Words of Fate: Darkness of Men. (Issue 3)

A low fire crackled in the predawn several miles north of the segmented city of Moorhenda. Sytheis Tia Menrha, a young wordsmith, prodded the flames idly with a stick to keep the fire burning. It cast a red light through the trees around him, illuminating the sleeping forms of his unlikely companions.

Strange circumstances had him working the a Banndnori mason called Fortas Tillor, a beggar child known as Chipper and two street thugs known as Rantier Zalnot and Bibbi. Together they had entered the inner city’s sewers to hunt a monster but had ended up fleeing for their lives from Draknori warriors who were thought to be long dead. Their escape had left them in woods miles from the city with one less man than they had begun with.

The sleep that Sytheis had managed only served to stiffen his battered limbs. He had been set to watch the camp for an hour now and that time had been spent trying to loosen up his protesting muscles. There was little else to do. His journal and ink bottles had been destroyed and he had left his instruments back at his room. Luckily his Klash cards had survived inside their waterproof case but he had no desire to handle them in his numb hands.

The air was humid and warm even without the fire. Sweat prickled his skin. He stood up and stretched before walking a short distance from the camp to gather more wood. The sun would be rising soon but a meal of cooked rabbit before they set off would go down a treat. Rantier had assured them that he could catch something for them. Continue reading

Words of Fate: Monsters of the Past. (Issue 2)

Buildings shimmered sickeningly outside the window of a second floor room of an inn called The Rose and Thorn. The distant towering wall of Moorenda’s inner city was little more than an indistinct blur. Sytheis Tia Menrha stood by the window staring out at the city beyond. The sun hung heavily in the sky and only the most determined of people were out in the streets unnecessarily. The days were only getting hotter it seemed and Sytheis had no intention of leaving the shade of his rented room.

He studied his reflection in the glass for a moment, running a hand through his sweat-slick blond hair before slumping back into the chair at his desk. Papers lay scattered all across the surface and words were scrawled across every piece. Some of it was his own work while others belonged to other tellers or bards. He grouped them all together into a category that he liked to call ‘the competition’.

At the top of the pile was Moorenda’s most popular Venndi news pamphlet The Stag. Most of the issue was dedicated to the battle that had taken place outside of the city on what was now referred to as Queen’s Hill several days back. The centrepiece of the pamphlet was written by none other than Sytheis himself. It had been written under a pen name to avoid awkward questions but all of the coin had gone into his pocket. It was pure propaganda filled with buzzwords and emotive phrases but with little depth. This was what sold best though.

He had also sent another version to a Chalemite teller under a different name that outlined the events of the battle in a grim, unflattering light. It had been a commission from the queen of Chalem herself and had paid well. It was that bloodsoaked retelling of the battle that had allowed him to rent this room within a good district of the city.

Absently he flicked through the pamphlet, skimming over the pages about the battle and its political implications, until a rough sketch caught his eye. It depicted some kind of large animal lurking in the shadows. The artist had tried to make it appear terrifying while applying only the vaguest of detail to what the creature actually was. He read through the accompanying writing with growing interest. Continue reading

A Crown of Blood and Ash – Chapter 1.

Streaks of green flame slid through the darkness of the sky, leaving an ever changing trail of colours in its wake. The stars around it shimmered and distorted like reflections across disturbed water. Mallan Rilarendir watched it idley from the rooftop where he was laid. Vague thoughts crossed his mind, but mostly he was content to just enjoy the view. It was rare to have a clear sky.

“You ever think it’s strange how the past never really goes away. It’s always here in some way or other. We lay here and look at the sky, watching as chunks of a once powerful civilisation drifts through space, and we know all about it even though it happened long before we were born. It’s like they didn’t want to be forgotten so they keep drawing our attention to them, whispering for us to remember them.”

From Mallan’s side, Lilarith Rilarendir snorted. “I think you think to much. Of course the past is here for us to see. Every second becomes the past, becomes history. Us waiting here now, talking about nothing, is history. Maybe in the future someone will think we’re important and look back to this moment. That’s what decides the past. Nothing more than what people in the present believe deserves remembering.”

Mallan shrugged and continued to watch the comet split the sky asunder. He was only a young boy, but to him the great war was something that fascinated him. Even trying to imagine the scale and power involved as titans clashed was something beyond his comprehension. Yet it happened. The fragments of alien worlds were a constant reminder of it. Continue reading

Forges of Icarus – Chapter 1.

“If everyone isn’t in a line by the time I cross the threshold then there’ll be no dinner for the lot of you.”

There was a bustle of feet as two dozen children ran through the drab corridor to line up before a simple stone fireplace. Their clothes were well worn and they all bore a uniform haircut regardless of their age or gender. At a glance they looked to vary in age from three to twelve, though all of them looked underfed and overworked. Their eyes weren’t the mature eyes of adults or the haunted eyes of soldiers, but neither were they the eyes of average children.

A nervous ripple ran through the line. Every head swiveled to the doorway where a tall man stood beside the rat-featured speaker who called himself the Orphan Master. The master’s given name of Ral Colcot was far less grand and suited him much better. The children examined the stranger with every inch of scrutiny that he gave to them.

“Listen well,” the orphan master announced. “This is Sir Theaspin Rothsgrave and he has graced us with his presence. None of you deserve to even share the same air as such an esteemed lord but he has gifted you all with just such an opportunity. Muster what dignity you have and obey his every word. Is this understood?”

“Yes, Master!” the children answered as one.

Rothsgrave sneered. This ‘orphan master’ seemed to derive great pleasure from his complete command of these children. He was lanky with thinning hair and sunken eyes. A failure of a man who took out his frustrations on the one group of people who couldn’t resist him. Pathetic. Rothsgrave took a step forward, his presence filling the room. Continue reading

Reflections of the Blood Moon – Chapter 1.

A gust of wind blew down an old dirt road. Dust billowed and rose like a dark cloud, obscuring the town ahead for a few brief seconds. Konta Farshore shielded his eyes with a pale hand. Each fleck of grit that hit him stung his near translucent skin. He didn’t breath. Any irritation on his lungs would have caused hours of painful coughing.

The wind faded. Konta waited a few moments then lowered his hand and resumed his breathing. If he’d known the weather would pick up like this he would have stayed at home. He shifted position on his seat. Bruises were already forming where the jostling of the cart had knocked him against the wood. 

   He yawned then set his eyes on the sparkling blue horizon. The Eastern Ocean extended out into infinity, consuming the world beyond the cluster of brightly coloured buildings that formed the port town of Blencca. It was a large settlement that was fuelled on an economy of fish and little else. Despite this, it was the centrepoint of the area and drew in the residents from the hundreds of farms that dotted the plains around it.

Konta and his family were one such group. They had just had the first harvest of the year and were making the trip down to the merchant quarter to sell that which they didn’t need. Tannar Farshore, Konta’s father, sat beside him with reins in hand, urging the old horse onwards at a gentle pace. Two of Konta’s brothers, Jakks and Samil, walked either side of the cart. Jakks walked hand in hand with a young woman bearing the unmistakable bulge of heavy pregnancy.

Konta was the youngest of seven children. He had four brothers and two sisters, all of who might as well have been another race entirely. Looking down at his eldest brother he couldn’t see any similarity that was reflected in himself. Jakks, and all of the men in the family, were tall with broad shoulders and tanned skin. Coarse hands and muscular arms were the hallmarks of all the local farm workers. He was so strong and confident. Continue reading

In Death’s Shadow – 1st Chapter (2017)

It has been over a year since I first posted an extract of my current story. In that time I have learned a lot about editing and actually pushed to get reader feedback so now have a far more polished version of the story. This polishing isn’t fully finished yet but I figured that I would show how far the story has come by posting the 1st chapter of its current draft.

The original version can be found here.

Once again, any feedback is welcome. Enjoy.


Chapter 1

A dark shape flew through heavy clouds far above Abernethy Forest. In a land of ancient myths such as Scotland, where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape, it was all too easy to see contorted faces staring down from the icy heavens. The shape disappeared into the churning clouds before erupting out from the silently screaming mouth of an angry god to swoop down low above the treetops. Leathery wings glided serenely for several seconds then lunged into the greenery to vanish from sight completely.

A short distance from here was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge. It had once been a private manor house but had been converted into a hotel in recent years. Fitting with its remote location it was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.

The clouds parted just enough to reveal the moon through the black veiled sky. A warped howl echoed through the snowy night. Nobody heard it over the festivities though. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the local fauna. Long dead deer and wildcats seemed almost alive in the flickering light. The guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading

Vote for me

Hey guys.

In my eternal quest to succeed in writing I have submitted The Sword Summoner: History Repeats into Inkitt’s fantasy story competition. The entire novel is on their site. If you have yet to read it, now is your chance to check it out in full for FREE.

The way the competition works is that readers vote on their favourite stories and the 10% with the highest votes gets through to be judged by Inkitt staff. The winner of that round is offered a publishing deal.

So if you wonderful people could go to http://www.inkitt.com/stories/39375 and click the little heart at the bottom of the screen then that would be a great help to me.

So head over to Inkitt, read The Sword Summoner if you want to and please give it your vote. Thank you all dearly.

Words of Fate: Of Quills and Swords. (Issue 1)

City walls of pale stone stood proudly on the horizon ahead. Around it rougher stone structures clung together in a hodge-podge of designs and materials like a cancer. Farmland covered the ground between the settlement and a lone hilltop many miles from it where a young man stood taking in the sight of the legendary city. Dense forests made a ring around it all.

It was early in the morning and the young man hoped to be within those walls come nightfall. He wiped an arm across his face to remove a trickle of sweat and grimaced at the smell that rose from his sleeve. He had been travelling by foot for over two weeks now without a single change of clothes. Washes had been few and far between and the summer’s heat had been like the innards of an oven for the entire time.

“If I intend to rejoin society today then I’d best make myself presentable. I smell worse than the old man’s attempt at cooking,” he said to himself.

Humming lightly, he made his way down the hill and veered toward a small stream that he had spotted from his vantage point. He found an area that was out of the way of the working men that dotted the surroundings and stripped off. The water was refreshingly cool but the man wasted no time with relaxing. He scrubbed himself clean then applied a flowery scented lotion from a bottle to himself until his entire body smelt faintly of roses.

He left the water then waited until the heat had dried him. The filthy clothes that he had worn were shoved into his pack and a fresh outfit of clean, well made wool was carefully donned. The clothes marked him above a peasant but they were still cheap and basic by any nobleman’s standard. He needed a shave but the slight beard and slightly too long brown hair did not detract from his handsomeness, simply adding a charming ruggedness to his already pleasant appearance. He would not be thrown out of any respectable establishment and that was all that the man needed.
Continue reading

Death’s Shadow – First Chapter

Here is the first chapter of my newest novel. It is fully written but I have had no luck with agents. Let me know what you think and if you’d like to read more.


Chapter 1

Scotland. A land of ancient myths where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape. In modern times though, the warriors have faded into the history books and the wilderness has succumb to the advances of civilisation. Where once foreigners had sought to avoid the harsh land, now they flocked there as tourists.

Deep within Abernethy Forest in the Scottish Highlands was an example of this tourist trade. It was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge that had once been a private house but had since been converted into a hotel. It was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.

The moon was high in a black veiled sky. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. It was the biggest room in the building. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the Scottish fauna. The dozen guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading