I’m a little late in posting this — actually I’m quite late in posting anything recently. There seems to be so many things that need to be done before Christmas and not enough time. 😉
My good friend, Will Hahn, is preparing for his next release. The third part of “Judgement’s Tale” will be available soon. His books are published one novella-length part per 3-4 months which I love because it means readers won’t have to wait so very long. Epic Fantasy usually makes you wait for ages for the next volume. So, if you haven’t started reading the story yet, the price of volume one “Games of Chance” has been reduced to a $0.99 bargain price. Read it. Although the beginning shows a lot of people, which can be confusing at first, the prose is beautiful. And believe me, not a single thread of the story is superfluous.
And since Will’s narration is highly unique, here is his reasoning for using
(oh, and if you read all the way to the end, you get the chance to WIN a printed copy of Judgement’s Tale volumes one and two!)
The protagonist of Judgement’s Tale is someone nobody gets to know. I understand their difficulty — Solemn Judgement won’t talk much to me either. Of all the beings in the Lands of Hope, his is the only mind that remains closed to me (the sole way to evade the block is too horrible to mention — I did it once and never again! See the first chapter of Reunion of Souls.). So I have been forced to rely on second-hand information, namely, the witness of others. And since hardly anyone he’s met comes off liking him, my difficulties are multiplied many times over.
The Man in Grey, as most people know him, has taken to wandering the Lands, methodically visiting every village and town for reasons that are unclear. He can never hope to finish, should he live to be a hundred. He seldom stays long. If there is a significant Healer in the area, Judgement visits him or her, and stays perhaps a single night in their house, within the protective healing circle. He has a terrible knack for showing up where something dangerous is happening, leading to gossip that the Man in Grey brings trouble with him. His manner, though civil, is often cold and intense, doing little to dispel this notion. This is the only way I saw him, for the first twenty years or so of studying the Lands of Hope; as I viewed the great deeds of one of the adventuring bands, such as the Candidates or Tributarians, there he’d be in the midst of battle or at the edge of a great conflict, walking through and perhaps staying long enough for a conversation or to lend a hand.
If it had not been for Cedrith, I don’t think there would be a Judgement’s Tale.
A Friend in Need
I don’t exactly recall when I first realized how Judgement came to the Lands, though it was always clear he was not born in the kingdoms. But it was through the writings of Cedrith Fellareon, an otherwise obscure Elvish Sage, that I began to nail down the year and the place. Thrown together by a chance of fate on Judgement’s first day in Conar (see Games of Chance), Cedrith was unaccountably interested (maybe fascinated) by Judgement’s upright character and frightful maturity, and became very committed to protecting, tutoring and understanding him. This kind, erudite, domestic Elf was able to show me through his dogged persistence that the Man in Grey was indeed the hero I suspected he might have been. Through his interviews and letters (to Kia, his fiancée) I was able to build a picture of the horror Judgement endured as a youth, the relentless drive he felt to learn and fulfill a higher purpose.
But Judgement is not always with Cedrith. So it became necessary to find other narrators to complete the tale.
And there have been many;
– The Gypsies who found Judgement on the beach his first day in the Lands, burying his father. When they tried to force him to play a game, he had to leave the clan.
– Guardsmen and magistrates, from whom I would never have compiled an accurate picture. One sergeant in particular has sworn to kill him.
– Various employers such as Nador the silversmith who taught him metalwork, or Till the groom when Judgement briefly kept the stables for a noble house.
– Frightened villagers, fellow adventurers, a postal courier, ferrymen and a future king or two, who generally greet him with apprehension and see him off with relief.
– In The Eye of Kog (publishing in 2015) Judgement reaches one of the few remaining unsettled areas in the Lands, and his narrators are not, um, strictly speaking, human. In point of fact, they are trying to eat him; but I’m not sure Judgement detects much of a change in attitude from what he’s previously experienced.
And probably the most interesting narrator I’ve ever used is just four years old.
Eyes of a Child
Riddy sees “the Ash Man” in Strength of Conviction, when his fisherman father sells Judgement his old unused boat which Riddy had been keeping as a fortress. It seems our hero can never get off on the right foot, as he belatedly realizes the hull he wants to patch up had another owner. I figured “here we go again”—what could a little kid feel except hate and fear for the unspeaking, unsmiling, staff-bearing intruder who’s stealing his castle? But instead I watched in astonishment—Riddy’s young life goes from carefree through tragic, to adventurous and finally just a touch miraculous all in the space of a few days. And Solemn Judgement—perhaps the only man in all the city of Conar willing to listen to everything a four-year old will say—hears an interesting tale about a man who walked into the sea, which proves of great value to him.
All in all I was pretty pleased with how that portion of the story went. Imagine my surprise when a reader praised the section and said how they looked forward to hearing about Riddy again! I’m still flabbergasted. Isn’t there such a thing as a one-time character in this tale? He’s a kid, he’s living in the safest city in the Lands of Hope. What conceivable reason… no, wait. If watching Solemn Judgement has taught me anything, it’s that everyone has value. And as I look ahead into The Eye of Kog, there is one young girl who touches the tale briefly. Even Anteris, the young scribe’s apprentice of Trainertown, is destined for more adventure than you might think (certainly more than he does). And perhaps years from now the world will hear of famous deeds by those who are now among the least important.
I cannot imagine who will narrate their tales to me.
Will’s Weirdly Whimsical Website is where he posts news about upcoming releases and blogs about writing, classic fantasy works you’ve never read and the unique photo-based series “It Figures”.
The Lands of Hope Facebook page contains a chronology of the Lands.
WIN A PRINTED COPY OF JUDGEMENT’S TALE 1&2
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and then, you’ll have to go and buy the third installment “Reunions of Souls” because you’ll be just as hooked as I am. I can barely wait for part four. Thankfully, it’s only going to be 3 months!