Trading Knives

Of Withlings and Dualism: The Basis of Conflict in The Bow of Hart Saga

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The Bow of Destiny depicts conflict between good and evil as is common in epic fantasy. But what is not specifically in the series to this point is the basis of the conflict. While my prequel short story, What Is Needed, shows something of the conflict in the demise of most of the mystic order of Withlings, the conflict is much older. But to better grasp this history for the book, an understanding of Withlings is necessary which introduces basic viewpoints of characters – including those who hold greater power in the world of Denaria.

Withlings are mystics who worship and serve the deity of Eloch. By the practice of their faith, Withlings are able to perform miracles such as healing, move from place to place or utter very accurate prophecies. These are but a few examples of Withlings’ abilities but these are not dependent upon their inherent powers but those of Eloch. The frequent saying among Withlings is, “What is needed is given.” This means that they trust Eloch implicitly to provide what they need at any moment which can include miraculous actions. Often, Withlings will speak – or not – based on their sense of what Eloch wants them to do.

So, Withlings must practice mystical ability to “be with” Eloch in order to know what they must do. Withlings consider this a form of “listening” and it becomes the basis of their life. Sometimes, they may know much but be withheld from taking any action, something very hard to do and a reason they practice mystic discipline.

To Withlings, there is only Eloch as the true deity and it seems to be so. However, there is also the dragon Magdronu. What does not come into this series are the details of how Magdronu came into conflict with Eloch and how he got the worst end of that conflict to be cursed into the form of a dragon.

Magdronu takes actions that are often typical for an “evil” character. However, he considers himself to be a dualistic counter-point to Eloch, a co-equal deity who has been kept from his natural prime position in the world as light and dark ebbs and grows. So to Magdronu, his conflict with Eloch arises from being withheld from taking his true place and that everything is out of balance as a consequence. To Magdronu, he must rise at some point and he seems “evil” but this is really just his nature and is no less valid than “good” on the part of Eloch.

So while Magdronu sees himself kept out of the balance of nature, he is stuck in a position of being cursed and unable to gain his prime position. Thus Magdronu must find a way to rise through the force of his will and the use of his magic. To this end, Magdronu sees Withlings as a force that thwarts him and he has tried to wipe them out as a way to gain influence.

But the question remains, how is Eloch able to hinder Magdronu so thoroughly? Thus we end up with a dwindling order of mystics, a prophecy against Magdronu, a mythic bow and someone intended to possess and use the Bow of Hart. Such is the background for the main character, Athson, who must discover his destiny.

Want to discover more about The Bow of Destiny? Here’s a list of other interviews and appearances I’ve made both on blogs and internet radio shows.

Internet Radio Shows: 

Speculative Fiction Cantina

Also here are a few recent blog appearances:

Bookwraiths: Tuesday Teaser

And one of my favorites on C. S. Boyack’s Lisa Burton Radio (which is actually a great blog series).

Where you can find The Bow of Destiny in print, audio, and e-book formats:

Amazon

Other Books in The Bow of Hart Saga:

An Arrow Against the Wind (available in audio, print, and e-book)

  The White Arrow (available in audio & e-book, print releases 3/15/21)

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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Fantasy Friday! His Nagging Secrets

Hi, everyone! Today, I share another excerpt from The Bow of Destiny. Some of this was added in much later stages of the book. It’s all about Athson’s nagging, inconvenient secrets…


Athson“Careful of trolls on the trail.” The old man smacked his lips and fidgeted.

Athson whirled and glared at the old man. “We’ve done well.” He turned away.

A wheezy chuckle erupted behind him before Athson took two steps. “You should ignore neither warnings, dreams, nor visions – nor gifts.”

Athson froze mid-step. Moments passed like a day as he turned. Shock filled him anew when he saw no sign of the trapper on the porch.

He leapt back up the steps, landing with a clatter on the boards. He yanked open the door and took a hurried look inside the post. Lukaus and Gweld shot him startled expressions but Athson didn’t see the trapper. As Athson slammed the door, Lukaus said, “Back so soon?”

Three quick steps along the porch and Athson jumped the rail at the corner of the building. He glanced under the porch and circled the post, searching both the forest and the ground for sign of the trapper. Nothing. The trapper’s absence and his words set Athson’s heart racing. That comment hit too close to what had happened. And what no one else knew but him. Was the trapper nearby when he first discarded the inheritance? Athson rubbed his hands together but the scrapes had healed days earlier.

Athson’s jaw flexed. Something – or someone – had followed him from Eagle’s Aerie. Lukaus indicated no one had passed through for a long time. The comments from the missing trapper and the post-keep left Athson dizzy. “Can’t tell what’s real yet. I’m still making things up, no matter…” But they were real, he knew it.

The room and cot weren’t so inviting anymore.

Athson shrugged his pack to a comfortable position on his shoulders and made for the trail at his fastest walk. His best course now lay south for the road and away from Withlings, odd trappers, and mouthy station-keeps. The more distance travelled, the easier to avoid entanglements with Corgren, Withlings, eagles, dreams, Spark, and whatever haunted his steps – both imagined or not. He waved a cloud of gnats out of his face.

Gweld leaned over the porch rail. “Hey, Athson. What about the room?”

Athson whirled. “Let’s just go.” He waved Sarneth’s order.

Gweld shrugged, hollered apology through the door and then leapt the rail. Athson grumbled his disappointment under his breath at missing sleep on a cot. Hiding his secrets was more important than comfort. He swatted the insects out of his eyes and quick-stepped away from Afratta as Gweld trotted to his side.


That’s all for today! Later this week, I’ll share more about how I wrote The Bow of Destiny and how I’m doing on the next one.

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

Amazon

  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

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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Fantasy Friday! 5 Kinds of Trolls in Denaria (and Why They’re Dangerous!)

I’ve written a lot about the main cast of characters in The Bow of Destiny. However, there are some extras that need mentioning – the ones do all the dangerous, dirty, violent, evil work. No, not the villains – at least not today. Instead, I’m referring to the trolls who inhabit Denaria.

troll

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

While I don’t want to reveal much about the origins, I do want to share more about the different kinds that appear in the book. Denarian trolls come in several different varieties. These trolls appear often and really get things done – if your point of view is from those of the villains – by wreaking havoc whenever, and wherever, they’re told. These ravenous hordes can be divided into 5 distinct types divided into lesser and greater classes:

  1. Kobolds are one type of lesser troll who stand waist and chest high and are often used as scouts and trackers. They have good noses and can be a real nuisance because of their abilities. While they are not large, they are scrappy and can attack in numbers. They are usually lightly armored with some sort of boiled hide and carry a variety of weapons from small bows to knives to short swords. Their physical appearance varies somewhat but they generally have almost dog-like snouts as well as dark, close-set eyes and have coarse hair all over their bodies. Quick and sneaky, these trolls can be a hand-full as demonstrated several times.
  2. goblinGoblins are also lesser troll of about the same size as kobolds except they are more, well, like goblins. They’ve got tusks with less snout and and bigger, pointed ears. As you can imagine they have sharp hearing and also make great scouts when on the hunt. However, their eyesight isn’t so great during the day and they are a bit more stout which makes them a bit tougher in a fight. They are usually outfitted with hide armor and carry bows, knives and short, curved swords.
  3. Getting to the greater trolls we come to the hobgoblins which are slender and snake-like in the face with some interesting fangs. They trolls are quite intelligent so they are used for complex tasks and command of other trolls. They are quick and deadly in a fight if you don’t keep your guard up, normally using a tulwar and wearing hide armor with the occasional metal plate attached. An officer often carries a whip to enforce his commands. They stand about the height of a human or an elf in Denaria.
  4. Next among greater trolls are bugbears. As you can imagine they have a bearish appearance with bigger eyes and sport tusks like goblins. Generally a bit taller than humans, they are burly and rely on their weight and strength in a fight, often using clubs for weapons. They sport shaggy fur and wear a mish-mash of hide, chain and plate armor they scavenge from victims and other trolls.
  5. ogreLast among the greater trolls is the ogre. This creature is nearly as big as a giant like Ralda and very strong as well. They have a thick hide and are not very intelligent but tend to fight just because they seem to like it almost as much as eating. They tend to carry a large club but aren’t that accurate when using it but they are deadly if they get a grip on you.

As to danger, well, you can guess that these minions like to cause trouble and never miss a chance to attack when they have a numeric advantage. Those groups without a bright hobgoblin might just attack regardless of numbers. While they can be confused and cowed with displays of power, they aren’t apt to show any mercy and just walk on by the casual traveler. They won’t just size you up and decide if you’re worth their trouble – you are always worth the trouble of an attack. That’s why it’s best to travel in numbers when in known trolls territories. They have nasty temperaments and love a chance to pillage and plunder.

As you can imagine, they make great shock troops for Magdronu and is magical captains though they aren’t often trusted with more complex objectives. They are good for one main use: mayhem. In a few other cases, the more cunning types such as hobgoblins, goblins and kobolds may be used for some specific missions for which they are specially instructed and trained.

In regard to their origins, trolls have a murky history. It’s clear that they are creations of Magdronu but the details are lost in time. However, some of that story is part of the larger history of Denaria’s conflict between Eloch and Magdronu. The purpose is of trolls is clear just not their origin – or is that just something to find out.

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomonTo find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

About the Author

IMG_4154-EditP. 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.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

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Artwork of trolls from Microsoft Clipart. The screenshot of the troll is from the very old video game Pigskin 621 AD.