Posts Tagged ‘The Dragon Realm Chronicles Stefan Lowe’

As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.

CHAPTER 2 

Stefan returned to his apartment that Friday afternoon to find the light blinking on his fax machine.  Stefan occupied apartment six on the first floor of St John’s Tower. His family had been residents there for over seven generations.  He walked over to the fax machine and pressed the button whilst at the same time flitting through his post. The machine beeped and then played the only message recorded.“Mr Lowe, I am calling from Charlton & Co Solicitors concerning the offer to purchase St Towers Estate. Please could you call Carten Validine on 01 6578920 for an update, thank you”.  

“Blah blah blah,” said Stefan walking away from the machine and throwing the post onto a nearby chair. He rubbed his temples – he could feel the dull numbness return to his frontal lobe, glands and around the ears.  Stefan walked over to the fridge and opened the door. 

He peered in amongst the half eaten desserts and left over casserole that was next to an ever-greening cheese, and shrugged. He shut the door and began wandering around the apartment, which was very spacious holding a large living room, leading into an even larger dining area. From this there was a small kitchen off to one side (a wall with an arch separating the two), and two bedrooms one of which was his daughter’s Imogen. It catered for all of her toys, clothes everything a growing child could own (in Stefan’s interpretation several skips of junk), but he never had cause to complain when she was there. It was the only time he ever truly felt happy.  

With regards to material possessions, his apartment still held several articles of his mother’s. Up until her dying day she had been a traveller and must have circled the globe several times. 

Each wall in the apartment was covered in artefacts from her expeditions; hanging prints, tribal masks, weapons, wall ornaments, voodoo and dream dolls, and other antique mementos. 

An item that was by far Stefan’s favourite, was also one that had been in his family for generations. It was an antique medieval looking sword, mounted on the sideboard cabinet in his living room. The handle was made from pewter like material and displayed intricate carvings which were mimicked down the face of the blade, however these were covered by tarnish so they were virtually indistinguishable. There was an element of mystery to it, as the date of creation was unknown. 

Its rustic condition often led Stefan to assume it was either very old, or it had not been taken care of properly.  The blade was gloved by a soft velvet cover which looked newer than the sword itself. It was rather fragile and acted like a cloth skin as opposed to a protective casing. Stefan thought this odd but to his recollection there had never been an outer, more solid sheath.  

Hung on the wall above the sword was a giant print of a map of the earth with a pictorial timeline along the bottom, displaying all of the creatures of evolution. 

The map was another one of Stefan’s favourites, as it had been a gift from his mother from when they explored Africa over twenty years before. The map was more of a novelty piece and Stefan did not know if there was any fact behind it, he just found it intriguing.  Since his mother’s death the items Stefan did not want to keep were put up for auction. Half of the proceeds went to charity and the rest went on the co-purchase of St Luke’s Tower.   

The items which remained in the apartment segregated Stefan’s and his mother’s predilections. However, there were still many items with origins that could not be verified. In particular there was a key engraved with the letters DSS which hung in a frame next to Stefan’s wall map. Stefan’s mother had specified in her will to keep it close but she never mentioned what it unlocked. Stefan had his suspicions that there was a safety deposit box somewhere which contained hidden treasures – or rather that was more wishful thinking.  His mother had only left a solitary one-liner in her will about it, ‘…you will soon discover what the key is to. A companion will help you find your way…’ 

Even though this sounded cryptic, Stefan was confident in time the key would tell its tale.  In her will Stefan’s mother left the apartment to him but when she died he decided to purchase the whole of St John’s Tower (which was the same time he was looking at leaving law).  Stefan walked around the apartment feeling restless. He switched on the television using the remote, and started to flick through the channels. He wasn’t really paying any attention to the broadcasts it was just something he could apply his attention too. 

He continued to flick through the channels until a news bulletin caught his attention. He paused on the channel. The large print across the screen read ‘Britain’s largest snake abducted.’ Next to an overly large snake enclosure stood a reporter detailing the story.  

‘This morning Kensington Wildlife Park reported the loss of Gertrude, the largest recorded python in Britain. In the early hours of this morning, intruders broke into her enclosure and took her. Gertie, commonly referred to by her keepers, is a rare breed of python and quite valuable. It is thought this is what instigated her abduction.’ The camera showed damaged glass at the front of the enclosure with nothing inside but a few vines and branches over a small water feature in the centre. 

‘The wildlife park officials have yet to comment, but all wish for safe return. Police are treating this matter as very suspicious and are investigating within the park as well as outside.’  

‘Gertie was born in the park six years ago and has since been one of the park’s major attraction…’  

“That’s odd”, Stefan muttered. 

He switched off the television and strolled around the apartment again trying to find something to occupy himself. He looked through his large collection of books which were packed tightly on six large shelves dominating the width and height of one of his living room walls.  

The books varied different genres of fact and fiction but he could not decipher as to what mood he was in. Then something caught his eye.  He walked over to the large windows which curtained one of his living room walls, and peered out. The apartment in the tower opposite his had not been occupied for some time, but it looked as though a person, a woman to be more precise, had rented it. He stood there staring curiously until she came into view. She was young, very attractive with long golden blonde hair and soft porcelain features. She had an effervescence that captured Stefan instantly, he could not look away, and then she turned to see him. 

His heart skipped a beat, she too looked surprised as she was unaware that someone was watching her, but then she met his stare and smiled slightly. She then turned and walked into another room, out of Stefan’s sight. He shook his head and returned to reality, but the feeling did not subside. 

He felt the consumption of something he had not experienced in a long time, desire, attraction and the stirring of lust. It was a strange and dormant feeling. Stefan was young in years, and very attractive, but he had developed a ‘grumpy old man’ facade which repelled the opposite sex. 

Even though he had been divorced for nearly four years the concept of getting involved in another relationship was not the desired option he would choose at this point in time. On the contrary though, living at St Towers estate had suddenly become much more interesting. 

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As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.

CHAPTER 1

“The park was so picturesque, and the night had turned into an incredibly beautiful clearness, it was like a new world, a new beginning, but all I could see was my murdered love … my murdered angel…”

“Murdered angel? That’s a rather sentimental portrayal,” said Joyce to Stefan. They were sitting opposite one another at a park bench playing chess directly outside of their apartment tower.

It was a very dry and humid summer’s day. Even though it was overcast, Stefan could feel a slight tingle to his skin that one would only receive when out in the sun. The two large oak trees they were sitting under provided little shade which was odd considering their size. Stefan only stayed outside because he knew Joyce liked the sunshine, or to ‘humour an old lady’ as she quite often put it.

Joyce moved her bishop diagonal to his King.

“Check,” she said with a triumph smile. He casually moved his King to the left out of the line of fire.

“I do love your stories Stefan. Please tell me that one again.” Stefan slightly smiled at her as for him it was not a story but a memory from the previous year. Now it felt more like an obscure fairytale or a distant nightmare rather than reality, and he knew it was something that would probably haunt him until his dying day.

Up until the previous year Stefan had never believed in superstitions such as angels, the devil or even God. This was ironic considering he was a lecturer in art history, and his classes were mostly based upon religious depictions of Christ, and surrounding theology. Stefan believed that a person made their own destiny and sometimes, if you weren’t careful, fate would play cruel tricks on you. His knowledge of this was first hand, because the previous year Stefan’s life had changed, but it was questionable whether it had changed for the better or for the worse.

It all began one Friday afternoon in early December 1985. Stefan had been walking his daily route back home when he passed the small chapel outside his apartment building. A falling hammer missed him by a ‘hairs-breath’ one onlooker said. There was no indication as to where it had come from either. Stefan just shrugged it off as bad luck, or maybe carelessness on his part for not paying enough attention to his surroundings – something his uncle used to frequently point out when he was growing up.

Stefan had often been described as a quiet man, a loner, and an outsider to the world. To most psychologists he hosted the symptoms of mild antisocial personality disorder, which could be attributed to growing up without a father. However, Stefan was not unfriendly per se, he would just not go out of his way to be sociable and he was content with his life. He was in his late twenties; he had a job he liked, a daughter he adored and the freedom to do whatever he wanted when he wanted. In his mind he had fulfilled more requirements and gained more achievements in his young life than someone who was double his age, therefore he felt his contentment was justified.

Stefan lived at a complex in Kensington called St Towers Estate. The Estate comprised of four towers, aptly named St Matthew’s, St Mark’s, St Luke’s and St John’s. Stefan resided and owned St John’s Tower and part of St Luke’s.

Each tower was identically square and divided into twenty floors that held ten apartments. The towers were also set out in the formation of a square with one at each corner of a small park. It was in this park where the two large oak trees stood and in the centre of the park was a chapel which had recently undergone some restoration work.

The refurbishments were almost complete – the only traces left were some scaffolding and brick dust but there shouldn’t have been any tools as the builders had vacated several days before. So it was a shock on that Friday afternoon for Stefan to find himself dodging a flying hammer.

“Damn incompetent builders,” he muttered. This he regretted shortly afterwards. He didn’t like making defamatory comments without knowing all of the details, in fact he normally didn’t comment at all.

Stefan had recently been suffering from severe headaches and erratic dreams which was disrupting his sleep. This contributing to an over active imagination made the pressure on his head almost unbearable at times. No one could deny that Stefan was a very attractive man, but he currently familiarised the obligatory features of what could only be described as the walking dead. He was pale with dark circles around his eyes; this was not a pleasant contrast considering how brown they were, and with the contribution of his olive skin, his dark features were even more blatant.

There was something indescribable about his dreams, but nothing that he could focus on. They were just powerful and overwhelming to a point where he would find himself sitting upright in bed, with cold sweat running down his face and breathing shallowly. They had begun a few months prior; around the time he started receiving letters from Charlton & Co Solicitors. They were a conveyancing firm who had a big client wishing to buy St Towers Estate at an obscene asking price. Their frequent correspondence was also the reason why Stefan had walked past the chapel that particular Friday afternoon.

Normally he would use this route as a shortcut to his favourite coffee shop, however on this particular day Stefan had gone to the bank to get some further information about buying out the other landlords of the estate. They had been warming up to the prospect of selling the towers at the above market value price on offer which was of no surprise as most would, but not Stefan. However, the bank had not been very accommodating.

It had always been his goal to own all of the towers but for now fate was not about to grant this, so he needed other options, and quickly, for he could not defer his contact with the solicitors much longer.

Stefan hated lawyers. In his mind they were arrogant, and inhuman. This again was ironic considering he used to be one. His short time in the city, working long hours, on commercial caseloads satisfied his loath for them and the corporate world.

He originally qualified when working for his uncle who was the owner of an established London law firm. By practice his uncle was a commercial conveyancing lawyer and as time went by, he expanded the practice to include other areas of law. Even though Stefan never revealed just how intelligent he was his uncle recognised it from an early age, and when ready he paid for his tuition at Oxford University. There Stefan received the highest commendation in his year, and despite the numerous job offers at many prestigious law firms (in the city and all over the world), Stefan completed his training contract at his uncle’s firm. He then qualified as a corporate commercial lawyer.

His uncle had high prospects for him, within a short time Stefan was working unsupervised on transactions, to then heading his own deals. His uncle even went as far to insinuate that one day Stefan would aspire to partner and then Managing Director of the whole company.

Stefan was appreciative to his uncle for all he had done, but thought the continuous attention was strange considering his uncle had two children. Though they were more interested in what could be earned from law (or more precisely what their father could earn from law), and they often spent it.

Shortly after qualifying Stefan married Katy who was now his ex-wife. She was also a lawyer at his uncle’s firm who had qualified a year before him.

Within two years of completing his contract, it seemed that Stefan had everything any prospective lawyer could dream of. He had a career most would envy, a wife who shared the same ambitions as he, and enough money to see him well to do for the foreseeable future. However he wasn’t happy, something was missing.

By the age of twenty-four he felt that he had lived the majority of his life, and he could see the rest of it flying past him in an array of late night transactions, mergers and signings. His social life was dissolving into nothing and the prospect of a family appeared even more obsolete. His home was his office and he wanted so much more from life.

He could not deny that working in London had served its purpose. It had given him a good foundation for basing his understanding of business on; it provided him with the money to retrain in something else as well as a substantial deposit on St John’s Tower.

Stefan left his uncle’s firm when a teaching position appeared at the local school for a lecturer in art and design. He was still a good artist, not as good as his O-Level years mind, but his continual efforts outside of work, was enough to secure him entry into the teaching profession.

Stefan sometimes thought that maybe if he had changed practice areas he would have stayed in law longer, probably the criminal sector, but he knew that his uncle would never have allowed that.

Stefan walked past the chapel in the direction of St John’s Tower. The formation of the towers was attractive and usually intrigued visitors and passers-by. It was often compared to some contemporary sculpture; however, the main topic of conversation was always the unusual plaque at the foot of the chapel steps.

The plaque, or seal as it was most commonly referred to, looked like a bronze circular disc secured in the ground. It was engraved with many unusual symbols, the most prominent of which was a six pointed star which covered the face. In the centre of the star was an angel with spread wings and placed across its centre was a key. Directly above the angel’s head were two more heads conjoined facing away from one another. In the south east corner was a bell, and in the south west corner was a double headed cross. Around the rim of the seal was etched scripture. Stefan recognised only a few words which he simulated to Hebrew but the others were intranscribable.

Most assumed the seal was also some sort of contemporary sculpture placed there by a local artist, but in actuality it had been there since before Stefan’s family had occupied St John’s Tower. As far as he was aware no one could find any feasible explanation as to why it was there at all. Neither could they explain the presence of a pewter statue which stood over five feet tall above it.

The statue was of a winged man dressed in armour with two large wings protruding from its back. It was stood upright with both hands clutching an empty sheath. The identity of the statue had never been established.

Over the years many archaeologists and historians from all over the world had visited to diagnose the seal. They all had their explanations but Stefan felt that these were to justify their journey rather than diagnosing the origin. Most of the time people left with very bewildered expressions and more baffled than when they first arrived.

Stefan never admitted it but he secretly found humour in their frustration. Even though he himself could be classed as an art historian, he knew there were no documents evidencing the seal and he certainly was not going to waste his time researching something which overall he was not particularly interested in. Maybe one day he would go on a quest but for now it could wait and be left in the capable hands of the post graduate theorists of this world.