Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Release! The Prophecy: Anslem's Son by Gwyn Lacy


One of the reasons I do like this story is it starts off with a prophecy before we even meet our characters. This will grab readers into the tale and lead them to conclude their own ending even before it happens.


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Prince Lukas of Anslem lay sprawled on his bed. It was late into the night, and the prince of Anslem was restless. He sat up and swung his lengthy legs over the side of the bed and pushed his long, sun-kissed hair out of his face. He sighed and hung his head, and paused for a moment before he got up yet again.

He swung his feet to the floor where they rested on a great grizzly bear rug. This was the great bear that he had killed with an arrow after it went mad and attacked an outlying village. The man-eater had killed nineteen people of one of Anslem’s tribes in one winter. It felt right to walk on it.

Lukas rose to his full naked stature and stretched. It was going to be a long night. His body was the thick muscular frame of a knight who worked in heavy armor and physical training. He crossed his room to the balcony and stared out across the Kingdom of Anslem.

“Marliele,” he said, looking out into the darkness. Loneliness and despair mocked his usual indifference towards any particular woman. Many a maiden of the Kingdom of Anslem would be a willing bride.

But not Marliele.

The panorama of the Castle grounds of Anslem in the purple haze of night lay before the Prince of Anslem. His gaze from his lofty balcony followed the stone fortress walls that encompassed the vast castle grounds, and two baileys that were more like large villages.

The bailey closest to the castle contained the knights’ homes, various shops, barns for horses and cattle. All of the houses of knights and noblemen sat beside lanes with large flowering trees, bushes, and fruit trees. There was also an orchard and a barn for the knights’ horses in the first bailey and beautiful castle lawns. The foliage of the flowers and fruit trees gave out a fresh scent and made a lush landscape.

Separated by a curtain wall made of stone, the second bailey had tents and courtyards for traveling merchants and villagers seeking refuge there. Often there was so much activity that it was like a large carnival. Despite his parents’ protests, Lukas had ventured into the second bailey with his common friends. His parents had no issue with the common friends he held in high regard. It was just that amongst the transient population of the second bailey, there could be a threat to the future king.

Lukas disguised himself as a commoner in dress, and darkened his hair with soot, tying it back as a common man would. He enjoyed the freedom of the second bailey, the dancing, gambling, meeting travelers and eating their strange foods. On the large parade ground there were often contests of horse and man or games of strength. Loud and animated trading was common among the King’s Counsel of Treasury and the merchants, especially in purchasing cattle and other animals from the farmers. Then there were always the horses, and Lukas loved the horses. Each summer new colts came into the second bailey to be bid on by any man.

The splendor of the Castle of Anslem was renowned. It was a haven to so many, because justice prevailed under the kingship of his father, King Alois, and the loving and generous nature of his mother, Katrin, and his grandmother, Amelda.

A few torches still glowed against the darkness of night in the baileys. The smell of wood burning in the fireplaces reached Lukas’s nose and the sounds of the village at night reminded him of his aloneness. How could he be so alone and miserable in a place like this?


Stop it, he told himself. You are acting like a lovesick boy. Not a grown man.

Lukas gripped the ornate metal rails of the balcony railing and closed his eyes. On the breeze was the scent of lilacs that grew everywhere around the castle grounds. A small gust of wind lifted his light-colored hair from his shoulders. He was so empty inside it felt like the breeze could blow through him. A sentry on the castle walls called out his lonesome watch cry from far away.

Lukas opened his eyes and tried to quiet the torment that squeezed his chest and tortured his mind. Where was Marliele? Why couldn’t he find her? Was Marliele another man’s wife? Was she from an enemy tribe? Was she an apparition? Why wouldn’t she tell him who she was?

Lukas gripped the railing and again looked out at the purple haze that tinted the beautiful fortress. Something about Marliele was magical and that was not unusual for the Castle Anslem. The thick timber walls forming the double barrier around the Castle Anslem’s grounds had been turned to stone by a magic egg given to his father by his grandmother, Amelda. The castle had been under attack from a fire-breathing dragon, and when his father braved the fiery attack and smashed the egg against the timbers, every wooden object turned to stone. Then the archers were able to drive the dragon away.

His father, King Alois, was brave, generous and just. The Germanic tribes and villages beyond the Castle’s stone walls were prosperous and protected. The people were loyal and devoted to his father. As King he did not exact a tax like many kings, but simply made the Castle self-sufficient and asked for only a token of what each villager could afford. Because of the King’s justice and generosity and kind deeds, the Kingdom of Anslem was the most prosperous kingdom known in the surrounding lands. It was often attacked by marauders but they were driven off by common farmers, foot soldiers and knights alike. Lukas wondered if he would ever be looked upon with such trust and affection when he was King of Anslem. He was King Alois and Queen Katrin’s only child and heir to the throne.

Lukas squinted his eyes and searched through the darkness of the lanes around the castle and the castle lawns in the hope of seeing Marliele’s lithe frame approaching him. She was not there. Not once had he ever seen her approach. She always appeared on his balcony like a magical apparition. But she was no spirit, but a flesh and blood woman who dominated his mind and heart and satisfied his flesh. He sighed as their lovemaking filled his mind and his body responded with need. He pursed his lips and looked into the night.

She wasn’t coming.

Lukas crawled back onto his bed and flopped down on his stomach. The hope of her was no longer tantalizing, but tormenting. Please, Marliele, he said to himself, pressing his face into his pillow. He felt a sudden breeze and looked up to see Marliele standing in the balcony doorway. Her hair was long and black and she had on a sheer, green gown that did nothing to hide her hard pink nipples or the dark triangle between her legs.

Lukas rose to one elbow. He met her soft green eyes.

“You’re here.”

“I am here as often as I can be, My Lord,” Marliele said, casting her eyes down. The sheer, green gown billowed ever so slightly around her full breasts and her rounded hips. He caught his breath, and felt the primal need of arousal stirring in his loins. Appear calm, he told himself, if you expect to gain her trust and find out anything about her.

He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. There was no use trying to hide his erection. He sighed and was delighted to hear her laugh. He tucked his hair behind his ear and waited for some kind of signal from Marliele. He saw her eyes dart towards his lap and back to the floor. He heard her breath quicken.

Lukas rose from the bed and held out his hand to her and waited for her response. There was a momentary pause as she raised her eyes to his, and then she flung herself into his arms.

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