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The Rebirth of Rhin

Chapter One

Born of the Storm


A small village, set in a wooded glen, buzzed with the activity of its inhabitants. But beyond the surrounding trees, and the illusion of peace, lurked monsters, curved horns behind their backs and rusted scimitars at their sides. Their yawning mouths revealed fangs the size of kitchen cleavers.

Lynca village was so tranquil, oblivious to its nearing destruction. Hungry eyes took in the sights, the eager stare present in each pair. The smell of baking and cloves hung thick in the still air. Cheerful greetings interwove with the clamor of the smithy.

The signal was given. The cover of the trees was forsaken. Heavy mud silenced the monsters’ approach. Saliva dribbled down their chins as weapons were readied.

A keen-eyed farmhand gave a shout, calling for help. Impressive was the speed at which the peasants had their pitchforks in hand, but it would not matter. The fastest of the hairy, gray armored beasts crashed into a little, stout man. Steel pierced flesh. On to the next. Men, women and children were hacked indiscriminately. The only act that delayed more slaughter was when one of them would stoop to taste the blood of the latest trophy.

Her hands cupping her dead grandson, an elderly woman cried out just as a dagger kissed her neck.

Brekk admired the work, pleased with his warriors. All his life he had been the strongest and cruelest. Thus, the burden of leadership rested in his corrupt hands. A high lord of great importance had demanded the death of one man in particular, but Brekk enjoyed the sensations of battle and nothing made him happier than to open the belly of some peace-loving commoner. The more that got in his way, the better.

 “We have come for your head, Rhin,” Brekk roared.

Brekk brought an iron-toe boot down on a child’s skull, scanning the bodies. Could he already be dead? Brekk hoped not. Surely one of his fighters would have told him. After all, this Rhin was difficult to miss with his red hair and green eyes. No one had red hair.

“Here, little piglet. How’s about a game?” Brekk sniggered as he grabbed a torch from one of his subordinates.

Brekk held it up to the nearest thatched roof. The dry hay burned bright.

Two dozen houses were scattered sporadically throughout the glen. Brekk had the same amount of warriors at his disposal. He commanded them to take torch in hand and follow his lead. Soon Lynca village, in its entirety, ignited.

Columns of smoke spiraled into the sky. Still, their quarry did not appear. Brekk had the surviving villagers line up. He took his battle-axe in both hands, grinning.

“Maybe you don’t like the fire game? I have a new one,” he grabbed a blood-spattered girl by the shirt collar. “Where’s Rhin? For your sake, I hope he turns up.”

This produced the desired result. A young man, his hair red as sunset, stepped into view from behind one of the roasting houses.


By then the loud screams had died down to hushed murmurs.

“I am Rhin.”

Brekk grimaced, flashing his rotting teeth, and tossed the girl away.

“You’re very brave, boy, to show your face.”

“I’m the one you want. Let them go,” Rhin said.

“Oh, thinks he can bargain, does he? No deal. They’ll die right after you.”

Rhin held a sword with two hands, but that didn’t stop him from shaking. Sweat beaded on his skin, his eyes full of fear.

The fear was replaced by anger as he said, “You won’t harm them.”

“Kill him, Brekk,” said one of them.

Brekk seemed amused. He gestured for Rhin to come, casting a silencing glare at his brothers-in-arms as they began to protest. Rhin took a couple of slow steps, as if he were treading on broken glass. Brekk lost his patience. He leapt forward like a starving mutt, lashing out with the axe. The blow never landed, blocked by Rhin’s blade. Brekk wheeled around, aiming a strike at Rhin’s head. He sidestepped, the evasion looking almost accidental as he tried to maintain his balance. The large brute laughed. The plate mail Brekk wore clanked with his every motion. He saw an opening on Rhin’s side and took it. Gravel crunched underfoot as Rhin parried the blow. Brekk growled. Rhin grew more confident, and when the head strike came a second time, he was ready. He jumped away from the slow attack and then moved in. Rhin’s blade caught the beast in his ribs, stunning him.

Brekk was so shocked by the sudden riposte that he didn’t move in time to counter the following thrust. Rhin’s sword tore into Brekk’s stomach. A frown of disbelief crossed the monster’s face before he toppled over, taking the sword with him.

The warriors under Brekk’s command howled in rage. They wanted to charge immediately but, leaderless as they were, confusion took hold of them.

Rhin planted his foot on the corpse and with that leverage yanked his blade out. He wiped the sweat off his brow, counting them. Well over a dozen. He held perfectly still, trying hard to seem invincible.

 “If you want to die then, please, come closer,” he taunted.

“Let’s kill the brat,” one of the fighters shouted.

Forsaking tactics and discipline, the beasts broke ranks and rushed at him.

Most of those that had been standing in line scattered. Some of the men, however, took up any weapons they could find among the bodies and rushed to Rhin’s side.

With every step there came a squelch of blood. The flames spread and burned fiercer than ever. Consuming everything in its path, the fire even claimed the corpses that littered the ground, creating a vile, festering stink that gagged beast and man alike.

Rhin whirled his weapon around and struck two demons in the chest, then ducked and swiped upwards, cutting the throat of another. He then punctured the stomach of the last.

For a moment he was stunned. In his twenty-two years, he had never killed before, but what really caught him by surprise was his sudden skill with the blade. Rhin took the scabbard of his late father’s sword and strapped it to his waist. Still holding the weapon, he contemplated the dead around him. Nearly all his friends, everyone he had ever known, were dead. How had it come to this?

Rhin deflected a slash at his chest and thrust, puncturing the flesh of yet another enemy. He felt nauseous. He was almost wading through blood.

His eyes darted to the left, where he beheld the bodies of the women and children that had tried to flee. Then he heard one final, terrible scream coming from behind. Before he turned around, he knew that the last of the townsfolk of Lynca village had been slain. Only he remained. As for those responsible, there were only two that still breathed.

Rhin took a good look at them. He wanted to make sure he knew their faces perfectly before he stabbed them. Those parts of them not covered in heavy armor were hairy and black, their eyes were but yellow slits. He even took special notice of their stench of burning feathers and rusting metal and guts. Rhin wanted to forever remember those demons that had ruined his home and his life.

The larger of the two came bounding at him, fangs bared. Rhin dodged one swipe and blocked the next. He then kicked the beast in the kneecap and heard the satisfying crunch of cartilage. But before Rhin could bring his sword down upon the wounded monster’s skull to finish him, the other one was on him.

Rhin noticed how much faster this beast was than the rest, and its armor was lighter. He waited for an opening in its defenses. The chance for attack came when it raised an arm for a head-strike. The undersides of the arms were unarmored and vulnerable. Rhin feigned to the right and the beast swung too far in anticipation. Rhin lashed out at the exposed flesh, and the beast screeched as the steel cut in. Rhin then dislodged the sword and swung it back, this time the blow struck the beast’s neck. The agonized cries were put to an abrupt end.

Meanwhile, the foe Rhin had almost killed moments before was crawling away from him in panic. Rhin walked over, taking his time. He kicked the monster in the ribs and then ducked down to turn it over so he could see its face.

Rhin held his sword over the weakened monster and said, “For Lynca.”

He lowered the blade.


Rhin searched everywhere for signs of life but found none. It was growing dark, clouds covering the skies. The fires had burned out a while ago. Ash floated in the soft breeze. Then it began to rain, a cold, quiet rain. Steam rose from the corpses and the bloody ground sloshed with each of Rhin’s steps.

He found the scorched remains of his family’s house. No matter how long he rummaged through the rubble he found no trace of his parents. They had been caught in the house when the fires started, he knew. They never even made it out the door before they died. He fell to his knees and pounded his fist on the burned wood until he bled. He screamed wordless screams of rage and injustice.

“You fight well, for a forest boy,” said a voice.

Rhin squinted and looked around, but couldn’t find the source.

“I see you are the only one who survived this dreadful mess. Well done.”

“Who are you?” Rhin spat.

The rain fell harder then, making it even more difficult to see.

“My name is not important. But I was the one who ordered this… test.”

Rhin felt his blood grow hotter.

“You may be wondering,” the voice continued, sounding almost bored, “why I would do this. You shan’t have the answer from me.”

“How will I kill you, without your name or your reasons?” Rhin shouted.

“The truth behind all this lies in Kremmä. You’ll find the city to the west. Make your way there, little forest boy, and you may yet have your chance at vengeance.”

“Whoever you are, I’ll find you! And when that time comes you’ll wish you’d never heard the name ‘Rhin’!”

“Whatever you say,” the voice replied with a chuckle.

The silence spoke for itself. Rhin was once again alone. He vowed then and there to go to Kremmä and discover the truth behind these devastating events.

First, he kneeled before his house, his parents’ final resting place, and prayed. He prayed for their souls, for retribution, for vengeance. He prayed longest of all for forgiveness.

Rhin found the village storehouse mostly untouched by the devastation. For this he was thankful. He salvaged what food and clothing he could and made his way for the road leading out of the forest.

Rhin turned, glanced once more at the mangled villagers and beasts, the rain-soaked ash and piles of charred wood, and walked away.


Even though he walked under the canopy, rain drops gushed from between the leaves. It felt more like hail than anything else. Rhin enclosed himself within his coat, pulling at the hood in frustration. Depression weighed him down, the bleak sky and frigid winds adding to the gloom.

He saw no moon that night, nor did he find a single star. But the rain never stopped. The pattering orchestration pressed on, playing out every note in its bitter, damp music.


The Rebirth of Rhin tells the story of a young man’s journey as he sets out into the world of Iora, after his parents die in a horrific fire. Rhin’s goal is vengeance at first, but he soon learns that his destiny is grander and nobler than retribution. He finds himself in the virtual center of a conflict spanning the ages between Gods and Demons.

During his travels he encounters many strange creatures, some more friendly than others, as he becomes immersed in a dark secret involving Iora’s creator, the tyrannical God, Jiaïro. Powers push at him from all sides and soon he finds himself on a quest to destroy the God Jiaïro and free the world from violence and oppression.

There are great battles and genocides, magic, spiritual weapons, militant Gods, disgraced angels and demons wreathed in green flame -- as Rhin embarks on a personal journey of self-discovery.


Available in Paperback and Kindle editions on (thumbnails below).


  • Cover Illustration: C.S. Price
  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (June 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419699229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419699221
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches

    Paperback from

     Kindle Edition: $4.99!

    Reviews for tRoR


    K. Hendrickson, Author, writes:

    "An Action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure Is Born.

    [Julian Traas] has an excellent control of language. I would recommend that anyone who loves an action-packed fantasy tale of good versus evil pick himself up a copy of this book. Judging by the shocking conclusion..., the sequel should be something to look forward to. I, for one, am eager to continue this adventure and see how the next thrilling episode unfolds."


    Chris C. writes:

    "This Book Rocks! An Ancient Future Adventure/Quest.

    Once in a while, a book appears 'out of nowhere' that amazes and delights.
    This is that kind of book. I loved it!

    I was immersed in a unique, expansive and amazing world reminiscent of "ancestors" both from ancient past and distant future. I met remarkable heroes and villians that appear to be both new and vibrant as well as timeless.

    The author's intuition, wisdom and power of description appear fully formed. There are many passages beautifully evocative, forceful, subtle, delicate, profound.

    The author calls us to our own inner hero in order to grow beyond revenge and find peace of mind. We begin with the need for retribution and end with the freedom from any necessity... simplicity, true happiness and peace of mind.

    I hope you read and enjoy this wonderful book."


    Josh P. High School Student from FLA writes:

    "...If you like epic tales with things like giants named Kayre-Ost who rip stuff in half for fun, then you'll LOVE this book!"

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