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Interviews With Tordug Part 2: An Arrow Against the Wind

The following post is a fictitious news report based on events from An Arrow Against the Wind, Book Two of The Bow of Hart Saga:

The Ezhandun Resistance Tribune
“Resistance News Dwarves Can Trust”

Date-line: Somewhere in the Central Drelkhaz Mountains
By Cracked-Shield (true name withheld for security)

A rare opportunity has presented itself for an interview from an important personage and news from our scattered people from west over the mountains. Just a few days ago, none other than our former leader, Tordug of Chokkra, arrived with several other people of import in his company. They are on a quest which I’ll let him describe as well as deliver his message to us. This writer is aware that this piece may be controversial for many of our people still living and fighting hard against Rok but the message may prove to be of help to many, even those who harbor low opinions of our former leader.

Cracked-Shield: Word of you has been mere rumor for so many years. Can you tell us where you have been?

Tordug: I was saved by Makwi while fighting in the upper-southern halls where we were cut-off whe Cokkra fell. We escaped out a secret entrance but were still pursued by trolls so we fled west into the wilderness as best we could. After a time, we split up for more than a year but we found each other through scattered people living as refugees in Auguron. We agreed to do our part hunting trolls in the Heaths though none would rally to our cause.

Cracked-Shield: So, you’ve been fighting like shadows without the aid of any of our brethren warriors. Some would mention honor – even with Makwi at your side – as cause enough not to support your efforts. Others would commend you for continuing the fight virtually alone. What brought you over the mountains at this time?

Tordug: We joined a quest at the request of a friend but we didn’t come over the mountains. We entered Chokkra through the Troll Neath on our quest. We have seen, first-hand, the cursed desecration and destruction of our home.

Cracked-Shield: Through Chokkra, eh? Perhaps you were on an assassin’s quest for a certain wizard?

Tordug: If only that were true. But our friend is a Withling seeking a relic to fight against not only Corgren but Magdronu as well. As you have heard the tale already, some of our party barely escaped a trap, including Makwi.

Cracked-Shield: Yes, it is rumored a Withling accompanied you here among our resistance fighters as well as Makwi. You seem to be in honor raising company, even bringing us an actual Ax-maid. What can you tell us of this quest and this Ax-maid?

Tordug: Yes, an Ax-maid is with us. She earned the title saving an Auguron ranger from trolls. She even displayed the death-grip in the incident and several times since, including on her journey here with me.

Cracked-Shield: Death-grip you say? You have brought us some truly brave and honorable visitors. One can only hope that you bear news of hope?

Tordug: I dare hope that our quest will make some difference against the trolls and Rok as well as the dragon and his wizards. But we have yet to find the relic.

Cracked-Shield: Were you aware of the plight of our people here? How they are used for blood for the dragon?

Tordug: I had heard of these things. Several in our party, including Makwi, were rescued from such a fate. I am ill-pleased with the extent of this heinous problem. I will take council with Duliwe and Withling Hastra about these matters as time allows. But as you know, I rule no longer so my word is not law. Only the honor of my companions brings me gracious aid at this time. But it is necessary that we recover this relic for the Withling so that Magdronu may be countered. My great desire is that the power of Rok and the trolls will be broken over Chokkra by recovering this weapon.

Cracked-Shield: So, you offer your people hope after all these years of silence?

Tordug: I do indeed offer some hope though I do not know how it shall be accomplished at this time. I understand that many may given up on any possibility of restoration of Chokkra. Without this quest, Magdronu’s evil will only fester further throughout Denaria.

Cracked-Shield: Can you share more about this quest?

Tordug: I can only say that it is a Withling-blessed weapon passed through a Hartian family over many generations. It is certain that Magdronu knows of our movements and intentions as does Corgren and his brother, Paugren. But the less said the better, I think.

Cracked-Shield: You have grown wiser in the years of your solitude while fighting trolls. It is said your fighting honor rose among us while you traveled here. What of this tale?

Tordug: Aye, our enemy has raised some creature of magic named the Bane. None can slay this creature without the help of a blessed weapon or the presence of a Withling. Hastra was not with us so I and the Ax-maid fought it when it attacked during a fight with a Rokan squad. I pushed it over the side of the mountain but it haunts us still.

Cracked Shield: A deed, well done then. Perhaps you will do more than offer hope in a blessed weapon to defeat our enemy and regain us our home free of the threat of our enemies.

Tordug: Makwi, our companions and I will do all we can to end the power of Magdronu and his minions. It will be done if I must breathe my last do accomplish it.

Ending note: Rokans have since threatened Duliwe with a force of their spearmen. Tordug, Makwi, Hastra the Withling and the Ax-Maid have left with other their companions on their search for the blessed weapon. We can only wish them well for our own sakes though many might harbor little hope of deliverance from such a desperate quest. This dwarf for one, hopes that Tordug’s determination will win him back his lost honor and, somehow, our lost home.

Also of note, Duliwe has reportedly sent a special force of artisans and fighters to block the high-road to the place of our old celebrations now used for the cursed sacrifices of our people. It is not an option we wish at this time, but certainly one which must be carried out if possible. We’ve played for time and survival long enough, perhaps it’s time we cut-off one avenue of Magdronu’s magic supply using our people’s blood.

This is Cracked-Shield, bidding all my readers hope in these dark times.

Look for more of these fun reports about the series. If you are interested in The Bow of DestinyAn Arrow Against the Wind or the newly released, final edition, The White Arrow, please click the appropriate link for the book-page. Following is the direct links to find An Arrow Against the Wind at Amazon where you can also download it for free via Kindle Unlimited:

About the Author:

The Bow of Hart Saga Sequel Publication Updates

Happy Monday, everyone. With my recent return to more active work, specific updates to my writing schedule are in order. Here’s what’s next for The Bow of Hart Saga & The Cursed Mage Case Files.

The Cursed Mage Case Files

The Unseen Hand is still moving slowly. Artwork has not yet arrived. I’m digging out of the pile of unfinished work that needs my attention, like the site and blog posts. What is outstanding is a lot of work to push into a short amount of time. I remain committed to publication of the book this year. But a launch early this month is very unlikely. I’ll report more about this progress later this week. 

Publication Schedule & The Bow of Hart Saga Sequels

Writing UpdatesMy publication schedule has already been announced covering the next year. Here’s a change in that schedule.

For quite a while now I’ve been receiving requests through reviews, email and a few comments on the site requesting more of The Bow of Hart Saga. To confirm my intentions, yes, there will be sequel books to this series. The original series is already completed and Podium Audio published all three of the books under contract. For this reason, the planned sequel must be published separately.

The Bow of Hart Saga PrintIn order to accommodate the increasing requests for more of Athson and Limbreth, I now have to change my schedule . I already have several books planned for publication this year and next. Due to my health issues, I have not begun any work on new books covering the world of Denaria. I do have material partially drafted for a parallel series that sets up what’s to come regarding Athson and Limbreth.

The plan is to publish this parallel series since it sets up what is to come in the sequel for the main characters. Likewise, I’ve already begun an outline of the sequel series and intend beginning a rough draft as soon as possible.

However I do have much of the upcoming year covered with work on The Cursed Mage Case Files and the first book of the Black Glove series. The updated schedule includes publication of Denaria-related books during the last half of next year at the earliest (unless something changes). That’s as fast as I can publish anything for that series since it will require editing and work for cover art.

Conclusion

The Order of the Dark Rose is already releasedI do encourage anyone interested in my writing to delve into The Cursed Mage Case Files in the meantime as that series will continue to grow and is quite a lot of fun. I will update more of my writing schedule regarding The Bow of Hart as I begin work on it during the next few months, so stay tuned here for news or join my email list and text list to receive additional information as it develops.

Thanks to everyone interested in more from Athson and Limbreth. The interest really lets me know that I wrote something many people like and want more of. If you are a fan of that series, one thing you can do for it is to share it with as many people as you can over social media or anywhere else you can think of as well as talk it up. I will be sharing printable bookmarks for that series as soon as I can and you are welcome to print them and share them with friends. I do have an announcements coming soon about additional ways to share with other people.

That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by to read the update. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section and I’ll reply as soon as possible. Here are some updated links (there are some official announcements to come soon about one of these).


Looking for more about the series?

Visit the Archer’s Aim Press Online Store

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Fantasy Friday: 10 Ways This Character is Perfect for Halloween Fun

I hope everyone enjoyed the Scary Moments posts. I’m shifting gears to one of my characters today. 

Mandelfred “Manny” Mandeheim is the lead character of The Order of the Dark Rose. Here’s why he makes a great character for Halloween:

  • He’s a spy master and is skilled with quick costume changes.

    “In a silent corner, Manny dropped his threadbare bag of belongings, those on the top consistent with his disguise as a homeless man. In moments, he’d peeled the false knotted beard from his face, then wiped his skin clear of the painted distortions and dirt. He removed his long duster, turned inside out, and festooned with false tears for just such a disguise. Next, he pulled off the dirty shirt, which revealed one beneath it, bright and clean in contrast. Last, he pulled false pant legs from his real ones, then wiped his shoes clean. After stuffing the disguise into his old bag, he brushed his dark hair straight with his fingers.” ~ The Changeling Incident

  • He’s cursed so his age changes often – he can look different from minute to minute. 

“My glimpse of Manny left me agape anew. His face had changed to that of an old man. His wrinkled skin hung loose on his skull, and his gray hair was lank upon his head. But the eyes remained Manny’s undoubtedly. Had the fleer gun done this to him? Or some other magic?” ~ The Disgraced Sniffer

“Manny clicked on the maged torch, revealing the visage of a child of about eight or so. “I seemed to have changed age again. Could you do me the favor of…” A boy’s hand extended the Sizer toward me, the overlong sleeves of his coat pushed up in wrinkles. He stood with trousers grasped in his other hand, so they didn’t fall, the legs a crumpled puddle of cloth about his undoubtedly oversized shoes.” ~ The Night Fiend

“Blindly, I rummage in his coat pocket for the Sizer wand or an Alchemist Needle, the latter on the off chance he did bring one. The latter wasn’t present. I pointed the size caster at what I thought was the correct lump writhing in the mass of clothing at my feet. A cough erupted from my throat as I wiped tears from my eyes. A puff of green smoke billowed from my lips. What had happened to me? I flicked the caster switch with my thumb. silver light flared at my feet, and the clothing shrank around a child’s body—a toddler, if I guessed correctly. “By the black gates of Thuva!”

Manny’s cherubic child’s face turned toward me, and I glimpsed through my half-blinded eyes his all-too-intelligent pupils. His high voice coupled with his vocabulary set my skin crawling at the juxtaposition.” ~ The Rose of the Adversary

  • He doesn’t mind dressing in costumes or disguising himself. Just read the first two cases in the book. 

“He grinned as he hunched in his bum disguise…” ~ The Changeling Incident

“He had donned his big overcoat, several pockets of which bulged from various magical devices stowed in them. On his head, he wore a close-fitting head-cap to which he had affixed the antlers, a strap firmly fastened under his chin.” ~ The Night Fiend

  • Did I mention he’s a master spy? It means he’s very opportunistic and plays along with sudden changes of events. 

But another guardsman stopped us short of the street. His wide-set eyes shifted over our shoulders, then took us in, each in turn. His eyes narrowed. “Got him, did you? Nice trick, that.”

I opened my mouth to respond to the insinuation that we’d murdered our attacker, but Manny spoke ahead of me. “We’ll not speak of it now unless we must.”

The guardsman was stout, his cheeks puffy beneath his brow. He shifted his stubby feet on thick legs. “Just need to confirm it. They said something was to happen. Important to verify it. You know, remove the marked one.”

“You have the password?” Manny leaned on his cane, seeming stronger than earlier.

The guardsman glanced my way, suspicion dancing in his eyes under the steady light of the lamp. “Didn’t know there would be two of you on this one. You tell me the password first.”

Manny’s eyes narrowed in response, and his nostrils flared. He reached into his pocket, drew out the card he’d retrieved from the ground, and held it out to the guardsman. “I think this is enough for the moment, don’t you?”

The guardsman stared at the card as a slow gape formed on his face. “Sorry to bother you, sir. I was just checking, like I was asked.”

“Good enough. It’s done. Now let us pass.” Manny lifted his cane to the guardsman’s arm as if to brush him aside with it. The other man stepped out of the way with a duck of his head. We passed him without another word and gained the street, at which time we both exhaled.

“What was that—”

“Not now. No names. Just keep moving.” Manny set the pace, his aged appearance belying his obvious verve. ~ The Disgraced Sniffer

  • He’s also an arch-mage so changing things into frogs and whatnot are a specialty. 

As we approached the next street corner, a fellow in a rough, gray tweed suit and dark hat with a rounded top crossed the traffic and intersected us. His broad face bore several scars, mostly on his cheeks and forehead.

Manny halted and thrust a hand toward the man as he reached for his pocket. “Stop! Come no closer.” To me, he said without turning his head, “Behind us, Wish.”

With a whirl, I thrust my hand in my pocket for the fleer gun as another burly man in a dark suit strode toward us. His was a narrow-faced, clean-shaven fellow, with his jaw set and a gleam of malice in his dark gaze. He most noticeable feature being a flattened nose. “I pushed my coat pocket forward. “Stay back!”

He kept coming, his bushy eyebrows furrowed beneath his mop of dark hair. He smirked as I backed into Manny. A glance past Manny showed the first man walking slower. Other people on the sidewalk halted or crossed the street with sudden concern in their facial expressions.

Manny pulled a wand. “That’s close enough.”

The first thug paused. “Just delivering a message.”

“I’m familiar with the Kantar’s knuckle-messages. We know we’re late. No reason to harass us.”

“You won’t do nuthin’.” He pushed a step forward with hard stare. The other fellow came within ten strides.

Manny withdrew another wand and murmured a few words so that both glowed. “I’d hate for you to waste your hard-earned money getting rid of a hex. How do you think he’d look as a toad, Wish?”

I pulled the fleer gun discreetly from my pocket and glared at the second man. Qualms about fleering someone bothered me little. “Maybe a rabbit or a turtle?”

Now my foe halted.

Manny chuckled at my terse quip. “Wish does like pets!” He advanced toward the one in the tweed suit. “How about you just walk away before I decide on rat?” ~ The Disgraced Sniffer

  • If you get into trouble, he’s always got a way out – mostly. 

“Yes. Now pick me up and use the wand I gave you. Hurry!”

Groans sounded behind me. Grimsley snarled, “Get off me, you buffoon! Get these fires out before I lose everything!”

“Thief!” A woman’s shout echoed in the basement. Magic sliced around Grimsley and his men outside the doorway. Vyara leapt at them. She whirled her wand, and fire spewed from it like a pink burning rope.

I yanked the caster Manny had given me from my pocket, fumbled the fleer gun and scroll into another pocket, and snatched Manny from the floor. With my eyes still squinting from the magical flash, I whirled toward the door as Grimsley rose like an apparition through the flames. Through my blurry vision, I discerned that he lifted a wand.

“Use it on us,” Manny squealed.

I turned the caster on us and clenched my jaw at the threat of Grimsley and the sudden fear that I knew nothing of what this wand did.

The button flicked under my thumb.

A blur of many-colored lights and smoke swirled around us while a rumble, louder than a tram, shook everything in me.

Darkness welcomed me, and I staggered forward, then slammed into something hard. I groaned and dropped to my knees. Then I slumped to the ground as water dripped all around me. A putrid stench filled my nostrils, my vision still blurred from the trap in the drawer.

“Wish, wake up.” Manny’s childish voice shook me from my stupor as he nudged me.

“Where are we?” I rolled over on the ground.

“You did it!” Small hands tugged at my shirt. “You’ll have to get up on your own. I’m too small to get you off the ground. We’re in an alley.” ~Rose of the Adversary

  • He’s not afraid of dark and creepy places.

Everything around us stood out in the light in a dusty gray. At my feet lay eight irregular objects that bore no significance to my initial gaze. After a few moments, I jumped in revulsion at the realization that I stood among decayed bones. More remains. My glance along the walls revealed additional bones shoved away in narrow, lateral cavities.

“What is this place?” Panic returned in quick breaths as I waved the maged torch around and aimed the fleer gun, wary more dead might rise intact. Anything might happen with magic as a factor nearby.

Manny leaned close to one of the cavities and squinted as he peered within, then straightened and gazed at me. “We appear to be in the catacombs beneath part of the city. An interesting destination, to say the least…” ~ The Feral Name

  • He’s not afraid of the undead. 

At that moment, something grasped my questing hand. I screamed.

A click in the darkness and the command of a spell sent light around us and blinded me for a moment. There lay the glowing maged torch, activated by Manny’s command from the wand.

A skull grinned at me, its jaw loose. But its bony appendages wrapped around my hand with cracking tightness.

I picked up the maged torch and held it aloft. Skeletons lined the walls of a tunnel. Darkness extended in either direction beyond our meager light. Decayed heads swiveled slowly in our direction.

I jumped to my feet and yanked my hand from death’s grasp. A ghostly moan echoed around us. I snapped my mouth shut. That had been me.

The skeletons stirred in glowing animation and stood with ponderous effort.

“Wish, the fleer gun!” From behind me, Manny loomed out of near darkness, his wand pointed. Flame erupted from the point. “It’s a trap!” ~ The Feral Name

  • Monsters are more of a curiosity to him. (confronting the first feral)

We stepped farther away and halted our attack, then watched as the creature died before us in a smoldering mass. We waited, careful it didn’t regain its feet and attack us again. As the beast lay still before us, I realized that my hand trembled uncontrollably.

“What in the Nine Hells of Clo Clana is that?”

Manny tilted his head in curiosity and strode forward as the last of the magical flames died away. “Something created by magic.” He edged closer and poked the creature’s charred face with his wand. “Seems to be real enough, not some spirit.” ~The Feral Name

  • He’s got skills if the unexpected happens – mostly. (“Run!” at the end of FN)

“Wish, I think we really should vacate the premises.” With those words, Manny drew out the single-use caster loaded with a transport spell tied to a specific location. Where that was mattered little to me in that moment. He clicked little switch with a command in his mage-talk.

Nothing happened.

Manny grunted. “Not surprising. Run faster, Wish! We have to get farther from her.” ~ The Feral Name

So there are some good reasons to have Manny around for Halloween. Share this post if you liked it and leave your thoughts in the comments where I’ll reply.

Looking for more about The Cursed Mage Case Files?

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Dark Rose 700 x 1440 Lightened SMThe Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without crime involved. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. Suddenly, the limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, The Order of the Dark Rose is set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him? Click the Your Favorite Retailer button to enter this high concept world of magic and fantasy to discover more about Manny and Wish.

    

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Reviews for The Order of the Dark Rose:

“Magical world-building, brilliant characters, amazing, leaves you craving more, sleight of hand story” – Reviews from Readers Favorite

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