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Medieval Musings: August  24, 2019

"Impossible to put down. Have read the whole series so far, going straight from one to the next."-Calli

In this week's Medieval Musings:
  • Cover Reveal: Ashes
  • Pre-Order Ashes
  • History of Meceria - Part V
  • Orc's of the Continent
  • Work in Progress Update
  • Author Spotlight & Book Giveaways

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Ashes: Book One, The Frozen Flame Series

She is on the run from her family, while he desperately hunts for his!

To Natalia, there is no choice.

Trained as a battlemage by the family, she has the potential to be the most powerful spellcaster they have ever produced.

But their price is too high; her freedom!


Athgar's future is pre-ordained.

Follow in his father's footsteps and marry the girl chosen for him.

All that changes the day his village is burned to the ground, leaving him on the brink of death!


While one wants only to disappear, the other is determined to uncover secrets that must remain hidden.

Together, they expose a plot that is woven into the very fabric of their lives.

After all this, will it be his unrelenting thirst for vengeance that puts her life in peril?


Discover a land infused with magic and mystery as Paul J Bennett's newest series, The Frozen Flame, begins in this first book, Ashes.

Curl up with your copy of Ashes, and enjoy a spellbinding tale today!


Pre-order today on Amazon.
Coming soon on Kobo, Nook, Google Play, and Apple Books
History of Merceria: Part V

Tensions in the West

When their expansion halted in the north, the attention of the realm fell to their western border. Weldwyn (Westland) had always been mistrusted and, in 570, content that their army was superior, Merceria launched an invasion across the river. Expecting a quick victory, they were shocked to learn that, in their absence, the kingdom of Weldwyn had been building its own forces.

At first, the Mercerians crossed the river at Kingsford and attacked Aldgrave, burning it to the ground. The Weldwyn army withdrew to await reinforcements, using a defensive strategy that drew the enemy forward to the Obsidian Hills where they made their defensive stand. The invaders, sensing an easy victory, advance quickly, spreading their army out on the march, leaving themselves open to attack.

Mirstone, which until this time had been an independent Dwarven community, sided with the Weldwyners, giving the defenders the numbers they needed to overwhelm the attackers. With their victory complete, they routed the Mercerian army, killing its marshal-general.

The Mercerians had no choice but to withdraw back across the border, but the Weldwyn army followed, sieging the city in 571. The siege continued for three months until the winter came, driving the westerners back across the river. An uneasy peace followed though nothing official was negotiated, both sides simply left each other alone.

The Orcs of the Continent

The Orcs that inhabit the continent are organized into regional clans, similar to that of those that live in and around Merceria. Of particular interest are the Orcs of the Red Hand, a tribe that lives in an autonomous region on the borders of the Duchies of Holstead and Krieghoff, in the village of Ord-Kurgad.

They derive their name from their practice of dyeing their hands red to signify their connection to fire. Shamans within the tribe tend to fall into one of two categories, Life and Fire. Life Mages are usually referred to as shamans and, in addition to being able to heal, often have mastered the art of communicating with spirits. It is their connection to their ancestors in this manner that makes them so valuable to the tribe.

Fire Mages, however, are often called masters of flame,  thus differentiating them from the Life Mages. In Orc society, there is little difference between the sexes, in terms of position and influence, though the gender-specific terms of Shamaness and Mistress of Flame are used as honorifics.

Orc shamans, of both types, typically train apprentices to take their place. It is not uncommon for some tribes to have two or three Life Mages, along with six or seven apprentices. All shamans, regardless of their school of magic, must remain neutral in tribe votes. In addition to their magic, they act as arbitrators to settle disputes and host many of the ceremonies the Orcs carry out.

Their society is remarkably democratic, with all adult Orcs voting on important matters, which is done by ‘the counting of the stones.’ After debating an action, a bowl or other container is passed around the fire. Each Orc will either place a stone within, signifying their agreement with the motion, or refrain from dropping one in if they oppose. Once the container is returned to the head shaman, the stones are counted, and if the count is higher than half the Orcs present, the motion passes.

Orc chieftains are elected in the same way, though if there are more than two candidates, there may be multiple rounds of votes to eliminate contenders. A chieftain is typically chosen for life, though they will usually resign when no longer able to carry on their duties. In the rare case of an unpopular leader, a special vote can be called by the tribe to oust the unwanted chief.

There is much more to the Orcs that I can write in this article. The great news is that they play an important role in my latest book, Ashes, which is now available for pre-order!

Work in Progress Update

I’m getting toward the end of The Making of a Man now, and I must say things have taken an interesting turn. It appears that Lord Richard Fitzwilliam has finally stood up to his father, a cold, overbearing man. Sometimes the characters just seem to write themselves.

As I write this, Ashes is going into pre-order and is available on Amazon, with the other stores soon to follow.

Meanwhile, Burden of the Crown is almost finished with our BETA readers and should be available for pre-order by the end of the month.

What’s next, you might ask? I’ve already done a detailed outline for Embers, the second book in The Frozen Flame series, as well as a mostly complete outline for Defender of the Crown, the next Heir to the Crown book. I still have some subplots to develop for this one, but it’s shaping up nicely. I’m also looking at detailing out Fury of the Crown since the events of Defender will have a profound effect on the future of Merceria.

Until next time, Happy Reading! 

Author Spotlight!

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases. These authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

Dragonblood Throne: Orphaned as a young child and growing up alone in the forest, Delina lives a life of isolation; her only companion a saber-toothed panther. Her strange eyes frighten those she occasionally encounters, so she keeps to herself, until a young, wounded warrior ends up at her doorstep...

Iron: Kalima, an Earth-colony world with little iron ore and no fossil fuels, is entrenched in a peaceful feudal society. The Jundom of Mamalakah is ruled by the ambitious Hanna Zah-Hill, wife of the Jun First. Deep in debt, she wants technological progress. But Mistress Li, leader of the Xintou House...

The King's Trial: In a land where stories of the Shadow Demon keep children shivering in bed and tales of the Yorel bring hope to the commoner, Yosyph is both the reason for their fear and their hope. By day Yosyph appears nothing more than a mute tavern-hand. By night he plans a revolution...

Betrayal's Price: Enemies by nature. Companions by choice. Warrior-Scout Ashayna Stonemantle has no awareness of her fate until her sentient magic manipulates her into seeking out one of the enemy—Sorntar, Crown Prince of the Phoenix. If she dare trust the word of an enemy prince who is ...

Book Giveaways!

While you wait for the release of my next book, here are some great stories for your TBR pile!

- New Pre-Orders
- History of Merceria- Part VI
- Who are the Saints?

-Gamer's Corner
-What are some of my favourite movies?
-More Contests

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Happy reading from Paul J Bennett,
Author of Epic Fantasy in the Land of Merceria and beyond!

Medieval Musings: A Paul J Bennett Newsletter

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