**This post contains Amazon affiliate links which will allow me as an associate to earn a small commission on any purchase made through the link of the products I share. This commission in no way changes the pricing of any items for the buyer.**
Orb and Arrow
V. L. Stuart
Publication date: May 15th 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Young Adult
Brillar was expected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a healer but she was headstrong and impetuous and took the Way of the Bow. Now a highly skilled hunter, she has been forced to kill to release a mage, bound in enchanted chains. It was self-defense, but that is no excuse for a healer.
Releasing a Master War Mage from bondage could get you killed . . . or apprenticed. When Master Elden insists on the latter, Brillar finds herself on a journey not of her making. When it doesn’t end well, she insists on directing a new journey where her healing skills will find newer and greater challenges.
Settled lands are one thing, but in the Wild, she will have to rely on her Master’s knowledge of the terrain and the people. And the Rovers are not always friendly.
Elden stood transfixed, staring at this madman. “A hoax? A wild hoax? Then why not reveal yourself to the Brotherhood, to your friends? Why am I here? You are a mage; you were my Brother. ”
“And let you off so easily? No, no, there had to be more, a balance for me, for her. I won’t be shut away as mad. There will be more. I can’t remove the blood of the innocents,” he rubbed his hands on his arms, “but the Brother who kills me will bear its stain! That is your punishment.” He was trembling again, fighting to remain standing. ”You, you who left me. You will bear its stain.”
“You wanted me alive then?” Now Elden was angry and shouting. “You gave a dimlock to your bounty hunter! You would have had me dead for all it mattered to you.”
Through fog and pain, Brillar heard shouting and the words “dimlock” and “dead.” She began to gather strength wordlessly, without moving, breathing in deeply, fighting the pain in her body, the fog in her mind.
“It was only to be used if needed,” was the shouted reply. “I expected them to take you sooner and closer. I suspected that you wouldn’t come willingly to kill a Brother, even one such as I have become.”
“I would not,” Elden shouted back. “I’ve not killed in many years. I want no killing!”
“That one,” Harrolen gestured toward Brillar, “has killed, and for your aid. That much, I had from her.”
Elden stiffened again. “She was attacked by your man. The kill was in self-defense.”
“As you say, Brother. No matter, it’s time for you to do a kindness for a member of the Brotherhood. I will not defend myself.” He came down one step.
Elden stepped back again and tripped, falling to one knee before recovering.
Brillar saw him fall through swollen eyes, closed them, and drew in more strength, reaching almost unperceptively for what the archer had left behind, drawing it toward her.
“You will kill now!” Harrolen screamed.
“You have archers,” Elden began.
“They are innocent!” another scream, “the blood must be on a Brother’s hand.”
Brillar, hearing the screamed words, readied, drawing in more strength, praying to the Light that they wouldn’t notice.
“You will kill me; you must,” Harrolen ranted. He sent a sudden bolt of lightning at Elden, who was forced back but turned it aside. A second bolt, this one of fire, singed his clothes but was turned before there could be more.
Hearing the screaming, smelling the smoke from the spells, knowing their attention was on each other, Brillar made one great effort, pulling bow and arrow to her hand, drawing in strength as she could. A deep cold blanketed the room briefly and was gone. She was nearly ready…
Harrolen howled again, filled with anger and frustration, “It must be your hand!”
“Not my hand, Brother.” Elden stepped back finally, submitting, eyes closed, spreading his low-held arms at his sides, knowing it could mean two deaths.
Seeing him through a haze, Brillar pulled herself to one knee, drew the bow, and let fly.
Harrolen crumpled to the ground silently, an arrow deep in his neck, as Brillar wavered and collapsed on the stones.
VL Stuart is a journalist and author living in Costa Rica with her husband and a small comical dog.
She is a long-time reader – usually of science fiction, historical mysteries, and epic fiction. As a teen, she cut her teeth on Heinlein and found the delightful worlds of McCaffrey as an adult. Her first genres were poetry and essays, and she won awards in both. Her ‘Orb and Arrow’ trilogy has been well-reviewed and is available on Amazon. Her work in progress, ‘Warriors of the Kalahn,’ is in progress and she recently completed ‘Master of Magic, ’another book set in the world of Orb and Arrow. As for her writing process, she is a pantser – “May all the gods bless grammarly.com. Even with an English degree, my errors are legion.”
At present, she lives between two volcanoes, “But no worries, only one of them is active.”
Readers Giveaway Contest
Win a free copy of Orb and Arrow: Duty (Book II)
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Brillar and Elden’s adventure in Orb and Arrow: Exploration, you can win a free paperback copy of Book II in the series, which will be published in September 2022.
Here’s how to enter: