An Epic Fantasy tale of action, adventure, heroism, horror and sorcery… Beyond Night is a Dark Fantasy Horror novel that pulls back the veil of nearly two thousand years of jaded history. Come tread in the bloody footprints left by monsters, soldiers and wizards and behold what lies hidden Beyond Night itself. It’s Bigfoot War mixed with Lovecraftian horror on the edge of the Roman Empire. How could Rome lose a Legion? What could’ve happened to blot out the existence of over five thousand men not only from history but the Earth itself? As the Legion moves north to engage the forces of Pictdom, a dark horror emerges from the bowels of the Earth. Thought to be random attacks by hulking monsters, Decurion August soon learns a dire truth, that these bloody events are directed by opposing the wizards of the Picts. While one side assembles all tribes in a confederated army to battle the Legion, the other pulls these Greyman beasts from the depths of the Earth. August fights not only these creatures and workers of magicks, but internal passions in the Legion itself. ©️ Crystal Lake PublishingView More
CODA“Thereupon, having reformed the army of the Rhine in regal manner, he set out for Britain where he put many things straight and was the first to build a wall, eighty miles in length, by which Romans and barbarians should be divided.”In the year 122 A.D. emperor Hadrian visited the Isle of Britannia and ordered the building of a wall eighty miles long. The stated reason given in Scriptores Historiae Augustae was to separate the Roman empire from the barbarians of the north. That was it. Unlike most frontiers, this wall, with its many forts along it, would tend the border and allow access to only ones they wanted to the empire. While that came as an official reason, defense was the clearer one put to the senate. However, as many observed firsthand, the wall sat in rather strange locations for a good defense, and cavalry units serving in forts there would have no real point, save for patrols.Men of the II Augustus, VI Victrix and XX Valeria Victrix Legions, built the wall over t
EPILOGUE“There’s one alive over here,” came the words into the ears of the prone Roman soldier, his body in the mud and brush at the edge of the forest.Hoof beats rang out loud in his ears. The horses and men speaking were very close. The soldier heard a voice command with force. “Turn him over for me and tell them to stop trying to put out the fires of Eboracum. May as well let it all burn down.”“Yes, sir.”“Bloody Picts, they ravaged and burnt it beyond our ability to recover.”Hands flipped the horizontal soldier over. “Yes, he’s breathing, sir. First one we’ve found in the territory.”The hoof beats stopped nearby, but the eyes of the soldier didn’t open. “By the gods, look at him, covered in blood and filth, his shield broken and no sword.”Many hands shook him. “Come on, soldier.”A voice commanded, “State your name and rank, soldier.”Eyes blinked, and the parched mouth opened, but gave no sound.The officer on horseback ordered, “Give him wine. Loosen that tongue u
CHAPTER XVIRufus looked deep into the globe between his knees and breathed on the clear surface. A slight mist of flame bubbled on the interior at his breath. He drummed both sets of his fingers on the sphere. The fire within the globe snapped out, touching to his fingertips, like it wanted to kiss his flesh. He took his hands back, wary of Drust’s warnings to be careful and not stare into the globe too deeply and for very long. His mind swirled at the implications of the orbs, that they were from a fabled tree that held dragon-fire somewhere on the Isles . . . a tree he’d really seen below the ground. Somehow, this flame came culled from an actual dragon thousands of years before. His mouth dry, he thought on other childhood fables and that they also may just be reality. One like Drust, the eternal wise man of the oaks, who was immortal. Rufus shook his head fast as if to let the reality of those fables slide from his exhausted mind.He didn’t watch any of the war, nor could he hea
CHAPTER XVTaloric beat his chest with his fist and then extended both arms over his head, continuing the loud yell he’d authored long before. After a half minute, though, he dropped his arms pulled his sword from the ground where he’d shoved it to rest before. He yelled the shout not at the Romans but at the rest of his tribe, asking them if they were ready. They all answered in the affirmative, punctuated by rowdy sounds from deep in their guts. His eyes, untamed and wide, turned to Weaver. His words were near to buried in the frenzy of the Pict multitudes, all shouting.“We shall take it to them!”Weaver’s eyes remained steadily on the Roman divisions as they slowly advanced out into the grassy valley. Her arms, down in front of her by the remains of the white horse, stayed steady, not quivering as those of her apprentice did as Ragala tried to hold them still at her sides. Weaver gave Ragala a slow glance, then returned her gaze up to the Roman lines, all starting to move like a
CHAPTER XIVPorcius shook his head and then glared at Drust. “Blood for life? You are a madman who needs to get out of the caves and trees more.”August looked at Porcius, bleary headed over the words spoken by the wizard, then back to the druid. “It is crazy talk, Drust.”Not looking at him, Drust said, “You think I created the idea of blood sacrifice and gifts from the gods because of it? You are not paying attention to many of your own religious ideals and teachings. It’s all about blood. I wonder why it appeases the gods. Aye?”Quintus held up his hand to August’s chest. “Wait, he says he needs so much blood, and that he didn’t disagree when you said his Pict folks could overrun us. But needs these monsters for . . . what? More bloodshed? On his own folks? But what for?”Porcius looked at the lounging beastmen and their King, practically a kitten in the hands of Drust. “Your magick keeps them at bay.”Durst turned, eyebrow raised and eyed Porcius. “Brilliant, Spartan. If I ha
CHAPTER XIIIPorcius stood not far from Quintus and the twins, still stunned from their entry into the underworld they currently inhabited. He remembered taking the point after Severus’ death, going down with Quintus at his back into the cavern. His mind reeled at seeing the two reptiles behind stone bars. He shivered at that memory. He’d seen crazy animals from the African continent, but those things they left behind on their way down were incomprehensible. Like the beastmen, those were something spewed from the doors of nightmares or the realms of real demons. He did note the five sided star on each set of bars, and recognized that symbol as one used by the tribes in Britannia. What perplexed him was the crooked cross over the pentagram, and what that power implied. Some symbols were older than man, or things dealt with ones not from here, be they gods, devils or men of a different epoch.But they’d had little time to ponder these things or sights, nor see farther into the inner ch
CHAPTER XIIAugust awoke clutching fistfuls of grass. It felt good being where grass grew tall and wild. His heart thumped fast, as he thought himself free, dragged from the cave of the beastmen and ready to run wild again. He looked up, pining for the oaks of the area of Caledonia where they had invaded, but instead saw tall fir trees, some with fire dripping from the branches.This reality he perceived couldn’t be so. Sadness held him tight and poured across his body, as thick as honey. He thought himself dead with . . . but no . . . this was not to be. Shouldn’t heaven look like home? Just by the trees, the time of year of his vision, closer to full harvest like September not the end of July . . . and the river basin of Ems, which can only be found in Germania in the Teutoburg forest.Yes, the Romans lost three Legions at that famous battle in Teutoburg forest, and the pitch falling from the fir trees dropped as leftovers from a volley of flaming missiles. However, August couldn’
CHAPTER XI“Back!” August yelled, not caring a wit if anyone or thing heard him.From over the stone lip of that cavern, one of the Greymen leapt, bounding like an acrobat toward them, as if summoned.August didn’t need to tell the archers to fire, for they drew back and pegged the Greyman twice, a shaft in his right thigh and another in his belly that burrowed deep into the flesh. Feeling the moment of his death at hand, August faced the wounded, furious Greyman. Blood pounded in his ears. He charged forward, a move the bloodied Greyman didn’t expect.Flavius didn’t expect August to turn and charge back, either. He cried out, afraid at the loss of the strong cavalry man. However, he didn’t run after August.August threw himself, rolled over, and swiped across at a low angle like a legless gladiator toward the Greyman’s calves.The creature pivoted on the wounded limb, but that didn’t make the gladius cut toward him any different. August’s wedge dug in deep and struck bone hard.
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