Time to Harp on…

It’s day four of the Great Tower and The Eye re-release by Blue Hour Publishing!

Harp 300x200

If you’ve been reading along with the releases – remember, we had book 1 on monday, book 2 on tuesday, book 3 on wednesday – then you’ll have an inkling of who the heroine in this book is.

Another border skirmish with the Franierens forces the Elves to send Lady Julissa Alethdan to hunt for the Harp of Aleth; a magical harp capable of healing the most tormented of souls and calming the fury of battle into peace.

This should be an easy task, after all, the dungeon she is entering was cleansed over a hundred years ago…

This particular book is where the overarching story (the one that connects all the books) begins to make sense. Tying the stories together here helped me to see the shape of the final book.

It’s also not as battle orientated as the previous books. I had a party full of academics to play with, and as I’d had a few comments about my blood thirsty-ness in the previous books, I wanted to see if I could get them in and out without killing anyone… well, except enemies!

So here’s the excerpt:

Before they shut the door, Joran fed the Blood Bat again and sent it out to keep an eye on the situation. He chose one of the chairs, sat down and closed his eyes. After a moment, he started recounting what was happening.

“It’s Tavia. She’s wearing some kind of strange armour and is fighting the creatures as they come into the guard post.”

“Is she getting hurt?” Virrinel asked, his whiskers still twitching.

“No. There appears to be a shield spell embedded in the armour. Good thing too, I don’t think armour like that would protect much of her body.” Joran chuckled. “Oh she just took out a pair of Dark Mistresses with one slice. That’s some sword she has there.”

Silence fell, punctuated by chuckles and gasps from Joran. Julissa’s face dropped further with every noise and Virrinel subtly put himself between his blood brother and his mistress. I wouldn’t want Joran to get hurt before we get out of this place.

Finally, Julissa’s patience snapped.

“Ser Joran. If Tavia is keeping the creatures occupied, we should have a clear run down to the Treasury.”

Joran opened his eyes momentarily.

“That is true. I’ll send my little friend into the Training room as I believe that was the next port of call, and see if there’s anyone in there.”

“Good. Virrinel, move back out to the crossroads and keep watch. You know how to contact me if you see anything.” The Autochthon nodded grudgingly and left the room.

Qin-Dar sniffed the air as Joran shut his eyes again.

“I smell something wrong.”

“This whole place is wrong.” Julissa’s temper was not improving. “There weren’t supposed to be any creatures here. Tavia…” she trailed off and frowned. “How did Tavia get to the guard post and into that fight without us seeing her come past?”

“That’s what I smell. There is more than one dark force at work in this disgusting place.” Qin-Dar shook herself. “Let us get the harp and retreat to safety as fast as possible.”

Joran’s eyes snapped open.

“Excellent idea, Lady Qin-Dar. The way is clear to the training room and it is empty; even the guard post outside its south-eastern entrance is vacant.” He stood up and moved to the door. As he opened it, the blood bat fluttered in and landed on his shoulder, its mouth opening and closing in the same way as a dog would pant.

Qin-Dar looked at the bat.

“Ser Joran. I suggest that you leave your friend in here. He is too exhausted to do any more and needs to sleep.”

Joran nodded and tenderly picked the bat from his shoulder, setting the tiny creature on the topmost shelf of a nearby bookcase.

Julissa’s heart softened as she watched him feed the bat one last time.

“You can pick him up on the way out; this is probably the safest route back.”

The tiny bat flipped upside down to hang from the beam above the bookcase and wrapped its wings around itself.

Joran smiled at Julissa.

“Shall we continue in your quest, m’lady?”

*****

There are two places that you can read more of this 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/Harp-Aleth-Tower-Eye-Book-ebook/dp/B01H3Z2IZO

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

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