Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

In my post on 24th Dec. I asked if you are a fantasy reader or know one? I thought today I would give you the first two scenes from Book 1 of “And Hell Followed After”. This is the start of chapter 1.
Bed Time Stories
“Lang, Lang Syne, afore time was even measured, there was nothing save the light. Twas then the light created the worlds and life began —” Gerard stopped reading and watched as his young daughter clambered out from under the covers. Then, as she sat on his lap, she began turning the pages, looking for a new story for him to read. Athena stopped at one especially ornate page, and pointing at it, said,
“This one Daddy.”
In-between the pages Athena was pointing at, there was a multicoloured bookmark that had until now, been hidden from view. The bookmark had intricate needlework running its full length. Gerard tried to stop himself from crying, the bookmark had belonged to his wife, and he had not seen it since before her death. All this time it had been resting in this ancient tome of a book. Athena was now asking him to read what was possibly the last story Fenella had read before she had died whilst giving birth to their daughter.
Gerard stared at the pages for a long time, not seeing what was there, just contemplating the significance of the bookmark. Had Fenella read these pages aloud to Athena while she was still in the womb?
Athena said,
“Read to me Daddy. Read to me Daddy.”
Athena kept asking her father until Gerard’s eyes focused on the page and he started to read.
Gerard said,
“You are aware of the legend of Zanta Klaus.”
Athena said,
“From the beginning Daddy, from the beginning.”
Gerard took a breath and smiled, his daughter was getting better at reading, she could tell when he skipped parts. She now wanted to know where the story came from, as much as the story itself. Athena curled up against her father and Gerard started from the beginning of the page,
“This is a direct Elven translation of the faery tale of Zanta Klaus, it is said it was told as a warning or prophecy. The origin of which can be dated back to shortly after King Ahab disbanded the Guardians of the Gates of Hell.”
Gerard stopped for a moment, faery tales he had no problem with, yet he held a disdain for anything that claimed to be a prophecy of a future event. Athena’s small hands were shaking her father’s arm as she said,
“Read to me Daddy, don’t stop.”
Gerard picked up where he had left off,
“It is said that after the Faery Council of Otnasnom gave the prophecy, all the faeries left Otnasnom within a few days and have never been seen there since.”
Gerard turned to Athena and said,
“Remember your Great Grand Parents came from Otnasnom many years ago. They brought this book with them.”
Gerard looked at the dates on the page, they coincided with the time his Grandparents left Otnasnom. He decided he would ask his Grandfather about it the next time they travelled to his village.
Athena said,
“Read to me, Daddy.”
Shaking his arm until Gerard started reading again.
“You are aware of the legend of Zanta Klaus. He will be known by many peoples and by many names. This is how he will be known to the followers of the light. He will be born of two kingdoms to unite all the good people. He will have a sister, not of his blood. He will make his transition from childhood to a man with a baptism of demon’s blood. He will save the good people from the demon hordes. Children will call his name and he shall be known as Zanta Klaus, the demon legends call him Santa Claus. He will be able to tell good from evil, even when it is hidden. He will face Death and rise to stand against the forces of the dark. He will lead the followers of the light. Where he goes, the light will follow.”

When Athena fell asleep, Gerard turned the pages in the book, thinking about the bookmark and trying not to think about why his wife had been interested in that page. Gerard closed the book, then tucked Athena into her bed and went into the main room of their cottage taking the book with him, the smell of incense was thick in the air from the festival celebrations earlier that evening.

Gerard took one last look at the large ornately covered book, gently running his fingers over the embossed crest on the front cover of the ancient tome before returning it to its place of honour on the shelf of the bookcase.

He always enjoyed reading stories to Athena and she especially loved hearing the stories at bedtime, for it was then Gerard would bring out the family heirloom from the bookcase. It had been handed down for centuries to the first born and Gerard had told Athena that one day it would become hers. It told of faery stories and legends from ancient times, from centuries, millennia past, and even before time was counted as it was today. From a time before elves even put a pen to scroll. As far back to a time when legends were passed down by storytellers going from village to village and earning food and a bed for the night by entertaining the villagers with stories collected from far and wide.

Gerard looked around the room, then poured himself a drink and went outside to his rocking chair. He wondered again about the bookmark and if the pages had held any significance to his wife, or was it just by chance that those were the last pages his wife read. Gerard wondered why his wife had chosen to read that story. He also wondered why he had never seen that story before.

Gerard was sure he had looked at every page in the book several times over the years, had the Book hidden them from him because it knew of his disdain of prophecies? Gerard briefly contemplated the thought of what if the Book had decided that it was time for the prophecy to be told again.

He took a sip of his drink and decided it was a nice evening to take a nap before going back inside to clear up. As Gerard drifted off to sleep he started to dream of the stories his Grandfather would tell him when he was a child. He had always enjoyed his Grandfather’s stories, yet as Gerard had grown up he had treated those stories as he would any faery tale. Now all those stories were coming back to haunt him on this night as he travelled from the land of the living into the world of dreams.

Available on Kobo, Kindle and iBooks.
#fantasy #darkfantasy #epicfantasy #storytelling #swordandsorcery
#books #Kindle #iBooks #Kobo
“And Hell Followed After”
Sub-title: “The Witch Hunters of Otnasnom”
Book 1 in the series (The Legend of Zanta Klaus)
“And Hell Followed After”
Sub-title: “Where He Goes, The Light Will Follow”
Book 2 of the series (The Legend of Zanta Klaus)
Available for Pre-Order: July 2018
“And Hell Followed After”
Sub-title: The Road to Armageddon
Book 3 of the series (The Legend of Zanta Klaus)