Today, Sunday February 16th, is the last day to download a copy of Scattered Stones to your Kindle. This is the 2nd book in the Castle Keepers Series.

It takes place five years after Shadows in the Stone. Bronwyn Darrow has been searching for his adopted daughter, Isla of Maura, all this time and tonight, he plans to rescue her from the Tigh na Mare dungeon.

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Enjoy

This weekend, Scattered Stones, book 2 in the epic fantasy series is free in the eBook form at Amazon. Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll read in Chapter 2, Scene 2.

From his perch in a majestic hemlock, Morrigan Fae of Moonsface watched Tigh na Mare warriors spill into the forest. The explosion that rocked the castle while the elf had discussed slaves with Lady Orenda Nassen was followed by a second blast.

Morrigan came as close to the action as he dared. Warriors passed beneath his position, running about as they collected and relayed information to their leader. Within minutes, Lady Orenda Nassen surveyed the escape route personally, halting below the hemlock as three warriors rushed into the clearing to share their discoveries.

“My Lady.” The first warrior bowed before Orenda. “I have identified the intruders.”

“Who were the thieves foolish enough to cross me?”

Morrigan reduced his rate of breathing, released excess air and enhanced the energy to the Cloaking Spell. Not even his scent could drift on the evening air. He relaxed his muscles and appeared to melt into the evergreen. His body slept save his ears and eyes.

“It was Elspeth’s Mercenaries, My Lady. I recognised Rhys and his mate Morwen. They took two prisoners: a middle-aged dwarf and a young hauflin.”

The low growl in Orenda’s voice reverberated through the forest. “Elspeth.” She clenched her fists. “That dwarf has now crossed the meekest of lines. It’s time to end her escapades.” She scowled at her warriors. “We begin the hunt immediately. Gather the required supplies and mounts for thirty warriors. Meet me at the castle wall in fifteen minutes. Go! Now!”

“Yes, My Lady.” The warrior dashed towards the castle.

Orenda surveyed the area, her eyes settling on the two remaining warriors. “We’ll take no prisoners but one: Elspeth. I have something special in mind for her.”

A hundred thoughts flooded Morrigan’s mind. Was the young hauflin prisoner Isla or the twenty-one-year-old? If Isla had escaped with Elspeth and if Orenda caught the group, she’d be killed. Although a skilled band, The Mercenaries were no match for the number of warriors on the hunt. Fortunately, they had a head-start, Elspeth’s fundamental strategy to a successful escape. Her notorious history for evading capture failed to help Morrigan. It made his task difficult, knowing he might never find The Mercenaries’ trail. His only comfort derived from knowing Elspeth commanded fairly and guarded her followers as if family. If Isla travelled with her, she’d gain her protection.

Shouts and screams echoed throughout the forest, and Orenda swung around to glare in the direction of the castle. In the limited light provided by the slither of moon, Morrigan saw the grimace on the woman’s face as she marched towards Tigh na Mare with the two warriors at her heels.

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Enjoy

February is Fantasy Month

Destiny Governed their Lives is the story in which we learn a little Maskil history. I’ll let 17-year-old Catriona tell it from her perspective:

Destiny Governed their LivesThe founders had established the small town more than two hundred years beforehand, but the population was small compared to towns in the south. Catriona believed the war against the horrid wizard Lindrum had reduced the number of inhabitants and discouraged others from settling. Although the Lords of Maskil had won the battle, they hadn’t won the war. The constant threat of random attacks by Lindrum and his henchmen kept everyone on alert.

“That happened long before I was born,” mumbled Catriona as she made her way along Tintally Street. No one could honestly say Lindrum continued to threaten Maskil and its Aruam Castle. Though the man hadn’t been seen for more than sixty years, it didn’t matter. If a horse vanished, a building burnt or an inhabitant went missing, the citizens accused Lindrum.

When more severe crimes occurred, people spoke of the prophecy. The prophecy. Catriona chuckled. What a fantasy. A half-crazed man who claimed he’d been lost in Caverns of Confusion for fourteen years had delivered the dozen or so lines describing Maskil’s destiny. When he arrived in Maskil, he appeared as an old man though he declared himself to be only thirty-one.

A company of Aruam Castle soldiers had set out to find and explore the mysterious Caverns of Confusion, but no one found them. They didn’t appear on any map in the castle archives and no official records existed of travellers visiting them. Her father had viewed hundreds of maps and knew thousands of places, and he hadn’t heard of the caverns. Still, stories from long ago passed through the years by word of mouth told of explorers finding them.

They were also fantasy, made up to entertain and scare small children, thought Catriona.

Today is the LAST DAY the eBook will be free to download at Amazon. Find it here:

Enjoy.

Destiny Governed their LivesIn the short story Destiny Governed their Lives, Catriona Wheatcroft, an apprentice, has snatched a scroll from her teacher’s dwelling and is attempting to cast the Sight Visitation Spell. The recipe might sound easy, but if done incorrectly by an inexperienced hand, it could cause irreparable damage.

The Basic Recipe

  • Water
  • Oil of the green olive
  • Whole seed from yellow rattle grass (gives strength to the eyes and allows the caster to see the image clearly)
  • Eyebright (gives the eyes power to see)
  • Fennel (Aids in opening things)

A Snippet

The following is the passage detailing Catriona mixing the ingredients.

She paused and looked at the many dishes in front of her. If she mixed them correctly, she’d work her first worthy spell. Steadying her hand, she carefully picked up the oil of green olive and poured it into the wooden bowl. As the recipe instructed, she stirred three times with a wooden spurtle. This is like baking a cake.

mortar and pestleNext, she picked up the fennel. “Fennel ground to a rough powder using a white agate pestle in a clay mortar. Huh? What’s so special about crushing it with a stone? I’ll use the back of a spoon. That’ll do.”

She held the small dish in her hand and crushed the fennel root with the utensil. Once prepared, she admired her work. “Looks great.” She added this to the oil in the bowl.

For almost half an hour, she added, stirred and crushed the ingredients together in the proper order. She stared at the finished concoction. I hope this works. If it doesn’t, what a mess to clean up for nothing.

Today and tomorrow, the eBook is free to download at Amazon. Find it here:

Enjoy.

February is Fantasy Month