The White Arrow

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.

Fantasy Friday! Archery in The Bow of Hart Saga

Note: Fantasy Friday is a new feature for Archer’s Aim. This is a re-post, but for those interested, it’s useful. I’ll work on some new, fantasy-related posts to mix in with some of my older ones like this as well as some posts about new books in the coming months. Please feel free to share on social media or re-blog these posts. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Archery is prevalent on my site and in The Bow of Hart Saga and not by accident. The story is based upon a mystic bow and, later, the accompanying arrow. Archery is the theme of the series and something which I am well familiar. When it came to writing a fantasy series that heavily included archery, I didn’t have to go far for source material nor did I have to do much research.

In my younger days, I took a class on archery and actually was one of the better students, often scoring very highly during the class. During my time learning about archery, I not only became very familiar with with the action but all the associated tackle. I learned about the various kinds of bows used from antiquity and present day.

My training in archery included shooting by old sighting techniques rather than the use of modern sights. It’s a basic technique where you learn to gauge distance and aim accordingly while also judging the wind. Learning the to draw, hold and release an arrow without a sight can be complex but one that become second nature. I actually became fairly fast on the release and still remain consistent at hitting the bulls-eye.

But there are many aspects of archery that do not come into the story, at least much. The reason is that details can be boring unless they are relevant to the story. One might mention that strings need to be waxed or kept dry but are those important? Not really unless there is something important.

But using correct terminology can be important. I often read a fantasy where the author uses some sort of verbiage like, “fitted the arrow to the string” or something like that. When you put an arrow to a bowstring, it’s called nocking the arrow. Why is that important? Authenticity. It shows that the character is knowledgeable about archery.

I never spent much time on the actual details of archery but I did show that Athson and other characters where professional level as archers. The opening scene shows that Athson can shift targets easily and still hunt effectively. Later, Athson and Gweld use their skills while defending against trolls.

Incidentally, one of my faults as an archer is plucking the string on the release. It means I don’t smoothly extend my fingers and the result is a twang from the bowstring. This plucking isn’t good for several reasons, one being it throws off aim and the other is that it can alert animal while hunting. However, I never bow hunted so it’s not that big of deal. I really just enjoyed shooting in my spare time for a number of years.

Unfortunately, my days of shooting are likely over due to arthritis in my neck. A few years back, my daughter became interested and I went into the back yard to show her technique. It had been some years since I shot any arrows but I hit the bullseye twice in two tries. On the third try there was a painful twinge in my shoulder and I knew I was done. Nevertheless, my daughter was impressed with my ability to just pick it up and hit the bullseye.

Another day, I was visiting my father-in-law who had gotten a new compound bow. I use a recurve bow which puts more strain on the shoulder versus the modern pulleys of a compound bow that reduces resistance after the initial few inches of pull so an archer doesn’t have to expend strength holding the string and arrow to aim. This makes a compound bow more accurate along with a sight. My father-in-law suggested I give his new bow a try but the problem was I’m left-handed and he’s right-handed. But I was game to try anyway. I gave the string a few pulls to reverse my technique and then nocked an arrow (not quite the proper length for me either). I managed to score close to the bullseye three times in a row to impress both my daughter and my father-in-law since I was shooting with my opposite hand.

I’d like to get some additional treatment for my neck and maybe get back to archery sometime. I’ll probably have to switch to using a compound bow but that’s fine with me. I’d just like to get back to the activity since I enjoy the ballistics of archery so much. One related activity I’d also like to try is using a crossbow especially if I ever need to write about that in a book.

Thanks for stopping by to visit today. I’ll be back with updates soon. In the meantime, please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Interest in the series? Click the covers to find out more about the books: