Quest of Fire: The Gathering Dark
by Brett Armstrong
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy/Christian Fantasy
Release date: April 2019
Jason is an expert at running from his past. When it catches up, he finds himself hiding in a peculiar inn listening to a tale from centuries past.
The story is Anargen’s, a teen who is pulled from all he loves to follow his oaths of loyalty to the fabled King of the Realms. Together with his mentor, Cinaed, he rides north on a special quest to mediate peace talks between ancient foes–the men of Ecthelowall and the dwarfs of Ordumair. Nothing goes as planned. Many on both sides of the dispute despise Anargen’s Order. Worse, an arcane evil has returned to the North. This “Grey Scourge” seeks to ruin the peace talks and ensure a lost treasure held by the dwarfs is never found by those for whom it is meant.
As Anargen’s story unfolds, Jason begins to wonder whether it is truly just a fable. He soon finds himself drawn into the conflict Anargen faced–a battle which has shaped and can destroy his world.
Anargen ducked a low hanging tree limb. As he passed under it, he felt its gnarled branches rake over his back like fingers through hair. Spurring his horse on a little faster, he worked his way past the offending tree. Rain continued to fall on the stand of trees in a steady downpour. It was as though the Knights were walking through curtains of rain suspended before them rather than it simply falling from the sky.
After days journeying across a rolling plain of tall, verdant grasses, Anargen should have been glad for this forest. It was, after all, far more evocative of the home he’d left behind. Before entering it, however, the wind took on a boisterous bluster, buffeting them as if trying to push them back to the coast. Then came the rains, which persisted ever since. Today marked a full day of rain. A full day of rain in a wood lacking most of the beauty to which Anargen was accustomed. This stand of spindly ironwoods and other gangly trees was bereft of most of its leaves already. Coarse bushes and thorny vines filled out the spaces and complicated the passage. The scent of multi-flora rose was heavy here, almost sickly sweet.
Somewhere in the distance a limb broke loose and crashed with a muted cry to the ground below. Anargen wanted to spur his horse on faster, but the forest passage was too narrow.
At the head of a single file column, Sir Cinaed cut the path. Into the dark, he trilled the notes of a song.
“Will you be home, will our wait ever end?
What friend may we seek, for our hearts’ rends?”
Cinaed’s voice was clear and mellifluous, the best Anargen had ever heard. But the song was about a family waiting for a father who would never come home. It was the saddest song Walhonde’s mountains ever bore.
“When all our journeys’ ways mend,
Will you be home again?
Will you be home again?”
The songs words pierced between the plates of Anargen’s armor. Passing his mail coat unopposed to strike his heart. Memories of a fire, warm and low in his home’s hearth beset him. His father’s laughter as he told familiar stories with fresh mirth. Mother cooking a savory stew from the autumn garden gleanings.
Then there was something new to the scene. Seren’s smile. Her hand soft and sure in his own as they sat by the fire. It was no longer memory but a longing. Hiraeth. Cinaed’s song was more than words now, it was in his very bones.
Anargen shook his head and refocused his thoughts on where he was. In the unfamiliar wood, dark and cold, riding to the unknown. The storm masked the sky and only the luminance of their armor afforded any light.
Amidst the sea of dreariness, the rain drops sticking to their armor did not extinguish the faint flames. As the drops slid down, they glowed. Ahead, Sir Cinaed looked like a body of earthbound stars gliding through the ebon night.
Of a sudden, the song and stellar migration halted, hovering in wait. Sir Cinaed had reached a wider point in the path. The sound of rain striking the softened soil was like the roar of a small waterfall. Over it, Sir Cinaed boomed, “We’re only a mile or so from a village. We’ll stay there the night and head out tomorrow. Pair up so you don’t get lost, the path becomes rather winding soon.”
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About the Author
I’m a Christian, a writer, a full-time programmer, a husband, a dad, and quite often sleep-deprived. Not necessarily ranked in order of importance, except #1.
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Legend (Dragonrider Legacy 3)
by Nicole Conway
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
In a war of gods and tyrants, the will of the dragonrider must never falter.
Captured and tortured by the brutal tyrant, Argonox, Reigh’s worst fears have now been realized. Argonox has successfully twisted his mysterious dark power for a truly evil purpose—reanimating the long-deceased legendary dragonrider, Beckah Derrick, and her monstrous king drake. But Argonox’s cruelty won’t end there, and Reigh fears the worst is yet to come. Rescue is unlikely as the Tibrans prepare to make their final strike, poised to break Maldobar’s ranks of proud dragonriders once and for all.
With many of its cities already captured by the Tibran Empire, all hope now rests with Jaevid, Princess Jenna, Phillip, and their mismatched band of dragonrider allies to lead the last stand and save their kingdom. Even in such frightful times, Jaevid may find he still has a few old friends ready to take up their weapons and stand at his side again. But facing down Beckah is perhaps the one thing that might break Jaevid’s resolve. Can he really strike down the woman he used to love in order to save the kingdom?
One final battle will decide the fate of our heroes. Can the strength dragonrider prevail once again? Or will the Tibran Empire become Maldobar’s new legacy?
“Bravery is not an immunity to fear—it is rising up to meet it with the hope that nothing is impossible.” — Sile Derrick, FLEDGLING
1. Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both?
A bit of both – sort of. I tend to write out scenes in little paragraphs sort of like storyboarding a movie. Then I shuffle things around as needed. I don’t like going into too much detail because then, honestly, it’s boring. I like having some freedom to let the story take on a life of it’s own.
2. Do you prefer a certain type of music to listen to when you’re writing, or are you better with silence?
I can write with silence, but I prefer to have music. I have playlists for various “moods” during certain points of the story. For instance, LEGEND has a lot of battles, so I listened to my “fight scene” playlist a lot … which consists of Sabaton, Skillet, and some movie soundtracks.
3. What book(s) are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading The Stolen Throne by David Gaider. It’s a “backstory novel” from the video game series I’m madly in love with called Dragon Age. I adore everything about those games and the world, so it’s been a fun read to learn some of the history.
4. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?
I just finished Death In Paradise, a British TV-mystery series, and I really loved it. I like a lot of BBC shows like that. The character and plot development tends to be a bit more … cerebral than what you find in a lot of American shows. But there are a few I like. I re-watch The Office, Breaking Bad, and House M. D. about once a year. I love those shows!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
NICOLE CONWAY is an author from North Alabama. She graduated from Auburn University in 2012, and has previously worked as a graphic artist. She is happily married with one son.