Today is the day that “TTATE: A Beginning” returns to the world on its own. For 0.99p you can pick up a copy of the story that started the entire world of Quargard off!
This is one of my favourite Book Children. It came out of my love of Epic Fantasy and Table top RPG with a soupcon of RPG style Console and PC Games like “Dungeon Keeper” and “Overlord”.
The first installment of the series is all about the Heir Presumptive of Galivor…
A mad King rules in Galivor. His sons vie for the right to become his official heir. While the youngest, Korin, chases the bandits plaguing the land, Loric sets out to plunder an abandoned dungeon.
With his dwarven bodyguard Grimhelm Drakesplitter; the elven mage Lord Silvertree; Cleric of Espilieth, Lady Kalytia and the thief, Thiert of Galindren; Loric enters the ruins of a Dungeon of Doom on the outskirts of Pleasemore Village.
Little do they know they are being watched…
Excerpt from Book
Outside the Inn, a group of older men had gathered. As Loric and his companions left the Inn, the men advanced upon them.
“Lord, please, don’t go into that place again.” One man, wearing a gold and silver chain stepped forward. “You are the best hope our people have of a future and no one who has gone into those woods has ever come out alive.”
Before Loric could say anything, Silvertree stepped forward. “Worry not, Mayor Heinlin, the prince is well protected in myself and Sir Grimhelm.”
“That’s as may be, Ser Mage, but ye’ve not seen the creatures which lurk in them woods.” Another man, wild of hair and stinking of apple brandy threw himself forward to grab Silvertree’s robe. “A devil demon stalks the shadows and foul stenches emanate from holes in the earth. Beware!”
Silvertree untangled himself from the man and smiled gently.
“I thank you for your concern, Gentlemen of Pleasemore, but we shall be fine.”
Kalytia whispered something and the man straightened. He looked embarrassed and trundled back into the group, pushing his way through.
“Espilieth protects us, good Sers. She shall see that no harm comes to any who enter.”
The Mayor nodded and sighed. “Fare thee well, then, my Lords and Lady.”
The men shuffled their feet and added good wishes as the group set off.
* * *
Pleasemore lay beside a large lake fed by the mountain streams. Just an hour’s walk north of the village a woodland had grown up, looking out of place against the surrounding farmland. A stout dry stone wall divided the fields from the trees, the track they followed taking a sharp turn to the right and following the wall rather than cutting through it.
“How are we supposed to get in there?” Kalytia asked as they walked beside the wall.
“There’s a broken bit just up here,” Loric said. “Looks like a bull or something knocked it down.”
“You sure it was a bull?” Thiert cleared his throat, looking around at the wide, hedged fields.
“The field opposite it…” Loric pointed as they came parallel with the tumbled stones, “…has a cattle herd in it.”
Near the fence dividing the track from the field, a large red coated bull snorted at them.
Thiert jumped. “Why does everything in the countryside have to make noises?”
“’Tis but nature, friend Thief.” Silvertree said.
Grimhelm coughed hard, covering his mouth, his eyes suspiciously bright.
“Can you tell it to shut up then?” Thiert said as he scrambled over the wall.
Loric followed with Kalytia, helping her down on the other side, while Silvertree and Grimhelm climbed.
Inside, the ground beneath the trees was overgrown. The undergrowth consisted chiefly of brambles, stingwort and stinkweed, with large brightly coloured toadstools clustering around fallen trees and rotting stumps.
“This place is creepy,” Thiert muttered.
“Ye’d find anywhere without walls creepy,” Grimhelm snapped. “Be silent, I feel eyes upon us.”
“Don’t be daft, Grim. It’s a wood, of course we’re being watched; by squirrels, deer, rabbits, birds—” Loric trailed off in his recitation, unable to think of anything else that could be around them.
“Don’t forget the trees, Loric.” Silvertree smiled and gestured around them. “The trees have eyes too.”
“As if that makes me feel better.” Thiert’s eyes darted around him.
Kalytia and Loric exchanged an amused glance.
They made their way into the wood.
Eventually the trees thinned and sky appeared above them.
Loric led the way to the dungeon entrance, weaving through the ruins toward a massive tower that had lost its upper reaches in some storm or battle hundreds of years past. He scanned the area, peering into the trees sprouting between the stones, his hand slipping to his hilt.
“It’s noon. Birds should be flying around. Why is it so quiet?”
“Maybe they know we’re coming,” Thiert quipped. When no one laughed, his smile faded and he frowned. “Don’t tell me you’ve already been in there.”
“How else do you think I know what’s inside,” Loric muttered.
They reached a large ironbound oak door let into the side of the tower. Loric stopped in front of it.
“This be the place then,” Grimhelm snorted. He looked closely at the stout oak branch Loric had shoved through the handles. “Nae one hae been through here since ye left.”
“There is usually more than one way in and out of a dungeon,” Thiert pointed out. “It could be that the inhabitants just didn’t use this door.”
Grimhelm scoffed. “Pshaw! There be no creatures here. T’is just a folk tale.”
“I remember seeing a small creature with green eyes as I left.” Loric frowned as he examined the symbol on the door. The steel design had been inlaid into Ironwood and surrounded by gold. Loric wondered absently why the gold hadn’t been prised out by looters long ago.
“Just ye’re imagination, Laddie.”
“Were there any traps in the main corridor?” the little thief asked.
“Well, I’ll go first anyway. You brought me along to sniff them out, after all.”
Loric removed his temporary lock, tossed the branch aside and opened the door.
The long corridor was as dank and dark as it had been before. Thiert really did sniff out the traps, his crest quivering as he darted around. He spent a lot of time running his hands over the walls and peering at the floor.
There were three traps within six feet of the door. The third was a set of spikes that erupted from the floor with such considerable force that Thiert turned to glare at the prince in the light of the mage globes Silvertree and Kalytia had produced.
“No traps, eh?”
There are two places that you can read the full story. The first is in the ebook:
The second is in the Omnibus Book which is available in both print and electronic forms: