Between Dark and Light by D.A. Adams
Between Dark and Light Synopsis
The stakes are higher than ever in the fourth installment of the popular dwarven saga!
The Great Empire has surrounded the Kiredurks and are preparing to conquer the kingdom, but unknown to them, Kwarck, the mysterious hermit of the plains, has his own plan in action.
To the east, he has summoned an elven army and charged Crushaw with leading them into battle. To the south, Roskin will gather an army from the fractured Ghaldeon lands. But to the west, an ancient and powerful evil stirs.
The Great War is about to errupt, if Roskin can overcome the Dark One…
Excerpt from Between Dark and Light: From Chapter 9 – “Unleash the Dark One”
Bordorn awoke to the smell of fish frying. He sat up and saw Roskin at the fire, sprinkling fresh herbs over the skillet. The other two still slept, so Bordorn rose quietly and moved closer to his oldest friend.
“I woke early and caught these in the stream,” Roskin said, flipping one of the fillets. “And I found these herbs along the bank. Thought I’d surprise you all with a fresh breakfast.”
“You okay, Pepper Beard?”
“Yeah. Why?” Roskin asked, turning another.
“You were acting pretty odd last night.”
“Like you had a fever or something.”
“I feel great. Haven’t slept that sound my whole life.”
“I’ll rouse the others so we can get going.”
Roskin nodded at him and smiled. Bordorn wasn’t sure which was more odd, how Roskin had acted the previous night or how he was acting now, but he woke the guide and Krondious and told them about the fish. They rose from their blankets, and Roskin served each a plate. Bordorn tasted the fresh meat and couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted.
“Where’d you learn to cook like this?” he asked.
“Just picked it up, I guess,” Roskin said before taking a bite.
“Well, I have to say,” the guide said. “This is delicious.”
“Ma’am, you and I got off to a bad start. Please, forgive my rudeness. I was impatient and took it out on you.”
The guide accepted his apology, and all four ate their fish slowly, savoring each bite. When they finished, they packed the campsite, doused the fire, and soldiered on. Roskin walked beside the guide, asking her about the area’s history and her life. Bordorn walked between them and Krondious, watching his friend closely. With all that had happened in Kehldeon, he already felt on guard, but with Roskin acting so peculiar, he was certain nothing good would come of this task. Part of him wanted to turn them all around and abandon the quest, but they needed the troops, and he knew Roskin wouldn’t turn back.
For five more days, they marched without incident, and Roskin showed no more signs of the fever. If anything, he was more pleasant and well-mannered than Bordorn had ever seen, offering to cook each meal and filling their waterskins when they ran low. By afternoon of the fifth day, they reached the base of Mount Delkhun, and the guide showed them the trail leading southwest to where the problem existed. She explained that she would go no further and wished them luck. Roskin handed her five gold coins for her trouble, and she stared at the money with wonder.
“Well, I sure was wrong about you,” she said, stuffing the coins in her pocket. “Please, be careful. There’s real danger up there.”
“You be careful heading home,” Roskin said. “Maybe we’ll meet again.”
She shook their hands and turned east, marching steadily without looking back. Bordorn looked up the trail she had pointed out, but the way it curved, he couldn’t see more than a few hundreds yards. Roskin moved beside him and asked if he were ready.
“What do you think’s up there?” Bordorn asked.
“Shadow and rumor, my friend. Nothing more.”
“All the same,” Krondious chimed in. “We should arm ourselves.”
“Are you two scared of dragons,” Roskin chuckled, fastening his swords to his waist. Once they were secure, he slid his axes into the slits on his backpack.
“I’m not scared of anything,” Krondious snapped, hoisting his double axe over his shoulder. “But I ain’t getting caught unarmed, either.”
Bordorn strapped on his sword before slipping his shield onto his left arm. When he was finished adjusting the straps, the three of them began up the trail. The first thing Bordorn noticed was all the terraces on this slope had been long abandoned. Any built of wood were completely gone, rotted into soil, leaving only odd shapes on the terrain. The stone ones remained but in varying degrees of ruin. Most of the walls had collapsed outward from decades of neglect and were overgrown with trees and underbrush. As much as the functional terraces had filled Bordorn with pride, these filled him with sadness and a deep longing to restore them.
The trail climbed steeply and was overgrown with raspberries. The sharp thorns scratched their exposed skin, and each hacked at the stalks with their blades as they went. Roskin led the way, followed by Bordorn, and then Krondious, who guided the uneasy horse. After a mile, they were soaked with sweat and stopped in a small clearing to catch their breath and rest their legs. As he took a drink from his waterskin, Bordorn noticed that no sounds came from the forest. He looked at Roskin, who seemed relaxed and nonchalant, and then at Krondious, who appeared uneasy.
“The last time I heard a forest this quiet,” Krondious muttered. “I got jumped by rock wolves.”
“We probably startled everything,” Roskin said, shrugging.
“Let’s stay alert,” Bordorn said, stroking his beard.
They resumed the hike, and Bordorn spotted honeysuckle on the ground. Reminded of his adolescence in the valley, he reached out and plucked a blossom from a vine and sucked the nectar from the flower.
“What’s that?” Roskin asked.
“Honeysuckle.” Bordorn said. “Try it.”
“Ha, that’s pretty good,” Roskin said, dropping the blossom and plucking another.
They kept marching, and Roskin and Bordorn occasionally plucked a flower and drank the nectar. After a few minutes, Krondious spoke:
“I spent several years in the forest, and something’s odd about this honeysuckle.”
“What’s that?” Bordorn asked, looking at the vines on the ground. They appeared normal.
“They usually grow up, wrapping around trees and strangling them, but these all sprawl along the ground. Not a single one is climbing anything.”
“Hmmm, that is odd,” Bordorn said.
“Look at these,” Roskin said, pointing to an area several feet ahead.
On the edge of the pass, a cluster of vines sprouted from the earth. Each base was as thick as Krondious’s arms, and for dozens of feet in each direction, the brown stalks spread along the ground like long tentacles. In all his years in the valley, Bordorn had never seen such a menacing cluster of honeysuckle. The horse bristled behind him, and Krondious tried to soothe it. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw one of the vines move.
Synopsis on the Rest of the Brotherhood of Dwarves Series Novels:
The dwarven saga begins… Roskin, heir to the throne of a remote, peaceful kingdom of dwarves, craves excitement and adventure. Outside his own kingdom, in search of fortune and glory, he finds a much different world, one divided by racial strife and overrun by war. The orcs to the south want to conquer all dwarves and sell them as slaves.
The humans to the east want to control the world’s resources. Caught in the middle, Roskin finds himself chased by slave traders and soldiers alike as he discovers that friendship is the best fortune of all. Just when he thinks he has triumphed, an act of betrayal sends him into bondage.
His only hope of escape is the faltering courage of a disgraced warrior whose best days are behind him…
The dwarven saga grows… Crushaw, Molgheon, and Vishghu have liberated the Slithesythe Plantation. They must make their way to safe lands before being caught and returned to certain bondage.
Across the orc lands, they and Roskin recruit and train an army of freed slaves, for between them and freedom are thousands of well-armed, well-trained orc warriors. Near the Pass of Hard Hope, in the shadows of the eastern mountains, they make their desperate stand.
But even if they succeed, Roskin’s ordeal is far from finished, as he is haunted by visions of something awful back in Dorkhun…
The dwarven saga continues…
The Fall of Dorkuhn, the third installment in The Brotherhood of Dwarves series, continues the adventures of the dwarf Roskin. Having escaped slavery, and survived the Battle for Hard Hope, Roskin returns home to a kingdom divided by war with the ogres.
On one side, his father desires to restore peace. On the other, Master Sondious, hungry for revenge after having been crippled, seeks to escalate the aggression. Roskin and his friends hasten to the capital, to make a desperate attempt to resolve the growing rift, but unknown to the dwarves, new and powerful menaces threaten to destroy the entire kingdom…
D. A. Adams is a novelist, a farmer, a professor of English, and in my estimation, a true gentleman. His breakout fantasy series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, transcends genre and illuminates the human soul in all its flashes of glory and innumerable failings.
He is active on the Con circuit and has contributed writing to literary as well as fine art publications, and maintains his active blog, “The Ramblings of D. A. Adams”. He lives and works in East Tennessee, and is the proud father of two boys, Collin and Finn.
His ability as a storyteller breathes life into every character, and his craftsmanship as a writer makes these stories about relationships; human or otherwise.
D.A. Adams Links:
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