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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

King Odin’s Revelations - Chapter Three of The Last King of Shambhala - Sample of Book

Click here for Prologue

Click here for Chapter One

Click here for Chapter Two


CHAPTER THREE: King Odin's Revelations


10,000 years ago.

For many moons, Odin, King of the Gods, woke from a nightmare sweating and panting. All he could remember from the dreams was the haunting face of a scarecrow and its hollow voice.

Odin believed that dreams were windows of insight, incomprehensible in the light of day. So when the scarecrow returned to him night after night, he was compelled to visit the forgotten world of Vanaheimr to seek meaning.

Vanaheimr is an ancient land destroyed by a warlock ruler called Mimir. It is said he uncovered a magic key that was too powerful for him to control … and the sea became poison, the air became fire, and the land fell into the sea.

However, Mimir could not let go of his kingdom – even after death. And so he became trapped in between the worlds of the living and the dead. It is said that from this unique vantage point, he gained great prophetic vision.


Odin sat silent in his longboat, closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply.

Mist slowly danced around his boat, the moonlight glinted off the steady ripples below, and a rasping hiss slithered across the water's surface. Odin’s eyes snapped open.

“All right, Mimir, you there? The King of the Gods, a.k.a. King Odin, vis-a-vis ruler of the physical known universe, is waiting here to see you, and you keep him waiting. What do you have to say about that?” called Odin over the pitter-patter of the rain. “So don’t make him wait. Are you so sure he’s got the patience for that sort of dramatic entrance? Does he? Does he? No, I don’t think so. Otherwise, how would he get things done when he’s got a million things to do as ultimate king?”

He paused, and heard no reply. His eyes drifted over the ghostly shapes created by the low-hanging mist. His voice boomed into the wind: “Come now. Show yourself to your God. Try to put your reasonable and justifiable fear of such a powerful god aside so you can have the honour of a discourse with the great Odin.”

His words once again fell on a deathly silence.

He could hear the drumming of his heart against his chest. He could hear his hairy, heaving chest trying to suck in the dusty, ancient air. And he could hear the steady beat of the water lapping up against his long boat. But nothing more.

“I’ve got a metaphorical scrolls here for you, addressed to the half-dead warlock Mimir, from, yes, from the King of the Gods, vis-a-vis me, and it says the King of the Gods doesn’t wait for anyone, so...” Odin let his bellowing voice trail off into the thin air. His words echoed in the distance, as if hitting the edges of this world and bouncing back at him. “Come now, I know you can hear me, let’s talk one ruler to another.” Odin added under his breath, “Even though one ruler doesn't have anything to rule anymore, so technically, is no longer a ruler … but we’ll look past that.”

The bow of Odin's longboat creaked, the boat rocked, and shadows moved below the surface of the water.

“And why do you think I will help you? What’s in it for me?” crooned a soft voice in the wind.

Odin paused pensively. He kept his head perfectly still, but his eyes wandered around his surroundings.

“What's in it for you? Apart from getting to talk directly to a god? That in itself is enough for anyone of right mind.” Odin paused. “You have nothing I can’t take, so...” Odin growled. “I could just take it. But I’m an Asgard, and we have a refined etiquette developed over countless millennia to adhere to so, I’m asking before I bash your non-physical head on the bow of my ship and just make you tell me. Simple.” Odin paused to look through the mist caressing the water. “You don’t really have a choice. Subsequently, do yourself a favour and make it easy. Otherwise…”

Odin pounded a fist into the open palm of his other hand.

Again there was silence.

“You do realise, I am the King of Gods. Not a king, but the king. The only king. Just one crown and it is on my head, so…” He paused. “I’m a pretty dangerous fellow, really. That’s just about as powerful as you can get without being on the other side of life’s curtain...” Odin said as his fists clenched by his side. “Give me a reason, and I will destroy the rest of your world without a heartbeat of hesitation. Your kingdom will be gone forever. Well, what's left of it. Empty real estate right now, isn’t it? But I’m sure it means a lot to you... so...”

“Believe me, there is nothing you could do to me. Your power is limited at the very best,” came the voice, followed by a low mechanical-sounding chuckle.

“Sounds like you need a warning from the gods,” Odin said. “That,” he continued, smiling and looking about him, “is when an incredibly powerful god will come down and use the elements to pre-warn you of what could happen if you don’t bow your head and accept his commandments.”

“I can’t wait for a god to challenge me. Where’s the god?” responded the voice, laughing more than before.

“What do you mean where’s the god? I am the god, aren’t I?”

“You’re not a god. You’re a giant who has found the apples of eternal life and dabbled in a bit of magic, and very primary magic at that. You may rule over the Jotun and Asgard, but you don't rule over a warlock as powerful as me.”

“If I weren’t a god, then would they call it a ‘warning of the gods’? No, they wouldn't call it that. They’d call it something else. ‘Warning of the mortal’ or something, which, granted, wouldn’t be as concerning. But know that I am a god, your god, the King of the Gods in fact, and so the statement does apply. And doubly so, I might add, seeing as I am King of the Gods.”

Mimir's voice seemed to echo from every direction. “So you call yourself the King of Gods, do you? Yet you are not truly a god, and not truly immortal. Without the magic of Idun’s apples, you’re as mortal as those you look down upon. You of the Asgard forget that the Jotun, all the giants, are your brothers. You are no king, and you are no god.”

“Yes, I am the King of the Gods, so, embarrassment… yours,” Odin screwed his nose up at the water. “Essentially, I wear the big gold crown and sit on the throne and make really important decisions. You, on the other hand, are talking water, which is nothing, essentially. Talking water, what can we do with that, except drink it, and listen to it cry ‘don’t drink me, don’t drink me … and don’t use me to wash your genitals whatever you do, and don’t…’ and more. Stupid, yeah?”

“I am as your people call me, ‘the Well of Wisdom’, I know all, and I know you are no god, and not much of a self-appointed king.”

Odin forced a soft chuckle between mashed teeth. “Yeah, I was told Mimir was the ‘Well of Wisdom’, but instead of wisdom, I draw laughter, so... misinformation. I was misinformed. This has been a waste, hasn’t it? You know nothing of what I want to know, do you?”

“You are mistaken. You may draw laughter now, but... in the end, only I will be laughing.” Mimir’s voice drifted into the distance.

Odin smiled wryly.

“I may not have any eyes,” thundered Mimir, “but I see further than you. I have seen your universe’s end. And that is why you are here. You’ve come here to see your universe’s end for yourself.”

As Mimir spoke, a violent wave crashed down on Odin’s boat, nearly knocking the ‘King of Gods’ into the water.

Odin shook his head so wildly his long soot-coloured hair and beard escaped their braids. “Not entertained by your magic tricks and tall stories. Thought the mist on the water was pretty dramatic, but seriously, let's get on with it now,” said Odin, brushing strands of seaweed off his shoulder. “Choice, okay? If you do not talk straight, I will destroy you for good. If you tell me what I want to know, there'll be no need. Simple, isn’t it? I know what I would choose. ‘Yeah? What’s that?’ I would choose to live and not be destroyed and left a black hole for eternity.” He paused a beat. “And one more thing, I came to find out about a dream, not the end of the universe, so the egg landed squarely on your face there, water man, or whatever you are.”

“And how do you plan on destroying me?”

The earth shook as if it were sniggering at the king.

“The end is nigh for you and the worlds in your universe, oh mighty Odin.”

“Not frightening me, Mimir. We’ve started with twisted mind games, good, bit of fun, not the best of starts, but forgiveness granted. But there’s a time to say, ‘oh, that’s enough my God, sorry and all that, let’s get on with your questions’, yeah? Time to play fair, or I will show you the might of my army, which let me tell you now, you don’t want. Okay? Good.”

“Tell me, what makes you think I can help you anyway? You are wise enough to know you cannot avoid the destiny of the universe. Even if you think yourself a god, surely you see that?”

“A scarecrow in my sleep. He talks to me. Don’t know what it’s about though, and keeps me up.”

Odin paused, deep in thought, before continuing: “Did I at any point lead you to think this was about anything else? Because it’s not. Just a silly dream. Nothing more - nothing less. Not worried about it, just, a little uncomfortable, okay? Alright. Good. Sorted. Done. Bravo. Excellent. Splendid, even.” Odin’s forehead creased and his body stiffened. “The stories in my world tell of something like this happening to you, before, so that’s the only reason I came down to your level to talk...”

Odin could imagine a prickly grin in the frosty wind that bit his cheeks.

“Before when? Before I destroyed this world,” taunted Mimir. “You could say the scarecrow came to me at the end of my days. And he has come to you, in another way.”

“Works for you… but can’t happen to me. We’d gone through this, yeah? I am immortal, so...” Odin craned his head back as a bitter cold wind whirled about him. “Last time I checked, immortal means cannot die. Lives forever. A la an immortal god, so...”

“It is not only true for you,” sniped Mimir, “but for every living thing in every world in your universe. Everything will start to die, and the universe will wilt away to nothingness. You, however, will not live long enough to experience it, but...” Mimir paused. “It will be so.”

“I don’t think you are getting this whole cannot-die-cause-I-am-an-immortal-god thing,” Odin yelled. “With Idun’s apples, the gods, a.k.a. the Asgard, cannot die.”

“Have you not heard of Ragnarok? It is what those on the other side call the death of a universe. Every universe in this glorious multiverse has a pre-determined Ragnarok. And yours is upon you. The little light you call your universe will flicker out in just 10,000 more years.”

Odin’s eyes narrowed and his forehead crinkled, as if he were looking straight into the sun. “Question. Ragnarok may make you feel better about destroying your world, but how can that possibly be the meaning behind my dream since I am, as aforementioned, immortal?”

“Surely through your search for wisdom you have heard of Ragnarok? You must know nothing is eternal. Even a moron of a giant eating life-prolonging apples cannot survive Ragnarok when it takes place.”

“Okay, starting to spook me, but still not buying it.” Odin arched his shoulders back. “Since Idun discovered the apples, yeah, not one Asgard has even felt sickness, let alone died. Doesn’t sound like wilting flowers but blossoms forever blooming to me.”

“You do not need to believe me – you will die anyway. You will know soon enough that my words were true. You cannot change Ragnarok once it has begun. It is the end of the story. Of course I find pleasure in your fear and pain, the energy makes me feel alive. I feed on it, but I have no real desire or motive to lie to you. I only tell you what I have seen.”

“Okay. Line, hook, you’ve caught me. Show me what you’ve seen. Show me what’s going to happen so I can…” Odin paused and straightened his back, “so that someone, let’s just call them the greatest king of all time, can stop it.”

“You think too much of yourself, King Odin. You cannot stop it,” Mimir’s voice mocked. “I can show you. But don’t waste your last breaths trying to stop it. It is your universe’s destiny. You are powerless to deny destiny.”

“Show me now,” roared Odin. “I may look like I am a calm and collected king, but I can sting, sting like … something that really stings, and I do not have patience for you.”

“As you wish. But everything has a price. The price I ask is for one of your eyes. I want to see the fear in your eyes as you beg for your life. I want to see the King of the Gods on his knees. I want to be there as you struggle for your final breath.”

“You want one of my what?” Odin asked.

“One of your eyes,” hissed Mimir’s voice over the sound of the small waves thumping against Odin’s boat.

“Just to clarify, you did say one of my eyes, and not one of Asgard’s famous duck pies?”

“That is correct.”

“Because here’s something else that rhymes with eyes, compromise, yeah? I don’t know if you have a mouth, or tastebuds for that matter, but a duck pie from Asgard is heavenly, so… compromising, yeah?”

“I do not negotiate,” growled Mimir from the depths of the ocean. Odin’s boat began to rock.

“All right, all right. Which one do you want?” the king asked.

“Your right eye.”

“Does it have to be my right? I’ve kind of grown fond of that one.”

“Your left eye. It does not matter.”

Odin tossed his head from side to side. “That’s kind of the one I prefer to use at archery.”

“Unless you have another eye to bargain with, it must be one or the other.”

“Not really a fair swap though, is it? Swapping an eye for a vision?” Odin muttered as his heavy breath froze in front of his scarred lips. He swallowed. “We need blood to seal the trade anyway. Might as well be mine… as always.”

Odin unsheathed a royal silver fishing dagger from his belt, and made no hesitation. Blood spurt across the deck of the longboat.

Odin staggered to the edge of his boat, chuckling to himself like a madman, and hurled his eyeball into the sea.
There was no splash. It simply disappeared into the mist.

Suddenly, the ocean roared and the sky turned white with clapping lightning. Then the wind began to whistle like a boiling kettle.

Odin hung over the deck and peered into the water with his remaining eye. The water swirled faster and faster as his blood cascaded down into it.

Inside the swirling water were quick-moving pictures of a heavy snowstorm blasting through the universe and freezing entire worlds over.

Odin’s stone face fell and lost its colour. He saw fields of dead bodies from all the worlds he knew, including the Asgard, being covered in snow.

As quickly as the images had appeared, they disappeared, and Odin staggered back.

Odin sat in silence for a very long time.

“There is a way to stop Ragnarok,” said Mimir, interrupting the silence.

Odin raised his head.

“A child will be born with the power to halt the wheels of Ragnarok, once they have been set in motion” Mimir continued. “Or, if the child should prefer, he can bring about Ragnarok. A child like this is always born into a world facing its extinction.”

Odin shook his head, and answered Mimir’s echoing voice softly.

“It does seem strange for you to tell me this now. One, you are rather evil and foreboding, and helping me out doesn’t seem like a thing you would do. Two, if that was the case you could have saved me my eye and just mentioned that at the start.”

“You are right; I enjoy games. But I also don’t take risks. Your knowledge of your demise won’t prevent your death or the death of your universe. You will not be around to find the child.”

“Does Quan yin know of this child?”

“Quan yin is bound by higher laws created by the ‘Seven Keepers of the Multiverse’. She will not interfere in matters of the physical world.”

Odin was about to question what he meant by that, but instead kept quiet as he saw a light appear in the distance. It was very faint at first, hidden behind thick mist, but as it got closer and brighter Odin could see it was coming from a lantern in a boat. And in the boat was Heimdall, the lanky, hollow-cheeked, bronze-toothed god who kept watch over the kingdom of Asgard.

Mimir’s presence had faded into the background by the time Heimdall’s small boat clinked against Odin’s longboat.
Heimdall held the lantern against Odin’s face and inspected the bleeding eye socket.

Odin peered back at Heimdall with an unwavering eye. “You followed me. You can’t just follow me. There’s things a king needs to do that... why did you follow me?”

Heimdall was a close friend of Odin’s, but always reverted to formalities when he was nervous. “Highness, I will not ask what purpose you have in devilish lands, for I am a friend who trusts you. And Highness, I do not wish to question your reasons, for I am a loyal servant of the Crown. But as a friend and a loyal servant I beg you hear my reasons for being here.”

“Very well, Heimdall,” snapped Odin.

“First, let me say, I did not see her leave the walls of the castle,” said Heimdall. “No one did.”

Heimdall stepped back as he saw the king of gods begin to shake uncontrollably.

Odin’s fist flew into the carved dragon head at the head of his longboat, shattering it into shards and sawdust.

“Out with it,” seethed, breathing sharply between his teeth.

Heimdall swallowed.

“Um… Idun and her apples… Well… They’re… She’s gone.”

Click here to get the whole book ... The Last King of Shambhala.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Hidden Treasures are there to be found - Chapter Two of The Last King of Shambhala - Sample of my book

Prologue

Chapter One

CHAPTER TWO: Hidden Treasures are there to be found


This is a preview of my new book The Last King of Shambhala.

Petta Road State High School, Australia. Midgard, the land of the humans. Present day.

The school veranda was very quiet. There were the muted sounds of classes in session behind closed doors, kids in P.E. playing on the oval, and the soft chirping and buzzing of crickets and insects from the bushes and the trees outside ... but on the whole, very quiet.

Ebben peered through a window at his teacher asking his new class questions and writing on the board. Nobody noticed his presence.

He stood back from the window, careful not to leave his breath on the glass pane.

All of a sudden, as the glare hit the window, he caught sight of something behind him in the reflection. It was the face of a scarecrow with shiny black eyes. A deep chill rushed through Ebben’s body.

He softly gasped, spinning around and knocking over a rubbish bin. Clang.

Rubbish scattered across the hallway. The scarecrow was gone.

Ebben slowly let his breathing return to normal.

Carefully and quietly, he set the bin upright, and shooed off a pair of large crows inspecting the litter.
Nobody in the class heard him.

“Giving me more to clean up are ya, lad?” said an old groundskeeper hobbling down the veranda.
“Sorry,” Ebben muttered, looking up at the burly man. “Won’t happen again.”

“It’s fine,” the old man said with a twinkle in his eye – the one that wasn’t half-closed – and added, “Just tame ya wanderin' mind and get back to ya schoolin’. You’re late.”

Ebben swore at the groundskeeper under his breath as he sheepishly crept towards his locker.

In his head, he could hear a raspy voice calling his name over and over.

“Shut up,” he whispered. “Go away.” Ebben shook his head, trying to free himself of the voice. “Get lost.”

Ebben looked back at the old man. He didn’t notice – or pretended not to notice – Ebben’s mutterings.

Hurriedly, his nervous bony fingers worked the combination on his locker door.

“Please. Go away,” he pleaded under his breath to the raspy voice.

Suddenly, a cold hand squeezed his bicep.

Ebben, already on edge, clambered back into the lockers, dropping his bag and spilling its contents. An apple rolled down the hallway.

“Talking to yourself again, Ebben?” came a patronising voice.

Ebben’s eyes looked up to see Jayden, Matthew and Shane closing around him.

“I was talking to the groundskeeper,” Ebben lied. But the groundskeeper was now nowhere in sight. Ebben avoided eye contact. “I’m late for class.”

“But we were just going to welcome you to the school – formally initiate you,” came the voice again. It was Jayden.
Jayden drilled his foot into Ebben’s stomach. Ebben winced as he fell to the floor, but refused to retaliate.

The boys laughed.

“Didn’t they do this at your old school?” smirked Matthew, adding a kick to Ebben’s ribs.

“They did something similar,” muttered Ebben. “But they only made that mistake once.”

“Speak up, rat,” Jayden taunted.

“I got expelled from my last school. I promised my mum and aunt no more fighting.” Ebben held his hands up and displayed his open palms. “I don’t want any trouble.”

“Hey,” Shane exclaimed, interrupting Jayden and Matthew’s ‘new boy interrogation’. “Check this out.”

Shane held up a rusty carved brass key with a blue stone on the end.

“It fell out of his bag,” said Shane.

“Give that to me,” said Ebben, scrambling to his feet.

“I don’t think so, chief,” said Shane, inspecting the key. “This will be worth a bit when we pawn it, I reckon.”
“It’d look good at my place,” laughed Matthew. “My little brother could play with it.”

“Give it to me,” Ebben said raising his voice. “My mum gave it to me, it’s very special and…”

“No, I think this is all we want actually, mate,” said Jayden.

Shane began swinging it about by the golden rope it was attached to.

“Give it to me.” Ebben moved to within an inch of Shane’s face.

“Or what?” Jayden hissed, pushing Ebben back. “Or what, mummy’s boy? You’ll tell your mummy on us?”

“Or you’ll be doing your school work from hospital for the next six weeks.”

“Big words for a...” began Jayden as he went to push Ebben once more.

But as he did, snap! Ebben grabbed Jayden’s wrist, pulled him in towards him, and rammed an elbow into his jaw with one fluid, lightning quick move.

Jayden slid down the lockers – unconscious before he hit the ground.

Matthew hurled his large frame at Ebben, as Shane hesitated for a split second. Thud! Whack!

Ebben side-stepped Matthew’s tackle, flung him into the lockers, and as Matthew turned his bleeding nose around, caught him square in the face with a side snap kick.

Matthew crashed down to the floor, not knowing which way was up.

Shane stared at the damage his friend’s head had made in the lockers.

Slowly he stretched out a shaky hand and offered the key back.

Ebben snatched the key. His eyes locked on Shane’s.

“Okay, now you know,” said Ebben, putting the key around his neck. “Now you know why I have to go from school to school. And why you shouldn’t touch things that aren’t yours. Is the lesson over, or do you want something to take home and reinforce what you’ve learnt?”

Shane turned on his heels and scampered down the slippery hallway.

Once the bully was out of view, Ebben wheezed, clasped his chest, hunched over, and squeezed his eyes shut. Almost immediately, a red rash spread from under his school shirt to around his neck.

He swore.

“Ebben Alexandrov,” came an authoritative voice. “I think I’m going to have to call your aunt in again.”

Ebben looked up with a pained expression to see the headmaster crouching on his haunches, inspecting the unconscious Jayden and Matthew.

“My office. Now.”

Click here for Chapter Three. This is a preview of my new book The Last King of Shambhala.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Tao of Bjork: Why Creative People can get Depressed, and What To Do

Links are in orange.

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” - Dr. Seuss

First, a little confession. Then onto the topic of the day. 'Why Creative Peo...' Screw it. Too much jibber jabber from me. Read the title for the topic. On to the blog entry...

If you're anything like me, you might be my evil twin. Why didn't mum tell me about you? I hope you aren't planning to take revenge on me for all those years of neglect.

Sorry, off topic like always. And I was doing so well...

Ok, if you're anything like me, you probably enjoy reading blogs where said bloggers let you into their life a little. I however, have not done that as yet. In fact, my first entry which was about me, told you nothing about me. It instead spoke of ninjas.

The main reason (confession alert) I've avoided the very interesting topic of me is because it is a little scary to expose yourself like that ... And give your evil twin details to exploit in their elaborate revenge plans ... And so I admire those who do.

So, in this entry, I will plan to give you a little insight into what I am doing, as well as some value to take away for anyone with dreams to follow their creative pursuits.

This story starts a long time ago, in a metaphorical galaxy far, far away...

A younger version of myself was working from eight to five-thirty (on good days), five days a week, in a good job. Thing was, I was depressed.

Reason being - while my body was at work my mind and soul were living and breathing the stories I wanted to write every moment of every day, and I felt like I was forever holding back an explosion of creativity. The need to write and share these stories was so great, it literally started impacting upon my otherwise very happy life.

Here's what Bjork says about her creativity...

“Songwriting is like a thunderstorm building up inside me. If I don’t write songs, I get all bottled up. It’s almost like a survival mechanism. For me, music has to have a little speck of intrigue or the unknown. Also, I’m an old school romantic in the sense that even if you write songs about dark stuff, the root of the song should be about going through the tunnel and coming out on the other side with a happy ending. I’m not into songs that are just about self-pity or self-indulgence. I usually look at songs as little trips that show you going on your way to some other place.”

When I first read that, it really resonated with me. Not only the way she describes the need to write, the same creative energy I was trying to contain, but also her desire to create stories with "happy" endings.

Anyway, I was trying to write the book I have now finished, but only had weekends, late nights and early mornings. These segments of the day, not on the proverbial treadmill, were filled with tiredness, house jobs and maintaining some sort of social life... and then squeezing in a session of writing in different zombie like states of tiredness.

Does this sound familiar to you? If you have a project outside of work, I am sure you know how this feels.

Anyway, I was down all the time and constantly frustrated. Seeing this, my wonderful wife proposed I cut down my days to four... Not five. And my boss agreed.

I was so nervous about asking, for so long, but in the end it was very easy, and...

It was one of the best decisions in my life. Instantly I became happier. I felt more alive. And I was able to download from my brain to the page the cumulative total of my ideas from the week, with no distractions or obligations.

Not too long after, my book was done!

"Now my first book is done", I thought, "I can allow my other books to start flowing through me." But the faucet (or rather the flood gate) had been opened and the stories came so quickly I knew I had only one option - somehow find a way to write full-time.

How did I do that?

Well, this may not be for you, but we did the extreme life makeover. My wife and I saved up, quit our jobs, and moved to Vietnam for three months to manage the business of promoting and selling my first published book online, and even more importantly, so I could dedicate my time to writing more. My wife is also taking this awesome opportunity to soak up the sun and work on her own projects.

Because of the economy of scale, (Geographical Leveraging if you want to get fancy cf Tim Ferris 4hour work week) Vietnam is a great place for living on the cheap and living your dream. You can, if you're smart, live near the beach, and live on perhaps $20-30 Australian a day (my wife and I collectively live on $40). You could live on less, but the above estimate makes it all very comfortable. And on a side note, the people are some of the loveliest you'll meet anywhere in the world.

The important thing however is that I've been walking on sunshine, living my dream, EVERY day. And I've been extremely productive. I've even written a new free story here just for you, my lovely reader, that I will put on my blog soon. (And we've only just got here).

So what's the main lesson in this entry? For you, it is that you can and should follow your passions. If you don't, you won't be as happy as you can be.

A secondary lesson is that if you think creatively, there are ways to make your dreams work.

A tertiary lesson is: wow, this blog is awesome and I should subscribe so that I can read the free story Daniel is going to post up very soon.

And the lesson for me? I can let a little more of me slip into a blog entry, share a bit more (after all, sharing is caring), and the sun will still rise on this beautiful Vietnamese beach tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Amoretta and the Astral Traveling Scientist - The Animated Story Continues ... By Daniel Grant Newton

Something a bit different...

Lately, all my posts have been about my new novel's release... My first novel.

Naturally, I'm very excited about it. And have moved to Vietnam (and later to Canada) to finish the sequel, which is coming along well. Don't worry, mum, I'll be home soon. :)

But today I thought I'd share with you something a little different. Here is the second part of my animated film 'Amoretta'.

It's an astral traveling, suspenseful musical in a faraway land.

Hope you enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2O_N7OYqYA

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Early Ascension of the 23rd King of Shambhala - Chapter One of 'TheLast King of Shambhala' - SAMPLE

Click here for the Prologue

CHAPTER ONE: The Early Ascension of the 23rd King of Shambhala




In a Standard Twelve 4-Door Saloon on a gravelly road from Scotland to England. Midgard, the land of the humans. August, 1941.

Raymond fidgeted nervously with the radio dial in the dark, keeping his eyes on the road.

“Where’s the pickup point?” yawned Cyan in the passenger seat, scratching the stubble on his chin, before brushing a hand casually through his curly blond hair.

Raymond flicked a glance to the rear vision mirror, then back to the road. Then back to the mirror.

“See that car behind us?” whispered Raymond, readjusting his mirror.

Cyan swivelled in his seat.

Two hundred metres back, just coming down the hill behind them, was a set of headlights.

“We’re being followed,” Raymond muttered, grabbing Cyan's shoulder and jerking him around to face forwards.

Cyan opened the glove box and pulled out a brown paper bag. From the bag, he pulled a shiny silver pistol. He wiped it down with a cloth.

“Are you sure?” asked Cyan. “I thought it only turned on to this road half a mile back.”

“That’s the thing,” started Raymond as he turned the headlights off and pulled up beside a farm fence.

“What’s the thing?” Cyan persisted.

“We’ve had a car following us since we left Duncansby Head. And every ten miles or so, they turn off and another turns on to the road where they left off. And the cars keep getting closer and closer...”

Quietly, Cyan and Raymond slid out of their car, and hid behind it.

“What are you doing?” Raymond asked, his sharp features now accentuated in the eerie moonlight.
Cyan was screwing a silencer piece to the end of his gun.

“Taking precautions,” said Cyan, with a crooked smile.

Before Raymond could ask more questions, there was a ‘ping’ and he dropped neatly onto the gravelly road.

“I’m sorry, Raymond,” Cyan whispered to Raymond’s body. “May God take care of you now, good friend.”

Suddenly, Cyan clasped at his own chest, and gasped for air. He quickly unbuttoned his shirt, muttering swear words and suppressing a string of coughs.

Underneath his shirt was a rusty brass key on the end of a golden rope necklace. On one end of the key there was a carved crow’s head. And where the crow’s eye should be, was a sparkling blue Iolite stone. On the other end were jagged teeth.

Curiously, there was a recent burn mark where the key had rested on his chest.

Cyan held the key up to the moonlight, and as he did, swirls of purple began to envelope the stone. He then hid it once more, quickly buttoning his shirt.

The tyres of the car behind came to a stop on the road beside Raymond’s car. The doors edged opened and gently closed.

Four men stood on the other side of the car Cyan hid behind. Three with rifles. All wearing trench coats and whispering in German.

Cyan bit his lip and scanned the underneath of the car. Droplets of petrol formed a pool on the road.

He then searched Raymond’s body and found a packet of cigarettes and matches.

Cyan flicked a match against the side of the matchbox and into the petrol puddle.

Nothing. The Germans were now pressing their faces against the window with cupped hands, peering into the car.

Cyan calmly flicked another match at the puddle.

This time there was a spark and the puddle caught alight. The flame leapt up onto the underside of the car.

Cyan rolled away as the car began to be eaten by the flames.

Keeping low, he ducked under the fence and raced across the field to a barn on the far side of the farm. Behind him, a fireball leapt into the sky with a thunderous noise.

Suddenly one of the Germans yelled something. A gunshot resounded across the field, and flashlights circled like frenzied sharks looking for prey.

Cyan’s heart beat fast, but at a steady and controlled pace. He drew in deep measured breaths, regulating his intake and filling his lungs with a good supply of oxygen.

As he skulked into the barn he tossed a small, black, leather-bound book into the long grass.
The dull purple glow under his shirt turned into a radiant red light.

Cyan’s head swung smoothly, looking around in the barn, while his rough hands enfolded the beaming light projecting from the crow’s eye. Suddenly, he heard a rustle above him and rolled behind a bale of hay.

A mouse scurried about on the level above.

His eyes drifted across the barn, stopping on a set of winding steps leading down to a bomb shelter. The hatch to the shelter was open. He scampered down the steps, as softly as he could, closing the lid behind him.

The shelter was small and dark with a musty, abandoned smell. There wasn’t much in there except rusty farm equipment parts and a large upright boulder in the centre of the room.

“The next rune stone,” Cyan whispered. He looked at the red light burning against his panting chest.

Approaching the boulder, the key beneath his shirt began to hum quietly. Simultaneously, strange rune markings on the boulder began to glow.

Bang!

Cyan’s body flung around as a bullet went straight through his left shoulder. He fell to the sawdust floor. As he did, the rune markings disappeared and the hum of the key stopped.

Cyan rolled over and scowled at the person who’d shot him. The bullet wound rapidly began to heal.

There stood a blonde woman, with a pistol in one gloved hand and a lantern in the other. The light from the lantern danced on her soft golden face.

“Give me key,” she said in a Russian accent, pointing her gun at Cyan.

He pointed to his shoulder. It was already almost completely mended, and he swung his arm vigorously to demonstrate that fact. “Looks like you’ll have to use your imagination, then… you won’t have much luck killing me with that pistol,” he mocked.

Cyan squinted in the dim light at her.

“You again? You just won’t leave me alone, will you? You follow me around so much I’m starting to think you like me.”

He baited her further. “Do I excite you? Make you feel dangerous? Like a schoolgirl chasing the neighbourhood bad boy? Do you write my name all over your pencil case and ruler? Shall we sit next to each other at lunch?”

The Russian woman raised her eyebrows and cocked her head to the side. “Give me key and live. Do not give me, and I kill you. Or worse, Nazis take it.”

“You know, I can’t just give it to the first pretty girl who asks me for it. I’m a gentleman, after all.”

“My orders say shoot to kill. Retrieve key at all costs.” She straightened her back. “How do you say? I am not hesitate in killing you this time, Cyan.”

Cyan responded with a leer. “Do we have to talk business straight away, comrade? You know, I was really starting to miss your china doll face … those exotic eyes and luscious round lips. And don’t get me started on your ear lobes.”

The woman glared at Cyan. “The key,” she said after a moment’s pause. “No games, Mr. Cyan.”

“That’s King Cyan to you.” He smirked and tapped his index finger on the side of his nose. “What makes you think that your government is more deserving of such power, anyway, Aleksandra?” He began scanning the room once more. “You humans already do such a good job killing each other without the key, do you really, seriously need more wood to burn this world to hell?”

Cyan grinned as he moved closer to her. “Admit that you have feelings for me so we can stop playing this cat and mouse game.”

“I only love for Mother Russia and my people,” said Aleksandra, as she steadily edged towards Cyan, keeping her gun on him. “The key only safe with powerful Allies, Cyan. Gone are days when could be hidden safely away in Shambhala, protected by might of Kalki King of Shambhala.

“I see you not agree, and so I kill you, if must. The plight of whole greater than individual. Greater than you.” She leant in to whisper in his ear. “I admit I enjoyed banter, but things come to end, Cyan. This will be last lesson you to learn.”

“Very well, Aleksandra. I’ll take a raincheck on the revealing our deep and eternal feelings bit,” he replied.

“When goat eat wolf,” Aleksandra said, her finger twitching on the trigger. “Perhaps then we reveal, mudak.”

Cyan suddenly flung himself on top of her. Her gun fired a shot into the ceiling of the bunker, and both the lantern and the gun flew out of her hands. The lantern smashed against one of the stone walls and extinguished, leaving them engulfed in total darkness.

Bits of the ceiling and shards of lantern glass rained down on top of the two as they wrestled on the floor. Cyan grabbed Aleksandra’s wrists and pinned them against the floor, but she broke one arm free and smacked him in the face with a tight fist.

“You…” Cyan growled before being clobbered once more with the back of her fist, “…really are not very lady-like, are you?”

She clobbered him again and tried to spit in his eye.

Suddenly they stopped, panting hard, but otherwise silent and still. Soft footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs.

“There four of them,” she whispered. “You hide. I deal.”

Cyan rolled off the woman, and as he did she gave him one last crack over the head. He swore at her under his breath, and hid behind some old farm equipment.

Casually, the Russian straightened her outfit and picked up her gun.

As she did so, three young Nazi soldiers holding rifles and a bald Nazi officer with a hooked nose stooped their heads under the entrance and entered the chamber.

“Hello lovely, nice to see you again, hope your day is going well,” beamed the Nazi officer as he sniffed at the room’s musty air. He towered over the woman. “It seems we are both here for the same thing. But one of us is outnumbered.”

“Major Jurgen Adler,” said Aleksandra with a smile, recognising the officer. “If you come for key, you missed the Cyan. I shot him, but he got away through portal.”

Jurgen walked about the bomb shelter with a half-smile and a puffed-up chest. He got down on his haunches and inspected the blood and glass on the ground with his torch. “I do not believe you. Ask me why.”

“Why? Why should I humour a Nazi pig before he orders me dead?”

“Because the more we talk, my darling Soviet,” grinned the old soldier, pulling a pistol from his trench coat and flashing a mixture of gold and cigar-stained teeth, “the longer you live. I know Russians don’t value life above Stalin’s Soviet, ‘workers of the world, unite’ and all that communist propaganda, but…” he paused to smirk, “I am very good at getting to the bottom of things, even with stubborn Soviet witches. This is why the Führer always gives me very important jobs to finish.”

Jurgen chuckled to himself as he slowly circled the room again. “So go on, humour me. Make the flash in a pan that is your pretty little life a little longer. Ask me why I don't believe you. It shall be fun to play this game before I paint the wall behind you with your brain matter. Do you not like to play fun games?”

“Go to hell, Jurgen!” she rasped, before pointing her pistol at the Nazi's head. “I’d rather put bullet in your head for mother Russia, than play your silly games.”

“I’ll tell you why I don’t believe you, you disrespectful cow,” said Jurgen. “I don’t believe in all this hocus pocus. It’s all nonsense: portals, pixies and potions. The wild imagination of fools and children. Foolishness is a weakness I despise and do not tolerate. Children I do not care much for either.”

“Then there is no need for you to be here,” Aleksandra said pointedly, as a smile crept over her face. “What is any of this worth to someone as sensible as you?”

“Oh, but I do need to be here, you filthy rat. I have had orders from the top, the absolute top, to get this key and this rune stone I have fortuitously been led to. It appears my good wine buddy Himmler does believe in such hocus pocus. And he has some interest in this article.”

The back and forth stopped. Jurgen paused as if straining to hear something.

He nodded quietly at two of the young soldiers and they looked over to where Cyan was hiding. Each raised their guns at the mechanical farm parts and edged towards him.

Before either could react, Cyan pounced, pulling one of the soldiers to the ground. Pressing a knife against his windpipe, Cyan had a human shield.

“Such clinical precision, young man,” applauded Jurgen with an amused clap. “You would make a very good soldier of the Third Reich.”

Cyan squinted at Jurgen. “Major Jurgen Adler?” he said with a growing smile. “How nice to get a personal visit from one of the twelve knights.” His smile quickly turned to a grimace. “Move and your man dies.”

“Okay. He dies,” Jurgen replied.

Bang!

The Nazi shot the young soldier dead without hesitation – right through the forehead. The bloody remains of the soldier’s head rested on Cyan’s shoulder.

“Well, there goes that bargaining chip,” said Cyan wryly.

“There’s no bargaining,” said Jurgen. “Bargaining is for the weak. For those who cannot dominate their enemy. The python does not bargain with the mouse.”

Cyan pushed the body off him and flung himself on to his feet. He immediately kicked Jurgen’s gun out of his hand and into the air. And, with the same leg, round-house kicked Jurgen in the head.

The Nazi Major staggered – spun – collapsed – into a bale of hay with fluttering eyelids and a mouthful of blood.

Cyan spun around and latched on to the rifle of one of the remaining two soldiers. He violently wrenched away the rifle, and thrust the butt of it into the surprised face of the first soldier. Blood gushed down the soldier’s shaven head and prominent ears.

In wild retaliation, the soldier threw a hook punch, which Cyan easily avoided. He countered with a reverse sweeping kick, and the soldier crashed to the floor with a smack, a groan and a crunch.

The remaining soldier, jaw clenched and edging backwards, aimed his rifle at Cyan.

Cyan charged at him, but at the last second, diverted his run. As the trembling soldier pulled the trigger, Cyan launched himself at the wall and flipped onto his enemy’s shoulders. The soldier’s bullet imbedded itself into the crusty wall opposite them – part of the wall crumbled to the ground.

With the soldier’s head now firmly between his legs, Cyan twisted his body and killed the man with an audible snap.

The two fell to the floor.

Cyan raised his eyebrows.

“No chest pain?” he thought aloud, and instinctively felt about his chest area. “Damn it! The key.” His eyes darted about the room, adding, “and she’s gone. That little thief… Something tells me she didn’t just take it so she could see me again.”

Cyan scrambled to his feet and briskly walked towards the stairs, momentarily stopping to check his pocket watch.

Bang!

Just as Cyan got to the bottom of the stairs a bullet flew through his back and out his chest. The soldier with the face bloodied by the rifle butt stood behind Cyan, poised for another shot. He watched Cyan arch his back with impact, and then slip to the floor in his own blood.

A half-smile crept over the soldier’s battered face. He wiped away blood trickling down from the corner of his grin with a sleeve.

Jurgen gingerly got to his feet and walked over to Cyan. He flipped Cyan over, peering down at the eyes staring blankly back at him.

Jurgen felt for Cyan’s pulse.

“Is he dead?” the young soldier asked, almost nervously.

“Dead, unless this thing can stop its pulse too,” responded the older Nazi in a deadpan manner. “But the V-Agent,” said Jurgen, pausing to inspect Cyan's body more closely, “the Valkyrie Agent got the key.”

“Was he the...?” the younger Nazi pressed.

Jurgen rolled up Cyan’s sleeves and looked at his pale wrists. On Cyan’s left wrist was a tattoo of a skull with a key in its mouth. As Jurgen inspected the tattoo, it faded away.
“He was... but now he is one of us.” Jurgen put a hand on Cyan's forehead, closed Cyan's eyes, and began muttering a strange chant.

“He’s what? ... What are you doing?” asked the young soldier behind him. But Jurgen did not answer. He just kept chanting.

And before the soldier could ask again, Cyan’s dead body began coughing up green puffs of smoke and making screeching, moaning and snarling noises. The young soldier backed away from the body and his commander.

A smirk flashed upon Jurgen’s broad face as Cyan’s eyes flickered open once more.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Part Two: The Last King of Shambhala Preview

The below is part two of a preview of my latest book 'The Last King of Shambhala'. Click here for part one.

“I have never been here before,” I said, pausing briefly to listen to the echoing of my voice. “Well, I don’t think I have. I have no memory of a life before.”

“I am Vibhishana, the Protector of Lanka,” the being responded, now talking with perfect articulation in a language I could understand. “Welcome back.”

“Sri Lanka?” I asked.

Amisha used to sit me down with a map and ask if any countries looked familiar. Or if I felt a connection in my heart to any. To her disappointment, none looked familiar to me, nor incited any special feelings, but the practice did improve my geography.

The being shook his head, and a smile formed on his pussycat lips. “What you call Sri Lanka is a sacred place of beauty, but it is not Lanka. This is Lanka, although very different to how Lanka once was. But it is still surrounded by the Trikuta Mountains,” he said, pointing a paw to the surrounding mountains out the windows. “Still an inland island. A fortress of secrecy.” He paused. “And still, only through Lanka, can one find Shambhala. However, the door to Shambhala is not found within the temple walls, but found within.”

“Within Lanka?” I asked.

Vibhishana leaned forward and placed a stubby index finger on my forehead. “Within,” he said.

After an initial static shock that emanated from his finger, my vision blurred and filled with vibrant colours, some outside the spectrum of human perception. My eyes adjusted and the colours faded.

The temple was as it was before – but Vibhishana was no longer to be seen.

Suddenly, an apparition of a monk clasping a chicken to his chest floated past. His image was smoky, semi-transparent and bathed in a warm light.

As quickly as the figure had appeared, it disappeared.

Then another two appeared. Women dressed in bright saris, one red and one blue, with gold trimmings and vivid patterns. They danced, and as they did, their long brown hair swished and sparkles flew from their saris and glistening eyes.

As they passed, my vision blurred again, and I marvelled once more at the kaleidoscope before me. But as the colours faded this time, the chamber appeared completely different.

It looked brand new and was filled with people dancing, drumming, laughing and singing. There seemed to be representatives from every culture in the world on the shimmering floor. There also seemed to be creatures that were humanoid, but not quite human, and cows and goats intermingling.

In the middle of the hall was an ancient-looking, sandy obelisk. Coming from the top of the obelisk were ropes with fluttering flags attached to them.

I approached the obelisk and noticed people praying around it. When I put my hand on the structure, symbols on it lit up and glowed with an ethereal light.

My eyes drifted upwards. Where the ceiling should have been was a white light emitting heat and a thin veil of smoke.

My eyes scanned the room again. Occasionally, as my eyes zoned out, I caught glimpses of the crumbling temple I’d left behind. I must admit this made me wonder whether I really had left the temple, or was merely having a hallucination of some kind.

“They are celebrating your return,” came a voice beside me. It was Vibhishana.

“None of them have noticed me,” I muttered, turning to him.

“They cannot see you yet,” he answered simply.

“Then why are they celebrating my return?”

“Because they trust in the process of life, and they do not need to see you for them to celebrate you being here. They understand when you feel the essence of something, and celebrate it, it will come.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

I peered at Vibhishana’s curling cat lips.

“Who am I?” I asked. “That is why I am here, isn’t it? I am here to find out who I am.”

“This question evades most on your plane of existence. You are not the only one who has forgotten who you truly are. Perhaps only the newborns that cannot yet talk know the truth of their being.”

“Do you know who I am?” I pressed. “Because if you do, can you just tell me? None of this is really making any sense at all, and I’d prefer it did.”

“Here, it is the search, not the answer, that we cherish. For even the most revered mandate is not fixed, but constantly explored.” He paused to gaze into my eyes.

His large round eyes were rather hypnotic. When I looked into them, I became lost in an endless ocean of nothingness. A feeling very hard to describe, but akin perhaps to a vivid daydream you cannot remember once it has finished.

“Amisha told me I could read the Akashic Records, and that would enlighten me to who I am,” I said, still in a half-daze. “Of course, you could just tell me and save me the trouble.”

“Amisha knew who you were, but she did not tell you because she knew the value in the search.”

“I take it I can still read the Akashic Records then?”

“Come,” said Vibhishana.

He led me out of the hall and into the night air, under a sky speckled with stars. We walked among towering ash trees with little star-like lights in their branches. The trees grew by a sparkling lake that reflected the starry sky, and the mountains were inky and jagged in the distance.

We then trekked up a grassy hill towards a hut.

Upon reaching the doorway, Vibhishana gestured for me to enter. “Inside you shall find Sangoma. He is always happy to meet those at the crossroads of dimensions.”

I ducked my head inside and sat at a pine chair opposite Sangoma.

Sangoma had dark wrinkly skin, with long, intricately beaded hair raining down from under a faded bowler hat. His suit and gold alligator-headed cane gave the impression of a distinguished gentleman, but his unkempt bushy black and silver beard, bare feet and assortment of jingling bracelets and anklets told a different story.

A scrawny dog came from outside and lay by his feet.

“Namaste,” I said to him, and bowed my head. “I am called Damon. And you must be Sangoma?”

“I am not interested in labels,” sniped the elderly man, as he emptied a sack of shells onto the floor and inspected where they fell.

“You are in search of the Akashic Records,” he said, glancing up at me.

“I am in search of the truth; if the Akashic Records is the label you give it, then yes, that is what I am after,” I said, grinning.

“Your quest is a noble one,” he said, expressionless, save for the blinking of his eyes.
“I’d like to know who I am,” I said. “It has been about 12 months now, and I am no closer to learning who I am, or rather, was.”

“Who do you want to know?” Sangoma asked. “The dream character or the one who is dreaming?”

“Neither,” I grumbled. “I think something has been lost in translation. I want to know who I am in real, physical life.”

Sangoma stood up and hobbled over to a bookcase at the back of the hut. His finger traced along the spines of the heavy, leather-bound books on the shelf. He stopped at one with a maroon cover and pulled it out.

As he placed it on my lap, I read the title embossed in gold on the cover:

The Last King of Shambhala, Akashic Records.

I paused.

“Is this the story of my life?”

“This is the first book I give everyone who comes here wanting to know who they are,” he replied. “This book belongs to the final King of Shambhala, but the story within the leather cover changes depending on the reader.”

I flicked through the pages. “The pages are blank,” I said, scratching my cheek. “How can I learn who I am when the pages are blank?”

Sangoma’s face crinkled into the beginnings of a smile. “Trust that the words will come, just before you need to read them.”

With this, he stood up, twirled his alligator-topped cane, and left the hut.

I focused on the first page and tried forcing words. Nothing happened.

After a few minutes of effort, I took a deep breath, relaxed my eyes and gazed back down. I spoke aloud. “Who am I?”

As I spoke, the words began to appear...

The Last King of Shambhala

Chapter One to follow. (The above is a preview of my new book 'The Last King of Shambhala', available on all good online book stores including Amazon Kindle.)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Last King of Shambhala Preview

The below is a preview of my new book 'The Last King of Shambhala', available on all good online book stores including Amazon Kindle.


“At the centre of your being, you have the answer. You know who you are, and you know what you want.”

- Lao Tzu

It’s a peculiar thing, having no memory.

Not knowing your name or who you are. Not knowing what you were doing mere minutes ago. Not even having one hazy, distant memory of a life before.

It’s as if you were born again, seeing the world for the very first time. At least, that’s how I felt when the two Nepalese herdsmen unearthed me.

I remember hearing spiked shoes cutting the ice, muffled voices, the shovels slicing through layers of snow, and finally my limp body being pulled through a hole a little wider than my head.

As far as I am concerned, that was my second birth.

They carried me down the mountain to their village, and looked for somewhere to accommodate me while I recovered. The herdsmen’s sister, Amisha, put me up in her home.

I was to stay for at least three weeks, insisted Amisha, using a calendar to communicate this to me. Three weeks turned into a few months, which turned into a year.

Amisha nursed me back to health and helped me get back on my feet – literally. And as she did, I became one of her family.

I learnt to communicate with Amisha’s family: charades at first, then single words, then stumbling sentences, and finally I could speak Nepalese fluently. (In fact, at the speed I picked it up, I wondered whether I had had a basic grasp of it in my ‘previous life’.)

I ate with them, cooked with them, worked in their shop, celebrated birthdays with them, and joined in their customs. I also helped Amisha as best as I could with the jobs her husband used to do before he passed away, five years ago.

Naturally I got a lot of attention from the local villagers when I went to the markets with Amisha. Each day I’d be accosted by another villager; what was I doing up in the mountains, who was I, where did I come from? The explanation became routine, and I learnt to recite an acceptable story without much thought.

“All I remember,” I would say, “was the feeling of finally letting go as the snowstorm tackled me to the ground and disabled my body. The last memory I had was staring blankly at the snow covering my body, and waiting for a tunnel with a bright light at the end to appear.”

At that moment, death didn’t frighten me. Not the way it does now. It was more a curiosity.

Will my life rush before my eyes? Will I understand life, the universe and creation in a jolt of enlightenment? Will I be greeted by an angel or a man with a white beard?

Or will dead family members or close friends greet me?

Will the people who greet me be people I like, people I don’t like, or merely a handful of random folk who crossed my path in life, who have some sort of cosmic obligation to give me the keys to the pearly gates?

And importantly, will I know that I am dead? That’s assuming, of course, that there is some kind of afterlife. If there wasn’t, I guess my wondering could have ceased forever more.

But death didn’t happen. Two quick-thinking herdsmen defied the Grim Reaper, though not before he took the part that made me who I am – or who I was. My past was wiped from my conscious recollection.

And although at first I enjoyed the freedom of a life without years of baggage, a part of me challenged my spirit’s gleeful, aimless meanderings. In the recesses of my mind, questions about my past began creeping in, until finally my dominant thought was: Who am I, and what am I doing here?

It was then that Amisha took me aside. We had been celebrating the New Year, and I’d estimate it was an hour or so after the midnight firecrackers had been dragged through the streets to every kid’s delight and every cautious mother’s fright.

We sat down at the square table squished in the corner of the dirt floor kitchen. She held my hands and smiled at me in the same way she smiled at her own children.

“Damon,” said Amisha, her eyebrows rising and her smile fading.

Damon was the name a villager had given me, in reference to an actor called Matt Damon who, I’m told, once portrayed a character found in the ocean with amnesia. Most of the villagers did not see movies often, but after it had been explained to them, this quickly became what I was affectionately known as.

“Damon,” she repeated, “there is something I want to reveal to you. Something none of the other villagers know. A secret kept within our family’s bloodline.”

I did not know what to say. It came as an honour, but also, a surprise. This very unassuming family did not look like they kept a secret, and it seemed curious they would reveal it to me, despite the close relationships I had fostered with Amisha, her two herdsmen brothers and her children.

“The secrecy keeps it alive and intact,” whispered Amisha, producing a tattered scroll. “It keeps it from getting into the wrong hands, so that when someone comes along with the right hands, they can hold it. In the wrong hands the secret would fall through their fingers like sand, and be gone forever.”

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked, not quite understanding her vague right and wrong hand explanation.

“Because you are the one our family has been waiting for. Your hands are the right hands. I needed to be very sure you were indeed the one my family waited for before I made the decision to reveal this to you. So do not take my words lightly when I say you are the one, for it is the result of much mental deliberation.” Well, those weren’t her exact words. I’m translating and paraphrasing.

She then handed me the scroll. It was very brittle, so I opened it with care and flattened it out on the table. It read: Vibhishana. And below this word – which meant nothing to me – was a map.

“This is the real name of what people call the Yeti or Meh-Teh.” She paused for a beat to let me take in what she had just said. “A sacred name we have kept in the family but not spoken.

“If you trek to the ‘Temple of the Blessed’ hidden deep in the forest,” she said, pointing to a spot on the map, “and call his real name three times,” she held up three fingers, “he will come to you, and show you to the gates of Shambhala. You call him, and you wait.”

I sat in silence. After spending so much time with Amisha’s family I had learned quickly to just accept their superstitions and go along with them, but this wasn’t the usual crazy talk.

This was something more ‘out there’ than refraining from whistling in the home, or throwing three rocks ahead of you before making a journey, or celebrating when a crow builds a nest on your roof because you have now been blessed with good luck.

Actually, thinking about it now, I had learnt that last one – about the crow bringing good luck – the morning before Amisha revealed her secret to me. We had noticed the bristly nest built into the corner of her rooftop, with a pair of black eyes and a sharp beak turned towards us inquisitively. Amisha had thrown her hands up in joy, and explained the superstition to me. In hindsight, that might explain why she decided it was the right time to confide in me.

I had so many questions, but didn’t know which one to start with. “Why do I need to see this Vibhishana?” I murmured.

“Because he is going to take you to Shambhala. In Shambhala, you will be given the Akashic Records, and you will discover who you are. Who I already know you to be. Only then, may you return, should you wish to.”

Her left eye twitched. After spending much time by her side, I knew this meant she was hiding her emotions. What emotions, I do not know.

(I had also learnt from one of Amisha’s equally superstitious brothers that when a woman’s left eye twitched, you could expect good luck. I found myself getting a lot of good luck from Amisha these days.)

After all Amisha had done for me, and because of the loving bond that had grown between us, I found it impossible to refuse her. I knew that, though heartbreaking, it would be less difficult to say farewell to her and her kin – the only family I had ever known – than to refuse such an earnest request.

I packed a satchel, and left three days later. To avoid questioning, I left before sunrise and told no one outside my adopted family of my departure.

It took two days, sleeping on trains and buses, before I arrived at a remote village on the edge of the forest. Then, another two days crossing wild rivers, trekking through endless stretches of waist-high grass, and up and down mountainous ranges, before I arrived at the temple.

At one point, towards the end of the second day, I found myself lost in thick forest. Two crows flew overhead and I imagined Amisha’s voice in my head:

The great Garuda, King of the Birds, and Yama, Lord of the Afterlife, have sent them to guide you through the jungle thicket to the temple.

After spending so much time with Amisha and her children, it was strange how these beliefs and superstitions infiltrated my mind, even at a subconscious level. I do not remember hearing about Garuda or Yama, and perhaps they were the result of a highly active imagination, but I decided to follow the birds anyway. It was as good as any other direction, I justified to my sceptical self.

After following the birds for perhaps half an hour, I caught a glimpse of the temple. It was hidden by an overgrowth of vines, practically invisible if you did not know what you were looking for. I entered the temple through a hole in the side, negotiating spider webs and clouds of dust that rolled like ocean waves at my feet.

Inside, the walls were covered in a magnificent crumbling mosaic that seemed to depict many stories.

The temple was silent, but in my head I swore I could hear monks chanting a deep mantra accompanied by windpipes, chimes and the whistle of bronze cylindrical tubes twirling. I was soon to discover that the temple was bustling with monks, albeit on a different vibrational dimension. So, though I didn’t realise it at the time, what I heard so clearly in my head was not my whimsical imagination, rather, a result of extra-sensory perception.

I emptied the contents of my satchel on to the cracked marble floor, and my quivering hands flattened out the scroll. I unconsciously began picking at the bristles on my chin.

“Vibhishana,” I called. My voice bounced off the walls. I called his name twice more, as Amisha had instructed. And then I waited, sitting cross-legged, for it seemed the most appropriate thing to do in a temple.

Time moved slowly. And by that, I am not meaning my perception of time, but actual time. It appeared that inside the temple I was in a curious time dilation field that ran at a much slower rate than the outside world. There was no rational explanation for this phenomenon, and so I had no choice but to accept something mystical might be taking place.

I first noticed this when I looked out the window in search of the approaching Yeti. The trees did not sway lazily with the wind, but rather pulsed at the rate of my heart. And comparatively, movements inside the temple appeared to float like movements in a dream.

I decided to calculate the time difference while waiting for the Yeti. I estimated that as two hours passed on the fob watch Amisha had given me for my ‘birthday’ (the anniversary of when I was found in the snow), the mid-morning sun had crossed the sky, set, and made way for the rising moon.

And so, although it felt like only four hours had passed before the Yeti… Vibhishana… arrived, I surmised that it had taken him a little under a day of travelling to get to the temple.

Vibhishana, the figure from all the Yeti stories and sightings, arrived just as my head began nodding off to sleep. I had heard footsteps in the temple and my eyes snapped open. I instantly became very alert.

A cool breeze whistled through the temple, disturbing the dust clinging to the walls. I sat silently.

A tall figure approached me, and the closer he got, the clearer his features became. Finally, he sat down, cross-legged, before me.

He was humanoid, though clearly not human. He had hairy cream skin stretched across a thickset, muscle-bound body. The hair on his head and square jaw was particularly long and thick. He had a snout like a cat, and eyes that projected wisdom, peace and contentment.

Despite his animalistic appearance, his mannerisms were very human-like, and he was adorned with gold jewellery and dressed in garments of intricately patterned silk.

The being began making noises. A measured sequence of grunts, whistles, whimpers and clicks, that seemed to have an order to it that suggested a language, alas, one that I could not understand.

“Namaste,” I said, placing the palms of my hands together and bowing my head.

The being mimicked my gesture and continued his attempt to communicate.

As I focused on these sounds however, they began to form words I could understand. “So you have finally returned,” I eventually heard him say, much to my amazement.

Continue reading?  Click here for part two. (The above is a preview of my new book 'The Last King of Shambhala', available on all good online book stores including Amazon Kindle.)