On the Eighth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, five gold rings, six members of the Battalion, and seven of the Elite. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Eight greedy goblins.

Maddison stepped through the portal, and emerged on the other side at the foot of Durin Mountain – home to the dwarves.

She usually avoided their domain. They were a little sensitive – something about her lack of respect. Whatever. So she’d made a mistake and destroyed a priceless weapon. It was time to move on.

Right now, she was on a mission, a mission that included a visit to one of the most manipulative creatures she knew – Levi Levingsworth. He’d made his home at the outer edges of the mountain, the crafty goblin having made a deal for the privilege.

She was about to make a deal, and though not exactly the devil, Levi could be a sneaky son of a bitch. He ran a trading centre of sorts, and gathered merchandise from across the Enchanted realm to entice customers into his lair.

Maddison entered the treasure trove of trickery, senses on full alert for the little minefields she knew were awaiting her. Levi’s kids.

She felt the subtle shift in the air at her back, and almost smiled. The mini manipulators were trying to sneak up on her.

Glancing around the store, at the explosion of colours that dazzled the eye, she waited for the attack. Her hair shot out, winding around a small ankle and securing tight. Then her braid lifted the bundle up into the air, presenting Maddison with a wriggling goblin who was laughing so hard she felt the vibration all the way to her roots.

“Romi,” she said, eyes twinkling. “You almost had me that time.”

His eyes widened, probably because she knew which little terror she held in her grip. Romi was one of three, and each of Levi’s boys were identical. The girls, too. Levi had two sets of triplets.

She didn’t have to wonder where the others were hiding for long. The brood sprang out of their hiding places and charged, their small bodies crashing into hers in a tangle of limbs.

Maddison laughed, and spent a few minutes listening to their excited chatter. They were sweet, and charming. At least on the surface. It was, like the interior of the store, an illusion.

“That’s enough,” Levi said, stepping into view. “I can take it from here.”

The children scarpered. All except Romi, who was still suspended in the air by his ankle. Facing his father, Maddison hid her smile when the boy began to giggle.

“You have something in your hair,” Levi said, playing along.

“I do?” She twirled as her hair unravelled from Romi’s ankle and caught him as he fell. “Well, would you look at that.”

Romi continued to wriggle, brown eyes shining, until she put him down. He darted a glance at his father and then followed after his siblings. Maddison heard the soft lyrical sound of his mother’s voice somewhere close, but Pearl didn’t reveal herself.

“What brings you to our humble store?” Levi asked.

She turned to see the sly grin on his face. It was the only thing that gave away the nature of his beast. His appearance was deceptively benign. With his mousy coloured hair, and soft brown eyes, he could have passed for human.

Maddison didn’t have time to play his games, so she got straight to the point. “I’m here to purchase your particular brand of concealment magic.” She refrained from calling it pixie dust, because she knew how much it pissed him off. Besides, the powder came from another branch of the fay family.

Levi plucked a sturdy green bottle from a shelf, a shelf that hadn’t been there moments ago. No, that wasn’t accurate. It had been there, she just couldn’t see it.

“And what are you willing to pay for this precious gift?”

She fought the urge to roll her eyes. Why couldn’t they barter in cold hard cash like the rest of the sharks who ripped people off for a living. Cynical much? “Why don’t you tell me the price, and I’ll tell you if I’m willing to pay it.”

Levi pretended to consider, though she knew he had been turning over the options in his head the second she stepped in. “For this,” he held up the bottle. “I would need a quarter of dorlac.”

That was it? He wanted a few ounces of the prickly plant that grew on the outer edges of Firmani. Sure, it was dangerous. She’d have to battle a tribe of Lechens to get to it. But that’s what she had Riley for – the wolf ate danger for breakfast.

Holding back the smile, because Levi might be manipulative, but he didn’t know her at all, Maddison took the bottle. “Deal. But you wait until after my current mission, and a quarter is all you’ll get. Nothing more.”

He nodded, and it was just a little too eager. Something more was going on here, and she knew she’d stepped into the middle of it. But she didn’t have time to dig right now. She would find out what kind of deal she’d made soon enough.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

New Year, New Books, New Adventures

Happy new year, everyone. For those who know me, you’re probably aware I run another blog – Writing Room 101. At the moment, the site is predominantly for spotlighting indie authors. Today, I am shining the light on blogging friend, Charles Yallowitz, who has some crazy, mad skills when it comes to the world of fantasy.

Here’s a sneak peak. Click on the fabulous cover to be redirected to WR101, where you will find a preview of The Mercenary Prince.

 

Now on Amazon for $2.99!
LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE:
THE MERCENARY PRINCE

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Delvin Cunningham has left the champions.

Lost to his tribe in the Yagervan Plains, fear and shame have kept the former Mercenary Prince away from his homeland. With his confidence crumbling, he has decided to return and bring closure to his past. Reuniting with his old friends, Delvin’s timing could not be worse as a deadly campaign is brewing within Yagervan’s borders. Dawn Fangs are on the march and these powerful vampires are determined to turn the entire region into a graveyard.

To protect his family, friends, and two homelands, Delvin will have to push his doubt away and become the cunning Mercenary Prince once again.

Art by Jason Pedersen
Art by Jason Pedersen

Please feel free to put this on your ‘To Read’ list on Goodreads by clicking below:

The Mercenary Prince on Goodreads!

Want to Dive into the Adventure from the Beginning?

Collage by Chris the Storyreading Ape Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Collage by Chris the Storyreading Ape

Find all of these exciting adventures by visiting the Amazon Author Page of Charles E. Yallowitz

So charge up your Kindle and end 2015 with an adventure full of action, humor, old friends, new enemies, grudge matches, tears, ale, and vampires.

author-photoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: Legends of Windemere
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com


 

I’ll be back on Monday with my contribution to Ronovan’s weekly writing prompt. Have a great weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 4: Fantasy Squad – Dwarf

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First, before we delve into this wonderful subject matter, a brief note. The plural of dwarf is dwarfs, but when it comes to discussing creatures in a fantasy world, dwarves is generally accepted (in other words, I will be deferring to Tolkien!)

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff. No squad would be complete without a dwarf. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or an alternate universe, you’ll be familiar with the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Most of us can name them; Grumpy, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy, Dopey, Sneezy, and…and…*brings up google*… and Doc.

If you refer to Norse mythology, dwarves were often described as humanoid in nature, usually short and stocky, and connected to the Earth. This is certainly accurate for Snow White’s hard-working little friends!

Dwarves are represented as being craftsmen; miners, engineers, blacksmiths, and stone workers. But according to Norse mythology they were also seen as selfish, greedy and cunning creatures. The most common interpretation in media relates to the hardworking nature of these creatures.

by AppleSin Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2010-2015 AppleSin
by AppleSin
Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Fantasy©2010-2015 AppleSin

Tolkien’s dwarves were typically blacksmiths and stone-workers by profession, having skills which rivaled the elves (in certain areas). Most people would recognize Gimli, thanks to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but Tolkien created prominent tribes or houses; each with a rich and varied history.

Marvel too, concentrated on the artistry of their dwarf race – a race who live in Nidavellir, within the realm of Asgard. These hardworking craftsmen and farmers created weapons for the gods, though it is Odin who enchanted the weapons with magical properties. The most well known dwarf is perhaps the Dwarf King, Eitri.

There are numerous examples in film and literature, because no fantasy world is complete without dwarves. Many are warriors; strong and resilient. A good example would be Bruenor Battlehammer (Dungeons and Dragons) who can be found in the Icewind Dale Trilogy by R.A. Salvatore.

Perhaps my favourite depiction of dwarves in literature reflects their loyal nature. I always knew I would one day create my own fantasy world and that dwarves would be part of my team. I played with the idea of dwarves being part of the Earth and expanded on this within the Fractured series. I also gave my dwarves a unique weapon, forged from the earth and gifted as part of a coming of age ceremony.

But I want to hear from you. Who is your favourite dwarf? What do you like most about these mythical creatures? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for stopping by.
Mel

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