The Book of Ten


Here is the preface to one of my stories currently under construction. This one is tentatively titled “The Book of Ten” and is the fictional autobiography of an aging tyrant.

1–

My name is legion.

The free peoples of the Plains Nations call me “Wahari Endu” which simply means “He Who Takes Life”. High in the mountain strongholds of the Empire of the Void, the people know me as Ten the Conqueror, and the peasantry and nobility alike are loath to speak this title aloud once the sun has set against their land. Along the Missouri all the way through the shattered country of drifting gray dunes and withered grasses and on to the Great Lakes, they speak of me as High Justiciar Ten the Terrible, or Almighty Ten the Destroyer or just Destroyer, always forking the sign of the evil eye and spitting thrice into the dirt before scuttling on.

Across the breast of this continent and from toe to tail, from the frozen wastes of Yukon Territory to the hard red clay of the Calexico Panhandle, the citizenry know me by many names and titles that all hold exactly the same meaning.

Ten the Murderer. Ten the Awful. Ten the Merciless.

I have ruled this land and its millions for so long that it has been almost forgotten that there was a time when I hadn’t, a much darker period of blood and chaos and hunger and endless savagery, a time when the world was broken into countless petty fiefs, decrepit holdings, and decadent kingdoms. This was the time following the breaking of the world, the period that is referred to as “Fallen”, and it lasted for decades, perhaps centuries, though no one knows for sure.

I was born in a time when this shadow fell long and hard across the land. The tribes of the Crow and the Blackfoot Indians have an oral tradition as to my origins, a story that tells of my parents, the falling of the last of the old ones, and heartache beyond all reckoning.

They say that I was born into blood and that my parents fought over my small body on a battlefield that stretched for leagues and stood thighdeep in mud, excrement, and spoiled corpses. They say that the Horde from out of the Colorado Steppes came across the plains to the last of the free cities of the old ones where Mother and Father were the very last of the nobility; they came with tanks and planes and mighty cannons on steel tracks and they killed my people and died themselves by the thousand until the warsmoke occluded the sun and blood saturated the pores of the ground and ran in great rivers to fill the hollow places of the earth.

Mother and Father and their armies fought them on the plains, then at the river, and finally were pushed back behind the walls of their once great city. They fought the painted savages of the Horde until at last they were the only ones left that hadn’t died, and standing up to his knees in spent brass casings Father shot those bastards down one by one while Mother recharged his rifle and took the empty one as he ran it’s magazine dry, and when there was still an endless screaming mob and no more bullets to shoot them with, Father took the gleaming length of his two-handed cutter from the scabbard on his back and hacked them to pieces while his lifemate cut the throats and skewered the heart muscles of the ones that fell wounded at his feet, and when he himself fell with his body clove in two, she took up his sword herself and cut with it until they pulled her down and tore her apart.

They say that I was the only one left alive, just a chubby little hand sticking up out of a mountain of smoking brass, the polished leather handle of a baby bassinet with the name “Ten” scribed in gilt mostly hidden under what was left of my Mother’s body, and a mewling baby’s cry to give away my presence. The Crow took me away from that blackened city and its killing grounds and raised me in servitude to their people…

Many years later I would grow to unite the scattered tribes roaming the land, and soon after make terrible war against those of the Steppes who had killed my parents and destroyed my home. This would mark the beginning of my long rise to ultimate power, my rebuilding of a new civilization from the ashes of the old one.

But before this, I was just a boy adrift in a terrible, violent world, a boy with no family, no brothers, no hope. What follows is the story of my youth, the time before I became the Tyrant.

What follows is part 1 of The Book of Ten.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

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12 Responses to “The Book of Ten”

  1. Jason,
    You are an amazing man! Harmony is a lucky woman and your children are fortunate to have both of you to look up to.
    On the other hand, you have to quit teasing us like this! I have read Ballad of the Northland and enjoyed every word. Now you have 2 more on the “shelf” so to speak and are just teaching us with little snippets!
    I guess I shall just wait patiently until you say they are published! Put me on speed dial so I can get them!!!

    • Dawn, you’re totally making me blush here (and Harm is worried that this comment will “go to my head”)! Thank you for your generous comments–before I’m done with the “teasing”, my plan is to have all of you breathless with anticipation!

  2. That was an awesome read! Please keep them coming!

    -MTO

  3. Wow — you are a master of anticipation and momentum in this day of instant gratification. I may have to stop reading your blog until at least one of these stories is out! Michael says “DO NOT DELAY on the audio book.

  4. I really enjoyed your book Balled of the Northland!
    I am into mostly reading non-fiction , love the outdoorsy type books, so did enjoy yours.
    I for one am disappointed in the turn your writing has taken. I think good wholesome stories that can truely influence children and adults are what we need. There is just so much blood, guts , corpses, vampires etc., etc. i know you haven’t finished or barely started so i don’t know the ending but as for me i will not pursue that book.
    I do like your updates on what is going on in the dog mushing world, so will continue to monniter those!

    • I appreciate your candor, and also the fact that you read my debut novel–but I do think your being a tad hasty here, and I highly recommend that you keep an open mind as to my future subject matter (I promise there will be no vampires, dragons, ogres, or any other fantastical beasts from la-la land!). Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Jason, I’ve just gotten to barely know you…and you fascinate me to death. Your upcoming book “Ten” will be one we won’t be able to put aside until we finish. I love your mastery with words…and descriptions. You’re sensational. truly look forward to being able to read this in full…

    Have you ever read “The Book of Five Rings” by Miyamoto Musashi? Totally, totally different…but in your spare time, you might want to familiarize yourself with it if you haven’t already…

    • I have, Carol. Fantastic book, and still quite relevant today. I had a martial arts instructor, many years ago, who had “The Book of Five Rings” as mandatory reading for his class.

      Thank you for your kind words & praise 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Great Wind « Jason Barron's Blog - February 21, 2011

    […] when I say that I’m “tipping my hand”, just check out yesterday’s post The Book of Ten where I include the preface of my most current […]

  2. Coming of age « Jason Barron's Blog - February 25, 2011

    […] Notes from my current writing project The Book of Ten […]

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