As Autumn waxes and leaves change hue, lifting away, beginning the tumble and dance in their drifting journey down from the trees. This writer’s mood shifts to reflection. Time readies those trees for their long cold rest before Spring. Time … the silent watcher who marks us every hour.
What if there was no time?
You’ve somehow slipped beyond its lore? How would that feel? Like freedom? Terror? You can’t age when there’s no time, but neither can you rest. Trapped and lost in a fathomless void. A place where people and things cross dimensions, passing through invisible gateways and portals leading to who knows where. Is time an illusion to keep our lives structured? My latest Ansu legend dabbles with the surreal. It’s all about Time …
The Voyage of Carlo Sarfe is a journey through dimensions and space, as well as across the oceans. It picks up after The Emerald Queen where Carlo discovers he’s in the future and that his home, Gol, is no more. He needs to get back there and prevent that disaster.
But what of his new friends here in the future? How can he change the past without destroying their very existence? Learning of his quest, Queen Ariane must intervene and stop Carlo. Before that she must find the Journeyman, Garland, her lost champion. But where is he? In the future, or stuck in the past? The Queen, the Knight, and the Sailor. All three caught in a chase through time and shifting worlds, as a new menace emerges from the shade of Old Night.
The forthcoming Journeyman 2 continues the legends of Ansu, bridging Corin’s time with Gol 1000 years earlier. Introducing new concepts and characters, focusing on who we are, what lies beyond our ken and the nature of good and evil. Here’s a teaser from the beginning:
Excerpt From The Voyage of Carlo sarfe:
“What is it?” Marei followed Garland’s gaze. Her jaw dropped open as a shape floated out from the fire. A man framed by mist stood before them, his features shifting like the fading flicker of smoke. Almost he appeared as an etching carved out from the rock, hard to discern with the years having dwindled. The dark features were handsome, and a curved sword rested at his hip.
Marei stared at the figure in the fire. Clearer now. A fighting man garbed in gaudy colors, a red sash covering his head, the black smoky curls spilling over and around. He was standing with brawny arms folded, the hint of a grin on his handsome face, but she saw the haunted gleam in those nut-brown eyes. The stranger appeared to be moving up and down. Marei heard seabirds mewling and guessed he was on a ship. The vision faded, the sailor vanished, and the smoke dissipated from the room like venting vapor, leaving no trace as fresh draft sighed through the gap in the door as the wind cried louder from without. Marei stared at Garland, whose face had paled to gray.
“That was Carlo Sarfe.” He stood shakily, his eyes filled with dread.
“Who?” She’d scarce uttered the word before a loud rapping turned their heads to the door. Dafyd’s eyes blinked open. He yawned and reached for the bow.
“Please, help me. Dafyd!”
A woman’s voice. Rosey?
“Stay back, it could be a trick.” Garland unsheathed his sword and approached the door. “Who’s out there?” he yelled angrily. Marei noted the sky had paled in the yard. Dawn must be close. At least the storm had passed.
“Let me in, Sir Garland!”
“Rosey!” Dafyd rushed to the door, and he and Garland removed the bars. The girl stood soaked and shivering outside. She’d been weeping and her red-rimmed eyes were wide with desperation. Dafyd pulled her close in his brawny arms. Desperate, she broke loose.
“Rosey, dearest. What’s happened to you?” Marei stood with fists on hips.
“They took Dalreen, Marei,” Rosey almost screamed the words out. “My Dally’s gone!”
“The baby?” Garland glanced Marei’s way, and she nodded, biting her lip.
“Wait, wait! Poor child. Come in, you’re soaked. Were they raiders, or from the Hall?” Marei asked, as Rosey slumped like a dead thing into her lover’s arms. Dafyd glared at his mother, his eyes blazing with rage.
“They came to the village,” Rosey sobbed. “Said they were from the Hall. A man with cold gray eyes like smoky glass, and three others. Bastards. One wounded. They snatched Dally from my grasp. Glass Eyes told me he was going to feed her to the Kaa. And that it was all your fault, Marei.”
“Fuck this,” Dafyd thrust Rosey aside and vanished outside.
“Wait, boy––it’s still dark,” Garland yelled after him, as Marei comforted the wailing girl.
“We’ll get her back,” Marei told Rosey. “Sir Garland is a legendary warrior in his own land. And he alone has returned from the Hall. Be calm, Rosey. You must stay calm. We can address this awful situation if we keep our heads. Yes?”
Rosey nodded amid sobs. Marei glanced at the door. “Dafyd?”
“He’s taken a bloody horse,” Garland said, having just reappeared. “Best I follow, catch him up before the fool reaches the Hall.”
“What about my daughter?” Rosey wept.
“I’ll get the child back.” Garland glared at Marei. “And your son too, if he’s gone inside.”
“We’re coming with you,” Marei said.
“No, no!” Garland held out his hands.
“They’ve got my granddaughter and this girl’s child,” Marei yelled at him.
“I know I can survive inside that place, Marei. But only if I’m acting alone. I’ll seek Earle Graye––he helped me before.”
Marei gripped his hand and let go, brushing moisture from her eyes. Rosey was weeping again. “What are we to do while you’re gone?”
“Go to the city.”
“I’ll not leave my tavern.”
“Go to the city, Marei. Take Rosey and seek a miller called Randle.”
“Randle’s not who he appears and will help you if you mention my name. Promise me you’ll leave.” She nodded after a moment and Garland left them without further word as he made for the stables.
“Wait!” Marei rushed after him and caught his arm before he vaulted into the saddle.
He turned and stared at her. “I love you,” Marei told him.
“I know.” Garland stroked her face with a gloved hand. “I’ll find your rash boy and the wee bairn, lass. That I promise.”
“I know you will––you’re the best of men.”
“And it’s best that you leave within the hour,” he told her, urging the beast forward toward the lane.
“Just you be careful, Sir Garland!” Marei called out to him. Garland waved and heeled his horse canter out toward the road, threading the ten twisting miles north to the sea. And Graywash Hall and Rosey’s village beyond.
Marei returned to the tavern and found Rosey staring at her, dry-eyed and resolute. “We have to leave here,” Marei told her. The girl nodded grimly and Marei went to prepare some fare and fuel for a three-day ride. Like Graywash Hall, there were rumors surrounding the city. Few of them were good.
Currently available for Pre-order at this bargain price: $1.99 🙂 https://bit.ly/ScimitarDude
I named the Journeyman Garland in honor of Roger Garland, the late JRR Tolkien artist. Roger drew the wonderful sketches featured throughout the Ansu series. Terrific chap, and much missed. You can see Roger and his wife Linda’s fabulous fantasy art on their website here: http://lakeside-gallery.com
Next month I’ll be back with the Christmas Blog featuring cats in hats, a second snippet from the next release. And a new cover reveal wrapped in some news about where the series is going next. Hint: a villain from Shen returns and meets his match in a new character called Araleen Caze – She’s an assassin. You’re going to love this girl 🙂
Take care, friends, and if you’re in the USA, have a lovely Thanksgiving Weekend!
Thanks for reading!
Jim – JWW