Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of Beginning of a Hero by Charles Yallowitz 

OVERVIEW:

I got this as a bundle of 3 books, but I am going to review them separately as I read them.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Luke Callindor, even though he has a very Earth-like name for a half-elf!

It is filled with action and great characters. We have a mystery at the beginning. Luke is contracted to safeguard the heir to Serabia. There is only one problem. He doesn’t know who the heir is, for even whether he’s protecting a male or female. When Luke discovers who it is, he is plunged into further problems as he is pursued by a powerful lich and a demonic elf.

BLURB:

Every hero must take the first courageous step into adventure. For Luke Callindor, it’s more of a blind stumble.Depending more on bravery than common sense, Luke sets out to protect a royal heir who is attending the prestigious Hamilton Military Academy. With a demonic assassin in the shadows, the determined warrior will have to think on his feet to defend his charge. If only he waited long enough to find out which student is the hidden noble.With Luke’s dream on the horizon and a deadly enemy on his path, how will he transform from a reckless adventurer to a true hero of Windemere?

CHARACTERS:

Luke Callindor is the main character in this story. He is a forest ranger, tasked with keeping the forest in good health, but he is not the only one of interest.

There is a halfling called Nimby who is great fun. He’s a retired thief and helps Luke in his quest to find out whom he is supposed to be protecting.

Fritz, a gnome, is an illusionist and his illusions are a help in the story. His steed, bizarrely, is a sheep!

Luke, Nimby and Fritz are joined by a half-elf priest, Aedin who is invaluable when people get injured. As they do during the practice fights in the Acadamy.

My favourite character, though, is not humanoid, but a small dragon, a drite called Fizzle. Fizzle is a simple creature, but not without intelligence. He loves apples, especially when baked in a pie.

And there is Luke’s loyal companion, a dog called Stilletto.

As the main character, Luke develops from an inexperienced young fighter to one who learns that strength isn’t the only way to win fights.

All the characters are well-drawn, and have their own clear characteristics, as well as character flaws.

WRITING:

There are a few typos, and, in a couple of places a wrong word is used, but on the whole the writing is good.

Mr Yallowitz paints a clear picture of the world he has created. He shows us how the characters react to each other so we can easily picture the scene.

I enjoyed reading this book and will soon be starting on the second one.

I gave the book 4*

How I rank books.

In order to get a particular number of stars, it is not necessary to meet all the criteria. This is a guide only.

5* Exceptional. Wonderful story. Setting well drawn, and characters believable. Not perfect, but with flaws. Will keep you up all night. No typos or grammatical errors.

4* A thoroughly enjoyable read. Great and original story. Believable setting and characters. Very few grammatical errors or typos.

3* I enjoyed it. Good story. Characters need some development. Some typos or grammatical errors.

2* Not for me. Story not very strong. Unbelievable and flat characters. Setting not clearly defined. Many typos or grammatical errors.

1* I hated it. Story almost non-existent. Setting poor. Possibly couldn’t finish it.

First book in series, FREE

Get a free copy of the first book in 3 of my series.

Vengeance of a Slave

A story set in Roman Britain

The Wolf Pack

An epic fantasy tale

The Stones of Earth and Air

A fantasy story of mystery, adventure and danger

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Reviews are most important to authors. They are the main way we get our books known. Just a simple comment on whether you liked the book or not, with a reason is enough.

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Vengeance of a Slave

A story set in Roman Britain

Prolific Works – Claim a free copy of Vengeance Of A Slave (A Family Through The Ages Book 1)

The Wolf Pack

An epic fantasy tale

Prolific Works – Claim a free copy of The Wolf Pack (The Wolves of Vimar Book 1)

The Stones of Earth and Air

A fantasy story of mystery, adventure and danger

Prolific Works – Claim a free copy of The Stones of Earth and Air (Elemental Worlds Book 1)

The Final Part of War of Nytefall is available at last.

On the eve of Clyde’s dream becoming reality, his life will be torn asunder.

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

As his dream of peace becomes a reality, Clyde faces his darkest challenge.

With the Dawn Fangs’ existence exposed, the time for negotiations has begun. Mortal rulers and the council of Nytefall gather to discuss terms, but chaos is already stirring. It does not take long for Clyde’s dream to become a nightmare as villages are slaughtered by a Dawn Fang who is rumored to be the newly crowned Vampire King. Bodies of friends and enemies pile up as this mysterious imposter reveals why mortals should fear Clyde. Will Clyde’s final adventure see his dream of peace fail before it is realized?

The truth is more horrifying than the Dawn Fangs ever imagined.

*****

Curiosity piqued? Check out this teaser!

The Truth?

Coming to the windmill, Magrus coats his body in a protective shell and carefully climbs to the top of the broken structure. Slowly turning in a circle, he scans the area to get a full sense of the remaining magic. He ignores the auras of the guards, who are sifting through the wreckage to find more bodies. Those who have been located have already been moved to the outskirts where they are being prepared for transport. Peering down the narrow road, he can see an oxen-driven cart is getting closer and sighs at how it will not be enough to collect all of the dead. Magrus considers warning the lieutenant, but he fears it will lead to a long conversation and waste more of his precious time. He turns to where the man is helping to prop up a wall, which has crushed a family of four. Shaking his head, the Zarian climbs down from his perch and uses his staff to help him navigate his way out of town. Nothing catches his interest, but he stops momentarily to send a few more lost souls to the afterlife.

“Let us see what really happened,” Magrus whispers as he reaches the woods.

Turning back to the village, the man plunges his staff into the earth and grips it tightly to prevent himself from falling over. His eyes develop a rainbow shimmer over the gold as he wavers on his feet. Fighting through the looming fatigue, the priest lets his magical vision change from what is in front of him to revealing phantoms of the past. Transparent buildings rise back into place and ghostly figures go about their lives even though he can still sense a little of what is truly there. Magrus scowls at the sight of a black-haired figure landing a few feet away, the puff of dirt revealing an illusion covering the small crater. Within seconds of appearing, the man rushes at the town and begins destroying everything in sight. Using only his fists and feet, he breaks houses and shatters people. The attacker’s speed is almost too much for the Zarian to follow, so he focuses on examining the phantasmal carnage for clues. He spots bite marks on several necks and sees the chickens were devoured in the blink of an eye. Torches and candles are knocked over to start the fires, which explode into an inferno connected to the illusionary plume of smoke. Magrus is not sure what caused the sudden blast since the attacker had been tearing the local blacksmith in half at the time. Deciding he has seen enough, the man freezes the vision before falling to his knees from the exertion. He is able to hold the image for another second before it disappears, but it still gives him a clear view of the rampaging figure.

“This cannot be shared,” Magrus says as he takes out a piece of paper. He mutters a spell to transfer the image of a black-haired man with a corn-shaped necklace from his brain to the parchment. “It would appear that Clyde of Nytefall is not as big a fan of peace as one would believe. Yet, I still see mysteries here. The fires grew without his influence and I see no reason why he would want this place discovered. I have many questions, Lady Zaria, so I cannot purify the Vampire King until I have answers. There has never been a man or monster who has escaped my thorough investigations. This one will be no different. I swear on my goddess’s crimson hair that Clyde and the Dawn Fangs will be judged. Then, if necessary, they will be punished.”

Click here for your copy of the Dawn Fangs’ final battle for
99 cents on Amazon!
Help spread the word by adding it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List!

*****

New to War of Nytefall?Grab all 8 Volumes for 99 cents each ($8 total)!

Cover Art by Alison Hunt

Interested in more Windemere?  Then don’t forget to check out Charles E. Yallowitz’s first series: Legends of Windemere

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After spending many years fiddling with his thoughts and notebooks, he decided that it was time to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house with only pizza and seltzer to sustain him, Charles brings you tales from the world of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and drawing you into a world of magic.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cyallowitz/

Enjoy Clyde’s final adventure by clicking here!

The Stones of Fire and Water

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

Here is an idea that would make excellent Christmas presents for a young adult in your family, or even for a not-so-young adult!

Did you get your free copy of The Stones of Earth and Air at the beginning of the month? If so, you can now get the second (and final) ebook for only 0.99 £ or $ from today until 29th.

Find out if Pettic manages to get the gems from the worlds of Fire and Water. What are the quests he will have to undertake in these worlds? (If you like dragons and mermaids, you’ll like this book.)

Will he be able to use these keys to rescue Crown Prince Torren? And who has imprisoned the prince? If he does manage to release him, how can anyone know the real prince from the doppleganger?

Click on the button to go to Amazon where you are.

If you missed the freebie earlier, you can get a copy of The Stones of Earth and Air by clicking the following button.

Both books are available as audio books, and in other formats, too.

Evenings are now drawing in, and we will have the long, dark nights to contend with. What do we do? We sit around the fire and read a good book.

Escape from the cold by reading.

Wolf Moon

is also on offer for 0.99 £ or $ from today until 29th. Follow the adventures of half of the group that calls itself Wolf as they try to escape from the enemies pursuing them after their friends have been captured. (Read about that in The Never-Dying Man.)

Follow them deep into the mountain caves where a surprise awaits them.

Get your copy by clicking on the button below.

Although the third book in the Wolves of Vimar series, this book can be read as a standalone.

If you buy either of these books (or any others) please consider leaving a comment on Amazon. Comments and reviews are very important to authors. There are millions of books, and it’s very difficult to get people to find books they’ll enjoy, so reviews and comments are useful to them as well.

Please leave any comments in the comments box.

NEW BOOK RELEASED

I apologise for no post last week, but I’ve been away on holiday for the last week, without internet access! Shock, horror!

Anyway, when I got back to civilisation, I found that my latest book has been released in my absence. I knew it was close, but not that close.

This one is another of the fantasy series, The Wolves of Vimar prequels. I’ve already written the story of Carthinal’s parents, Jovinda and Noli, and Carthinal himself, The Making of a Mage. This one tells the story of Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and the turbulent affairs that led to her becoming a priestess of Sylissa goddess of life and healing.

Here’s the blurb.

Escaping an arranged marriage, young elf Asphodel flees her homeland with her lover, Vass.
They find a home in the capital of Erian, but their idyllic life soon comes crashing down when Vass gets in with the wrong crowd.
Can they resolve their problems, and can Asphodel find her dreams of helping others and living a life of peace and harmony?

And a brief taster.

This is where Asphodel arrives in the Grosmerian city of Bluehaven for the first time, along with a priestess she met on the way.

Asphodel and Trinelli sat alongside the driver as the caravan approached Bluehaven.

Asphodel sniffed. “There’s a smell in the air. It’s not unpleasant, though, just different from anything I’ve smelled before.”

Trinelli smiled at the girl. “That’ll be the sea. Bluehaven lies on the Inner Sea, almost directly opposite Holy Isle and Aspirilla, the capital of Grosmer. It’s the biggest of the three seas and the one furthest away from the ocean.”

Asphodel could see the white houses of the city in the distance. They gleamed in the summer sunshine as they tumbled down the hill to the sea. From this elevation, Asphodel could see the harbour. There were two large ships there, and a number of smaller ones.

Surrounding the harbour, the houses were smaller and not as white. They huddled together as if for shelter from the waves of the sea.

Soon the caravan approached the walls and stopped at the gate, along with other wagons waiting to enter. Asphodel looked at the chaos. Something was stopping them from moving forward. Straining her eyes, she saw a large wagon stuck in the gateway. People rushed around shouting.

“He’ll have to come back,” someone shouted.

“No, if we push we can get him through.”

A third voice said, “Stupid of him not to think of the width of the gate. He’s been here before.”

People milled around, no one knowing what to do. Six men got behind the stuck wagon and pushed. Nothing moved.

Trinelli sighed. “Looks like we’ll be here for a while.”

As she said this, a cheer sounded from the gate and the wagon popped through like a cork out of a bottle.

After a further half-hour’s wait, their turn came and a guard inspected all the wagons to make sure they were not carrying any contraband.
He poked and prodded at everything inside, then asked them to get down. “Open your packs, please.”

After rifling through everything, and creasing up their spare clothes, he waved them through. The driver clucked to the horses and they rolled on through the gate. Asphodel looked up as they passed under the arch. It looked solid at first glance, but she noticed a few of the stones had begun to come loose. The walls were in not much better state. It would not take much to make them collapse.

She asked Trinelli about it.

The priestess shrugged. “Walls aren’t needed nowadays. There are no wars. The old days, when city fought city, have long passed.”

Asphodel gazed around. The smell of the sea was stronger here in the city. She breathed deeply. It smelled of freedom and adventure. Seabirds wheeled above them, crying their raucous calls to one another.

“I wonder what they’re saying,” she said to Trinelli. “They have lots of different calls. They must all mean something.”

Trinelli shrugged. “I’ve never given it much thought. They’re just birds that are always here, making a noise. They can be annoying first thing in the morning when you want to sleep.”

“But they’re so beautiful. Look how white they are against the blue sky.”

The birds soared above them as the wagons began to descend the hill into the city.

Asphodel thought this city more beautiful than Frelli. As their wagon trundled on, they passed buildings of white stone that seemed to glow in the sunlight. There was a park with trees, and Asphodel determined she would go there as soon as she could. There had been no trees in Frelli.
They arrived at the caravanserai, which was close to the harbour. There were seven wagons in their caravan. Four of them carried goods, and only three had passengers.

As they descended from the seat on the wagon and retrieved their things from the back, Trinelli turned to Asphodel. “Where are you going to stay? Have you any idea?”

Asphodel’s face fell. “No. And I’ve only my ring. I’ll need to sell it after all, in spite of your kindness.”

Trinelli shook her head. “No! I’ll not let you sell something that means so much to you.”

“I won’t take anything more from you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, but I’m on my own now. We’re here, and I’m safe from Vass. I’ll manage.”

“You don’t need to take anything from me. Come with me to the temple. See how we live and if you’d like to join us as a lay healer.” She smiled. “I can understand if being a priestess might not be what you want.”

The pair walked the short distance from the caravanserai to the Temple of Sylissa. Here the temples were scattered around the city. Trinelli told her that some cities had a temple district where the temples of all the gods clustered together.

The temple of Sylissa stood much taller than the other buildings around it and Asphodel could easily see its dome over the roofs. They crossed a busy market square, with bustling crowds shopping at the many stalls. Shopkeepers and stallholders cried their wares to the passers-by, but Trinelli did not stop and so Asphodel had to content herself with brief glimpses of the wares.

Being on the sea, Bluehaven had things for sale that Asphodel had never seen before. What were those small, blue fruits? A large leafy vegetable caught her eye, but it was red, not green.

One trader called out “Dragon sausages. Get your dragon sausages. Real dragon meat from the dragons in the Mountains of Doom.”

I wonder if they’re really dragon meat? I didn’t know you could eat them. I thought they would be more likely to eat you

Asphodel drew her cloak closer to herself and kept glancing from side to side. So many people.

“Keep close and hold on your ring,” Trinelli whispered to her. “There are pickpockets here.”

Asphodel looked around. Most people appeared prosperous, but every so often, a ragged child appeared. She thought she saw a handsome, auburn-haired youth take something from a girl of similar age and then walk casually away. Were these the pickpockets? She gripped her ring as tightly as she could.

Trinelli led her along a broad street leading up the hill from the market. The round temple of Sylissa stood tall in a square with a fountain in the centre. Shops surrounded the other three sides and people wandered in and out, stopping to chat with people they knew.

If you would like to read more of Asphodel and why she was in Bluehaven, you can read all about it in Dreams of an Elf Maid, available from Amazon. Simply click on the book title to go to Amazon where you are.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Did you enjoy that brief extract? Perhaps you wondered why Asphodel left Vass, the love of her life. I’m not going to tell you, of course. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments box.

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bramble, the dog

I don’t usually interview animals, but today I’m welcoming a dog to my blog. Rather than ask him questions, I think I’ll allow him the freedom to tell you about himself in his own words.

Hi. My name’s Bramble and I’m a dog.

I’m quite a big dog. At least I’m bigger than the others I lived with. I’m what humans call black and tan.

I live in the pages of a book, or rather, a series of books, called The Wolves of Vimar, and you’ll meet me first in book 1, The Wolf Pack.

Let’s get back to me and my life.

After Borolis came and took me from my mother, I cried. I cried quite a lot. He took me to his farm where I met three other dogs, his wife and three children.

His wife, a kind woman, was called Elpin and they had three children, twin boys called Krom and Voldon, and a sweet little girl called Amerilla. I loved that little girl. She was kind to a frightened, lonely puppy.*looks sad*

I learned about the smells on the farm: which belonged to the other farm animals and which were enemies’ scents. There were wolves that tried to take the larger animals, and foxes that would try to get the hens. The big dogs chased them off. Sometimes a big bird, called an eagle, tried to pick up a lamb. Those big birds scared me when I was little. One of them could easily carry me off and eat me.

Once, Nettle, a large black dog, who led the pack, managed to catch and kill a fox. It didn’t taste good when we tried to eat it, though.

This is Nettle.

My humans smelled good. Borolis smelled of fields and hay. There was also a lingering smell of horse about him. Elpin smelled of cooking and kindness, while the twins smelled almost the same as each other. I can’t tell you why, but their scent reminded me of adventure and fun.

But Amerilla—ah, little Rilla, as they called her—she was special. She had a light scent. Candles, sugar, spices. I loved that little girl. *whine*

The other two dogs, another black, called Bracken, and a black and white one called Bandit, all obeyed Nettle. He was fierce if they didn’t give him priority, and showed his teeth.

Bracken
Bandit


I didn’t cross him either, even though I was now bigger than him. He could be scary.

One day, I went to the water trough for a drink. As I drank, Nettle approached and growled at me to let him drink first. I was thirsty and ignored him, so he attacked me.

He knocked me from the trough and stared at me. I stared back, and began to growl. He walked stiff-legged in my direction, growling in response to my growl. I could smell the aggression coming from him, and knew he meant to put me in my place, once and for all.

Once he was bigger than me, but now I’d grown. I leaped at him and bit his ear. Blood flowed as his ear tore. He tried to bite my neck, but I grabbed his jaw and held on.

I shook his head from side to side, and he began to make puppy noises. That didn’t affect me. I knew this was a fight for leadership in our little pack. He’d bullied me for long enough.

I bit harder, and tasted blood. It tasted like iron horseshoes smelled.
I released my grip and tried to grab his neck, but was too slow. He managed to bite me in my shoulder as I dodged, and I felt blood trickling through my fur.

Then I leaped and got him onto the ground. I seized his neck and shook. I didn’t want to kill him. Not really, but I would have done so if necessary. He whined again. I don’t think the other dogs had ever challenged him and he didn’t like this fight that was going against him.

He rolled onto his back in surrender. I walked away, back to the trough and took a drink, watching him out of the corner of my eye.

He slunk away to wait until I’d finished before slaking his own thirst.
It was then I knew I was now leader of the farm dogs.

I believe I was a good alpha male.

This was my life until I ended up with the group of people who call themselves Wolf. Wolves have very little to do with it, but this group of humans decided to call themselves Wolf for some reason.

I made a brief appearance in The Wolf Pack, but I didn’t think that was enough for a dog like me, and so I told the author, V.M.Sang, I thought I should have more to do.

She kindly added me to the second book, and I’m also in the third. I’m hoping to be in the fourth, too, although at the moment she seems to be more concerned with a stupid, irresponsible little dragonet, called Muldee. If I could catch him, I’d chew him up a bit.

I think Muldee also asked her if he could have a bigger role than the one he had in Book 1. She’s too soft with these characters, if you ask me. She also let in Grimmaldo, who’s a friend of Carthinal, and someone who didn’t even appear in Book 1! Called The Cat, of all things. That’s something I’d never want to call myself.

You can find out more about Wolf, and why they call themselves that by reading The Wolf Pack.


You can buy it from Amazon in a variety of formats, including Audio.
V.M. tells me that if you click on the link below, it will take you to Amazon wherever you are. Sounds very clever to me. How does it know where you are?

Thank you, Bramble. It was good to have you here on my blog.

I would love to hear your opinions. Please leave any comments in the comments box.

Would you like an exclusive short story? Of course you would! Who’d not want a free story? To get your copy, click the box below. This story will not be published anywhere else, so this is the only way of getting it.

Poetry Month: Warlord of the Forgotten Age #fantasy #adventure

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Champions
Facing their destined foe
Enduring scars

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excerpt from the wolf pack

Silently, Thadora and Fero slipped through the rapidly lightning forest until they came out on an escarpment overlooking some flatter land. The trees disappeared here, and they could see the Grosmerian plain spread before them. To the east, the hills continued to rise to meet the mountains, but to the north and west the plains began.

Tracts of forest and open countryside separated small farmsteads They could just make out the lights coming on in Roffley, a day’s journey away, as people rose to their morning tasks.

Fero held out his hand to warn Thadora to be silent. They wormed their way forward on their stomachs, and looked down from the cliff top to the plain below and found themselves about twenty feet above the plain . Below them they saw a pack of wolves.

Thadora watched the animals in fascination. They were obviously a closely-knit group, with the exception of one animal, much paler than the rest, who seemed to hold itself aloof, or the others were ostracising it. Fero whispered that she, (for it was a she-wolf, he told her) was a stranger, and probably trying to join the pack. She had not been there when he caught sight of them yesterday. Maybe she had lost her own pack. He told Thadora that pack sizes were usually between six and ten, but that ten was rare. ‘More than about eight, and one kill would not suffice, and less than six and the pack would find it difficult to hunt down larger animals like deer,’ he whispered.

He pointed out the alpha male and female to her. The alpha male was a reddish brown animal, quite large, and the alpha female was a smaller, black creature. Fero told Thadora that only these two would mate, and the others would help in the rearing of the cubs.

Another large black male had begun to sniff at the pale she-wolf. She was cautious and bared her teeth at him, at the same time, crouching down, ears flattened to her head.

Of the others, one, obviously much younger, had a reddish coat again. She was obviously one of the cubs of the alpha male. There was another black wolf, slightly smaller than the very large one, and two greyish ones, one of which was a small female and the other was a very small adult male. Fero thought that the smaller dark wolf and the greyish female were probably littermates, the way they seemed to stick to each other’s company.

They watched for some time, and Thadora became fascinated. Then the large black wolf sniffed the air as the wind gusted and changed direction. He swung his head in their direction and gave a sharp bark at which the leader turned and led his pack at a loping trot away from the cliff.

‘Damn!’ swore Fero, ‘Wind changed direction and he smelled us. We’d better get back to the others. They should be ready to leave and we’ve still got our things to pack up.’

‘Thanks, Fero,’ said Thadora on their way back, ‘But, hey, those wolves didn’t seem scary. I don’t think I’ll be such a bloody wuss as far as wolves are concerned in future.’

Fero smiled.

When they got back to the camp, they found that the others had indeed packed up, including Fero and Thadora’s things, and that Basalt had made oatmeal porridge that he said would sustain them well for their trek.

Fero and Thadora sat down and took the wooden bowls of porridge that they were handed. The group sat round eating, then when they were finished, they wiped out the bowls, tied them to their packs and were ready to leave. Fero saw to it that they had put the fire out completely before they left, and they returned to the road.

Thadora was very quiet as they walked along. She had a frown on her face. Fero hoped that what she had seen of the wolves would help her with her fear.

She came up to Fero and asked, ‘’Ow common are th’ colourings o’ that pack, like?’

‘Well now—wolves come in a range of colours ranging from very pale to black. However, the very pale coat of the she-wolf we saw trying to join the pack is not common this far south, although they are more so in the snowy north. Maybe that was why she didn’t have a pack. Sometimes albinos are turned out. However, she wasn’t a true albino. Her eyes were brown and she had some colour to her coat.’

‘Hmm!’

When they stopped for a midday break, Thadora suddenly said, ‘Carthinal, that poem about soddin’ wolves that you ’ad, right? D’you still ’ave it?’

‘Somewhere in one of my pockets. I expect. Did you want me to read it?’

‘No, Mother taught me ter read, so I c’n read it by meself. She learned at Madame soddin’ Dopari’s, right? It were somethin’ th’ damn Madame insisted all th’ girls learn. Would yer lend it t’ me for a while?’

‘Of course. You can keep it. I don’t know why I’ve still got it, since it seems to have no relevance to us or our quest.’

Carthinal gave the poem to Thadora and she began to read it.

All the afternoon, Thadora kept perusing the poem as they walked. No one seemed to be able to get anything out of her, and they all thought her behaviour a little odd and out of character, but she had obviously been working something out. Fero thought she was trying to work through her fear of wolves, but Kimi had the feeling it was something more. She expressed her thoughts to Davrael.

‘I expect she’ll tell us when she’s good and ready, and not before,’ her husband replied. Davrael was a man of few words.

‘Yes, you’re right of course,’ Kimi replied, linking her arm through his. He placed his other hand over hers and smiled down at the small young woman with love. They continued in this way in silence.

Thadora did not reveal her thoughts until after they had stopped for the night. After they had eaten, she opened the paper with the poem on and began to read it aloud.

“The wolves will fight ’gainst every foe
The balance to maintain
But far and wide the pack must go
All borders they disdain.

The pack contains the strangest group,
The one whose pride comes with her
And one who slips through every loop
The wilful one, the tracker.

“The leader with his anger held,
The ones who hunt the horse
The rock that’s strong completes the meld
And makes the pack a force.

“The wolf pack’s members are filled with zest
And all do have their place
The hunt their foes with ruthlessness
Then vanish without trace.

“In times of danger all must know
The wolf pack will be there.
They work as one. They keep their vow.
For each other they will care.”

‘I think this bleedin’ poem refers to us.’

The others looked at her in surprise.

‘What makes you think that?’ queried Basalt.

‘It was, like, when I were watchin’ th’ wolves wi’ Fero. They seemed in lots o’ ways ter be like us, see. Th’ leader was a big, soddin’, reddish brown animal that made me kinda think o’ you, Carthinal, right? There were somethin’ about ’im that seemed so kinda dangerous, but hey, ’e didn’t show any behaviour to th’ others that made my feelin’ logical, see? I think it were just that ’e seemed ter be holdin’ somethin’ inside o’ ’imself, right? You give me that feelin’ too, Carthinal. An’ that, wi’ ’is colouring an’ all were what made me, like, think o’ you.

‘Then I looked at th’ others. We was all bleedin’ well there. A small black wolf, the alpha female Fero called ’er, was you, Asphodel. Small and pretty, but wi’ plenty o’ spirit you know. Then there were a damn big, black wolf that were obviously Fero. A little distant, yer know. I noticed that ’e sometimes wandered off, sniffin’ around—fer game I suppose, or danger.

‘A small reddish one, much younger than the rest were me, see, while th’ two ’oo was littermates and was always together was Davrael and Kimi. Th’ male o’ these was black too. Th’ other two were obviously Basalt, a small adult wolf, and a light-coloured female for Randa. The pale wolf were findin’ it hard ter get accepted inter th’ pack, a bit like Randa is wi’ us, like. (Sorry Randa, but it’s true, ain’t it?) Then th’ large black, Fero, showed interest in th’ pale wolf. Don’t look away, Fero. I’ve seen yer eyes on Randa when you think no one’s lookin’.’

At this comment, Fero looked embarrassed and Randa looked annoyed, but Thadora continued, ‘So I wanted ter look at th’ damn poem again, right? Here is ’ow I sees it. Th’ wolf pack in th’ poem is us. OK? I’ll ignore th’ first verse as I don’t know what that means. Th’ second starts to describe th’ wolves. “The one whose pride comes with her” is Randa. Hey, you are rather proud an’ ’aughty yer know, Randa, and th’ “one who slips through every loop” puzzled me at first, but I think it’s me. I seem to allus manage ter get away when some bleedin’ person is on me track for some damn scrape or other.

‘Now the “wilful one” I think is Asphodel, right? You told us you ’ad to leave ’Ambara because you ’ad annoyed the bleedin’ Great Father o’ th’ temple by disobeyin’ orders because yer didn’t agree wi’ them. That’s wilful! And “tracker” is obviously Fero, OK?’ She paused for breath and looked round at them.

They were all looking at her with interest.

‘“The leader” is Carthinal, right?’ she continued. ‘You seem to ’ave a ’idden anger too, Sometimes not so idden, either, Carthinal, so that fits in wi’ “with his anger held.” “The ones who hunt the horse” are Davrael and Kimi, though strictly speaking you don’t ’unt ’orses, but ’erd ’em; and finally, Basalt is “the rock that’s strong.” Basalt is, I think, a rock. Is it strong?

‘I’ve not got no further wi’ th’ meanin’ o’ th’ first verse, but th’ last obviously means that we must stick t’gether and be as a wolf pack.’

‘Maybe,’ said Basalt sceptically, ‘but it could just be coincidence, couldn’t it?’

‘I think Thadora is right,’ Randa disagreed, surprisingly agreeing with Thadora and earning a sharp look from Basalt, and a murmur of ‘Of course. Never do to agree with a dwarf!’

‘Basalt, don’t be like that,’ whispered Kimi. ‘She’s a right to voice her own opinion.’

The dwarf stopped grumbling and sat scowling to himself instead.

Randa continued, ‘Look at it this way then. We were unsure as to how many of us there should be. This poem makes that quite clear. There should be eight of us. It makes it clear who should be here.’ Here she threw a glance at Carthinal and Basalt who had been reluctant to have her in the group at first. ‘Those wolves that Thadora and Fero were watching served to jog Thadora’s mind about the poem and to set her thinking. Yes, I agree that it refers to us, and someone has put those wolves where we would see them. Everything seems to be happening rather too conveniently for it all to be accidental.’

Asphodel had been thinking as well. ‘The first verse,’ she said slowly, frowning as she spoke, ‘refers to the Balance. Some clerics believe that in order for the world to work, there must be a balance between good and evil. Just as there is night and day, so we can sleep at night and wake in the daytime refreshed for our daily tasks. We, it seems must maintain the Balance and to do so, we must cross borders and travel far.’

‘And last verse say we must “Work as one and keep our vow,” and look out for each other. Much like wolf pack. But we have make no vows, do we?’ This came from Davrael. ‘Well, not all to whole group.’ He looked at Kimi as he spoke of vows, and smiled.

‘Well, that can be remedied,’ Carthinal spoke for the first time in the discussion. ‘We have a representative of the gods here.’ He gestured towards Asphodel. ‘I’m willing to swear to protect you and treat you as the brothers and sisters I never had.’

The others agreed, and they all stood in front of Asphodel.

Carthinal thought for a few seconds and then said, ‘I think I have the words. I will let you decide if they are appropriate before we swear.’

When they had heard his thoughts, the others concurred and he said, ‘I will be as the wolves, and learn from them how to live for the pack. I will put the good of the pack before my own good, and protect the other members to the best of my ability. I will follow my destiny wherever it may lead, and through whatever dangers may befall, serving the pack and the land in all things. This I swear, and may the gods hear my vow.’

The all agreed that the words were good, and then they all joined hands and repeated them.

Then Thadora said, impulsively, ‘We are Wolf.’ and the others repeated her words.

So was born Wolf, from a group of unlikely companions, sworn to each other and to the world.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from The Wolf Pack. If you would like to read more about Wolf and their exploits, you can buy the book by clicking here or on the cover in the sidebar. It will take you to Amazon where you are.

The Wolf Pack is available in a number of different formats, including audio.

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the Stones of fire and water is free.

After finding the gems associated with the worlds of Earth and Air, Pettic needs to enter the final two Elemental Worlds to find the gems of Fire and Water.

In these two worlds, as before, he has to preform a task to help the inhabitants before the jewel will reveal its whereabouts.

But when he has found these gems, how can he rescue his friend, the Crown Prince of Ponderia? First, though, he needs to find the two missing gems.

In Ignis, the land of fire, he finds the magical creatures are having fewer and fewer offspring. Can he help them and find out the cause? And what can he do about it?

In Aqua, the land of water, he meets merfolk who have a problem. Their leader is dying because his magic staff has been stolen. Can Pettic find this staff and the culprit before it is too late?

I am pleased to say that the same narrator who narrated the audio version of The Stones of Earth and Air has agreed to narrate this book, too. He has finished the narration, and it is now with the publisher. I hope it won’t be too long before it’s available.

In the meantime, for those of you who can’t wait, the ebook version of The Stones of Fire and Water is FREE on Amazon from tomorrow (14th June) until Thursday 18th June.

Click on the link now, before you forget or you’ll miss this opportunity.
You can get your book by clicking on the title, or the cover in the sidebar or the text.. This will take you to Amazon where you are.

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