The White Arrow

Fantasy Friday! 5 Additions to The Bow of Hart Saga Over the Years

It goes without saying that a fiction project morphs in many ways as it is written. However, The Bow of Hart Saga was a project that lasted several decades so the changes in it have been ongoing throughout that time. Here are 5 additions to the series:

1. Spark – this character was added very late in the writing process of The Bow of Destiny and then into the following two books, An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow. Spark began as a suggestion from my daughter so the character would not have been in the series at all without her input. Interesting since I didn’t even know my wife when I started the series just out of high school, let alone have a daughter!

  1. A larger cadre of villainous characters – one of the characters added was Paugren, Corgren’s brother. He arrived before The Bow of Destiny was completed, but mainly in Trading Knives which is a prequel story that reveals Corgren’s past along with his brother who is an integral part. Paugren takes on a larger role as the series moves forward.

  1. A different writing style – in 2014, at the suggestion of several other people, I changed the essence of the writing style for The Bow of Destiny (and the series) to that of deep point-of-view. It’s a different technique that I had to learn but I think it helped the series tremendously because of the nature of Athson’s story.
  2. More back-story about Withlings – as I prepared The Bow of Destiny, I knew there would be lots of questions about Withlings and the mystery surrounding them. Sometimes wonder-workers, sometimes mystics, these characters are quite different in nature so their story needed to be developed. For that, I turned to a short story entitled, What Is Needed, which refers to the common saying among Withlings.

  1. Ralda’s deeper characterization – this giant of a character had a makeover – again at my daughter’s suggestion. Before her suggestions, I had added that Ralda used a supplemental sign-language common among his people. Also, Ralda’s back-story about his brother took on a deeper meaning as something which motivates him. But at my daughter’s suggestion some appearance changes were added. Ralda (and giants) use a set of tattoos on their hands and fingers to augment their signing was one of the main details that came from the make-over.

There are many other details that I added along with some that were removed. Check back next week to find out what I removed.

Thanks for reading today, please leave your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as I can. If you want to know more about The Bow of Hart Saga, please see the series page.

Fantasy Friday! The Origin of The Bow of Hart

The Bow of Hart is a main element of The Bow of Hart Saga and book two, An Arrow Against the Wind. But, what is this bow and why is it so important?

The Bow of Hart is mentioned in The Bow of Destiny as a family relic inherited by Athson. Without spoiling all the details in any of the books, the quest is centered around finding the bow. The bow is prophesied as a weapon to be used against Magdronu the dragon yet it has never been seen, nor is Athson even certain it exists.

Here’s the full extent of the prophesy regarding the Bow of Hart:

The false one begets betrayers, but he shall not have his way.
The Hidden Dragon may usurp kingdoms with deceits, but his ways shall not last, and he will not ascend.
A bow shall be made in defense.
To break the binding curses.
His prey shall be snatched from his fangs.
The bow shall be hidden from Hart.
The eagle will guide the heir.
The bow shall be found at need.
And the arrow shall Eloch prepare.

Athson is aware of the prophesy and has some information about it as revealed in The Bow of Destiny. Yet, he mainly only knows about the bow from a mysterious will he received under dubious circumstances – at least to his addled understanding:

To whom the eagle and the Withling give this bundle of my will, greetings and long life.
     Having seen into the future, I have prepared the way for you as I have been commanded. You, who read this parchment, are my heir, and thus may bear my signet and lordly insignia as your own.
     The bowstring belongs to a Bow, specially made of my care. None but you, not even I, its maker, is able draw it, let alone string it. Seek out the Bow. The Withlings look after the one to whom I gave it. You are destined to do the deed. Beware of the servants of evil; they have hounded me for the sake and possession of the bow since their doom is tied to it. Follow Eloch’s prophecy as you can and be of good courage.
May Eloch go with you,
Thayer of Hart

Thus the question remains, who is Thayer and what part did he play in the Bow of Hart as its original owner. I hope to share more about this in the coming months with some additional prequel stories so I don’t want to give anything away other than to confirm that Thayer had a hand in the making of the bow. It was by his efforts that the prophesied bow was created and, when he was threatened, he found a way to make sure it stayed out of Magdronu’s clutches. So, after many generations, the bow became Athson’s to own and the burden for him to take up – wanted or not.

But conflict around his family’s history and that between Hart and Rok swirl and twist like an arrow in flight out of the past and into Athson’s present. The Bow of Hart is the one thing upon which An Arrow Against the Wind turns as Magdronu seeks to gain possession of the bow. However, he cannot simply take the bow because he never owned it. The power surrounding it prevents him from taking what is not his own. But, Athson can give it away and it is around this point that all of the dragon’s efforts are centered, Athson being the target. Magdronu will stop at nothing and Athson may not be able to keep the dragon from the relic.

To find out more about the Bow of Hart and the prophesy, have a look at the series online beginning with any of the pages for the books in the series: The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or The White Arrow.

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Fantasy Friday! A Tour of the Real Funnel

Athson runs in the dark. Trolls howl as they thunder like an avalanche after him through the underbrush. Clawed paws snag and tear his clothing. Firelight fades. Heavy footfalls of trolls pound near, their huffing punctuated with grunts and snorts.

He turns and rushes back toward the gorge, the Funnel, near the troll camp. More trolls search the night, and others call for help. A kobold appears in front of him, and he runs into it. They fall hard, and the creature squeals as Athson grunts and kicks the creature in the face. Athson scurries off its back and rushes on. Where can he hide?

Deeper darkness yawns at his feet. He slides to a stop but not soon enough. He goes over the edge and rolls on a steep slope. Below, at the sheer edge, Athson’s legs go over, and he grasps wildly for any handhold.

Trolls point at him and howl as he slides over the edge. He falls and screams.

From An Arrow Against the Wind

The passage above makes some reference to a setting that recurs in The Bow of Hart Saga, especially in the latter two books. There’s drama around the setting of a gorge through which a rushing river flows in the world of Denaria. The gorge of the Funnel serves as part of the basin for the Long River west of the Drelkhaz Mountains while also serving as a major geographic boundary for the eastern side of the Troll Heaths. It’s here that Athson experienced some of his childhood trauma and here that he must return.

 

The Altar of the Trolls overlooks the gorge called the Funnel and plays a major roll in The Bow of Hart Saga as a geologic feature.

 

There is an actual location from which I based with the gorge in An Arrow Against the Wind. I grew up in North Alabama which is in the southern Appalachians. There are several interesting rock formations – and even caves (more on that another time) in an area that’s largely unknown outside of Alabama.

Little River is formed from East Fork and West Fork on Lookout Mountain. From the confluence of the forks, the river runs through what is called Little River Canyon which is a National Preserve. The river is about 26 miles long and empties into Weiss Lake which is drained by the Coosa River.

The Canyon is actually one of the deepest canyons east of the Mississippi River and sports some dramatic views such as Canyon and Crow Overlooks which are majestic cliffs over 300 feet high but the canyon is over 600 feet deep in places. From these vantage points, you can view just how big this place is.

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Additionally, here are some links containing other shots that provide more perspective. I haven’t been able to track down some of my best ones from several years back but they are from similar locations on the canyon.

Google Images

Road Trip America

FrankEmory.com

There are any number of videos that also provide some excellent perspective shots of the canyon – here’s just one.

I’ll add my other photos as I find them but you can see that the canyon is great for a fantasy fiction setting.