Welcome to another Showcase post, my guest today is fantasy author Samuel Colbran.
I found Samuel through a writers group in Australia, where I was introduced to him by another member, who thought I’d like his writing. His subject matter intrigued me, it seemed to me that it was the sort of thing that needed more exposure. The rest is history and I’m delighted to share it with you today. With twelve publications listed on his author page, anyone who likes his genre would be well advised to take a look.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samuel-Colbran/e/B0728LW7NJ
With 31 years of creating, writing and storytelling as a hobby, Samuel thought it was time to fulfil a dream he only just acquired. In 2015, he quit his job as a chef of 17 years, due to several factors one being a full-time carer for his mother and the lack of creativity in his life.
Since then, he has accumulated many relationships in the writing world which have to lead him to become a mentor, public speaker, teacher, promoter of fellow authors and he also volunteers his time for various writing groups situated on the Gold Coast i.e. Gold Coast Novel Writers and Writers Activation. In 2017 he published Lake Merrin, the first book of a five-book series entitled Journal of an Adventurer.
Not only is he working on Journal of an Adventurer; he has also published two short story series entitled FableLands and Tales From Favinonia.
I can recommend Samuel’s blog, at www.samuelcolbran.com. It’s a great read, full of wise words.
He can also be found here,
Facebook: Samuel Colbran – Author
Here’s a taste of Samuels’ writing, a chapter from Lake Merrin.
Twenty-third of Harvest, 1007 FK.
Within two weeks I will be on the front line, fighting an enemy that has powers beyond our imagination! It reminds me of a book I read in school—about the end of the Massacre of Magic, and the invasion of those Beasts and their shambling, rotten minions! I would never have thought we would stumble upon those creatures from history in Greywalker Reach. How could the Earl and his soldiers miss this? Earl Feo has a lot to answer for! The bloody border forts are just three days’ ride from Greywalker Reach!
Anyways, I’m beating a dead horse, or in this case, a dead Favinonian and dead people rising are just one of the problems I am dealing with. I cannot believe the assassinations, the rebellion and all those weird—
Mela’s grace, I do not have much time to write this, I cannot get distracted.
I survived Greywalker Reach. I am not sure if I will survive this war. But people need to know where it all started. That town, where I met my ‘family’, Lake Merrin.
Now we are heading to the war to end all wars. I regret so many things: friends dying, losing the love of my life, and most of all, meeting that monster, Zlata! At Greywalker I discovered where she came from. Holy Saints of the Trinity, save us!
I had the best start when it all began, just two years ago when I came to Lake Merrin. Back then I was a nobody, and all I cared about was money, women, and grog. Or was it grog, more grog, yet more grog, and paying for women? I was a wastrel—a scoundrel who only cared about himself and the next drink!
How things change. My story is one of growth, just as Favinonia has transformed over the last two years. From when I signed up at the Hall in Lake Merrin, to catching that rogue group, Bloody Coin, a so-called Charter of the Hall, to the uprising and finally to this horrific situation.
Should I start from when I first arrived in Lake Merrin? Or three months later when I finally got off my arse to sign up? By Jenell’s Book, I was lazy!
Back to the start then. Where was that? Oh yeah, having that quiet drink in that dingy inn, the Anvil and Musket on the docks of Lake Merrin …
1005 FK, Lake Merrin
What a beautiful day on Lake Merrin! That afternoon breeze from the shoreline is why I love this place, though the smells from the tavern downstairs can be a little on the nose.
Who cares? Time for my liquid breakfast! Splash some water on face and chest.
Now I just have to try not to wake up my ‘beautiful’ companion. She will only want me to spend more money on her. She can throw back grog even harder than me.
Why did I choose this place? Black mould, greasy windows and cockroaches as big as my fist. That is right—it costs only two silver slips a week. Cannot complain about the Anvil and Musket. What is a Musket anyway? Is it a different type of repeater crossbow?
Gently closing the door, I stumble down those rotten steps, and there is something putrid in the air. It is Bruce. I can smell him from the stairway that enters the common room. His fragrance is like torture to my disturbed gut; a mixture of sweat, vomit and ale so old it is rancid. At least he is working, not passed out in a booth. He is one of the reasons I need to drink my worries away.
As I walk up to crack stone bar, Bruce is spitting into a glass to clean it. “Greetings, good barkeep. Can I have your finest ale? Hold the roaches or rat droppings.” I hold back my laughter at myself. Today I am the soul of wit!
He looks up at me. Scratching his cauliflower ear, he grunts at me. “Oh—it’s you. Your rent’s due!”
Pleased to see you too, Bruce. “I know, I know. Um, can I make it up later today?”
He has moved his intense scratching to his mangy beard, as he growls out a few more words. “Do I have to get Malik to talk to you again?”
That son of a motherless goat! Always the way, dragging more money out of me. What do I have in my wallet? Two silver slips and one hundred and twenty copper bits. “No Bruce, you do not! Here.” Two more notes went to my decrepit room! Damn, I need a job.
As I watch him about to pour my amber liquid, something moves in the glass. Before I say anything, Bruce notices and just shakes it out. Jara’s hammer that is so wrong.
I think it just ran into another glass …
“Can I have a cleaner glass, Bruce? I believe two roaches were making babies in the bottom of that one.” He reaches for the glass that also has a shadow inside. “Um, can it be that one?” I point to a glass nowhere near the baby factories.
“Bloody stuck-up white-back!” Bruce growls.
I love being a half-breed, I get so many nicknames. He grabs another glass, pours, then holds up my glass of pure heaven in this world of Amsul, shoving his other hand in my face.
What? So, if I had not refused the first glass, it would have cost me the usual ten coppers?
I hand over one large copper coin. Now all I have on me is seventy bits, to the Abyssus with you, Bruce. Need to not seem angry, need to ask something stupid.
“One thing, Bruce. What is a musket?”
He smiles, a bit of last night’s food still stuck in his teeth. A gust of rancid breath hits me. He pulls a weird weapon from beneath the counter. I assume it is a weapon— a metal tube, connected to a club. He points the tube at me.
“Do you want to find out what it does too, or are you going to piss off?”
No idea why he would point a tube at me when the club section of the weapon looks scarier. With Bruce’s oversized arms, my head would be cracked after one blow.
He puts the musket back under the bar as I walk away. I am not sure what it does, and I do not want to find out. Where to enjoy this weak-as-piss ale? Ah, next to my friendly neighbourhood drunk, Stinky Pete. Don’t know his real name as he seems to be asleep most of the time. But Stinky Pete is a great listener.
“Hey, Pete.” Sitting down in this booth, I can smell he has pissed himself again. Mela’s sacrifice, he is in a bad way this morn. “Do not need a hug from you today. I know we are the best of friends.”
Pete’s reply is quite fragrant, and so loud I can feel it through the soles of my boots. If it isn’t out one end, it is always the other.
“So, Pete, what should I do today?”
He coughs and burps for a change of tempo.
“Yes, I know—find a job.” After spending five years in the army to gain my citizenship, I want to move on from those dark days. Every job I go for now is just some simpleton job. I am better than that. Quaffing my drink again. “Pete, my friend, what am I going to do?”
He does take his time to answer, mouth fluttering as he lets out a huge breath. Great morning breath. I continue. “Well, my funds are not going to last me long, what with pissing off Bruce all the time or dealing with Malik and the Dock Boys.”
By his snoring, I know Pete understands.
“It is the same thing every day. Find a labouring job, only to have my pay claimed by the Dock Boys. Bloody Malik and his butt-monkey Jimmy always find out when I have money.”
Having another drink. That cleared the cobwebs. “As you know, Pete, they demanded my money to pay off the last loan with interest. Then Malik, in his element, turns around and lends the money right back to me so I can survive. Not much I can do.”
I can see Pete is pondering my last statement.
“You are right, Pete! Unless you are a knight, in the military, or a registered Adventurer, the law isn’t always around to protect you. They are allowed to carry arms. With a sword and armour, I wouldn’t have to put up with their nonsense.”
Pete shifts slightly and lets out a fart even worse than the last one. I drown my nose in the sweet elixir of my ale, draining it to the last drop. He finishes, and he should be proud of his eruption. I grab his pouch off his belt, and there is one silver slip inside, and a handful of bits, enough for two more ales and I will leave him the change. I am such a good friend.
“Pete, you have outdone yourself, shouting me a drink. I will grab you one as well, no need to worry!”
I am glad to be moving back to the bar, allowing me some fresher air. I do not call him Stinky Pete for nothing.
“Bruce, a couple more ales!”
“Sure.” I think he said sure; there was an ‘s and r’ in his grunt.
Turning around, looking at the mouldy place, glancing down I see a family of rats run in front of me. One day, I will live in a proper place, maybe with a beautiful woman to cook me dinner.
The ales arrive. “Thanks, Bruce. Keep the change!”
It is not like there is any, but it is better to pretend he is not ripping me off. Pete is still sleeping. Dropping his glass in front of him, I take a long draw on my ale. Even though he probably will not drink it, it was his money. As always, the best way to start the morning— an excellent lukewarm brew!
As I drop my drink on the table, I spy my ‘lady friend’ coming down the stairs. She looks at me and waves. What is her name again? Cin or Bel? Damn it.
“Hey there, handsome.” She grabs Pete’s ale and takes a long swig. “I woke up, and you weren’t there.”
Cin or Bel? She is staring at me. “Sorry, love, I wanted to come down and have some breakfast.” I shake my half-empty cup. “Have I told you lately how beautiful you are?”
Well, it is a stretch, with her acne and scabby skin, but she was cheap and warm. I think she is blushing, but I cannot tell.
“You are embarrassing me.”
“It is part of my charm.” As she walks off to her ‘pimp’ Bruce, I smack her arse. Turning back to Pete, I say, “Sorry about your drink, I will get you another one later. So, what were we talking about?”
Pete lets out a loud snore. “Oh yes, thanks, Pete. The Watch is out of the question, and I am never going back to the army. So, I could head west to the City States, join a mercenary band like my ‘dad’ was a part of. But again, that is too close to the army and those encounters I had with rogue groups.”
I can see Pete is uncomfortable about this. Me too. “So, the mercenary band is out, City Watch is out, the army is out. So, Pete, what is left?” He shrugs, I think. “Only one option—join the knighthood!”
Standing up, brandishing my cup like a sword, I laugh. Pete might be chuckling or heavy breathing. “Yeah, could you imagine that me being part of the Duke’s Knightly Order, you know—The Shields, or one of those holy avengers of the Orange Aspect of the Trinity? The followers of Jara, they do good protecting us from the minions of the Abyssus, but those knights are some stuck-up prigs.”
The creaky front door swings open (Bruce needs to oil that), and by Jara’s hammer, it is a Dock Boy. The rat-faced one—I am not sure what his name is, but he is always in that huge group that corners me. If we were one on one …
“Ah, it seems that it is time for me to go, Pete,” I say.
Hopping up, I send a rude sign to old Ratface, who sneers at me. “Wait till I get the boss!”
Turning back to Pete, hearing the door slam close, “You are right, Pete; the only answer is to become an Adventurer. I guess I’m off to the Hall.”
Jara, Mela, Jenell, what horrible timing for the Dock Boys to be looking for me. I thought I would not be seeing them all week. They have been thick as thieves with that rogue Charter of late, the Fellowship of the Sword. I hate that group of ex-Duke’s Shield men: Helmut and his thugs love killing people for fun and money. Especially that brute Roth with his oversized meat cleaver. I do not want to be on either gang’s list.
Running up those rotten stairs into my room, it would be best to duck out through the secret back exit. I am glad that there is a back door; I shouldn’t be caught by the Boys.
Looking around my room, what do I need? My sword is a definite, Jack too—my armoured vest, a must if I run into some more Dock Boys. Some knives, one in each of my boots, and another in my belt-sheath, and I am done. I feel like I am missing something. Oh yes, where is my slip pouch of sixty slips? That’s right—in with my dirty underwear. Glad I had the foresight to hide money; no one would look there!
Taking a deep breath, I open my door a crack to see if anyone is in the corridor. Good, it is empty. Only twenty steps down the hallway and I am out that back door.
It is terrific, this door is on the same level; it is a far subtler exit. Strange that I am using it for avoiding the Dock Boys instead of the usual wife or loved one worrying that their husband is cheating on them.
Heading down the even-more-rotten back steps, I make sure to miss the exposed, rusted nails and other deteriorating objects. The last thing I want is to be heading to the medical-shrine to have some Green Aspect treat me, even if they do excel at healing.
How should I reach the Hall? There are three back-alley ways from the Anvil to Route Street. This should be easy.
Once I hit Route, going to blend in; look like I belong to the afternoon crowd. Darting from the steps into the first alleyway.
I am glad of my scouting experience from the army. Otherwise, I would not have noticed the heavy breathing. Who is in this next alley? I take a quick look. A Dock Boy, a brute of a half-breed; he must have some dwarf in him. His dark, heavy beard and pointed ears are a dead giveaway.
What to do? Perhaps he is waiting for someone else. Bold is best!
“Hey, what are you doing here?’ I ask with an affable tone. “Doesn’t Malik have you lot on the docks every morning?”
He turns to me and bunches his shoulder. If he bunches anymore, he’ll rip his shirt.
“Oi, you stay right there.”
He starts sauntering toward me. Drawing my knife from my back sheath, I hold it in my fist. He grabs me, and my first instinct is to stab him, but I squash that thought, smashing him across the face with the pommel instead. As he drops to the ground, I step around him and run.
Only Ratface and that brutish Truth-spawn have seen me. Just one more lane and I’m blending into that morning crowd. By Mela’s grace, the second alley is clear. Maybe I should have killed that brute? Just keep focus. Nearly at the third lane.
Running into the last alley, I crash into another Dock Boy. I can smell the grog on him. He takes a lazy swing at me but then my army training kicks in. I duck and twist towards him, so I have a clear shot to knee him in his Jara’s hammers. He drops to the ground, clutching at his groin. I am nearly home free; Route is just a stone’s throw away.
As I peek out, I see only carts. Easy to blend in here.
Casually moving out from the alleyway, ducking behind a cart, then moving to another. Thinking I can chance it, I look around and, my luck, the Dock Boys, are out in force. I could still make the other back-alley course. Just need to get there quickly.
Someone calls out above the noise of the heavy footsteps and creaking cart’s wheels, “There he is, Malik!”
Why do they have such a hard-on for me today, I only flipped off Ratface. What day is it? Do I owe them money today? Have to make a run for it. Dodging left and right, I am a hair’s breadth away from the alley.
Coming out of the alley is Malik, flanked by eight thugs. Exit cut off, and more footsteps behind me. It is not my day.
I hope you all enjoyed it. I loved the extract, it has the imagination of Tolkien but with the modern style of The Ninth Bridge by Marc Townsend, quirky and slightly off the wall, but great fun to read.
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