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The Barbarian, By John T. M. Herres

Chapter 1 The yellow sands of the Shandan Desert stretched from horizon to horizon, desolate and bleak. The hot, arid wind seemed always from the south, sometimes easing the grains of sand across the dunes, but more often hurling them with enough force to feel like tiny pins pricking incessantly at any exposed skin. Five figures moved through the nothingness that surrounded them. The three mules they led forged along, heads lowered, not even willing to voice protest with the granules so abundant. Each beast bore supplies and equipment for the task the men had planned, and each bundle had grey and brown hides covering them. The lead man, wrapped in dingy, white robes adorned with dull red accents, abruptly stopped and fell to his knees, then laid his hands to the scorching ground. His magic had not all been taken away by the forces of the Red Griffin. As he clenched the granules in his fists, another approached and spoke the first words any had uttered in days. “Tambur, is this the place?” They had been traveling due east for two weeks, waiting for some sign to tell them their search was finished. “Yes, my brother. I sense it.” His eyes still closed, Tambur held out his hand to receive a wooden spade. The three younger men, who had been waiting away from them, rushed forward to help begin the digging. “We must scoop out the sand eight feet down and twenty feet wide,” Tambur told them. “There, we…

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About My Efforts

I wrote my first story, or at least tried to, way back when I was 17. (Jeez, that was 30 years ago!) I had read a lot of “Conan” books by the late Robert E. Howard, most of them edited and/or revised by Lin Carter, and had a notion that I could make a similar story. I got through 4 chapters and stopped. I had those pages for years, and most who read them said they would buy the book if available. At the time, I was more interested in drinking and getting stoned, so had to work in order to support those desires. Years went by, and I eventually got into way too much trouble with the law, and was convinced by the State I needed to change my lifestyle. I quit the really stupid stuff and actually found I could hold a job for more than a year (or less) at a time. Writing was not in the forefront of my mind, though I penned quite a few poems during rest periods. I had lost the story from my youth, and only revisited the comments, as my memory leaves a whole bunch of areas of my past blank. In 2010, I injured my back and went on workers comp, so had time on my hands. I began writing a science fiction story, and a different sword-and-sorcery story than the one of my younger days, but still grasping at the writings of Howard. It seemed almost effortless, and before…

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