• Recommended Age Range:  10 and up
  • Formats:  E-Book
  • Approx. Length:  6,341 Words
  • Story 1 of the Lastenberg series.

The tales of Lastenberg relate the hero’s on-going battle against evil.

In Opon-Hul, the last of humankind is stranded around a single mountain with the rest of the world covered by an evil darkness.  The Staff Keepers hold in their possession the only artifact that allows the humans to live:  The Staff of Hope.  Yet when The Staff is stolen their only hope is Lastenberg, lest the shadows consume them and leave the world barren of life.


“Behind the deep murmur of the wind, candor in villas yonder and tree’s rustle, there was another sound.”

Behind the deep murmur of the wind, candor in villas yonder and tree’s rustle, there was another sound.  Great wings flapped hard and fast, and they became louder as he listened.

~ from Opon-Hul

Untamed skies swept over The Mountain as silken water flows upon submerged stones.  Streams of clouds caught the wind on their march across the land.  The air was gold with the morning glory gilding its soul.  Strings of fragrance drifted upwards from the beds of meadows, where flowers grew and opened their hearts to the sky.  Sunlight shone upon the pale summit of The Mountain and glistened as white gold does when finely polished.

Being the only spire in the land, The Mountain was sacred and only traversed by Staff Keepers who maintained the border of peace — a boundary that could not be broken by the soldiers of evil.

A new dawn settled over the quiet land of Dathzon, and with it spread a new terror from The Land Of Dark Dirt.  A new beast unlike anything in the land.  The only creature that could fly.  And it spread its wings as the ill feeling of its presence spread toward the hearts of people.


“Also a must read by Rafael are, ‘OPON-HUL’ and ‘Ere The Dark Dirt’, from the LASTENBERG tales.”

“Also a must read by Rafael are, ‘OPON-HUL’ and ‘Ere The Dark Dirt’, from the LASTENBERG tales. Rafael is a briliant young man and author.”

Quinn Cullen
Amazon Review for A World Of Words

Opon-Hul introduces a fantasy world created by author Rafael Lopez in the first of a series of short stories featuring a legendary archer. In the land of Dathzon, humanity survives only in the area of The Mountain, with a scattering of castles and villages about its base. Only the magic of The Staff of Hope holds the surrounding evil at bay. The Dark Dirt produces monsters that would destroy what light and life remain. One day, a once-unimaginable creature appears to rob the people of the protection of The Staff. This triggers a race to fulfill a prophecy and call on the might of Lastenberg, hero of legend, last hope of Dathzon, before humanity is overrun by the forces of darkness.

This original, Lord of the Rings-inspired setting will be instantly familiar to fantasy fans. Rafael Lopez’s poetry background comes through in the prose and dialogue. The language is archaic and florid, which gives the writing the feel of legend, while sometimes dipping slightly into the realm of purple prose. It doesn’t feel so much like fantasy adventure as it does mythic storytelling. This is most striking with the appearance of Lastenberg, a seemingly divine warrior whose presence signifies change in the world. The story’s brevity suits the type of storytelling, a tale of old whose conclusion is foregone, but I would have enjoyed a longer adventure, especially in the resolution of the main conflict. I was intrigued by Opon-Hul’s finish, which points to a series of tales spanning history, creating further legends for new eras.”

Matt Lebois for Readers’ Favorite

Learn about Author & Artist Rafael Lopez.

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