Category Archives: Empowerment

Author Show Interview 1

 

For those who haven’t had a chance to listen to this podcast when it was on the Author Show Website, you can simply click on the play button and listen to it here on my website or wherever you are listening to it, whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, you can find it here within this post. Thank you for listening. Have a great rest of your week and weekend.

 

A Dance of Sellswords Part 3

Here is the third piece of the six part tale of, “A Dance of Sellswords”. Thank you for your support and enjoy the next installment of this untold story.

 

Rogue tempests held no candle to the force of nature being brought into the world. The great celestial skies of midnight shaped a veil of stars that beckoned a riled and ever-changing sea. Nature, in itself came together for no one else or so the legends were told across the tapestries of time and history. Vyctor and Edlen barely had enough time to make it safely to the den of creatures that call the four winds of the world home. the Windresirs of Sereinne.
Vyctor eased his beloved wife on his cloak that he just finished laying out when, her screams filled the air, as another contraction surged through her body. For twenty-six hours, the pain did not falter. No respite could comfort their hearts, not knowing when their child would come into this world, but when caught them off guard was the Windresirs and how they were closer to them on either side.  Blythe, the matriarch of the zephyrs of the north, stood steadfast as another pained cry passed thru Edlen. For, a new life was about to come swiftly into the world, but what no one had foreseen was a celestial from the Halls of Lyreires made her presence known.
Wise and a fierce warrior forged in the fires of war, the goddess Pallas arrived while the others descend.  A few Wolfsayers spared their supplies while they bustled out of her way, as she knelt by Edlen’s side. “It’s time, for this little one to come into the world, Oberyn has foreseen it.”
Edlen breathed thru her last contraction. “How can you be so sure?” Her mind’s eye delved across a field and back again. Pallas smiled at the expectant mother.
“Forget everything else that clouds your mind, what does your heart tell you, Edlen Certhviean? Allow your heart to find hers, and tell me what you’re afraid of.” Vyctor grabbed a hold of Edlen’s hand as she pushed thru another wave of pain, as she began to push. Wisps of wind and a veil of mist washed over her, as she felt her child finally making her presence known. Sure, the pain was one way but she had no control over that, but wait did the wise one, reveal their hearts were right and that they would be welcoming their little girl into this new world.
Despite all the discomfort she endured, it was still euphoric to know their daughter, their firstborn is finally here.   Before she can try to fathom anything else, a baby’s cries filled the air. Symphonies of the four winds carried over the air, to greet a new life. Pallas gave her blessing to the newborn child as she handed her over to her mother. “This child is a beacon of hope for those who have none, she will receive all the blessings we have to offer, she will become our champion. What is her name?”
Both mercenary lords were lost for words, their daughter was just born and already she has the blessings from all the Srielriya gods, and their kin save those who clung to the shadows. Thinking it over, without much trouble, as if it was second nature and their hearts were one and the same, Vyctor turned his attention to the fierce shield-maiden. “Firena, Firena Certhviean.”
Windresirs drew closer still. The twin gods gave their blessings to Firena, as Leila took her into her arms. Oberyn’s eyes glowed a golden hue before he turned his gaze to the newborn’s parents. “A winged wolf flies across a midnight sky filled with stars and over a raging sea, who lives eternally, unlike you and the rest of your kin, she is one of three who will guide your kin into a golden age. Make no mistake she is more than she appears.”
Firena’s fingers clung to her mother’s chemise and drew closer, Edlen rubbed small circles along her daughter’s back. “We’ll always stand beside her, my lord Oberyn. She is our child.”
Leila’s silver armor glistened along the torches that burned bright, as if the stars themselves had graced them with their presence. “You misunderstand, Wolfsayer. My brother sees two wolves standing by her side thru everything life will throw her way. Beside, a winged wolf of the four winds, there will dwell a wolf of sea and fire.”
Vyctor ran his hands over his face, clapping his knees gingerly before he addressed the twin gods in front of fire.  “What if we don’t want her to live this life? To be what we are, not just mercenaries but Wolfsayers.”
Silence crept over the dens of the Windresirs, not even the gods whispered a word thereafter. Yet, for all the silence that remained, one mind, body and soul kept her voice above their own, Firena.  She may be a newborn child, and she may cry from time to time, but her heart beats true. Her spirit is a dreamer, one of the truest believers, only she knows where her path lies. Pallas thought. “That’s not for us to decide, Vyctor. You may be her parents, and yes you brought her into this world, and you love her dearly, we all see it, but who are you to decide her fate… who are you to take away her voice?”
Before either could argue with the wise goddess of the Srielriya, Pallas cut them off at the pass. “Do you honestly believe she will be a little girl forever, that you can keep this a secret from her. She deserves to know who she is… where she comes from… don’t take that away from her, she is stronger than you realize.”
She’s the Wind Crethighe, and she cannot die, but mark my words, Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean. Her time will come and when it does, a rogue tempest, will not be weathered and tamed, but instead a wisp of fresh air that will carry us through our dreams and into reality.


Stay tuned for the continuation of the, Lost Tales of the Srielriya, that will delve further into the pasts of Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean, coming soon.

 

 

A Dance of Sellswords Part 2

Here is the second piece of the six part tale of, “A Dance of Sellswords”. Thank you for your support and enjoy the story.


It had been a few months since their close run in with the Vearin. No one knew how they had escaped without a trace, but those were the great mercenary lords for blathers of gossip. Their travels took the latter all across Glinre, even thru the unknown territories of Zegrelith, Neyinxin, and Erotherynn.  Even in their dreams they faced another adventure. Wolfsayers are curious creatures, sentients really. Some have tried to learn anything they could.
Alas no one knew where to start or where to end their search. Elusive as many fractals of nature, a tale of Wolfsayers passed into legend. Myths to be passed down from generation from generation, to teach children and others a lesson, though a latter crossed social circles throughout the ages, not one spins in the direction of the truth.
A lie is a lie no matter how it’s spun.
Spindles held no candles to those who have been misled. Vyctor and Edlen had heard all, from the tall tales of Wolfsayers coming out all during the full moon, and that they could rival the Vrakarthres in their ways, to the time they passed thru Hervoren where several knight errant lords and their disciples, who supplant the good names of the Wolfsayers, because of one depraved lunatic, as he drove himself mad with his lust for power. The latest tale was of Edlen’s parents, the Lord and Lady of Theranosse, Renieva and Edric Anlryn.   How her mother couldn’t stomach the atrocities her little brother committed so she turned her gaze away, as multitudes were left alone to fend helplessly for themselves against his fists of iron, while her father is in over his head, and those where the kinder ones.
It didn’t take long for Vyctor’s hand was forced into action, each and every time, he defended her honor, and swallowed his anger when the rumors grew against him. Until one low life drunk spurned his unborn child.
When Edlen gave him the news, he felt a swell of pride burst at the seam and beyond another intricately and newly sown thread in a tapestry. It was then, he faltered in his resolve, whoever tries to insult him is welcome to do so despite how he feels, but if someone dared the same upon his lover and wife, and any child they brought into this life, they had better watch their step.
To face the ire of a slighted Wolfsayer was most unwise.
Rinsing his bloodied knuckles of the drunk’s blood from his hands, Vyctor grabbed a cloth nearest to him and tossed it on the unconscious man’s bloodied face.  His nose and jaw broken in three places, the Lord Srielrian slipped out the front door without anyone to stop him or his wife from leaving the tavern. “Are you alright?” He asked, as he gently caressed her abdomen. “Did they raise a hand to you or the baby?”
Edlen shook her head, while she tended to her own injuries on their way out.  “No, no one got a chance, they were dead before any of their strikes fell upon us, my love.”  Enveloping his blistered hand in hers, she addressed him further. “Besides I wasn’t the one who threw the fallen knight errant lords across the tavern and out the door into the street.”
Just before he could say anything else, he felt a surge pulse against his hand like he was caught up in the outskirts away from the eye of the storm. “Did you feel that?” He asked, surprised by the force behind it was like a rogue tempest.
She smiled. “Of course, I did. She takes after both of us.” He heard her say.  His wife thought they were having a daughter instead of a son. Many would argue the same old questions, how do you know it’s the latter, whether it is a son or daughter. But the Great Wolf of Srielrian, reveled in the idea of having a daughter, it didn’t matter to him so long as they were happy and healthy.
Now it was his turn to smile. “If I didn’t know any better, I would argue she will not take after both of us, she is her own force of nature to reckon with, and when she arrives… the stars themselves will fly across the heavens, in a veil of starlight to welcome her.” He said.         Planting a gentle kiss where he last felt a kick, Vyctor took Edlen in his arms and left the tavern behind.
They had been married not long after the incident near the Norhainor Mountains, at least it didn’t feel that way to them. For nearly the entire year they have known each other, they grew closer. Gravity in its power seemed to draw them together, and with a sense of euphoria and a platonic air, they fell for one another.
Despite how many have spread their opinions, the lovebirds didn’t care. For within sight was the lives they wished to lead, and destinies were forever intertwined that glorious eventide, when Edlen in all but name eloped with him. She didn’t care for the life she held a court, nor did she care that her father thought her lover was no match for her.
Her mother, Lady Renieva knew her daughter well. She was just like her when she was her age, but in her heart, she knew that if they have decided to give her a grandchild, that one day, they’d be a force unlike anything the world has ever seen.
Not necessarily a bad thing, she thought. Whomever they are, they’ll keep this world on its toes. A great storm is coming and we best be ready when it does for this will be a rogue tempest.




Stay tuned for the continuation of the, Lost Tales of the Srielriya, that will delve further into the pasts of Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean on August 31st. 

A Dance of Sellswords Part 1

I know it has been awhile but I would like to take a moment and thank everyone who has followed me and my books thus far, so thank you for your support. And for those who are new here, welcome and I hope you enjoy the stories being told here. Without any further delay, let the next chapter within the Lost Tales of the Srielriya begin.

 

Long nights and colossal storms stirred awake, the world’s most powerful obelisks. One by one, the Wolfsayers clashed.  Sovereigns, Enforcers, Mentors, and Guardians, it made no difference. How could it, when all seemed lost in the wildness of eternity.  To live within the realms of the seen and the unseen, shadows and flames erupt thru bramble thickets. Thorns cut deep, wounds linger and maelstroms swell beyond a mind’s eye. Lust for power and lands that were never their own, House Anlryn’s ever aggressive firebrand, Helthornnayus made his mark on the world around them.  Merciless disciples pillaged and burned all within their path.   For once, it seemed as though the Wolfsayers however ripped apart at the seams they were, they now shared a common enemy.
A year had passed before the remnants fled to whence they came, to live and fight another day.    Nevertheless, peace between the eight great houses of Wolfsayers was elusive as ever. House Anlryn and House Certhviean were nearly at each other’s throats for several years. Bloodlust has sowed its seeds deep within a rooted beneath a felled tree. First, Rowan Anlryn… then his youngest son and heir, Helthornnayus… raised arms against the Dravnien’s, and his own daughter, Farina Anlryn’s joined forces. Broken shards of trust remained untouched for many years.  For many years, still Anlryn and Certhviean were at ends but new threads of life were rose like phoenixes from the ashes, and into the flames of a bright new age.
Maybe the friendship could be mended between sovereign bloods. Since the harsh and bitter cold winter airs of Srielrian, Vyctor and his northern lords barely staved a listening ear for House Anlryn’s affairs. Tending to their own, they rebuilt homes, and saved lives after a brief gathering with Lloyd Anlryn and his bannermen.   Once the news Helthornnayus’ disciples have fallen at the claws of the Srielriya Drakes of the Norhainor Mountains, Lloyd’s business there was finished. No bloodshed between Vyctor’s and Lloyd’s sentinels were spilt, but in remembrance for all the ones that fell into the hands of Dis, kept the distance evermore.
Riddled aflame, the maelstroms were reborn anew and a new phoenix rose from the flames. Two hearts forever intertwined, the beating heart of true love or so the bards have sung. They have come a long way since Vyctor held her at his sword’s edge. It’s strange when they remind themselves of how their so-called fairytale began. Who started that anyway, the bards or blathers of gossipers, is there any difference between the whisperers of the outside world, outsiders looking in, professing to matters they barely understand… neither Edlen or Vyctor knew.
Nor did they give strangers to their mind’s eye quell the love they felt for another. Some called it a forbidden love, others a fairytale in their lives. If only others felt that way, Edlen thought. Staving her thoughts away from the troublesome air that filled her heart, a tender but gentle kiss laid to rest upon her bare shoulder, the great shield-maiden of Theranosse closed her eyes.  “Vyctor, we need to go. It’s not safe here.”
Vyctor ignored her warning, as he trailed his lips up her shoulder and skirted across her jawline. One of his hands gingerly brushed along her waist until it rested on her outer thigh. “We’ve reached the summit of Eriecen Highlands. No one will find us up here.” He reasoned. Edlen blissfully shook her head as she turned around in his embrace and leaned in to kiss his lips.
“Oh, really? We’re deep inside Vrakarthre territory and you believe they won’t notice our presence here?” She continues as she presses her lips to his once more in a passionate kiss.
He smiled into the kiss. “Where’s your sense of adventure, my love? We’re Wolfsayers, not defenseless.”  Cupping her face in his hands, caught in a loving embrace, “These wolves are fierce warriors but we are humble travelers who are just passing thru.” Gently pulling away from her side, Vyctor Certhviean rose to his feet. “Fine.” He said meeting her apprehensive gaze. Reaching for his clothes, he got dressed and gathered his weapons, as Edlen did the same.
“How far is the Ilrie Forest?” Edlen asked curiously while she finished pulling on her boots.    Vyctor runs his hand over the back of his neck.
“A few days ride, if the weather holds.” He said. Sheathing his swords, he called for their horses but they didn’t come. Drawing one of his daggers free, he beckoned Edlen to do the same. Staying close to the trees and weaving thru another forested knoll, rustling leaves crackled and crunched under their elusive shadow and visitor. But neither dared say a word, should they draw any more unwanted attention.
Edlen looked around, nearly tripping on a branch along the way. Keeping close to the shadows herself, she drew her daggers close to her heart. Twigs and leaves snapped behind her. Suddenly jarred back into the tree at her back, a grizzled maw met steel.
She spun her arms down in an arc, her daggers pierced thru flesh and bone. “We’re being hunted!” She called out to Vyctor. Quickly slipping her daggers to her sides, Edlen looked around once more. However, he did not answer. Before she could muster the nerve to call out to him again, another shadow lunged for her, a ray of silver gleamed in sunlight, and there was a familiar face.
“They’re growing bolder.” He said as he cleansed his daggers on the fur of the dead werewolves. “Anvraya’s filth, have traveled far to have reached us here. They must have tracked us since Krevnevris.”
Howls echoed across the air. Wafts of mist rolled across the highlands. “They’re here.”

 


Stay tuned for the continuation of the, Lost Tales of the Srielriya, that will delve further into the pasts of Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean on May 31st. 

 

Midnight Wisps Part 3

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the third and final piece of “Midnight Wisps”, next week is going to be the beginning of Edlen’s and Vyctor’s next adventure. Thank you, for reading thus far, and I hope you’ll continue reading from here.

 

It must have been a dream… or rather a sense of reality, she failed to see. Srielriya drakes, fissures in a mountain that took a life all of their own. Crypts that could melt the emotional flesh off a backbone from the heartiest of warriors, Edlen didn’t know where to turn. If she turned back, surely her uncle’s men would catch her, and if they didn’t find her, the drakes or anything else could reach beyond both of her weapons, surely would.   As much as she disliked being dependent on another, she needed him, to make it out of Srielrian unseen.
“How did you know, they were down there?” She began, keeping her blade close at hand. “I mean, we could have stumbled upon them?”
Vyctor trained his eye on the brush ahead. “That milady, is why many outsiders die and not many live to tell the tale.” Swept his sword left to right, and right to left, he led them down a hidden pass.       “I have been to Lehrian before, no one save your mother and your uncles have come here, and survived. Tell me, why your people trespass on my family’s lands?”
Edlen caught up with him, her pace fell in sync with his. “I couldn’t answer that, even if I wanted to.” She dragged her sword along and helped Vyctor cut the brush aside. “My family doesn’t tell me, the details to every move they make.”
No one in her family told her much of anything, simply a protection detail they told her.  Especially when the other clans of their kin were involved.   To be truthful, until she met Vyctor, she had never met a Certhviean or any of their sentinels before.
“They don’t trust you, then.” He argued as he cut down another patch of tall grass. Turning, until he stood face to face with her, the warrior’s gaze fell upon hers. “Must be frustrating, when they turn a blind eye to one of their own.”  I know all too well, how you feel—Edlen, only daughter of Renieva Anlryn and Edric Vaughn. 
She scoffed at the idea. “They have never turned their backs on me… they just believe they’re trying to protect me.”
Now that she said it aloud, she cursed under her breath. She was alone in the wilds of Srielrian, with Vyctor Certhviean, a fellow Wolfsayer she barely knew, while her family had no idea where she was. Even she had to admit, this wasn’t her finest hour, but she remembered…she’s faced far worse battles than this one.
Both shared a swift and ever-changing glance with one another, when a rustle of leaves caught high in a midnight breeze. “What was that?” She asked, poising to strike whatever it is lurking in behind the trees. “Another one of your friends?”
He shook his head.
“Gawain, introduce yourself to our honored guest.” Vyctor said. Before she could say another word, an axe swung straight thru the air and lands a centimeter away from her ear. Her heart nearly jumps out of her chest, had it not been for her ribcage, it would have succeeded.      But she did the second best thing, tripped over a fallen tree branch.    “Edlen Anlryn, meet Gawain Relnios, my brother-at-arms.”
The bear of a man, plucked his axe out of the tree’s bark effortlessly. His steely gaze kept, fixed on her, just in case she tried anything. “Anlryn, huh… did she tell you why she was here?”    He didn’t even wait for his answer before he trained his axe to just below her chin.   “Lloyd’s men were here, the other day harassing my sentinels. Did she tell you that?”
Helthornnayus’ men to the north, and Lloyd’s men to the west… what to make of this. Vyctor thinks before turning his eye back to his companions.
“My father didn’t leave me in charge just to watch our lands burn, my friend. If they strike, we will have the advantage.” Stealing a wary glance at Edlen, he staved the axe away from her throat. “But she will not be a part of it.”
Relnios Lord of the Wolfsayers, or not he didn’t understand. She was their enemy.   Why would his sovereign save her, he couldn’t place his finger on it. “Lloyd’s men are on our borders, remnants of, his late brother skulk about the shadows… it’s only a matter of time before her mother and her other uncle is behind them.”
Helping Edlen to her feet, Vyctor kept his distance. “She helped me heal my injuries. The insidious fiend’s men were after us both, she isn’t with them, but it remains to be seen about her uncle Lloyd’s men.”
Edlen didn’t know this man, Gawain Relnios really well, but her mother has spoken of his family in almost every conversation she held about the eastern territories of Glinre. She gathered one thing, a Relnios is not to be trifled with, or any sentinel sworn to their sovereign lord, the Certhvieans. “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. My family doesn’t have quarrel’s with you.”
Vyctor scoffed under his breath.     “Your grandfather started one with my family ages ago. He may have been a great man once, but his greed got the better of him before he died at the hands of lesser men.”
“Gawain, gather your men and wait for further orders. Send a scout to Lloyd’s generals and give his high sentinel Reynard Zecreth one chance to treat with me, I’d like to meet with, the great Lord of Esneralth.”  The well-built Nevrisse warrior, rests his axe across his shoulder, with a respectful nod, at his sworn liege lord’s order, he left the pair alone once more.
But Edlen was confused, why would her Uncle Lloyd have men wandering into Srielrian. He didn’t support his father’s wishes for Srielrian, nor did her Uncle Ilnieyas or her mother for that matter, the only one might have been Helthornnayus.
It made sense, but how could she be certain if she was nearly attacked by every Srielriya native who believed they sided with her late uncle when they were off by a dozen leagues. “Vyctor, let me speak with, my uncle. I can get the answers you require.”
He graciously dismissed her offer.
“Forgive me, milady but this doesn’t concern the Halls of Theranosse. This is between, Esneralth and Srielrian.” Picking up her sword and handing it back to her, he led her to the borders of Srielrian.    “I trust you know your way from here.”
Edlen nodded. “Good, a fresh horse is waiting for you down the road, I saw to it after we met. This is where I leave you.”
Ever since she arrived in Srielrian, she had been chased by Helthornnayus’ men and stole a one in the thousandth glance, the mythical drakes of the Srielriya Mountains of Norhainor, but none of them are in close comparison to her encounter with a Certhviean Lord.    Vyctor, is unlike anyone she has ever seen in Lehrian, or anywhere else for that matter. Before she turned to walk down the road to find the horse he supposedly spoke of, his hand caught hers.
He brought hers to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss upon it.     “May the gods watch over you, Edlen of Theranosse.” Gingerly releasing his grip on her hand, he drew something from his cloak.  One of the beautiful midnight wisp flowers from the groves of the Norhainor Mountains.    “Here, I want you to have this, to remember our time together, however short it might have been. That tonight… I met one whose beauty rivals the endless stars of a midnight sky.”
As he drew a few strands of her hair back, and placed the flower beside her left ear. He whispered in the early misted breeze, I pray we see each other again, and dispersed.

 

Stay tuned for the continuation of the, Lost Tales of the Srielriya, that will delve further into the pasts of Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean on March 2nd.  

 

Sendrath Chronicle: News

Good afternoon everyone, I have an announcement about my newest addition to the Wolfsayer Series collection. I just finished the fifth book of the entire series … but the first of four in the spin-off series, the Sendrath Chronicles, “Aclerieas” is now available.

 

Also, look for the third part of the Lost Tales of the Srielriya, delving into the lives of the mercenary lords of the Wolfsayers, Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean, on October 21st . Have a great evening.

 

Meeting the Author Revisited

Hey everyone and welcome, I hope all is well. Today’s article is a bit more of a personal nature for me, delving inside one of the things that makes me tick. Something that many out there fail to fully understand, but for those who have it and for those who know someone who does, should know it’s not something to be ashamed of. I do not profess to know everything on the matter, however I can speak from my experiences.

Let’s start with I a have a form of autism. And since this month is Autism Awareness Month, as of April 2nd a couple weeks ago, I figured talking about this would give better insight into a piece within the puzzle which is me.
My name is Hannah Smith, and I am 25 years old and I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Now when the latter hear the term autism, most that I have come to know thus far throw the trait in the respective person’s face. Several years ago, an ex-friend of mine, threw it in my face, like it was something to lessen me as a person, and you know what, it did the exact opposite. Once I thought about it for the couple of months following the argument, I came to find that the fault did not lie with me but rather in fact, my ex-friend.
Now no one is perfect but still, keep in mind treat others the way you want to be treated. Being kind is not a weakness, it’s not a sin but rather instead a sign of compassion we need to see more of. Truth of the matter is, just because there are many with autism out there, doesn’t mean we are any less of a human being than the rest of the world.
Aside from recently turning 25, I am currently a self-published author of a new adult fantasy series, I call “The Wolfsayer Series”, all four books are available on Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble thus far. While in the works I am working on the first of  “The Sendrath Chronicles”, the spin-off and the sister series of  “The Wolfsayer Series”. In the year of 2012, I also graduated from the Art Institute, with an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design.
So, for those who have doubted me, made fun of me as a child, who think I have a chip on my shoulder, because of their thought of entitlement to the right to define the person I was born to be, should know one thing.

The only one who defines me or has the right to do so, is me and me alone. The same goes for anyone in truth. Only you can define who you want and who you will be in the end. Each voice is sacred, and should not be taken for granted. Whether someone sees it or not, those who have any side among the wide spectrum of autism or whatever the circumstances may be, have hearts too. We have feelings and should be given a chance to become who we are born to be. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I may not have a degree in sociology or psychology but I can honestly say, I know enough of what I’m talking about in the sense of who I am and who I will be and that having a form of autism, will not define me. It’s one piece among many in a intricate puzzle that defines who I am but the choice is mine in where the path will lead. That much is certain.

 

Stay tuned for June 3rd, it will be the start of the Lost Tales Series that will delve into the pasts of Vyctor and Edlen Certhviean. 

Category:

Wind’s Wisp

Hello everyone and thank you for reading. This month’s lost tale is from another of the three extended scenes from my newest book, “Lineage”.  Hope all is well, thank you for the support a again, it means a lot.

 

 

Cool wisps of a summer breeze embraced the environs of Grelldrin, whisper upon whisper, the native trees swayed. Though another sound couldn’t be heard besides, least of all the playful cries of three children green to the world played among the brush and river greens.
 Wisps of clouds hung low as if they too desired to play. Floating around all of them, they stayed. One of the three children splashed the water, brisk to the air, crystal blue water deluged others around, not just their friends.    For hours they played, without a care in the world.    Ignorant, they were to the dangers lurking within the shadows.
Soon, they’d see just how perilous the wilds can be.    As the three children had their fun, the boy and girl with the third child, another girl of chestnut of hair, a glow of fire about her as she climbed atop a lesser precipice to those of the high fells of Skylarieas Falls, at the stream’s edge.      Looking down upon them, she had their attention.
How can she be our princess, the girl thought to herself as she continued to see the other girl upon the fell’s pinnacle, fifty feet in the air, look at her, she’s not worthy of the title, honestly look at her.
“Firena, come down from there!” The girl screamed at the top of her lungs. To her surprise, Firena didn’t listen to her.   Then again, who was she kidding, the younger girl barely heeded her parents.  She’s a free spirit, should have known, might as well try and tame the wind, good luck then.
Having a running head start, Firena darted straight thru. Free falling down into the stream below, the young girl endured, like thread slide through a needle, her landing in a smooth sail.        Kicking her legs, swimming to the surface, Firena saw her friends beside the shore, open-mouthed.
“What’s wrong?”  She asked curiously as she caught her breath. And just as she climbed out of the water, she received her answer. In lesser distance in between she saw them, tall men garbed in silver and black, with weapons drawn running their way.
About to run for an assist, Firena found she couldn’t move.      Looking at what had impeded her efforts to gather reinforcements, she found two sets of hands a clasped upon both of her arms.    Revealed to her there and now, Firena realized they weren’t her friends, that they were just using her, to climb the rungs of a higher social ladder.      Alone she could have taken them down, but with both grabbing a hold of her, her efforts grew tired.  When the foul men emblazoned with a fell dragon descended, the deserters shoved her forth, and on her hands and knees, she fell at their feet.
“They’re here for you.”     She heard her former friend say as his hand brushed against her face. “Cleta and I need to get home. It is better you than us, forgive me for what I’m about to do.”
Gresham, your wishful thinking is a fool’s errand.  How can I forgive those who have betrayed my trust… who used me for their own aims…no I’ll never forgive you for this.
Jerking her face away from his touch, his foul breath on her skin, Firena kicked him where stars will find his eyes faster than he could run. And when Cleta had come to her friend’s defense, about to bring him to his feet, she found an arrow lodged in her stomach.     
Eyes widened in fear, his body racking with sobs, Gresham rocked Cleta in his arms. That was until another man cut him down. With both of them laying there dying, Firena was roughly being brought to her feet.  A fierce pain rush thru both of her arms as they were tethered behind her back.
Grabbing a hold of her chin, forcing her to look upon him, the leader among the wicked multitude sneered. “Finish them. We have what we came for.” The demon in a man’s attire hissed. Soon as the order came, the will was carried out. Cleta and Gresham were gone within a single arrow through the heart.
Gresham and Cleta betrayed her trust and their covenant to their sovereigns that held their fealty, but that didn’t mean she wished them dead. Yes, they were deserters, although her sense of honor rung true, a traitor’s life would suffice. A moment spent, and they were off.
Struggling against her bonds, but to no avail, Firena caught someone else in the corner of her eye. Keeping her eyes from gazing upon the person she happened to see, Firena closed her eyes and within a moment’s pause, she opened them in a second hence only to find her sister gone from sight.
I’m sorry Nerys, but I couldn’t have them find you. Firena thought as the strong guards dragged her further away. May the gods protect you until I return, she said under her breath.
Thanking the gods, for answering her prayer to save her sister from the shadow that threatened their shores, Firena continued to fight.  Leaving Nerys behind is not in her plans, nor will they ever be.
Until exhaustion took hold, the young girl found her escape futile.  But the fires within kept her going, the wisps of wind delved the fire deeper still.  No waters could douse the flames, only clouds of mist climbed inside and out.
For she made a solemn vow, one she intends to keep.She will return. Within an hour their ship was in sight.
Shoved roughly aboard the deck, one of the bosons took her from there.  And in second’s pulse, the anchor was pulled and off they went.
Meanwhile below deck, the boson led Firena to the back of the ship.          Kicking his foot behind her knees, she fell. The hard wood bared no mercy upon her, and just like those who stole her away, a cruel surge struck a nerve.
Not once will she give them the satisfaction of her screams, or the pains they’ll rain down upon her. She may be a girl of twelve years of age, but her vow stays intact. Defiance is her middle name, or so her mother told her earlier that day.  A fair tremble betrayed her, her back felt like a fusillade of arrows rained down upon her. The boson’s three-pronged steel lash cut deep within her skin.  For a while she contained her screams, but by the fifteenth round, she couldn’t withstand it any longer. A scream of pain betrayed her.
On the thirtieth, the boson stayed his hand, and whispered. “Soon your spirit is going to be a broken shard.”  Whimpering at his touch upon her injuries, Firena staved her concern.
If he thought for one second, that he broke her spirit, a wave of disappointment will greet him each and every time. She has to be strong now, not just for herself but for her family and friends. Giving in will only bring more heartache and truth be known, she’s a fighter and no matter what happens she always will be.
Respite given, and a healer tending to her wounds so they wouldn’t fester, the boson locked Firena inside a prison cell. After the healer applied a few healing salves to her wounds, binding them with clean cloths, they left, locking the cell door behind them. Just able to catch a glimpse of the lands she has been born to, slipped through a grasp held so tightly. In her mind’s eye, her inner strength stood on divided grounds.  Memories of those she held so dear, clung to the threads of her heart, keeping her safely on her feet.
Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with both her heart and soul, her inner strength followed. For months she had endured the torments of the boson’s lash and the cruelty in wake of the others on the ship. Demons cackled in the night, fiends traveled as a beacon in the morn, there was no escape. Coasts foreign to her eyes came in sight, didn’t take long.
Heavy footsteps carried across the floor.  Might as well be a boulder dancing, it was so heavy, or at least seems so. Ever since her morning agony, her mind has been scattered and divided. Better than delving in full-bodied anguish, with only a flicker of movement, her entire form inside and out cried out for the pain to stop.
 No avail, the pleas fell unheeded. These people, these terrible people will not get away this, she believed through every fiber of her being.     Keeping herself together, her own personal mortar mending the divide within, Firena turned her gaze to look upon a savage berserker of a man standing rushed afore her prison door.
Ripping the door wide open, almost forgetting his own strength, the cutthroat’s advance shook the evil men behind him nerves. Surveying her injuries, down to the last cut and bruise he saw upon her face, his jaw tightened. His well-built arms stiffened in turn.
“It’s alright, there’s no need to be afraid of me.” The cutthroats’ leader said as he cupped her cheek gently in his hand.  Barely waiting a second, he turned his attention back to his men. “Who is responsible for this atrocity?”  Nothing, did they think silence would spare them his wrath.
Sadly mistaken, they will be sure of that soon enough. And sure enough, within a blink of the eye, he unsheathed his sword, turning half circle and smacked the nearest guard in the face.
Hurrying his step, clutching the side of his face, the boson shrunk back in fear, a steady flow of blood slid from his cheek.  “Lord Medryk, forgive me I didn’t mean for her —” The boson tried but failed miserably.
The one he called Medryk kicked him in the ribs. Leaning forth, his lips a small distance from the boson’s ear, he whispered. “I gave everyone direct orders, the girl was not to be harmed unless I said otherwise, Ihrenyn.”  Drawing his sword back, giving the boson another kick in the ribs, Medryk snapped his fingers.
In moment without hesitation, Ihrenyn was roughly brought to his feet. Two of his captain’s crew restrained him. One of his personal guards swung his fist into his gut, just shy of colliding with his ribs. “Such a simple task and yet you fail me as you have my father before me.”
Ihrenyn tried to speak on his behalf but before he could get a word in, the other one’s fist collided with his gut. Sinking to his knees, the pain too much to bear, the boson’s strength depleted. Given a wordless order, Medryk’s guards threw Ihrenyn outside. They knew what to do with those who disobeyed the orders of their sovereign. Knowing full well, what awaited them should they cross him.
Certain death, that’s what awaited them. Father like son, isn’t that what most of the latter have said before. Yes, it is. At least from their perspective, however recent events and past ones must be taken into consideration.  Medryk Cydrenn ruled over his father’s lands with an iron fist.  And the compassion of a wildfire to match, that’s what, they had to look forward to. When he turned his attention upon Firena once more…Medryk freed her and grabbed her by the forearm, handing her over to his horde. “Please, escort our guest inside— and have a healer tend to her injuries.” He said before he took his leave.
Keeping a firm grip upon her arms, Medryk’s men led her outside.    Yet what came next shook her thru heart and soul. There, tending to the wide fields as far as the eye could see upon the hillside… were vast multitudes of people. One stood out above the rest, a lone woman staggered across the open road, she could barely stand.
She too bore wounds upon her, years of age laid deep in the soil. How many years have come and gone, Firena didn’t know but what happened drove the first dagger through her heart.  The woman fell under the lash of a boson surveying the work of the multitude. A final blow to her back ruined another of innocence.
As the guards walked past the woman, led Firena beside them, and what the woman did surprised her. Humbled and shaken, more of which she’d no idea, beside the woman sunk back to her knees and bowed her head, a murmur just loud enough for herself and Firena to hear.
Much to another surprise, Firena heard…   “Save us, child, only you can help us, please we need your strength.” Who was this woman, and how did she know who she is. She’s never met her before. Sure, she’s heard of prophets and the prophecies they’ve seen and written in the many archives of the world.
She’s only a girl of twelve, what could this woman believe she could do… shaking her head in her mind’s eye, Firena dismissed it. Then she heard it, again and again, the woman’s words resonated down a line of men, women and children dressed like the first enslaved person she saw. Hundreds of hundreds of people, slaves to the will of these evil men, the young maiden comprehended where she was, a realm of fiends where there was no escape.
Shoving her through the massive obsidian gates, the vanguard’s leaders led the way, with her not far behind. Corridors beyond corridors, the hall almost making her head spin, so many twists and turns, by the time they got where destination held, Firena fell. Her wounds taken their toll, plunged a hot branding rod down her skin, raw and aching with every motion hence, brought tears to her eyes. But none broke her spirit.
As much as she wanted to give in, she didn’t, she had others to think about not just her. Nerys, needed a sister, a mother, theirs was not much of one.    Nearly raised her, herself, that’s how bad it had been. Beside the point, she thought. Look after her, Seryaina. Brought into reality, Firena felt the harsh stones under her knees.  
“Lord Evirek will see you soon, child. He’s looked forward to meeting you.” One of the guards said haughtily, while one of his own unlocked the room door. After getting a good look around, Firena saw where the guards have taken her, the castle’s oubliette. Greeted by silence, Firena found herself surrounded.
Dozens of men, women and children were huddled along the walls. A near shadow and flame honed their fears, bringing them to life. What a cruel fate this is.  No one should have to endure such pain and sorrow, there’s no excuse for this, never this.
Beckoning one of the slaves to their feet, the guard addressed a woman dark of hair, closed the distance in between. “You’re a healer, clean her wounds and tend to her as if she was your own—because if she dies both of yours will follow.”
Shortly after her wounds were tended to and the night’s evening star had arisen in the skies, one of the slavers desired a peaceful audience with her, so they led her to believe, they must have her mistaken for a fool.
Yes, she may be twelve years of age, but she had learned from the best. To keep her wits about her, someone she held close to her heart for many years, her patron and mentor… the Srielriya goddess of wisdom, Pallas.  And it didn’t go well. Lord Evirek tortured her, until she begged for a respite.
Once he had his way with her, the Lord Medryk stepped in and finished the job. He beat her mercilessly, a vicious ire burned in his eyes.
Tending to the fields for three weeks until she defied them enough to set a snare loose, the boson’s lash was relinquished. Rather instead, the lords decided something far worse. A fight to the death within the coliseum, if she survived, eternal solitude awaited her. Of age in their eyes to fight, they’ve chosen her first opponent.
Keen stings yearned for a release, a moment’s pause to cling to. Alas, it is heartbreak, a piece at a time. She may not have known them long but it matters not, a person is a person. A person she called a friend. Young of age, just like her, a boy of fifteen with many scars upon his face, turns a thief in the night.
From the coliseum, Firena thought when she caught a glimpse of his face for the first time in a week.
New scars acquainted with the old, a misery revived.   He too lost a number of friends, and if she succeeded he would become her first. Stepping towards her, a prolonged breath betrayed him. “Don’t be afraid, Firena. It’ll soon be over.” He told her softly, a tender heart revealed itself, did he have a fondness for her. “Come on, before they arrive.”
Swallowed fears and a faction of well-kept wits… Firena and the boy had one last exchange of reassurances before they were driven apart.   Jostled towards the gates, a guard jerked his head towards the wall. Brushing off the dirt upon her, Firena saw a rack of weapons to choose from. Without a word, she reached for a light sword.
Blind by sunlight, the young maiden made her way inside, the iron gates close behind her.  Composure regained, Firena heard a break of dawn, a beating drum of voices echoed profound in her ears.  Almost burst them, in such an uproar. Abrupt cheers, colossus massifs in their wake, bushed by the tremors, the lone children stumbled further, a center mark waited there. “Forgive me.” Her friend said, his voice trembling.
Lunging forth, an ire stance bout him, almost as if he was a different person, the boy made his move. Maybe age gave him an edge, perhaps his strength, although she has one thing he fails to see.
Forgive me, Ryleigh. Ducking under his spear, her sword came forth, colliding with his leg. Tumble and roll, swiftly getting to her feet once more, Firena deflected a side thrust. Quickening his step, rapid fire raining down upon her, Ryleigh struck her to close for comfort. Step aside and all will reveal itself. In a thrice blurred aerial strike, Firena’s life hung in the balance.
One by one, her barricade held him at an impasse. He tried to salvage ground lost, only to lose more. Prepare, for what’s to come is an understatement.
Ryleigh’s fist collided. Knuckle to the side of her head, a trickle of blood swam around her cheeks. It was within that moment, everything changed. For better or worse, she could not tell, only time can give her that now.
Right when her close friend, one of the few she made over the course of her imprisonment, came near her, spear in hand, raised high above his head —- gusts of wind began to churn. Halts in his step, Ryleigh couldn’t move.
To no avail, he’s trapped with nowhere to go.   Wincing in pain, Firena forced her legs to rise. She gazed into his fear widened eyes and wondered why he’s a statue, or at least acting like one.
“What’s going on here?” Ryleigh asked. His eyes dropped to his boots.
Trying to free himself once more, his failure sunk further.    Arc, thrust, turn, arc… he failed once again.   This time, gusts sifted through the air, sudden converse, a tempest greeted him.
Sent far from where he once stood, Ryleigh’s view of the world suddenly had a change of heart.   Rested against the wall behind him, his feet hung above his head. Arisen to his feet was easy, that is until razor sharp pain shuttered his iron resolve. Shaken but arising to his feet, Ryleigh drove his spear towards Firena within an assault to her abdomen.
Driven her sword deep in wide thrust right, thrown right into a downward spinning arc. Firena ducked under his spear and ended the skirmish right there.
Agh, Ryleigh sunk to his knees, the light he held so dear slipped from his grasp. But he couldn’t speak a word, his strength began to wane and with it, he fell to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Firena’s sword pierced straight through his gut.  Twelve years of age and she was forced to take her first life. Shakenly drawn to her knees, she threw the sword aside.    Intertwining her bloodied fingers with his, Firena’s tears continued to fall. Forgive me. She repeated in her mind. How can someone be so cruel, so heartless, to force a man, woman or child to such a life.
Bastards, Firena said in her innermost thoughts.  Someday soon, you will pay for this.     
Resting her forehead against his, begging for his forgiveness and the same of his family who passed long before he arrived in Dreitheieus, streams of tears fell. Firena asked them. Whether or not, they would grant it, she asked any way.
Better to have asked than none at all. Remorse clouded her. A kindred air united them, a single thread lost in a sea of darkness. Lone beacons barely have survived and a single ray of light lingers on.
What kind of madness is this, to have innocence forsworn, that lingering hopes hang by a thread whilst their lives fall through the fissures. Hope is all we have, it must never be extinguished.  Battered and scarred from the many fights she’s been forced into over the course of the last several months, Firena’s sword had claimed the lives of seven more.
Four were her friends, three were strangers to her eyes, but it mattered not, not to her, for every life there save those who put them there were sacred. There’s no reasoning with evil, for all shadows have one thing in common, one purpose really, power crazed lunacies.
Secluded from the others ever since her most recent defiant exploit, Firena’s ilk settled in. Onslaughts became a normal focus of the days gone by. Bosons were working tirelessly to reign over their serfs but to no avail.   With every wave on the shores of Zegrelith, Dreitheieus was thrown further into chaos. For eight months she endured the torments of the shadows there, and in a small hope still open to her, Firena’s plan had already begun.
Freedom calls upon her, and in an hour of need, within her strength, there will be a refuge to save thee.  Recalling what a mercenary lord told her before they fell in the coliseum upon her sword–Firena sharpened a self-forged dagger out of a goblet they had given her the night before.
Light of air paces the corridors, a handful of boots prattled in a near silence and once a flickering flame reached the darkness, she saw a friendly face.   One she hoped to see. “Firena, the time has come, we must leave.” The friendly face said.
Her prison door lay strewn across an obsidian floor, five elves stormed through. Extending his hand to her, the elven sentry came to her defense. “We will see you to the coast, the bastard, Zerikrieas will not follow us.”
Traitor of his kin and of the light he once served so proudly, Zerikrieas one of the three lords of Dreitheieus falls utterly short of a knight in shining armor, he is nowhere close even then. Besides he’s the one who brought her here.  For all of his cunning and all of his influence over the shadows, he fails beyond doubt.
“Atrevos, I’m not leaving here without the rest, no one deserves a life like this. You know this—help me save those that can be saved.” She whispered to the elven leader standing before her. Sighing in defeat, Atrevos turned to his men and gave the order. He eyed the gold dagger warily, before he decided to hand her a light sword, the very same one that she wielded in the coliseum.
“Take this—it’ll protect you better. Please, give me peace of mind.” Atrevos said.
Sheathing the dagger she made, keeping in close just in case, Firena took the sword and left her prison one last time. With Atrevos at her heels, the young maiden climbed every step she must, and reached cells tenfold.     Each one filled to the brim with those enslaved.
“You’re free, run from this place and never return.” Atrevos shouted upon the crowds. At first no one moved and inch, but Atrevos’ voice carried over once more and without a fuss, the slaves did as they were told, and in a spurt of life ran for the one thing that has been denied them, their freedom.
And with the release of the slaves, a choice of free will granted back to them, Firena and the elves loyal to her friend Seryaina’s parents, helped her and her friends escape into the night. Rain, pitter-pattered down the mill rooftops, thin veils of clouds loomed overhead.
Frigid icy winds coursed through the skies, Mud greeted the refugees, and for a while all seemed well, war drums sounded in the deep. Trumpets blared in an effort to reconcile the fear within the people darting off into the night, but all it did was cause turmoil.
Dreitheis’ cavalries sounded the alarm, rounding up any they could find and in a horrid turn, ran them thru. One by one, they fell.    No remorse known to their names, the dreaded knights ravaged the land.   Push and shove, Atrevos and his men carried Firena and her friends to the docks.
“You must find your way from here, I’m afraid.”  His hand cupped her face in a tender embrace, his eyes searching hers, trying to read her emotions through all of this and found nothing still, he replied. “Go now, my friend. You are free, do not wait any longer. Leave this place.”
He didn’t have to tell her or those beside her twice. Once he and his warriors darted across the paved roads surrounding the docks, they staved both advances of the enemy.
A hold of her friends’ sleeves, drawing them closer, Firena let out a tired breath, happens after running for so long.  Must have been a league, her heart pounded so fast, she could barely get a word in between breaths … let alone try running in an open waterfront. Pressing her back up against the wall, her friends looked on with concern, she regained breath.   “Come on and stay out of sight. Vreliya, Kevserin we don’t have time.” Firena said just above a whisper.   Shoving both her friends forth, the dagger she made left her hand and Vreliya twirled it in her hand twice.
Follow a path to the right, a glimpse caught in a break of clouds, Kevserin got a hold of armor, one belonging to an enemy solider. Bringing his sword through the man’s throat, the sixteen year old boy silenced him.  He laid the body down and in a moment’s pause another appeared. This time, Vreliya hit her target.  In a heap, the second enemy fell back, a bloodied hand clutching his leg. Given an assist, Vreliya and Firena finished him.
 A lone seafarer stood by a pile of cogs, loaded and prepped to bring aboard his ship. This was their chance. A chance for freedom, a chance of hope long been denied to them. Their concerns hushed, Firena sifting her hand through the air, she made her move.
Closing the distance in between them, the warrior tugged the seafarer’s cloak, a confidence brimmed anew.
“Excuse me, sir.” Firena said, her whisper kept nicely still, the worry in her has begun to fade. “We need your help.” Didn’t take long for the seafarer to hear their stories, and when Firena had finished.  The kind-hearted man showed why his heart was made of gold.
“Gather your friends, lass.” The seafarer said. His fingers ran through his beard in earnest. “But if you don’t mind, where are you headed?”    Beckoning both Vreliya and Kevserin forth, the coast cleared for an escape, Firena answered his request.
“Glinre, just get us to the northern shores of Glinre. Will that suffice?” Allowed aboard his ship first, Vreliya and Kevserin ran below deck. An answer in the clear, the seafarer waved his hand, inclined towards his ship.
“Needed to ask, milady, but you have nothing to fear, we’ll get you safely to Glinre.” Running upon the ship herself, Firena thanked him and held steadfast at the helm. The captain of the seafarers of Zregrelith, best of his trade, barked orders to his crew and within the next breeze.   The ship sailed off the coast and into the open sea. Stave, a glance further still, beyond those of the borders that kept her prisoner for eight months, an eternity in her eyes, Firena saw him.  Atrevos fought side to side, in close ranks with his battalion.
Zerikrieas making his move, the dread cavalries following close in pursuit, saw his most prized prisoners getting away further and further at sea. Shaken anger, an overflow of indignation, Zerikrieas charged. Atrevos broke rank and drove him asunder. His men fought to the death, a handful survived. Hard to tell which will achieve victory, Firena turns another round and right there, Atrevos bid her farewell.
Distance closed between them, maybe a few feet stood between them, the one who granted her safe passage aboard his ship, inclined his head.  A slight bow, terms of respect washed over him.
“If we’re going to be wayfaring the seas together we might as well know each other’s names.” The man said, his hand extended towards her, he cleared his throat. “Fenrik, is my name, may I ask for yours?”
Uneasy of the man’s intentions, Firena grew wearier by the minute.  Perhaps it was a product of her perils in Dreitheieus. Maybe it started when she was stolen from home, it mattered not, not to her… what did was getting back home and a life she scarcely remembered.
Firena… Firena Anlryn. That is my name.  

Stay tuned for the next article on April 14th.