“Not darkness, not light, perhaps something in between, and is claimed by the darkness…as theirs. Though being
saved by the light, that which is saved must in turn save the world…”
By J.W. Baccaro
PROPHECY OF THE GUARDIAN
Author: J.W. Baccaro
Publisher: JW Baccaro Publishing
Genre: Epic Fantasy
“Not darkness, not light, perhaps something in between, and is claimed by the darkness…as theirs. Though being saved by the light, that which is saved must in turn save the world…”
Darshun Luthais has never experienced the Nasharin Frenzy—the unbending will to challenge a stronger opponent, no matter the cost. He doesn’t know what he will transform into, has never bonded with an elemental crystal and has never seen any of the unearthly creatures his father talks about. Even though he’s an infant in Nasharin years, his life consists of nothing but constant training, striving to unlock the sleeping power his so-called accursed race is born with.
But all that changes when he is pursued by a Dream Assassin in the dead of night. What he witnesses will forever change his outlook on life and lead him on a quest only the strongest can complete.
“This epic fantasy is action packed, all the way through. Definitely a powerhouse for fantasy lovers. It has plenty of dark magic, tons of bloody battles, and even some seductive tones.
The chosen one faces his destiny with tribulations that at times favor Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad. While reading I also felt it resembled Lord of the Rings especially due to its epic length. I can not stress enough how well detailed the story and characters are. Nothing is ever lost in the pages. The timeline is incredible and every aspect continues to build. Wonderful and fascinating!
It is involving, meeting the chosen one as a baby, watching him grow as a young boy into an adolescent, learning to fight, learning who he is, and learning to love. There are many secrets that unfold and characters to meet along the way. From witches to elves, to gnomes and trolls there is sorcery and magic around every turn. The creatures met along the way are descriptively colorful and incredibly likable. Even the darker ones! Well, there are some gross ones too as I think of it. You’ll see!
As a side note, the author does not hold back in his details of war and how brutal the effects are on the people and the land. He sets his world in a beautiful background, so exquisite and then details the destruction during bloodshed and battle.
I’m usually not into a lot of battle stuff. This series however carried so much with it, more than just a battle book. The action was absolutely a big part of the story and without it, the fantasy would not be the epic level that it is, of course! But, there is also the magical side, the mythical and mysterious wonderment. The creatures are so desirable and they stayed with me as I read the story. The colors of the world are so vivid. And actually the magical aspects are my favorite parts of all.”
~Cynthia Ellen Jones~ A Hippie’s Bookshelf: Reading, Reviewing and Bookish Vibes
The clashing of swords began to fade as more and more men fell victim to the army of Asgoth. Outnumbered and outmatched, Asgoth had taken the peaceful city of Zithel by surprise. Human blood now painted the once beautiful infirmary
gardens, vineyards, and cemetery orchards. Even the manmade fountain, where the people would cast in gemstones—a different stone for a different wish—now contained the heads of Zithelian fighters. The decapitated heads turned the
water crimson as they bobbled within the pool.
Lord Adeleric and his wife remained trapped in the upper chamber of the tower, having no choice but to witness their people slaughtered. Heavy footsteps from outside of the chamber door neared as the enemy stormed up the stairway.
“Rosa, stay behind me!” Adeleric said, stepping in front of her quickly. “Don’t resist them. We may have a chance.”
“Are you sure it’s not our guards?” she asked.
He sighed. “…They’re all dead.”
Suddenly, what could have only been a dozen fists smashing against the door caused Rosa to scream.
“Stay calm,” Adeleric urged. “Let them come.”
The door was breeched and in rushed a horde of lizard-like men, each of them double the height of a common man. They looked around the chamber, seeing no other besides Adeleric and Rosa.
“You can have me,” Adeleric said.
“No!” Rosa begged, clenching his arm.”
He grabbed her hand and squeezed it, trying to reassure her. “You killed my army yet spared our young boys and girls. Spare my wife as well. Let her go and take me. Whatever it is you want of me.”
One of the lizardmen snarled, showing its teeth that dripped with a discolored saliva. It spoke in its own tongue to the others, and they separated. Six lined up against the left wall, the others against the right.
Around the corner and into the doorway stepped a woman. In one hand she held a staff, the other a decapitated
head, swinging it back and forth by its matted and bloody hair. She stood at the entrance, smiling.
Adeleric cringed, recognizing the corpse’s face, one of the fallen guardsmen.
“This one especially wanted me to spare you,” the woman said. “His tone was desperate, unlike your other
guardsmen. So, I ended his life painlessly.” She released the head. Striking the floor with a loud thump, it rolled off to the side.
The morning sun shined through the chamber window brighter now, illuminating the woman who had yet to move from the entrance. Adeleric got a better look at her. She was not dressed for battle, no protection except maybe her leather
boots. She wore a long flowing purple dress with a thigh high split. Because of the split, and the way she was standing,
her right black boot was exposed and dripping with blood; likely from the decapitated head she had carried. Slowly, she began to walk toward Adeleric and his wife.
“I noticed a working fountain outside,” she said. “Beautifully carved from stone, with an abundant number of gems sitting at the bottom of the pool. I do love gems.”
“What do you want?” Adeleric said, clenching a fist.
“Your home is the highest point of this mountain. The only source of water flows at the base of this mountain, the Azriel River. So, I ask, where are you receiving your water source?”
“Water has always flowed here, coming from within, spouting upward. We utilize it for drinking and ornamental purposes.”
“Water doesn’t flow upwards, you fool. Not unless affected by another source. You have no such source. No higher elevations, no way to channel it. Unless of course it is by magic. Perhaps this phenomenon is due to Arabeth’s crystal—his water crystal.”
“I am not aware of any such crystal.”
She grinned from ear to ear. “I am, and one of the four resides within this mountain.”
“One of the four?”
“The crystals of power from the first age, lost at the end of the second.”
“I repeat, I… know…nothing!”
She stopped abruptly, now standing an arm’s length from him. Her icy breath and violet gaze caused him to shudder. “Are you lying?”
“…I am not. Do whatever you want with me. Just let my wife go, please.”
She turned to Rosa who had been squeezing Adeleric’s hand. She leaned in closer to her, staring into her fearful eyes.
Rosa turned away, cringing.
She ran a finger across Rosa’s cheek, her long black nail scraping the skin. She stroked her hair, sifting her fingers through the strawberry blonde locks. “So beautiful, you are, dearest Rosa.” Her eyes fixed on Rosa’s jewelry; earrings made
from amethyst and spinel necklaces of blue, red, and citrine. “Your husband must feel blessed, to have been given such a
woman of splendor. Surely, your deities have been good to you. I too am somewhat of a deity, a goddess. Queen Talvenya is my name—”
“Do not compare yourself to my Rosa!” Adeleric shouted.
Something like a shockwave passed through the room, slightly heating the air, and splitting a section of the wall. The lizardmen kept still. Adeleric noticed sweat dripping from their scaly brows, as if they were afraid.
“Your jewelry, dearest Rosa, give it to me,” Talvenya commanded.
Fearing for his wife, Adeleric stepped in between the two.
Casting a glare, Talvenya reached for his left shoulder. Gripping the cap, a cracking of bone brought a smile to
her face, and a scream out of Adeleric’s mouth. Next, she forced him to his knees, pushing down on the fractured shoulder.
“Please stop hurting him!” Rosa begged, quickly removing her earrings and necklaces.
She placed the jewelry into Talvenya’s hand. “Keep them. They’re yours.”
“I do love gemstones,” she said, smiling delightfully. She put the necklaces on and then the earrings. “Each one tells a story, just like the four crystals of power you claim to know nothing about.”
“I don’t. Please, leave my Rosa alone,” Adeleric begged.
“You’re awfully fond of your Rosa. It’s quite precious.”
“We grew up together—share everything together.”
She scoffed. “And that makes her special?”
“…Please, I am the one you must deal with. I am the Lord of this land.”
Talvenya pursed her lips. “Lord of what land, this pathetic little mountain top I so easily dominated?” She
stepped closer to Rosa.
“Speak with me, I beg of you!”
“Oh, but dear Adeleric, you’ve already stated your ignorance of the crystals,” Talvenya mocked. She slid her hand down Rosa’s chest, pressing her fingers against her left breast and tearing the clothing with her nail.
Rosa quivered, keeping her head aside, avoiding Talvenya’s stare.
“Your Rosa…” She smiled. “I’m going to kill her.”
Adeleric rushed at her. Talvenya smacked him across the cheek and he fell to the floor, smashing his face against the granite tile.
“Adeleric!” Rosa cried.
He stood, wiping the blood trickling from his nose. “Queen Talvenya, goddess, deity—whoever you are, don’t do this. I beg of you…”
Ignoring him, Talvenya placed a finger under Rosa’s chin, and lifted to see her face, smiling at those terrified eyes and cascading tears.
“I’ll do anything you command,” Adeleric pleaded. “I’ll search the mountain for you, will not stop until that crystal is in my hands—for you. Only, don’t harm my Rosa.”
She grinned. “Tell your husband to get down on his knees.”
“My knees?” Adeleric asked, before receiving another blow to the face from Talvenya’s open palm. This time, he cried out in pain as his body hit the floor once again, face-down. His cheeks were black and blue, swelled and bleeding, and his chest throbbed because of the hard tile he had crashed onto. For a moment, he could not breathe.
“Stop hurting him!” Rosa shouted.
Talvenya grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off her feet.
Adeleric could hear Rosa gasping for air as her little legs wiggled back and forth.
Quickly, he stood. “I’ll do whatever you say, just put her down.”
She released her, and Rosa almost toppled over.
Adeleric rushed over, stretching an arm around her waist to keep his wife steady.
“While you are standing so close to her Adeleric, you should kiss your wife goodbye,” Talvenya said coldly. “It
shall be the last time you taste those blush-red lips of hers.”
Adeleric wanted to fight her. He wanted to reach for his sword and separate Talvenya’s head from her body, see
if such a cold-hearted creature drew blood. But he knew he would have no chance, especially with several lizardmen gathered around. So, he complied with Talvenya’s suggestion, only he tried imagining the idea as his own. He would
kiss her goodbye, passionately, believing he would see her again someday in another world, another realm, where hate and brutality ceased to exist. Reaching for her, he pressed his lips against hers wetting them, messaging them, and inserting his tongue to taste her sweetness.
Her eyes were full of tears and overwhelming passion.
Adeleric wiped the tears as their gazes continued to lock. Then, slowly, he pulled back.
“Do not be afraid, my love. No matter what happens, we will always be together.
That I promise you.”
“How touching,” Talvenya commented in a voice cold as ice accompanied by impish laughter. “Now, I command once more, dear Rosa. Tell your husband to get down on his knees.”
She whispered, “Adeler—”
“Speak the words aloud!”
She looked to Talvenya, a submissive gaze accompanied by a sigh of sorrow, then faced her husband once again. “…Adeleric, get down on your knees.”
Adeleric obeyed but tried imagining the command only came from his Rosa—not inspired by this so-called deity queen.
“Tell him you love him.”
“I—I love you,” Rosa cried, “…with all my heart.”
“And with all my heart, I love you,” Adeleric pled.
“Now, extend your hand,” Talvenya commanded.
“Adeleric, Lord of Zithel, take your wife’s hand.”
Adeleric passed her a glare, and then looked to Rosa. Tears were still cascading down her cheeks. “Do not be afraid, Rosa,” he said, firmly gripping her palm.
“My heart—shall always belong to you,” she answered, lightly rubbing her thumb over his palm, letting him know she was aware of his warm touch, aware he was there by her side, no matter what fate awaited her.
“And I shall carry you in my heart, always and forever.” Adeleric closed his eyes and leaned over to kiss her palm. The warm sensation of her skin disappeared suddenly, replaced by what felt like cold stone. He noticed the same feeling on
Rosa’s hand. Opening his eyes, he fell back at what he saw. Rosa, from head to toe had become stone, like someone had carved a figure of her—immaculately.
He turned to look at Talvenya. She was holding her staff high, pointing it at Rosa. She
cast the spell.
“Beautiful,” Talvenya said.
Adeleric sat speechless, his eyes still, never blinking. A difficult thing to accept; one moment he held Rosa’s hand, speaking with her, the next, she is a figure of stone. He squeezed her hand, perhaps to see if the hard element was real, and
when the reality of it finally sank into his heart, he fell to tears.
Talvenya tapped the statue’s forehead with her finger. It fell back, cracking to pieces as it struck the floor. The severed head rolled toward Adeleric and bumped into his knee, stopping. He looked down on it, the face positioned upward, as if it
returned the gaze. A smile sang on her cheeks—the last emotion his Rosa felt, happiness while Adeleric had been holding her hand. Teardrops spilled onto the face as he began to weep bitterly. He meant to pick up the head, perhaps to keep it to remember Rosa’s smile, but even that was taken away from him. A black leather boot stomped onto the head of stone, crumbling the face to pieces, grinding it to bits under the sole.
He peered up to see Talvenya, standing above him, smiling like a demon with a gaze of midnight darkness.
“What was the point of this…? Why did you—you do this?” he asked.
“All enemies are mere insects in my path. I do as I like.”
“That cannot be the reason…”
She stared at him a moment, her face going expressionless. “Why should she have what was taken away from me? Why should you not feel what I have felt?”
“But I know you not!” he shouted.
“…It matters not.”
“Then kill me—kill me too!”
“In time, I promise to.”
Interview with J. W. Baccaro
- Can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Of course! As far back as I can remember I’ve always had a creative side. As a child, I used to create my own comic books. Nothing like Marvel or DC, mind you, but the point is I was creating stories from a very early age. Ha, I’d also take my Masters of the Universe and Thundercats toys and make them into my own characters. I’d come up with a hero, a plot, enemies to face and one final boss. My parents would see me crawling around the house playing out my story with these figures. Couches and chairs were mountains, the bath tub the ocean and the floor the woodlands. It was fun!
Entering my teens I found a deep love in music, especially heavy metal from the early 1980’s up through the early 2000’s. 19’th century style classical music is a love of mine too, especially pieces that sound like fantasy battles or chaos. Basil Poledouris from the 1982 Conan the Barbarian soundtrack comes to mind.
I’m 43 years old and I’ve been playing electric guitar since I was 15. I also write my own music.
- Describe the types of books you write without using genre headings e.g. you’re not allowed to just say I write fantasy!
Stories where something catastrophic is soon to take place. An event that can get the attention of those divided over unnecessary, often pious differences, have them unite and stand together against a mightier threat. Stories where the readers feel like they have made friends with the characters. I also prefer a powerful, nearly unstoppable enemy where one might think “how in the heck is the protagonist going to defeat this?!”
I like writing about the emotional connection between certain male and female characters, watching them grow closer, even if one of them completely disagrees with her partner on just about everything. Yet in truth, she secretly admires him, finds him alluring, different. Something new to take in; perhaps she senses a powerful light within him that she feels she needs but will not admit.
- Describe your why. Tell me what motivates you to write.
For starters, it’s therapeutic; perhaps a form of meditation? I remember being so immersed into Tolkien’s the Hobbit that I lost track of time. As Bilbo and his newfound friends, the Dwarves, are traveling through the thick woodland, the heavy rain pouring down, and soon encountering the Trolls. I felt the fear in my heart of being discovered by the Trolls. I felt the frustration of the difficult terrain. However, the sound of the rain (happening in the book) relaxed me. I heard it as if it were raining right outside my bedroom window. It’s like, as you read words you find enthralling, a world from your own perspective is being created inside your mind.
These feelings increase when you involve yourself into heavier, emotional material or paranormal adventures. I used the Hobbit as an example because it was the first book I had ever read that gave me these feelings/envisions.
Creating is just a love of mine. Quite relaxing, and man, all those dopamine hits you get when someone else loves your world. That is a plus!
- Fancasting – Did you have particular actors/actresses in mind for the starring roles in your story?
I encountered this question before. Honestly? No, I envisioned their faces myself.
- Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
It’s definitely perseverance, and even disciple. But if you love creative writing then keep going. If it makes you happy…it can’t be that bad, right? Hey, isn’t that a song from the 90’s? Ha!
But seriously, if you love doing it for the sole purpose of creating your own world, then you will not quit.
- Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I saw my talents in creative writing improve. When I go back to older drafts, I’d shake my head at some of the passages. The more you write, the more feedback you get and constructive criticism the more you will improve. It’s just like any other craft. I also learned that original ideas change if you fall in love with a character immensely. But…no spoilers here.
- Which writer’s work do you believe most resembles your work?
In reviews I’ve been told the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collin, Terry Goodkind, Homer’s Odyssey, and if it were a novel, the Final Fantasy games. Flattering, but I consider myself the lowest on the totem pole. I like to keep my head there to stay humble and improve. I’m just an aspiring writer trying to get out there. I think the wisest thing to do as a writer is to write as YOURSELF! In other words, don’t try and be the next J.K.Rowling or Tolkien. Be yourself, write how you feel. Your influences and experiences will shape your story. I promise!
I think this is fitting here. It is a scene from my paranormal book Blood Dreams. Obviously unrelated to my epic fantasy. But it is the point that is intriguing when I think about writing for yourself:
“As if freedom lives within riches,” the boy continued. “They set themselves on a pedestal, looking down on those crawling beneath them, while never realizing how powerless they truly are compared to the poor man who is content. Consider the musician who lives within the spotlight, sitting on his pot of gold, basking in the attention of his admirers. The innocence that once lived in him replaced by the almighty dollar and the fame it brought him.”
“His earlier dreams of originality cast aside,” the girl commented.
“Time passes, he is forgotten,” the boy added. “Perhaps a little mention here and there, but nothing more than a moment in conversation. The emptiness lurking in his heart again resurfaces—tenfold. He still has his paper, enough to take him to the remainder of his years. His pedestal, however, has dissipated. The entertained moved on to the next big thing, the next trend quickly. And this vanity is what kept that emptiness at bay.”
“Now there is no place to go, nowhere to run for shelter.” The girl nodded.
“But take a man who is proud of his creation, someone who, in the eyes of the rich, crawls beneath them while thousands scream the wealthy man’s name,” the boy went on, “though not a tool by any means. He pursued what his heart desired, a musical piece unpleasing perhaps to the common ear, but something special to him. Something no amount of time, number of dislikes or even likes hold power over. Little money is made. Even smaller admiration. It doesn’t matter, he is content with his accomplishment. He is truly free. No demon of emptiness lurks in his heart where the man of fame remains dominated by that demon once his era of fame has shifted, when the silence returns. Tell me who is the more fortunate?”
Felix sighed, understanding this was all in reference to mankind. “The poor man.”
“And why do you think so?”
Felix was no singer, was never famous, but he could relate to that emptiness the boy spoke of. The demon in one’s heart many attempt to mask with pleasure, with addictions. Becoming an obsessive gambler masked his own inner demons. Truly, there was nothing in his life he felt proud of, nothing constructive to society, or his inner self. Being rich wasn’t about the pleasure money could buy him, it was the thrill of gambling, putting all on the table. The more to lose the bigger the excitement, only to come crashing down, breaking the walls that kept his own empty heart at bay, now tenfold in return. He understood. “Why do I think so? Because there is nothing that holds dominion over him.”
J.W. Baccaro is the author of Prophecy of the Guardian, The Coming of the Light and Blood Dreams. Always a lover of creativity, from works of literature to writing music with his electric guitar; even baking and cooking. When not working on his next story or lost in a good book, J.W. enjoys kicking back with a couple of tasty craft beers and binging on Kaiju movies, 80’s action flicks, Japanese animation and slasher films (particularly the one involving a hockey mask). Heck, he even enjoys a good romantic comedy. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his German Shepherd and his three cats.
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J.W. Baccaro is giving away a set of paperbacks – Prophecy of the Guardian, The Coming of the Light and Blood Dreams!
Terms & Conditions:
- By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
- One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the set of books
- This giveaway ends midnight July 30.
- Winner will be contacted via email on August 1.
- Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!