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Sneak Peek: Battle at Broken Plains – Prologue

Below is the Prologue for Battle at Broken Plains, a novella that tells the story of Raedan Clyve’s rise to power as the Baron of Broken Plains. It’s currently going into Alpha Editing phase so I’ll be printing it out and taking the red pen to it. Hopefully, this should be out by the end of the year.

 

-Prologue

Auberon Strait rung his hands and paced beside the bed of Lord Rendall Garand. He had cast every spell that he had learned in his short time studying as a life-giver, but the Baron of Broken Plains was sick beyond his skills. Auberon doubted that any but the most skilled life-giver would have failed to bring the Baron back from the brink of death, but he still wondered if he could have done more.

The room was one of the largest in Garand Castle. The ceiling was twenty feet above the floor, tapestries adorned every wall and large windows let in sunlight during most of the day. Lanterns burned bright in their sconces along the wall and a fire blazed in the hearth.

Auberon ran a hand through long red hair and rubbed the back of his right ear. He had inherited many of his father’s features, the red hair, the sapphire eyes and the elongated ears. Auberon had also followed his father’s choice of occupation and had served as the advisor to House Garand for nearly two hundred years. He was sad to see the once proud dynasty coming to a close.

Lord Rendall Garand had married the sister of a Frantan Clan-Lord, but she had been barren. As the only son of an only son, Rendall was the last living Garand and would leave his lands to another family when he passed. Auberon had been ready for the death of his lord: he had been studying the family trees of the local nobility for more than a year.

Lord Hadrian Clyve would be the heir to the Broken Plains Barony under the laws of Ansgar; he and Rendall shared a great-grandmother. Auberon had wondered, briefly, whether Lord Clyve would be allowed to take control of another barony. Aside from the North Griffin Cliffs, Hadrian stood to inherit the South Griffin Cliffs when his father-by-law passed. There were some in the Ansgari nobility that believed Hadrian was not qualified to hold two baronies, much less three.

Auberon believed that the Clyves were the best option for the continued existence of the Broken Plains Barony. The Broken Plains and North Griffin Cliffs Baronies shared a border with each other and with the territory of Clan-Lord Jared Terrell, the brother of the late-Lady Garand.

Clan-Lord Jared Terrell had already claimed his right as the rightful heir to the Barony, despite his lack of claim in any Ansgari court. In Franta, the eldest brother of any woman was automatically considered the heir to the territories which her husband claimed if no viable heirs were born of the marriage. He had visited the Barony three times in the last year and had made his position very clear. Auberon believed that was one of the reasons that Rendall’s condition had deteriorated more quickly in the last year than it had in the five years prior.

Rendall coughed violently and Auberbon frowned.

“Steward!” Auberon shouted. A small man scurried through the thick wooden door. He was a small man, he had gone bald years before and his green eyes were downcast. He shuffled across the stone floor with short, stuttered steps that betrayed the limp he worked so hard to disguise.

“Prepare a horse,” Auberon ordered, “and supplies to get me to the Overlook.”

“At once, milord.” The steward bowed and hurried out of the room.

Auberon knew that leaving the barony so soon after the passing of its noble would be risky, there would be no one of authority to command the guards or try to negotiate with Jared Terrell, but it was his responsibility to tell Lord Clyve of Rendall’s passing and inform the Baron of North Griffin Cliffs that he was the rightful heir to the territory.

Rendall began coughing so violently that he hunched over in his bed, then was suddenly silent.

“My Lord?” Auberon moved to the bedside. He pressed his palm to his noble’s chest. Rendall Garand did not breath.

 

I plan on putting Battle at Broken Plains up for Free, so keep an eye out for links!

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Things I Did Last Week

Week in Review:

The last week has been a flurry of activity as I near the completion of The Cerberus Rebellion and prepare to move it into the Alpha/Beta Read stage.

In preparation for that, and knowing how busy a lot of the editors and cover artists are, I contacted a couple of editors and cover artists.

I decided to go with heavycatweb.net for my cover. They sent over the initial sketches for the cover and I have to say that it is very impressive and I am looking forward to the finished product. They offered to add the title and artist name to it for an additional fee but why do that when my lovely wife is prefectly capable?

After getting some quotes, I decided to schedule Nick at everything-indie.comfor the beginning of June. That gives me approximately six weeks to finish the last 5 chapters of The Cerberus Rebellion, get it through 2 or 3 rounds of reading by myself and then a round with beta readers.

Speaking of beta-readers, my uncle agreed to beta-read for me and I’m very excited about that because he’s a great writer and will definitely give me great feedback.

Finally I secured a map artist (Jared @ The Red Epic) to create a map for both the world of Zaria and a more detailed map of Ansgar.

If you’re reading this post then you’ll have realized that I’ve moved to a new site. Gunpowderfantasy.com is official and the home of my new blog. On top of that, today I started a wiki that I’m going to spend some time filling in to provide background information and to keep all of the character bios straight for readers.

Warning Spoilers will abound: Gunpowder Fantasy Wiki

What’s On Tap:

Right now, I’m working on getting The Cerberus Rebellion finished. I’m going to spend as much time this weekend working on the last five chapters.

I’m going to go through 1 read-through with Scrivener (the software I use to write) so that I can make on the fly changes.

Second read will be on paper and I think the third will be using a text-to-speech program.

I’m also working on securely long-term arrangements with my editor and artist to try and reduce the cost of production.

If all goes well, I should be releasing The Cerberus Rebellion at the beginning of July, which gives me some time to get a head of steam before my planned promotions on 9/14!

Short Story – Thor’s Day

Thor’s Day

Eric frowned as the first of the dark black clouds rolled down from the ridge north of the village. They had seen far too many storms in the last turn of the moon and the river that ran past the huddle of buildings to the fjord beyond was nearly at the top of the dirt dyke that separated it from the farmers’ fields. Not for the first time Eric wished that he’d been allowed to go on the latest raid.

Instead, he’d been left with the children and old men to tend the fields.

The clouds to the north looked like they were moving quickly and would be upon the village by sundown.

Eric rested his metal rake on his shoulder and started down the hillside to the village. Two dozen small houses, a blacksmithy and a longhall where the townsfolk held their meetings. All surrounded by a low stone wall. Eric was told that it was a small village, as things went. Maybe one day he’d be able to go on a raid and see the villages of the people in the south.

He reached the low stone wall just as the first heavy drops of rain started to drop. It was then he noticed that something was missing. There was no flashing lightning. No rolling thunder. There was thunder, even in the smallest storms that rolled down from the northern mountains.

“There’s no thunder!” He yelled across the small yard to Sven the Gray. The old man was one of the only men in the village that had never been a raider. He’d raised sheep and farmed the lands for his whole life.

“Some storms don’t have thunder. It’s nothing to -” The old man’s words stopped suddenly as a black spear sprouted from his chest. Behind him, a figure clad in an oversized black robe sat astride a midnight black horse. Eyes of silver glowed from beneath the cloak’s hood.

Eric was speechless. He had heard whispered tales from the old women of the village. They told of the black men who rode the thunderless storms. He had always believed that they were just tales, told to frighten little boys and girls.

But now one of these creatures had come to Eric’s village and he was frozen. He tried to shout a warning, but when he opened his mouth nothing came out.

The rider dismounted from his horse and walked toward the corpse of the old farmer. He knelt and pulled the spear from the already cold body. His hands searched the body for a moment until he found what he was looking for. He ripped the amulet from around the man’s neck. It was a small stone hammer, a tribute to Thor, god of Thunder.

“Where is your god now?” A high pitched voice demanded.

“I…I…” Eric couldn’t find words. The black rider stood
“Where is your god?” The voice demanded again.

“He…doesn’t visit us anymore…”

The voice laughed. It was a shrill sound that hurt Eric’s ears.

“Your god is dead,” the rider threw the amulet at Eric’s feet. “Tell your leaders. This day is no longer Thor’s Day.”