Tag Archives: wizard

In the World of Dendür (From the Back of My Mind)

In the World of Dendür, I am writing on the manuscript of book three, The Light of Ak’ron. I am almost finished  with the first draft of chapter three. I would have liked to have been working on chapter five at this point.

The surviving heroes of the Battle of Demeter Plains (Amanda’s Quest) are in the Wilds Mountain Range seeking an on-going threat to the Kingdoms of Torrence and Lithlillia, but nothing is ever as easy as expected. The search party includes men, Elves, centaurs, and one very determined dragon.

I am finding that the characters’ unfocused search makes it harder to write. They know what they are looking for, but not where to look. As the author, the dialog is harder to construct… How would Jerrod react to this situation?  See my last post on how I was caught off-guard by Imelrinn’s history. Oh, and his torn love for Amanda and Rhonda is as confusing as ever.

While the search goes on in the Wilds, King Garrett is entertaining the Lady Mòr and her brother, Lord Ròidh, of Beinn Caladh (the Highlands). The king of Greensland might not be too found of the developing friendship between Torrence and the Highlands, and the implications for his young daughter who is betrothed to King Garrett, but the greater danger is the storm brewing to the north in Haithenbeurn. The followers of Asgard are on the march.

Felicia, Queen of Witches, returns as well. Her desire for the Dragon’s Orb (The Legend of Jerrod) is driving her to become more meddlesome in Jerrod’s and Amanda’s lives, and she is becoming confrontational with Hecatē, Olympian goddess of witchcraft.

It was such a peaceful kingdom.

Send me a note about who your favorite character is and why?

  • Amanda – female warrior and (ops.. spoiler)
  • Jerrod – miller’s son seeking fame and fortune
  • Drin – holy knight who (ops… another spoiler)
  • Rhonda – half Elven druid princess
  • Imelrinn – ancient Mountain Elve (Elf)
  • Fraum – sage and (ops… have you read TLOJ?)
  • Nathanial – wizard
  • Felicia – witch
  • Lady Lieisa – Elve (Elf) druid priestess and leader of Lithlillia
  • Sasha – large black panther or house cat, depending on the form she chooses to be in

I look forward to hearing from you.

D.M. Stoddard, author of the Kingdom of Torrence series

Fantasy Writing – the Kingdom of Torrence series

I remember the first time I read Lord of the Rings, laying in bed, wishing that I knew what all the characters were thinking. The narrative was wonderful; I could see the landscape and other scenes as I traversed though the story-line, but, for me, there was just something missing. And even more so with wonderful stories like Harry Potter and Hunger Games.

So often I reflect on a favored article by Charlie Jane Anders, “10 Writing ‘Rules’ We Wish More Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Would Break”. I often argue with authors from other genre that its okay to have Prologues. That fantasy (and sci-fi) readers want and need narratives. Ms. Anders even encourages “info dumps”. I know, non-fantasy (and sci-fi) genre authors/readers may be holding their breath. In the Kingdom of Torrence series (are you sitting down?) I even use multiple points of view (i.e. character hopping) to allow the reader to feel what primary characters are feeling (gasp?).

The second book in the series, Amanda’s Quest (release fall 2015) will follow the debut book, The Legend of Jerrod, in the series. While Jerrod and the others ride up Mount Thoradan toward Terrace Xul, Amanda goes on alone to fulfill the blood debt that threatens all of their lives. Leaving her only love in Rhonda’s arms, Amanda crosses the Kingdom of Haithenbeurn to “recover” an artifact for the Guild of the Crimson Pommel, but the witch queen, Felicia, and the wizard, Nathanial, each have their own agendas.

Amanda’s Quest will double the size of the map found in the Histories & Arms section of The Legend of Jerrod and offer a new map, a map from the northern kingdom’s perspective. I am currently working with a new editor to finish the manuscript and have had some discussions with a cover designer. I am not sure which publisher may manage the printing yet, but I intend to make the story available in hardback, paper back, and eBook.

The Legend of Jerrod Book Trailer Preview


Enjoy a preview of The Legend of Jerrod Book Trailer. It should be posted to YouTube shortly, but I wanted to give my fans the first opportunity to see it. Please leave a comment. I would love to know what you think. Enjoy!

Coming the Week of December 9, 2013: The Legend of Jerrod Revised Edition

Honorable Mention from the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. JM Northern Media Book Festivals, May 18, 2013.

“Move over J.R.R. Tolkien, D.M. Stoddard has crafted a promising beginning to a new epic quest, one that takes readers on a fantastic journey through a magic realm. …a compelling epic story that will be enjoyed by any fantasy-loving reader. …sure to become a staple of the fantasy genre for a long time to come.”

– Bruce Haring 2013 San Francisco Book Faire critique.

On the created world of Dendur, wizards and illusionists, druids and witches, alchemists, and the magical music of bards guide and protect lives in a world where the ancient gods come and go as they please. But one new religion threatens the source of all their magic. Human, Elvin, and Dwarven kingdoms span the continents, much of which remains untamed. Some of the ancient kingdoms have been lost and most of the dragons have retreated to a single island. It is a time of heros and great deeds.

The reader will meet a legendary bard who spins a magical tale of Jerrod and his friends into his song. He sings of warriors fighting with weapons; magical beings casting spells and drawing power from nature; and characters who just aren’t quite who they seem to be. During the story a young dragon grows to adulthood. It is a tale of love, betrayal, and survival.

The Legend of Jerrod: Disillusioned with the thought of becoming a miller, Jerrod sets off to find fame and fortune. After prying a magical sword from the skeletal hand of a fallen knight, he and his new found friends undertake an adventure to recover the secret treasure of the Lost Kings. Accompanied by a wizard and a sage, Jerrod finds himself torn between his love for a thief and his blossoming love for a half-Elvin druid princess. Armed with courage steel, and magic the battle formidable beasts as they race to reach the treasure first.


Fortunes and Fate

Please enjoy this excerpt from The Legend of Jerrod, Chapter 8, page 134 (the unrevised edition):

They rode until they came to a small cottage made of river stones that had been rounded by years of water rushing over them, tumbling smooth with time. The cottage was quaint. A single window near the only wooden door had shutters to either side. The opaque glass closed out the sunlight as it obscured the view. The thatched roof came to a peak over the center of the round cottage like the top of an acorn. Around the door were all sorts of small plants with bulging roots, strange flowers, and vines that clung to the stone wall.

Before he entered Nathanial closed his eyes, subconsciously summoning Rok-lin to him. As the beast swooped down, Nathanial held up his staff. The dragon grabbed the wizard’s staff with both of its front talons then flew to perch high in a nearby tree. They stepped inside.

As their eyes adjusted they saw a wooden wall dividing the otherwise round room. In the middle of the wooden wall was a heavy curtain. The limited light from the opaque window did little to light the room. The only other light came from a small pile of embers in the fireplace and an oil lamp on a small round table near the doorway. A silver dagger lay in the middle of the table.

Shelves and tables filled with candles, vials, clay pots, and trinkets lined the walls. The candles varied in sizes from very short and thin, the kind that would only burn a few minutes, to those that were both long and thick, the type that might burn for weeks or, perhaps months. The candles came in assorted colors, including white, but none were black.

Near the fire several pillows lay on the floor around a short table. The round table was just tall enough to sit by on the floor. It was a reddish-brown wood polished to a shine. In the middle of the table was a clear crystal orb resting on a golden pedestal. A very large black cat lay sleeping on the pillow closest to the fire.

As Jerrod began to walk around the room, Nathanial gently grabbed his forearm. His grip was surprising strong.

Nathanial whispered, “Whatever happens, do not let her light a candle.”

Jerrod hadn’t quite heard his low whisper. “What?”

A very short, heavyset woman pushed the curtain aside. Her hands, deformed with age, leaned heavily on a cane as she attempted to walk. Her long, boney fingers bent inward toward the inside part of her arm. Her tangled hair partly covered her face. She looked down at the floor as she moved slowly, one step at a time toward the pillows.

Stealing a glimpse at Jerrod as she made her way to the pillows, the witch thought to herself, “Here he is, the boy of the forest. I watched you months ago, but where have you been? I have not been able to touch your mind since.” Looking at the sword she continued, “Ah, you have it with you I see. And it has changed. The Dragon’s Orb!”

Without looking at Nathanial she addressed him, “What can I do for you, lord?”

Nathanial glanced quickly at Jerrod to observe his reaction. Nothing was apparent. “I need to see the future,” he answered.

Struggling to sit on the floor, she directed them to join her. The woman focused on the globe. It turned opaque, and a creamy white mist swirled within the crystal, then it began to glow. After a moment the old women looked up, directly at Nathanial.

“They are coming for you. They are almost here, lord.”

“How many?” Nathanial asked.

“Six, lord, and one of some power. A power equal to yours I think,” she answered. “They ride from the south. They ride hard. They are intent on stopping you.”

Nathanial laid a large gem on the table and began to rise.

She waited for Nathanial to leave. “You will find what you seek, but it will be the end of you,” she continued.

Nathanial spun around. “Enough hag!”

The anger reflected in Nathanial’s face seemed evil. Jerrod stood back for a moment in disbelief. He thought immediately of Amanda. Nathanial had accused her of being a thief or worse. Whatever Amanda may have done, it seemed to him in that moment that the wizard might be more dangerous.

Nathanial started for the door. “Come!” he demanded of Jerrod.

The old woman’s attention turned on Jerrod. She thought to herself how much younger he had looked when she watched him in her globe upon the bluffs near Oakwood. He had been innocent then, easily persuaded. As her mind reached out silently to touch his, Jerrod felt the amulet around his neck grow warm.

The witch was frustrated that even in her lair she could not touch the boys mind; she could no longer control his destiny by persuasion. She immediately questioned whether she had done the right thing leading him to the Sword of Trisdale. Now the fates would decide the future of Torrence.

She whispered to herself, “Moirae! Hecate, mother of witchcraft, guide us.”

“What?” Jerrod turned toward her, not quite hearing what she had muttered.

“Nothing child, nothing.”

The old woman quickly took Jerrod’s hands in both of hers. Slipping a vial into his hand and closing it, she whispered, “Take this. Keep it secret. At the end, it will save you!”

Jerrod looked down at the old women. She did not rise or look up. As he turned to follow Nathanial he tucked the vial into his belt. Nathanial was mounting his horse, his staff already in his hand when Jerrod exited the cottage. Rok-lin circled impatiently overhead. Jerrod jumped onto his horse and they rode away without a word.

From the map on page 350. The cottage is south of Cipper.

Torrence, Cipper & Lithlillian

March 30, 2013 – Before the Beginning

2013-0329 Blog - Map Excerpt Large (Menduran)

The map excerpt is from page 350 found in the Histories and Arms section that follows the Epilogue. It dipicts Terrace Xul, on Mount Thoradan, overlooking the Fjord of Menduran.

The Histories and Arms section describe Terrace Xul as a wealthy kingdom led by five generous kings, but the kingdom, known for its hospitality, vanished after the kings mysteriously disappeared.

The young kings came to the mountain while the Elves protected the trade route from Haithenbeurn to an area south of Limerin Falls, when the Dwarves of Frausnaugh still dwelled in their mountain. The cities along the Fjord of Menduran and Lake Almandee prospered while Terrace Xul watched from high above the fjord. Everyone was happy and the Kings of Terrace Xul were growing old in peace. Yet the life of their kingdom was short lived; limited to the length of the fatherless kings.

It was long after the kingdom vanished when the Great Civil War of the Elves was fought, a classic battle of good and evil. The Dwarves came to the aid of the moral Elves. Together they drove the wicked Elves up over the mountains of the Wilds to the west and into the unsurpassable forest beyond, but the Elven kingdom was lost as it spread across the land. Even the Dwarves were not unscathed, disappearing into the shadows of their mountain.

After the war most of the surviving moral Elves traveled to the east, but some stayed to create a new kingdom south of the falls. The Elven Kingdom of Lithlillia. Men from Haithenbeurn traveled south to join the Elves in the new kingdom. They learned the ways of the Elves and become forest warriors, rangers, as they fought off the Rahjin, Fendür, vespree, and other beasts of the forest. And they learned the power of nature as they became druids and protectors of the forests.

In the end the trade routes through the fjord and Lake Almandee also disappeared. The un-forested lands to the south of Lithlillia were abandoned for many years until a young adventure named Torrence sailed north from the Semanie Sea up a river to begin a colony on a river island.

March 16, 2013 – Nathanial, Rok-lin, & Rhonda

“Dragons and scales” is Nathanial’s favorite phrase when he stressed or angered, but Rok-lin never takes offense.

Their symbiotic relationship is strong; no one else can communicate with the young dragon. She had left the Isle of Dragons with Nathanial just before they left to seek the treasure in Terrace Xul. He was her only friend. Rok-lin had only known his thoughts until she met Rhonda, the druid princess from Lithlillia.

The half-Elvin princess can communicate with all of nature’s life. The birds, the trees, the plants, and the animals that wonder the forest all communicate with her to varying degrees. But Rhonda can communicate with Rok-lin. And Rok-lyn is starting to dislike it.

Rhonda is completely aware of the forest and her surroundings. It is almost impossible to surprise her while she is surrounded by nature, let alone the fact that she is half-Elvin, but underground?

While wizards must rest after their more powerful spells, druid magic has a different source; the power of nature is channeled through them. But one of the most basic rules…

Never anger a druid in the forest!

March 4, 2013 – The Legend of Jerrod (Prologue)

From the Prologue, at the end of the Bards’ Festival the bard of bards is asked by the bard brethren to perform The Legend of Jerrod

Reginald no longer competed in the festival. He didn’t have to. He was unanimously revered throughout the kingdom as the best of the best. The brethren’s Master. There was not a peasant or nobleman who did not know of him. Just his physical presence quieted any gathering; without saying a word or strumming a note on his mandolin everyone would stop what they were doing.

Each night, as dusk set on the festival, the private festivities of the bards’ brethren roared into excitement. Their mandolins and lap harps lay close by while they drank and listened to each other’s songs in the Minstrel’s Inn. They sang captivating ballads of love, romance and valor. The older songs recounted magical adventures from when the kingdom was young. It was considered a great complement when the brethren joined in to sing with a performer, but the truly remarkable songs quieted the crowd like a prophet quiets the turmoil of the masses.

On the last night of the festival there was not an empty wooden stool or open bench seat in the Minstrel’s Inn. Many of the musical patrons stood around listening to the songs as each, novice and journeyman alike, took a turn spinning tales to the crowd from the center of the inn’s wooden floor.

The men were dressed in colorful cotton shirts under tight fitting leather vests or jerkins. Their knee high boots covered tight fitting pants. Their assorted caps had long feathers sticking out or drooping behind their backs, most of which were ostrich or pheasant, but occasionally a peacock feather could be seen among the crowd. The rare female bard wore a bodice or waist cincher rather than a vest; skirts were never worn. Traditionally, the bards had been warriors. Proud of their heritage, they all wore pants, but the female bards might wear ankle high boots in place of the more traditional knee high leather boots designed to protect the lower leg while riding or fighting. Following tradition all of the bards continued to wear long swords or daggers, if not both, which hung from their wide leather belts despite the fact that their lives had become much more civilized. The time for gallantry was gone, dissipated into the air like the smoke from a candle that has burned down to its base.

Reginald’s age showed even in the twilight of the evening sky. His thin white hair was pulled back into a ponytail. He hunch a little while he walked, taking very small steps toward the inn where he struggled to step from the street through the doorway into the dark room beyond. A large fireplace, lanterns, and candles spread around the room lit the crowded hall to an acceptable level, but even in the dim light the patrons could see Reginald’s hands trembling as he walked.

The brethren fell silent at the sight of him entering their preferred inn. The crowd of minstrels parted as the subjects of a beloved legendary king did so long ago. Quietly Reginald moved to the center of the room where Lawrence, Reginald’s prize student, grabbed a stool that had been quickly vacated. The anticipation was like that of children who watched a baker take their favorite treat out of the oven; the brethren knew how exquisite the pending experience would be. For most, hearing a song sung by Reginald happened but once a year.

Lawrence was a young man, tall with a square jaw and dark hair. It was rumored that he was the son of a nobleman. He wore the purple cavalier cape reserved for noblemen which seemed to substantiate the rumor, but no one knew where his family lived or what nobility they might or might not be. Under the purple cape Lawrence wore a white cotton shirt with bellowed sleeves, tight black pants, and the traditional high leather boots. The end of his rapier seemed to dance beneath his cape as he assisted his master to the vacated stool. Although he had a commanding presence, Lawrence was gentler with Reginald than his appearance would suggest. His admiration for the old master was apparent with each move he made.

A thin and hurried apprentice, James, accompanied them. James’ long dirty blond hair fell to his shoulders in loose, natural curls, obscuring his slightly deformed face. He rushed around nervously trying to predict what would be needed next, paying little attention to his own needs. His clothes, though untarnished, were more common. His boots were unpolished. He wore a common heavy dark winter jacket to stay warm. He was altogether unremarkable and was easily overlooked in a crowd. However, the inquisitive observer would quickly realize that every step he took, every movement he made, was dedicated to Reginald’s comfort.

Lawrence helped his teacher remove the heavy coat that provided protection from the cold night air. Reginald wore a leather tunic over a gray wool shirt. The unbuttoned collar of a cotton undershirt worn to add more warmth could be seen underneath. As Reginald removed his feathered floppy hat with his trembling right hand, the oval tiger’s eye in the ring on his little finger glistened in the light. The golden ring was formed as the body of a dragon cradling the gem. The dragon’s tail formed the band of the ring which wrapped around his finger. The crowd wondered how the old master with his trembling hands and apparently frail strength could even play a single note as they watched Reginald reach for his mandolin.

The back of the beautiful instrument, which was made of dark brownish-red wood, curved like half of a watermelon. In contrast, the wooden front was pale, almost white, with a delicate inlaid silver design that glistened in the dim light of the tavern. The short neck extending from the mandolin was made of even dark, nearly black wood that accented the instrument’s ornate silver fret bars and keys. It was breathtaking.

Reginald hunched over the instrument, unable to sit up straight on the stool. His eyes seemed to strain as he peered into the crowd. Surely he couldn’t sing?

“My lord,” a somber voice respectfully began, “The Legend of Jerrod, if it pleases you?”

February 24, 2013 – Torrence

The coastal valley inland from the Coast of Semanie (map on page 350 of TLOJ) is an agricultural area with rich soil and moderate climate. Villages sustain their needs and share some produce with nearby villages. Wines and mead are shipped in barrels to the cities of Semanie Point and to Torrence.

The inner range of mountain-hills to the north of the valley are higher than the coastal hills to the south, but fail in contrast to the mountain ranges Jerrod and his friends must cross in The Legend of Jerrod (listed on page 351 of TLOJ). The range consists of bluffs and small mountains with rocky knolls. Near the eastern end where the two ranges come together is a granite dome that overlooks the Plains of Demeter, which the Elves call Hesperis. This exfoliation dome, formed by crystallized magma that is pushed to the surface, will play a role in Amanda’s Quest, book two of the series.

The eastern end of the coastal range is the beginning the realm of the Highlanders (yes, with kilts and bag pipes… I had to do it). The Highlanders are ruled by a kingdom further east in the lowlands. There is some tension between the Highlanders and the ruling king, but the Highlanders feel an obligation to the kingdom.

The kingdom’s castle is built where a long river meets the Semanie Sea. Torrence, which has been lulled to sleep with decades of peaceful existence, and that kingdom hope to solidify an alliance through a marriage between their children, but dark days lay ahead and the queen of the witches, who has tried to manipulate Jerrod, is not altogether innocent.