone else when Magnus admitted he cremated Anissa. “Well I didn’t know if she was going to rise as an undead later!” he exclaimed, as an excuse for his actions.

All who had been there attested to what they saw, at which point Gionna pulled out two black robes and laid them on the table in exchange for a handful of food. “I took these from the two liches that I found. Where was the third?” she asked Leon. “Didn’t you kill it?”

“It was somehow made of shadow. The spear turned it into salt when I saw it.” Leon replied. He then explained about the spear and its powers to Schalae, who nodded as she took everything in.

“Why did ya take those robes?” Duamé asked Gionna, peering at them.

Miala answered before Gionna could. “Because they are Mancer robes.”

Tapping the side of her spectacles, Gionna exclaimed, “Correct!” while the lenses on her glasses shifted around on their tiny mechanical gears. From experience, Leon knew those glasses could help the gnome see things that others could not. They helped her to be even more observant than she already was.

Gionna Gærheart explained her actions. “These robes are at least two centuries old, but they still have dimensional pockets! One each it looks like. I thought perhaps our resident Pyromancer could take a look inside and see if they possess any clues.”

Miala shrugged as everyone looked at her. She picked up the first dark robe and reached inside. Leon clearly saw one moment her hand was there, and then the next it wasn’t! It didn’t seem to bother her all that much because she pulled out an unblemished hand shortly thereafter, with something in her grasp. Everyone crowded around to see what it was.

She opened her hand to find a small clay statuette. It was painted black and looked to have different sized tentacle-like appendages which extended from an amorphous blob in random places. Two tiny cut rubies served as its eyes.

“Well, that does not look very nice.” Schalae commented.

Kelleren, close to Miala’s hand, sniffed at the little statue and snarled viciously before growling. A moment later, Miala yelped and dropped the item. It clattered to the floor but strangely it did not break as a clay statue should. “Leon! Stab it! Stab it now!”

Reacting, Leon brought the shimmering light of the spear blade down on the statue. As soon as the blade touched it, a screech emanated from it. The sound was like claws raking slowly across armor, and painful to their ears as it filled the room before the statue exploded into salt.

“Wot tha hematite was THAT?” Duamé yelled.

Miala shuddered as she kept wiping her hand on her robe, as if still trying to get it off her. “I don’t know. Whatever it was, it was watching us, and listening to us. It was… aware.”

Magnus piped in to Leon, “Good thing you destroyed it then! Well done!”

Miala shook her head, “I don’t think you did. I think whatever it was is still alive but can’t see us anymore.” Steeling herself, before anyone could object, she picked up the second robe. Her hand disappeared again, and this time pulled out a small curved dagger. It looked simple, unadorned, but functional: as evident by the dark stains that were dried on the blade.

“Who doesn’t clean their weapons after they use them?” Miala asked in a disgusted tone.

Leon came to a conclusion that Gionna voiced before he could. “Someone who didn’t care about blood on his blade anymore. Someone who probably died promptly after they used it.”

The room was ominously silent as everyone thought about their discoveries so far. The silence was only broken by Duamé audibly crunching on celery.

Leon suddenly felt that if he didn’t get it out now, then he would never find the right time. Remembering the mistake he made by not telling Miala and Duamé of his heritage, he didn’t want to struggle with the guilt of a lie of omission hanging over his head any longer than he had to. “Your Highness, I have a question if I may.”

She flashed a radiant smile towards Leon. “Yes?”

Here we go, he thought. “How were you told Prince Gelan died?”

Her smile crashed just like the Dawnfire that had carried Leon and the prince. Instead her eyes burned with intensity, “The official version I was told was that he died in the crash of the flagship. It took me almost the entire mourning period to figure out the truth. That a brave soul tried to bring him back to Agaprya.”

Leon sighed, and regretted his earlier thoughts that told him she may have been untrustworthy. At this point, with wanted posters everywhere, he needed all the friends he could get. He lifted the helm that Duamé had made for him off, and pulled out the Levigem necklace from his undershirt. “I was the person who brought him back, though I wouldn’t describe myself as brave. I was disowned by my father for being the one to make sure he didn’t rise as undead, among other reasons. I… I am so sorry that I couldn’t save him.”

Duamé threw up his hands, “Sure! Ask me ta make a mask an’ start takin’ it off everywhere ya go…”

With tear-filled eyes the Princess stepped closer to Leon. Uncomfortably close. She waved off the two guards that stood behind her and looked back into Leon’s eyes before she suddenly rushed forward and…

…Hugged him.

“Thank you. Thank you for making every attempt to save him,” she said, with her voice muffled into the shoulder of Leon’s armor. Everyone around them shifted uncomfortably, Miala noticeably so. Flabbergasted, Leon broke the embrace, also with tears in his eyes for his deceased prince and captain. While this certainly wasn’t the reaction he was expecting, it was welcome, nonetheless.

Schalae looked more intently at the spear Leon was holding, as she picked up and sipped more of her java. “That is Elvenwood is it not? May I?” she asked, starting to reach out.

“Unless ya can fire a bow from yer feet, ya really shouldn’t lass. An alukah who put hands on it got em charred ta ashes.”

“Really? Wow!” Princess Schalae exclaimed, as she clasped her hands behind her back.

“Yes, it’s Elvenwood, and quite the old spear. I don’t know where it came from but,” the iridescent spearhead tinked as Leon flicked it, “Recently, it was revealed to me that this metal is made of something called ‘aeonyte’?”

A cannon could have fired quieter than Duamé’s reaction to that revelation. “WOT?!?”

“Dearie, why didn’t you tell us?” Gionna chimed in.

Everyone else didn’t exclaim in surprise, but seeing the possibility of receiving more answers Leon jumped at the opportunity, “Do you two know something about it?”

Looking at each other, and then gesturing for each other to go first, Gionna took the lead, “It’s a legendary metal, incredibly rare and just as good if not better at channeling energy than elvenwood!”

“Yeah, right! Aeonyte isn’t supposed ta exist, boyo! No dwarf has ever found any vein o’ it. Ever. It’s a fairytale!” Duamé growled. “Who even told ya such nonsense?”

Leon sighed and hung his head slightly. “Rohiel showed me.”

“An’ ya always listen ta voices in yer head, right?” Duamé needled.

“Technically it’s in his dreams,” Miala interjected.

“And they haven’t failed me yet,” Leon finished.

“So, wait, that is aeonyte too?” Gionna breathed softly, and approached the table and the lump of metal in the center of it.

Not looking, Leon reached back and scooped the palm sized lump up and handed it to Gionna who cupped it in her hands like an egg. “You hang on to it and tell me,” he said simply.

Closing his eyes, and hoping, praying, Leon turned around to the table and reopened them to see what Rohiel also revealed to him in the directions from his dream last night. The lump that he was sure was aeonyte, which he was also sure that the liches, skeletons, and whatever other undead creatures could never touch, had covered a small circular hole in the center of the table.

Miala walked up to the stone table and asked, “What’s that?”

Everyone, even the silent elven guards and Magnus, approached the table and peered at the regular ordinary looking hole.

Leon smiled as he reached up and put the shaft of the spear at the opening, showing everyone that it was a perfect fit. “I think it’s the key to more answers,” Leon said, as the spear slid almost all the way into the table. The diamond-shaped blade with the Judge’s symbol of rested neatly in the stone table, and protruded from the top of it.

The light that radiated from the spearhead seemed to retract into the blade, causing it to become too bright to look at directly. A soft rumble began to vibrate beneath everyone’s feet. The spear appeared to turn with the shaking, the flat side of the blade shifting with the vibration to face parallel to the back wall.

A collective breath was held as the light spilled forth from the spear. A gaseous, luminescent fog rolled down the table and towards the back wall. Leon’s instructions didn’t include this. He didn’t know what to expect at this point.

Duamé pulled a couple of hammers from his belt. Moving as one, the guards for Princess Schalae pulled their weapons out– pointing them at the small circle of fog-emanating light, which was now swirling. Gionna raised her metallic cane, pressed a button on the handle, and caused the length of the cane to split into three sections – a central shaft with two arms on either side. A cord secured at the end of those arms turned the gnome’s cane into a functional crossbow. Lastly, Miala pulled out the two wands she had taken from Anissa’s body and held them in front of her, their tips glowing red. Only Leon and Schalae seemed unperturbed and watched the fog.

The swirling fog of light churned round and round as it rose into a column as tall as Leon. After the light from the spearhead pulsed from the center of the table, the fog collapsed together and coalesced into a figure – which now stood in front of the stone table and those assembled.

The figure had large, bulky, curved armor that mirrored the blue sheen of the aeonyte when it wasn’t glowing. Around the edges of the armor was a gold trim, which was made up of tiny symbols. They were much like the symbol that was etched into the tip of the spear. The being was covered in the beautiful plate armor from its feet to its neck, and its radiant head shone bright enough to not allow any of its features to be distinguished. This being, though tall in stature, stood with loosely crossed arms in a relaxed pose.

Rohiel, Leon thought. He’s here!

The appearance of this figure, which until then had only shown itself in his dreams, was a surprise – but also a welcome relief to Leon. His friends’ awestruck expressions were almost comical. Duamé looked like he had swallowed an entire pineapple with the way his eyes bulged at the sight of the angel. Is that what I must have looked like when I first saw him?

“Fear not. I am Rohiel, angel of Adonai. Welcome to the Sanctuary, where you have all been brought to… wait, is that java?”

As you can see, the plot starts to thicken immediately! Find out more at maxbsternberg.com! Look for ‘The Rhise of Hope’ when it releases December 20th, 2021! Also, don’t forget to read and review book one, ‘The Rhise of Light’ available now!

Author: maxbsternberg

Max B. Sternberg lives in Virginia with his wonderful wife and two incredible boys. When he is not working, or filling his time with the activities of a husband and dad, he enjoys delving deeper into biblical scripture and telling dad jokes. He strives to live his life as best he can – in all areas – for Jesus. Max believes that humor, mixed with truth, and tied together in a relatable way, can be an amazing way to reach people for the Lord. It is his sincere hope that readers will find his imaginings, paired together with biblical truth, inspirational for a deeper relationship with Christ. For more info, please check out his author page at http://maxbsternberg.com/. His works, the Darkness Overcome Series, include The Rhise of Light, The Rhise of Hope (Releases Dec 20th, 2021), and The Rhise of Truth (Releases 2022).

2 thoughts on “A sneak peek at Chapter 1 of ‘The Rhise of Hope’”

  1. This is extremely long for a blog post. I understand it’s an attempt to draw reader’s to your upcoming book, but I doubt that many will read this entire post.
    It is an interesting chapter. However, it would grip readers more if there was more action and conflict in the chapter — just a thought.


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