The Lil Gods and the Rise of the Giants

Simon and Gadi live among angels in the war-torn realm of Nibiru, and are accused of conspiring with the Dark Legion to blow up the Province of Argos.

Lieutenant Abner stood silent in front of the kids for a good moment. “Children of Argos, listen carefully,” he said, breaking his silence. “By some miracle in heaven, you’ve escaped that dreadful explosion alive, and for that we’re eternally grateful. Nonetheless, you should know that your so-called Winter Wars have opened the door to an infiltrator who wished to inflict grave harm upon us today. Our laws exist to protect us from the enemy. However, today our security was breached by someone among us. It pains me to say this, but one of you is a traitor.”

“What? Who could it be?” the children murmured among themselves.

The lieutenant signaled his corporal, Vorenus.

“Everyone form a straight line,” said Vorenus. “Now stretch both palms wide open—and don’t move unless you’re told.”

Vorenus opened his hand and white dust drifted out and passed over each boys’ and girls’ hands, but settled abruptly on the palms of one very young boy whose face was still pitch black from the smoke of the blast. His name was Simon.

Simon was a small, scrawny boy with dark, ruffled hair and heavy eyes that gave the impression that he hadn’t had much sleep in days.

Lieutenant Abner marched straight toward Simon. “Your name, age—and why can’t you stand straight like the others?”

“I’m Simon of Argos, 12, Sir. Um…it’s my leg…sometimes I struggle with it.” Simon tried to stand upright but his left leg didn’t let him.

“Obviously, but why hasn’t it healed?” he said, gawking at Simon as though he were a contagious disease.

“He was born that way,” said Gadi. “They’ve tried to heal him but—”

“Silence!” roared Lieutenant Abner. He unsheathed his sword and pointed it between Gadi’s eyes, which had become crossed-sided. “You will address me as Lieutenant or Sir and will speak only when spoken to. Is that clear, boy?”

Gadi’s round face froze as stiff as an icicle, and he dared not utter another word.

“Now would be a good time to speak, boy,” said the lieutenant, shaking his head.

“Ye…ye…yes, Sir. Sorry…Sir,” said Gadi. But Lieutenant Abner’s sword remained drawn, nudging the tip of Gadi’s pink nose.

“Lieutenant Abner, Sir—?” said Simon, cautiously. “Please excuse my friend’s poor manners. I assure you he meant nothing by it. A few minutes ago, we thought we might not make it out alive from that bottomless pit. I’m sure his brain is just now catching up with him.”

“I loathe small boys with big mouths,” groaned Lieutenant Abner, finally lowering his sword.

Gadi breathed a sigh of relief.

“Simon of Argos,” said the lieutenant, “our test revealed that your hands are covered with radio activity—extremely harmful energy—capable of unspeakable destruction. When did you decide to betray your own kind?”

Simon felt weak at the knees, and wished that the explosion would’ve swallowed him up alive rather than face Lieutenant Abner’s fury.

“But I’ve done nothing—”

“Silence! arrest him at once!” he commanded.

“What about his friend, big mouth, Sir?” asked Vorenus, while dragging iron shackles out of his chariot.

“He looks rather suspicious, doesn’t he? Place him in custody, too.”

So off went Simon and Gadi, taken away to a secluded area behind a large boulder, their hands and feet bound.

Simon could hear his mom’s voice nagging him inside his mind, and the mere thought of it made his head spin. Even if I ever got out of prison—she’d ground me for life anyway—so what’s the use, he thought.

But he had forgotten all about his mom when he and Gadi witnessed something that made their jaws drop. A soldier drew his sword and tapped on a giant boulder next to them. It fractured in half from top to bottom. Green fire shot up from its core, melting the large stone and morphing it into a fortress with four white pillars in front and two giant doors that seemed impenetrable, torches burning on each side of the building.

“Epic,” said Simon and Gadi.

Two towering doors opened in front of the boys and the guard. They walked inside toward the west side of the fortress, crossing a long, narrow hallway until they got to a large bolted door with heavy locks on each side. The soldier reached for his sword again and tapped on the door. One by one, the locks on the door unlatched, and each time Simon and Gadi winced at the deafening noise. When the door opened, the floor began to shape into an underground stairway, Simon and Gadi’s eyes wooed in dismay.

“What’s the matter with you two?” said the soldier. “Never seen code breaking before?”

“Just the soldiers at the summer carnivals,” said Simon.
“The best shows ever,” said Gadi. “They’d move all sorts of things without touching them, and once even turned a lizard into a giant three-headed dragon.”

“Then why the dumb look on your faces?” asked the soldier.

The boys shrugged their shoulders.

“Do your kids like code breaking?” Simon asked the soldier.

“That’s all they talk about,” said the soldier.

Then he carried a torch, leading Simon and Gadi through a steep stairway to an underground dungeon inside the fortress, and slammed the cell door on them as soon as they walked inside.

“It’s freezing cold in here,” said Gadi. “Do you have blankets?”

“Blankets?” said the soldier, sniggering as he climbed up the curved stairway.

“Wait,” yelled Simon.

The soldier halted.

Simon pulled a quill pen from under his belt and jotted a brief note on a small scroll and stretched his hand outside the cell bars.

“Please give this to Lieutenant Abner…please.”

The soldier walked back to the cell out of mere curiosity.

“And why would I do such a thing?” he said.

Gadi shrugged his shoulders at the soldier, looking just as befuddled.

“Because you’re a father,” said Simon. “If your children were in this sort of mess, wouldn’t you want a soldier of Argos to treat them fairly?”

“Very well,” said the soldier, seizing the note from Simon’s hand.

In less than five minutes, the soldier had returned and tossed two fur blankets inside the boys’ cell, and disappeared just as quickly as he came back.

“What in the name of Argos did you write on that note?” said Gadi, grabbing one of the covers and wrapping himself with it.

Simon covered himself with the other blanket and rested his head on a stiff bed next to a stone wall. “It was nothing, really.”

“Nothing? It had to be something.”

“I just reminded the lieutenant about an old law—Article 112 of the Order—which says that prisoners should be treated fairly.”

Gadi sat quivering in his cell corner, trying to warm up under his blanket. “But why would his-majesty-the-king care about such an old law?”

“Because he wrote it himself.” Simon could hardly avoid the smirk on his face.

“Brilliant! Now what’s your plan to get us out of here?”

“I haven’t quite figured that out yet.”

10 thoughts on “The Lil Gods and the Rise of the Giants

  1. Marlene says:

    Loved your imagination. I was lost in the world you created. The story and the characterization move forward at a good pace. Your dialogue is character accurate. The writing, grammar and spelling, is spot on. You have obviously self-edited it well. This piece was very well written and leaves me little, if anything, to critique about. Kids will love the plot and will love Simon.

  2. Belinda Rimmer says:

    I like your story. it’s quirky and fun. The way you show the boys range of emotion works well. It left me wondering what Simon had actually done, rather than what he’d been accused of, and what sort of world he lived in. The reference to his mum, and the way she would worry, gave the story a more human quality, where before the other worldliness came through strongly. You may have plans for a strong female character later in the book, but in this passage ti was dominated by males. Good luck, you have an interesting plot.

    • Manolo Guillen says:

      Thank you for taking the time to critique my excerpt, Belinda. And yes, in the beginning of Chapter 1 (in my First 1,000 Words Submission, BTW) I present my first female characters.

  3. Lady of Lore says:

    I enjoyed it as well. I want to read more! I’m only confused by what code-breaking is. Some of the dialogue didn’t feel very natural to me. Unless the kids are supposed to be unnaturally intelligent and speak as such, then it works. If not, the language needs to be brought down a couple levels. That, of course, is just my opinion. But it is an interesting and enjoyable concept.

    • Manolo Guillen says:

      Thank you for taking the time to review my excerpt. I’m a bit torn as to whether I should reveal immediately what code breaking is (exactly) in my world, or if I should give bits and pieces of detail here and there to keep readers curious. I’m certainly open for suggestions.

  4. sam says:

    Good work. for the most part this was a very enjoyable read. A couple of times I might have changed some of the dialogue, or staging
    (ie “…Just the soldiers at the summer carnivals,” said Simon.
    “The best shows ever,” said Gadi. “They’d move all sorts of things without touching them, and once even turned a lizard into a giant three-headed dragon.”

    “Then why the dumb look on your faces?” asked the soldier.

    The boys shrugged their shoulders.)
    I think in this example you confuse the reader by first showing them this crazy code-breaking with the floor turning into stairs, which the kids think is really amazing, so the reader does as well… but then the kids basically admit that it’s not that amazing because they’ve seen code-breaking before.

    If i was re-writing this part it’d go”
    (““What’s the matter with you two?” said the soldier. “Never seen code breaking before?”
    “Just the soldiers at the summer carnivals,” said Simon.

    “Then why the dumb look on your faces?” asked the soldier.

    “Those carnival tricks are fun, but they’re nothing compared to THIS.”

    But i did like this, and I’d be happy to read it with my son, and discover all the mysteries of this world!

  5. Bjorn Schievers says:

    Hi Manolo,

    Its definitely entertaining! I’m not sure if I like the ‘borrowing’ of the name Nibiru.
    I like the idea of a traitor in their mids and I like the fact that one of your two MC’s is being accused of being that traitor. I think the story and wit can definitely still grow, but it was an easy read from beginning till end. I wanted to keep reading.
    I was also confused about the code breaking. I can see why you’d want to keep that info for later but personally I feel like we should already know since the MC’s do too.
    You definitely hooked people with the opening, it’s intriguing and raises questions I want answered! 🙂 Good luck!

    • Manolo Guillen says:

      I really appreciate your words Bjorn. I will take your advice about the code breaking, too. I’m really excited about this story and will continue working on it till I finish. Thanks to everyone for your feedback!

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