Excerpt from CHAPTER 2:
Wyvern stopped when he reached the outer band of gold-carved symbols, and there, he went down on one knee, bowed his head, and pressed his fist over his heart. “I am here in answer to your summons, oh, Horned One. What is your will?”
He heard the sound of fire whooshing up from the pit. Quickly jumping to his feet, Wyvern backed away to avoid getting singed.
A column of flame blazed up from the depths as Shemrazul rose from the pit. Wyvern lifted his head and found his father towering up out of the flames.
Looming over him, Shemrazul’s face was not easy to look upon. Grotesque, long, and cruel beneath the span of his horns, it was the stuff of nightmares. Especially those yellow eyes, with their pupils slit like a serpent’s.
The eyes glowed with pride as the demon gazed at him.
In THE BLACK FORTRESS Shemrazul's character and personality come to life as he takes on a much larger role than he had in previous books. Before this book, he had only made a couple of brief appearances.
Having a demon or the actual devil as a character in a children's book can be a bit dicey. We didn't want him to be too scary, after-all we do have kids as young as 6 or 8 reading our books, but we also didn't want him to turn out soft and comical. We ended up with a pinch of the fearsome Balrog that Gandalf battled in THE LORD OF THE RINGS, a dash of the character called Darkness, played by Tim Curry in the 80s fantasy classic, LEGEND, and a whole lot of our own imagination.
Do you picture Shemrazul like either of these Hollywood demons? Or do you have some other image in mind? Please share your thoughts.
Check out these Balrog and Darkness clips below. Parental discretion is advised. And, hey, keep an eye out for a young Tom Cruise in the Legend clip. :) Funny!!!