As I’ve noted in other posts, I’m hard at work on a new fantasy epic action-adventure novel. The Unexpected Traveler is a big book—much more so than any of the broom books.
The story is fairly simple. An elven prince is stranded in our world and Peter Wright helps him get back. So far so good. But the elf’s world has changed mightily in the five years he’s been gone. Only Prince Rainier, the elf, can fix it. Peter, like all humans, gains magic when transported into the new world, and his magic is crucial in the long adventure to put Rainier on the throne of the High King, to rule in peace over all seven sentient creatures: elves, sprites, gnomes, faeries, dwarves, eagles, and dragons. They gather many allies as they travel across Orgon, Felding, Dordon, and finally into Dakut. But the Conspirators are strong and many are loyal to them. The Tax Wars have decimated all the lands of Gindikila, the entire known world (Gë-heē’n-dhaï-h’kâi-h’laeh in Elvish). Rainier’s father, King Randinier, was murdered and Rainier’s older brother, Ranfolger, sits as a puppet on the throne. Read of conspiracies and treason, friendship and brotherhood, minor skirmishes and major battles, and see if you can spot the traitors.
Excerpt: “Oh, this is just fantastic!” I yelled. “We escaped the water, got out of the cave, and now we’re locked in a dungeon!”
I stood and angrily brushed off dust and grit. The air was just as chilly as in the cave, but vastly less humid. I looked for my hardhat but it was nowhere to be seen. Tom stood at the door of the little cell and looked through a small barred window, pointing his flashlight everywhere.
“Yes, my dear Peter, to use the form of address common in our world,” he replied calmly. “The door is indeed locked. And I see nothing up and down the hallway. But that’s to be expected. This level hasn’t been used in decades. Not since my grandfather Rainden pacified the land.”
Excerpt: “We’ve discovered that humans are particularly adept at politics. They seem to enjoy pitting themselves against each other.” He smirked at me. “So, we leave an elvish guard at each Library to keep the peace. And…”—more swallowing—“each Library also has a small dungeon, used as needed.”
Excerpt: Very slowly we ascended the stairs. At the top a heavy wood door hung on one hinge. We crept around it. The breeze told us we’d hit ground level—but instead of arching ceilings, night ruled the sky. All was still except for our footfalls, Rainier’s mail, and the slight rattle of my sword in its sheath.
The more we walked, the more destruction we found. A room with several large windows held only rain-washed ashes, charred wood and bits of glass; the roof had been burned. Rainier told me it was the Document Room with the cadastral records, and its destruction meant none could defend title to their land—not human nor elf nor dwarf nor anyone else in all the land of Orgon.
Excerpt: “And so, King Dimnarin and honored Council, that is how I came to be here. Your brother, the fair Diminit, has been more than kind and has seen to our every need. I am glad to be here and offer what services I can. It appears I have a magical gift, and I lay it at your disposal.”
I made this up as I went along. All the fantasy movies I’d seen included formal, pompous speech, so I figured I ought to give it a try.
“What I do not understand,” growled an ancient, grizzled Council member, “is why you have so assiduously defended this elf. And until you entered this room, you wore an elven sword and carried an elven shield.”