*****Reader’s Favorite Award Winner in Epic Fantasy*****
Erik Eleodum never wanted to be a hero. Fate had a different plan.
Erik will face danger, deceit, murder, death, evil, and – most terrifyingly – himself to become the hero he was always meant to be
Erik is content farming for his family for the rest of his life, while his brother and cousin can’t think of a worse fate. For different reasons, they leave the life they know behind. Soon, their world crashes down around them as they realize it is cruel, brutal, selfish, and violent. Now, they must not only rely on one another, but also on gypsies, thieves, mercenaries, dwarves, and a mage for their survival.
In the end, Erik will face danger, deceit, murder, death, evil, and – most terrifyingly – himself to become the hero he was always meant to be as an ancient evil many thought only a myth resurfaces.
Enter a world readers have compared to the epic fantasies of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, a world of adventure, terror, political intrigue, sorcery, and great heroic deeds. Come face to face with ogres, elves, dwarves, slavers, black mages, ruthless warriors, dragons, evil and fear.
A true hero’s journey of faith, friendships, and trials well worth the price of admission!
Targeted Age Group:: New Adult to Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wanted to write a story about the unsung heroes, the little guys that never get credit and then make something big happen. Will my protagonist save the world? Who knows. But what we do know is that he was never meant to be a hero and he doesn't want to be a hero. I feel like so much fantasy is about the hero and the villain, when there are hundreds of other people – soldiers, adventurers, simple folk – doing all the heavy lifting and serious work for the hero. This is a story about the simple guy doing the heavy lifting, and then he finally gets the credit he deserves. I love fantasy and believe that fantasy is a perfect avenue to speak to issues we deal with today without causing conflict with readers, since it is a made up world with made up people.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My main protagonist, Erik Eleodum, is the younger brother and cousin of two men who don't want to work on a farm anymore. He is an idealistic, kind hearted, hard working, loyal young man, which makes him a great unsuspecting hero. I am the oldest of two boys, so I wanted to write a protagonist from a perspective I wasn't familiar with.
Rikard Eleodum stood behind his plow, a low moan coming from his oxen as they stamped their feet. He ignored them and the fly that buzzed by his nose. He ignored the heat of the early spring sun and the dusty taste in his mouth. He took no notice of a skinny-tailed rabbit poking its head over a mound of freshly churned dirt. He simply stared, off into the distance to the south, lost in his thoughts.
“Where are you?”
A small tear escaped the corner of his eye, diverted by a week’s worth of stubble. He licked the salty tear away when it reached the corner of his mouth and shook his head.
“Erik. Befel. Fool boys. Where are you?”
Rikard Eleodum couldn’t ignore the beating of hooves, iron-shod shoes slamming hard against the earth like rolling thunder. The rumbling and billowing dust came closer,
and the ground shook beneath his feet as the sound of loud neighs and cracked whips ripped through the air. An army, for all Rikard knew. He cared little for the cultures of feudal lords and knights.
Finally, they appeared, maybe two dozen men, spreading out to line up in front of his barn and house, and those of the four men and families that worked Rikard’s farm.
“Less intimidating than I expected.”
Rikard let go of his plow and walked toward the entourage, all finely arrayed in polished mail shirts, well-oiled brigandines, and conical helmets that reflected the late morning sun.
Karita Eleodum stormed from the farmhouse’s front door, down the stone walkway, and through the fence gate with a speed Rikard had never seen from his wife. Her auburn hair looked aflame, while the ruddiness in her cheeks deepened, and her blue eyes blazed ice cold.
“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, pointing a finger at a helmetless younger man sitting atop a large horse. “You owe me an explanation!”
The man leisurely pulled off his leather gloves, one finger at a time, and rested them across the horn of his saddle. He wiped a bit of his brown hair away from his forehead and scratched his chin through a close-cropped beard before he yawned.
“Oh, boy, you have no idea what you have just done,” Rikard said to himself with a smile on his face. “You have just unleashed a demon that will give you a tongue lashing making you wish she had taken a switch to your behind.”
“Now see here!” Karita yelled, closing her fists in white-knuckled rage and stamping her foot like a petulant child denied a favorite treat. But no matter how Karita berated this man, he ignored her, barely offering her a sidelong glance.
“Acwel,” the man said lazily.
At his command, another fellow wearing an iron cuirass rode next to him and dismounted. He put his hand up to Karita, and when she pushed it aside and continued her protests, he grabbed her around the torso, pinned both her arms to her body, and walked her toward the gate of her house.
Rikard immediately sprinted to his wife, his smile gone.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Rikard shouted. Reaching his wife, he pushed the man away from her, “You maggot infested dung heap!”
Within the flicker of a sheep’s tail, ten horses surrounded Rikard and Karita. Lances gleamed in the sun, poised at head level. Instinctively, Rikard moved in front of his wife.
“Burn you to flames and fire, you motherless sons of goats!”
“Rikard,” Karita scolded, “your language is so foul.”
He couldn’t help but smile. Even with steel in her face, she worried herself about her
The brown-haired man put a hand up and the lances lifted. “What is this about?” Rikard spat.
The man leaned forward in his saddle.
“Do you not see the standard on the flags? The symbol on my palfrey’s barding?”
He pointed to one of the flags that flickered from the end of a lance. It was blue with
a red, four-pointed star in the middle.
“I don’t owe you an explanation,” he added as he sat back in his saddle and picked at
“I’ve no idea what that symbol means,” Rikard Eleodum said. “And I don’t care.” “Well, you should since I, Count Alger, will soon be your lord, and you will farm this
land for me. Hence, you have your explanation.”
“What?” Karita gasped.
“Don’t think so,” Rikard argued, shaking his head. “This has been my land—my
family’s land—for over two hundred years. We’ve farmed it as free men, just like everyone else that lives in these parts. And, as for lord, I’ve got but one lord, and you aren’t it.”
“My dear Farmer Eleodum.” The man spoke with a softened, eloquent voice. “Please, do not make this harder than it already is.”
“I’m not trying to make it hard,” Rikard replied, trying hard to keep his temper and his voice even. “In fact, it’s quite easy. This is my land. You leave.”
“I leave,” Count Alger said with a wry smile, “or what?”
Rikard Eleodum looked around. Him versus all those men with their lances ready. “Just get off my land,” Rikard finally said.
“As I thought,” Count Alger snorted and leaned forward in his saddle again. “This is
no longer your land. You will work this land for me. You will do as you are told. You will be a good subject. Or I can find another use for you and your wife.”
“Fool of a farmer.”
Alger gave his seneschal a sidelong glance as he watched Rikard Eleodum’s body
swing from the wide bough of an oak tree that stood behind the farmhouse. Or what was left of it. Flames shot high into the noon sky, and black smoke stained the clouds overhead, creating a feigned night over the farm. Acwel flinched and jerked back in his saddle when the main beam of the house broke and imploded, red-glaring ash bursting from it before floating calmly to the ground.
“The livestock, my lord?” Acwel asked.
“Slaughter the old ones for the men and dogs,” the count replied. “The meat will be too tough to my liking. Give the strong ones to Jovek. Perhaps that might help persuade him to make a choice different than his neighbor.”
“As you wish.” Acwel bowed. “And the farmer’s daughters?” “Take them to my keep,” Alger replied.
“My lord …” Acwel said. It was a question, and Alger knew it was. His seneschal wore that stupid, questioning look on his face.
“Do relax, Acwel,” Alger said with a smile. “They are too young for the pleasure houses … for now. Take Eleodum’s servants to my keep as well.”
“They are free men, my lord,” Acwel replied.
Count Alger looked at his servant hard.
“Not any longer.” His words were as succinct as they were cold.
Alger rode over to the bodies of Rikard Eleodum and his wife. Despite the distortion
of a broken neck, Karita almost looked serene.
“You could have been a pretty woman,” Alger said flatly, pushing her body so that it
swung back and forth, “with a bit of paint on your face perhaps. Shame.”
He pulled on the reins of his palfrey, turned the horse around and slowly trotted
toward the train of soldiers walking south toward his encampment.
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