DSP Publications author J. Tullos Hennig has a new fantasy book out:
Robyn Hood is the undisputed ruler of the wild, green Wode. Reunited with his sister Marion and his lover Gamelyn, Robyn and his band of outlaws seek to raise the Ceugant—the magical trine of the Old Religion—against the tyranny of Church and Crown. Yet their forest kingdom is roiling with conflict. Marion has been made welcome, but old shackles and new fears hamper her true promise. Gamelyn is torn between oaths of heart and head—and the outlaws never let him forget he was but recently Guy of Gisbourne, defrocked Templar and Robyn’s fiercest enemy.
When a lone traveler is waylaid on the road, a common occurrence quickly proves uncommon. Knight and Maiden, Archer and Men, all are conscripted to aid a Queen’s—and ultimately a King’s—ransom. For beneath winter’s chill is awakening the deepest of magics, and there are those who seek the power of Robyn Hood and his Shire Wode for their own ends.
The Wode, Book Three
Sculpting shadows in the trees. Singeing a dour, angry glow across the horizon. Sparking into a vast night sky, falling stars and embers. Setting shimmers of copper and indigo into the waters of a green-shrouded lake, old when his people were young….
Fire kindles the heat of thaw and change and passion. It is a desert simmering in his heart, with mizmar drone and darbuk beating. It is what he sees when he looks in the mirror.
Even there, you were mine. Si’la al amar, the fire-haired djinn of the forest….
Ice is his shield, but fire is what he covets. Fire is what he fears. What he surely will find when death finally demands its due and spins him back into Hell….
Back? Nay, this is Hell.
It slaps his sunburned face with all the molten power of a stoked forge, grinds and gristles in lungs laboring for breath. It sears through the thin-worn soles of his boots, heats the metal of his sword pommel into a scorch against his hip, dries the blood leaking onto his shoulder into a hard, thick crust….
Guy stumbles, nearly drops his burden. With a growl and grit of his teeth, he hangs on. The small waha is close, so close….
“Nearly there,” he murmurs, and the weight slung across his back shifts as Much utters a faint groan.
Ahead, a small well and a patch of green in the unforgiving sun. Behind, the bodies of two good horses and five goodly skilled Saracen soldiers. The ambush had been clever, but not clever enough.
They reach the waha, pitching stunned and grateful into the sparse shade. But not for long. Guy forces quivering, exhausted limbs into movement. Much is sorely wounded and needs care.
The well is small; the water is sweet, and cool. Much gulps it down and asks for more, relaxing in Guy’s hold. His pain-clouded gaze wanders past Guy’s shoulder, sharpens with acute warning.
Guy wastes no time in asking; the searing-hot pommel of his knife fits to his hand as he whirls and strikes, swift as a desert viper and just as venomous. The attacker is bowled over. A shout: his name.
Only it is not his name, not his name, not any more.
“Gamelyn, wait! Gam—?”
And the name chokes as he grinds hard fingers into their attacker’s windpipe. He knows the voice—knows it—but it cannot be! It is a lie, all of it a lie to weaken him, so he brings the lethal curve of knife across the pale throat, teeth bared for the kill….
It is a shiver-bolt of heat lightning, with enough power to chase the sun away and fill his eyes with darkness.
Rhyddau! the voice hisses, a tangle of unfamiliarity merging into the familiar. Release it. Now.
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With an inveterate fascination in other times and places, J Tullos Hennig has managed a few lifetime professions in this world–equestrian, dancer, teacher, artist–but has never successfully managed to not be a writer. Ever. Since living on an island in Washington State merely encourages–nay, guarantees–already rampant hermetic and artistic tendencies, particularly in winter, Jen is quite reconciled to never escaping this lifelong affliction. Comparisons have also been made to a bridge troll, one hopefully emulating the one under Fremont Bridge: moderately tolerant, but… You know. Bridge troll.
Blessed with an understanding, longstanding Amazing Spouse, kids and grandkids, Jen is also alternately plagued and blessed with a small herd of equine freeloaders on retirement pensions, a teenage borzoi who alternates leaping over the sofa with snoozing on it… and, of course, a press gang of invisible ‘friends’ who Will. Not. Be. Silenced.