Freya is free to be read again…

… because her story has just been re-released  back onto kindle by Blue Hour Publishing!

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Freya is one of my favourite characters. She’s got a lot of potential for stories after this book – I’m already planning how she gets to be the first Dragon Empress of Elysia for over five hundred years… and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not just because she’s the only legal heir to the throne.

*sighs happily* I just love writing about dragons…

It also introduces another of my favourite characters, a wise-cracking ball of spirit light by the name of Vox. The idea for it (it’s genderless)  came from an aborted Tabletop RPG game where the GM (not me this time) had an NPC that was a ball of light. I borrowed the concept and developed Vox.

Anyhoo, this book is tied to Book 2: Party at Castle Grof rather neatly, but it can still be read as a standalone story.

Freya has many assets, the least of which is her exotic beauty. Having been freed from the benign slavery of the Pleasurehouse, she journeys to Jinra to meet up with her brother Grald. Along the way she meets Sir Vrenstalliren, Paladin of Espilieth, who insists on becoming her guardian.

In the next town the two become five, having been joined by Kraarz, an Orc Shaman; Vox, his Otherworld Spirit Guide and Lin, an Elysian warrior on a quest of her own. It is just as well, for she is walking into a danger she is ill equipped to face alone…

Time for the Excerpt…

“Are we there yet?” Lin asked.

“Would you stop asking that? I can’t concentrate on what I am following if you keep talking,” Vox snapped.

Lin looked at Kraarz and the blind Urakh grinned.

“Be at peace my friend. Vox is following a scent in the otherworld instead of following it directly…”

“This corridor leads all the way round the outside of the dungeon.” Vox said absently.

“We’re going the long way round?” Lin burst in. “Why? My Lady could be dead by the time we get there!”

Vox stopped and looked up at her.

“Lin, please be patient. The route I’m taking avoids the majority of the rooms in this dungeon and with a bit of luck, we’ll reach the Prison without being detected.”

Lin nodded and the Flixen started moving again, his black nose held to the floor.

“How much bigger is Vox going to get?” Lin asked Kraarz quietly. “He won’t fit through the corridors if he gets much bigger, especially with that wingspan.” She glanced up at the folded wings, the tips of the flight feathers brushing through cobwebs near the ceiling.

Kraarz held one hand out and Vox swished its tail, the black tip brushing across his palm. “Hmm. I’d say that he had another foot to full growth. But we’ll be out of here before that happens.”

At the next junction, Vox stopped.

“The prison is to the left.” He sniffed the air and turned right.

“If the prison is to the left, why are we going right?” Lin halted and folded her arms. “I’m not moving any further unless you explain yourself.”

Vox blew out an expressive breath and turned his head back over his shoulder to look at her. “She isn’t there. Why would we go somewhere she isn’t?”

“You said she was in the prison!”

“I was wrong.” Vox shrugged. “It happens sometimes.”

Lin sighed. “All right. Let’s go.” She slipped her sword out of its sheath.

“Good idea.” Kraarz nodded approvingly and snapped his fingers. A ball of green fire appeared over the top of his staff.

The Flixen rolled his eyes. “There aren’t any creatures around. I’d be able to feel them if there were.”

“I thought you said that the Dark Gods shielded dungeons and their creatures from you?” Lin frowned. “Make your mind up.”

“I don’t have a mind, so how can I make it up?” Vox ignored her exasperated cry and moved forward again.

“Where do you think you two are going?” a voice asked from behind them.

“Two? Hello?” Vox blinked. “What about me?”

Lin spun round, the tip of her sword flying out to land in the throat of a large devil demon. A dribble of blue-black blood stained the steel and ran down the creature’s upper body. She pulled back into a defensive stance.

He backed away.

“Steady on. I mean you no harm. I just wanted to know why one of our allies was in the company of an Outlander.” The devil demon looked at Kraarz.

“My race turned from the Aracan Katuvana eons ago,” the Shaman replied. “We found our freedom and a home without him.”

The Devil Demon frowned; his golden cat slit eyes narrowed.

“Then you are an enemy; and the new Custodian was right.”

“New Custodian right? Right about what?” Vox asked.

The corpulent demon straightened his shoulders.

“Looks like I get to do a bit more training.”

Kraarz and Lin had shifted positions gradually, Lin moving in front of Kraarz, but allowing him a clear view of the demon. She raised her sword and the demon grinned, flexing the long black claws on his hands.

“Come on then, Little Outlander. I’ll snap you in half like a fresh femur.”

“Oi!” Vox growled, pushed Lin aside and stalked right up to the demon, tail stiff. “Can you even see me, Blubber butt?” Vox tapped the demon with one huge paw, knocking him off balance and onto the floor.

“What the…” the demon looked around confused and Lin took her moment. Leaping over Vox, she landed, turned and sliced the demon’s head off all in one smooth motion.

“Very well done, Lin,” Kraarz applauded softly.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Vox pushing him over.” Lin used the shaggy red fur on the demon’s twitching legs to clean her sword.

“The demon couldn’t see me,” Vox tilted his head to one side. “Vaarzasia, Hel and Fiör created this body for me. Maybe they have made me invisible to the creatures of the Dark Gods?”

Lin hid a smile at Vox’s confusion.

“Maybe they wanted you to realise that you aren’t the centre of everyone’s attention all the time.”

Vox growled at her and stalked away down the corridor.

Kraarz and Lin followed, laughing.

*****

There are two places that you can read more about Freya and Vox and find out how the rest of the book turned out. The first is in the ebook:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Freyas-Freedom-Tower-Eye-Book-ebook/dp/B01H3YJ4ZW

The second is in the Omnibus Book which is available in both print and electronic forms:

Buy Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tower-Eye-Kira-Morgana/dp/1326421301

There’s a Party Going On…

… in Castle Grof! Except it’s not exactly the sort of party most people would want to go to…

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Okay, let’s back up a little and give you some background on this story.

This installment of the story started out as an attempt at online tabletop roleplaying in a thread on the (now defunct) Authonomy site. I was GM, creating the initial story line and the maps,  and there were three players. We got as far as the fight in the Tavern (which is one of my favourite scenes)  when we realised it wasn’t going to work.

By this time, however, I had my muse Puff sitting on my head (he likes to do that) and whispering than this could be another story to fit with “The Tower and The Eye: A Beginning“. So I asked the other players if they were happy to  let me run with their characters. They were, so off I went…

… and Party at Castle Grof was born.

The book has been re-released today as an e-book on Amazon. It’s about a pair of adventurers being inveigled into cleansing the Dungeon near the city of Valdez in the kingdom of Valdier:

Castle Grof has claimed the lives of many already, but Lord Harnaz of Valdez is determined to clear the menace of the dungeon underneath the ruins completely.

Drawn into the quest with a barbarian warrior, a monk of Tyr and an old friend, Aranok and his half sister, Ariana, begin to wonder if they will actually return to their home in the elven realm of Alethdariel alive…

“Which one is your friend?” the half-elf asked, looking over at the fight.
“Grald the Barbarian.” Shilir started to panic and grabbed the half-elf’s arm.
“The big guy? You’re worried about the dwarf beating him up. He looks like he can handle himself,” the half-elf laughed.
“You don’t understand. He’s been drinking Wizard Wingdangs Original Ale… it weakens him to the point where a kitten could maim him with one swat of its tail; even a feather could knock him over. Please help him.”
“Why should we help your friend? I don’t even know why the fight started.” A feminine voice floated over his shoulder. Shilir turned to see the white robed mage he had bumped into.
“You took your time, Ariana,” the half-elf said, without turning round.
“The Guild wanted to hear my report. It took a little while,” Ariana replied, irritation etching her elegant face.
“If it had taken any longer, you’d have been peeling me up off the floor.”
“Well, if you didn’t drink human ale, Aranok, you wouldn’t need my hangover potion.” The mage looked over at the fight in the corner. “The barbarian does seem to be coming off worse in his fight with the dwarf.”
Shilir looked at Ariana hopefully. “Can you help?”
“I used most of my mana up on illusions during my report. Sorry, big brother.” She shook her head. “I haven’t replenished my mana potions yet.” Ariana tilted her head to one side and smiled at Shilir. “Unless you have a spare one?”
Shilir groaned. “I haven’t restocked yet either. Grald and I only arrived this morning.”
Grald was starting to wonder if responding to the dwarf had been a bad idea. An insistent trickle of blood from a cut on his forehead interfered with his vision, dripping through his thick eyebrows.
“How about we talk about this?” he asked, wiping his eyes again.
The dwarf growled and slammed a fist into Grald’s chest. Grald gasped and staggered back.
“Maybe not then,” he wheezed, grabbing the dwarf by his chest plate and attempting to drop kick him through the window. Unfortunately his befuddled body barely allowed him to lift the dwarf off the ground.
The dwarf leaned back in his grip, planted a foot into Grald’s stomach and used the other one to kick at his nose. Grald lurched backward, sat down hard on a bench and dropped the dwarf at the same time.
The dwarf landed on his chest and took the opportunity to punch Grald in the mouth. The bench tipped from the movement, sending the labourer sitting on it flying through the air into the window and spilling both Grald and the dwarf onto the straw strewn cobbles.
The window smashed as the labourer flew through it and landed on a table. The occupants of the table, a group of bakers having their lunchtime game of cards, swore as the cards and coins scattered under the man’s landing.
The table broke, all the tankards on it tipped over and the bakers left trying to gather up their coppers and piled onto the unfortunate labourer.
“I’ll be adding that window to your friend’s bill.” The Tavern Keeper carried on polishing his tankards calmly.
Shilir groaned.
Sighing, Aranok pulled a field tip arrow out of his quiver and twisted on his stool to face the fight. The crowd around the bar drew back as he sighted along it and threw it like a dart.
Grald stood up and stared in shock at the result of his near miss with a dwarven boot.
“Did I do that?” he murmured, swaying a little as the dwarf tried to trip him up.
Something brushed past his ear, so he turned to see what it was. Tripping over his own feet, Grald fell over and landed on the next table. The boards splintered under his weight and as Grald hit the floor, he knocked himself senseless on his own mace.
“Hah! That’s what ye get for spilling ale on Avinger McCraken!” The dwarf laughed and kicked Grald in the balls. Then he stomped away, shouting, “I ain’t standing for that kind o’treatment. I’m gonna get the Watch!”

*****

There are two places that you can read the full story and find out how the rest of the book turned out.  The first is in the ebook:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Party-Castle-Grof-Tower-Book-ebook/dp/B01H3XVBXG

The second is in the Omnibus Book which is available in both print and electronic forms:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tower-Eye-Kira-Morgana/dp/1326421301

A Beginning returns…

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Today is the day that “TTATE: A Beginning” returns to the world on its own. For 0.99p you can pick up a copy of the story that started the entire world of Quargard off!

This is one of my favourite Book Children.  It came out of my love of Epic Fantasy and Table top RPG with a soupcon of RPG style Console and PC Games like “Dungeon Keeper” and “Overlord”.

The first installment of the series is all about the Heir Presumptive of Galivor…

A mad King rules in Galivor. His sons vie for the right to become his official heir. While the youngest, Korin, chases the bandits plaguing the land, Loric sets out to plunder an abandoned dungeon.

With his dwarven bodyguard Grimhelm Drakesplitter; the elven mage Lord Silvertree; Cleric of Espilieth, Lady Kalytia and the thief, Thiert of Galindren; Loric enters the ruins of a Dungeon of Doom on the outskirts of Pleasemore Village.

Little do they know they are being watched…

 

Excerpt from Book

Outside the Inn, a group of older men had gathered. As Loric and his companions left the Inn, the men advanced upon them.

“Lord, please, don’t go into that place again.” One man, wearing a gold and silver chain stepped forward. “You are the best hope our people have of a future and no one who has gone into those woods has ever come out alive.”

Before Loric could say anything, Silvertree stepped forward. “Worry not, Mayor Heinlin, the prince is well protected in myself and Sir Grimhelm.”

“That’s as may be, Ser Mage, but ye’ve not seen the creatures which lurk in them woods.” Another man, wild of hair and stinking of apple brandy threw himself forward to grab Silvertree’s robe. “A devil demon stalks the shadows and foul stenches emanate from holes in the earth. Beware!”

Silvertree untangled himself from the man and smiled gently.

“I thank you for your concern, Gentlemen of Pleasemore, but we shall be fine.”

Kalytia whispered something and the man straightened. He looked embarrassed and trundled back into the group, pushing his way through.

“Espilieth protects us, good Sers. She shall see that no harm comes to any who enter.”

The Mayor nodded and sighed. “Fare thee well, then, my Lords and Lady.”

The men shuffled their feet and added good wishes as the group set off.

* * *

Pleasemore lay beside a large lake fed by the mountain streams. Just an hour’s walk north of the village a woodland had grown up, looking out of place against the surrounding farmland. A stout dry stone wall divided the fields from the trees, the track they followed taking a sharp turn to the right and following the wall rather than cutting through it.

“How are we supposed to get in there?” Kalytia asked as they walked beside the wall.

“There’s a broken bit just up here,” Loric said. “Looks like a bull or something knocked it down.”

“You sure it was a bull?” Thiert cleared his throat, looking around at the wide, hedged fields.

“The field opposite it…” Loric pointed as they came parallel with the tumbled stones, “…has a cattle herd in it.”

Near the fence dividing the track from the field, a large red coated bull snorted at them.

Thiert jumped. “Why does everything in the countryside have to make noises?”

“’Tis but nature, friend Thief.” Silvertree said.

Grimhelm coughed hard, covering his mouth, his eyes suspiciously bright.

“Can you tell it to shut up then?” Thiert said as he scrambled over the wall.

Loric followed with Kalytia, helping her down on the other side, while Silvertree and Grimhelm climbed.

Inside, the ground beneath the trees was overgrown. The undergrowth consisted chiefly of brambles, stingwort and stinkweed, with large brightly coloured toadstools clustering around fallen trees and rotting stumps.

“This place is creepy,” Thiert muttered.

“Ye’d find anywhere without walls creepy,” Grimhelm snapped. “Be silent, I feel eyes upon us.”

“Don’t be daft, Grim. It’s a wood, of course we’re being watched; by squirrels, deer, rabbits, birds—” Loric trailed off in his recitation, unable to think of anything else that could be around them.

“Don’t forget the trees, Loric.” Silvertree smiled and gestured around them. “The trees have eyes too.”

“As if that makes me feel better.” Thiert’s eyes darted around him.

Kalytia and Loric exchanged an amused glance.

They made their way into the wood.

Eventually the trees thinned and sky appeared above them.

Loric led the way to the dungeon entrance, weaving through the ruins toward a massive tower that had lost its upper reaches in some storm or battle hundreds of years past. He scanned the area, peering into the trees sprouting between the stones, his hand slipping to his hilt.

“It’s noon. Birds should be flying around. Why is it so quiet?”

“Maybe they know we’re coming,” Thiert quipped. When no one laughed, his smile faded and he frowned. “Don’t tell me you’ve already been in there.”

“How else do you think I know what’s inside,” Loric muttered.

They reached a large ironbound oak door let into the side of the tower. Loric stopped in front of it.

“This be the place then,” Grimhelm snorted. He looked closely at the stout oak branch Loric had shoved through the handles. “Nae one hae been through here since ye left.”

“There is usually more than one way in and out of a dungeon,” Thiert pointed out. “It could be that the inhabitants just didn’t use this door.”

Grimhelm scoffed. “Pshaw! There be no creatures here. T’is just a folk tale.”

“I remember seeing a small creature with green eyes as I left.” Loric frowned as he examined the symbol on the door. The steel design had been inlaid into Ironwood and surrounded by gold. Loric wondered absently why the gold hadn’t been prised out by looters long ago.

“Just ye’re imagination, Laddie.”

“Were there any traps in the main corridor?” the little thief asked.

“No.”

“Well, I’ll go first anyway. You brought me along to sniff them out, after all.”

Loric removed his temporary lock, tossed the branch aside and opened the door.

The long corridor was as dank and dark as it had been before. Thiert really did sniff out the traps, his crest quivering as he darted around. He spent a lot of time running his hands over the walls and peering at the floor.

There were three traps within six feet of the door. The third was a set of spikes that erupted from the floor with such considerable force that Thiert turned to glare at the prince in the light of the mage globes Silvertree and Kalytia had produced.

“No traps, eh?”

*****

There are two places that you can read the full story. The first is in the ebook:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginning-Tower-Eye-Book-ebook/dp/B01H4EAX8I

The second is in the Omnibus Book which is available in both print and electronic forms:

Buy Link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tower-Eye-Kira-Morgana/dp/1326421301