Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana

I love Alex Butcher’s trolls! They are so exactly the opposite of mine.

Mine possess aching bones and sore joints, along with enlarged ears, curved and lengthened noses, reddened watery eyes, sagging skin, twisted thumbs, and hunched spines. Even worse than the physical deformities is the progressive madness that compels each to destroy all that is good in the world around him or her.

My trolls come into being when a spellcaster in my North-lands forces too much power into a spell, ripping the energetic lattice within his or her being and bringing troll-disease in the wake of this destruction. Greed or hubris or simple desperation—nothing wholesome—lies at the roots of troll-disease.

But in Alex’s magical world of Erana, the troll kind are shapechangers, seers, and oracles who dwell in the secret fastnesses of the mountains and worship the beauty of nature. The gods walk among them, and they are faithful and wise.

One of three mortal races—elves, humans, and trolls—the trolls of Erana are strong and comely. In “The Tale of Treyna the Beloved” (a short story in the collection Tales of Erana) Alex gives this description of the troll daughter Mira:

“A child, golden-haired and dark-skinned stood with her grey eyes wide at the magnificence of the world. Small twisting horns poked from her bright curls and her small mouth creased in wonder.”

I can see her in my mind’s eye, small and sturdy with her face full of reverent awe, her golden curls contrasting with her velvety dark skin, her horns forming a delicate coronet.

I wish I could visit her mountain meadowland and play tag with her!

Tales of Erana is one of the fourteen titles in the Mythic Tales bundle. So if you share my yen to visit little Mira . . . well, you can’t visit her, of course, but you can read the legend of Treyna as her grandmother tells it to her. 😀

To pique your interest yet further, Alex has interviewed the protagonist of “The Moon on the Water” (another story in Tales of Erana). Acionna is a goddess born of rock and running water and snow.

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in the Jagged Peak mountains, they are in the world called Erana by those who live there. I am in a book? I know of books and lore. Then am I not real? – I feel real, and the mountains around me seem real. Is it, perhaps, that I am real here, and you are the myth, you are the imaginary?

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I am an ancient elemental, a Goddess to some. Born of the mountain, and the pounding waterfalls when the world was young and the magic free. It was so long past I could not tell you how many years or centuries of your time. Once there were many of my kind – creatures of magic and wild places but the magic was chased away, corrupted and sickened and many of us fell, or hid, or faded. Now I am a myth, a legend told around the fire and a drop of blood here and there in lineages old and noble. The Plague came and everything changed. The land changed, the magic changed.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

I have had my adventures, I have warred, and lost all save myself. I have walked the mountain paths and fought with monsters and men who would seek to kill every last trace of magic. Why should I wish to adventure again?

If I were to consent I would bring you elemental magic, of the oldest sort. The Power of the elementals, the Power of nature and the furious waters and mighty peaks.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?

I have none. My mate is long dead, now nothing but a statue and even I cannot undo the curse. My daughter is gone, fallen to wicked magic and I walk these peaks alone. Sometimes the trolls come and bring offerings but they see me not. For I know now that mortals and immortals should not mix.

For Acionna’s views on the future, the past, heroism, and her most grievous mistake, I urge you to visit Alex’s website, where the whole interview is present. Here’s the link:

Library of Erana

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually for about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd character interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day



Character Interview: Fae of Caught in Amber

The Mythic Tales bundle includes fourteen titles:
    • 8 novels
    • 1 novella
    • 4 short story collections, and
    • 1 short story

Thus far, I’ve read Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp, A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter, Tempus by Janet Morris, Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis, and Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt, and enjoyed each very much.

Of course, my own Caught in Amber is one of the novels in the bundle. For those of you who haven’t read Amber yet, here’s a little bit about it:

When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Beauty from all the ages graces the castle – medieval towers, renaissance columns, and gothic vaults – but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae hates the loneliness and the sense of hidden malice oppressing her. Even more, she hates the feeling that just around some receding corner of lost memory lies the answer to her predicament – an answer just out of reach.

An answer essential to surviving this castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key.

A mythic tale of family and betrayal told with all the twists and moments of sheer joy that epic fantasy allows.

The curator of the Mythic Tales bundle, Alex Butcher (byline A. L. Butcher), has been presenting interviews on her website, both of the bundle’s contributing authors and of the characters who appear in the stories. Just a few days ago, she featured a Q&A with Fae, the heroine of Caught in Amber.

I think you might find Fae’s thoughts (outside the covers of her book) to be interesting. Here are the first few of her answers to Alex’s questions…

What is your name?

Oh, I wish I could remember my name! I wish I could remember anything. I feel so . . . lost, knowing nothing of who I am, where I come from. Yesterday, when I was pretending to be brave, I gave myself a name. It feels right, but it might not be right. How could it, when I remember nothing? But . . . I’m Fae (she raises her chin) and I’m going to pretend to be brave again. I have to.

Which book/world do you live in?

I seem to be trapped in a castle. It’s very beautiful, with marble halls and tall windows looking onto flowering summer gardens. But it’s utterly deserted; I’m all alone and locked in! None of the doors to the outside seem to even have functioning latches and hinges. And when I tried to break a window with a paperweight, it bounced off!

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

When I look in the mirror, I look human. But something tells me I might not be. Oh, I’m not anything truly strange, like the creatures in fairy tales or the monsters in myths and legends. Yesterday I thought I might be the granddaughter of a goddess, but that’s not it either. I’m trying to figure it out, because I think that if I can only remember something, that’s the key to escaping this castle and finding . . . home? Oh, I wish I could go home, wherever home is! (She raises her chin again.) But I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out. I won’t give up.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

Adventurers . . . (Her tone is musing.) I always thought they were ne’er-do-wells, the black sheep of their families. But sometimes they’re soldiers of fortune, aren’t they? I wonder if a soldier—a warrior—could help me? I don’t think so. This castle, this situation, is a puzzle, not a battle. And I’m going to solve it. (She sighs.) But I wish someone were here. Besides me. It’s so lonely. I miss my friends, even though I can’t remember who they are. Oh, I hate this!

I don’t want to steal Alex’s thunder, so I’m not going to reproduce the entire interview here. Instead I urge you to visit Alex’s website to learn Fae’s views on heroism, failure, love, and more. Here’s the link:

Library of Erana

Bundles remain available for a short time only, usually for about 6 weeks, sometimes a bit longer.

The Mythic Tales bundle is now gone, but the stories that were in it remain available separately. A few are so good that each was worth the price of the bundle all on its own.

I urge you to check out the individual titles with an eye to purchasing the ones that particularly appeal to you.

For reviews of the stories and novels from the Mythic Tales bundle
(plus the odd author interview), see:

Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

For more about Caught in Amber, see:
A Castle That Might be Amber
Amber’s Inspiration
Amber’s Suns



Character Interview: Lorelin

photo of Italian hill townAcross a sennight, Lorelin Ingesdotter welcomed three interviewers to the stucco rowhouse that is her home in the capital city of the Empire of Giralliya.

A crier for the Bazinthiad Bulletin – writing a piece on the new clinics jointly funded by the Ministries of Incantors and Antiphoners – wanted to know all about Lorelin’s role in the research on troll-disease.

The imperial scribe proclaimed a similar interest, but in service to scholarship rather than news. “Emperador Zaiger exhorts me to record the details scrupulously,” he explained. “Our times present a cusp of history. Great events hinge upon the discoveries in the Old Armory under Gabris and Panos.”

The third questioner was the only one interested in Lorelin herself. She preferred his predecessors: her research under Gabris fascinates her, and she would happily describe it to a dozen inquirers. But she received the secretary to the Famille de la Royaume civilly, warming to his curiosity once she perceived his interest to be genuine.

His position as historian for the deposed ruling family of Pavelle obliged him to seek out and write down the fate of Prince Kellor. His passion for the history of the annexed principality was all his own. And he wanted more than the surface story. Who was Lorelin deep down? How had her essential nature brought her to chose an abdicated royal as her life companion?

Sipping ginger punch, while seated on a cushioned divan in Lorelin’s parlor, he conversed with her.

Secretary: What was your first reaction upon meeting Kellor Gide de la Royaume?

Lorelin: Goodness! I expected one of the Eransdotter sisters with a kettle of soup. When I opened our front door, I thought I was gripped by a fever dream, of course.

Secretary (puzzled, then his face clears): Ah! Milady, you mistake. I meant your introduction to the crown prince in your childhood, rather than the renewal of your acquaintance with him when you were both grown.

Lorelin (laughing): Of course. He was living in cognito then; I’d no notion of his rank and proper station. And he was the first friend to share my love of nature so thoroughly. We used to get so grubby, searching through the woods for fox spoor and gryphon prints. (renewed laughter) But Motter never complained when I returned home covered in mud. (thoughtful pause) Gide and I gazed out at the world together, and sometimes it seemed he saw through my eyes, so alike were our thoughts and feelings. (reminiscent smile) We grew close.

Secretary: Why did you bring your sister with you to the underground palace inhabited by Prince Kellor while he suffered under the curse?

Lorelin: I didn’t. Irisa invited herself, and I tried to talk her out of it. (pause for reflection) I’m glad she was stubborn.

Secretary: What were your dreams for yourself before you committed to lifting Prince Kellor’s curse? And how did they change as a result of your sojourn in the cavern palace?

The flute magicianLorelin (lightly): Oh, I wanted to play flute in a quartet of musicians in Ringestad. (capital of Silmaren, Lorelin’s homeland) But I hadn’t the faintest notion of how to go about it. I learned so much in Kellor’s Lainkath. If things had gone differently, if I’d managed to stay the full year and a day, I’d have gained the confidence to try for that quartet. But I didn’t. And I learned that adding Kellor’s dreams to my own made life so much richer. I never dreamed I’d be here in Bazinthiad, and it’s fabulous.

Secretary: You are happy in your marriage?

Lorelin: (blushing, nods)

Secretary: How might you have felt if living with the Dowager Princess Mandine were required?

Lorelin (softly): I never met Mandine, only her sad remnant, eroded by years of illness.

Secretary: Were the principality of Pavelle to regain its independence, with its sovereign rule restored, would you urge Prince Kellor to resume his throne?

Lorelin (shocked): That’s treason you’re speaking. And Kellor no longer bears that title. (stern glance) But no. (firmly) Neither of us likes governance and politics. Ugh!

Secretary: Beg pardon, milady.

Lorelin (inclining her head): Very well. (pausing) I wish you wouldn’t call me that!

Secretary: It is your ladyship’s proper title.

Lorelin: But I’m used to Froiken Ingesdotter.

Secretary: Even in Silamren, you would be Dame Ingesdotter now.

Lorelin (acquiesing): True.

Secretary (uneasily): I have another difficult question, milady.

Lorelin: A treasonous question?

Secretary: No. Personal.

Lorelin (smile peeping): I don’t promise to answer.

photo of a 4-posterSecretary: Were you . . . known (turning beet red) . . . by the prince before your marriage?

Lorelin: Oh! No wonder you worried about asking that one. I wouldn’t answer, except that the answer is no. Kellor was entirely a gentleman, despite slumbering in my bed.

Secretary: There were rumors that the curse required . . .

Lorelin (crisply): It didn’t. Although I gather Kellor worried about that when he was most muddled.

Secretary: No offense intended, milady.

Lorelin: None taken.

Secretary: In your own words, would you relate the whole story?

Lorelin: It will take some time. (she’d been expecting this)

Secretary: My time is yours to command.

Lorelin (smiling): Very well.

(Extended portion of dialog omitted. Grin! Surely you didn’t want me to inflict paragraphs of spoilers on you, when you haven’t yet read the book? Although I do apologize for skating perilously close to the secrets in Troll-magic with my transcription of this interview. And if you have read it . . . well, you know!)

fragment of book cover illustration for East of the Sun and West of the MoonSecretary: What is the one piece of advice you’d bestow on readers of this history?

Lorelin (thoughtfully): Dream big, and then do the next right thing, even if it’s very small. Sometimes the narrowest of openings is all that’s required for a gift of life to pass through. And even if you don’t arrive where you’ve aimed, your destiny may be even more marvelous. (eyes shining) Mine is.

For more about the world of Troll-magic, see:
Behind Troll-magic
Who’s Who in Troll-magic
Families in Troll-magic
Bazinthiad’s Fashions
Bazinthiad, A Quick Tour of the City
Magic in the North-lands
Magic in Silmaren
Radices and Arcs
Mandine’s Curse
The Suppressed Verses
The Accidental Herbalist
What Happened to Bazel?