Today, it is our pleasure to welcome Olek – the Shadowdancer from The Light Behind the Storm series by A. L. Butcher.
Greetings to you. I am the Shadowdancer, but you may call me Olek.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Stupidity. I don’t mean a lack of learning for most folks have not the luxury of education. I mean a failure to notice what is before them, or if they do to simply dismiss it as of no consequence.
Unfortunately, Erana is inhabited by many stupid people – those who do not see the truth but instead choose to ignore what is obvious.
What is your current state of mind?
Cautious. I am always so. If I were not cautious I’d likely be dead. I am a hunter of men, and of lies, sometimes of property and I seek to know my enemy and my prey. Those who work for the Oncoming Storm do so carefully and with discretion, for our fate otherwise is death, be it from his hand or more likely the hand of the Order of Witch-Hunters. I have seen him kill those who have betrayed him and I have seen the Order kill far more for lesser crimes.
We dabble in the politics of the land, we kill and steal, we save and educated and if we are caught the Order will destroy us. But now the stakes are higher and so, I am sure, the price will be. Would I change this? No. I don’t think so. My life belongs to the Oncoming Storm and I give it willingly to his service and his cause.
On what occasion do you lie?
I am a lie. I am a rumour and a threat. Our whole life must be a falsehood in a world where magic is forbidden and elves and half-elves such as myself are naught but slaves. But I am the Shadowdancer – Lord of the Shadows and the shadows watch.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
The ability to do what must be done – even if it’s unpleasant.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
You’d probably have to ask my lady Ozena… I’d dare not say anything else.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m still alive.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
If I’m honest I’d come back as myself. I like myself and I’m good at what I do. The master values me, and our affection is strong. Not many elves can say that. Besides I don’t know how to be someone or something else.
I doubt I wield the sort of power to return from death. I am not a mage, although I am a user of magic in one of its forms. Or so my master tells me. Necromancy? That’s the sorcery of returning things from the dead, is it not? That’s fae magic, wicked magic. For those who are dead should not return. Apparently if the will is strong enough, or powerful enough the soul – I suppose you’d call it that – might return, or at least not depart. I’m merely a weapon adept, and such mysteries are another man’s to know.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Slavery. I have been a slave. I am a half-elf. I have no rights; I am but property. At least that is what the Order of Witch-hunters would say. In truth, I’m probably the elf with the most influence and liberty in the whole of the land. Archos treats me well and I may come and go as I please, at least within his lands. If I ever get captured, and Archos doesn’t come for me then I’d rather die than be a slave again. Trust me when I say a few of my captors won’t see the dawn either.
What is it that you most dislike?
The Order of Witch-Hunters. I hate those bastards. They prey on the innocent and enforce what passes for law here, simply because they believe it to be their right. How can the law be just when it automatically discriminates simply on race or magical ability?
How would you like to die?
Gloriously. Either that or at a ripe old age bedding my thirteenth wife.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today. For more information or to read the exciting adventures of Olek, see below:
Title: The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I and The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II
Author: A.L. Butcher
Genre: Fantasy/Fantasy Romance
The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.
The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book II
Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.
Please note these are both 18+ age-rated
Excerpt – From the Light Beyond the Storm – Book I:
Olek stayed in shadow and walked in silence, forever gaining upon his prey. As Petrus stepped towards the door, he was suddenly grabbed with a gloved hand across his mouth. He saw the edge of a crossbow bolt in the sleeve attached to the hand now gripping his hair as he tried to turn his head and was dragged back behind the house. As he struggled, a voice said close to his ear, “At this range I reckon I can hit the door yonder. Your brain will merely impede the speed it hits. Struggle, lad, and I will test my theory.”
The young man was forced into a small empty courtyard with no windows overlooking it, as it was full of rubbish and refuse. The voice in his ear said, “How nice privacy…”
The hand was removed from his mouth and Petrus blustered, “Who do you think you are, common thief? I will see you flogged through the streets then hanged. My father is an important man! Unhand me.”
Petrus found himself with a sharp blade pressed against his groin, the deadly edge close to his privates. He could feel the weight of the blade pressing into him. The shadows played around him and the voice in his ear softly replied, “Unhand me? Please, could you not think of less of a cliché? Move or scream and your balls will be rolling in the gutter before the cry is finished.” The young man tried to turn and felt the edge of the blade press against him again and the voice hissed, “The city guard would never find me, for I am the shadows. Now who would this illustrious father be that I am to be so afraid of?”
Trying to look down and as he moved, the swift edge of the blade split the silk of Petrus’ breeches. “My father’s men will hunt you down,” he managed, now feeling distinctly less brave.
Olek yawned loudly. “By all means, call his men. They will be hunting a shadow, a ghost. Much expense will be used, to no avail. How much is your life worth to him, do you think? Not only do you deem it suitable to rape young women and brag about your prowess to your friends, but really, you are extremely dull in conversation. If you answer my questions, you might yet live. Believe me when I say I could take you to a man who would not be as…merciful as I, for what you have done and said. A man who could no doubt keep you alive for some while, although I doubt you would be in much of a state to enjoy that life. Now who are you? This young lady whom you found so…enjoyable, where is she?”
With the blade against his skin, Petrus’ courage failed him. His voice trembled as he whispered, “I am Petrus, son of Lord Renfrew. The girl, the little virgin whore, she is in the Mermaid. She was just an elf. I paid the price thus she was mine.”
There was a hiss from behind him and the blade moved yet closer to his balls. Suddenly there was sharp pain as the edge scratched him, not quite breaking the skin. He whimpered and tried to back up. The voice continued, “There was mention of an elven girl called Dii. How do you know her? The other fellows, who were they?”
Petrus swallowed and whispered, “Just a little slut…er…I mean, girl that I had a while ago, a Kept of Lord Tremayne, used to share her around. Little witch warmed his bed too when that human witch bored him. Just an elf Kept, no one of importance, just some fun for the menfolk…the others…oh…er…fellows I just met.”
“Oh, now, lad, you were doing so well… You seemed too intimate to be mere acquaintances.” Olek smiled beneath his cloak.
Petrus felt the blade against him and with a whimper and a squeak, he felt the skin break and a thin trickle of blood begin to flow, soon joined by wetter warmth as he pissed his breeches. Suddenly the only focus was the blade against him and he squeaked, “Just a little Kept whore, I swear, merely Tremayne’s girl. The others, oh, just Janik of Argen; Edwaen, son of the House of Andert; and Reflin, son of the House of Sardak, the merchant.”
Olek twisted his wrist and drew his blade deep into the man’s private parts and as he fell screaming, drew the sword across his throat, cutting off the scream to a gurgle. Crouching, letting the blood flow away from him, he hissed, “Women are not yours to use, elf or not. I do not like a man who betrays his friends. This information will be most useful.”
Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I
The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book II
Author Biography: A. L. (Alexandra) Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series, and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genres. She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative.
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