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Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.
Athson has seen things that aren’t there and suffered fits since being tragically orphaned as a child at the hands of trolls and Corgren the wizard. When a strange will mentioning a mysterious bow comes into his possession, he’s not sure it’s real. But the trolls that soon pursue him are all too real and dangerous. And what’s worse, these raiders serve Corgren and his master, the hidden dragon, Magdronu, who are responsible for the destruction of his childhood home. Athson is drawn into a quest for the concealed Bow of Hart by the mystic Withling, Hastra, but he isn’t always sure what’s real and who his enemies are. With Corgren and Magdronu involved, Athson must face not only frequent danger but his grasp on reality and the reasons behind his tragic past.
(italics mean dream)
He struggles to breathe. Trolls stab helpless villagers through sliding curtains of choking smoke and raging flame. Dying children wail as mocking slayers howl. The violence fades into darkness. He flails and fears he lies in a grave yet finds emptiness instead of dirt.
Silver light rises and Eagle’s Aerie soars beneath the moon. Athson climbs the weather-worn stair and scraps his hands as he gains speed. The rock-face blurs as Athson swoops onto the pinnacle towering over the ocean, stands where no one ever has, sees what has been hidden.
Athson pauses and then floats toward a voice murmuring by a swaying flame within a shadowed crevice.
A silhouette kneels and rocks, dark against the fire beyond it. A woman’s uneven voice chants:
“The bow shall be hidden from heart…”
The swaying speaker feeds wood into the fire. Sparks snap from the coals and whirl amid the orange-blue tongues. An arc forms in the smoke and fades into the stars.
“The eagle will guide the heir…”
An eagle’s scream pierces the night wind.
“The bow shall be found at need…”
Wrinkled hands tie a wad of cloth with string – a bowstring.
“And the arrow shall Eloch prepare.”
A shooting star streaks across the horizon and drags Athson’s attention from the crouching figure before the popping fire.
The eagle screams again – louder and nearer.
The figure half-turns and tosses the packet at Athson’s feet. He stares at it, then back to the kneeling woman. Her face half-lit by the firelight reveals a pointy nose that overshadows her receding jaw. Grizzled wisps of gray hair wave in the wind. “For you who suffers in silence for a secret.”
Athson stoops and inspects the package. He unties the knot and pushes the string into a pocket. Within the cloth, he finds a tattered note and more fabric he guesses is a pennant.
“Zelma’s done it.” She gazes skyward and raises her arms.
“Why more now when so much has been taken already? Why me?” His anger flares and he tosses the packet away. “This isn’t mine.” He whirls and stumbles into darkness.
“He needs to see.” The woman’s voice screeches and slices through whistling wind.
The eagle’s deafening scream stabs his awareness as immense wings snap like a clap of thunder. Talons tear clothing, pierce flesh and snatch Athson into the air. He dangles and kicks as he yells while silver landscape yawns beneath him. The curious sound of joyous cackling trails into the distance.
Athson squeezes his eyes shut but dares squinting at the moonlit sky that stretches overhead. The land wheels as the eagle glides over earth mottled by shadow and pale light. The world unfolds as Athson glimpses far beyond the distant Drelkhaz Mountains to the far eastern shores of the great Endless Sea.
His vision focuses on an old woman as she rests by her campfire on an empty plain south of Auguron. She stirs from sleep and cocks her head as if listening. She gazes at Athson. His vision whirls away from her as she rises in her gray dress.
A beautiful young woman rides along a road beneath tufts of glowing clouds. Her braided hair dangles over her left shoulder and she wears pale leather armor and leggings made for dueling. The hilts of two of swords protrude above each of her shoulders. She brushes her face as if wiping away a tear.
Darkness descends over both Athson and the eagle. The giant bird glides in silence.
A knife glitters pale in the darkness. It slashes in a vicious arc and then pauses. Blood covers the weapon and drips from the tip. Athson shouts in dismay but wind thrusts it back into his mouth. His own Rokan dagger bought in a fit of anger when Sarneth withheld his father’s sword. The blood chills him worse than the wind or the eagle’s hold.
The eagle’s screech pierces his hearing and its wings drum thunder. Athson trembles as darkness recedes. The bracing wind slaps his face.
Shadowy wings ride wind from the south. The figure blots out stars as it swings north and glides on a shifting course. The eagle shrieks in defiance at the approaching beast. Fire belches amid an answering roar. Athson yells as the giant bird dives at the black shape. Ragged wings, so dark they drink moonlight, flutter against frigid air. Eagle and dragon glide and twist past each other.
The streaking shadow trails fire and a rotten stench. Athson struggles to name the creature until one thought flares: Magdronu.
The eagle dives. Athson flails his arms and legs as he screams.
And then the talons release him.
Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.
The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions. They have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren, but they are still pursued. In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed in Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes to entrap them all. With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart, long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?
The touch of a cold hand drew Limbreth out of the depths of slumber. Her watch already? But her eyes only fluttered open and shut. Hastra said nothing. That touch—it was far colder than the weather. It crept deep into her sluggish thoughts and along her spine.Limbreth groaned and turned her head. Her eyes flared wide at the sight of a black hand. It grasped her arm. Her jaw worked, but she uttered not a sound. Her heart slammed in her throat, and her chest heaved. The Bane dragged her toward the door where Gweld squatted.
The figure of the Bane swallowed all the light in the small space even though the fire still burned well. Limbreth found some strength and flopped as the Bane pulled her to the door’s threshold and then ducked out.
Limbreth’s lungs strained to utter any noise. It was a spell! She fought for a sound and croaked a whimper. The Bane pulled her right arm out the door.
Why wouldn’t Gweld do anything?
Limbreth fumbled with her free hand and snagged the rock edge of the doorway. The Bane yanked at her arm. Her breath came in gasps but made no viable sound.
She drew the deepest of breaths and mustered all her strength, which passed her lips in a feeble whisper: “Help.” Not enough to wake anyone. You’re on your own. Gweld never moved.
The Bane yanked her torso into the blizzard outside. Her hand grasped the doorway fast and her left arm locked in pain. A groan escaped her lips.
these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a
wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.