by Paul E. Horsman
Release Date: June 12th 2016
Red Rune Books
Summary from Goodreads:
After helping King Ghyll to his victory in Zihaen, the beastmasters Uwella and Damion turn their attention to their own country of Vavaun.
High time, too, for the rumors have been persistent. There is something wildly amiss in the Gray Order, the temple protecting Vavaun from the Dar’khamorth’s machinations.
When Uwella DeGry, herself a wikke of the Grays and the heir to the throne of Vavaun, returns home with Damion DeAsharte, her mate and main competitor, they find their country in dire straits. Vile sorcerers and their beastmen roam the land, killing and ravaging at will and the Gray Order has almost been wiped out.
With only two very young fire warriors to help them, the ducal beastmasters vow to liberate their country, defeat the Dar’khamorth and bring peace between their competing Houses of Gry and Asharte.
Will even their mighty feline alter egos be strong enough to survive against the dark magic of the Revenaunt’s minions?
Vavaun is a tale of struggle, friendship and bravery against an enemy who plans total annihilation.
It is a stand-alone ‘Shadow of the Revenaunt’-adventure, running parallel to book 3, Ordelanden, and it starts after the final battle at the Owan Abai in Zihaen.
Damion stared around narrow-eyed and took in the ravage. ‘Ten dead wikken; all of them very old. That should tell us something.’ Then he stiffened. ‘What’s that?’
‘I thought I saw a flash coming from that hut.’
Uwella frowned. ‘There never was a hut; that’s where the toolshed stood.’ She hurried over.
‘Careful!’ Damion said, gripping her arm. ‘Look at those scorch marks everywhere. Someone’s been using fire spells recently.’ Then he stopped. ‘That hut – It’s a pavilion; a teleport-platform. So that priest at Underdin was right, your people were starting their own portal.’
‘Wait!’ Uwella said, shaking off his arm. ‘Listen.’
Inside the pavilion, a defiant girl was talking. ‘Scared, pig? You’ll die. I’ll fry you like the others. Why don’t you come closer? COME CLOSER, BEAST!’
Damion looked at Uwella. ‘Who...?’ Then he nearly gasped as the monster stepped from the shadows. It was built like a large human male with a pig’s head, heavily muscled under its bristly pelt, and moving swiftly on its hind hooves. Its hands gripped an ax and from its tusked mouth dripped a white thread of spittle. Its small reddish eyes didn’t see the beastmasters; the pigman’s whole attention was fixed on the one inside the pavilion.
‘DeMannau’s pig,’ Damion whispered, feeling raw fear claw at his innards. He knew it wasn’t the same one; Olle had killed that monster just as he had killed its cruel mistress DeMannau herself. Only the fear he felt was the same.
The pigman stood there, swinging its head to and fro as it tried to see its enemy. Then it charged.
The sharp thwack of a bow pierced the beast’s raging bellow. A flaming arrow shot from the portal and the pig’s challenge turned into a high squeal of agony, then cut off abruptly. The beast stumbled backwards with a tall feather of fire sprouting from its chest, spewing blood and foamy spittle as it died.
‘There!’ the girl in the pavilion yelled. ‘Take that, fool pig!’
‘I know that voice,’ Uwella said, surprised. She walked toward the pavilion. ‘Grisa? It’s me, Uwella DeGry.’
‘Trickery!’ the girl cried. ‘Uwella isn’t here. You’re a traitor, whoever you are. I’ll kill you too, you lying coward!’
‘It’s really me, girl,’ Uwella said. Grisa, Marshal DeKramm’s daughter. She hadn’t seen the girl for several years, but when they were small they’d always been together. Grisa, her twin brother Bartram, and she. Three wild kids; though the DeKramms were several years younger, they’d been the most dauntless playmates a girl could wish for. ‘Remember that basket of pears?’‘Pears? I... No, you’re lying! It must be a trick. Uwella can’t be here. Show me your face,’ the girl said sharply. ‘Quickly, before I burn you to the ground.’
Paul E. Horsman (1952) is a Dutch and International Fantasy Author. Born in the sleepy garden village of Bussum, The Netherlands, he now lives in Roosendaal, a town on the Dutch border with Belgium.
He has been a soldier, salesman, scoutmaster and from 1995 teacher of Dutch as a Second Language to refugees from all over the globe.
Since 2012, he is a full-time writer of epic light fantasy adventures for Y.A. and older. His works have been both trade published in The Netherlands, and self-published internationally.