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Carthinal’s Story Part 3

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“I’m not moving from here until I see the lawyer.” Carthinal set his mouth in a straight line.

The woman stood and rounded her desk. She took Carthinal by the arm and tried to propel him to the door. He planted his feet onto the ground and pulled back. The woman slipped and almost fell. She cried out.
A door behind the woman’s desk opened. “What’s all the noise about, Hiroma?” Then he caught sight of Carthinal. His face reddened and his hands formed fists at his side. He iseyes glam]nced from side to side.
“What do you want?” he growled.
Carthinal’s mouth formed a firm line. “I want my house back.”

 

“What are you talking about, boy? You are, what? thirteen years old? How can an thirteen-year-old have a house? Go back to your parents.”
“I have no parents. And I’m seventeen.”
Gromblo Grimnor laughed. “Seventeen? Seventeen? I’ve seen taller twelve-year-olds than you. Don’t try to kid me. Now, what do you really want? And who sent you? Do you want money? If you’re in some gang, they’ve not done very well with this scam.”
“You know who I am.” Carthinal looked Gromblo in the eye. “I am Carthinal. My Grandfather was Kendo Borlin. He left his house and money to me. He told me so.”
Gromblo narrowed his eyes. “So that’s your game. Trying to impersonate Carthinal. Well, I have to tell you that Carthinal is dead. He died of pneumonia last year. Some say his death was the cause of his Grandfather’s illness. That the old man never recovered from the shock. So,. You see, you can’t be Carthinal.” The lawyer laughed.
“I’m not dead. I’m here. And I want to know why you stole my home.”
Gromblo turned to Hiroma. “Go and call the Guard. We need to get this child out of here.”
As she left, Carthinal felt a tightness in his chest, and a familiar feeling welling up from his stomach. Clenching his fists, he ran at Gromblo and kicked him in the shins. The lawyer yelled, hopped on one leg for a few seconds and lunged at Carthinal, who slipped beneath his arm. Steadying himself on the wall behind the bench where Carthinal had been sitting, he turned and, with a roar, launched himself once more at the child. This time he managed to catch Carthinal’s arm. Carthinal bit the hand holding him, but Gromblo managed to hang on to the boy.
Carthinal screamed at the man. “I’m not dead. I’m here, and you’ve stolen my home and my money.”
The door opened and Hiroma appeared with a guard.
“What’s going on here?” the guard asked.
“This little rat is trying to say he’s Kendo Borlin’s grandson. You know, the head of the guilds, who died last year. I think he’s trying to get money from me.”
“Too right I am. You owe me a fortune.”
Gromblo turned to the guard. “See what I mean? I grant you he looks a bit like Carthinal, with the red hair and blue eyes, but that child is dead.”
“Do you have proof of the child’s death?”
Carthinal looked at the guard. He had not thought of that. There could not be anything to prove the demise of Carthinal. He stood right here in front of them, very much alive.
Gromblo turned to Hiroma. “Go and get the Borlin file.”
The young woman left, to return a few minutes later with a thick file. Gromblo took it and laid it on his secretary’s desk.
He fumbled through a lot of papers then pulled one out. “I did a lot of work for Kendo Borlin “Aah! Here’s the paper giving details of Carthinal’s death. Very sad it was. A lovely little boy. Such a sweet nature.”
Carthinal frowned. He had hardly seen Gromblo when he visited. Neither had he ever heard himself described as having a ‘sweet nature’. He had been too much of a rebel and short-tempered for that epithet to be applied.
The guard looked at the paper. He frowned. “Looks as if the name could have been scrubbed out.”
Gromblo paled. “Well, you know how it is. Secretaries aren’t like they used to be.” He flashed a look at Hiroma who started tapping her feet. “I expect she made a spelling mistake or something.”
The guard grunted. Carthinal thought he saw something pass between the guard and Gromblo as the guard passed the paper back, but he could not be sure. Then the guard grabbed him and propelled him towards the door, pushing him so that Carthinal rolled over in the dust in the road.
“Get out of here.” The guard gave him another push, but more gently this time. “I don’t want to see you anywhere near here in future. That lawyer’s sneaky, not like the old man who used to be there. He’ll try to do you harm if I’m not mistaken.”
With that, the guard stomped away, looking at something in his hand.
Carthinal watched as the guard disappeared round the corner of a building. What did he mean? Did he mean he believed Carthinal and not Gromlo? He made his way back to the park where he had slept. He sat on the grass and pulled out what money he had left. As he counted it, a shadow loomed over him. Carthinal looked up. A boy of about fifteen stood over him, with another standing just behind.
“Hand over your money.”
Carthinal jumped to his feet, stuffing the coins back into his pocket. “No! Why should I?”
The boy was much bigger than Carthinal. In fact, he stood a head taller, and he was broad-shouldered. His friend was a little smaller, but not by much.
“Because if you don’t, we’ll punch you until you drop it, then we’ll get it anyway. Your choice.”
Carthinal backed away, keeping his eyes on both boys as best he could, and his hand on the coins in his pocket. If he gave these thugs his money, he would have nothing to buy food with. He would starve.
They both came at him at once. Being smaller, Carthinal managed to duck under both their hands, but then he felt a blow on the back of his head. He went down, but kicked out his feet as he did so. The second boy, as luck would have it, happened to be coming in for another blow and Carthinal’s kick took both his legs from under him. He crashed down on top of his victim.
The first boy dragged his friend off but the blow Carthinal expected did not happen. He looked up to see his assailant held in a firm grip by another, even larger boy, while a smaller one pummeled the second.
Carthinal’s nostrils flared and he clenched his fists. How dare these young thugs try to steal his money. Taking advantage of the fact that he was held, he bunched his fist and slammed it into the midriff of the larger of his two assailants. The boy holding him swung him round and punched him as well. Gasping for breath, he took off, running as fast as his legs could carry him.
The smaller of the two new arrivals dipped and dodged and got in quite a lot of blow without being hit himself, but as soon as his opponent saw his friend running, he, too, turned on his heels and fled.
Panting, the smaller of his rescuers turned to Carthinal. “Right. ’oo are yer and what’re yer doin’ on our patch?”
Carthinal frowned. “Patch? I don’t understand.”
“Yer not part o’ our gang, and yer not part o’ Th’ Green Fish, either. So oo are yer?”
“Green Fish?”
The boy frowned and ran his fingers through his dark hair. “Start by tellin’ me oo yer are. Bull,’old ’im t’ make sure ’e don’t run for it. Right. We’ve never seen you ’ere before. Tell me oo yer are.”
“I’m Carthinal Borlin. I live, or rather used to live, up on the hill.”
“A rich kid,” growled Bull. “Let’s kick ’im.”
“I’m not a rich kid anymore.”
The smaller boy put his head on one side. “What d’yer mean, ‘anymore’?”
“The lawyer has taken my home and said I’m dead. He had a paper to prove it.”
Bull released Carthinal’s arms. “What d’yer think, Cat? Let him go?”
Cat shook his head. “’e’s not part o’ Green Fish. We can’t ’ave ’im wanderin’ round operatin’ on ’is own. We’ll take ’im to ’eadquarters.”
Carthinal did not know what they were talking about, but as he had no other ideas as to what he could do, he followed the pair.
They led him to an area Carthinal had never been before. Near to the docks, it was very run down. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of rotting food lying in the gutters, and carefully skirted other unmentionable things. A skinny dog barked at them as they passed, and half-starved cats jumped onto walls. Dirty children ran wild in the streets, and people looked suspiciously at Carthinal’s expensive, if dirty, clothes.
They came to a dark alley where his escorts turned off the main road and arrived at a door whose paint had mostly peeled off. Cat knocked a complex pattern and the door opened a crack. Just enough for Carthinal to see a grey eye peering out.
“Oh, it’s you.” The voice was female. Carthinal saw the eye turn to him. “Oo’s this?”
“Someone oo might want ter join us. Come on, Shrew. Open up. We need to see Rooster.”
The door creaked on its hinges as Shrew swung it back. The three entered into a long corridor.
Carthinal looked around. Inside it appeared cleaner than outside. The wooden planks on the floor had been polished and the walls looked clean and painted.
“Come on. Rooster’ll want ter see yer.” Shrew beckoned them towards a door at the end of the corridor.
Carthinal followed and found himself in a large room. Several small tables scattered around with a few people sitting at them. Some played Rond, a card game popular on Vimar. Others sat around talking or mending clothes and tools.
Light streamed in through two large windows opposite the door. As with everything else, they were clean and polished. A large table stood under one of the windows, and a man sat on a large chair behind it.
He stood as the three entered the room. He was dressed in a tunic of red and blue, with green trousers. He had his hair dyed red and it stood up. His nose was long and he craned his neck forward as he looked at them.
“What’s this you’ve brought?”
“We found ’im. Green Fish attacked ’im,” the boy known as The Cat replied. “Well, a couple of ’em, anyway. They were on our patch, so we saw ’em off.”
“Why bring ’im ’ere? ’e looks like one o’ them rich bods.”
“’e was, but ’e was cheated of ’is ’ouse, ’e sez.”
The Rooster came round the table. He walked all round Carthinal, looking him up and down. Carthinal shuffled his feet as he watched the man.
He does look like a rooster, Carthinal thought. He even walks like one.
When he returned to face Carthinal, The Rooster turned to him. “The Cat says you might want t’join us. What d’you say?”
Carthinal looked around the room. All eyes looked in his direction, and a few people had left their places and now stood around looking at him.
He turned his eyes at the person referred to as The Cat. “I never said that!”
The small, dark-haired boy grinned. “Not in so many words, no. But you were on our patch. You’ll be stealin’ soon. You steal on our patch, you better be in The Beasts or we’ll deal wi’ you like we did Green Fish”
“Who says I’ll steal? Stealing’s wrong.”
The Rooster stood up from the table and approached. “’ow much money ‘ave you, boy? You say you got no ’ome. Your money’ll run out soon. Then you’ll steal to live. You can join us or not. Up to you, but if you don’t, expect us to sort you out like we sorted Green Fish. You’ll not survive long. Green Fish’ll be after you, too. You join The Beasts and we’ll give you food, protection and a ’ome.”
Carthinal stood looking at the young man in front of him. What he said was true. He closed his eyes as he thought.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you.” The Rooster interrupted his thoughts. “We hold everything in common. You have to give us what you have.”
Carthinal stepped back. “I only have a little money left. You can’t take that.”
The Rooster shrugged. “Have it your own way.” He turned to go back to his chair. Then he stopped and looked back at Carthinal. “We’ll get th’ money anyway. One of us’ll catch you and take it. Pr’ob’ly beat you a bit, too, ’cos you’ll be on or patch, see. So you lose it anyway.”
“All right.” Carthinal felt in his pocket and pulled out his few royals, He handed it to The Rooster.
“Sensible lad.” The Rooster took the money and called to a young man sitting by the window. “Tiger, bring th’ money pot. We’ve a bit more ter put in it.”
Tiger lifted a pot from one of the shelves and carried it carefully over to The Rooster, who dropped Carthinal’s money into it.
“You need a name,” one of the girls said.
“I’m called Carthinal”
“No, a gang name. We don’t use our given names here. As we’re the Beasts, we all have animal names. I’m The Porcupine.”
Another boy chimed up, “I know. ’e’s got red ’air. ‘e can be The Fox.”

So Carthinal has joined a street gang! Will he be able to fit in? What will he think about committing crimes?

Find out on the first Tuesday of August.

Are you enjoying the story of Carthinal’s early life? Please let me know what you think in the comments.

If you want to know more about Carthinal, you can find out by reading The Wolf Pack. You can buy by clicking here, or on the book cover.

 

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Carthinal’s Story. Part 1

I’ve posted something about the people in the Wolves of Vimar series. I have now started writing about Carthinal. At the beginning of The Wolf Pack, Book 1 in The Wolves of Vimar series, he is an apprentice mage. During that book, he becomes a full mage, having taken his tests that ended his apprenticeship.

He is a good-looking half-elf, with auburn hair and incredibly deep blue eyes, almost indigo. He is ambitious in magic, and with his good looks, females of all ages tend to pursue him. He does not discourage them.

In this, part 1, of his story, he is sixteen, but, being a half-elf, his development, both physical and mental, are more that of a boy of twelve.

So let’s begin his story.

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Carthinal dragged his feet as he entered the house accompanied by his nanny, Blendin.
He had just returned from his grandfather’s funeral. The old man had passed away suddenly the previous week. Before that, he had seemed full of life. Carthinal could not understand what had happened. His grandfather was the only relative he had in Bluehaven, his parents and his grandmother having died.
His father had been an elf, and so, although sixteen and nominally now of age, Carthinal’s development was slower than true humans and he appeared in both physical and mental development to be a young boy of eleven years old.
The house felt empty, devoid of life. Carthinal went into the garden at the back of the house. He sat on his swing and swung idly back and forwards. What would happen to him now? Would they send him to his father’s people in Rindisillaron? It was a long way away, and he had no recollection of his paternal grandparents, although they had been in Bluehaven when he had been born.
He looked at the house. He heard the laughter of his grandmother, and his grandfather’s deep voice. He even thought he heard his mother calling to him, although both his parents had been dead for the past eight years. He jumped off the swing and picked up a stick.
Slashing at the plants in the garden gave him a little satisfaction. “Why did they all die and leave me?”
Blendin came out and found him still destroying the garden. “Come, master Carthinal. This won’t help. You need to come in and have something to eat.”
“Shan’t! I’m not hungry” He slashed at a tulip.
“What have those poor flowers done to you? You know you’ll be sorry once you’ve calmed down a bit.”
“I don’t want to go back into the house. There’s no one there. It ‘s dead. Just like Mother and Father, Grandmother and Grandfather.”
Blendin sat down on a bench and pulled the boy towards her, holding him tight. “This is now your house, Carthinal. Your grandfather left it to you in his will. You are a rich young man. If you no longer want to live here, you can sell it, I suppose, and buy somewhere else.”
Looking into the boy’s indigo eyes, Blendin saw the deep hurt he felt. She brushed his auburn hair from his face and gently led him back to the house.
The servants worked as usual. Carthinal’s grandfather had arranged that money should be sent to Promin, the butler, who then paid the other servants. Carthinal had his meals in the nursery with Blendin, although Premin had said that as the master of the house he should eat in the dining room. Carthinal could not bring himself to eat alone in that large room.
The days passed. Gromblo Grimnor, the lawyer who dealt with his grandfather’s affairs, appeared frequently at the house.
Carthinal found him snooping around in his grandfather’s study one day.
“What are you doing?” the boy asked him, frowning. “Why are you here? You’ve been coming a lot recently.”
Gromblo Grimnor smiled. With his mouth, anyway. He looked Carthinal up and down. “There are a lot of loose ends to tidy up, child. I need to come here to find things out.”
Although sixteen, Carthinal had always been treated as a child, and so he turned and left the lawyer to do what he needed to do. The law did not know what to do about a boy whose chronological age said he was an adult, but whose development said he was a child.
Eventually, he went out every day to walk around the town. Sometimes he stayed out all day. He hated being in the house. He felt so alone. He considered going back to the school his grandfather had sent him, but they, like everyone else, did not want a sixteen-year-old who looked and behaved like and eleven-year-old. His grandfather’s money had kept him there, but now, they didn’t want him.
Visits by Gromblo Grimnor increased. Carthinal asked Promin why the lawyer was there so often. The butler shrugged and shook his head.

Blendin had no idea either. “I don’t know the workings of the law,” she told him. “Perhaps it’s because your grandfather died so suddenly, or perhaps because he was so well off. Or it might even be because of you. You are an adult in Grosmer law, but still a child, really. That’s a bit confusing for the lawyers.”

What was Gromblo doing? Will Carthinal find out? Come back on the first Tuesday of June to find out.

Please leave a comment in the comments box and say how you like this story. Or even if you didn’t. That’s helpful, too.

Another Chance at a Freebie.

theneverdyingman

From tomorrow, April 15th, the second book in The Wolves of Vimar Series, The Never-Dying Man, is FREE for 5 days only. The offer ends on Friday 19th April.

Hurry and get your copy before it’s too late. You can get it by clicking on the title or the book cover. You will be taken to its Amazon page where you are.

You can also get Book 1, The Wolf Pack, by clicking here,

thewolfpack1

and Book 3, Wolf Moon, here.

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader
On Tuesday, I will be hosting a new member of the Creativia family. Sean Robbins has his very first book on pre-order. It is a scifi tale, so especially if you are a fan of that genre, don’t forget to come around and find out more about Sean and his book. It sound interesting.

How a farmer’s son became the companion of a Prince

This is a chapter at the beginning of Elemental Worlds. At least, it was going to be the first chapter, but I decided to eliminate it. It tells how Pettic, the son of a farmer, came to be the friend and companion of Crown Prince Torren of Pondoria.

Later on, Pettic needs to put his own life in danger when the prince is kidnapped.

The-Stones-Of-Earth-And-Air-Promo-Hardback-EreaderThe-Stones-Of-Fire-And-Water-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Pettic woke up early. It was still dark, but he could hear his mother moving around in the downstairs room. Today they would have to get their chores done early. Today they were going to take the two day journey to the capital city of Ponderia.
Pettic had never been to Glitton. In fact he had never been further than a half day’s journey from the farm his parents owned. This journey was to celebrate his thirteenth birthday.

 

He poked his little brother in the ribs. ‘Derkil, get up. We need to do our jobs quickly. Don’t forget today is the day we’re going to Glitton.’
Eleven-year-old Derkil rolled over and opened his eyes, then closed them and rolled back.
‘Derkil, come on, get up!’
At that, Derkil opened his eyes wide and laughed. ‘Did you think I’d forget, Pettic? I’ve not been to Glitton either, remember.’
With that, the younger boy jumped up and dressed quickly. The two boys climbed down the ladder leading from their loft bedroom into the main room of the cottage.
Their mother was preparing breakfast and packing a large hamper to take with them. ‘Come on, boys,’ she exclaimed when she saw them. ‘Go and get your jobs done. Your father’s milking the cows today, so I can pack the food we’re taking, but the chickens need feeding, the sheep watering and checking over, the dogs and cats fed and the horse harnessed to the wagon.’
Their father, Brimar, was pulling down hay for the two cows to eat while they were being milked when the boys appeared. ‘Get on as quickly as you can, lads,’ he called. ‘I want to be on the way as soon after sunrise as possible.’
‘When will Yelldon be coming?’ Pettic asked.
Yelldon was a neighbour who had handed over the running of the family farm to his son the previou year. He was still an active man, though, and agreed to look after the farm while the family were away.
‘At dawn, he said,’ replied Pettic’s father. ‘I want to be ready to leave as soon as I’ve told him what’s what.’
The two boys ran to their tasks and finished before the sun poked its head over the horizon. Yelldon arrived soon afterwards. Being an experienced farmer, he did not need much instruction. It was more a case of telling him where things were.
‘Are you ready Helra?’ the boy’s father called impatiently to their mother. Pettic could swear his parents were as excited as he was about the coming visit.
Helra came out brushing a lock of her long chestnut hair from her eyes. ‘Just making sure everything is left tidy.’ She climbed onto the wagon to sit next to her husband on the driver’s seat and they trotted out of the farmyard about half an hour after Yelldon had arrived.
They drove through through familiar land for the first half-day until they reached the village of Prind. The land around was fertile and quite flat and much was produced. Here they came each week to the market to sell any surplus produce and buy things they did not produce themselves. People came from the towns around too and not only produce was exchanged, but news too.
They called in at the local tavern and bought some lunch and exchanged comments with the various friends and acquaintances gathered there before continuing onwards.
The boys found this second part of the journey much more exciting, and, truth to tell so did the adults the adults. The land began to rise into rolling downland as they left the plains behind. Here the farming was predominantly sheep. As it was summer, the spring lambs were growing quickly and many had been rounded up to go to the markets.
The first day ended with the family approaching the town of Clind Row. This town seemed like a huge metropolis to the boys who had never before seen anywhere bigger than their village. In fact, it was quite a small town.
They found an inn for the night and as soon as Brimar ensured their horse was well stabled, the family went into the inn and had a hot meal. Brimar struck up a conversation with one of the locals and stayed down drinking ale, but Helra and the boys went up to their room. Pettic wanted to stay down with his father, but Helra had insisted he was still too young, thirteen in two days or not.
The next day was much the same as the previous one, except they ate the food Helra had packed rather than eat in inns or taverns.
About an hour before sunset, a city appeared over the horizon.
‘Is that Glitton?’ asked Pettic.
‘Yes, that’s the capital city,’ replied Brimar. ‘That is unless I’ve taken the wrong road somewhere,’ He winked at his wife.
‘Oh, no,’ wailed Dirkil. ‘Could you have done that? What happens if it’s the wrong place?’
‘Stop teasing the boys,’ scolded Helra with a smile. She turned to Dirkil. ‘Yes, it’s Glitton.

There is only one road to the capital. Even your father can’t get that wrong.’
Brimar aimed a friendly punch at his wife who ducked, laughing.
The little party soon passed through the gates of the capital city. All four of them looked around in wonder. Here the houses were built of stone and looked huge to the country folk. The roads, too, were paved and not the muddy tracks they had known in the villages around their farm. There were churches with tall spires or towers that looked as if they were trying to reach the heavens, so tall did they seem.
They found an inn and asked if they had rooms, but were told all were taken due to something called “The Proclamation”.
The innkeeper sent them off down a side road to a smaller inn. ‘It’s clean and does good food, but it’s not so fashionable as this one, although I say it myself. They may have space for a family if you don’t mind sharing a room.’
That turned out to be the case they booked the room for a week and unloaded their things. A groom took their wagon into the coach-house and their horse to the stables. Brimar was secretly glad the other inn was full. This inn was, as they had been told, small, but it was clean and the landlord friendly. It was also cheaper than the other one, an important consideration for the country folk.
They ordered a meal and this time took it in their room. They were all tired after travelling and so they went to bed early. Being used to going to bed with the sun and rising with it too, it was no hardship.
The next morning, Helra told the boys to put on their best clothes. She had insisted they were going to the big city, home to the king, and so they should look their best.
Dirkil protested. ‘But mother, it’s not as though the king or anyone important will see us. My best clothes are so-o uncomfortable.’
Helra insisted, however, and as usual she got her way.
Shortly after they had eaten, and Helra had inspected the boys (and incidentally, her husband too) they set off to look at the city. It was huge. No one in the family had ever been in such a big place. It was busy too, and noisy. On every street corner, it seemed, there was someone selling something. Flowers here, sweetmeats there, pies too. They entered a square where a market was in full swing. The stall-holders cried their wares, calling to passers-by to look at what they had for sale. The scents of food and flowers filled the air. The boys wanted to stop and look at the wares, but their father hurried them on.
‘Why can’t we stop to look?’ asked Pettic.
‘We’ll look another time,’ replied Brimar. ‘We have a week here, after all. I thought we’d begin by looking at the palace. Today, I believe, they’ve opened it to the public because it’s the Prince’s thirteenth birthday.’
‘Just like you, Pettic,’ pointed out Dirkil.
‘Oh, I hadn’t noticed,’ replied his brother, sarcastically. ‘I thought we were here to see the king!’
They passed through some inner gates into the oldest part of the city. Here the houses were even bigger and the place looked tidy and well kept. The streets were clean and the windows of the houses were polished. Helra surreptitiously peeped into one of the windows as they passed.
‘It’s beautiful inside,’ she whispered.
They came to the palace gates and were admitted. After crossing a large courtyard with a variety of buildings in it, they arrived at the main doors and were ushered into a large hall. There were chairs in this hall as if there were going to be some kind of ceremony. The ceiling had flags hanging from it. Brimar told the boys they were the emblems of all the nobility and knights who would be called on to fight for their country in times of war. The ceiling itself had large wooden beams and the walls were covered with tapestries, mainly scenes of warfare and hunting.
Several families filled the room, all with at least one boy around Pettic’s age. Some sat on the chairs and some walked around looking at everything there was to see. Those on the chairs were looking bored as though they had seen it all before, which they may have done because they were all richly dressed. Their parents were talking quietly together as if they had known each other for a long time. These were obviously noble families, but what were they waiting for? That they were waiting for something was obvious.
After looking around at the tapestries, and Helra admiring the fine stitching, Brimar suggested they sit down ‘for a rest’.
Dirkil protested he did not want a rest. He was not tired. Why could they not go and look at somewhere else. They had seen this place now.
‘Your mother needs to sit down for a while,’ Brimar responded.
Pettic looked at his mother. She did not look in the least bit tired. What was his father up to? Anyway, he needed to go to pass water. He had been holding it in for quite a while now, and he was getting desperate. He whispered to his father who went to one of the guards standing around the room and asked.
‘Come with me, young man,’ the guard told Pettic, and walked off through a door on the opposite side of the room from where they had entered.
Pettic followed and the guuard took him down a number of corridors until they came to a door.
‘In there is the garderobe,’ said the guard. ‘I need to be in the Great Hall now and so I trust you can find your way back. If you get lost, just ask one of the servants. There are usually plenty around.’
With that, he walked off leaving Pettic in front of the garderobe door.
When he had finished, Pettic left the garderobe and started back towards the Great Hall. After a while he found he had become quite lost. He was just beginning to panic when he spotted a young boy of about his age at the end of the passage.
‘Hey,’ he called, ‘I’m lost. I need to get back to the Great Hall. Can you tell me which way to go, please?’
The boy stopped and looked round. He came down the corridor towards Pettic.
He was about the same height as Pettic but with dark hair whereas Pettic’s was fair. He had brown eyes and was wearing a dark blue jerkin over a maroon shirt. Pettic knew these were the royal colours so he assumed this boy was one of the royal attendants.
‘I can show you the way back. I’m not wanted for a while yet,’ the boy answered.
‘Thank you very much,’ Pettic said. ‘I suppose you work here. Are you some kind of page, doing your training?’
The boy smiled. ‘Yes. I am in training.What do you do?’
‘My father’s a farmer in a village two days’ drive away. We only have a small farm, but we do have two cows,’ He drew himself up a little as he said this. ‘Not many farmers have a cow. They get their milk from goats. My mother makes butter and cheese from the extra milk. It tastes different from goats’ cheese and butter.’
‘Yes, I know,’ the boy answered. ‘I’ve had cows’ cheese and milk. I prefer it to goats’.’
Pettic was pleased to meet someone who liked the cows’ milk and cheese. Most of his friends preferred the goats’ but that was mainly because that was what they were used to.
The pair chatted on as they wended their way back to the Great Hall. Pettic learned about life in the palace and the boy learned about Pettic’s life on the farm.
When they reached the door to the Great Hall the boy said, ‘It sounds a great life, living on a farm. So free. I loved the story you told about falling out of the tree you were climbing. I’m not allowed to climb trees.’
With that, he ran back the way he came and Pettic entered the great Hall once more.
His parents had been getting anxious about him and were pleased to see him back. He told them about getting lost and meeting the trainee page and how the boy had shown him back to the Hall.
‘I think we should tell him why we are here, don’t you, Brimar,’ Helra said suddenly.
Pettic looked at his mother and frowned. ‘We’re here for my birthday, aren’t we?’
‘Yes, dear, of course, but there’s something else too. Now I don’t expect it will come to anything, but the king sent out a proclamation a few weeks ago. Crown Prince Torren is thirteen today, just like you and all the other boys here today.’
Pettic frowned. His father continued. ‘The king sent a proclamation to ask if any boy with a birthday on the same day as the Prince would care to come to the palace today, then the prince would choose one of them to be his friend and companion. So here we are.’
Just then, the first of the boys was called and he stood and went through a door at the far end of the room.
‘Mother, Father,’ Pettic said. ‘This is ridiculous. You know one of the nobles’ sons will get it. We should go now before we’re embarrassed.’
‘No, son,’ Brimar insisted. ‘We’ve come this far and I don’t intend to leave until you’ve at least seen the prince. The king has said he’ll leave the interviewing and choice entirely to Prince Torren. It’s said the prince is not in the slightest snobbish and I think everyone here stands a chance.’
Pettic sighed. The boy who had been in to see the prince came out and another boy went in.
This went on for a while until Pettic’s name was called. He stood and looked at his parents for help. His mother gave him a little push and he crossed the room towards the little door feeling as if all eyes were on him. (Which of course they were.)
He entered a small room. There was a large table in the centre and a window behind it. Pettic bowed to the pair seated on the other side of the table. A voice he recognised bade him be seated.
He looked up eyes widening as he saw the boy he had been so casually talking to, and whom he had unceremoniously asked for help. He could hardly believe he had been in the presence of Prince Torren and not known it.
Next to the prince was a man that could only be the king. He was a tall man with the same dark hair and brown eyes as his son, but he sported a well-trimmed beard. He looked a kind man and he smiled at Pettic to give him courage.
Prince Torren also smiled at Pettic. ‘Well, Pettic, we meet again. I hope you won’t hold it against me for not telling you who I am. I’ve so little chance of talking to someone not of my family, who doesn’t treat me as different.’
‘N-no, Your Royal Highness.’
Prince Torren asked more questions about Pettic’s life on the farm. Pettic quickly relaxed and soon had both the prince and his father laughing at some of the tales he told. Eventually, though, Prince Torren told Pettic he had seen enough to make up his mind, and dismissed the other boy.
‘You were a long time in there,’ his mother said when he came across the hall to them. ‘I was wondering what was happening.’
Pettic smiled. ‘We were just talking, mother. Prince Torren is friendly. Did you know he showed me the way back from the garderobe when I got lost?’
‘What?,’ Dirkil said ‘You were talking to a real prince and didn’t know it? I’d have spotted him right off.’
‘I don’t think so. He looks normal and speaks normally too.’
It took a long time for all the boys to be interviewed. Derkin had been complaining for quite some time about being bored and Helra said she would take him out to look at the market. Thus it was that when the last boy came out, only a restless Pettic and his father were sitting waiting.
‘Why can’t we go and meet mother and Derkin, father?’ Pettic asked.’It’s not as if I’m likely to be chosen, is it? The prince’ll want someone from his own class as a companion.’
Brimar insisted they stay. They had come this far and they were not going to leave before they found out who the prince had chosen.
It was only about ten minutes after the last boy had come out that the prince and the king emerged from the little room. Everyone stood and bowed as the pair went to a platform next to the room where the interviews had been held. The king bade everyone to sit and took his place on the throne. Prince Torren stood next to his father, glanced once at him and then stepped forward.
‘I have made my decision,’ he began. ‘It was not an easy one. All of you had things to recommend you to me, but eventually I thought there is one of you I took to immediately.’ The prince paused and looked around the room. His eyes caught Pettic’s and held. ‘I would like to employ as my companion, and I hope my friend, Pettic.’
Pettic eyes scanned the room. There must be some mistake. There must be another Pettic here. But no, no one else was moving, and all eyes were on him.
The prince smiled and said, ‘Yes, Pettic, I’ve chosen you. Come up so everyone can see you.’

You can read about Pettic’s adventures in the four elemental worlds he has to enter in order to rescue his friend in The Stones of Earth and Air, then in The Stones of Fire and Water.

Click on the titles or book pictures to buy.

You can get the books as ebooks or as real books.

Here is something about the book.

After the Crown Prince of Ponderia starts behaving strangely, his best friend Pettic discovers that the prince has been replaced by a doppelganger, and the real prince kidnapped.

Unable to accept the loss of his friend, Prince Torren, nor the cruel impostor to become the new king, Pettic sets on a quest to rescue his friend. After he sees the fake prince meet a mysterious man, Pettic discovers that the prince has been imprisoned in another plane of existence.

With the help of Blundo, the court magician, Pettic finds out that the only way to enter this other world are four keys, each of them associated with a different element. As Pettic sets on his seemingly impossible quest, he discovers that the four lands that hold the keys are all vastly different… and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.#

Please leave a comment. I would love to know what you thnk about it. And if you buy the books, please leave a review. Reviews are important to authors and readers. They help to tell readers if they would like the book, and help the author to get sales and exposure for their hard work.

Thank you.

 

 

Spring. A Poem

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Dandelions, like gold, cover the meadows.
Newborn lambs frolic in fields.
New leaves on the trees are casting their shadows
And winter’s cold grip quickly yields.

At the edges of woodland the primroses glow
And cowslips their scent fills the air.
Anemones dance when the breezes do blow
And birds sing with never a care.

Then bluebells and campions come into bloom
Their colour the blue of the sea.
The cuckoo, that herald of spring, will come soon
His call echoing over the lea.

The song of the blackbird is like molten gold.
His notes are so pure and so clear.
Hearing him seems to banish the cold
And brings joy to all those who hear.

Robin is nesting, and other birds too,
The hedgehog is active once more.
The young of the deer and the badger and shrew
Play their games as in old days of yore.

The sun climbs higher and higher each day
Giving more of his heat and his light.
It sparkles like stars fallen into the bay.
All smile at the beautiful sight.

Hope and excitement come with each spring morn.
What blessings will come with this day?
New starts can begin once again with each dawn
And send us all hopeful away.

 

I hope you like  this spring poem. Please tell me what you think in the comments.

Vengeance of a Slave visits Mainz, Germany.

The city of Mainz, once known as Mogantiacum, was a Roman fort along the Rhine. It bordered Germania, on the other side of the river, which, in the time of Adelbehrt, the slave of the book’s title, was not part of the Roman empire, but of Germania.

When the Romans took him and Avelina, his sister, to sell as slaves, it was to Mogantiacum they went, along with several other captives.

Vengeance of a Slave is visiting Mainz today, and is in the market place.

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If you would like to find out more about Adelbehrt and how he got his revenge on the Romans, click here. It will take you to the book’s page at Amazon where you are.

You can find out more about my books by clicking on the ‘books’ tab, or you can go to my author page on Amazon by clicking here.

Or to find out more about me, click here to see my page on Creativia, who have published my fantasy novels.

I would love to hear from you, so please add a comment in the comments box.

2 offers

There are 2 offers today.

Vengeancecover

  1. Vengeance of a Slave, a novel set in Roman Britain, is on offer until Dec 26th. Save £1 and get it for only £1.99 (US $1.99). It tells of how a young man tries to take revenge on the Romans for capturing him and removing him from his family. Click on the cover to buy.
  2. The-Stones-Of-Earth-And-Air-Promo-Hardback-Ereader The Stones of Earth and Air, Book 1 of Elemental Worlds, will be free from 15th (Saturday) until 20th (Thursday). This tells of how Pettic has to enter 4 worlds, each associated with one of the ancient elements, in order to find and rescue his friend, the Crown Prince of Ponderia. In this book, he enters the worlds of Terra and Aeris.

Don’t miss the opportunity to get your copies free.

If you are getting someone a Kindle or other tablet for Christmas, and they like historical novels or fantasy, then you could give it them with one (or both) of these books already on it.

Will you please vote for the cover of Vengeance of a Slave in a cover competition. You can vote this week and I think next, too.

So many of the covers in the competition seem very samey. They all have people on them, often sexy people. Seems to me that’s the ‘in’  thing at the moment. Very little originality.  Anyway, please vote, and thanks for when you have.

Here’s the link.

November/December 2018 #AltRead Alternative Book Cover Award Nominees! Have you voted yet? #BookCover

An Update on my Writing

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I’m going to give you an update of my writing today.

I have been working on the next historical novel. I’ve completed the first draft, and it is currently undergoing some critiquing from a wonderful site I’ve found called Scribophile. I was hoping to get it out before Christmas, but it might be a bit longer than that.

It is called Jealousy of a Viking and is the story of a descendant of Adelbehrt from Vengeance of a Slave. She, Helgha, is a young Viking girl who falls in love with Erik, the son of a jarl from Jorvik, modern York.

Of course, true love does not run smoothly (no story if it does). They cannot marry because of the difference in their status. She becomes his mistress, but trouble starts when he marries to improve his family’s standing.

Her rival for Erik’s love has the advantage she is his legal wife and a feud begins between them. Which woman will win? Can Helgha find a way to be with Erik after all? Will her knowledge of herbs help her?

I’ve also been working on the next book in The Wolves of Vimar series. I lost a whole chunk of it somehow, and became a bit disheartened, then I found it. At least I thought I had, but a chunk from the middle is still missing and needs rewriting. Hey ho! That’s life. I suppose.

This book has no title as yet. In it, the group known as Wolf travel to Bluehaven and hence Holy Isle for the wedding of one of their number, Randa, to Prince Almoro, brother to the king. Then revolts occur in several cities, and Erian, the land bordering them, marches in and takes over several dukedoms, capturing the Duke of Senndolina.

Several of Wolf travel to try to rescue him, and Rollo, Duke of Hambara, sets off for Erian to try to talk peace with The Master.

That’s the next one to try to finish.

Free Book

theneverdyingmanFrom today, October 18th, The Never-Dying Man, Book 2 of The Wolves of Vimar Series, is FREE on Amazon.

It is only available for 5 days, until 22nd October, so hurry and get your copy.

Here is a bit about it.

After finding Sauvern’s Sword, the companions set off to help a friend rescue his child from kidnappers. Instead, they stray into Erian and find preparations for war. They are drafted into the Erian army but are recognized by an old enemy, who arrests some of them and takes them to Frelli, the capital of Erian, where they are put in jail.

The Master of Erian frees them and offers them work. Meanwhile, Carthinal has to face some unpleasant truths about himself. Is his desire to further his magical career more important than his friends and country? After they discover terrible truths about the Master and his magical research, they will need to escape in order to tell the leaders of Grosmer about the plans for war.

Why not get a copy of Books 1 and 2 as well? Click on the links to buy.

The Wolf Pack. Book 1

The Never-Dying Man. Book 2

Wolf Moon. Book 3

 

An Interview with Basalt Strongarm from The Wolf Pack

After much persuasion, I managed to get an interview with Basalt, the dwarf friend of Carthinal.

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Me: Good morning, Basalt. Thank you for giving me your time.

Basalt: Hmm! I’m very busy. I hope you don’t intend to be too long.

Me. No, this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Just trying to find a bit about you.

Basalt: Well, what do you want to know?

Me: You’ve lived in Grosmer for a long time, but you weren’t born here, were you?

Basalt: No, I was born in the Dwarven homeland of Graal. It’s at the southern end of the Western Mountains, you know. As far away from those flighty elves as we can get.

Me: But one of your friends is an elf, and another a half elf. Surely you can’t think all of them are flighty/

Basalt: Did I say I thought of them all as flighty? Of course not. Asphodel and Carthinal are just normal folks. So is Yssa. But they will give their children such unpronounceable names.

Me, smiling: So you are not against all elves, then?

Basalt: It’s not me you should be worrying about, but the other dwarves who still think like that. I’m willing to accept that elves, like dwarves and people, have all kinds of folk.

Me: Tell me about your early life,

Basalt: I was my parents’ second child. My brother, Schist, is much older than I am. My parents, Granite and Emerald, had given up hope of another child, then I came along. I guess they spoiled me because of it.

Me: How did Schist react to your birth.

Basalt: He was very good to me. He played with me, looked after me when my parents were down the mine and we got on very well.

Me: Why did you leave Graal then?

Basalt: Everything was fine until my parents were killed in a mine collapse. Then Schist took over the running of the mine. (It belonged to my parents, see). We were supposed to be joint owners, but then she came along.

Me: She?

Basalt: Opal. She set her sights at him when she realised he would be part owner of the mine and rich. They got married, and gradually she poisoned him against me. They gave me all the worst and most dangerous jobs.

Me: But if Schist was so fond of you, how could she manage to turn him.

Basalt: Well, when our parents died, I was still only a little whippersnapper. I’d only just started my apprenticeship. Opal argued that as I was not a qualified miner, and had not worked to build up the mine as had Schist, then it was unfair that I should have equal shares with him. Somehow she managed to convince him. I think she hoped that by giving me dangerous jobs she hoped I’d be killed. So I left.

Me: And made your way to Grosmer where, I believe, you learned the trade of metalworking.

Basalt nodded: And I’ve never regretted it. I love working with metal–making beautiful things as well as useful ones. I also taught myself to carve wood, I make toys for my friends’ children, and I made an amulet for each member of The Wolf Pack, indicating their character as well as showing they are members.

Me: Well, I’ll let you get back to your work. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Basalt: Well, I’ll be off. Work to finish. Goodbye.