It’s my pleasure to welcome the lovely Mysti Parker, author of A Ranger’s Tale, to the Noracast. A Ranger’s Tale has received fantastic reviews, and it’s next on my reading list, so pick up your copy today at Melange Books!
Enjoy Mysti’s guest post, and then scroll down into the fantasy realm of A Ranger’s Tale. Set in the fantasy world of Tallenmere, the high elf Caliphany Aranea longs to explore the world and escape from her controlling father. Her dreams are fulfilled when she meets ranger and ship captain Galadin Trudeaux. But, when secrets from the past bring tragedy to those she loves, Caliphany must fight to hold on to the life she’s always wanted.
Let me start by saying thank you Nora for having me here today. I hope you all enjoy my post today. Feel free to leave comments, and remember to comment with your email addy if you’d like a chance to win a free copy of A Ranger’s Tale!
In 2 Corinthians 13:11, St. Paul instructs us to “encourage one another”. In fact, the Bible mentions encouragement several times. You probably hear the word often, but what does it mean, really?
Dictionary.com defines encourage as: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
In a world where the majority is constantly seeking to look out for “number one”, encouragement is sometimes hard to come by. There are people out there, sadly, whose greatest joy seems to be tearing down someone else for their own gain instead of building them up, let alone inspiring them with anything. It’s common in the writing business and everywhere else.
My mom was perhaps my greatest encourager. From an early age, she told me I could do anything I put my mind to. I don’t know how many careers I went through on my list of “what I want to be when I grow up”, but mom would just smile and repeat that phrase. She passed away in 2003, and I really miss her special brand of encouragement. I hope my own children see me as an encourager and hear my praise on a daily basis, more-so than my reprimands. I want to guide them to keep improving, keep practicing in their studies and hobbies, and instill in them the desire to never give up.
You see, encouragement is more than just heaping unearned praise and false flattery on someone. As the definition states, it’s inspiring them with the courage, spirit, or confidence to keep going. It’s lifting up, offering that hand when they stumble, and giving advice when it’s requested. Consequently, by encouraging others, we feel the blessing ourselves. We can be happy and proud when someone we’ve lifted up really succeeds.
An encourager doesn’t say “You’ll never make it.” An encourager says, “I’ll help you get there.”
In A Ranger’s Tale, Caliphany needs encouragement from time to time.
When she wanted to give up her training as a ranger in Chapter 7, Galadin said, “You’re doing well. And you’re not wasting my time. Don’t give up—not yet anyway. I won’t if you won’t.”
Sometimes just being there is enough to encourage. In Chapter 39, Caliphany’s friend Juliana is there for her during a really difficult time: Juliana joined me in my walk to nowhere. Though she offered no words, her presence alone gave me support.
Who are your encouragers in life? What do they do to keep you going when the going gets rough? Who have you encouraged today?
A Ranger’s Tale
by Mysti Parker
North Leogard, the Aranea Estate, 15 Xaviel, LV 259 (The 259th year of King Leopold Vaeloria’s reign)
Fresh hay tickles Caliphany’s nose, and she stifles a sneeze. Hide-and-seek is her favorite game, except Aelendyl is allergic to hay, and she knows it. Below the loft, he runs and calls for her. He starts to climb the ladder and breaks into a sneezing fit. Caliphany giggles and picks a ladybug off her pointed ear. She watches it crawl along her finger and catches her breath when it opens its wings and flies away.
“Come on, Caliphany, I know you’re up there!”
A spark of fire springs to life in Caliphany’s hand. She knows she shouldn’t, but Aelendyl’s been making her play Mage Academy for three hours. If he wants to see magic, she’ll show him magic. She crawls to the edge of the loft and peeks over. Aelendyl’s headed for the stable door. She flicks the flame down toward him, and it lands at his feet with a loud pop.
He screams, “I’m telling!” Then, he runs from the stable.
“No. Please!” Caliphany hurries down the ladder, but trips on the hem of her dress. She lands with a thud on the dirt floor. A spark flies from her hand when she lands, straight into the dry hay at the rear of the stable.
The fire spreads like a plague, and smoke fills the stable. Coughing, she hurries to the stalls, opens them, and shoos their three horses out. By the time she escapes, flames have engulfed the structure, and the heat has scorched her skin like a too-hot bath. Her mother, father, and Aelendyl come running from the manor.
Father’s voice booms, “Caliphany! What have you done?”
Mother rushes to her side. “Oh, my darling, are you hurt?”
“We were playing hide-and-seek. I just…I’m sorry!”
She looks at the little high-elf boy. He trembles and rubs his nose on his sleeve. Her parents keep talking of their future marriage. She’d sooner marry a goat, but she never wanted to hurt him.
Father grabs her by the shoulder. “You could have killed Aelendyl, or our horses, or yourself. Stand back!”
The great wizard lifts his hands, chants a familiar spell, and the wind whips above the stable, spinning the fire into a cyclone. A dark gray cloud materializes, heavy laden with rain. One more chant, and the cloud releases its torrent over the inferno. A few minutes later, the burned-out shell of the stable smolders in front of them.
Aelendyl nods and bows to them. “I should go home now.”
When he leaves, father bends toward Caliphany. “Your behavior was inexcusable.” He yanks Caliphany up, tucks her under his arm, and heads for the manor. She screams and kicks.
Mother runs behind them. “Sirius, what are you doing?”
“We’ve coddled her too long, Ellawen. It’s time she learns her place before we lose another child.”
Inside the manor, he puts Caliphany down, grasps her arm, and drags her downstairs. He opens a storage room door. She wails and pulls against him, nearly knocking them both down. With one last burst of strength and a blast of wind from his wizard hands, Father hurls her into the small room, and shuts the door.
The wooden bar slams down, the sound of it sealing her fate. She runs to the door, pounds on it, tiptoes to peek out the window.
Father turns Mother around leads her up the stairs. “Stop crying. I won’t leave her in there forever.”
Caliphany turns, rubs her arms, slides down the door. Lamplight from the hallway makes flickering shadows in the room. Behind the crates, jars, bags, and stored furniture, she imagines ghosts lurking, hairy spiders, and unimaginable things with mouths watering at the thought of feasting on her flesh. She buries her face in her hands and cries, wishing she had never been born.
* * * *
The Southern Sea, 23 Kersh, LV 312
Sunset transforms the plain gray vessel into an amber dream ship. Innessa lies to the north, Tyronia to the south, and the Trudeaux family sails southeast toward Tilliya Island. Young Galadin can almost taste the stone-baked fish and evynfruit pie—Yura Juntay’s specialty. He’s not seen them for a year or more and can’t wait to arrive on the island to hear Keevo play his lute as they eat, and go spear-fishing with Kando.
He tugs at his mother’s skirt. “When will we get there?”
Mama smiles down at him and ruffles his hair. She is the most beautiful woman Galadin has ever seen—a high elf, with long golden hair, bright blue eyes, and freckles on her nose from her time on the sea with his father.
She laughs a sound he’s sure only angels can make. “Soon, my darling, by morning.”
“Where are Bob and Shyler?”
“They are taking a shore leave. I’m sure they will be with us next trip.”
Galadin frowns. He’s come to love young Bob and Shyler, barely more than boys themselves. The other crewmen brush him off, but when he grows bored, the two young men sometimes play checkers or pretend to be pirates with him.
Papa walks by and pinches his cheek. “Quit pestering your mother and get ready for bed. You’ll be fishing with Kando before you know it.”
Galadin chases after Papa, a human man with curly brown hair and a kind-hearted smile. He knows his mother will outlive his father by centuries, but even at his young age, he senses a love between them that defies the boundaries of time.
He reaches Papa and pummels his back in a mock attack. Papa feigns injury and falls to the deck. Galadin is quick to pounce, but is soon pinned down and tickled until he can hardly catch a breath.
Papa pauses just long enough to ask amidst his own laughter, “Do you yield?”
Galadin squeals, “Yes, Papa, I yield!”
“Come on then,” Papa says, offering his hand to help him up. “Off to bed.”
They stand, still smiling and breathless from their tickle match. Smiles are lost when the sun’s last rays are blacked out. A dark form has suddenly appeared on the sea right beside their ship. Mama screams.
It happens in a blur. Papa throws Galadin and his mother into the cabin, tells them not to come out no matter what. They crouch behind the bed, but the screams and shouts and flashes of fire grow so loud, Mama begins to cry. He cries too, and clings to her tightly. The door bursts open, she screams, and shoves him under the bed. He crawls on his belly just far enough to see.
Mama’s feet are planted firmly in front of him. She begs the pirates to take whatever they want and leave them alone.
Galadin hears a horrible laugh. It will haunt his dreams for the rest of his life. The man’s feet step forward and Mama stumbles. He pushes her down on the bed.
“Quit yer fightin’, and do what you women do best. Lie there and take it!”
She kicks him away, gets to her feet again. “Never! I’ll die first.”
“Have it your way.”
The next sound reminds Galadin of his father splitting logs back at their cottage in Wildewood. And then he sees Mama’s eyes once more, as her limp body and severed head drop to the floor in different directions. Her lips are moving as if she’s trying to comfort him with silent words. Her blue eyes lock on his and her blood runs under the bed until it coats his arms and chest.
He reaches out a helpless hand. “No!”
The pirates rip him from under the bed, drag him out, and throw him on their ship. He looks up to see his father’s ship in flames and Papa’s body tied high to the mast. The fire has reached his legs, and he’s screaming like nothing Galadin’s ever heard before. Bile rises in Galadin’s throat, and he hunches over to vomit. A loud crack at the back of his head knocks him flat to the pirate ship’s deck. The last thing he’s aware of is a rancid, metallic smell; a mixture of vomit and his mother’s blood.
Author Bio: Mysti Parker is a full-time wife, mom of three, and a writer. Born and raised in Kentucky, writing has always been her first love. After many years of pursuing other things, she began her writing career in earnest in 2009. Look for more romantic tales from her fantasy world of Tallenmere, where magic, passion, murder, and mayhem are a part of everyday life.
Purchase A Ranger’s Tale at Melange Books.
Visit Mysti Parker at her blog. Unwritten
Thank you for visiting the Noracast, Mysti! 🙂