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An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Introduction

The Bow of Destiny begins a long journey for Athson and his companions which leads him to a gut-wrenching ending in that book. An Arrow Against the Wind begins immediately after those twists but with a twist of its own. In that light, Athson’s perspective shifts with realization that what he thought was real wasn’t and he begins to question his decade-long predicament.

Commentary

Within The Bow of Destiny, Athson struggles with grief both old and new as well as his uncertainty from his PTSD-like fits which seem to have resolved in some ways. However, he’s never quite sure of himself and doesn’t always trust his own awareness. He’s equally suspicious and doubtful of the quest. Within all of these difficulties, Athson is stuck in a spiraling struggle with his outlook on the adventure.

But, with the sudden shift of reality, his mood shifts from one of grief to that of a determination to seek answers to his life as well as help those around him. Without sharing any spoilers, Athson needs to find more than the Bow of Hart and isn’t willing to just follow Hastra’s lead in the matter. However, he is seeking to help others and himself though he doesn’t know how to go about it. He just unwilling to follow a course that he doesn’t believe will achieve his goals.

Athson sets out on his own to accomplish his new goals, determined not to remain a grieving victim. Hastra and Gweld slowly turn his attention back to the Bow of Hart as a way of accomplishing his goals. Their reasoning is that the Bow of Hart is the key to the problems that confront Athson who slowly comes around to the idea. However, he still wants to do things his way regardless.

Between the events of The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind, there’s a definite progression for Athson. In the first book, he’s struggling with his own pathos and malady about which he believes himself to be merely a bystander as events happen to him. By the end, he’s willing to take a stand for himself and others, rising out of his inward struggles.

An Arrow Against the Wind shows how Athson begins to grow as he takes action against the forces set against him. His actions are imperfect but he has skills as a ranger that he can use to further his goals. He believes he’s still making good decision, a belief revealed in the opening scene of The Bow of Destiny when he makes a choice while hunting. But as Athson progresses he will be presented with tougher choices and the question remains if he’s truly able to make a difficult decision by parsing out more than what he wants at a moment, but what is best for others as well. His choices lie between his own goals and the needs of others. He wants to help but what is the best way? He’s growing out of the malaise of years and into an active participant in this life because the Bow of Hart and the prophesy surrounding it require him to grow and make tough choices.

Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt where he discusses his options with Limbreth regarding some choices and the Bow of Hart:

Later, they shared time during their watches as they walked a circuit of their camp. Spark trailed them.

“Let’s just leave and go ourselves. They’re slowing us down. They’ll keep me from doing what I have to do.” Athson stared into the silent night, his tone hushed. Time was wasting. Each night the moon phase progressed. His gut clenched. “It’s not their decision.”

“Athson, they mean well and understand your feelings.” She paused, hefting a sword. “But there are the bigger issues of the prophecy. Hastra knew her risks and has for years.”

They paused by the mules, and Athson patted one on its side. “But I can’t abandon my father and mother again.” He turned to Limbreth and grasped her shoulders. “I’ve lived well with the elves while they’ve suffered. I can’t just run off and forget them.”

She leaned forward, her forehead touching his. “I know. It’s not easy. Maybe an answer will present itself.”

His voice rose in challenge, and he stepped back. “Like what? I’m trapped. They are trapped in Corgren’s clutches.”

Limbreth gazed toward their sleeping companions and back to Athson. “Quiet, you’ll wake the others. I don’t know what will happen, and neither do you. But I’ll go through it with you.” She took his hand and came closer. “I’m here now. For you. So are the others.”

Athson shrugged. Was her support just words? She had a suitor waiting for her. Somewhere. “What if the others scout out Corgren? I find the bow while they sneak my father away. Then, then…” Then what? His mother died?

Limbreth lowered her face. “What about your mother?” She sighed. “Tough questions and no answers. Yet.”

Athson paced away and back. “Well, just get some sleep. We push on before the moon.”

A falling star streaked across the sky. Athson remembered a similar sight in his vision at Eagle’s Aerie. The arrow Eloch prepared. He frowned at the sparkling sky. The inheritance lay in his pack. The same words written on the will. He needed an arrow?

“That was beautiful.”

“Yes.” Athson managed. “There’s supposed to be an arrow.”

Still watching the sky, Limbreth frowned. “What arrow?”

“It’s in the prophecy.” He thumbed over his shoulder toward camp. “It’s in that will I got. I don’t know where that is. I remember something. A falling star like a smoking arrow from back at Eagle’s Aerie. But if it’s not with the Bow of Hart I don’t know what to do to find it. But if I did, I’d have something to fight back with. Maybe.”

“Perhaps, but at least we’ll know if it’s there, and maybe we can ask Howart, if he’s there…” She lifted her arms to his shoulders and stepped closer, her eyes still to the sky. “Then we’ll decide. You know we’ll do something based on all that information. There’s an answer, Athson. It’s not hopeless.”

He scowled a moment then realized her tone held encouragement. “Thanks.” He held her a while under the stars as the time slipped past him.

Find out more about the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga, An Arrow Against the Wind, by clicking on one of these retailer badges:

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Fantasy Authors Unplugged Featuring Mae Clair & Cusp of Night

My guest today in the Fantasy Authors Unplugged feature is author Mae Clair with her new book, Cusp of Night, which I’m also reading this week. Take it away, Mae!

Ghosts, Monsters and Myth: Cusp of Night by Mae Clair

I’m jazzed to be here today, sharing my latest release, Cusp of Night. A story with a past and present timelines, Cusp blends the Spiritualist movement of the 19th Century with a modern day thread that touches on ghosts and urban legend.

 

Ghost in Haunted House,Mysterious Woman in White Dress Standing in Abandon Building,Horror Background For Halloween Concept and Book Cover Ideas

 

I’m a huge fan of creatures and things that go bump-in-the-night. In 2013 and 2014, I took two trips to research the Mothman, a cryptid that featured into my POINT PLEASANT SERIES. For my HODE’S HILL SERIES, I needed a new creature. Rather than use an existing monster from folklore, I decided to create my own. I’ve always been fascinated by Spring Heeled Jack and borrowed elements such as leaping fences and scrambling over rooftops to create “the Fiend.”

In the history of Hode’s Hill, the Fiend is responsible for several horrific murders in the late 1800s. The creature’s body was never found. Its legend has morphed into the stuff of urban myth. In the present, the town honors the past with an annual Fiend Fest in which contestants dress in costume, hoping to achieve the top prize.

My main character, Maya Sinclair, is on her way home from the Fiend Fest when she witnesses an assault on the patriarch of the town’s leading family. Is the assailant someone dressed in Fiend attire, or the creature returned from the shadows to wreak vengeance?

Cusp of Night is a blending of past and present, dual plotlines which converge in the legend of the Fiend—and restless ghosts the centuries have been unable to disperse.

Ghosts, monsters and myth. Here’s the blurb:

Forli, Emilia Romagna, Italy: narrow dark alley in the old town – ancient Italian street at night with lampposts and cobbled pavement

BLURB

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house–a woman whose ghost may still linger.

Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to unearthing the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . . .

PURCHASE HERE

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Other Social Links

 

A Dream & The Forge Pt. 2

Hello everyone! Today’s, post is the second of two shared from The Bow of Destiny. This part involves the excerpt at a forge. Enjoy!


TBOD Pinterest Board ThumbThe blacksmith’s hammer rang distantly through the clamor of conversation.

Ralda touched his arm.

Athson stirred and realized the giant had spoken to him. “What?”

“We go Auguron morning?” The giant crooked two fingers and motioned them over his fist.

Athson recognized the signal as meaning tomorrow. The following gestures stumped him. “Yeah.”

“Eat. We go food.”

“Get food for our trip? Yes.”

The giant waited until Athson finished his meal. Then the two of them gathered supplies and put the cost on Safforn’s supply tab. A gracious offer for Ralda. They returned to the barracks and stowed their goods.

They planned an early start, so they readied themselves for sleep soon after packing. Sleep eluded Athson, but he soon heard Ralda’s steady breathing. They had to find Gweld. A lump rose from his chest into his throat.

More than Gweld’s safety nagged Athson. He rolled over and examined his pack in the darkness again. Why did the inheritance follow him? It was worse than Spark. The unanswered question sat in his pack, unknown to anyone else but him. Could it be real? He doubted it. He had burned it, and it appeared again.

Athson rummaged in his pack. He pulled out the inheritance and stared at it. His life had lurched out of control since the Withling pushed this package on him. Discarding it did him no good.

Ralda stirred and rolled in his sleep.

Athson slipped out of the barracks, the inheritance in his hand. He crossed the yard to the smithy. Heat lingered from the coals along with the smells of ash and worked metal. Athson stared at the remaining glow.

He squeezed the inheritance.

Burying the inheritance had failed – so had fire. If only this heat could sear it and other memories from his mind.

Clang! The hammer rang from his earlier dream. Athson glimpses his father’s sword, the stag’s ten-tined rack etched on the guards flashed red in flames. He groaned. Depenburgh’s fires flamed like a forge. The weapon gleams with angry crimson on one edge and soft blue on the other but silver along the length of the blade.

Athson’s arm shook and he squeezed the package. The inheritance and his past were linked. This truth tracked him like a troll. The day his father taught him to use a bow proved it.

They finish and collect their gear. His father stops and takes a knee, staring intently at Athson. “There’s something you must know, son.”

“What, father?”

“I can’t tell you everything but you are old enough to know some of it.”

Athson stands attentive, waiting.

“Our family comes from far away, the land of Hart. We were one of the great houses that fell into evil under Rok’s sway, under Magdronu. Withlings helped an ancestor break this hold. Since then we’ve been hiding ourselves and an item the old dragon and his wizard, Corgren, want.”

Athson swallows and nods.

His father ruffles his hair. “I’m telling you since you’re old enough to learn the bow. But you must swear not to reveal any of this to anyone – ever. Trust no one beyond our family with this.”

Athson’s voice is hoarse in answer. “I swear, father. I won’t tell anyone.”

“I swear I haven’t told anyone – and I won’t.” Athson’s jaw clenched and he squeezed the inheritance. It opened old wounds and left new ones, but it also answered old questions. The bow was what his father guarded.

Athson gazed at winking stars. “I need my father’s – my sword so I can keep these secrets safe, or they will kill me. I need – no, not that…” He whirled and walked away from the smithy but stopped. “If only I could pry that sword away from Sarneth.”


bow of destinyThanks for stopping by to read today.

I’ve got an ongoing sale for The Bow of Destiny for the next several days. You can find it at one of the buy links below.

Also, I’ll get the following tidbits posted soon on the News page but I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Back to School Blog Tour. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about these as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

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IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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