The Dark Globe has decided to have a “featured novel’ each month starting right now. This way we can make people aware of others works.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about the featured novel as it is my own work, but I’ll see how this goes.
(This is a mock cover. This book is not yet available)
The world is trapped in the suffocating dark clutches of an evil ruler. To gain freedom, Ashe Vena, the last in an ancestral line of woman known as the Keeper, needs to restore her lost powers. Embarking on a journey and accompanied by two companions, Ashe is thrown back into a destiny she has tried hard to escape.
About the author:
The Keeper: Ancestors’ Knives was writing by Laura Pfundt (aka me: Quill Wielder). I started writing it back in 2006 when I was in year 10. It was a class exercise to come up with a novel idea and I liked the idea so much that I started to spend my lunchtime locked in the IT room writing it. There was only a general idea the start; there was no chapter plan, I just wrote what came to mind.
I’ve always been a lover of fantasy books and was just as passionate about trying to write on of my own.
Since then I worked on the story off and on between VCE (2007-8). In 2009, I started my TAFE course (Professional Writing and Editing) and finally had the time to finish it. By then I was learning how to write novel properly and my standard of writing dramatically increased; I also created a chapter plan for the rest of the story.
I spent the next two years editing and refining my baby until it was finally ready to meet publishers in 2011.
80,000 words later and my original story turned out to be almost nothing like what it became, but it is still an epic fantasy adventure that will have you wanting more.
I thought about making it trilogy; the first book does end, but I left it open for sequels. I’m waiting to hear back from publishers, but I’m also considering self-publishing.
Ashe Vena sat beneath her favourite blossom tree; the spring breeze wafted in the afternoon heat. An airstream blew the few slivers of her flaming hair not kept in her bun and eased the flowers from the tree. Cherry blossoms floated down into her lap and she smiled at their simplistic beauty. Closing her eyes, she listened to all the sounds around her. The church in the middle of town had bells singing to celebrate Joseph the blacksmith and Mary the baker’s marriage. Street cats were meowing in the alley next to the butcher’s store. Mrs. Nova, the butcher’s wife, had forgotten to feed them, as she was attending the wedding.
There were many sounds in the world and Ashe could hear them as if they were right beside her. She was listening to the rumble of a horse and carriage trotting down the stone road when it was drowned out by another noise, sharp and high-pitched. It grew louder and louder. Ashe’s mind filled with memories.
First there was an old wagon and a cloaked man riding under the moon. Flashing quickly to her sneaking through a palace; another flash and she stood in front of a wall of darkness with voices calling for her. A man appeared, laughing manically as he attacked her. One more flash and she was trapped in the darkness as it tore at her body, her piercing scream echoing…
Ashe’s eyes shot open as wide as orbs.
The high-pitched sound stopped.
She looked down at the blossoms in her hands. They were squashed; the petals fell apart in her palms as she rose. The breeze had changed direction, which was unusual. It blew the blossoms once again and they fell all around her. She looked down at the town from the hill where she stood. She searched for any signs of danger when her attention was caught by the shimmer of an army marching out of the forest, west of the town. They wore red spiked armour, which covered their entire bodies. She knew this signified they were the second highest-ranking soldiers in the Lord Zeon’s army.
Lord Zeon was the dark ruler over their world. His reign began seven years ago when he killed all heirs of the royal family. Since then, the world had been engulfed in a suffocating darkness that ravaged the land, bringing sorrow and depression.
Ashe knew these servants of the Dark Lord were looking for her. With that thought she placed her hand on a pair of ancient Sais knives strapped to her belt.
These were once her mother’s, passed down from generation to generation of Vena women. Each mother bequeathed these knives of great power to their first daughter and thus handed over the greatest responsibility ever conceived by god or man.
The knives were found four hundred years ago by Janea. She was the first in a long line of women known as The Keeper. Seven generations had passed, leaving Ashe as their only heir. It was her duty to protect their world from harm; from evil. That was until Ashe’s powers were taken from her.
As Ashe looked out over her hometown and at the oncoming invasion, she knew what she had to do. She gripped the Ancestors’ Knives in either hand, took a deep breath and jumped off the edge of the hill. She slid down the side of the rocky slope as if she were surfing on a ten-foot wave. Ashe bent her knees and placed her arms out at the sides to keep her balance. Flying past her face were rocks, but she did not flinch.
She had practiced sliding down hills when she was younger. With her friends from the orphanage, she would climb the hill and sit under the blossom tree playing games and lounging in the sun. When it was time for her friends to do their chores, they would all slide down the hill; or at least they tried to. Ashe had recently perfected her sliding technique on her nineteenth birthday. When she was younger, Ashe and her friends never really slid, rather rolled, but still they had fun. These days she did not see her friends. Either they had been married off or had gone to the capitol city of Alesca to become servants in the Palace.
When Ashe landed at the bottom of the hill, she slid to a perfect stop and looked up. She was at the edge of the town and the soldiers were near the town’s border too. She ran swiftly through the town, her feet barely leaving marks on the dirt path. She was not the only one who had noticed the army’s presence. The townspeople fled to their homes. Joseph grabbed Mary and the two were running down the street in their wedding clothes towards his workshop. Mrs. Nova carried three tabby cats in her arms and pushed the others through the butcher’s door, despite her husband’s objections. The town’s people knew the army would steal their food and money. Possibly even kill. Ashe knew the soldiers would burn the town looking for her. She had to leave to protect them.
She ran to the orphanage situated near the southern end of town next to stables. It was rundown, in need of work, but it was home to those that inhabited it. Ashe had lived there since she lost her parents six years ago. She dashed through the backdoor and up the stairs into her room. She packed supplies into a small satchel and ran down again where she saw Ms. Farho and the orphans hiding in the kitchen.
“Don’t worry. Stay here, everything is going to be alright.”
Ashe stroked the head of one of the children trying to comfort him. She said goodbye, left through the orphanage’s courtyard and headed towards the main square. As she reached it, the army marched down the street past the church. By now the town’s people were safely in their houses. Ashe knew she had to act with speed. She jumped onto the fountain, in the middle of the main square and drew her weapons.
“Hey, you!” she shouted. The soldiers halted and stared at her. “Yeah, you! You’re looking for me, right? Ashe Vena, The Keeper? Well here I am… come and get me.”
At the sound of her name the soldiers pulled their weapons from their belts and pointed them towards her. Ashe, knives in hand, jumped off the fountain and stepped in the direction of the army. They began to part like a red sea and a soldier strode forward. This soldier was the only one who had the figure of a woman and she appeared to be their leader. Her armour was sleek and curved in all the right places.
The red woman drew her sword and addressed Ashe in a chilling, but slightly familiar voice.
“Keeper, you will drop your weapons and surrender yourself in the name of our Dark Lord.”
It was a speech rehearsed many times. Ashe rolled her eyes. “How about, no?”
Ashe raised her weapons and pointed them towards the army. She knew there was no way she could take them all on. There were too many and she could not risk the lives of the townspeople. Not to mention the fact she was not as powerful as she once was. Wits alone would have to get her out of this mess.
“You will not resist the Alescan army! Now surrender!”
The lead soldier raised her weapon again and the others assumed the attack position. Only one thing could be done and that was to run. Ashe shoved the knives back into her belt and sprinted towards the army. The red woman realized she would not come quietly and lowered her weapon ordering the soldiers to attack.
For the first time the army broke formation and charged towards Ashe. The leader laughed as Ashe hurtled weaponless towards the red woman’s heavily armoured soldiers. Three soldiers moved faster than the others and would reach the Keeper first. Just as the soldiers’ blades were about to pierce her skin, Ashe slid down between one of the soldier’s legs. Confused, they turned, only to have her stab one in the neck with her knives. His body fell to the ground. Ashe spun the knives in her hand and readied herself for the next one, but the rest of the army was closing behind her and she had to change tactics.
She bolted to the right and ran up a stack of crates. From there, she lunged onto the roof of the bakery. She barely made it, landing face first on the slated roof.
“Get her!” shouted the red woman.
The two surviving soldiers ran to the bakery. Ashe was just getting up when they used their swords to destroy the gutter holding the roof in place. The roof slates flew off and she went with them. Falling backwards down the waterfall of tiles, she plunged and hit one of the soldiers with her body. The second soldier swung his sword at her, but she managed to dodge. Ashe looked at the thin alley between the bakery and a small house. She jumped and used each wall of the alley as a way of boosting her higher, until she was back on a roof. She had just enough time to turn towards the soldiers and give a cheeky smile before running out of sight behind a chimney.
The red woman’s grip on her sword tightened. “Go after her and bring her back. Lord Zeon wants her alive!” she screamed.
The soldiers scattered in all directions searching for her.
“That was close,” said Ashe, continuing across to the butcher’s roof and taking a huge leap onto the church wall. The church was the largest structure in the whole town. It was solid with stained glass windows and a tall steeple. She scaled the wall with some difficulty, years without training had left Ashe weak.
“Oh, Ashe,” called the red woman from the ground below.
She was standing in front of the church, watching as Ashe struggled up the wall.
“This would be so much easier if you just came down and surrendered,” she continued.
“As if!” Ashe managed to spit out, her face red.
“We don’t want you dead, just come with us now or you’ll regret it.”
Ashe reached the top of the church’s steeple and crouched, panting. She looked down at the red woman. Then she saw the soldiers begin to knock down doors and attack the townspeople.
A new plan formulated in Ashe’s head. She pounded her fists on the roof.
“If you want me, you’re going to have to catch me first,” she shouted.
The soldiers turned simultaneously and stared up at her through the slits in their armour. Ashe stood, composed herself and grabbed a hold of a rope banner, part of the wedding decorations, with a scarf from her satchel. The banner was tied to the church steeple and the other end to the roof of the stables at the southern end of town.
“Wrong decision,” said the red woman, turning away.
The wind changed direction again. Blossoms floated around the woman. She raised her sword and looked at Ashe’s reflection in it. With a swift movement, she swung the sword around and ended by placing it back in its sheath. A second later, the blossoms surrounding her disintegrated into nothing.
Ashe knew it was an attempt to scare her, but she did not hesitate, even though the act had shaken her. She jumped from the church steeple and slid down the rope past the main square, over the fountain and all the way to the stables. She dropped from the rope onto the ground – a perfect landing. Knees bent, she rose and immediately broke into a run towards the forest. The soldiers followed close behind.