AND HERE IT IS
Lovely, isn’t it?
Huw Owyn is the last true bard in Waldeyn.
Fleeing a burning city,
Everything he ever loved in ashes behind him,
Penniless and hunted, no place is safe.
Abandoned and alone, eighteen-year old Huw the Bard must somehow survive
It’s two-hundred leagues to safety,
And then two-hundred more.
A lot can happen to a man on a journey like that.
Murfee’s voice drifted back, saying, “Did you see that? Jaky got himself a biggie! You couldn’t have done any better, Bil!”
Dismounting, Huw handed his reins to Derik, who rode just ahead, and attempted to retrieve his sword from the dead lion. At first, it seemed to be stuck, so he placed his foot on the cat’s body and yanked until it came out. When it finally did come free, he stumbled backwards, staggering like a drunk. Fighting the urge to laugh hysterically, he steadied his nerves as he stood, nonchalantly cleaning the bloody blade with his rag, trying to remember what the Bear had told him about disposing of anything he killed. “Always clear the road once you’ve dispatched a beast or a highwayman. Act like you’ve done it all your life, no matter how badly you’re shaking in your boots,” he’d said.
The great cat’s corpse partially blocked the trail, and Huw knew he couldn’t just leave it there. He wasn’t sure he had the strength to move such a large carcass alone, but had to at least try. Looking around, he couldn’t see a ditch, so decided to move it to the cliff-side edge and try to shove it off there. Straining with all his might, he dragged the beast out of the road. It turned out to be a much more difficult task than he expected, as the creature seemed to weigh as much as a horse. Nevertheless, by rolling first the tail end and then the head, he finally had the cat perched at the edge of the cliff.
Making every effort not to look over the abyss, Huw nudged the dead lion toward the brink, trying to nudge it over without losing his balance. Unfortunately, the great body stuck on a low shrub and stubbornly refused to go any further. In desperation, Huw put as much force as he could into it and with a mighty heave he strained to get the huge cat rolling.
Suddenly the tail end of the immense carcass lurched over the edge, yanking the rest with it, sending it tumbling down the cliff.
Of course, this threw Huw off balance. The combination of his efforts and the lion’s momentum as it plummeted into the gorge, nearly sent him over the edge. Desperately grabbing at shrubs and bracing against the rocks to hold himself back, he clung to the cliff, speechless with terror. Frozen, he watched the cat’s body careening down the sheer mountainside, occasionally bouncing like a rock. Through it all, he had to fight a nearly overwhelming urge to scream madly. Indeed, he couldn’t speak for fear of bursting into girlish hysteria.
Silently saying heartfelt prayers of thanks to God and all His angels, Huw remounted Blackberry, all the while keeping his jaws clenched to stop his teeth from chattering.
Connie Johnson-Jasperson lives in rural Washington state, where she shares five children and 11 grandchildren with her husband. She has worked as a field hand for a Christmas tree grower, a hotel maid, a photographer’s assistant, a bookkeeper, and spent many years in the data-entry pool for several large corporations. Her favorite music to write to ranges from Blackmore’s Night to Eric Whitacre, and from Pearl Jam to the Seattle Symphony.
Connie is a professional structural editor, who works primarily with self-published and Indie authors. She is passionate about helping authors achieve as professional and submission-ready a manuscript as is possible. She works closely with each author, making sure their work is handled with the utmost care and consideration.
Connie is author of The Tower of Bones Series and the Tales from Billy’s Revenge Series. Her worlds are crafted out of whole-cloth and peopled entirely with her imaginary friends. Sometimes reality intrudes and writing grinds to a halt, but through it all she continues to build the worlds and their people that she loves so much. As a published author, Connie knows only too well the importance of having a first class editor to guide you through every stage of your novel’s life and she is lucky to have both Carlie M. A. Cullen, Maria V. A . Johnson of Eagle Eye Editors, and Irene Roth Luvaul’s expertise for her work. At this time, her first published work is undergoing a complete overhaul at the hands of these intrepid women and will re-emerge in mid 2014 under the new title. Julian Lackland. In it’s original form as The Last Good Knight, this is the tale from which the entire concept of the Tales from Billy’s Revenge series emerged.
She keeps two blogs: Life in the Realm of Fantasy is a site dedicated to the craft of writing, whilst in Best in Fantasy she discusses and reviews books, from old favourites to the best hot new writers.