Title: Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse
Author: A. L. Butcher
Genre: Fantasy/Mythic/Dark Fantasy/Short Stories
Main character description (short).
“I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.
Synopsis: He who bargains with monsters beware! A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns magic never forgets.
In a land of forbidden magic, a mysterious cave holds both riches and danger for three adventurers who discover a mighty treasure and a terrible secret.
Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse Excerpt
© A. L. Butcher
On the nights when the moon rose to its fullest, its light a silver sheen upon the roof of the Great Hall, a terrible monster came. His voice was like the rasping of flesh on a blade, his countenance blighted and ugly, twisted like melted flesh with great weeping sores and a putrid smell. Many warriors had tried to vanquish this foul creature, and now their bones lay with the prince’s in the barrow to the east of Eadsham, the settlement that had been forged by blood and toil by the first king, Aedwin. Widows were aplenty and many children made fatherless from this awful beast. Doors were bolted and barred, and not even the lord himself dared to face it. Such was his shame.
The king grew ever older and wishing to marry a man of bravery and honour to his daughter messengers once more rode out north, south, east and west in search of a hero, one with the fortitude to face this cursed beast, as they had done so many times before. On a night when clouds covered the moon’s light and rain fell in drops the size of marbles, the sky was rent with lightning as a great human warrior rode to the gates of the village. “I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.
“We have slain creatures from nightmare and beasts that made grown men piss their drawers. Your curse will be lifted if the price is right!” His band nodded, for their rates were high indeed so that only lords and kings could afford their blades.
“No weapon forged by man can vanquish it! You’ll simply earn your place in the Hall of the Dead,” someone called.
Saelth looked around for the one who had spoken. “Then I shall go to the Halls of the Dead a hero, not one who cowers behind the table, or beneath the bed. I am no coward, nor simpering woman. Nothing is all powerful, or unable to be vanquished, save the gods.”
Why should readers buy this book?
The Warrior’s Curse is a tale of greed, adventure, monsters and the price of magic, set in a dark fantasy world. But it’s also a tale of people, their weaknesses and what some will do for power. It is a story within a story, as we start with a group of adventurers plundering a cave and learn of dark deeds and unholy bargains.
If you like mythic style fantasy, fast-paced adventure with a twist then you’ll love this.
Universal Link – all the major e-book stores) https://www.books2read.com/WarriorsCurse
Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2Ei0EGe
The Warrior’s Curse also appears in Here Be Monsters
I am delighted to announce the latest in the Myth, Monsters and Mayhem series of fantasy bundles. Here Be Monsters is now available on preorder.
Here Be Monsters
We love to fear them and fight them. Monsters come in many forms, from the monsters within to the monsters outside and under the bed. Dare you venture into the caverns and the castles? Dare you enter the darkness of an accursed soul?
An eclectic collection of dark creatures and those who fight them. You have been warned.
Here Be Monsters features 19 tales of myths, monsters, and mayhem.
Universal Link books2read.com/HereBeMonstersBundle
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2JBwvUY
- Monster Town” by Steven Savile
- “The Magic of Fabulous” by Michele Lang
- “A Murder of Crows” by DeAnna Knippling
- “Minotaur” by DJ Chamberlain
- “Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse” by A. L. Butcher
- “Blackbeard’s Aliens” by Robert Jeschonek
- “Caught Between Monsters” by Stefon Mears
- “Night Terrors” by J.A. Pitts
- “Beasts of Tabat” by Cat Rambo
- “Demon Daze” by Deb Logan
- “A Knot of Trolls” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
- “The Stolen Tower” by A. L. Butcher
- “The Maker, the Teacher, and the Monster” by Leah Cutter
- “One Red Shoe” by Russ Crossley
- “Dawn of the Chupacabra” by Kyle Bergersen
- “To Be a Monster” by Jamie Ferguson
- “The Beast of Talesend” by Kyle Robert Shultz
- “Children of the Monster” by Russ Crossley
- “The Genie’s Secret” by Robert Jeschonek
Here Be Fairies Bundle
Universal Link https://books2read.com/HereBeFairies
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2HvhsYD
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2EFK3rd
Fairies, fair folk, imps, trolls, and pixies—they haunt our myths from Ireland to Iceland and everywhere else. Join in the fairy fun, or fairy fear, as good, bad, and mischievous they show themselves. Dare you take the trip to Fairyland? No one who returns is ever quite the same.
A 13 -book fairy bundle.
Flower Fairies by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Bride Thief by Brigid Collins
Feyland by Anthea Sharp
Phouka by Liz Pierce
The Giving Year by Alexandra Brandt
Summerland’s Paladin by Diana Benedict
Real Girl by Leslie Claire Walker
The Troll’s Belt by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom by Leah Cutter
The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher
Faerie Fruit by Charlotte E. English
By Winter’s Forbidden Rite by DeAnna Knippling
Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg
Here Be Dragons – Myth, Monsters and Mayhem
They stalk our myths and hunt our past—dragons—humankind’s greatest and oldest foe. Good, bad, legendary and deadly. Dare you enter the dragon’s lair?
Tales of dragons, their friends and their foes.
Available for pre-order now! Released 31st March 2018
Featuring 13 fabulous dragon-themed stories.
The Crown and the Dragon – John D. Payne
Dragon Writers – Lisa Mangum
Of Blood and Scales – A. L. Butcher
Devouring Light – J.M. Ney-Grimm
Ascension of the Whyte – Karen Wrighton
Of Dragons and Centaurs – Deb Logan
Night of the Clockwork Dragon – Louisa Swann
The Legend of G and the Dragonettes – Russ Crossley
The Dreamweaver’s Journey – Diana L. Wicker
Graybill – Rita Schulz
Star-drake – J.M, Ney-Grimm
Like at Loch Ness – Karen L. Abrahamson
Winter Glory – J.M. Ney-Grimm
Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)
Oeliana, Nymph of the Shimmering Forest, Guardian of the Maiden’s Grove, Keeper of the Sacred Pools. I am a nymph – what you would call a forest spirit. I am born of the forest, and it cannot die whilst I live… but creatures of magic like myself are hunted and destroyed, so I live in seclusion.
I have skin the colour of polish oak, and hair as green as ivy. To you I’d look like a tall humanoid, to an elf I appear more Elvish, I can be the wind in the trees, or the bubbling springs.
Which book/world do you live in?
My home is the Shimmering Forest, which is located in the land of Erana. Once the Great Forest covered all the land but then the gods, in their wisdom, gave life to the elves and trolls – who honour the forest, and the humans and fae – who do not. The Shimmering Forest is not live your forests, it is the Primal Forest, the Mother of All. It is magical; primal, raw and wild magic, like the days when the land was young, and the gods still walked here. My Glade is a Sacred Glade, of the old times, now the magic is fading, dying.
My story? My legend is told in The Legend of Oeliana, a short tale (I wanted more – one cannot recount a life of centuries in a few pages) and this, in turn, features in larger works, so I am told. I also feature in The Shining Citadel, when I assist the Lady of the Light, and the Lord of the Storm, with their quest to find the Shining Citadel of Lor’Arthinis. For when the Blood that Flows with Light again walks among us the magic will rise again! It will either save us or curse us to oblivion.
The Legend of Oeliana – Single https://bundlerabbit.com/products/detail/legend-oeliana
How do you see your world?
My world is dying. Magic sustains it and once it was everywhere and in all things to some extent. But the races warred, and the Plague came, and the magic began to die or hide. Some say magic is alive, and yes if the wind is alive, or fire, or water. It does not think as you or I think; it knows, it senses and it gives sentience when it chooses. It wants to live, and to replicate. It wants to flow through the land, circle in the sky and pour through the rivers. But the Plague fed on magic, sometimes corrupting, sometimes destroying after the Plague hit the Elven Kingdoms worst of all, and their civilisation fell to dust the Civilisation of Men arose on the ashes. And they blamed the elves for the Plague and the wars, and as the elves wielded the greatest magic all who were magical were hunted. The land wept, and is weeping still.
What part do you play in this tale?
I am the Keeper of the Heart of the Maiden – one of the Items of Power needed to unlock the spell on the Citadel. But in my own tale I saved an elven prince from the mighty Indis the Fierce – the lord of the forest. I see you think him a man of some sort? Humans are weak, their lives are fleeting like a summer breeze in the trees. No Indis was and is a Dire Boar and even the Great Cats walk in fear of the Tusked Lord. People, generally, are more foolish than beasts and thus this prince, Rii’Athellan – the Morning Star, took into his head to hunt the great Indis.
Perhaps I should have let Indis have his victory, I should not have interfered. This prince was handsome, and I was lonely, you see. Even a creature of magic craves a mate, and offspring.
I knew not that this prince had a wife-in-waiting and for the outcome to that dilemma you must read.
Do you consider yourself a good person/creature?
What are good and evil? That depends on one’s point of view. I do not kill without necessity, but I often do not save when I could. I have taken life and preserved it. I do not abide by the laws of men or elves, for they are not my laws and mean nothing to me. I do not think myself cruel – for cruelty serves no purpose except for its own sake.
The destruction of the forest, and the ruination of magic are wicked, and I will protect both my forest and my magic how best I may.
Do you follow any religion?
I have seen the gods, long ago, and I have consulted with the Lady of the Skies when the drought, or the snow comes. But I am not ‘religious’. I do not have to ‘believe’ in what I know to be real. Things either are or they aren’t. If they are then respect them, if they aren’t then there is no bother. The gods are not evil, nor are they good. They are the gods and do as they please.
What is your favourite colour/food/music (pick one)?
My favourite colour is green, my favourite food is the wild mushrooms which grow near to my cottage, and my favourite music is the bubbling of my pool in the full moon.
When the world was young, and the wild magic flowed like the Great River, there lived a nymph, a spirit of the forest. Such beings once walked beneath the sun and moon; they were creatures of magic, incarnation of tree, of water, and the very essence of life itself. Oeliana was the nymph’s name, for this was also the name of the pool, deep, still and silver, from which she had been born when first the sun caressed the land. Fish swam among bright green fronds, scales of silver and azure, frogs and toads rested on dark grey rocks, long tongues feeding on the hovering flies and dragon-flies which darted above, seeking even smaller creatures for their dinner. Deer, wild goats and boar fed upon fallen apples and the widespread fungi; the Shimmering Forest was bountiful to its inhabitants, animal and person alike. Herbs grew there, thick and tall, even in winter. The herbs of the forest provided medicine for those who knew their power. Wild-goats, now tamed, provided both milk and a substitute for the companionship she lacked.
Hers was a life of duty, she was custodian of the trees, the forest creatures and pools, and so her time passed, timeless as she was. Even the common elves visited Oeliana, seeking guidance and the wisdom of the forest, and occasionally healing when their own healers had failed. They would bring gifts of food and polished stones or shells and the pool slowly filled with the gifts, for what use were trinkets to a nymph? Yet she was lonely for those who came and did not stay, they came for their own ends, and left with no further thought of the nymph. The spirit of the forest craved the touch of another, for she had seen the lovers who sometimes came to her glade and heard their words of love and their cries of pleasure. Never had she been loved nor experienced the passion which fascinated her as the lovers moved together on beds of moss and leaves. Magic demanded a high price and Oeliana was a creature of magic, and loneliness was the price she paid. So she watched, longing for a companion, and she prayed to the ancient gods, for even immortals need the favour of higher beings on occasion.
Rii’Athellan, the Morning Star, was a hunter, magic showed itself in many ways and the elven princeling was graced with a goodly portion. This day he had given his entourage the slip. The forest contained many dangers, even for one of his bloodline, but he preferred to hunt alone; the larger and fiercer the beast the more it pleased the elven prince. As silent as the grey fox and confident as an eagle, Rii’Athellan crept towards the clearing on the trail of a huge dire-boar. His father thought him reckless, but the young man craved danger, bored as he was from the politics of court and wishing he was allowed a little more excitement. He was not the heir, and he had not yet found his place in the world; he cared not for diplomacy and was jealous of his brother. He knew the Grove of the Maiden; oft before had he brought the girls whom he also liked to hunt and capture, although they were more willing prey and his favoured weapon was not a bow. These passions were conducted, if not in secret then with discretion, for this lord of the elves had been promised long since to Almethea, the daughter of the house of Il’thricken, a house both powerful and magical. This bride he cared not for, but duty-bound he would suffer the marriage. Such a one had little choice; alliances were all when elves made war.
This particular beast was Indis the Fierce, large, ill-tempered and canny; even the Great Cats walked in fear of Indis and the boar himself feared nothing, for he had never yet met his match. As tall as the elf at the shoulder, the hooked tusks of the boar were as long as his forearm. The elf murmured a prayer to his gods and nocked his bow as the boar snuffled among the trees, gobbling orange fungus and fallen apples. Occupied with filling his mighty jaws, the boar did not hear the elf, nor perceive the threat.
Links to book etc.
And as part of
Monsters, Myth and Mayhem Vol 2
Universal Link https://books2read.com/Immortalsbundle
Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/immortals
Also features in Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends
Universal Link https://www.books2read.com/talesoferanaMyths
And The Shining Citadel
Universal Link https://www.books2read.com/ShiningCitadel
This just made my day. Outside the Walls (my co-write fantasy/historical with Diana L Wicker) has achieved a Readers’ Award from Chill With a Book.
Here’s the shiny certificate:
When the tide of war flows who will be caught in its wake? A short fantasy tale of a woman’s determination in time of war.
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2lU4vyN
Print edition http://amzn.to/2lUbTKG
I books http://apple.co/2lStWRQ
Bundle Rabbit Bundle Rabbit
Audio – Narrated by Melanie Fraser
Amazon.co.uk audio http://amzn.to/2mtHX53
I’m pleased to announce coming on Dec 1st:
Winter Warmer Bundle
Tales of the Seasons – volume 1
Winter – A time of festivity, of hardship, and cold. Perhaps it remains the most superstitious of seasons and for many the most beloved. Snow, feasting, gifts, religious importance, family and getting together. And of storytelling!
Thirteen tales set in, or about, the harshest season. From witches, winter realms and faery kings, to snowmen who build winter people of meat, to heroes battling to save a friend, and detectives trying to solve wintery crimes and mysteries, to Christmas romance there is something for everyone in this winter warmer.
A 3-month bundle.
Book #1: Sanctuary
Book #2: Snowman’s Chance in Hell
Book #3: Tollard’s Peak
Book #4: Phoenix
Book #5: The Tuxedoed Man
Book #6: Nutball Season
Book #7: The Dreamweaver’s Journey
Book #8: Dark Dancer
Book #9: Coconutty Christmas
Book #10: Nobody’s Child
Book #11: Freak Sanctuary
Book #12: Desperate Housewitches
Book #13: Winter Glory
#Swiftsix #fantasy #talesoferana #Meetacharacter
Which book/world do you live in?
I live in the Jagged Peak mountains, they are in the world called Erana by those who live there. I am in a book? I know of books and lore. Then am I not real? – I feel real, and the mountains around me seem real. Is it, perhaps, that I am real here, and you are the myth, you are the imaginary?
Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)
I am an ancient elemental, a Goddess to some. Born of the mountain, and the pounding waterfalls when the world was young and the magic free. It was so long past I could not tell you how many years or centuries of your time. Once there were many of my kind – creatures of magic and wild places but the magic was chased away, corrupted and sickened and many of us fell, or hid, or faded. Now I am a myth, a legend told around the fire and a drop of blood here and there in lineages old and noble. The Plague came and everything changed. The land changed, the magic changed.
My myths say:
‘Many creatures were born when the magic was wild and free. Guardians of the wild places they would become, and when there were mortals to believe they would become gods; for those whose lives end often seek out those who endure. Acionna had been born of the rock, the water and the snow. She was a child of all and none, a child of the raw magic of the earth and streams. So it was the elemental walked among the rock and water, a goddess of sorts.’
My hair is white like the fresh-fallen snow, and my skin blue-black like the beloved mountain which spawned me. To you I would appear naked. Elementals feel no shame of their bodies, nor a need to cover themselves. Shame is a mortal emotion. But even elementals may love, and experience loneliness. For everything which lives craves company of some sort. I do not fear death, but I do fear this awful loneliness lasting until the mountain falls to dust.
I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?
I have had my adventures, I have warred, and lost all save myself. I have walked the mountain paths and fought with monsters and men who would seek to kill every last trace of magic. Why should I wish to adventure again?
If I were to consent I would bring you elemental magic, of the oldest sort. The Power of the elementals, the Power of nature and the furious waters and mighty peaks.
Tell us about your companions? How do they see you?
I have none. My mate is long dead, now nothing but a statue and even I cannot undo the curse. My daughter is gone, fallen to wicked magic and I walk these peaks alone. Sometimes the trolls come and bring offerings but they see me not. For I know now that mortals and immortals should not mix.
What’s your most heroic exploit to date?
We fought the Sal tribe, with their wicked fae-bought magic. There were no winners in that war, but I cleansed the mountain of its taint of stolen and bargained dark sorcery. No more did the trolls bargain with the fae.
What’s your greatest failure?
We lost the war. The Plague came anyway and the land was blighted. My mate was killed, by allied tribe scattered and the Relic of the Moon was lost.
Where do you think you’ll be in a decade?
To an immortal time is nothing. I was born of magic and mountains, and with luck, I will fade when they do. The magic is hunted, it is purged, and it is tormented but magic cares not. Magic is and always shall be wild and free. The Order of Witch-Hunters are mortals, they rose and they will fall sooner or later. I have seen the tribes of men come and go like the seasons, but through them, magic remains. I concede it hides and shows itself in places of mystery and crafty ways but the magic is as old as the land and will not die completely.
Do you have a great love? (This could be a person/trait/item)
Talin Var – Hirik prince of the Var tribe of trolls. Is it wise for an elemental to love a mortal? No, usually it ends in tragedy, but love is a sister to magic and she finds her way when one expects or desires it not. Love cannot be controlled or denied. Talin was brave, strong and honourable and he gave his life for his people.
My love for Talin persists, even after so many years.
Links to book etc
The Moon on the Water appears in the Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – this appears in Mythic Tales Box Set.
Mythic Tales can be found at the following stores:
Mythic Tales on Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/mythic-tales
Mythic Tales on Kobo http://bit.ly/2fI2Ons
Mythic Tales on Amazon http://amzn.to/2fFWnkI
Mythic Tales on Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2xLbdLi
Mythic Tales on I-tunes http://apple.co/2xMaolH
Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends
In a world where magic is illegal, and elves enslaved dare you hear the tales of old? Five tales of myth, magic, and monsters from the world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.
Audio editions narrated by Michael Legate
Amazon audio http://amzn.to/2hKoUoZ
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2j0DJnK
Amazon UK audio http://amzn.to/2iBbmM8
Audible UK http://adbl.co/2bxgVrw
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2i31N56
I -books http://apple.co/2hKO19z
Hurrah it’s here! I’m pleased to present the More Than Human Box Set! 11 Tales from a variety of authors. Look out for features from the ‘Bundle Rabbits’ coming soon.
To save. To guard. To heal.
Beloved people, precious things, and sacred spaces move our hearts and inspire us to defend them.
In these tales of redemption and rescue, more-than-human heroes stand forth as champions to protect all that is worthy of protection.
Walk with these elves, imps, wizards, dryads, gods, and guardians as they subdue demons, free the enslaved, preserve the world, comfort the exiled, and cross swords with the dark. Read and revel in their triumphs and tribulations.
The Shining Citadel – A. L. Butcher
Technological Angel – Barbara G. Tarn
Needle-Green – Debbie Mumford
The Cartographer’s Daughter – Karen L. Abrahamson
Serpent’s Foe – J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Crystal Courtesan – Karen L. Abrahamson
The First Book of Old Mermaids Tales – Kim Antieau
The Guardians – Book 1 – Don Viecelli
Love Apidae (A Recumon Story) – Michael R. E. Adams
The Flat Above the Wynd – Alexandra Brandt
The Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – A. L. Butcher