Alaura of Niamh

Alaura of Niamh

Hauflin/human, healer, born in Petra North, lived in Maskil, first appeared in chapter 1 of Shadows in the Stone

A voice shattered the stillness of the night. Alaura of Niamh pressed against the stone structure and waited, drawing her cloak around her. The village of Insihmore existed on the edge of Forest of Caucy. The inhabitants were humans and elves and a mixture of both races interbred. Its history of archaic magic and secrecy hadn’t brought Alaura to its cobblestone lanes. Instead, the stories of a half-elf who had once been imprisoned at Blackvale Castle lured her to the isolated location.

Stone steps

Her contact spoke about an elder who lived near the centre of the village in an abode carved into a mammoth boulder. The entire village subsisted within the rock, homes carved in or built around stone. Alaura had never seen a place such as this. From afar, the settlement appeared small and insignificant but upon entering, she realised the countless knolls were the roofs of homes and businesses.

Alaura sneaked down the lane. Moments later, she paused at the base of a ladder leading to an oval door—Elwyn’s door. A dim light glowed within the peaceful dwelling. Her contact had said the woman was harmless to those with good intentions, deadly to others.

Sources across Ath-o’Lea had spoken of her fiery temper and her quickness to judge, making Alaura hesitate. This elf, well-versed in magic, may judge her incorrectly. Still, she had to meet with her, gather the intelligence needed to learn Blackvale Castle’s secrets. Perhaps good fortune would grant her an audience with the former prisoner. To save Isla from the same prison, she’d ask the impossible.

She stepped onto the first of five rungs, making her way to the doorway slowly. Before she gathered the courage to knock, the door flung open, revealing a venerable woman who gawked at her with more curiosity than concern.


Castle Keepers Vignette: Almost five years has passed since Isla was kidnapped and Bronwyn left Maskil in search of her. In many ways, not much has happened; the inhabitants of the Land of Ath-o’Lea have continued their daily routine. But if you look deeper into the individual lives you’ll see much has changed in little ways.

The Castle Keeper vignettes provide a glimpse into the time betweenShadows in the Stone and Scattered Stones. You’ll have already met many of the characters, but some you will meet inScattered Stones.

These vignettes won’t be complete stories, only 300 words of a moment. I consider them exercises in writing and editing. I hope to write two a week and post them on Mondays and Thursdays as we lead up to the release of Scattered Stones, the second fantasy novel of the Castle Keepers series, on May 6, 2016.

The collection of vignettes will be organised on the Castle Keepers Vignettes page. On the first of each month, I will post the schedule of the characters I will write about that month.

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