- N. N. Light
Cleelok II: The Cabal of Lochom by Sean Nuber is a Spring Break Bookapalooza pick #fantasy #giveaway
The Cabal of Lochom
The saga continues. Book II of the Cleelok series, The Cabal of Lochom, picks up where the first book left off. Their new mission, commanded of them by a Beleg, one of the creators of the world, is to destroy the secretive Cabal of Lochom whose members are rarely spoken of, let alone seen. While searching through empty and ruined towns for clues, they must struggle against darkness embodied in smoke made solid, the Tlana. At least they will have the assistance of several Yavens, the eternal creatures of Law that the Belegs sprang from.
Clerin, the great communicator between the Belegs, has been given the mission. It must be solved before she can finish her previous quest. Croy’s dreams have become even more vivid and demanding. He must confront an old mentor, which he is hesitant to do. Trela must stave off ruling her realm to command the mission. The amount of warriors on the adventure has shrunk considerably from the army she amassed to become Queen, but she has graciously brought the most skilled with her. Vrric, one of the only mages known to have fought against a Tlana and lived, must bring his increasing powers to bear. There is little room for error against the forces stacked against them all.
Taglo (a fire elemental) was of the opinion that they should have their mages infiltrate the Cabal first and foremost, leaving all of the warriors behind to rush in at the last possible moment and destroy everything.
“Won’t that leave the mages in the heart of the serpents’ nest, in great danger? What are the odds of survival in that scenario?” Clerin told herself she was concerned with each of the mages in the coterie, but it was the thought of Vrric’s lifeless body draped over a cold boulder that made her speak up.
“I do not consider odds of survival. I only consider the odds that the mission succeeds.” Taglo sounded more stoic than typical.
“But if all of our mages die immediately, won’t that lower the odds of the overall mission succeeding?” She sort of wanted to ask Taglo what amount of casualties would be acceptable. She was afraid of the answer, however.
“Let me be clear. I will let you die.” Clerin felt the blood draining from her face. “Only if it furthers the mission, of course. If there is a way to save you without endangering the mission, I surely will. In fact, I would probably save you before any of these others. If it does not endanger the mission. These mages that you speak of, if they are able to bring each individual with the knowledge of the Cabal into one room and they all die, I will slaughter each member of the Cabal myself. Their deaths will not be in vain.”
“I am not sure how privy you are to the derlian mind and its motivations, but I would keep your willingness to lead us all to certain slaughter to yourself. Aversion to self-destruction runs deep.” Clerin raised an eyebrow at Taglo.
“But this is a matter most abhorrent. I am willing to cease to exist. I! One who has survived longer than your entire race. I saw the birth of your kind. And, if I am able, I will survive long enough see it destroy itself. The destruction of this Cabal, the destruction of this abhorrent knowledge, is worth a thousand lives. It is worth a million lives. It is worth all life, do you understand?” Taglo had increased in size such that its head was touching the ceiling of the tent.
“You cannot expect us derlians to have the same passion for this. We are willing to die on this mission, but there should be an option out. We need a hope that we will survive. We need a hope that a majority of us will survive. Even if it is a false hope.” Clerin was about to continue, but was interrupted.
“Do you know what I told to Gorbanax when I heard of this? Can you imagine our conversation?” The flames that made up Taglo were pulsating in a controlled, almost slow, pattern.
“I… I cannot imagine.” Clerin was not sure if Taglo actually wanted her to guess at what was communicated. Since it was already agitated, she decided against it.
“I told Gorbanax. No wait… I begged Gorbanax. No wait… I commanded? I beseeched? I do not know the word. I told Gorbanax to destroy this realm and everything in it. Everything. Extinguish all of its life.” The pulsating became faster and more erratic. “We do not need you. Your entire existence does not sway the Yavens one iota. You were toys created by the Belegs in a fit of jealous rage. No wait… In a fit of self-pity? In a fit of madness? They were racked with something. Something they did to themselves. Something they refused others to experience. We tried to make the best of the situation. We played along with their madness because we felt love for them. But then this. This…”
“Why was your suggestion not chosen?” Clerin was a little shocked by Taglo’s vehement honesty.
“It is not just my suggestion, little one. It is the suggestion of the vast majority of Yavens. It is the only real solution. What if we root this evil out? Will it never return? If we kill every evil derlian that currently walks this realm, will it never return? Can you guarantee that this mission, even if it succeeds beyond all wild expectations and no ‘good’ derlians die, can you guarantee that this will not return? No, of course not. The only guarantee is if there are no more derlians.” The pulsating was wildly chaotic by now. “Know that it is only the Belegs that keep you and all of your kind safe. They have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for your welfare. The Yavens would not be so kind. They will not be so kind. If this mission fails, if we are unsuccessful due to any one derlian’s foolish wish to survive, it will mean the destruction of everything you have ever experienced. We will make this place back into the Void from whence it was born. If this mission fails, the Belegs will be unable to save you from us. We will eradicate you. Is that a sufficient purpose for you? Is your aversion for self-destruction kicking in?”
Clerin was taken aback by Taglo’s speech. By the intent and by the words themselves. The frustration and anger that emanated from the Yaven was palpable. But what really stuck in her mind, what really shook her beliefs, was the fact that Belegs and Yavens disagreed. They were not of one mind, not even close.
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If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
At this moment, it would be Prague because I have never been and it has the largest coherent castle complex in the world, along with fantastic stone bridges and a medieval underground. Also because of Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera (though Kundera emigrated to France before writing his greatest works).
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
The Cleelok series puts the epic back into epic fantasy. It is a full complex world with lush characters who grow individually and then together. Come and lose yourself within its pages for a while.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon US or Canada gift card
Open internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon CA account to win.
Runs April 1 – 30, 2023.
Drawing will be held on May 1, 2023
Sean lives with his lovely wife in Portland, Oregon. There they enjoy the city’s many beautiful parks, friendly neighborhoods, and abundant rainfall.
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