Category Archives: fantasy

An update on my writing, and a special offer.

The Wolves of Vimar is a fantasy series. Book 1, The Wolf Pack, finds Carthinal setting off to take the tests to end his apprenticeship and make him a full mage.

Once in Hambara, where the tests are to take place, he, and some people he met on his journey are given the task of finding a lost artefact. It has been prophesied that it will be needed in the near future.

The book tells of their adventures in finding the artefact and returning with it.

Book 2, The Never-Dying Man, finds the friends settled into normal life in Hambara. That is until someone who helped them in the quest for the Sword turns up asking for their help. His child has been kidnapped.

Because they owe him a life debt, they agree to help find her. After rescuing her they are left with more questions. Who wants her, and why?

They stray into Erian, the next country and get recruited into the Erian Army where half the group are arrested and taken to Frelli, the capital.

Here they find that war against Grosmer is being prepared. Why, they do not know as there has been peace for generations. What they do find out is more dangerous, and surprising than they could have imagined.

The half of Wolf, who are prisoners must escape and take the news back to the authorities in Grosmer.

Book 3, Wolf Moon, follows the other half of Wolf, who managed to escape the arrest. They are chased into a cave system in the mountains where they find a people living entirely in the mountain.

These people want to have nothing to do with the outside world. In fact, they don’t want anyone to know they exist. To keep their secret, they refuse to show the friends the way out.

Eventually, though, they are persuaded to help and allow Wolf to leave. Unfortunately, though, the group of friends have to pass many dangers to get out, and also, once out, they need to dodge the Erian army which is on the lookout for them.

As they make their way past many dangers, they discover more secrets. Can they manage to get back to their homes and pass their discoveries on to the authorities in Grosmer?

I am currently writing Book 4, which is to be called Immortal’s Death. It is a slow process as I have been distracted by other writing projects, including Jealousy of a Viking, which is the sequel to Vengeance of a Slave, my very first historical novel, and I loved writing it. What I found out was fascinating. But you’ll have to wait for Jealousy, although Vengeance came out at Christmas.

But from today, The Never-Dying Man is available for a mere $0.99, £0.99. This offer is only available until 19th, so don’t waste time. Click here to get your copy, or click on the book’s image in the side-bar.

If you have read any of my books, please consider writing a review. Reviews are important to both writers and readers. Readers can see if they think a book is for them before they spend money on it, and writers rely on reviews to get their books noticed. With the millions of books on sale, this is a difficult process.

So please, Help a Writer and write a review.

A Writer's Year

As it’s my last post of 2019, I thought I’d sum up my writing year.

This year I’ve been quite busy. I decided I’d write some prequels to my Wolves of Vimar series, some of which I serialised here. I originally thought I’d write them as short stories, but they have grown into novellas.

I wrote the back stories of Asphodel, and Kimi and Davrael. When I decided to submit them to Next Chapter, the publisher who published The Wolves of Vimar series as far as it’s got, I thought I should begin with the story of how Carthinal came into being. I told the tale of his parents. It’s a rather tragic story. I’ve now submitted it to Next Chapter, and am waiting for their next move.

I finished Vengeance of a Slave, my very first Historical Novel, submitted it and it is now live on Amazon. (http://mybook.to/voas/ ) It was released on Boxing Day. If any of you decide to purchase and read it, I would be grateful if you could post a review.

Researching this book, and the next one, Jealousy of a Viking, took a lot of time. Although some research is needed, even for fantasy novels, to get the history right, and the background is much more exacting. This book is not yet ready for publishing. It’s needs much more polishing before I submit it.

Earlier in the year I lost a lot of Book 4 of The Wolves of Vimar, and I searched all my places on my computer and also online. I felt demoralised by this, having lost several chapters. Then, out of the blue, I looked in one cloud storage I’d not looked in. In fact, I didn’t know I’d stored anything there, but there it was! Hooray!

I started working on it again, but it’s coming on rather slowly. This is because I started working on the backstory of Carthinal from The Wolves. This novella isn’t yet ready for submitting to Next Chapter. In fact it’s not quite finished, but I hope I’ll get it done shortly after the New Year. Then I can finish Book 4, probably to be called Immortal’s Death.

Next year I hope to release more of the novellas—Davrael and Kimi and Asphodel. I also hope to get Jealousy of a Viking released and finish Immortal’s Death. Quite a big task to get it all done.

I also have another fantasy novel that I started a couple of years ago that I want to finish, then there’s the on-going saga of the descendants of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave and Jealousy of a Viking. The next one is to be in Britain just after William the Conqueror beat Harold at the Battle of Hastings. Not sure of a title yet.

So that’s my year.

Thank you for following my blog, and to those of you who bought my books, a big thanks. I would be grateful for any reviews. They are most helpful, not only to me, but also to potential readers so they can tell if the book is for them.

You can purchase any of the books by clicking on the cover in the sidebar.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. I love to hear your thoughts.

Another Freebie

From tomorrow, the Stones of Earth and Air will be free on Amazon, until 24th December. This is book 1 of Elemental Worlds, so if you got book 2 the other day, now’s you chance to get book 1.

Something is wrong with Crown Prince Torren. He is behaving out of character. Pettic, his best friend and companion, sets ouut to find out whata is wrong. with the help of Princess Lucrenza and the court magician, he finds that the prince has been kidnapped and a doppleganger put in his place.

In order to free the prince, he must first enter the 4 elemental worlds and retrieve a gem associated with that element. He cannot leave the world without it, and on each world he has to perform a dangerous task to help the people.

Click here to go to Amazon where you are and buy the book, or click on the cover image in the sidebar.

And don’t forget the release of Vengeance of a Slave is in just 1 week. You can pre-order by clicking here. If you then send me a copy of your receipt, I will send you a free preview chapter of the next book in this series, Jealousy of a Viking. Email me at vivienne.sang@gmail.com

Please share this with your friends and followers and I will be pleased to receive any comments in the comments box,

Special offer

The Stones of Fire and Water, Book 2 of Elemental Worlds will be FREE from TOMORROW, DECEMBER 15th until Thursday December 20th

Pettic , having found the gems associated with the worlds of Terra and Aeris, now needs to go to the worlds of Ignis and Aqua in order to find the gems associated with those elements.

These worlds are stranger than he could imagine. He meets with a dying race of dragons and merfolk. The requirements to find the stones means he has to help them overcome their problems. He needs to find a solution to the death of the dragons, and to help find a magical sceptre that is needed if the king of the merfolk is not to waste away.

Once back on his own world, Pettic needs to find a way to get to the mini-plane where his friend, the Crown Prince is imprisoned, rescue him and return before an imposter takes the throne. But the imposter looks just like the prince. How can he convince people which is the real one?

Don’t miss this chance to get the book free. And if you wait, Book 1 will also be free very soon.

Click here or on the book image in the sidebar to go to Amazon where you are.

And don’t forget the release of Vengeance of a Slave is in just 2 weeks. You can pre-order by clicking here. If you then send me a copy of your receipt, I will send you a free preview chapter of the next book in this series, Jealousy of a Viking. Email me at vivienne.sang@gmail.com

Please share this with your friends and followers, and add a comment in the comments box.

Carthinal’s Story 8

Carthinal moved from the spot where Mabryl found him. The archmage now knew where he practised and so he decided he would be safer elsewhere. Even so, a little nagging thought dogged him that Mabryl would be able to find him in the same way he did previously. He did not want to become part of the established society. Since the theft of his inheritance, he thought of The Beasts as his family. They had been good to him. So what if it involved criminal activity, and possibly killing or being killed in a fight? He had a home and friends, and a lovely girlfriend, too.


He sat in some shrubs practising his magic spell. Cantrip, Mabryl had called it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not, but it was beginning to work more often than it did.


Mabryl found him again, of course.


“I see you’ve made progress. Are you sure you don’t want to learn more? How are you going to find out how to do more spells?”


“Go away. I don’t want your help.”


Mabryl raised an eyebrow. “Really? As I said—how are you going to learn to do more spells?”


“My friend’ll come and steal a spell book. I know you mages have spell books with your spells written in them.”


“But perhaps the books are trapped with magic. What then?”


“Oh, go away and leave me alone.” Carthinal shouted as he jumped to his feet. “I don’t want to come to your house. I’ll find a way to learn. Just leave me.”


The life of The Beasts continued as normal. Carthinal had to go out picking pockets with Wren as usual. Cat continued to improve his burglary skills and Bull grew into an impressively muscular young man, and took over the running of the security of the gang.


Then one day, Rooster called Carthinal to one side. “Fox, I believe you’ve had an offer to learn magic.”


Carthinal puckered his brows. “Who told you?”


“Wren, of course. Who else? She also told me how useful she thinks magic might be in the gang. I agree. I think you should take this man’s offer.”


“No!”


“You should go and learn, then come back here to us.” Rooster continued as if Carthinal had not spoken.


“I said ‘No’.”


Rooster walked away shrugging his shoulders, and said no more of it, but Carthinal did not forget about how he felt when he managed to conjure the flame. He wanted that feeling and more.


He realised he craved the power of a mage, too, so one afternoon, he found himself standing opposite Mabryl’s house. He stood there for an hour, just looking.


The house was a modest one by the standard of his Grandfather’s house, but was not one of someone of little means. There was a front door under a porch between two sets of windows, and there were windows above them as well as one over the porch. It had no third storey like his Grandfather’s had, and no apparent basement. He took a couple of steps towards the door, but then, like a young fawn confronted by a wolf, he turned and fled.


He returned three days in a row, but each time lost his nerve. Finally, on the fourth day he approached the door and raised the knocker. Holding it in his hand for a few seconds, he almost ran again, but then, taking a deep breath, he let it fall.


There came the sound of footsteps approaching the door and it slowly opened. A woman in her mid forties stood there. She had dark hair with greying strands peppered through it, and blue eyes.


She frowned when she saw Carthinal. “What do you want? We need no beggars here. Be off with you!”


She went to close the door.


“I want to speak with Archmage Mabryl”


Her frown deepened. “What does the likes of you want with a respected archmage? He doesn’t want to see you. Go away.”


Carthinal heard heavy footsteps approaching, then a familiar voice saying “What is it Lillora?”


She turned and spoke to Mabryl. “A young man, about sixteen by the looks of him. He says he wants to speak with you. I told him to go away. He looks dirty and untidy.”


“Ah! I know who it is. Let him in. I’ve been expecting him.”


The door opened wider to reveal a hallway with stairs on the right hand side.


“Come in, Carthinal.” Mabryl beckoned to the young man as he continued to stand at the threshold. “Come into my study and we can talk.”


With faltering steps, Carthinal entered the house and followed Mabryl into a room on the left.


The young man stopped as he entered and gazed around him. The room was a treasure trove. Two windows faced the street with a floor to ceiling bookcase between them. Opposite the windows was a fireplace, again with shelves filling the spaces on either side. On the shelves were bottles and jars, all filled with things Carthinal could not name.


In the centre of the room stood a large table. Books covered that, too. He had never seen so many books in one place before. No, that was not right. He’d never seen so many books in his entire life.


Sitting at one end of the table, a young girl of about twelve or thirteen looked up as he and Mabryl entered. Carthinal appraised her. She had brown hair and eyes, and a rather plain face.


“You said you can read.” Mabryl walked over to the bookshelf, paused, searching the books, then pulled one from the shelf. He walked over to Carthinal and handed it to him. “Read me some of this.”


Carthinal turned the book over in his hands. He read the title. ‘History of The Forbidding’and opened it at random, He began reading aloud.


“The mage war ended eventu…eventually, but it had taken a great toll on the inno…cent. Innocent.” He looked up. Mabryl was looking at him intently.


He continued reading. “King Consyl the third was deter…determin…determined?” He looked at Mabryl, who nodded. Carthinal continued.

“Determined such a war would not happen again. He forbade the practice of magic on pain of death. All spell books, he… decreed, must be burned.”


“That will do, Carthinal,” Mabryl told him. “You can indeed read, even if it needs some polishing. Now, about writing. Let’s see how you do at that. Copy out what you’ve just read on this sheet of paper. There’s ink and a pen on the desk.”


Carthinal sat in the chair, picked up the pen and began to laboriously copy the passage he had just read, frowning all the time. His tongue stuck out at the side of his mouth as he concentrated. He had not written anything in the time he had been with The Beasts. He dropped a few spots of ink on the paper and scowled all the more. Mabryl would never want him as an apprentice if he made a mess of this.


“That’ll do.” Mabryl came over and peered at what Carthinal had done. “A bit messy, but that’ll come with practice. Now, is there anything you need to go and get? I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping.”


Carthinal’s eyes widened. “Sleeping? I’ll be sleeping here?”


“Yes, of course. Apprentices always stay with their master. Follow me.” He walked through the door, leaving Carthinal with no choice but to follow him.


They ascended the stairs onto a landing. To the right was a door, but Mabryl passed that door and led Carthinal to the left and along the landing. Two doors opened on his right and another on the left. It was to this one that Mabryl led him. He opened the door and stood back for Carthinal to enter.


The room was large enough to have two beds, with a wardrobe and chest.


“This is where you’ll sleep. If you don’t have any clothes other than what you’re wearing, I’ll get Lillora to go and buy you some. Those you’ve got on need to be burned by the look of them. Downstairs there’s a copper for heating water. You’ll go down and get a bath. I’m not having you sleeping in my beds as you are. You’ve probably got fleas or something.”

This as Carthinal scratched his head.


While Carthinal sat waiting for the water to heat up in the copper urn, Lillora went to buy some clothes. Once the water was hot, Carthinal took a bucket and poured water into a metal tub. He climbed in and soaked himself, then plastered soap all over his body. Especially his hair. Mabryl had been right. He probably did have fleas.


When Lillora returned with the clothes, Carthinal climbed out of the tub. After drying himself and putting on the clean clothes, he felt better than he had in a long time. He had forgotten what it was like to be clean.
Carthinal left the bath-house through the door to the kitchen. As he entered, Lillora was just carrying some plates through to the dining room.


She stopped and looked at him. “That’s better. You look almost half-presentable now. Come on through to dinner.” She paused and looked at his shoulder-length auburn hair. “I’d get that cut, if I were you. You’d look better with it shorter.”


Carthinal pressed his lips together. Not now you’ve told me, I won’t.
A few nights later, as soon as darkness fell, Carthinal looked out of his window. Could he climb out and go back to The Beasts? They would need to know what had happened to him. Yes. A tree grew just outside. It would be a risk, but he thought he could probably manage to reach the branch nearest to him.


Climbing onto the windowsill, Carthinal reached out for the branch. He thought he couldn’t reach it, and wobbled dangerously. Steadying himself, he tried again and managed to grab a small branch. He pulled it towards him and soon could reach a larger one.


He took a deep breath and, hanging onto the large branch, he leaped from his window. Fortunately, the branch held and he shimmied along it to the main trunk where he climbed safely down. He looked up at his window. How am I going to get back in? He shrugged and trotted off towards his gang’s headquarters.

Here ends part 8 of Carthinal’s Story. If you want to read more the next episode will be at the beginning of January. Will he manage the discipline needed to be a mage? Find out in later episodes.

Carthinal appears in The Wolves of Vimar series. Book 1 can be obtained from Amazon by clicking here, or by clicking the book cover in the side-bar. This will take you to Amazon where you are.

Feel free to make a comment in the comments box. I appreciate all your thoughts.

Carthinal 7

The magician performed in the square for several days. Each day, Carthinal went and watched. By the prickling sensation, he quickly learned which of the man’s tricks were real magic and which sleight of hand.


Wren went with him the first couple of times, then she said, “Why do you keep on going back? It’s the same show every day.”


Carthinal shrugged, “I’m unsure myself, Wren. I’m fascinated by his magic. His real magic, that is, not that other stuff.”


After watching a number of times, Carthinal thought he could remember the words and hand movements the magician made when he conjured the small flame on his finger. He decided to try it out, but not in the Gang’s Headquarters.


He walked around the area until he came to a back street, Sitting on a doorstep, he began to mutter the words and copy what he thought were the hand movements. Nothing happened. He tried again. Still nothing. After a few attempts, he gave up.


The next day, he was again standing in the square watching. He thought he noticed a few things he’d got wrong, and he went to practise again, in the same back street.


He practised for a week. By then the magician had left the area. One day, sitting on the step, he wondered why he did this. The man he had been copying had gone, so he could not refresh his memory. He sat there, head in his hands, trying to picture exactly what the magician had said and done.


I’ll try one more time. If it doesn’t work, I’ll give up.


He chanted in a slightly different way. His skin began to prickle and he felt a sensation deep within his stomach. A tiny flame appeared on his index finger, then quickly vanished.


The young man leaped up and yelled. “Yeah I did it!”


He ran all the way back to headquarters and burst in shouting “Wren, Wren, I did it.”


“Calm down. Did what?”


“Made magic. I got a little flame on my finger.”


Wren shrugged. “So what? How’s that going to help with anything.”


Carthinal took her by her shoulders. “Don’t you see. I can do magic. Perhaps if I practice I can learn more and then go and perform like that magician. We could be rich.”


“Who’s goin’ ter be rich?” Cat was just passing.


“Cat, I managed to do some magic. Real magic.”


Cat laughed. “You think ’cos yer did a little trick yer can become a real mage? Dream on, Fox, but keep ’em for sleep-time.”


Carthinal shook his head, but determined to keep on practising. Apart from the pride in learning to do it all on his own, when he had succeeded, the physical sensations it gave him were enough to make him continue.


Each morning, the young man went to the same back street and chanted and wove his hands around. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he failed, but he did not give up. Eventually, he could keep the flame going for several minutes.


One say, as he tried to make the flame walk from one finger to another, he became aware of a shadow falling over him. Quickly, he extinguished his little flame and sprang to his feet.


“Steady, lad,” a voice said. “How did you learn to do that?”


Carthinal scowled at the man. “Why should I tell you? Who are you, and how did you find me?”


“My name’s Mabryl. I’m an archmage and I felt a disturbance in the mana, so I tracked it here.”


At the sound of ‘archmage’, Carthinal pricked up his ears.

“Archmage? You’re important, then. So why’ve you tracked me down?”


“One simple reason. Hardly anyone can learn to do magic of any kind on their own. What made you try?”


“I watched the magician in the square on Grillon’s day and during that week. I copied what he said and did,”


“Impressive. How did you know what to copy? In other words, how did you know what was real magic and what wasn’t?”


“I felt it. It was like a tingling all over my skin.”


“Young man, you have a talent for magic, but you need training. First, although you’ve managed to get this far on your own, that’s only a very simple spell. One we use to teach apprentices at the beginning. It’s called a cantrip. More importantly, though, is the fact that magic can be very dangerous in untrained hands, both to yourself and those around you.”


Carthinal looked into Archmage Mabryl’s eyes. “What are you saying? I should stop?”


“Not at all. You have a tremendous talent. I would like to train you.”


“No. I’ll not fall for that. You know who I am and want to lure me to your home so you can hand me over to the guards”


Mabryl laughed a soft laugh. “That would be such a waste of talent. Anyway, who are you that I’d want to hand you over? What have you done that the guards would be interested in?”


Carthinal looked down and shuffled his feet. “Nothing. At least nothing you need to know. I have to go.”


As he turned to leave the street, Mabryl said, “I live on Grindlehoff Street. Number forty three. Come there if you change your mind. I hope you do. Your talent will be wasted if not, and you could cause great danger to everyone around.”


When he got back to the headquarters he searched out Wren. He told her all that had happened.


“What did you say?”


“That he could go away and leave me alone. That I’m not interested. He’s only trying to tempt me so I’ll lead him to the rest of you.”


That night, Wren propped herself up on her elbow on the bed they shared. “I’ve been thinking.”


“Not too hard. I hope.” Carthinal yawned and turned to face her.


“About that man, Mabryl was it?”


“What about him?”


“If you went there and learned to be a proper mage, you could be a help to the Gang.”


“How?”


“Suppose you could use magic to help people not notice us when we pick their pockets? Then perhaps you could make Cat invisible when he goes buglaring so no one sees him. Then you could use it when we fight other gangs. We’d be able to take over all the others.”


“Mmm. Perhaps. I’ll think about it.” He turned over and went to sleep.

Will Carthinal accept Mabryl’s offer and go to his house to become his apprentice, or will he stay with The Beasts? The relative security and friendship he knows or an unknown life are his choices. Read the next episode on the first Tuesday of December to find out which he chooses.

Find out more about Carthinal by reading The Woves of Vimar series. The first three books can be got from Amazon.

Carthinal 6

 

Reminder: After the fight with the Green Fish Gang, Carthinal’s gang, The Beasts, discover The Wren, Carthinal’s pickpocket partner, is missing. the Rooster, the leader of the gang, sends Carthinal and The Cat out to search for her.

Carthinal left with The Cat to search. “I think th’ guard caught ’er,” The Cat said. “I ’ope not. Th’ penalty fer killin’ is death by ’angin’.”
“But we don’t know she killed anyone.”
“There was a fight. Folks got killed. She was in the fight, so they’ll blame ’er fer killin’.”
Carthinal frowned, a sadness filling his indigo eyes. “Come on, then. First place to look is the jail.”
“We can’t go ter th’ jail, Fox. They’ll ’ave us in there as soon as we appeared.”
“Do you want to find Wren? If not, I’ll go myself.”
“Nah! I’m comin’ wi’ yer. I’m usually a lucky bloke. You have luck too, Fox. Mayhap our combined luck’ll ’elp us find Wren.”
The pair neared the jail and paused.
“I’ll climb onto th’ roof an’ see if I can find anythin’ out. There’s a chimney I can listen at.” The Cat sprinted around the side of the jailhouse and began to climb. Carthinal hid in a doorway opposite, chewing his fingernails. Soon The Cat returned.
“They’ve got ’er, alright. They’ve got a couple o’ Green Fish, too. Put ’em in th’ same cell, they ’ave. By luck, th’ Green Fish ’aven’t started on ’er. Not yet, anyway.”
“How can we rescue her without the Green Fish, too? In fact, how can we rescue her at all.”
The Cat thought for a moment. “If we can some’ow get th’ guards out o’ there, I can slip in an’ pick th’ lock. ‘Ow t’ stop th’ Green Fish gettin’ out, too, I’ve no idea.”
Carthinal pressed his lips together as he walked towards the jailhouse. He must rescue Wren. She was his partner, yes, but more than that. He was unsure quite how he felt about her. He was, after all, in terms of human life, just a boy in his early teens.
He passed through the door and found himself in a single room. On his left were two cells, and a table stood immediately in front of him. A guard leaned back on two legs of the chair with his feet propped on the table. He had his eyes closed. Carthinal drew in a breath. It was the guard who had thrown him out of Gromblo’s offices.
He turned to make a rude comment in order to get the guard to chase him but he heard a voice. “Fox!”
The voice came from the second of the two cells. Carthinal looked and saw a pair of hands gripping the bars of the door.
At the sound of her voice, the guard opened his eyes. “It’s you! Kendo Brolin’s grandson. What are you doing here?”
Carthinal swallowed the words he was about to say and looked at the guard with eyes wide.“You believe I’m his grandson?”
The guard nodded, “There was something funny about that death certificate. And there aren’t too many red-headed half-elf kids about.”
“Then why didn’t you help me? Why didn’t you expose him?”
“Grondin has friends in high places. It would have been dangerous to try. Besides, he made it worth my while to keep quiet.” He swung his feet down. “How come you know this girl? She called you Fox. Are you with The Beasts now?”
Carthinal glanced towards the cell door and did not answer.
“You know there’s a warrant out for any of The Beasts or Green Fish?
Wren called out from her cell. “There’s always a warrant for us. What’s new?”
The guard stood and walked towards the cell. “You keep out of this. There’ll be a rope for you.”
Carthinal thought quickly. How could he get the guard to release The Wren? He had an idea. “You said you knew the death certificate Gromlo showed you was forged. That means you knew he swindled me out of my inheritance, yet you did nothing. You took his bribe and left me to starve on the streets. I was lucky enough to fall in with The Beasts and that’s kept me alive.”
The guard looked at him through narrowed eyes. “What are you saying, boy?”
“I’m saying it would be hard on you if your superiors found out. Even after a year, they would still not take a good view of a guard taking a bribe.”
“You go to the bosses and they’ll arrest you before you get one word out.” He smirked at Carthinal.

The boy replied, “But if they got a letter, they wouldn’t know who it came from, would they? They’d have to investigate, and you would be dismissed. What would you do then?”
The guard laughed. “And who will write a letter? All you street kids are illiterate.”
“Are you so sure about that? Aren’t you forgetting who my grandfather was? He sent me to school.”
The guard blanched. “What do you want?”
“I want my friend released.”
“And how will I explain where she’s gone?”
“You’ll think of something. Now, give me the keys, and you go and stop those Green Fish from breaking out when I unlock the door.”
The guard picked up the keys, but before handing them to Carthinal, he turned to the door.
Carthinal jumped in front of him and drew his knife. His nostrils flared and his eyes blazed “Oh no you don’t! You’re not going to run out on me.”
The guard put up his hands. “I’m just going to lock this door, then if those thugs make a run for it they can’t get out. I’ll get them back into their cage then unlock the door for you and your friend.”
Watching closely, Carthinal held onto his knife and kept it pointed at the guard’s throat as he locked the jailhouse door and went to unlock the cell.
The Wren rushed out, followed by the two Green Fish. The guard tackled one of them, bringing him tumbling to the ground. The youth rolled over on top of the guard and looked like being able to overpower him, but the guard bucked and threw him off. As luck would have it, he banged his head on the wall of the cell and lay still.
Carthinal and The Wren took on the other youth. He was a big young man, but Carthinal threatened with his knife and as he approached, The Wren stuck out her foot and gave him a push. He stumbled enough for Carthinal to finish his fall and sit on top of him. He held the Green Fish’s long hair and pulled back, holding his knife at the other’s throat.

”Now go back into your cell like a good boy,” Carthinal said with a smirk, “or I might forget I’m a nice person.”
The guard dragged the first youth into the cell, and the second went in quietly, looking all the time at Carthinal.
“They’ll end up on the hangman’s gibbet, no doubt,” the guard said. “Now get out of here before I have second thoughts.”
Carthinal grinned. “You won’t. I know too much about you.”
He and Wren left the jailhouse and met The Cat outside. “What kept you? I thought you were goin’ in ter lure th’ guy out.”
“Long story, Cat, but I found a better way to do it. I’ll tell you on the way back to HQ.”
Wren reached up and kissed Carthinal on the cheek. “Thank you for rescuing me.”
He blushed. “I…it was nothing. You’re my partner.”
The Wren smiled.

***
Another year passed. Carthinal had been with The Beasts for just over two years. There had been many more fights like the one with the Green Fish. Other gangs tried to take over the Beasts’ territory. It was the best territory in Bluehaven, having the market. Carthinal learned to fight with his knife and usually came away with few injuries.

“The luck of the elves,” The Wren told him.

His relationship with The Wren deepened, and soon they shared a room. They were a good team, too, and The Rooster was proud of the way they never failed to get a good haul when they went out to pick pocket.

It was the spring equinox, Grillon’s Day and the first day of spring when they went out, not to pick pockets, but to watch the entertainers in the square.

Grillon’s Day was a day of celebration all over Grosmer. First, there was a service in Grillon’s Grove outside the city. Most people went there or to his temple in the city. Here the priests gave thanks to Grillon for past productivity and fertility. He was the god of the wild and wild things, and beloved by hunters, but because his day was the first day of spring, everyone worshipped him on this day. All except the gangs.

After the services, people came into the towns to feast and be entertained, then in the evening, there was dancing around the bonfires, after which couples sneaked away into the woods. Any children born after this celebration were not considered illegitimate, but thought of as Grillon’s children.

This year, a magician was billed to be appearing, and Carthinal and The Wren got to the square early. They stood hand in hand waiting for the show to begin.

It began with dancers in the centre of the square, then a group of singers appeared. Clowns and people on stilts followed . The stilt walkers began to dance and the audience clapped, cheered and threw money into the arena. A man dressed in a clown’s costume with a bucket, picked the coins up and then went round the crowd shaking it for people to add more.

A woman brought her dogs into the space and they ran around seemingly at random at the beginning, but then she began to play a flute and dance. The dogs followed her movements and soon they were all dancing, weaving around each other. That brought more cheers, and people threw money again. The same clown picked it up and asked for more from the crowd.

Finally the magician appeared. He wore a deep blue robe with stars and moons printed all over it. He had a hood pulled up over his head so no one could see his face. He waved his hands around in the air and appeared to pull coins out of the air.

“I wish I could do that,” whispered Wren. “We’d no longer have to steal to make a living. We’d be rich.”

“I don’t think it’s real magic, though,” Carthinal replied. “If he could conjure coins, I don’t think he’d be here doing that.”

The magician approached the crowd. He reached out his hand and seemingly pulled a sweetmeat from behind a small boy’s ear. He handed it to the child who immediately put it in his mouth and grinned.

This went on for some time, until Carthinal began to feel a prickling all over his skin. He scratched.

“What’s wrong?” Wren asked. “Got fleas?”

Carthinal shook his head and watched the magician carefully. He was muttering some words and a flame appeared on one of his fingers. Still muttering, he made it jump from one finger to the next.

The next thing he did, Carthinal felt nothing, then he felt the prickling again. This time the man held a globe of light that changed colour as he moved it around. He threw it into the air and it turned blue, then disappeared against the sky.

This went on for some time. The crowd loved it, especially when the magician conjured bursts of coloured lights in the sky. All this time, Carthinal’s skin prickled.

After the show, as the pair walked back to the headquarters, Carthinal said, “I think some of that was real magic. Not all of it, of course, just some of it.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Didn’t you get a prickling of your skin when he did certain things?”

Wren shook her head. “No, Nothing. Why?”

Carthinal looked down at her. “Doesn’t matter. I thought it was interesting, that’s all.”

Was it real magic, and can Carthinal sense when it is being used?

Please leave a comment in the comments box. and tell me what you think of this story.

If you would like to find out more about how Carthinal turns out and his later adventures, you can do so by reading The Wolves of Vimar Series. Just click on the book covers in the side bar to go to its page on Amazon, wherever you are.

Hurry. Don’t be late.

Starting from tomorrow, September 16th, The Stones of Earth and Air, Book 1 of Elemental Worlds, will be available on Amazon for the amazing price of $0.99, or £0.99.

This offer is only available until 20th, so make sure you don’t miss it.

The Stones of Earth and Air is the first part in a two book series called Elemental Worlds.

When Pettic notices changes in the behaviour of his best friend, the Crown Prince of Ponderia, he sets out to discover what has happened. He finds that the prince has been kidnapped and replaced by a doppleganger.

In order to free the real prince and prevent the cruel substitute from ascending the throne in due course, he must enter the four elemental worlds of Earth Air, Fire and Water and find four gems that act as the key to the prince’s prison. In each world he finds he must perform a task to help the people of that world, and he cannot escape back to his own world without the gem.

But if he manages to free the prince, how can he distinguish him from the impostor and convince others which one is the true prince?

Get your copy by clicking on the cover of the book in the sidebar.

Carthinal 5

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Several months later, as Carthinal and Wren were just leaving on a job, The Bull charged into the headquarters.
“Green Fish on our patch.” He paused for breath. “Their boss is with ‘em., too. Think they want to try a takeover.”
The Rooster surged to his feet and began pointing and giving orders. “Fox, Wren, come ‘ere. Job’s cancelled. Porcupine, get th’ weapons. Bull, find th’ other big guys and come back ‘ere. Quickly. Everyone oo’s ‘ere gather round.”
Porcupine arrived pulling a large chest. The Rooster opened it and began handing out weapons. Daggers in the main, but he gave a bows to a couple of the stronger lads, who set about stringing them. Carthinal watched as they heaved on the heavy wood, realising the bows would need a great deal of strength to draw.
“Fox, take this knife.”
“I’ve never used one before.” Carthinal looked at the weapon, turning it over in his hands.
“Mind.” The Wren came up and took it from him. “It’s sharp. Very. You c’d cut yer fingers off.”
Carthinal grimaced and took it from her. “I’ll be careful. What happens now?”
“We go and fight Green Fish off our patch.”
Carthinal frowned and looked at his dagger again. “I don’t know how to fight.”
It was Wren’s turn to grimace. “Then you’ll ’ave ter learn quick. That or die.” She gave a little laugh. “I’d ’ate ter see that ’appen.”
The gang was making its way through the door and into the street. Wren and Carthinal rushed to catch up. Green Fish had set themselves up in the park where Carthinal had slept when he first found himself on the streets. The gang, about thirty strong, stood in the entrance to the park.
A few citizens were strolling in the park as it was a pleasant spring day. One of the first of the year. They stopped, frozen in their tracks.
The Rooster stepped in front of the rest of the gang. “You’re on our patch.”
Another young man stepped in front of the group facing the Beasts. “Sez oo?”
“Sez me, and we’re gonna see you gone or dead.”
He beckoned the rest of the gang, who rushed through the gates. As soon as the gate cleared, the citizens rushed out. Carthinal watched them go, wishing he could go with them, but he must fight. How should he do it?
“Come on,” Wren whispered. “We’re missing all the fun.”
Fun? What’s fun about probably getting hurt, or possibly getting killed? In spite of his fears, Carthinal rushed towards the fight, after Wren.
It looked like chaos to Carthinal. He grasped his knife trying to find someone who he didn’t know to stab. He looked around. He recognised everyone. Then he saw someone he knew. Someone who was not one of the Beasts. Someone who had tried to rob him.
He felt his anger rise from somewhere in his stomach. Carthinal deserved to have his own back on this young man, and, although smaller, he rushed through the melee. He almost tripped over a body lying on the ground, but managed to catch his balance. The trip propelled him forward towards his selected victim. He held his dagger before him and thrust it forwards.
The young man in question had his back to Carthinal, and the dagger entered between his ribs, and pierced a lung. He went down with a cry. Carthinal smiled.
He found himself in the middle of the battle. How dare these people try to take over his gang’s territory? His anger had not been assuaged. The stabbing of his enemy only fed it. He swung the knife at random, but, as luck would have it, he made contact with a young woman’s eyes. She screamed and fell.
So it went on for what seemed to Carthinal like hours. When the last of Green Fish ran away, leaving their friends groaning on the park grass, he looked at the sky. The sun had not moved far. The battle had taken no more than half an hour. He looked around to see how many of his friends had been injured.
There was The Rooster, covered in blood, but checking those lying on the ground. Some he helped to their feet, calling others to take them away. Some he sighed over, bent and closed their eyes, but most he left.
The sound of pounding feet brought Carthinal to his senses. The Cat, blood running from a cut on his cheek, called “Fox, run. It’s the guard. If they catch you, you might as well have been killed here.”
All those who could, scattered in all directions. The guards tried to pursue them, but quickly lost them as soon as they got into the poor quarter. Gradually all made their way back to the headquarters.

 

The Rooster counted them. “We lost five. I hope the injured make it back. I sent them off with help before the guards arrived.”
Slowly the injured, and those helping them arrived.
“Did we lose any on the way?” he asked The Scorpion, who was helping the injured.
“No. We all got back.”
Carthinal looked round the room. Some had minor wounds, others more serious. He had a cut on his hand, and one young woman had managed to cut his shirt, but the knife had not gone through.
“Where’s Wren?” he asked. He felt a hollow feeling in his stomach as he realised she was nowhere to be seen.
The Rooster searched the room with his eyes. He turned to The Scorpion. “But we didn’t all get back. The Wren isn’t here.”
The Scorpion hung his head. “Sorry, boss. I thought she was with Fox.”
“Thought? Thought?” The Rooster paced up and down. “What do you mean, ‘Thought’? Did you think to check with Fox?”
The Scorpion shook his head. “Sorry” he repeated, shuffling his feet.
“We must find her.” The Rooster began organising the search. “She wasn’t among the dead, so she left the park. Let’s just hope she’s not been caught by the Guard.”

Where is Wren? Has she been caught? Find out the first Tuesday in October.

This is the story of Carthinal’s youth. Carthinal is a young man in my Wolves of Vimar series which begins with The Wolf Pack. You can buy this, and my other books, by clicking on the images in the side bar.

I hope you are enjoying this story. Please let me know in the comments.

The Day on Vimar. How the people of that world break up the day.

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I’ve often wondered why we start the day in the middle of the night, and the year at a date that seems rather random.

Let’s think about the day first.

To me, it would seem obvious that the day begins when the sun rises. Or, I suppose you could say it ends when the sun sets, which would mean the next day begins at either sunrise or sunset. But why did someone—who?—decide the middle of the hours of darkness was a good idea? Anyway, midnight isn’t the middle of the hours of darkness all the year round, anyway.

Now if we say the day begins at sunrise, I can see that would be a problem, especially for the modern world. That can be solved by saying the day begins at the time of dawn on the equinoxes. That is round about 6am.

When I devised my world of Vimar for my Wolves of Vimar Series, I had to decide on how the people would break up their day. This is a totally different world from Earth, although, for simplicity’s sake, I still use hours and minutes. The people on Vimar hold the number six as sacred and all multiples of six also have power. Thus 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day makes sense.

So, on Vimar, the day begins at what we would call 06:00 or 6am. That to them would be 00:00. They begin counting from there. 7am would be 01:00. 10am would be 04:00. What we call midday, to someone on Vimar would be 06:00.

They also use the 24 hour clock.

If a person wanted to have a meeting at, say, 10am, by our standard, they would say, “I’ll meet you at the fourth hour.”

I don’t use the time very much in the book, but I thought it would be essential in my world building to try to think about this.

I will go into the year on the third Tuesday of next month,

If you want to read more, and about Carthinal and his friends and their adventures on the world of Vimar, you can buy the first 3 books by clicking on the covers in the sidebar. I am serialising Carthinal’s early life on the first Tuesday of every month.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.