Available December 1st on Amazon. Four action-packed novelettes of epic fantasy. Stories by: J. Conrad Matthews, Joshua Hiles, Chris Hollaway, and Stephanie Barr.
Here is the introduction to Joshua Hiles’ “Durrham Tarragon’s Sword” to whet your appetite…
If you want to hear about this blade, I’ll warn you it is a long tale. Now understand, Dugout is my home. I’ve traveled, went south to the Mukarena Imanates and been so far out to sea that land wasn’t even a rumor. But those were trips, for business or plunder, I’ve always lived within sight of the Northern Ice. Lived here when “Dugout” was just the name of the river. Kingdom of Dugout, Republic of Columbia is my home and life here has always been a three-way scrap between men, beasts, and the ice that hedges us. When I was a babe, drawing my first breath, it was the Calpen ruled the rivers. They held sway over half the continent then and the Republic of Columbia was a whisper. When I was a boy that everyone called “Monsterface,” on account of my Calpen blood, the Merovians claimed us as part of their crown-colony. So, went all through my childhood. All it mattered ultimately was which taxman came. The long-haired aristo in a red coat, claiming our land and the sweat of our brows in the name of the Quinotaur and the Kingdom of Merovia. Or a lump-faced Calpen in a slave-carried palanquin, his retinue of half-breed warriors demanding tribute in the name of God and the Empire of Calpe. The man I called Pa and I lived on Marcus Ville’s estate outside the city of Saint Mazarin. Named for the explorer who first charted the confluence of the Big and the Dugout Rivers, it was the oldest city west of the Big or south of the Dugout waters. From the Bharatan Territories pushed up under the glacier, where Durrham Tarragon drove them, to New Aurelia on the Bight. The Big River was a highway for trade and war cutting north and south through the continent. The Dugout was the only reliable way to the west and the giant beaver and mammoth who were our meat and fur. The Big and the Dugout, they met right where they built Saint Mazarin. I loved that city when I was a boy. A big sprawling, brawling place full of life. Mostly wooden buildings in the Merovian style. Cabins and longhouses to the north and tanneries and furriers along the river to the south. Its people were cosmopolitan. Calpen renegades, spies, and traders rubbed shoulders with Merovian settlers and their descendants who refused to leave when the Republic bought the entire territory. Keel-boaters pushed their flat-bottomed barges north and south or west and east running from or trading with the Bharatan tribes who had lived here long before any of them arrived. Last come to Saint Mazy were the Columbards moving west after Durrham Tarragorn united the east with this sword. Saint Mazarin, land of my youth, I still dream of it in the evening. I still remember what happened.
-From “Durrham Tarragon’s Sword” by Joshua Hiles
You can lose yourself in this imaginary world created by Hiles only in “Fierce Tales: Crumbling Empires”…remember to get yours this December!