Prologue – Black Thorn, The Guardian Chronicles Book One

As promised below is the prologue to Black Thorn. Over the next couple of weeks it is my hope to use this and other examples of my writing as a case study for fiction, specifically fantasy. Something I have always desired with my work is to inspire others to follow their dreams and create beautiful works of fiction.

Black Thorn may not be perfect, my editor said as much and it is true that at launch I uploaded the first draft by mistake. One which I am still recovering from, but that aside I learned a lot writing it and would like nothing more than to share all that I have learned with you. So please enjoy.

Prologue

When Jarl Adam announced that he would be holding a special festival celebrating the battle for the village of Thornpine, people from all over began to talk and get excited. The Jarl always held a festival in November to celebrate the defeat of the Elves and the winning of the magnificent village. However, this was the thirtieth anniversary of the Jarl’s victory and was something special that deserved some extra attention, and as such the Jarl had announced he would have some additional festivities in store that year — all leading up to the final night where a famed historian would come and recount the fierce battle. The people eagerly awaited for the day to arrive, hurrying to finish all the work they could so that they could enjoy the week of the festival in its entirety and at leisure.

As the day drew near, merchants could be seen setting uptents and pavilions in the nearby fields. Every day, the smells of freshlycooked meat, bread, and pies would permeate the air and sounds of laughterechoed across the village.

In the village square, people erected pavilions to hold thejugglers, dancers, and storytellers. All these surrounded the White Thornpinetree for which the village was named. The tree was the perfect backdrop fortheir dramas to unfold, as it had a light luminescent glow at night and drippedthe manna of the earth like dew in the mornings. The people of the village andsurrounding area were very fond of this tree, as were the Elves before them,and all revered it as a miracle of the Maker.

Adam had something special planned for the final day of the event. While he visited his brother, the king, some months back he chanced upon a sage who had been poring over some old scrolls that detailed the events of their beloved kingdom Esnela, and even some histories of the whole of Rosenkar. None were what Adam would call riveting, but he acknowledged the importance of preserving their history.

He had learned that the old sage was a self-proclaimed historian of their world and hewas looking for some information regarding the battle of Thornpine village.

“You are in luck. I am Jarl Adam, the wolf. I would be morethan happy to give you a first-hand account of the events that took place leadingup to the sacking of the village.” Adam told the sage, “All I ask in return isthat you come to my village in the last week of November and recite what I tellyou … err perhaps spicing it up a bit for the people, that is.”

The sage had agreed, taking out an unused scroll ofparchment and a quill and poised to record the Jarl’s words. When Adam hadcompleted his tale, the sage thanked him profusely, promising that he would be delightedto come and perform later in the year.

He smiled to himself,thinking about the encounter and how his children would enjoy the story almostas much as he would. He rose from his desk and set aside the report Larson hadgiven him, detailing the confirmed vendors and entertainment for the festival.He was happy to see that the sage had made it with time to spare. Yes, this would be a night to remember.As this thought crossed his mind, he wondered aloud to the empty room,

“It’s almost time. I wonder where those wayward children ofmine have gotten to.”

Levi, Gideon, and Katrina were running from tent to tent, examining all the goods the merchants had laid out with a buyer’s eye. They all had a little pocket money and were eager to spend it on some trinket or bobble. Their father had waited until the last day of the festival before he would allow them to spend their money, and a week was far too long to let the little coins burn holes in their pouches.

“I’m going to buy a wooden sword and shield so I can playknight with Sir Kallen,” Gideon proclaimed as his brother examined a massiveleather-bound tome titled “Changing the World”.

“Oooh, I want to get one too!” Katrina exclaimed. Levirolled his eyes at his younger siblings.

 “That is such a wasteof time! What good can come from beating a bunch of sticks together? You reallyshould do something practical with your money, like investing in a good book …or maybe a lovely new quill or even—oh, biscuits!” Levi broke off, spying somefreshly baked biscuits that a baker in the opposite stall had just laid out,sending the smell of melting chocolate wafting in the air.

The three ran to the baker who, knowing he had the childrenjust where he wanted them, offered them the whole lot for the modest sum of onegold piece.

“There is no possible way those biscuits are worth a goldpiece; maybe three copper, but it’s nowhere near a gold piece,” Levi proclaimedwith a sniff as he stuck his nose up at the sweets. The baker was taken aback; thebiscuits usually sold for a copper for three and three pieces would buy thelot.

“Good lad, you surely don’t understand the value of money.These are sold nine for a gold piece. If you don’t have the money, then pleaseleave and let other buyers come to my stall.”

Levi was about to answer when a bear of a man stepped behindhim and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“The Jarl’s son knows more about the value of money thanmost children his age, and better than most merchants for that matter.”

“Sir Kallen!” Gideon and Katrina cried as they clung to theknight, hugging him from both sides.

“Th-the Jarl’s children? I-I didn’t know. I would never tryto cheat nobility, I promise.”

Kallen gave the man a look that sent him shrinking back.“See that you don’t cheat any of the people of this village.”

“Yes, sir! Of course not, sir!” the merchant said, bowingand groveling to them.

Levi stepped forward and scooped up the biscuits, depositingtwo copper coins on the counter of the stall.

“Um, young sir, it’s three coppers for the lot.”

Levi looked at the man with scorn. “I’ll keep one for youraudacity.”

Gideon and Katrina looked confused.

“What does audacity mean?” Gideon asked, stepping close toLevi and examining the biscuits. Levi gave his brother a sly grin.

“Audacity, dear brother, is when silly merchants are boldenough to try and pull one over on an unsuspecting buyer. Honestly, theimpudence of the man is astounding.” As they walked away with Sir Kallentrailing close behind them, the last words the merchant heard was the littlegirl asking her brother, “What does impudence mean?”

Privately, he wondered the same.

Adam found his children with his trusted knight Sir Kallen. Levi was sitting under the Thornpine, seeking refuge from the lightly falling snow, reading a book that was the size of the boy’s torso. Gideon and Katrina were fiercely attacking Kallen with wooden swords and shields. The poor knight was blocking each blow with a wooden sword that was comically small in the giant’s hands.

“Kallen, are you going to let them beat you? Honestly, whereis your honor? Being beaten up by children,” Adam teased the knight. Kallen,momentarily distracted, received two smart whacks on the shins.

“Ha ha ha, now don’t go beating up my best knight, you two.Come, all four of you, it is time we eat, for tonight we will hear a wondroustale!” He led them back to the Keep where they filled their bellies with thegenerous spread the Jarl had put out for the people who worked there.

Later that night, the three children sat huddled togetherunder a large bearskin blanket on the ground in front of their father. SirKallen sat at the right of the Jarl, relaxing and nursing a mug of beer, whileAdam was in a high-backed wooden chair with golden adornments. The Thornpinewas glowing pleasantly beside them, giving a mystic backdrop to theirentertainment. For they had enjoyed the singers and the fire-eaters, but nowthey awaited the wizened sage to come and entrance them with the tale of the GreatBattle.

The old man hobbled forward, his cane scraping the cobblesunderfoot and his cloak billowing lightly in the breeze. He took center stage,looking around at the people gathered. He gave a great bow to Jarl Adam, hislong white beard sweeping the ground.

“For one thousand years there was war. For one thousand years, man and Elf put each other to the sword.For one thousand years, blood was spilled over a cause long since forgotten.All that ended thirty years ago and today we remember the fallen on both sides.We celebrate the warriors that made possible the peace we live in. Countlessdied, and even more have left us since the fighting has ended. First, I ask amoment of silence to remember them.”

 He bowed his head andall around him went silent. After a minute a sad smile creased his lips.

“Let us remember our fallen, the beloved Lady Alexia whoperished a little over five years ago. Beloved wife to Jarl Adam and mother ofhis children. Without her Thornpine never would have been taken and thus thewar never ended. We celebrate her as our hero.

 “We must also give greatthanks to Sir Kallen, who saved the Lady Alexia and our Jarl Adam when theirneed was most dire. Finally, we thank Jarl Adam the Wolf for all he has done toensure that the fighting ended. Now I will tell you of their struggle, thebattle that ended it all. Let me set the scene.

“It was on a chilled November night, very similar to thisnight. The village of Thornpine was the backdrop of this fearsome battle, itselegant houses of wood and stone gleaming in the distance and the fabled Keepmade from stone sang out of the earth.

 The great kingdom ofEsnela had rallied together all the Human kingdoms to finish this terribleconflict. Strong was the Elven Empire, even when the whole race of man wasagainst it.

“On the front lines marched our young Jarl, known only thenas Knight Adam, and at his side his faithful shield maiden Alexia. For threedays and nights, they laid siege to the village and the army stationed there.Finally seeing a break in the wall, a small band of warriors surged throughseeking to put an end to their enemy’s leader and thus end the war.

Adam led these warriors, and when death asked for theirsouls, he laughed at the request and sent death away. For none in the band fellwhile under the protection of Adam. Deep into the village they ventured to killall who stood in their way, until Adam and Alexia became separated from thegroup. Surrounded they were, with Adam gravely wounded. Alexia was trying toheal him when a group of Elves found where they hid. It was at this moment whentheir hope was failing that a young boy leaptfrom the shadows, smiting an Elf in the throat. Like a wild beast was Kallen ofWoodsedge, that he was able to fend off the group long enough for Adam toregain strength. If it weren’t for that boy, who lied about his age andfollowed Adam into the brink, the war would have been lost.

The bodies fell quickly then. A fully healed Adam, theskilled Alexia, and the beastly Kallen fought towards the center of town. Thisvery spot where we sit now is where Adam and the Elven King Radavas ended thisconflict. But Radavas would not give up so quickly; he sent the battalion thathe had on hand to crush the trio who dared fall behind enemy lines. This actionwas his great downfall.

During the conflict, an Elvenspearmen smote Alexia in the side, a seemingly fatal wound. This evokeda demon-like rage to fester in Adam and when he released it none but the king wasleft standing. He sent his manascorching outwards, setting aflame all who surrounded him. In an act that hadnever been seen before, he savagely killed the remaining Elves.

It was when he reached the king that the tide turned.Radavas had fled to the gardens beside the Keep. Soon he was surrounded. Inexchange for letting him go, he would save Alexia. The King was as good as hisword. He called out to his soldiers to end the fighting and retreat, and he laidhis glowing hands upon the wounded Alexia and brought her back from the brink.Radavas then made a pact with Adam, sealing it with blood upon the glowingThornpine, promising an end to the war if only the Elves could retreat inpeace. Adam promised not to burn the cityor the god tree, as was the custom at the time. Adam then sent the Elf King and his people on their way. Thus theknight Adam sealed the most significant achievement in history, putting a closeto the thousand-year war.

Not long after Adam was made Jarl, and a name that was coined during the fight stuck to him. The Elves said he fought like a wolf, and so Adam became Adam the wolf.” The people clapped and cheered as the sage ended his tale. Adam thanked the sage for the recital. The sage gave a theatrical bow and faded back into the people.

Well there you have it, I do hope that you have enjoined this little intro to Black Thorn. If you wish you can find it for sale HERE, in both paper back and ebook. Its free to download for kindle unlimited subscribers. I will be using the content here for the next couple of weeks, diving into some of the ground work that the prologue provides, and how having this information sets up the story that takes place ten years later. My goal for The Guardian Chronicles has always been an ambitious one. I plan on its story continuing for several books. As I have said in previous blogs I have at least three books planed with the main characters and several other possible stories that I’d love to write with characters that have yet to be introduced. In the coming weeks you can expect posts that dive into the actual construction of world building, character building, and general works of fiction. I will also be writing a descriptive post about what the Black Thorn is about, without too many spoilers. Where my inspiration came from and how I finally managed to write down a story that has been boiling in my head since I was eleven years old. For now friends, as always thanks for reading!

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