In-the-Harem Blog was kind enough to give me a Guest Appearance. It is located at http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/in_the_harem/2015/06/mandrean-necromancer-by-rival-gates.html There is an excerpt there as well. Check it out!
Travtasy Blog has been kind enough to do a feature on “Mandrean Revenge” It has excerpts from the book. You can check it out at http://bit.ly/1Lx68Il Enjoy!
“Linvin,” he called out as he moved up beside his leader. “Might I have a word with you?”
Linvin was trying to bite a nearly frozen piece of jerky. “Do I have a choice?” Linvin replied.
Rander looked back at the others who’d moved close enough to hear. He could see they supported his questioning of Linvin and proceeded. “Ever since we left the depot you have been a changed man. To be honest, you have been insensitive and even ill tempered. Surely you have noticed these things. My question to you is why have you changed?”
“My job is to get you all out of here alive, and that is what I am doing,” Linvin snapped at Rander. “If that means your breakfast is inconvenienced, that is your misfortune.”
“It is more than breakfast,” Rander said as he held his ground. “You run us ragged and resist any attempt to conceal our presence when you previously went to extremes to hide us. We travel the main road when there are adequate paths through the vineyards. As someone who is obnoxious, I can easily tell when someone else is behaving in that way. Stop treating us like children and tell us what you are thinking.”
Linvin held up his fist and brought the procession to a halt. He looked at the others and asked sternly, “Is this how you all feel?”
Anvar spoke. “Perhaps ‘obnoxious’ was a strong word to use but you must admit your behavior has been ill-mannered the last few days. There is something weighing on your mind, My Boy. It must be something most dire for you to drive us like you have done.”
Linvin pursed his lips and accepted the criticism far better from his uncle. “So be it,” he said at last. He dismounted and pulled Falconfeather from its scabbard. He stuck the end in the dirt beside the road. Pulling it along, he drew a straight line. The others stepped down and came over to watch as Linvin continued to make lines in the dirt.
When he finished, Linvin replaced his sword and pointed at the drawing. “That is the Sorrowful Sea,” he said as he pointed. “If we keep pace we should reach the northern shore at the midpoint of the lake by sunset. From there we must procure a boat and possibly a crew to sail to the southern shore.”
“We already know this,” Rander stated arrogantly.
“Do shut up and let me finish.” Linvin barked. Seeing Rander step back, Linvin returned to his presentation. “At the depot I saw the message the guards at the bridge mentioned. They were supposed to send a signal if we were found and then a larger force would move in to squeeze us between the fresh water sea and their armies. Our adversaries have correctly guessed our course. Though I have seen no flaming arrow, I must work under the assumption our position has been compromised. The enemy is closing for the kill and our only chance is to reach the lake first and escape before the noose is tightened around us.”
“In leaving Letheria, I saw little opportunity to the west or east, so I followed the mountains to their southern point. From there, the Silver River divides the plains of the Mandreans to the east and Romadon to the west. The river is fast flowing, particularly this time of year, and was far too treacherous to navigate. Over the years, the river has cut a steep gorge through the land as it flows to the Sorrowful Sea. To travel along its banks is impossible. One must travel on one side or the other along the edge of the gorge.
“On the Mandrean sides, there were Legions encamped along the entire length of the ravine. On the Romadonian side, there were only scattered watchtowers. Not wanting to draw any great attention to myself, I chose to travel by way of Romadon. Once I reached The Territory, I skirted the Western Forest in order to avoid the Demon Marshes and then headed east to see what fortune might bring. I think you can pick up the story from there.”
Linvin’s ears came to attention at the names with which he was unfamiliar. He produced the map he had taken from the goblins and laid it before Newminor. “Can you show me those places on the map?” he asked.
As it happened, Newminor was fond of maps and delighted in seeing the one at his feet. “Say, this is a very detailed map. Look over here, that is the tail end of the Silver River.”
Linvin pointed directly at the area labeled 'AVOID' and asked, “Are these the Demon Marshes to which you referred?”
Newminor looked and chuckled to himself. “Avoid, how cute. Well, I suppose that gets the point across, doesn’t it? Those are indeed the Demon Marshes, and not even the bravest souls dare journey near.”
“What is it that scares you so?” Bander asked innocently.
Newminor smoothly spread his arms apart and corrected the elf. “Hey! I am not scared of anything.” He paused for a moment and looked at the map. His eyes grew large as he stared at the region. “I simply see no need to go looking for trouble, and entering that area invites trouble.”
Never one to pick up on subtleties, Bander continued his probe. “Then what sort of trouble would one get into if they went there?”
Newminor looked at each member of Linvin’s company in disbelief. “You know, when I said you folks were out here without a clue, I was just having fun at your expense, but you really know nothing about anything outside Sartan, do you?” Before anyone could respond he continued, “Well, that speaks pretty poorly of your nation. They think they are so powerful and mighty, yet their own people are ignorant of what lies beyond their borders. How sad. This probably isn’t even your map, is it? Let me guess, you took it from the goblins and can’t interpret the symbols. I can’t believe I even let such a pathetic bunch come to my aid. In the future, I must be more choosey with my associates.” He strode over to the fire and tasted the stew cooking. Then he took a slice of jerky and lay down on his blanket.
Linvin showed controlled irritation. “My good Newminor, your flagrant insults are indeed distracting, but you have once again spoken volumes without answering the question placed before you. So please relent with the sarcasm and answer my cousin’s question. To this point, you have been amusing, but the time has come for plain talk. Tell us about the Demon Marshes or pack your bags and leave.”
Rose’s Reads Blog was kind enough to give me a guest post on their site today. I decided to write about “The Pressure to Write Sex” in my industry. I’m quite proud of the piece and it shines light on a growing issue in the writing industry. You can read it at http://rosesreids.com/2015/06/24/guest-review-book-promotion-updates/ It starts about half way down the page. Enjoy.
I contemplated writing this blog since Sunday. This is my first Father’s Day with no one to call. The saddest part was when I picked up the phone to call my Dad and realized I had removed his name from the memory of the phone. A lonely, sinking feeling set in. Father’s Day calls were never long. At most they lasted 6 minutes. 1 minute was spent exchanging pleasantries and the next five my father spent trying to get off the phone. I often wondered if he knew he wasn’t paying for the call. No matter. It was never an exciting call but it was a routine and an obligation. One of Dad’s famous quotes to me as a child helped soften the blow. Mixing the bible with his own words he told me that it was my duty in life to leave my parents and go start my own family and home. If I accomplished that then he would be a successful parent. Well, I did as he instructed and have my own home and family now. My children are getting older and one is even setting up his own home. So now I’m the one who gets the phone calls and special day. I take great pride in being a father and husband for that matter. I look at how much thought went into the gifts I was given and I cannot help thinking of all the gifts I have agonized over throughout the years. I have a wonderful family and would never want to change them. Then I look at the phone. I think of my father’s voice and a tear forms in my eye. My daughter gets me a Diet Pepsi out of the refrigerator and hands it to me. Dad didn’t drink as I find I don’t (conflicts with medication) now. Dad was addicted to Diet Pepsi and as kids we would sneak some when he wasn’t looking. Just like him I prefer the pop chilled rather than over ice. My children know that and keep several cans cold for me as I have inherited my father’s love of that drink. I sipped my pop and set the phone down. There was no longer any call to make. Maybe that’s alright. Maybe Dad did his job and sent me on my way. He gave me sound morals to guide me and a general direction in which to sail. I have a lot to thank him for and I hope where he is now he knows it. But I still miss making that phone call.
Linvin observed an old elf leaving the town pub down the
street. He had a slight limp, which he normally worked hard to
disguise. On that evening, he was in a hurry and noticeably
favored one leg.
“I say,” Linvin called out. “You were in the pub a little later
than usual, Elzer. Night is nearly upon us and not a lamp is lit in
the whole town. Your duties are in need of tending.”
“I know,” he answered while grabbing his special pole for the
task. “Drinks were two for one, and I forgot about the time.”
Linvin picked up his cup and sipped. The tea was cold. He had
not realized how much time had passed while he was on the
balcony. “Do not worry, Elzer. Time can go by rather quickly
when one is busy.”
Elzer stopped below Number 7. “Mr. Grithinshield, my kind sir,
the wife will tie me to the trunk if I’m late getting home. You
know how she disapproves of spirits. And I was wondering
if…you know…you could.” Elzer waved his hand in a circle.
Linvin broke out laughing at the sight of the pantomime. Elzer
appeared desperate. “You needn’t but do it this once, sir. I promise
I won’t never ask another thing from you so long as I live. But that
won’t be long if’n the missus finds out I’ve dipped my bill.”
Linvin composed himself and said while chuckling, “Well, I
could not allow a fellow gent to get in that kind of trouble. Hold
on.” He stepped away from the rail for a moment and returned
with the staff that the Red Sapphire called home. He held it aloft,
and it turned a fiery red. Pointing it at one of the lamps, he released
a bolt of magic that struck the wick. The red magic rapidly flew
from one light to the next until all of them were burning.
“You’re an angel,” Elzer cried. “I’ll have the wife bake you a
pie for this, sir. Your fav’rit is cherry-berry isn’t it?”
Linvin laughed and nodded. “Cherry-berry it is,” he answered.
Elzer nodded back and ran down the street.
Linvin turned his attention to the tea he was holding. His
eyebrows wrinkled as he concentrated. Soon his hand lit up with
red magic, and the cup was emerged in a red aura. After a few
moments, he relaxed his face allowing his hand and the steaming
cup to return to their normal colors.
He sipped and looked out over the rail. Dusk turned to night
before his eyes. Storm clouds took place overhead to obscure the
moonlight. The rainy season, it seemed, would pay another visit.
Illumination was left in the hands of the street lamps and lights
shining from houses and trees
In the poorly lit cells of the prison, Anvar and the twins rested as Linvin sat against the wall opposite Miri and picked at the straw on the floor. For her part, Miri leaned against the far side of the same wall. She held her knees tightly to her chest and rested her head upon them.
“Do you know what I really miss seeing since I have been here?” she asked Linvin.
“There is only one thing?” Linvin answered with a laugh.
She chuckled before answering, “Alright Captain Sarcasm, you know what I mean. I miss seeing the sky. At home the sky just seemed to go forever. When there were clouds, they were always so high and distant. When the sun would set, brilliant hues of peach, yellow, red, silver and a host of other colors painted the sky like an ever-changing canvas. Every sunset was a spectacle to see. As much as I enjoyed watching them, I do not think I really appreciated their majesty until I no longer had the opportunity to view them.”
“I too have seen my share of gorgeous sunsets,” Linvin agreed. “One would think the sunrises would be as marvelous. Perhaps they were. For me, though, sunrise usually involved trepidation on my part. It often signaled the start of a march, or battle. More recently it meant the beginning of another day of a journey into the unknown.”
“That’s not a very positive way to see something so wonderful,” Miri noted.
“I suppose,” Linvin answered. “Many times it seems one’s perspective is colored by the end of the sword they see before them.”
Miri added to his thought, “Or perhaps it is colored by the fact that you see every day involving a sword?”
Linvin’s voice strengthened and he spoke with pride. “I did not choose the road I have traveled. Nor have I shirked the responsibilities given to me. Someone must hold the sword and fight so others can view sunsets. For a time I was ashamed of my past. Now I see it was simply part of my training for a greater purpose. I only hope I have the opportunity to finish my mandate.”
Miri felt guilty for her ignorant statement. She struggled to find the words to make the situation right once again. “I know we agreed not to divulge too much information in here,” she said. “Whatever your goal may be, I hope you attain it.”
“The one real change, was in the formation of the Legions. The old Mandrean Legion had 5000 men. At least 500 were heavy horse. Another 500 or so were bowmen and the rest were infantry and militia. Well, goblins and horses just do not mix, never have and never will. So scratch the cavalry right there. In fact, the only standing cavalry unit in the Empire anymore, is Lord Mandrean’s own personal Imperial Guard. Though sizable, they are not part of the Legions.
“Next was the bow. It’s an alien weapon to a goblin. With short arms and poor manual dexterity, they could no more use a bow than grow taller. So other than a few humans here and there, the bowmen were scrapped as well. That left a great mass of goblin infantry with a few humans at the control. One would think that would spell disaster for the Mandreans, but their new soldiers have been quite loyal to the Empire. Such an army is well suited for keeping riotous subjects in check.”
“That is all fine,” Linvin noted, “but what would a Mandrean patrol be doing in the Territory?”
“When the treaty creating the Territory was signed,” Newminor began, “it provided that neither side held claim to the land and therefore, neither side could patrol the Territory. However, goblins in plainclothes have been patrolling out here for years to keep an eye on Sartan. Were they to be discovered by anyone from Sartan who actually cared, they could simply be written off as a wayward band of goblins. That would explain why you made no mention of uniforms earlier.”
Anvar had silently listened to the conversation. He spoke at last, “You mean to say we killed an entire Mandrean patrol?”
Newminor smiled sarcastically and answered, “If they are all dead I would have to say yes. But don’t worry, so long as no one comes across the bodies, they won’t be missed for months. Still, you might want to rid yourselves of their weapons and skins. It’s sort of a dead giveaway.”
The news was sobering to the last. Linvin again began to feel a bit concerned. Were the bodies hidden well enough to avoid detection? Would the Mandreans be after them now too? What other dangers were out here that they didn’t know about? Upon consideration, he was feeling guarded but still mostly confident in their actions.
The new edit of “Sapphire Crucible” is out now. If you have read “Quest for the Red Sapphire” and want to find out what happens next, “Crucible” and my new book “Mandrean Revenge” are out on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for you to purchase. The story picks up steam the farther it goes. The new book really involves the reader in Linvin’s thoughts as he is by himself more than ever before. It makes a great Father’s Day gift.
Fantasy fiction is my passion. This series embodies my love for a good story and action. You will find it to be many things, but not boring! Read what you love and love what you read...