The White Arrow

Fantasy Friday! Archery in The Bow of Hart Saga

Note: 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:


An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Note: 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 evening!

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 the retailer badge:

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Fantasia Reviews An Arrow Against the Wind – Fantasia Reviews

This was a fantastic review of An Arrow Against the Wind from last summer – a bit of a re-hash but still very nice to receive:

Source: Fantasia Reviews An Arrow Against the Wind – Fantasia Reviews