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  • Writer's pictureC. L. Schneider

Indie Book Spotlight: The Vial of Deziar, by Kevin Barrick


Alazar, a leader in the Rebel Network, disappears after venturing into the Forbidden Woods. His best friend, Liam, seems to be the only one of the other leaders to want to do anything about it. When any transgression against the Elder Law is met with a harsh sentence of death, the rebels must calculate their rescue mission carefully, but Liam is drawn by a deeper bond than rebel alliances as he enters the woods alone at night to save Alazar.

But the shadows whisper; vile creatures lurk. What was once a superstitious tale of the village now becomes a deadly reality as Liam forsakes the safety of the mountain pass road, drawn by an unknown, dark desire.

Secrets, addictions, failure, and fear all take grip on the hearts of the rebels as midnight deepens. Who will emerge from the shadows? What danger so grave could rest in the heart of the woods to merit a punishment of death for all those who enter therein?

Join the rogue mission into the Forbidden Woods, if you dare!



THE SHADOWS CALLED to him from the edges of his mind. His numbed fingers stretched along the bottom of the wooden mug, drawing little warmth to fight back the chills ravaging his body. Liam ignored the sinister whispers flowing from the forest through the mountain pass. His eyes clung to the faint outline of the moon, a sliver of light against the immense darkness of midnight.

The village of Gh’oir burned brightly with pyres of celebration to the sacred harvest season, bringing to life a week-long festival. Yet, Liam found himself shivering in front a lone bonfire bemoaned with the melody of a hallowed evil.

Flaming tongues licked the sky above a group of young adults standing around the bonfire shrouded in a mythic veil of an evil lore spun by Eyu, storyteller of Gh'oir, who danced before Liam in the glow of the fire. Eyu twisted a crooked smile across his face as he smeared three lines of warm ash onto his forehead. He invoked the spirits of the ancients to grant their mystic wonder into the crafting of a tale so haunting even the oldest of them trembled slightly from the thought of the demon roaming the deep forest.

Eyu chanted the verse, inciting horror and fear with each line. The smoke swirled as though it was breathed upon by the legendary demon of Kilkil Cha'qa, the forest forbidden by the Elders. The voice of darkness crackled on the embers. Liam mouthed the words of the myth, finding himself entranced by the village’s storyteller. Liam refused to make his voice heard. Liam had seen many frightening things throughout his life, but the legends of the mythical demon crashed over him like a freezing sea wave.

Eyu continued the recitation. "Mouth dripping with darkness, the Mountain Pass Demon stepped from the shadows. To all who dare to wander into Kilkil Cha'qa, a shrill cry cut off by the silence of death is the warning sound of the evil monster. Devouring all who defy the Elder Law by venturing deep into the woods, the demon bares his yellow teeth. Cold winds swallow all light of hope. The fear of the transgressors summons the beast of darkness, calling forth their own fate as judgment for their sins.”

Eyu jabbed his foot at a log jutting out from the base of the fire to accentuate the gravity of transgressions against the Elders. Sparks burst forth and showered all around the group of children who sat around the bonfire beside Liam. They lurched back with a gasp almost falling off of their log benches. Liam grimaced as one of the sparks landed on his wind-numbed hand. Rising to his feet, he turned away from the flames and breathed in the cool harvest air as he wandered through the streets, leaving the words of Eyu to fade with each step.

The cadence of the river which flowed through the village rose above the festival calls to the coming harvest. Each bonfire thrummed with the rhythm of the night, flickering in sync with the raising voices of harmonized chanting.

The voices of his past called to him again in the shadows, hushing the holy echoes of the evening. He could still hear his drunkard father lash out at him with relentless cruelty, even though the cold quiet of the grave had seized his tongue for some time now. The lively antics of Eyu the storyteller were a hot source of rage for Liam's father, particularly when the Elder Law seeped into his prose. While Liam's friendship with Eyu quelled any hostility, he nevertheless harbored an anger towards the hierarchy that ruled their village, penning laws and exacting judgment.

The face of his brother flashed across his mind as Liam followed the river deeper into the heart of town. Those lifeless eyes. His limp body. The placard strung from his neck with a warning to the village against any form of rebellion challenging the Elder rule.

While the events of his brother's murder drove their father into the embrace of the bottle, Liam drowned in speculations of the ways of the Elders ever since. His furious soul led him to join the rebellion, but the legend of the Mountain Pass Demon was one he could never truly shake off.

What brooded in the hazy mist that would drive the Elders to murder his brother?

And now he revisited the grief of that night due to the recent disappearance of his best friend, Alazar. Like his brother, Alazar ignored the warnings and dared to wander into the shadows of Kilkil Cha'qa.


About the Author

Kevin Barrick is an author from Kings Mountain, NC. He started writing early on in life, finishing his first unpublished novel around the age of 13. Since then, he's sharpened his skills through writing groups at local libraries, exploring poetry and non-fiction, and mastering his breakthrough novel. He has several works in progress at a time, always wanting to bring only the best to his readers.

His first book, Creativity Brewing, is an expression of his versatility in writing. In a collection of 30 tales of flash fiction, he explores several genres, styles, and ideas. Each story was limited to less than 1,000 words, each carefully crafted to enrapture his readers and drive them to follow him as he continues writing novellas, novels, and other collections.


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