A Beginning returns…

Beginning 300 x 200

 

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

I hate the rain…

It’s funny how you can find a video on YouTube for almost anything…
This is exactly how I felt yesterday… and for some reason it’s carried over today, despite the lack of rain. So is it my mood that creates the rain or the rain that creates my mood?

Why am I in a poor mood?
It’s probably something to do with the facts that it’s Monday, the clouds are threatening more rain, my cat decided it would be good to munch on my one and only pepper plant, destroying almost a whole branch of a struggling plant, and lack of money for the Summer Holidays.

Every year I think that there’ll be enough money to actually go out and DO SOMETHING that we all enjoy like swimming, bowling, going to the beach or the cinema… and every year I am confronted with the reality that it’s going to be another summer fielding cries of “I don’t want to stay home again!” ; “I want to go swimming” ; “Can we go to the beach?” ; “I want to do something together!”

Every one I know seems to be able to find the money for a holiday with their kids. Even those who are on the same level of benefits as us and I have no idea how they do it.

I know what would cheer me up – for there to be a sudden surge in my books selling, especially The Tower and The Eye… the problem with relying on that to cheer me up is that it very rarely happens, even when I put one of them on a special offer, like The Heir of The Dragon (which is currently on promotion at 99p) and I know why it is: there are just too many books out there, competing for Readers.

This is a good thing because it means that there’s a choice of books for Readers to buy. I’m one of them (I wouldn’t be a good writer if I didn’t read) so I appreciate it, but at the same time it’s bad because I’m having to promote my books against other writers, people who I like and admire.  And to be honest, it makes me feel a little guilty.

But I have just under six thousand words to write on my Work-in-Progress, The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer,  and it’s almost to the climax of the story so I suppose I had better get on with it…

I’ll be nice and leave you an excerpt:

Andren watched the Pages and Paladins as they broke formation and gathered in front of the temple’s main door. Pigsnout tapped Andren on the shoulder and indicated that the canine should follow him.

A raven swooped down and landed on Pigsnout’s shoulder. “The lady says that it must have a mission. She has watched it through her crystal and while it is defending itself when attacked, it isn’t killing willy nilly.” Geregor’s voice echoed inside both autochthons brains.

“Handy to know.” Pigsnout grunted.

The Balziag raised its head and sniffed the air. The sharp tang of acid rolled out in a cloud as it roared. “Bring slave out and no more die.”

“Looks like the Lady was right.” Andren said in a low voice.

“She’s not often wrong. Stay put for a moment.” Pigsnout said as he stepped forward and called out, “There are no slaves in this compound, creature.”

“I tracked slave from beach to this place. I smell its presence here.” The beast lowered its head again and snuffled at the air in the courtyard. “I smell it now.”

“And I say again that you will not find a single slave in this place. This is the Temple of Varzela, Lady of the Otherworld and she does not suffer her followers to be killed.” Pigsnout waved his hands in a complicated gesture and a large ball of green flame expanded between his palms. “Leave now or you will die.”

The Balziag sniffed the air and peered at Pigsnout. “You slave from four island. You not quarry.”

Pigsnout’s face dropped and his eyes glittered as he growled back. “There. are. no. slaves. here. Leave or be incinerated.” He tossed the ball of fire from palm to palm.

Andren had to hold his jaw still to stop himself laughing. The tableau was ridiculous; against the enormity of the Balziag, Pigsnout looked insignificant and his fireball juggling comical.

The creature sniffed the air again. “I smell target. Give and I go.”

Pigsnout paused in his juggling. “What does your quarry smell like?”

The Balziag growled. “Dog.”

Andren realised with a jolt that it meant him. He began to draw his sword.

“The lady has a pet dog. She loves him dearly and would be wroth with me should I give him to you.” Pigsnout looked at Andren and shook his head.

The Balziag is almost blind. It sees through its sense of smell so there is a very good chance that it may ignore me. Andren realised.

The Balziag made a rusty creaking sound. “You funny, Pig Slave. Dog Slave behind you. I playing. Give dog slave and I leave.”

“Damn it to Nurgle.” The cleric cursed.

“Thank you for trying, Phoibus.” Andren said, drawing his sword and stepping up beside him.

Pigsnout shrugged. “It was worth a go. Shall we?”

“Yes.” Andren nodded. He faced the creature and called out. “You wanted me? Come and get me.”

As the Balziag roared and launched itself into the courtyard at them, the two autochthons split apart. Andren ran to the right and when the creature landed on the paving, he yelled and waved his sword.

Pigsnout took up position opposite Andren. Geregor had shifted perch to a nearby statue, his head cocked so that he could keep an eye on the action.

The Balziag swiped at Andren with one horn. Simultaneously, its tail swept round to try and knock the canine’s feet out from under him. Andren jumped back over the tail and brought his sword down, hitting hard, bare horn and slicing the long blade from the creature’s head.

Pigsnout made a gesture over the ball of green fire with his free hand and as soon as it became blue, threw it at the Balziag. The ball seemed to stick to the creature’s spine plates and it shrieked, arching its back. Tiny bolts of lightning crackled out of the ball and crawled like caterpillars across the Carbonado scales, burrowing into the cracks.

Andren took full advantage of the Balziag’s distraction, first dashing in and slicing off the other horn at the base, dodging the spray of acidic blood; then he shouted “Get clear!” as he reversed his stroke and sliced through the creature’s head, severing it from jaw to ear.

Pigsnout had pulled back at Andren’s shout and watched amused as the segment of the beast’s head clung to the canine’s blade for just long enough to be thrown across the courtyard to splatter in a bubbling froth against the gatehouse wall.

“Interesting combat decision there.” He said to Andren as the autochthon used the rough cloth robe the demonic animal wore to clean his sword.

“What decision? I was trying not to get killed.” Andren shrugged. “I like the lightning ball you used. Made that fight a lot easier.”

and the work goes on…

When you’re a writer, work never halts. Oh you eat, sleep, do real life things, but the work goes on inside your head.

TTATE Collection (1)

A week ago, my new publisher brought “The Tower and The Eye: A Quintology” onto the market. You’d think that my brain would then let me rest.
*shakes head ruefully*
Nope. In that time, I’ve had another idea for a Quargard story, managed to add five thousand words to “The Ballad of Pigsnout the Wanderer” and get an article published.

Yes, the good folks at Geek Native have allowed me the privilege of waffling my way through the gentle art of world building. Everything you might want to know about how to build a fantasy world for any nefarious purpose you can think of…

Feel free to pop over to the site and take a look at the article – here – and if you have any questions, make sure that you comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I sometimes wonder what it’d be like to be a normal person with a 9-5 job, no voices demanding that I write their story down 24/7…