Corrupted Realms: Award Winning Dark Fantasy Series by T.B. Phillips
Winner: Silver Medal 2022 ELit Awards (Popular Fiction)
Winner Bronze Medal 2022 Elit Awards (Fantasy/Science Fiction)
Who doesn't enjoy a good dark fantasy that pits faries against banshees?
Here's a fantasy novel series with richly developed world building, enduring characters, a few laughs, and surprises around every turn!
The story is simple, with a strong female protagonist who doesn't need saving - her realm is depending on her to save it. Alistaria, a product of human and fae, crosses through realms to weather the Tempest, a magical storm that cleanses the human realm every thirty days and keeps the shadow realm at bay. It was created by the man responsible for the decay and eventual destruction of her realm, her human father.
I wrote Corrupted Realms during the Covid 19 pandemic, desperate for a vacation to another world. I pulled creatures from celtic lore and legend, mythological beings like the puca, cat sith, Tuatha de Dannan, leprechauns, fairies, and banshees. I wanted the action to pump the heart, something a lot of fantasy novels fail at when trying.
Throw in mythological creatures, a pair of bungling human theives with odd luck, and Corrupted Realms becomes a fast, fun read.
I truly hope you enjoy this tale, and promise so much more is yet to come .I imagine at least three novels, a collection of one-shot comic books, a comic series, and graphic novel depictions of the realms. Books One and Two are written, and Book Three is expected by the end of 2023.
– Tom "T.B." Phillips (World Builder, Weaver of Tales, Fancier of Fantasy)
Corruption is the Price of Balance, and Realms are Crumbling…
Our story begins long after a monster crossed through an open portal – a human filled with greed.
His presence wreaked havoc on two lives and left behind a dire war. Blinded by conceit, he led his own world to prosperity but corruption is slowly destroying the other.
Now the realm is stained and hearts are filled with hatred, fear, and vengeance. Only one girl can travel through the portal, and she must journey to the human realm in an attempt to set things right. Alistaria, the daughter of arrogance, must challenge Lord Radviken, the man who stole away balance.
Death, Darkness, and Destruction are personified in a fantasy tale full of frightening creatures and supernatural suspense! Prepare your mind for mythological crossover, thrilling depictions, and epic unraveling in this second book in the Corrupted Realms Saga!
Enjoy an excerpt from Wailing Tempest!
I was young when he arrived in Fainnotheria, infantile of mind and naïve in my own form. I lacked the confidence only experience brings and yearned not for wisdom but instead for ignorant rebellion. My reflections upon his arrival are filled with wonder – trepidation for the fate of my people – but wonderment for the knowledge I gained by his meeting. Oh, that he had never crossed through the Fainnen Ring.– Lamentations of Nastauria
The forest darkened, marked by the incoming horde filtering the sun. Alistaria lifted her eyes, too terrified to look away from the shadow of death. Fear descended upon her, and the scores of wings buzzed against her ears. Their vibration matched the rapid pulse of her heart, throwing her into panic and sending her running toward the city walls. With a leap she was airborne – her own wings outstretched and beating with a flurry. She gained speed – careful not to fly too high or reveal her fleeing form to the invaders above.
The Skygate closed slowly as she made her approach, and stalwart guards braced against the pending attack. They waved wildly, urging the girl toward safety. Looking behind she saw others of her kind following. She was not alone when tending the roots, and frightened faces shared her urgency. This was not the first time the invaders had caught them unaware, and they each knew what would happen if caught. She landed beside the soldiers and turned to aid those who lagged behind.
A young Fainne – her cousin Restarian, she recognized – had flown too high and his delicate frame was caught by muscular arms. They pulled on him as he struggled, bringing him toward needle-sharp teeth craving a chance to tear his flesh. Strong jaws bit at his neck as he writhed, thrashing and kicking while wrenching his body from their death grip. He luckily broke away and plummeted toward the canopy below – his mighty wings flapping to regain lift and escape to safety. The effort proved hopeless as two more pairs of arms plucked him from the air, lifting him high toward a waiting mass of hungry vermin.
Alistaria took three steps and tried to surge to her cousin’s aid. She lunged into the air but returned to her bare feet when strong hands grabbed her wings. She turned to meet the eyes of the sentry – cool blue and intently focused with warning. He pointed to the East and the girl relaxed. The Kern had released from their perch and streamed upward with silvery spears aimed forward. She watched as the elite warriors, clad in shimmering golden armor, collided with the Banshee invaders and their primitive weapons of bone and iron.
The soldier, wearing the silver armor of the city guard, urged her inside. “Hurry,” he begged. “Seek safety within and let the Kern do their work. We must secure the Skygate.”
“I will,” she promised, but her feet lingered and her eyes remained fixed on the battle above.
The golden armor of the Fainnen elite glistened as they weaved in and out of their attackers – clashing wildly with the charcoal grey skin of the Banshees. The delicate features and small bones of the Fainne made them appear far nimbler than the heavier Deamhan – whose jagged jawlines and pronounced cheekbones appeared more demonic than fae. The Kern darted in and out – their agility a weapon against their larger foe.
“Hurry,” the sentry begged. “We must shut the Skygate.”
“Shut it,” she said without diverting her brown eyes from the melee. “Restarian needs my help.”
Two Kern had pulled the attention off her friend, and his attackers danced in the air with their spinning weapons. The boy struggled, and the larger of the Banshees turned his body just in time to counter a thrust of a silver spear. The tip caught the meat of Restarian’s wing, causing him to cry out and tear it further. He tumbled from the arms of the laughing Deamhan, and plummeted to the forest floor – crashing against clawing branches that ripped his skin while cushioning impact.
Alistaria dove downward through the canopy, ignoring the shouts of the blue-eyed guard. She reached Restarian and landed softly upon bare feet beside him – barely disturbing the moss as she settled. All around the boy the green lichen had been painted red with his blood. His eyes were closed, and his breathing labored as she knelt beside him with concern. She gently checked his neck for injury and found his back had broken from the impact. It was a killing blow, and he should have been left for Síth Morkur.
A hiss from the ferns roared the arrival of a Banshee. His massive chest heaved as he lumbered toward her, breathing deep before bellowing an alarm to his counterparts above. She would be overrun by his kind before long, and she must deal with him quickly if she were to save her friend. She raised her hand to summon any lingering power she could draw from the forest.
A silver blur streaked past as a newcomer rushed the attacker. Flying at full speed his shield met the Deamhan’s chest, knocking his wind and interrupting his hellish scream for aid. Both Fainneshee and Banshee sprawled onto the ground, tumbling and rolling – coming to rest in the undergrowth of the forest floor. The larger of the two was the first to recover and rushed the newcomer. Shocked, Alistaria watched as her savior – the guard from the Skygate above – regained his own footing and flashed a silver sword to parry a heavy blow.
“Hurry,” he commanded through gritted teeth. “Heal him so we may flee!”
She nodded and bit her lip slightly while focusing on Restarian’s injuries. She knew she shouldn’t try to heal him, no matter their relationship. He was dying, and therefore his soul belonged to the Síth and his flesh to the Ganshees. But besides the heir to the throne, he was her friend, and she must try. It was good they lay on the forest floor; the healing powers residing in the roots of the great trees would channel easier as she worked.
Iron and Fainne silver crashed as fighting raged, but she ignored their clatter. Her concentration only broke when the flittering of tiny wings buzzed all around. Cursed Ganshees, Alistaria thought, waving her hands and shooing them off her friend. The horrible little creatures dispersed, but several remained, biting at Restarian’s golden skin with sharp teeth laid out in rows.
The vile critters lacked noses, but they could sense his dying flesh from miles away. If left to work, they would devour and clean an entire carcass in less than an hour. She mustn’t allow them to do the same to her friend. Fed up with their harassment, she summoned a bit of power from the mighty roots thrumming below her knees. Channeling it through her hand she zapped each one with a fairy bolt, sending them scurrying off to watch the battle above and bite at fresh wounds.
The lifeforce remained in Restarian’s limbs, but was severed cleanly within his spine. Should he actually survive, he may neither walk nor fly unless she acted quickly. She closed her eyes and allowed the vibration of the forest to pass through her thoughts. The resonance hummed a tune of life for Fainne healers, allowing them to mend and heal but not to resurrect those who ceased to live. That art belonged to another – stolen long ago from her kind. She was a novice in this craft and focused on the severity of the boy’s wounds. It was possible she was not skilled enough to mend him completely, but she must try.
A second Banshee had landed beside the first and the pair converged on the sentry, driving him closer to Alistaria. “Do it,” he called with urgency. “Do what must be done and let’s be gone from this place.”
“I need a moment longer,” she pleaded. The resonance had tuned with Restarian’s pulse, vibrating invisibly beneath her hands held an inch above his neck. Soon the bones within responded, crackling as they popped into place and restoring the pressure around his nerves. The boy gasped and she shushed him reassuringly. “Rest easy,” she cautioned, “I’m not finished.”
He grunted and closed his eyes against the pain as she urged blood to again flow into the damaged areas. His wings fanned and air fed new growth that seemed to accelerate around the gash from the spear. The healing succeeded, and the boy would fly.
“Now!” the soldier cried, pointing toward the sky. Three more Banshees swooped down to aid the others. He parried a thrust from one of his attackers and countered with a slash across an exposed hamstring. The beast fell to the ground and roared. He spun and blocked a blow from above, falling to one knee and bashing his shield into the knee of his foe. Bones shattered and the Deamhan screamed displeasure into the sky – causing others of his kind to turn toward them.
Alistaria jumped to her feet and reached for Restarian’s hand, half-dragging him behind as she abruptly flew skyward. He beat his wings with purpose as he followed, ignoring both pain and the terrifying screech of trailing Banshees. Alistaria glimpsed beneath them and smiled with satisfaction as the sentry followed. He surged upward and past – clearing their way to the Skygate. Before long they had reached the portal and tumbled inside as a panting heap. The waiting guardsmen slammed the heavy door shut behind them, locking it into place.
As she untangled her limbs from the others, she noticed piercing eyes casting judgement upon her actions. They were deeply set in a hallowed face, anciently carved and more distinguished than the younger Fainne. She blanched under the king’s stare, suddenly hotly aware of the recklessness of her actions.
“Foolish child,” he sneered with displeasure. “Your brashness could have caused them to breech the city.” He gestured to the shimmering dome set atop the ramparts. “This shield has lasted centuries – older, even, than I. The Banshees have never enjoyed success in their raids, yet you nearly invited them inside Fainnotheria.”
Alistaria felt her knees weaken and her wings began to tremor, urging her to take flight and flee the royal chastisement from her grandfather. Yet she planted her feet and drew tall in his presence. The girl stood in his full gaze and raised her chin. With indifference to his rank she exclaimed, “My brashness saved your grandson’s life, King Betarian. You should be thanking me instead of criticizing.”
“Thanking?” He blinked in surprise at her boldness. “Gaw!” He spat. “I believe you are as dangerous to our court as your mother. She was your age when she betrayed us.”
A woman’s voice interrupted the king. “Would you have rather driven me from court, Betarian? If I recall it was your fondness for me that allowed me to remain. I dearly called you father at one time in case you’ve forgotten. Or is it simply,” she asked with an eyebrow raised, “you’ve reserved more punishment for the daughter I was, than the criminal I became, and you so grievously blame?”
He spun in anger to meet the eyes Nastauria. The woman was a force to be reckoned with when docile, but her words flowed torrential when riled. “I punished you enough,” he proclaimed. He waved to his grandson who jumped to his feet and hurried to the king’s side.
“Come,” Betarian ordered. “Explain your role in this foolishness.” The monarch then turned on his heel, striding off to find a better vantage point to view the battle raging above. Restarian glanced at Alistaria only once as if to offer a grimace of both sorrow and thanks.
Nastauria waited until the king and her nephew had departed. Then she turned to the blue-eyed sentry standing near the Skygate. “You rescued my daughter,” she offered without even glancing at her daughter. “What is your name?”
"Torian,” the guard crisply replied.
“Thank you for coming to her aid, Torian,” she said with both an air of regality and the smile of a grateful mother. That bearing would never be lost, despite that her titles and inheritance were stripped forever.
“It was my honor, my lady.”
“Did you know she was my daughter when you followed her to the forest floor?”
“Honestly, no,” he admitted. “I saw only a Fainne in trouble and lending aid at the same time.”
“Then why didn’t you leave her to the Banshees and Ganshees? If she had died there, her soul belonged to Síth Morkur.”
His eyes flicked toward Alistaria and returned to meet her mother’s. The woman’s stare was as intense as the king’s. With candor he answered, “I admired her loyalty to her friend and…” He paused.
Nastauria – impatient and not willing to draw out the conversation – demanded, “and what?”
“I also admired her boldness, my lady.”
The woman nodded and motioned for Alistaria to follow. Once she was alone with her daughter she said, “You acted bravely, and of that I’m proud. But your grandfather and I each sensed your healing of Restarian. That was how we were summoned in case you were wondering. Be careful with that,” she cautioned, “a healing of that strength could draw nearer those who would do you harm. Especially,” she added with concern, “if you steal what belongs to the Síth.”
“I’m sorry, Mother. I will be more cautious in the future.”
“In the future?” Nastauria chuckled. “In the future I’d advise you not to risk your life so recklessly.”
The girl could only nod her head. There were no words with which a worthy argument could be made.
"Contributing “Mr. Phillips Delivers Bigly! Wow! What it felt like to be enveloped in the high-octane imagination of T.B. Phillips!”— Eric Madeen, Professor of Literature, Tokyo University
“Incredible World Building!”
— Amazon Reviewer