Guest: Vanessa Finaughty on The Real World’s First School of Wizardry

This week I have another Magic Appreciation Tour author with another interesting guest post. Unlike some of the other MAT authors, I’ve actually been acquainted with Vanessa for a few years now, and that makes it even more of a pleasure to be able to help support the release of her Wizard of Ends series. So, met heel veel plezier, I present to you Vanessa’s guest post:

The Real World’s First School of Wizardry

by Vanessa Finaughty

Harry Potter fans will love this! While researching interesting post topics for the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour, I came across a rather interesting news article from 2011 that describes the real world’s first school of wizardry – Harry Potter style! I don’t know if the school is still around – it’s hard to tell when even Wikipedia contradicts itself in the same article, stating that the founder and his wife are ‘now living in’, and then stating in the next paragraph that his wife passed away this year (2014). However, I believe the mere fact that a real life school of wizardry existed or exists is intriguing in itself.

In 2005, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart founded the Grey School of Wizardry in California, USA – the world’s first, and only, as far as I’m aware, registered wizard academy, which means it is the first of its kind to be officially recognised as an academic institution. The Grey School is an online school that focuses (or focussed) on teaching esoteric magick, and boasts/boasted sixteen departments, along with many clubs and opportunities to receive awards, much like any other school. Some of the subjects taught are quantum entanglement, metaphysics, cosmology, herbal medicine, lore, protection, wand-making, alchemy, spell-casting and beast-mastery.

Intended for teenage learners, the school does/did still allow adult students, and all students are/were separated into houses or lodges, much like in the Harry Potter books. The houses, for students younger than eighteen, are Salamanders, Gnomes, Sylphs and Undines, and the lodges, for students eighteen and over, are Circle of the Standing Stones, Order of the Dancing Flames, Society of the Four Winds and Coterie of the Flowing Waters.

Oberon has described himself as a wizard, and has spent most of his life studying the Dark Arts. In the 1980s, he announced that he had created the world’s first unicorn. He had, in fact, created a unicorn – of sorts – by performing minor surgery on a goat’s horn buds.

The original article includes pictures of Oberon and his wife, gives some nice comparisons with Harry Potter, and has more detailed information about the school and the magical couple. You can read it on the Daily Mail website here. I recommend you do!

Wizard of Ends, Book 1

The Wizard of Ends, Book 1

When Lashlor Leaflin offers to escort Queen Narraki Dragonsbane to the Jeltar Woods, he’s unwittingly caught up in a magical adventure of the type he would rather not have.

The sorceress Assassa believes the Land of Ends to be rightfully hers, but King Lanaran refuses to hand over his crown. In retaliation, the sorceress conjures creatures of darkness to hunt the queen and end her life. Lashlor helps where he can, but it isn’t easy when the Guards of Ends who protect the queen believe him to be false.

A confrontation with Assassa will be the death of him, Lashlor is certain. However, the king insists on his help and it soon becomes apparent that he may have no choice.

And, Coming Soon:
The Wizard of Ends, Book 2

Escorted by soldiers of Ends, Lashlor sets out to find an old flame, Rune Arcana, the only person who can help to remove the curse placed on the Queen of Ends. Lashlor believes that Rune currently resides in the Mountains of Eclador – a place from which no one has returned in all of recorded history. She could refuse his request. She could be dead. Lashlor and his companions could meet the same fate.

If they do not brave the mountains, however, Queen Narraki will remain in the form of a rabid creature of darkness… forever.

Forever is a long time, and King Lanaran fears the Wizard of Ends will not return. Ignoring Lashlor’s advice not to meddle with the curse, the king employs other magic users to attempt to undo the dark magic.

Vanessa FinaughtyVanessa Finaughty is an author of many genres who now focuses on fantasy and science fiction. She’s published 15 books, of which 6 are fantasy. Vanessa grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and still lives there with her husband of fifteen years, her baby daughter and plenty of furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Vanessa has always been passionate about books, and knew from a young age that she wanted to write them one day. She loves animals, coffee and the smell of wet grass, and hates liars, sweltering weather and long queues. Her interests include reading, photography, the supernatural, mythology, aliens and outer space, ancient history, life’s mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

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Guest: L. Blankenship with an Excerpt from Disciple: Part V

Today I’m happy to welcome L. Blankenship back to the blog with an excerpt from the latest in her Disciple series. This is the penultimate chapter in the Disciple saga, and the perfect time to start working your way though the books in advance of the conclusion coming next year. Getting into the series is easy enough: you can check out the first book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere for the not-so-bank-breaking price of free.

Excerpt from Disciple: Part V

by L. Blankenship
She walked to him on delicate feet. He managed to sit up, trembling from the cold, from the pain, from half-remembered terror. That she was a little thing, trailing a braid of black hair thick as his arm, that her lush curves would’ve whetted his appetite anywhere else — that was all a lie, he knew in his bones. She was far more than she appeared.“Such work to save you from the Shepherd, and you race back to his arms? You judge in haste, Anders.”

“I serve my saints,” he gasped out. “I’m discipled by —”

“You are elect, and bound to the Empress.”

His resolve steadied, in rejecting that. “I am a Blessed knight of Wodenberg. Proven in battle. I belong to Saint Woden.” He had his knight’s crest as proof, loose and straggly from melted snow but proof.

The Empress stood over him, without even gooseflesh from the cold. “And what did he give you, for your service? Blessings? A sword? Your sounding does tell it truly; you were as born to the sword as to the saddle. Woden only gilded a lily, with his claim. What you truly need, la…” She crouched down, looked Anders in the eye. “That is a true shifter, to teach you art.”

His chest ached where he’d been stabbed. Anders shifted away from her, pulse pounding in his throat. “Saint Aleks taught me. He showed me how to work it out myself.”

“Saint Aleksandr,” she said, overly patiently, “was a mere stonecutter with stars in his eyes. He did harvest his shifting charms, or I’m a scullery whore.”

Anders straightened, bristling in Saint Aleks’ defense, but the Empress held up one finger in warning. The bond in his palm tingled. Anders shut his mouth.

“Do not waste my time, sir. I am empress of eight kingdoms. I take few apprentices, and spare not my enemies. But mayhaps there is one man in Wodenberg worth sparing. And what, at home, draws you?”

Kate’s name leaped to his lips, and froze there. Her hands, glowing with kir, catching Kiefan as he fell. Stemming the fountain of his blood. Anders’ eyes closed as the pain in his chest stopped his breath. The sword had hurt, too.

When his eyes opened, they swam with tears. “I have…” Kate had said she loved him. But not even a glance at his mortal wound… had their nights together been a lie? Pity?

“For they left you to die,” the Empress said, voice softer. “And I did mend you, then. Saw your worth and bound you, Elect.”

Left him to die. And now they were finally rid of him. Anders’ heart skipped in cold terror; how happy was Kate, now that he was gone? This vulture had plucked him from the Shepherd’s shadow, done what Kate wouldn’t…

“Stay, and you will master your gifts. Which none understand as your own kind do.”

There’d been none in Wodenberg who could teach him; Saint Qadeem himself had said as much. Since Saint Aleks was killed, Anders had largely been left to his own devices. He met the Empress’ eyes, and she was all the world had left for him to choose. Because without Kate…

With her betrayal tearing a ragged hole in his chest at each breath, Anders nodded.

The Empress touched his shoulder, and his aches melted away. The cold vanished. Kir flooded in, lifting his head with a deep, cleansing breath. She stood, and a small blade spun out from one hand. His knight’s crest, she gathered up in the other. With a slash, it came away and she held the handful of flaxen hair before his face. Then dropped it.

“For you are mine. Come home.”

Disciple Part VKate faces winter with a broken heart: betrayed by one lover, the other lost to her.

Kiefan will not give up on the alliance his kingdom desperately needs — even though the Caer queen refuses to speak to him.

Anders, alone and despairing, faces the Empress’s seductive offers of power and privilege.

Each of them must carry the ongoing war in their own way, whether cold, alone, or backed into a corner. Each must patch together a broken heart as best they can. Duty will throw them together soon enough and they must be ready.

Disciple: Part V is available
from Amazon | at Barnes & Noble | and Elsewhere

Guest: Gnaw (Heidi Lyn Burke) with A Dragon’s Guide to Not Being a Trophy

Gnaw (a dragon acquaintance of author Heidi Lyn Burke ) is on the blog today with some advice for his scaly brethren. So check out his practical do’s and don’t, and enjoy an excerpt of Heidi’s novel, Dragon’s Curse. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end!

A Dragon’s Guide to Not Being a Trophy

by Gnaw, a Dragon (with help from Heidi Lyn Burke)

As a dragon, I have been hunted multiple times. It comes with the scales. People see you and they have one of two possible reactions: they either want to kill you or they want someone else to do it on their behalf.

Thankfully, due to the dramatic retaliations against such attacks by dragon parents, the hunting of young dragons and the raiding of dragon nests is illegal in most civilized kingdoms. Though some small scale poaching does exist, men do not pose a true danger to our whelps and eggs. However, once a dragon has passed its tenth year and is recognizable as a juvenile rather than a whelp, all protection ceases. A dragon must be prepared for the dangers of knights.

These are my best tips for head-loss prevention:

1. Settle remotely.

Yes, humans have taken the best lands for themselves and their settlements continue to sprawl, but at this time the Wilderlands mid-Continent offer a sizable territory of mostly-human-free forests and mountains. If at all possible, stay here. No humans, no problems.

However, I know the desire to travel and see the world is in our blood, so if option one is unappealing to you and you must travel or temporarily abide near human settlements . . .

2. Avoid snacking on livestock.

Nothing annoys a human farmer more than missing sheep. (Maybe missing children, but human is not the ideal diet for a young dragon, anyway. Far too fatty.). Some reasonable humans will look the other way if a dragon settles in their area. Few, however, will long ignore you snatching their livestock. Even if they lack the means to hunt you, they can send away for help, hiring knights who will be more than happy to do the farmer’s dirty work.

3. Know your knights.

Sometimes even if you have carefully chosen your lair and avoided angering the locals, a knight will come after you simply because you are a dragon. They’re in it for sport and glory. When this happens, you may have to fight, but sometimes properly wielded intimidation will spare you the trouble. Is the knight young and inexperienced? Is his armor still shiny and new? Are his knees knocking with fear? Try sticking your head out of your lair, flashing your teeth, and blowing some smoke. Nine times out of ten, this will send the idiots running home to Mama. If the knight shows signs of experience or age or if they come in groups, flight is an option. Unlike knights, we dragons do not hold ourselves to archaic ideas of bravery. If you have no reason to fight, don’t fight.

However, sometimes a lair is worth defending. Also, sometimes I just get sick of being chased off. If you have considered all other options, or are just feeling cranky, it may be time to fight. If it comes down to this . . .

4. Save your fire.

Yes, fire breath is big and flashy, but don’t get carried away and lead off with that. The inner heat required to power a decent sized fireball takes awhile to build back up, and you will probably only get one shot during any given fight. If the idiot has started the fight directly in front of your nostrils, then by all means, blast away. However, a dragon has many weapons at hand. My personal favorite is bulk. Sit on the fellow. It’s a delightfully undignified way to dispatch someone, plus it takes minimal effort. Also we have tails to swipe, venomous fangs, and claws to tear.

Honestly, a one on one fight, dragon to knight, the dragon should win 90% of the time. This is why most knights are smart enough to hunt in packs or attempt sneak attacks while we are napping.

So my final word of advice is . . .

5. Be aware of your surroundings.

Always scope out a lair before you settle in for the night. Check for strange smells, campfire smoke, or any other sign of human encroachment.

If you take these simple precautions, you can live a long and happy life, knight free.

Dragon's Curse

On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?

Novel excerpt from Dragon’s Curse
The slate gray dragon crouched at the edge of the cliff, his wings flattened against his sleek torso and his long slender neck pressed to the ground. Shadows darkened the narrow ravine below his perch. He could smell the appetizing aroma of fat, sleepy sheep and hear their gentle bleating as the shepherd approached.The drake had not eaten in several days, and while nothing would suit him more than a meal of fresh mutton, he had other concerns today. He had watched dozens of travelers take the pass between Grassel and Regone over the last month, but most came in large groups or were well armed. This shepherd was alone.The narrow roadway flooded with sheep. Their wooly backs stretched from wall to wall.

The shepherd and his dog urged the livestock along the path. The dragon drew a deep breath, arched his neck, flapped his wings, and dove.

The shaggy black sheepdog barked sharply at the dragon’s descent but too late to warn his master. The dragon grasped the man in his bird like talons and swept him into the sky. Lambs scattered every which way and the dog’s yapping grew frantic.

The great winged beast dropped the man on a rocky ledge far above the canyon floor where he rolled about, gasping and shivering. He tried to scramble away, lost his footing, and fell from the cliff. The dragon swiftly struck out. He bit into the man’s shirt, arresting his fall, and pulled him back to safety. The fellow jerked about like a fly in a spider’s web for several minutes before going limp.

The dragon lowered him back to the earth.

“Now that you have realized you cannot fly, perhaps we can talk,” he said.

The man stared up at him, wide-eyed. His Adam’s apple bobbed.

“You aren’t going to eat me?”

“If you answer my questions honestly, no. There shouldn’t be any need for that, though I wouldn’t mind one of your herd for a quick snack.” The dragon’s long tongue darted out and in. “You come from Regone?”


“The king, Ernest, is he well?”

“Ernest is no longer king of Regone.”

The monster drew his head back and up like a snake posed to strike and the man crumpled to his knees.

“What became of Ernest?” the dragon hissed.

The shepherd’s body shuddered. “He died, natural causes, almost a year ago.”

“Then the dragon-hunter now rules?”

“Dragon-hunter? Prince Edmond? Yes, he has ascended to the throne.”

The creature stretched out his wings. “All right, I have heard enough. I shall return you to your flock, but you must speak of this to no one.”

The man nodded and did not cry out when the dragon snatched him up and plummeted into the ravine. The gray drake deposited his prisoner on the ground, dodged an attack from the panicked sheep dog, and nabbed a fat ewe before streaking into the sky.

He came to rest on a plateau and tore into the animal’s carcass, swallowing great chunks of savory meat.

It is time to decide: settle the score or forget and move on.

He turned his eyes back to the horizon. To the west low, green foothills stretched out for miles, to the south lay near impassable mountains filled with freedom and peace.

“Not yet, but soon,” the dragon whispered. Leaving his meal unfinished he launched himself towards the craggy blue peaks of the Middland range, his path ripping apart the clouds like paper.

Heidi Lyn BurkeBorn in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.

An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.

Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.

You can find H. L. Burke on:
Web | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

Dragon’s Curse on Amazon

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Guest: Karin Rita Gastreich on The Origin of Magic in Eolyn

New guest entry today from fellow Magic Appreciation Tour author Karin Rita Gastreich. Her novel Eolyn is now available as an audiobook narrated by Canadian voice-actor Darla Middlebrook. In support of the new format, Karin is touring blogs, and has included an excerpt from Eolyn for your perusal. Enjoy, and don’t forget to enter the drawing at the end of the post for your chance to win an Eolyn audiobook!

The Origin of Magic in Eolyn

by Karin Rita Gastreich

Mathew has asked for a guest post about the origin of magic in Eolyn’s world. Rather than writing the story anew, I thought it would be fun to share the legend as it is told by the people of Moisehén.

The mastery of magic in the Kingdom of Moisehén requires many years of study. Most novices start when they are very young. By tradition, one of the first stories these children receive is the legend of Aithne and Caradoc.

Eolyn is no exception. When she chooses the path of magic, her tutor Ghemena reads the story of Aithne and Caradoc from an old and much-loved tome kept safe in her personal library. This story is one of countless legends of Aithne and Caradoc, and forms an integral part of the larger mythological fabric of Moisehén and its surrounding kingdoms.

Novel excerpt on the Origins of Magic, taken from Chapter 5 of Eolyn:
Long ago, in a land that existed before time had meaning, there lived a woman called Aithne. She grew up in a world of ordinary ways. The plants held their silence, the animals moved in secret, the wind stood still and the rocks lay cold and lifeless upon the earth. The sun shone pale through gray days and the moon barely illuminated the starless nights. The essence of Primitive Magic haunted the land, but people were unable to give form to its song. They suffered from hunger and disease and Aithne longed to help them.Aithne spent long hours pondering this problem until one day she noticed the animals were always healthy, their dark coats thick in winter and their young energetic in summer. So she began to watch them. In this way she discovered from Bear which berries are good to eat, from Boar where to look for tasty mushrooms, from Squirrel how to choose nuts and from Songbird how to weave baskets. This was the beginning of Simple Magic.

At that time a young man named Caradoc fell in love with Aithne. He learned the arts of Simple Magic and mastered them quickly. Aithne, seeing he understood her, fell in love with him. They consecrated their love under a full spring moon, and the heat of their hearts sparked a fire in the center of their village. The villagers gathered in awe to observe the blaze. With branches of pine they divided the flame so that each family took a piece back to their own home. This is how fire came to our people.

Together Aithne and Caradoc discovered the secrets of Middle Magic. The joy of their love illuminated the world, allowing them to see the stones are not cold, but rather vibrate with the wisdom of the ages. The plants and animals are not silent, but whisper timeless secrets for the well prepared ear. Aithne and Caradoc taught Middle Magic to all those willing to learn it.

At this time the Gods from the deepest and highest places of the world took notice of Aithne and Caradoc, and a division grew among them. Some of the Gods saw great beauty in the initiative of these humans. They recognized how their magic illuminated and improved the lives of the villagers. But other deities felt threatened.

“Are we to let them continue down this path?” they objected. “To become Gods like us?”

Spurred by this division, the Gods sent two messengers to Aithne and Caradoc, each representing a different side of their argument. The first messenger, Thunder, pursued the lovers through the forest and filled their hearts with fear. At last Aithne and Caradoc found refuge in a small cave in the mountains. Thunder raged all over the hills looking for them, but eventually gave up and faded away.

In the silence that followed Aithne and Caradoc realized they were not alone. A dragon-serpent sat in the cave observing them with sharp silver eyes. Like all serpents, Dragon spoke only through silence but Aithne and Caradoc, long accustomed to listening to the animals, adapted to this dialect with ease.

Do not fear, said Dragon, for the Gods who sent me find pleasure in your magic. They offer you the gift of High Magic so you may use it for the prosperity of your people.

“But Thunder told us the Gods are displeased and we can no longer use magic,” Caradoc objected.

The Gods of Thunder are jealous and fearful, responded Dragon. They believe your power threatens their dominion. You have nothing to fear from them. If you choose this path I will show you how to protect yourself from their wrath.

Caradoc hesitated but Aithne stepped forward and asked, “What must we do?”

Dragon instructed Aithne to bring three elements and Caradoc to bring four. She sent Aithne east in her search and Caradoc west. After three days both returned having completed their quest. Dragon helped each of them forge their first staff from these elements. Then she gave them a single command.

Practice magic as you will, but do no harm with this gift.

Eolyn Audiobook

Karin Rita GastreichKARIN RITA GASTREICH lives in Kansas City and Costa Rica. An ecologist by trade, her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. Karin’s first fantasy novel, EOLYN, was released by Hadley Rille Books in 2011. The companion novel, HIGH MAGA, is also available from Hadley Rille Books. Karin’s short stories have appeared in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and A Visitor to Sandahl. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency. Follow Karin’s adventures into fantastic worlds, both real and imagined, at Eolyn Chronicles and Heroines of Fantasy, or on Twitter @EolynChronicles.

Darla MiddlebrookWith experience of 34+ years as a Speech-Language Pathologist, more than 20 years as a stage & film actor and over 20 years as a trained singer with knowledge and insight into the mechanics of the voice and speech, Darla Middlebrook brings a wealth of experience to bear to develop character voices (male, female, mature, extremely elderly, creepy, bright exotic, etc) with an impressive emotional range.​

Currently, Darla is one of many voice actors who narrates podcasts for AIRS-LA (an audio internet service for individuals with visual challenges) in addition to narrating audio books. She is able to produce retail quality audio books from her home studio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – Canada.

The Eolyn Audiobook (plus other formats) are available to buy on Amazon

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Guest: Will Hahn and an Interview with Cedrith Fellareon

Today I’ve got a guest on the blog. Fellow Magic Appreciation Tour author Will Hahn is touring blogs in support of his new novel, Games of Chance which will be out on the 4th of July, and he’s offered up an interview with one of the colorful supporting characters featured in the first book of the new series. So read on for a taste of Will’s writing, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom.

An Interview with Cedrith Fellareon

by Will Hahn

I’m pleased to present a brief interview with (but not really about) the character of Cedrith in the upcoming Tale of Hope Games of Chance. Cedrith Fellareon is an Elf and a member of the Sages Guild, visiting Conar, the capital of Hope, from his homeland Mendel. A polite and respected guildsman, Cedrith’s life has been turned around by his acquaintance with Solemn Judgement, the main character of the story.

“Say there, Sage Fellareon! Could I have a word?”
“Chief Archivist, for you always, how may I be of service?”
“Well, Sage Fellareon, it’s about this request on my desk, for a restricted tome. Seems to be from a student of yours?”
“Indeed? Is it recent?”
“Well no, there’s the thing- I, ahm, I did not get to it, had it a couple weeks.”
“You’ve been very busy, no doubt sir, I under-”
“And you yourself, I just realized, checked out the same book two days ago.”
“Indeed yes, I took the liberty, that is, I did not realize he ha-”
“So I thought most likely the matter was resolved.”
“Ah yes, so it has been, thanks for your concern.”
“Chief Archivist?”
“What about- well this student of yours, Sage Fellareon? Is it usual, I mean, do you normally take pupils older than yourself?”
“That is, I mean no insult to your age- that is, I’m sure I have no idea how old- oh, dear, I’ve given offence.”
“Not in the least, I assure you, sir. There is-”
“I am so unused to dealing with elves, you see, you are indeed the only visitor from Mendel’s kingdom I’ve ever encountered.”
“Please, do not trouble yourself, sir. There is-”
“It’s simply that this old man- is he indeed a human? Or perhaps another one of your race?”
“Do you speak of Solemn Judgement, sir?”
“The grey-haired one whose name is on this request. Your pupil, am I right Sage?”
“My dear Chief Archivist, I’m afraid you must prepare yourself for a shock. Solemn Judgement, my pupil as you call him, is perhaps fifteen years old.”
“Why nonsense, sir! Do you mean- ah, of course! So this Judgement youth is a nobleman, then? His servant spoke very well for a menial.”
“No- with respect, Chief Archivist, he only appears aged at first glance. And his manner-”
“Please, be serious! A youth? There’s not a hair on his head any color but slate. And such reserve, he spoke like someone from court.”
“He may have been, sir, for all I can tell. Judgement has ever been the very soul of comportment and civility, quite remarkable in someone so young. I can well unders-”
“What house is he from, then? One of the southern baronies? Or perhaps from Shilar?”
“Neither sir. He is in fact an alien among us. And an orphan. Perhaps you recall, that unfortunate incident last month, on the day of my thesis presentation?”
“What do y- by the Hopelord, do you mean- this was the fellow wh-who was… :: whispering :: arrested?”
“The very same, sir, on his first day in the city, though I must sa-”
“Oh that horrid hour! I can hardly breathe.”
“Let us sit, sir, perhaps some tea. Here, right here we are.”
“The very thing, thank you, Sage. I admit, since that day I had banished the dreadful thought- to think, the Law of Conar nearly broken! After four thousand years… and you tell me now, the criminal was this boy?”
“As to that-”
“I had heard tell it was some rough sailor, or a powerful mage!”
“Yes, the staff, and his high boots-”
“But everyone spoke of the villain as a man, sir, I mean an adult, Sage Fellareon.”
“Chief Archivist, if you will kindly recall, Solemn Judgement was found innocent of this, ah, misunderstanding. The Law remains unbroken.”
“Well, of course as it should be. But now I think on this Judgement fellow, I find more reasons to be unsure of him, Sage Fellareon. Do you think it quite politic to keep him here, and moreover looking into forbidden works?”
“Restricted, Chief Archivist, I must insist, not forbidden.”
“Let us not split hairs, Sage Fellareon. Just look at this list of sign-outs! I took the liberty, when I realized what book he was asking for. Despairing culture, reports of miracles from the past three centuries, burial customs- why, there are even tomes in the Ancient tongue here, yet you insist this is just a youth.”
“It does seem strange, I know, but his curiosity is very, eh, very widespread. I know of no subject he is not interested in.”
“But, books in Ancient? For what purpose?”
“Why to read, Chief Archivist. You seem disinclined to believe me? May I ask if you have much fluency, sir- I myself can hardly-”
“As to that, I can read well enough, yes- at my age, and after years of study.”
“Young Judgement reads and speaks with fluency.”
“Ridiculous! Speaks! Why even the preachers must stay within strict bounds with the Ancient tongue of our heroic ancestors.”
“You need not question my account, Chief Archivist. Ask his tutor- the Healers Guildmistress Natashi Ioki.”
“Healer Ioki! A scholar indeed, of the first rank. I suppose, heh, we could trust her word on the matter.”
“Or his.”
“It is not possible to lie in the Ancient tongue- but Judgement speaks no falsehood, whatever the language or subject. Neither will he lose his temper, no matter how poorly he is received-”
“What! Say, are you-”
“He never fails to complete any research assigned, shirks no chore however tedious or long, nor will he drink wine or ale, hardly sleeps and never stops working to learn.”
“Only all that! You seem to think very highly of him. I suppose you can be forgiven for interrupting, in light of your approbation. Perhaps you will tell me next that he can fly.”
“No, sir.”
“Praise the Hopelord.”
“But he can swim.”
“Oh now, this is your Elvish humor no doubt. Who taught him to swim, pray tell me that.”
“This is the very point, sir. Who indeed? But the young man claims it is common where he came from. And I witnessed his skill with my own eyes.”
“You leave me without words, Sage Fellareon. What are we to do with this prodigy?”
“Do, sir? We are a Guild of Sages- I had not thought it unusual that I should endeavor to teach him.”
“Well of course, sir, of course! But I mean, after that- once this unusual fellow has learned, what then shall become of him, and what does he intend, answer me that.”
“Such mysteries are far beyond my poor abilities, Chief Archivist.”
“I should think, sir, with all respect to your position as guest here, that some thought might be taken. The subjects this, this alien is studying, I would say require caution.”
“As you please, sir. I’m here for a session with the youth now- you may interrogate him if you wish.”
“Certainly, Chief Archivist- satisfy your concerns, I assure you Solemn Judgement will answer every question put to him.”
“Why as to that- I cannot- that is, I prefer- ach! He is coming, those boots, I hear him from a furlong, his pace like some moving clock, or a horrid Makine.”
“Chief Archivist!”
“And always wearing that broad, flat-brimmed hat, with eyes that stare, and never blink- see, there he is coming now as you said. No, I leave him to your care, Sage Fellareon, absolutely.”
“You are quite certain, Chief Archivist?”
“No doubt, sir, I’m sure you may be trusted completely with his care. It occurs to me that I have, I must, some appointments. I cannot- those eyes! That is, I leave him to you.”
“Thank you sir.”
“You need not thank me- may the Heroes watch over you, I pray! Good day, sir.”


Games of Chance

For twenty centuries the Lands of Hope prospered from their Heroes’ peace, but suffer now from their absence as a curse thickens over the central kingdom known as the Percentalion. An immortal omniscient conspirator schemes to escape the extra-worldly prison restraining his tide of undeath, using a demonic ally in a plot to bring back hell on earth. Solemn Judgement steps onto these Lands both a stranger and an orphan, driven to complete the lore his father died to give him.

In a world beset with increasing chaos, the bravest Children of Hope must take mortal risks. A young woodsman’s spear-cast, a desperate bid to save his comrades; the Healers Guildmistress’ cheery smile, hiding a grim secret and a heavy burden of guilt; the prince of Shilar’s speech in a foreign tongue, a gambit to avoid bloodshed or even war. As a new generation of heroes, scattered across the kingdoms, bets their lives and more, Solemn Judgement- soon to be known as The Man in Grey- must learn to play… Games of Chance: Part One of Judgement’s Tale

About Will Hahn

Will 8Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.

Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.

Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). With the publication of Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance, he begins at last to tell the tale of the Land’s most unique hero, The Man in Grey.

You can find more of Will’s work at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords
And don’t forget to check out Will’s blog.

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