QSFer Fil Preis has a new Fantasy book out:
Jarmal has been the Guardian of Scryer’s Well for three decades. Romantic liaisons with the warriors and wizards who come to the Well for mystical insight into their destinies no longer satisfy a man who’s grown old alone. Despite Jarmal’s pride in his life’s work, his forty-seventh birthday is a hard reminder that he has not yet chosen a successor, and he’s never been granted a vision by the Well he’s spent his life guarding.
Fortunately, Jarmal receives a distraction in the form of the handsome foreign magician Tariq and his two companions. Though Tariq’s beautiful body stirs Jarmal’s lust, his relative inexperience and tender affections move Jarmal’s heart. But Tariq is seeking the Well’s guidance as part of a desperate quest to free his homeland from evil, and although Jarmal thinks he’s finally found someone he’d like to spend his life with, he can no more ask Tariq to stay with him than he can leave the Well to be with Tariq. The Well offers him a glimpse of his destiny, but no easy answers.
Jarmal stood at the Well’s shore, facing the three travelers on the opposite bank. The sun shone almost directly into the water, causing the waves to glitter.
Jarmal recited the accumulated wisdom of prior visitors, just as he had so many times before. Witches, wizards, and magic users of all stripes had described techniques for entering the best state of mind for scrying. Heroes, knights, and royalty had shared their knowledge about what the experience would be like, the limits of the Well’s ability to provide guidance, and the kinds of questions the Well could not answer. Jarmal also included a brief recitation written by the holy folk, the wise women and cunning men, to give honor and thanks to the Well for its gift of insight.
Usually when Jarmal addressed questers in this manner, he felt frustrated or saddened that he had never personally experienced the things of which he spoke. Today, though, he smiled as he watched Tariq sit cross-legged on the flat rocks near the edge of the Well and close his eyes to listen. Jarmal did not think his voice was anywhere near as musical as Tariq’s, but he was glad Tariq seemed to appreciate his words.
Today Jarmal found himself speaking from the heart. For the first time in a long time, he truly felt invested in the visitors’ quest. He wanted them to succeed, and he hoped that by sharing the wisdom of the Guardians, he could do his part to help.
The very thought of their mission ending in failure—of Tariq dying at the hands of a hostile djinn—made something twist in Jarmal’s gut. He could not say for certain why he felt this sudden, strange attachment. Perhaps it was the obvious affection between Tariq and his sister. Perhaps it was Tariq’s courage in breaking the customs of his Order. Or perhaps Jarmal was just an old fool besotted with a pretty face.
Well, Jarmal did not care if he was. He would enjoy Tariq’s company while he could, and he would not feel guilty for appreciating a man younger than he.
Jarmal concluded his talk with the instructions Garian had taught him. “From generations of experience, my advice to you is as follows. Rest for the remainder of the day, eat heartily at sunset, and rise early in the morning to seek your visions. The greatest success comes to worthy hearts in the hour before dawn.”
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Fil Preis is a German-Canadian writer who began writing stories at age two by filling page after page with zig-zags until she learned to make letters. Once her parents bought a computer, there was no stopping her. Fil is an enthusiastic member of several sci-fi fandoms and loves 80s toys, giant robots, and of course yaoi. She has published stories ranging from contemporary romance to fantasy and sci-fi, and believes that in even the most fantastic worlds, a story is a glimpse into a character’s heart.