Author Guest Post: Andy Peloquin
Throwback Thursday! We revisit a author post from 2016.
Today’s book offers us a faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past. The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (The Last Bucelarii–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)
Lament of the Fallen
The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen
The Hunter of Voramis is no more.
Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.
When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.
Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.
From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter’s journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.
Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…
“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates — http://peterjstory.com/
“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut
He filled his lungs with the fresh night air. The taste of smoke mixed with the earthy scent of loam. The warmth of the fire soothed and relaxed him, the hypnotic rhythm of the dancing flames calming his mind. The fatigue of the day washed over him, and he allowed his eyelids to droop.
The visions came then; memories leapt out at him.
Within the bright depths of the flames, he saw the hell he had glimpsed in the Serenii tunnels. Lord Jahel’s face appeared in the fire, laughing, mocking. Bone and skin morphed into the faces of Lord Cyrannius and the First of the Bloody Hand. Shuddering waves of flesh and gristle writhed, shifting, transforming.
Demons roam Einan once more. People treat them as myth and legend, but I know the truth.
The Hunter retreated deeper into his blankets, his sword clutched to his chest. He told himself it was out of habit rather than fear.
He had left Voramis behind, not only to find the truth of the woman whose face plagued him, but to discover the truth of the demons. Curiosity drove him to learn of his past, and his own heritage as a Bucelarii—descendant of the Abiarazi horde.
The demon added its voice to the swirling maelstrom in the Hunter’s mind. ‘He disowns his blood, all to play the hero, the protector.’
The Hunter was too tired to fight it off.
I’m no hero. If it was up to me, they’d all rot.
He had no desire to save the world. He had no reason to save humans from themselves.
A vision of horror flashed through his mind. Creatures of nightmares seized a screaming child, tearing at pale skin with razor-tipped claws. Blood splashed across chitinous armor as the demons ripped the child apart in their haste to devour the flesh.
The girl bore Farida’s face. She lay bloody, mangled, discarded like refuse, gasping her last agonizing breaths.
Oh, child. I am so sorry.
He wished he could scrub the memory from his mind forever. With it gone, the sorrow would leave. He needed no reminder that he was once again alone.
He turned his back on the fire and buried his face in his cloak.
He could turn his back on those who had feared and hated him, yet he had not the strength to hide his face from the suffering of innocents. People like Old Nan, Ellinor, Little Arlo. They would suffer most should the Abiarazi find their way into the world once more.
The demon whispered in his mind. ‘Why must you protect them? You are not one of them, after all. You are Bucelarii.’
They do not deserve such suffering.
He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back against the demon’s voice.
I’m doing this for them.
He pictured Farida the way he had seen her that day in the Temple District, with that same bright smile. She was happy. That was what mattered, and that was what he would remember.
I’m doing this for her.
A rough hand shook the Hunter from sleep. Instinct kicked in. Seizing his assailant, he pressed his sword to the man’s throat.
Visibos’s eyes flew wide and he held up his hands. “Easy, Hardwell. Just waking you for your turn at watch.”
The Hunter nodded and lowered the sword.
Visibos shook his head. Rubbing red-rimmed eyes, he stumbled toward his blankets with a yawn. Within seconds, the low rumble of his snores floated around the campsite.
Darkness hung on the campsite like a thick blanket. Only glowing embers remained of the fire, but the Hunter made no effort to rebuild it. He preferred shadow. Unseen, he could watch both the forest and his new traveling companions.
He filled his lungs with the fresh, clean night air and rolled his neck and shoulders to work out the kinks of sleeping on the forest floor. His blankets, while thick and warm, provided little cushion against the hardness of the earth beneath him.
Slinging his baldric over his shoulder, he buckled on his sword. A quick inspection of his saddlebags revealed nothing out of place. He ran a hand across the smooth surface of the iron-lined box. Soulhunger’s voice pounded in his mind, pleading to feed. A twinge of pain settled behind his eyes.
The Hunter savored the scents of the forest around him. The smoke from their dying campfire hung heavy in the air, and beneath it, he smelled muted hints of plant and animal life. A cool breeze rolled past, carrying with it the scent of decaying leaves, pine sap, and a sweet-scented flower he couldn’t identify.
The Hunter wrapped his cloak tighter about himself as the chill of the early morning wind sent a shiver down his spine. The crook of a large tree offered him a comfortable place to sit his watch, as well as protection from the occasional gust. He leaned against the thick trunk, curling his legs to his chest. The shrouds of his dark cloak hid him from his companions, and he was all but invisible beneath the forest canopy.
His eyes roamed over the sleeping forms of his traveling companions. Only the red tresses of Sir Danna’s hair were visible, her thick bedroll swaddling the rest of her in a snug bundle. Loud snores rose from the lump he knew to be Visibos.
The demon’s intensity startled the Hunter. The creature filled his mind with images of Soulhunger drinking deep of the knight’s heart-blood. His sword sliced into Visibos’ neck, spraying crimson.
No! The Hunter shook his head, endeavoring to shake loose the gory thoughts. His fingers traced the scar on his chest. I will not harm them.
‘Leave them alive, and they will discover your lie. You are no more Hardwell of Praamis than you are Danther the tailor or Lord Anglion the Foolish.’
Rubbing his eyes, the Hunter tried to calm the pounding in his head.
How could they know? They have no way to uncover the truth. No, they are no threat to me.
‘Foolish Bucelarii! How little you know. The humans you protect will be your undoing.’
The Hunter closed his eyes, massaging his temples.
Why will you not leave me alone?
He was so tired of hearing that voice in his head. He wanted freedom from that voice. He needed peace.
‘You know what you must do.’
Don’t miss out on the first book in the series:
The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer
The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.
When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?
Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious
I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.
Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!
If you would like to know even more about Andy, here are some fun facts he sent me:
A Few of My Favorite Things
Favorite Books: The Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch, The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson, Sherlock Holmes by A.C. Doyle, Warlord of Mars by E.R. Burroughs
Favorite Songs: Wrong Side of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch, Prayer by Disturbed, I’m an Albatraoz by AronChupa, Look Down from Les Miserables, Shatter Me by Lindsay Sterling and Lizzi Hale
Favorite Movies: 300, Red Cliff, Shoot Em Up, Love Actually, Princess Bride
Favorite Comics: Anything with Deadpool, Wolverine or Doop in it
Favorite Foods: Hot Wings, Meat-Lover’s Salad, A good sandwich (made by me), Yaki Soba, Sushi
Favorite TV Shows: The Flash, Daredevil, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawaii Five-0, Brooklyn 99, Firefly (too soon!), The Last Ship, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones