Good day to all our follows 🙂
Today we have a guest post from Richie Earl, author of “The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse” & “The Return to Finndragons Den”. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be hosting several guest posts from Richie. As well as being the first to start the blog tour we will also be posting more information from the author, reviews of book 1 and book 2 and a giveaway.
Us girlies at Orchard are very priviliged to be part of this tour and feel that we had a helping hand with book 2 as four of our girlies beta read the book along with several other people and boy are you all in for a treat! 😉
My name is Earl, Richie Earl that is, and I’m a young adult fantasy author. Today is the first day of my Tales of Finndragon – 1500 Years in the Making Blog Tour and I’m delighted to start at Orchard Book Club. The tour is scheduled to run until the end of June and will include interviews, guest posts and reviews.
There will be ebook giveaways and an original and exciting competition spread across the tour. First prize is 10% of my 2013 Amazon royalties, with five pairs of signed copies of The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse and Return to Finndragon’s Den for the runners-up. There will be ten questions spread across the blogs I visit, with the answers to be found in either the blogs or in the books. To enter, visit My Name’s Not Earl blogspot.
Here’s Question 1: What is Richie Earl’s real name?
Gwayne is a central character in the Tales of Finndragon series. Here he introduces himself and explains how Finndragon cursed the Kingdom of Morgannwg.
The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse
When I was a young boy; well I’m still a young boy, but what I mean is that a long time ago, Finndragon’s Curse really did happen. Finndragon had got banished from the Kingdom of Morgannwg and Myrddin took his place as court wizard to King Dafydd.
I had dreamed of being a wizard for some time and I got my wish when I was taken on as an apprentice to Myrddin. He was still quite young himself, but I soon came to realise that he was a very powerful maker of magic. It was with great excitement that I began my apprenticeship; I expected to be performing all manner of wonderful enchantments, but alas, all that I was allowed to do for almost two years was collect ingredients for Myrddin’s spells. It was absolutely awful, I can tell you!
Okay, there must have been some good times, but all that I can remember is the dirty, smelly jobs that I had to do. If you’ve never stood behind a cow in calf, who’s about to give birth, then you probably don’t know what I mean. And if you’ve never had to scrape bat dung from the floor of a cave, you would find it hard to place yourself in my shoes.
But I loyally followed all of Myrddin’s orders, with the promise that he would soon start my tuition in magic and wizardry. It was about that time that Finndragon got banished from Morgannwg and Myrddin got the job of Court Wizard. I couldn’t believe my luck; here was I, Gwayne, apprentice to the King’s wizard. I only had to bide my time, obey my master and one day…. yes one day it would all be mine.
I have to admit that I hardly paid any attention to that old curse; you know the one where Finndragon warned that unless his exile was lifted, he would sink the Kingdom of Morgannwg into the earth and it would be set upon by monsters and demons until the end of time and never be seen again. I was just so excited that I would be living in the palace with Myrddin and our beloved King Dafydd.
But that no good Myrddin had no intention of taking me into the palace with him. He made me look after his dwelling and all of his lotions and potions whilst he lived it up with the nobles and the gentry. He may have occasionally given me a little instruction in the art of wizardry, but I was not progressing as well as I had hoped.
More than once I told him that I’d had enough and no longer wanted to be his apprentice, but he wouldn’t let me go, threatening to turn me into all manner of unmentionable and unimaginable creatures.
You may wonder as to what exactly makes a wizard. Truly great wizards, such as Finndragon, are born with magic coursing through their veins, whilst others have to learn the art over a very long period from their master. It would take even great wizards many years to attain the incredible power of one such as Finndragon, who is probably the greatest there has ever been. It is said that although he was an old man, he had been able to cast a spell on himself in his later years which virtually stopped the march of time for him. So he had now lived at least five lifetimes. Unfortunately I fall into the latter category and I now had no master, (oh, I haven’t told you about that yet. Don’t worry, I’ll get around to it soon enough).
I’ll never forget that day when the curse of Finndragon befell Castell y Mynydd and all of the Kingdom of Morgannwg, even if I live another fifteen hundred years. I had been serving Myrddin for just over a year and he was still filling my time with the most unpleasant tasks, while neglecting my tuition in the arts of magic.
That entire sunny day had been spent scrabbling around at the bottom of the large, filthy duck pond, trying to gather the roots of the countless reeds that adorned the pond. Apart from being dirty, the water was very cold particularly at the bottom which, in the middle, was about twice as deep as I am tall. The task was especially difficult as I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. And of all the days to have such a duty, it had to be right in the middle of the Feast of August when everyone else in the kingdom were having so much fun at King Dafydd’s castle.
Of course I had tried to get out of it in the first place, “I can’t swim!” I objected, but Myrddin was having none of my excuses.
“You won’t need to swim boy, just crawl along the bottom and pull out the roots, but be careful not to damage them as I need them intact for my spells!” he had shouted violently at me.
I don’t know why, but I don’t think Myrddin liked me very much. Nevertheless I continued to plead my case, “The water is very deep, so I won’t be able to get to the bottom!”
“Don’t you think I’ve thought of that, you idiot. You can tie this sack around your waist; I’ve weighed it down with heavy stones. There’s plenty of room in there for the roots too!”
“But I will surely drown if I am weighed down, then what use will I be to you, Master?”
By the look on his face, I could see that Myrddin had just about lost his patience with me and the next words he hurled my way were streaked with malice. “I am Myrddin, the mighty wizard to King Dafydd, the ruler of the most powerful kingdom in Wales!” He spat out each syllable, covering me in tiny beads of his saliva.
“Don’t you think that I would have a spell suitable for such a task?”
With that, he swirled an arm around his head and swung it in my direction. I felt nothing at first, but gradually a strange sensation came over me. My chest seemed to tighten and try as I might, I could not get any breath into my aching lungs. I could feel my eyes starting to bulge and put my hands to my throat, vainly hoping that would somehow help. Myrddin stood there laughing and passers-by stopped to see what the fuss was about. In any other circumstance I would probably have felt embarrassed, but at this moment, the only emotion I had was one of sheer panic.
Myrddin continued to laugh as he tied the heavy sack around my waist and I sensed a blackness creeping up on me, as my eyes became heavy. The crowd slowly disappeared from the edges of my vision and all I could see was Myrddin as he started to push me towards the pond. I could barely stand and I staggered and stumbled, before falling to my knees at the water’s edge. I knew with a dreadful certainty that I was about to die. I felt like I drowning on dry land.
Just as it seemed I could last no longer, Myrddin kicked me in the small of my back and sent me sprawling into the muddy water. “You must fill the bag with roots and only then will the spell wear off!” he half laughed, half shouted.
I splashed head first into the pond. Gasping for air, my lungs quickly filled with the stagnant, slimy water. The revolting taste in my mouth was surpassed by the vile stench that assaulted my nasal passages. But then the most amazing thing happened; gradually I realised that the suffocating feeling was slipping away and I could actually breathe. After a couple of minutes of being half submerged, my head cleared and the pain left my chest. I pushed my head up and out of the water and struggled to my feet. My head had barely been out of the water for a few seconds when the awful feeling of suffocation returned.
“You are a complete fool, Gwayne,” Myrddin roared with laughter. “Get back into the pond and you will be able to breathe water. Fill the sack and you must get out quickly, because you will once again need air.”
So I had little choice other than to do as my master had ordered. I didn’t know how long I’d been down there, but I must have spent many hours clawing at the muddy bottom. I pulled out the reeds by their roots, always careful not to damage them. When the bag was nearly full, I tried to find my way to the shallower water near the edge of the pond. I popped my head out quickly and was surprised to find that it was night-time; the brilliant sunshine having been replaced by a brightly glowing full moon. I resumed my task and ripped up the last few reeds I needed to fill the sack. Myrddin was right, for as soon as it was full I was overcome by a new feeling of drowning, a true feeling as I was actually drowning.
I stood tall and scrambled frantically out of the water. Coughing violently for several minutes, I tried to clear the filth from my respiratory tract before my breathing returned to normal. I was lying on my back besides the pond thinking that as long as I live, nothing as awful or frightening could ever befall me again, but then a terrible storm came up from nowhere. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail everything was in pitch darkness. Except for Castell y Mynydd, that is, which was illuminated by a single shaft of moonlight. Every fire and light within the castle was extinguished by the howling wind and the lashing rain. The waters in the pond began to bubble and boil and the ground began to shake.
I saw Myrddin rushing by, turning into a hawk as he ran and he flew away (see, I told you that I’d get around to it) before the kingdom sank into the earth. Everything began to spin around violently in the same way as water gets sucked into a whirlpool. A mountain rose up above the spot where the kingdom had been just a minute before. Orange flames sprang up suddenly, dimly illuminating the entire land.
The whole world changed that day and has been the same ever since. Fifteen hundred years spent in the largest cave imaginable, waiting and hoping for someone to break Finndragon’s Curse. And I still have a large sack full of the roots of all those filthy reeds!
So here was I, left high and dry, in a land plunged into the bowels of the earth. King Dafydd soon sought me out, hopeful that I may have learnt enough from Myrddin to be of some service to him. He quickly realised that I would be of no use and I was left to my own devices. For centuries I tried to teach myself the craft of magic, but without even the slightest encouragement of a wholly successful spell, until one day I was visited by a peculiar group of children. Ah, but that’s another story, a true story, not a legend.
So that’s The Legend of Finndragon’s Curse for you; believe it to be a myth if you will. But beware, because Finndragon still lives and his demons persecute us all and we are only just beneath your very feet!
Also up for grabs is a ebook copy of The Legend Of Finndragon’s Curse, enter below.
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Check back with us next week for our REVIEW’S, yes more than one, of the first instalment of Finndragon.
~Laura, Nicola & Simone~