Friday, November 29, 2013

Legend of Ashenclaw Paperback Giveaway!

In the spirit of giving and being thankful for what I have, I am inspired to do another giveaway on Goodreads for the novella, THE LEGEND OF ASHENCLAW! I am giving away signed copies of the book to three lucky winners (Goodreads chooses, not me!), so sign up using the link below.

Here is the cover and an excerpt for you to chew on...

Ashenclaw in all her glory, illustrated by William Kenney

It was a day’s journey to Summerbank and as they neared, Figit realized that the town had indeed grown some since last he visited some years back. They had an inn! At least that’s what it looked like from his perspective.
As the group came rolling up and over the hill, Figit leaped onto Twarda’s back, causing her to stumble forward before her sturdy legs were able to right herself again.
“Watch yerself!” Twarda yelped, regaining her balance quickly. “”I coulda’ fell…and with ye' atop me, too!”
“I’da been fine,” Figit quipped, getting comfortable on her broad shoulders.
“An’ I’da ne’er fell. Yer missin’ me point.”
“It looks like the town has literally doubled in size since the last time we seen it. I’m seein’ maybe two dozen structures now!”
Azbiel laughed heartily while Triniach and Jon strode along quietly. As they made it to the bottom of the hill, Figit noted that something in the town did not seem right.
“Hey, guys,” he announced, leaping from Twarda’s shoulders to land on all fours like a cat. “Somethin’ ain’t right about this. Where are all the people?”
They all looked about and noted that none of the fishermen were on their boats or fishing in the bank and not a soul was outside. It was almost mid-day again and the lack of activity was both telling and disturbing.
“I don’t like it one bit,” Figit declared as he withdrew both of his daggers. The sound of leather on steel sounded again as Jon withdrew his hand and a half sword and Twarda removed her axe from her belt.
“I don’t like this at all,” Figit stated as he slipped down the remainder of the hill and proceeded ahead of the others.
He got up to where he could see things more clearly, his eyesight allowing him to see great distances, another gift of his fey blood. What he saw was distressing. He waved the others to within a few feet of him and told them to wait there at the base of the hill.
“What is it, half-man?” asked Jon.
“Shush,” Figit called back in a whisper. He wanted to whisper back to him that he was no man at all. Instead he was a creature born of fey blood, distant cousin to the elves and that he could tap into the regenerative plane much as a druid would and use the gift to heal; albeit sparingly.
He stole through the village and made it to the far western side of the town. Confirming what he saw, he made his way quickly and quietly back to the group, who awaited him on the shaded side of a storefront.
“What is it!?” asked Azbiel, his arms held out wide before returning to cross over his chest. He yawned and Figit could smell the wine on his breath from where he stood.
Typical Azbiel, he thought.
“Kobolds. And lots of ‘em! And…they ain’t alone either. There are some crazy robed figures with marks of the dragons on their garments.
“Dragon cultists,” Triniach stated as if everyone should know. “They are amassing here as they sense something, a shift in the weather or some such. I cannot quite put my finger on it just yet.”
“So, they are worshipers of which dragons?” Jon asked. “All of them?”
“I would say. It is a dragon cult. Their symbol is something of a dragon claw. Is that correct, Figit?” Triniach asked.
“A claw of red, one of blue, another of white and a black one, too. All in a circle, or a cross or some proportioned pattern. Can’t really see it too well.”
Triniach waved his hands about and stood silently, the white of his eyes shifted in hue to  yellow, like that of an eagle’s.
“That is it exactly,” the mage announced with confidence.
“If you can do that, then why do ya’ make me—never mind,” Figit said with a sigh and a shake of his head.
“It is to keep your skills intact. You never know when you will need them. Magic does not solve everything,” he stated in a lecturing manner with a sideways glance toward him and then added, “almost. But not quite.”
 “Well, whatever. The four-clawed dragon cultists have taken over the town for whatever reason,” Figit exclaimed, willing his body into the shadows.
 “Then we be needin’ ta’ take ‘er back!” proclaimed the dwarven warrior, tapping her axehead upon her shield three times.
“Let’s gut ‘em and save the day. Like usual,” stated the halfling.
“Nothing like rescuing damsels in distress!” Azbiel proclaimed, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
“We are ready then?” inquired Triniach, adjusting his robe.
All of them nodded and Figit stayed to the shadows, moving ever closer to the commotion. After a moment or two, he could hear the words of the cultists.
“We shall make sacrifice for the scorching drakes and so that Ashenclaw will spare us,” he heard one man say.
“The queen of the scorching drakes will let us live if we show her gift,” said one of the dozen kobolds lurking about. A pair of women were both tied to stakes that were planted firmly inside a large amount of tinder. Their clothes were torn and they were bleeding from several wounds already, though none of them looked fatal to the halfling. But, it certainly seemed as though they were going to roast these two ladies alive.

All Artwork and covers of my works by William J. Kenney


Also, Please join me and the other amazingly talented authors over @ Skulldust Circle where we have formed a Writer's Circle that must be seen--a collection of brilliant, up & coming independently published speculative fiction authors with much to give both now and in the future!

All maps, names and content copyright Ashenclaw Studios 2013 unless otherwise noted.

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