Guest post by Deby Fredericks
That question is the basis for my high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. Three hundred years ago, the cruel mage Dar-Gothull seized power after taking down his rivals one by one. Since then, he’s reshaped everything in his own terrible image. Skaythe is an upside-down world, where merciless strength is “good” and caring about others is “bad.”
In creating this setting, I wanted to challenge some of the standard assumptions in fantasy. Our great legends tell us that freedom from tyranny can only be won in battle. Or that some sort of “chosen one” will lead an army to rescue the people. Even in small matters, we are told we must fight for what we want or need.
Personally, I question that warfare makes anything better. So I set out to explore ways that people of good conscience might resist a despot without resorting to violence. My heroes travel as minstrels. Music and dance, juggling and puppetry are their weapons. Rather than fighting to overthrow Dar-Gothull’s regime, they try to comfort the suffering of the people, even if only for a short time. For this crime they are branded as renegades and hunted throughout the land.
Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts
“He’s dead. He just doesn’t know it yet.”
Mortally wounded, Cylass is abandoned on the battlefield by comrades who would just as soon have him out of the way. But as he waits for death, a strange savior appears. The dancer, Tisha, heals him with her forbidden magic, but also draws the wrath of his cruel former lord.
Soon guardsman and renegade mage are on the run. Will Cylass help Tisha, as she helped him? Or will he do the smart thing, and turn her over to the vicious Count Ar-Dayne?
Illustrations by Tithi Luadthong.
An opinion of a guest of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the family.
Other e-book formats: