Road of a Warrior (The Silvan Book 2)
by R.K. Lander
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Release Date: April 28th 2018
Summary:A light in the forest, a king returned, a past to claim …Fel’annár is an immortal half-blood warrior from the Deep Forest, an orphan whose questions were never answered. With a dream of becoming a Silvan captain in an army ruled by the Alpine elves, he is sent to protect a prince of the realm on a journey to Tar’eastór, land of the mighty Alpine elves and of Fel’annár’s own father – whoever he was.His nascent power will continue to evolve as his shrouded past finally surfaces. The truth he never thought to hear will thrust him onto a path strewn with political intrigue, discrimination, danger and self-discovery.Meanwhile, a failing king will rise from the ashes of grief and reclaim his place as leader of the Great Forest. Warriors will battle the enemy on the borders, while at court, councillors will clash over the racial divide that is pulling them apart. They say that civil war is coming, but one warrior can avoid it – if he can embrace his past, control his powers and accept the role he is destined to play.From warrior to master and beyond, Fel’annár is The Silvan who can restore peace in the Great Forest, or cast it into eternal chaos.
Once, he had been right pleasing to the eye, or so his Mavey had often said. That was before they had ventured to Valley and had become immortal.
He’d been lured by stories of beautiful, shining faces that stood behind the Veil. Paradise was there, they said, a hand’s breadth away; why could mortals not pass and enjoy eternal life? He had all but forgotten the other tales, those the elves told of death and infection.
He hadn’t believed them, still didn’t.
But what did it matter? What good were his memories now that he was immortal? That much he had achieved, and yet he had not passed into the Source for the dark elves had chased him away. That was when the slow, implacable curse of mortality had begun, for although his spirit was immortal, his body was not meant for it. Entropy was his punishment, cursed to madness as he watched himself fall apart, even his mind.
He shrugged. It no longer mattered; he no longer cared.
They used to call him Rovad, he recalled, but when the rot had started his name was forgotten, for Deviants cannot speak, not as humans do. He repressed the instinct to laugh because he couldn’t do that anymore, either; his vocal chords no longer allowed it. All he could do now was wail. He looked down at his greying right hand, vaguely wondering when his finger would fall off. But then, what did that really matter—after all this time? Had he not wanted to be immortal?
Turning, he raised his rusty sword and allowed his cloudy eyes to settle resignedly on the light ones that ran towards him in the distance. They had doomed him to years of horror, bitter years of watching as his own body fell away before his very eyes and for what? To protect the purity of their haven? To keep it from the taint of mortality?
The elves would kill him, perhaps before he could kill any of them, and he could not say the idea was not attractive. He had lost his name, lost his Mavey. Nothing else really mattered, and yet, there was one thing he wanted more than death—more than anything he had ever coveted in his unnaturally long life. He wished to give death to the undying, sunder their immortality just as they had doomed him to die in horror. He would right the wrong that was done to the mortals of Bel’arán, for how does one live consciously under the shadow and surety of death? What twisted deity had made it so?
It was not personal; it was a dying man’s wish to deal justice—one last time.
His lips spread and his rotten teeth felt the cold air. They hurt. He wanted to yell a battle cry, but all that came out was another keening wail. His last sight was of an angel that bore down on him, its face impossibly beautiful, blade glinting pure and bright as it swooped towards him. He hated it, because in those eyes of deep emerald there was pity, pity for a rotting fool who had dared challenge the cruelty of nature.
He fleetingly wondered if there was a paradise waiting for him somewhere, so that he could live again, so that all the moments of his life would not be forgotten, not that he really cared anymore.
The cold blade sliced through him. There was no pain, only hatred and relief.
He had slowed his pace, and his eyes were now fixed on a small gate, beyond which a dull, grey garden lay. Fel’annár was frowning, King Vorn’asté’s question completely forgotten, for there was a strangeness in the air, a deep whisper of something long gone, an echo of grief and an unlikely scent of spring blooms. He turned, then took a step towards the tiny gate and away from the main path. If the others spoke, he did not hear them.
His feet slowly took him to the gate. He could see the trees better now, wilting and spindly as they reached for the cold sun.
It was a cry for help.
A heavy hand fell on his shoulder, and Fel’annár swivelled on his heels, eyes wide, heart hammering. “Damn it, Sontúr.”
One dark eyebrow rose imperiously, and Fel’annár opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it, and Sontúr smirked.
“Forgive me, my lord. That was inexcusable.”
Fel’annár dragged his hand down his face, and Sontúr frowned at the slight tremor. “What is it? You look rattled.”
“It’s nothing,” he murmured, but Sontúr’s strong hand was on his forearm. He had not been believed, indeed the king and commander stood quietly, watching.
“I was just wondering—why those gardens there have been abandoned.” His tone had been light and apparently unconcerned, but Vorn’asté, for one, was not fooled at all.
“Why do you ask that?” asked the king carefully, a gleam in his eye, gaze momentarily turning to his son.
Fel’annár’s scalp tingled, and a niggling pressure was building in his ears. He recognised the symptoms, and the familiar pang of anxiety squeezed his gut. His eyes stubbornly refused to leave the small wrought iron gate and the strange trees beyond. He tried to resist, because he was in the company of kings and princes, of Gor’sadén. It could not happen to him here, without Lainon, without The Company.
“Fel’annár?” called Sontúr once more.
It was cold, but the sun shone brightly upon the path. The air was laden with the smell of wet soil, and the chatter of robins and wrens flittered here and there; everything was as it should be—but it was not, not for Fel’annár. It was an illusion, as if nature had colluded to hide a secret—the secret that lay in the barren gardens. How could it be spring in mid-winter?
“I have always hated my Alpine side. Idernon told me it was because my father was Alpine. I hated him and therefore that side of my blood, he said. I was angry at Idernon for his words. But then Turion told me the same thing and again I was angry. I have always been angry, Lainon. So much of my life has been spent feeling it, repressing it, ignoring it. It was on my first patrol, with you and Turion, that it began to change.” He smiled, fond memories resurfacing. “And yet it is only now that I feel complete, Lainon. I have always said I am Silvan at heart, and yet now, even that is wrong.” He smiled again and turned his head to Lainon. “I am Fel’annár at heart,” he said. “I no longer wish to perpetuate this racial thing, I no longer feel the need. What does it matter? The land of my mother, the land of my father. The colour of her eyes or of my father’s hair? All colours are beautiful, Lainon, given the right context, the right background on which to lay them. It is a question of perspective, I think.”
Lainon watched him, the soft words floating in his mind.
Fel’annár turned back to the horizon. “Ea Uaré, Thargodén’s court. Power and riches, the wish to control dictates the things they do, the people they are. They say there are even Silvan lords there that play these games, too, and the structure of the game is the same in Tar’eastór, no doubt. Power and riches, control, only there are no masses to control here, for they are all Alpine. How do you control a people who are not your own, in the lands you have taken from them?” He huffed and shook his head. “You do it by subjugating them, I think, and what better way than to do so by creating a fiction in which one is weak and the other is strong? One is wrong and the other is right, one is Silvan and the other is Alpine.”
Lainon drank from his goblet. “You wax philosophical tonight.”
Fel’annár smiled, for Lainon was right. “It is beautiful here. How could I ever have been ashamed to be half Alpine? Look at this place, Lainon. It is sublime in its dizzying heights, its quiet nobility. This place is in my blood, as much as the Deep Forest. I will no longer call myself Silvan in anger of my father. I will call myself Silvan, and I will call myself Alpine.”
Lainon turned once more, this time with a smile on his face. “How far we have come, you and I. I wonder what the future holds for us, for I cannot see it,” he said, the smile faltering.
“Who can say? I know it will not be an easy one, but with you by my side…” He shuffled upon the ground and then took a sip of his wine.
“With me at your side?” prompted Lainon.
“I wonder. I wonder if this is what it is like to have a true brother.”
“Warriors to me!” shouted the lieutenant, and he was immediately joined by two Alpines who took up defensive positions over the crumpling form of Pan’assár. Fel’annár made his own way towards them, but his progress was slow. A Deviant rushed him from the side, not fast enough, and Fel’annár danced out of the way before cutting through its abdomen. Another approached from behind and Galadan turned in time to see its ugly head tower over Fel’annár’s shoulder. Opening his mouth to call a warning, he promptly closed it as Fel’annár thrust his sword backwards and then scooted to one side as the Deviant fell forwards.
Galadan nodded at the bloodied Silvan as he joined them. There were hardly any warriors left; none in the trees and but a handful of them here, defending the life of their commander, and still, the Deviants came.
Fel’annár nodded at them as he came to stand beside Galadan, checking his stance, steadying his breathing. He would need all his skill to survive this fight.
The enemy wailed as they ran, and Fel’annár closed his eyes, opening them to the other world, the one in which he swam in blue, purple, and green waves of energy he did not fully understand. Had he done that? he wondered. Had he transformed himself purposefully? Had he controlled it?
The wails were silenced, and his heart was the only sound he could hear now, that and the rush of breath as he inhaled and exhaled. There was the low drone of something outside himself, rhythmic and powerful, and he thought perhaps it was the light in his eyes that emitted it.
He moved his sword arm before him, his sabre in his other hand, aloft like the steely horn of some mythical creature. He watched as they came. But then something quite unexpected happened; they stopped before him.
The foremost Deviant was taller even than Fel’annár, as bulky as Ramien, one side of its face eaten away. It stood silently for a moment, a strange clicking sound coming from its throat while the remaining Deviants were behind it, unmoving. This was their leader, realised Fel’annár.
“Blessed Aria,” pleaded an Alpine warrior beside him.
Leathery skin stretched over rotten teeth, a mockery of a smile, and a surge of power pulsed through The Silvan’s veins, setting his eyes to blazing and his hair to swimming around him. It was not the first time it had happened, but it was the first time he could feel it, hear it, aware of the other presence in his mind and the power it lent him.
The Deviant screamed in wrath, black veins puffing in its throat, body shaking with the force of the screech, and in a second it was upon Fel’annár. The other Deviants surged forwards, and Galadan and the two remaining warriors were immersed in a desperate battle for their lives.
Fel’annár’s last thought before the scimitar came towards him was for The Company.
‘Protect them—Aria,’ he whispered into the breeze, and although he could not hear it, the boughs rustled, complicit.
About the Author:
I am one of the biggest elf geeks I have ever met. First inspired by the world of Tolkien, I began writing short stories, until the idea of the Silvan popped into my head. That was no short story but a sprawling 900 pages of epic fantasy.The Silvan is my first publshed work, an epic / military fantasy with paranormal overtones. The story revolves around the figure of a Silvan elf, Fel’annar. The first in the series, Path of a Novice was published April 2017 and the second book is due to launch 28th April, 2018. A projected third book should be available in 2019.
I love connecting with readers, so please pop in and say hello. I’d love to hear your feedback and comments.
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