We’re so excited because Talfor from The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm – Book II by A. L. Butcher is here. He’s the main character in A. L. Butcher’s The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles fantasy series and one of our favourites. It took some convincing to make the journey but he relented. Please welcome him to the POTL blog. Introduce yourself, Talfor:
I am Talfor Var, Hirik Lord of troll tribe of Var. Varris is my home, in what the humans call the Jagged Peak mountains, the Helmerri plateau. I am son of Shaman Kherak Var, and brother of Shamania Mirandra. I am Captain of the Hirik and thus, to your way of thinking third only to Shaman and Shamania. I can never rule – as that is woman’s role – but I can advise, I can fight, I can lead.
I am taller than human, greater built, with horns and armour plating on belly and arms. My skin is blue-black like my mother’s and the dark of the mountain, hair is red, like blood and eyes jade green. I fight with mace as a man and claws and teeth as bear. To humans we are strange and frightening – we are ‘barbarians’. Trolls fight – we make war on enemy tribes and sometimes Witch-Hunters but we are also scholars and merchants. Trolls are civilized.
Hirik are warriors of tribe – shape changers. Only man-troll is Hirik for that is our magic. Women-troll she may fight, but cannot shape change. She has magic of her own in different ways.
What is your greatest fear?
I am Hirik, I should say I fear nothing. But every person fears something. I fear Plague returning and dark magic which corrupted by people, the elves and the humans. No race was spared its wrath. I fear Order of Witch-Hunting scouring land of magic. Without magic land will die, they do not see this. Magic is everywhere and cannot be tamed but it can be destroyed, or changed. It can hide, and it can die.
My ancestors fought with fae, and troll and elf and even magic itself; even now the taint of it touches us. Once, long ago, Trollkind held a greater magic, a greater glory than now-times. Once, long ago, my people walked every mountain and hill, and dwelled in the valleys. Now we are fewer, and lesser. Now we know war will return, and fear a darkness will come with the steps of Order, and their blades will run with blood. They are shadowed in evil, pawns you would say in a game of which they are unaware, but they will come and bring death.
Fight we shall. Each and every troll will give what they must, yet I fear it may be the end of us all.
On what occasion do you lie?
Lying is dishonorable. But sometimes half-truth is needed. All who carry magic in their blood must live a half-truth, for Order of Witch-Hunters claim magic is wicked, and forbidden. Mostly we are left alone. Witch-Hunter he prefers easier target, but sometimes trolls are taken. I hear of troll slaves in mines, or executed for magic. Trolls in human places must hide magic, must live lie.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Man – he should be honourable, brave and respectful.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Woman – she should be resourceful, and intelligent.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I had a troll wife once, long ago. She died and I was unable to stop it. Since then only M’alia. My elven snowflake.
Where would you most like to live?
Varris. My town. Is good town, why would I want to live elsewhere?
What do you most value in your friends?
Honour and loyalty.
How would you like to die?
In battle. With honour.
Title: The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book II
Author: A.L. Butcher
Genre: Fantasy/Fantasy Romance
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 the 18+ rating.)
From The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm – Book II
Talfor saw the man standing in the snow and the confused and desolate look he held. Hurrying forward as Marden began to shuffle towards the edge, he said, “What you doing here? Is cold, you need rest, healing.”
“Sword, I was looking for the sword…thinking,” he mumbled vaguely, looking at Talfor almost without seeing.
Talfor gazed at him shivering and threw his cloak over the man’s shoulders. “Sword…is lost. It be good sword but was…damaged. Not fit to find, I think, is…gone. Marden, I think you are good man. You do what be right, for you, and for them.”
Staring at him, Marden replied in a low voice, “I am not a good man. I have done many things, terrible things.”
“Things done for many reasons, some not right, yet man may change, become good man, better man. You could have cut rope, save yourself, drop them, you did not. I am not Shaman, but I see many things. You are good man, just not know it.”
“Archos, he could kill me with a mere word.”
“Yes, any of us, but he good man also. Maybe he see what you are now, not what was. You saved his life, is more important you saved hers. Come now, you be cold, and hurt. We go back inside cave, is warm, you rest.”
Talfor steered him back inside and settled the Witch-Hunter close to the fire. “We cannot go back; pass is same as past, we must go another way.”
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A.L. 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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