Excerpt From Athanasia: The Unknown Lands

I have taken a break from blogging for almost a year to work on my two books. As many of you know I wrote a commentary on the book of Jude called, “Agonizing for the Faith”. I released it for sale on Amazon on August 3rd. Many of you know that I am writing a 6 book series that is epic didactic fantasy which is also partial biblical allegory. The first book, “Athanasia: The Great Insurrection” was released in April 2016, and the second book, “Athanasia: The Unknown Lands” will be released (Lord willing) in February 2019.

Below is chapter one of Athanasia: The Unknown Lands after 4 rounds of revisions, with one more round of revisions to go. If you have not read the first book then this will not make sense. This series is very similar to Lord of the Rings. It has deep theological truths taught through the story and characters which instruct the reader. The teaching is what makes it didactic. If you are interested, The first book, “Athanasia the Unknown Lands” is reduced in price until December 31st 2019.

I will start up my exegesis of scripture again in the summer of 2019 and will probably go through the book of Jonah.

 

What I would like to ask is for anyone that reads this chapter, would you mind giving me your honest critique and speak to any inconsistencies or gaps that you see? I would be very grateful.

 

1 – The Unknown Lands

 

As Sprasian glared at the wall the reality of this discovery began to manifest in his spirit. A smile crept up on his face and grew larger and larger as every second passed. This wall appeared to be made of stone, was 30 feet in height, and outlined the entire land as far as they could see. This barrier came almost directly up to the edge of the shore leaving hardly any room for even a rowboat to land. They all stood without speaking, looking from one horizon to another at a discovery many of them thought would never have occurred. No land other than Athanasia was ever thought to exist and just as astounding was the fact that the land was evidently inhabited.

Sprasian slid down from the crow’s nest and began embracing the crew as he realized the magnitude of this discovery. Within a few moments the whole ship was in celebration as some of the men even began to dance. Katherine searched out Sprasian and gave him a long embrace. While everyone celebrated, Spiros cast a stoic gaze at the wall, not even cracking the faintest smile. He just stared at the stone walls with his hand holding his chin, while covering part of his mouth, deep in thought. His eyes were so intensely focused on the wall that it appeared almost as if he could see through it and know what was on the other side.

Sprasian’s excitement quickly dropped as he made way to Spiros with Katherine in tow. “Spiros, why does your countenance remain unchanged after such a momentous discovery?”

Spiros looked away from the wall and turned to Sprasian. “Indeed! Sophos did not lead us astray as our faith has become sight.”

Sprasian then replied, “Then why do you look concerned?”

Spiros turned and pointed at the massive wall and said, “I thought to myself, why would anyone build a wall that outlined their entire land?”

Spiros paused and then continued, “I can only think of two reasons as to why. Either they are trying to keep another kingdom out or they are trying to keep their people in.”

Sprasian’s eyes opened wide as his adjulation began to wane. Spiros, like the other Adelphos, was gifted with great discernment. Sprasian retorted, “Which of the two do you think it is, Spiros?”

Spiros replied, “The latter.”

Spiros paused after his brief statement and then began to explain. “All the kings of Athanasia have been at war since kingdoms have been established. Yet, they never built up walls around the borders of their entire kingdom to withstand a threat from another kingdom. This wall was built to keep people in.”

Sprasian responded, “True, but is that your only apprehension?”

Spiros remarked, “Look at the walls. Do you see any sentries looking out to the ocean for enemy vessels?”

Spiros paused again and then pointed at the shore before speaking. “Look at the shore. Why would you build a 30-foot wall up to the edge of the ocean spanning over the entire mass of land? Doesn’t that seem excessive for defending against enemies? It would take an enormous amount of time, material, money and manpower to do such a feat. Walls are not welcoming, I believe that we should proceed with a heightened sense of caution.”

Sprasian nodded his head and said, “We will proceed with utmost care.”

Sprasian looked out to his men and pronounced his orders. “Men, prepare the boats with provisions as we are going ashore. Make sure to arm yourselves and to be watchful for these are unknown lands.”

While the men began preparations to make landfall Katherine approached Sprasian during the commotion and pleaded with him that she should come along.

Sprasian shook his head and said, “These lands may indeed be very dangerous, so I need to take warriors in the case that we are drawn into battle. You will be well protected here on the ship.”

Katherine countered, “We have reached unknown lands and who knows what peril awaits us on land or the sea. There is no place for us to go, we are too far away from home.”

Sprasian took a deep breath and pondered for a moment what Katherine had said. He knew that there would be no place of escape for anyone if they were somehow overtaken. He replied, “My love, these lands are untested. I have no inclination of what awaits us. I believe that trials and tribulation await me and I fear bringing you in the storm that awaits me because it will most certainly draw you in.”

Katherine responded, “Sprasian, we are to be married. Whatever storm that you go through in this life is a storm in which I will accompany you to the end. Whatever happens to you happens to me. There will be times that I will help to shoulder your burdens and times in which you will help me to shoulder mine. If you are to be refined by trials, then I want to be there with you being perfected.”

Sprasian replied, “You are right, Katherine. What happens to one happens to the other. We are to be there for each other even in the worst of times being perfected by Sophos. Being apart is not an option.”

Sprasian paused for a moment and then continued, “You have learned to wield a sword very well and who knows if we may need your skills with medicine to heal us if any of us are injured. I would want you with me so that I could defend your life. It would grieve me if something happened to you and I could not be there to protect you.”

Katherine smiled and kissed him on the cheek and ran to go and fetch her things so that she could go ashore. The kiss caught Sprasian off guard as his face began to turn a light pink, so he tried to find something to redirect his focus. He fished out of his pocket the coin they had found in the pond and began to stare at it wondering how it came to be on the remote island they had found.

Within an hour Sprasian set out to shore with Katherine, Spiros, and 47 soldiers. He left Dulas in charge of the ship as he was the one that saved Sprasian’s life when the men were ready to mutiny. Some of the men grumbled because Sprasian would not only leave them behind to go ashore, but that he had the audacity to leave a cook in charge. In the end, they obeyed Sprasian and the complaints immediately ceased.

The long boats made it to shore and found a small patch of beach amongst the rocks and walls where they could land. As everyone exited the ships, they had to make their way up the rocks beneath the wall as there was not enough room for them all to congregate. They slowly and carefully maneuvered up the rocks to the base of the wall with a trail of people in tow. There was not a lot of room to stand beneath the wall, so only Sprasian, Spiros, Katherine, and a few others got close while the rest waited patiently amongst the rocks.

“Spiros, if we are able to affix a grappling hook, would you be able to scale the wall and help us up?” asked Sprasian.

Spiros replied, “It would be my pleasure.”

One of the men took out a grappling hook with rope tied to it, began whirling it at his side, and then flung it upward. The hook eclipsed the top of the wall taking much of the rope with it. The soldier then began to pull the slack back in until he felt it wedge on something. He began to pull hard and put his full weight onto the rope, but the rope did not budge.

“Be careful,” said the soldier as he smiled and handed the rope over to Spiros.

Spiros took the rope and started up. The wall was slippery from the salt and moisture from the ocean so he had to use his upper body strength to pull himself up. As he reached the peak of the wall he could not find something to grip to pull himself over the wall. Spiros, while holding onto the rope with one hand, pulled out his sword and thrust it into the wall. He then put both of his feet on the flat of the sword while using the rope as leverage and was able to lift himself up. When he looked down on the other side of the wall he saw no ledge with which he could walk on, but rather a straight drop from the top of the wall to the ground. He studied the wall for a long distance in front of him and then behind. There was no ledge in either direction built into the wall with which anyone could walk for as far as he could see.

Upon this realization Spiros yelled down to the group gathered beneath him, “There is no ledge on the wall. We will have to rappel down.”

Spiros pondered for a moment on how he and the rest of the party could repel downward. He then realized that he could keep his sword embedded into the ocean’s side of the wall and tie a rope to its hilt. This would give a counterbalance effect that would allow people to repel down to the ground safely given the durability of his sword.

Spiros yelled down to Sprasian, “Can you send up some rope?”

Sprasian answered, “Yes!”

He then sent a soldier up with the rope that was needed. When the soldier reached the top Spiros extended his hand and pulled the man up.

The soldier gave Spiros the rope and as Spiros began tying the rope to the hilt of his sword the man commented, “What a beautiful sight.” Spiros was so busy trying to find a solution for everyone to scale the wall that he neglected to look at the landscape around him. He looked out at the ocean and saw the sun reflecting off the blue waters as the fog had lifted. He saw beautiful blue sparkles on the ocean’s surface as the light of the sun shined. So beautiful were these waters that the light from the sun made them transparent and showed the shallow bottom and all the fish swimming in these depths. He then looked inward at the land and saw beneath him a beautiful yellowish-brown pasture with rolling hills decorated with white flowers. There were some highlights of green on this yellow canvas as well as a few trees that dotted the landscape.

Spiros commented, “What beauty, what serenity!”

As Spiros continued to gaze at the landscape he saw smoke arising from a great distance away from behind the furthest hill of his sight. He pointed over to the smoke and said, “Are my eyes deceiving me or is that smoke in the distance?”

The soldier fixed his eyes on where Spiros was pointing and said, “Yes! I see it!”

Spiros said, “There must be civilization to the north of our position. Quickly, take this rope tied to my sword and rappel down the wall. Your job will be to ensure that everyone makes it down safely.”

The soldier nodded and rappelled down the rope with great ease. Spiros then called down to the others on the ocean side to start making their way up. One by one each soldier scaled the wall and repelled safely to the other side until Sprasian and Katherine were all that were left on the ocean side.

Sprasian asked, “Would my dear lady Katherine like to scale the wall on my back?”

Katherine responded, “If the wall were shorter I could do it on my own, but since you are offering, then I accept.”

Katherine climbed up on Sprasian’s back wrapping her arms and legs around his torso. Sprasian started to climb the wall and by the halfway point began to struggle. His face started turning red and his breathing became deeper. Katherine held on as Sprasian moved upward. When they were five feet from the top Sprasian’s face turned a deep red and he began to gasp for air.

Katherine asked, “Am I too heavy for you?”

Sprasian exhaled and said in a strained voice, “Not at all.” He then took a deep breath, exhaled, and then finished his sentence, “You are as light as a feather.”

Sprasian continued upward to the top as Katherine smiled. When they reached the peak, Spiros pulled Katherine up and then Sprasian.

As Sprasian was catching his breath he said, “You were right, Spiros, this is a wall meant to keep people in, not turn them away.”

Spiros replied, “I see smoke rising in the far north behind the last hill we can see. I think we should head in that direction as we will most assuredly find civilization.”

Sprasian nodded his head and gathered Katherine on his back as the two rappelled down together to the ground. Spiros followed suit as he pulled his sword out of the wall on the ocean side. He untied the rope on the hilt of his sword and tied it to the hilt of another. He inserted this standard sword into the wall where his sword had been so that they could escape if necessary. He then re-positioned the grappling hook on the ocean side as a second way of escape. Spiros then took his sword and impaled the wall twice on the ocean side, which created insertion points for two more swords. He called for two swords and two lengths of rope. Upon receiving them, he inserted the swords into the wall on the ocean side and tied the rope to each hilt. He then dropped both lengths of rope to the ground. He sheathed his sword and then jumped 30 feet down to the ground, landing on both feet as easily as if he’d jumped from a chair. Katherine had let out a short scream as he fell, but when he had safely landed they all just looked at him, wide-eyed.

Spiros just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I am an Adelphos.”

Spiros then walked over to Sprasian and Katherine and said, “Let us make way towards the smoke, but be on your guard for my senses tell me that we will not be very welcome here.”

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Author: thomascoutouzis

I was born in the United States as a second generation Greek. My family comes from the Island of Kalymnos which is the island next to Patmos (Where the apostle John wrote Revelation). My wife Kathy is of Korean descent and we have two wonderful children, Chloe and Micah. We live in a small town outside of Raleigh, North Carolina called Fuquay Varina. The Lord redeemed me as a young boy as my mother (who was a believer) shared the Gospel with me. If I had to categorize my denomination I would most likely fall into the Reformed Baptist realm with some differences over non-essential doctrine. I am an expositional bible teacher who attends Fellowship Baptist Church in Willow Springs, NC. For the last few years I have been taking God's word and teaching it on outlets like Twitter and Wordpress. I am also a fan of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis' fantasy novels. As such I am writing a fantasy series full of adventure, while weaving deep theological truth into the story and characters. My first book, "Athanasia: The Great Insurrection" is available in both ebook and paperback currently. I am hoping to release the second book in the series, "Athanasia: The Unknown Lands" around September of 2018.

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