Happy New Year everyone. Here is a great way to start out the new year. A new chapter to read for your enjoyment. This time the chapter is from my fantasy ‘Healer of Surflex’. The novel is full of magic, fairies, knights, demons, wizards, dragons and talking animals. You can find the complete novel at the following links:
Pomelia’s moans of anguish woke Terian out of a deep sleep. He groggily rose upon one elbow and searched for his wife in the dim shadows of their thatched cottage. She moaned again, and he focused in on her huddled form at the edge of the hearth. The embers of last night’s fire gave a faint glow as it bathed her creamy complexion in a pale red hue.
He rose swiftly, spanning the space between them and crouched beside her. Terian caressed her face and brushed back the satiny black curly hair. Her light brown eyes filled to the brim with tears.
“Pomelia what’s wrong?”
“It’s not fair! We’re kind, gentle, loving people, not like the miller or the innkeeper. They charge unfair prices, stealing from those of the idle minded and still God blessed them with children. God, what have we done to deserve this punishment?” She lifted her hands soaked with blood.
The metallic scent of blood mingled with the smoking ash of the fire as it filtered through his nostrils, exploding in the recesses of his brain.
Terian’s heart caved in, Pomelia had miscarried again. He gently picked her up and cradled her against his rock hard chest. Terian went over to the bed and sat her on the edge, removing her soiled gown and used it to wipe off most of the blood from her body.
He remorsefully returned to the hearth, lovingly shrouding the tiny form in the bloody gown to hide their son from his wife’s view. Tears crept down the leathery cheeks as he covered the perfectly formed face.
Terian laid the tiny body by the basin then poured cool water from the large pitcher in the basin. He gathered clean cloths taking the basin back to the bed and sat it on the floor in front of Pomelia.
Terian searched Pomelia’s eyes for any evidence of life behind them. She moaned softly at Terian’s gentle touch in spite of his rough, callous hands as he methodically bathed her and cleansed her body with prayer and water. As Terian dressed her in a clean woolen gown, she was unable to even lift her arms. He laid her against the down tick pillows then covered her with their heavy quilt to guard her from the chill of the night.
Terian picked up the basin and left through the back door to go the well at his blacksmith shop. There he disposed of the basin’s content and cleaned it before he returned to the cottage. He returned the basin to the stand.
Pomelia no longer moaned. Sounds of light breath in sleep wafted from their bed. Terian prayed, Thank you Lord for sending sleep to Pomelia. That is the best thing for her so she won’t dwell on our devastating loss. Forgive her blasphemy, for it was her grief wailing, not her faith in You. Please give me the strength to endure the mourning period and Pomelia’s sharp tongue as she again deals with the loss of another child. She is, as she stated, a kind and gentle soul. Find it in Your heart to grant her heart’s desire of a strong, healthy child.
He cradled his shrouded son, and left quietly to make sure the door did not creak to wake Pomelia from her rest. The dogs were not even awake to snap at his heels as he trudged up the winding cobblestone lane toward the main street past the still darkened cottages of his neighbors. Every step Terian took oppressed his soul. Grief racked his massive frame with this fifth loss. Doubt penetrated his heart that God would bless them with an heir. It seemed the prophecy of the local soothsayer would hold true.
Terian forbade Pomelia from seeking advice from the old crone after her first miscarriage. Pomelia, however, secretly visited her while he was away at the castle at Congor’s request to discuss the new designs for the battle armor for the king’s warriors. Congor was the king’s man of arms and chief counselor.
Terian returned to find Pomelia had given the old soothsayer a month’s worth of wages for a mixture of foul, musky herbs that were to be made into a drink and drank before each session of intimacy as they chanted to a small gross ebony carving of a fertility deity.
Terian’s rage exploded and for the first time in his life, he wanted to raise his hand to another human. He snatched the herbs and carving and heaved them into the flames of his forge. Pomelia ran wailing into the cottage. He pumped the bellows to engorge the flames and eradicated the abominations out of existence. He turned his frustration to his hammer and anvil. Terian shaped a pile of metal into various sizes of breastplates. The anvil’s clang echoed off the walls of the village cottages.
Several hours later, the shuffled tap of the soothsayer’s steps and cane interrupted him. She stood in the doorway, weaving heavily against the twisted knarred cane.
“Be gone, hag! There is no welcome at my hearth for you or your abominable deities. Leave my wife and me in peace before I dispatch you in my forge, as I did your graven image and poison.” The warning rumbled through the rafters of the shop and stable, causing the nesting doves to take reckless flight in fear.
She cackled with delight over Terian’s raging frustration. She crooned and leaned against her cane as she pointed a gnarled finger at him, “I’m not frightened of your ravings against me as one of the pathetic doves roosting in your rafters. Your wife came to me, begging me for my help, since your god wasn’t strong enough to hold a child within her womb full term to deliver a healthy son. I warned her if you had an inkling that she was going to be using my help, your pride in your worthless god would compel you to destroy her plans, dashing her desires for a son.
“You’ve done exactly as I foretold. Because of your blasphemy against Kernel, Pomelia will continue to try, but will never give you a live heir until Kernel claims her also, leaving you wallowing in your pride for your pitiful, minute god for the rest of your miserable life.”
Terian could stand no more of her threats. He hurled his hammer at the old crone’s balding scraps of hair, “Leave Pomelia alone. My God is greater than anything you can carve, witch.”
She disappeared, cackling, “We will see blacksmith, we will see.”
The hammer embedded itself in the massive oak door frame.
Terian’s mind swirled in self-doubt mixed with guilt that indeed these tragedies could have been diverted if he had cooperated with Pomelia’s plan, instead of relying on his faith in God. They could have five healthy sons if he had chosen differently.
The soothsayer’s cackle echoed throughout his soul, mocked his faith with ‘We’ll see blacksmith, we’ll see!’ With every step he took, it tried to divert him from his destiny. Soon every muscle in his body strained against his will, wanting Terian to stop, turn aside to the gnarled, vine covered trail that lead to the soothsayer’s tumbled down hovel, and beg her to lift her curse.
Still he stayed true to the course as it led Terian humbly through the village past cottage after cottage filled with slumbering children. He arrived at the ornate iron gate he designed with love. Terian lifted the heavy latch and pushed the gate inward. The gate groaned and shattered the stillness of the night. It woke the rectory guard dog. It bayed loudly at his approach.
A chorus of howls joined the guard dog’s baying seconds later. A light blinked on in the rectory window as the pastor groggily met Terian at the door. He held his lamp high in front of him to see who was at the rectory this late at night. The beam of light barely radiated through the darkness and revealed a hazy, gigantic form moving among the tombstones toward the rectory.
“Quiet whelp, before you wake the whole village with your baying. I’m awake. Who’s there? Terian, Terian is that you?” The pastor called out and peered in the darkness. “Terian, why have you come at such an ungodly hour? What are you carrying?”
Terian’s heavy shuffled steps mingled with the baying hound. It sent an eerie chill running through the pastor’s soul. Terian came into view cradling the bloody shrouded parcel tightly against his chest. Blood coated his chest and forearms. Terian kissed the cradled shroud. He held it out to the pastor, his chocolate brown eyes swollen under his knitted brow. Strands of silver glittered among the mass of ebony hair that four years ago had none. Terian’s tawny skin now held a sallow glow. Tears streamed down his cheeks unchecked.
His voice rumbled full of sorrow, “Pomelia miscarried another son. I need you to prepare my son for burial, as Pomelia is incapable to perform the necessary cleaning ceremony. I’ll be in the chapel.”
The pastor quaked as he reached out and took the shrouded infant from the grieving father. He passed it to his wife with the lantern, who arrived behind him for the needed ceremony. “Yes, yes go ahead Terian. I’ll dress and go to Pomelia. She needs to be cleansed, then I’ll be back to prepare your son.” He reassured Terian as he shooed Terian through the rectory to the chapel.
“No, there is no need to bother Pomelia. She is resting.”
The pastor drew back at the rebuff, “Terian, you know the cleansing ritual must be performed within an hour of the birth to ensure the mother’s health.”
An iron grip slammed around the pastor’s forearm and painfully halted his progress. “I said, leave her be. Do you think I am incapable of performing the cleansing ritual correctly after four previous miscarriages? She is fine. Sleep is what she requires now. It is our son’s body that needs attention.”
The pastor winched in pain, “Terian, my arm, you’re crushing my arm!”
Terian immediately released his grip and muttered his apologies. “Sorry, just let her sleep, please,” then went into the chapel. He moved slowly up the aisle to the altar. He lit two candles. He knelt deep in prayer. The pastor closed the door and left Terian in privacy to wrestle with his sorrow.
Moans of anguish escaped Terian’s trembling lips. Tears streamed along the crevasses of the sun-stained face. They soaked his chest and left trails through the caked blood. It pooled on the floor around his knees. His mind could only scream repeatedly, “Why, God?” His body was racked in grief at failing his wife once more, enforcing her fears of the soothsayer’s prophecy.
Streams of light filtered through the altar’s stained glass window. It cast a rainbow of color across the crumpled man. It grew in intensity, bathing Terian in its warmth.
“Terian,” a soft unseen voice shattered the silence, “Terian, rise.”
Terian slowly lifted his head. His swollen, bloodshot eyes dimly focused on the blurry shape behind the altar in front of the stained glass window. “Leave me in peace. I need solitude, not company.”
“Terian, rise, and hear the Words of God, for He has heard and felt your sorrow.”
Terian wiped his eyes with the back of his hand to clear the tears from his eyes. Terian tried to identify the intruder of his solitude. His eyes concentrated enough to view a tall, well-formed man, clothed in iridescent robes. The man lifted up his hand for Terian to obey him.
Terian shook his head, “I beg of you, leave me in peace.”
A brilliant light burst forth from the man and caused Terian to shield his eyes from the blinding light, “Terian, rise, for God has granted you His mercy. I am Moryx, messenger of God.” his voice reverberated throughout every molecule of Terian.
Terian raised his massive frame. It quaked in fear then he collapsed in a heap, “Forgive me Lord, for I’m but an unschooled oaf in the midst of grievous sorrow.”
Moryx unfurled a magnificent set of wings and arched them high over his chiseled bronze features, “Do not bow before me, for I am not God. Rise, Terian and view God’s glory through me.”
Terian rose, shielded his eyes, his legs quivered, barely able to hold him erect. “Who am I that God has felt my sorrow, and has mercy upon me?”
“You are who you are, no more, no less. God has chosen you to bear His healer to aid in the war against the evil ravaging Surflex. She will aid God’s warrior to free your kingdom from the evil grip that is tightening its coils around the kingdom’s soul.”
“A daughter, God will bless me with a daughter? Forgive me; but wouldn’t a son be a better candidate for a warrior of God? A daughter may not be strong enough to carry out God’s plan for freedom.”
Moryx’s wings spread out filling the space behind the altar. They blotted out everything else. “God has chosen His champion already to fight the battle with evil. Your daughter must heal the sorrow caused from the ensuing battle. To allow her to reach her full potential there is much preparation. There will be no other midwife but you to bring her into the world. You will wear calfskin gloves at all times in dealing with your daughter. She is not to be touched without gloved hands. Her mother or a wet nurse will not nurse her, for she will be unable to control the healing powers until she reaches maturity. It would drain her life force during the healing.
“You shall teach your daughter how to be genial and merciful. You shall show her how to love those who despise her, those who fear and envy her power. Keep her secret well, even from Pomelia, for even her mother will try to use her power for her own selfish desires.”
Terian fell to his knees, his hands clasped together and begged for leniency, “Please don’t condemn my child to a life without contact with another living soul. Every living thing craves contact with others. She couldn’t live without being able to feel another’s embrace.”
Moryx’s stern angelic features softened, “God knows of her need for contact and is not unfeeling. She may touch any animal bare handed, no matter the species. They will have no fear of her and will serve her slightest wish even unto death. Go now, for Pomelia is now awakened and the time of your son’s burial is at hand.”
Terian rose as Moryx vanished. He left the chapel and made his way home to collect his wife for their son’s burial. A large strip of silver hair hanging down in Terain’s eyes glistened in the dawn’s rose-colored light, a constant reminder to Terian of his conversation with Moryx.
Once again here are the links for ‘Healer of Surflex’ you can find it in eBook print and Audio format. :
I just received a five star review from Matthew Davenport. You can see it on Goodreads.com and Matthew’s blog https://authormatthewdavenport.wordpress.com. You can find the audio version of ‘Healer of Surflex’ https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Healer-of-Surflex-Audiobook/B071KZGFVD.
While Healer of Surflex isn’t my usual read, the pleasurable voice of Kelly Montijo Fink made the audio a fun time. Healer of Surflex is hard fantasy, with a story rooted in a world of magic and warring factions of good and evil. Most of the populace isn’t aware of the battle for their very souls, but it’s happening.
Having not read a lot of fantasy, I have read some, and what makes Lady Laindora’s book unique is that I’ve never seen a fantasy book that incorporates Christian beliefs into a fantasy realm. Doing so makes this more like an Arthurian legend, minus Arthur.
The book follows Kerlia as she’s selected, birthed, and trained by an angel and the warriors for good to be a healer in the upcoming battle with this book’s version of Satan, Kernel. Kernel has control over a large portion of the Kingdom of Surflex, and the book is filled with people being possessed or warped and twisted by their beliefs and support of Kernel. Honestly, in the first chunk of the book, the way that some of these people get twisted and filled with such dark evil makes it look like a contagion of belief, and solidifies how Kernel must have taken hold.
Lady Laindora’s strengths are in her ability to show and not tell. The protagonist, Kerlia, is mute and a lot of the book is explaining how she interprets the world and how she communicates without dialogue (and sometimes with, when she is part of the fairy realm). There are character descriptions that become part of the story’s narrative, and locations that are described the same way. She does a great job of describing things without you realizing that she’s describing them.
Healer of Surflex, and a lot of it’s aspects, remind me much of The Sword of Truth series, by Terry Brooks. The fairies and pixies that train her even reminding me of Zed the old wizard. They are funny but with purpose. At the same time, the style of the fight against evil gave me a feeling of Eragon with less dragons. Finally, there’s angels, God as we know him, and others aspects of this book that have a strong Christianity bend.
This is epic/battle fantasy with a theme, and it is done very well.
I am looking for a narrator for my Christian fantasy novel ‘Healer of Surflex’. It is about a young girl, Kerlia, that was born with healing powers. It was prophesied that a healer would destroy the reign of terror from Kernel on the Kingdom of Surflex. So Kernel has tried to kill Kerlia before she was even born. At the age of six, Kerlia is transported to the fairy realm where she is to hone her powers for the fight. She acquires three wolves, a unicorn, and a flying dragon that can breathe both fire and ice to help her with the quest. Can a mere child accomplish when the mightiest men quake in terror at the mention of Kernel’s name? This project would be a 50/50 royalty split. Thank you in advance for considering this project. You can find the project at https://www.acx.com/titleview/ALCWIWT2VAUFQ .
Sue Raymond/ Lady Laindora