Katabasis Release Day

By , October 29, 2013

Katabasis cover

It is release day for Katabasis, the fourth volume of The Mongoliad Cycle, and whereas the first three volumes followed the Shield-Brethren east into the land of the Mongols, Katabasis begins the long journey home. Herein lies the consequences of their actions, as well as the realization of many arcs that have been initiated in the various SideQuests over the last year. There is a vast crypto-pagan mythology that runs beneath the surface of Foreworld, and with Katabasis, you’ll start to get glimpses of what lies beneath. All of your favorite characters return (those who survived, that is), and we’ll see the return of our friend from Rus, left behind in Kiev . . .

Beside him, Nika stirred, as if she, too, had been released from the grip of some unspeakable glamour. He shivered, as the wind had shifted again and its breath was fiercely cold once more.

“Did you see . . .?” he asked, reluctant to put into words the vision he had witnessed.

“Aye,” Nika said, her voice as unsteady as his. “I saw the ghosts of my fallen sisters.”

“No,” Illarion said. “There were men, carrying heavy shields, like the Greek infantry once did. And . . . and there was an old woman.”

Nika stood close enough to him that he could make out her features in the starlit night. There was still a trace of fear in her face, but mostly Illarion saw a fierce determination in the Shield-Maiden’s eyes. “I only saw the faces of dead Skjalddis,” Nika said. Her throat worked and her eyes widened slightly.

“You have been keeping a vigil,” he whispered, realizing she had been lying to him earlier. “You’ve seen them before.”

“Every month,” she admitted. “When there is no moon.” Her eyes were bright now, tears reflecting starlight. “But I never saw the old woman,” she said. “Not until tonight.”

“Who is she?” Illarion asked.

Nika let loose a short bray of laughter, a cruel sound that was quickly swallowed by the night. “She showed herself because you were here,” Nika said. “You’re the one who summoned her.”

“Me?”

“Aye,” Nika said. “You stayed when the others left. You had family here. You are part of Rus. You have been down into the crypts and seen the grave of Saint Ilya. You know the stories.”

“They’re just stories,” Illarion protested.

Nika stepped closer to Illarion and peered into his eyes as if she were trying to see some flicker of light hidden deep within. “You know who she was,” she said softly. “From the stories. The witch with the leg of stone. The witch who knows what must be done.”

Illarion’s heart was pounding. He looked at Nika, and though he already knew the answer, he could not stop himself from asking, desperate that she should tell him otherwise.

“Nika,” he whispered, “what is it that must be done?”

“You must go north,” she replied. “That is where Baba Yaga has instructed you to go, and wherever you go, my sisters and I will follow.”

Tyr’s Hammer

By , October 25, 2013

This is the time of year for spooky stories, and the medieval version of the camp fire story was always tales of the Wild Hunt. Michael “Tinker” Pearce and Linda Pearce return to Foreworld SideQuests with Tyr’s Hammer, a story about the origins of the cold fortress in the north.

tyrshammer_cover

In this quick-witted and action-packed addition to The Foreworld Saga series, the leader of the Shield-Brethren has dispatched two of his men northward to secure land for a new citadel. When Tyr and his companion come upon the perfect spot, they discover that it is owned by Voldrun, a northern king with a questionable sense of justice. Although he welcomes the travelers, the king’s true motives eventually become clear. Determined to be compensated for his hospitality, Voldrun subjects the duo to several challenges, culminating in a game more dangerous than either warrior could ever have imagined. Steadfast and brave to the end, Tyr must draw upon all of his considerable skill and cunning as he endeavors to outwit the sly Voldrun and strives to secure a bright future for the order.

You can get yours here.

Symposium

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By , October 24, 2013

Did we mention we’re getting into comics? We are. The Amazon publishing team has launched a comic book imprint called Jet City Comics, and we’re happy to note that the first of several Foreworld Saga serials is available for your digital comic reading. There will be a trade edition bind-up later, for those (like myself) who like to put things on shelves.

The first serial is called Symposium and it is written by Christian Cameron and illustrated by Dmitri Bondarenko. Both hail from Toronto and have extensive backgrounds in the Western martial arts, though as you’ll see from the story, these two go back a ways from the Middle Ages. Symposium is the origin story of the Shield-Brethren, and it takes place in the 5th century BC when a group of disenchanted soldiers, having returned from Xenophon’s long march, start to talk of founding their own city . . .

symposium01_cover

ISSUE 1: As the soldiers of Greece return from war with Persia, they are greeted not as heroes but merely more mouths to feed. Athens is overflowing with the poor and desperate. For some of the former soldiers, this life is not why they fought. They crave adventure. They need money. More than anything, though, they long for purpose. One man may hold the answer: Plato. Not only is he versed in the art of philosophy, but he is no stranger to the art of martial combat. He believes there is a way to combine the two arts, creating a new way of life for the former soldiers.

symposium02_cover

ISSUE 2: While the conservative ruling powers of decadent Athens arrange to have them watched, four young men go to a dinner party with Plato—Xenophon, the king of Macedon; a pair of Spartans; and the most beautiful woman in Athens. The question on everyone’s mind: What form would an ideal city take?

The answer is a quest, and a dream . . .

Issues #1 and #2 are out now, and issue #3 will be out later this winter.

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