In Which Jackillen Enters the World (Fairy Tale Fortnight)

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In the spirit of Fairy Tale Fortnight (brought to you by The Book Rat and A Backwards Story) and in anticipation of the June release of my fourth Wilderhark Tale, “The Song Caster”, I’m sharing excerpts from a never-before-released (and not entirely finished, yet) story chronicling the life of our minstrel in blue prior to his introduction in Wilderhark Tale #3. Here’s Part 1. Enjoy!

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Wendara Gant was not the sort of woman who could easily keep still. So much had this proven the case, that it was not until she had been a woman for a quite unrespectable number of years that Wendara became Wendara Gant in the first place. For perhaps it should be clarified that, when it was said that she could not easily keep still, it was meant as having less to do with her inclination to rove from town to town, and kingdom to kingdom, and hill to plain and back again, and more to do with her predisposition to flit from man to man, and mate to mate, and fellow to fool without any plans made to ever look back again.

It did not help that Wendara was so alluring. It may be that she would not have been seen as particularly so, had she remained in her birthlands – the desert isles of the Far East – where females of her kind were commonplace. But she had not remained there, having instead, while in her early teens, traveled oversea to the Great Land with other islanders of a sort who were not easily kept still. And the females of the Great Land were little like Wendara, causing the males of that place to look with wonder upon her strikingly petite stature, her glamorous, smoothly sun-browned complexion, and every little exotic movement or sound she made. In light of Wendara’s appeal, finding a young, unattached and overeager man with which to spend a night, or a week or month of nights (though rarely longer), came all too easily to her.

It is perhaps something of a miracle that only one of these thoughtless unions resulted in a child. Wendara did not view the matter as such. She viewed it, initially, as a minor inconvenience. Not long after the child was born, she modified her opinion, re-labeling it a major inconvenience. For the child was shaping up to have even less use for any sort of stillness than his mother and all the rest of her nomadic islander band combined.

She named her son Jackillen – a careless name meaning “child of a man”, for just another man was all his father had been to her; indeed, there was even a period of time when she had been unsure which specific man it was. But all uncertainty vanished as Jackillen began to move. He learned early – crawling over and under and through and around every obstacle with ease at a very few months. And by his first year, he was running, bypassing toddling and even walking altogether. Jackillen never walked; he ran, he sprang, he cavorted, he danced; he was one place, then he was another, but he could not be bothered to walk there. Wendara knew, then, who the father must have been – he who, too, seemed either above or incapable of merely walking. And she questioned the name she had given her son, who could be after all the child of no ordinary man.

But there was nothing to be done about it now. Jackillen he had been named, and Jackillen he was, whether the bearer was contented with the name or not. And he was most certainly not.

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More of the pre-“Song Caster” tale to come as Fairy Tale Fortnight continues!

And two things to remember: One, I’ve got a giveaway going on! Check out my feature on A Backwards Story and/or my interview with The Book Rat and enter to win a free paperback of Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales, “The Seventh Spell!

Two, I’m looking for advance readers! If you’re willing to read and review “The Song Caster (Book Four of The Wilderhark Tales)” ahead of its scheduled release on June 24th, drop me a line via my contact page and I’ll send you a PDF of the tale in all its practically completed glory!

Song Caster Cover, front

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