Where Shadows Fall
Struggling to survive the deepest of betrayals, the Rangers face a dark and foreboding time, as the world of Hir changes dramatically around them.
Best Book Bit:
The small town of Timfrid, northwest of Laerean, was just a little farming community, less than three hundred people. As the sun reached its highest point, shining down on the tiny village, the people were getting ready for their noon-time meal. Work in the fields had stopped for a well-earned break from the toils of the day as many gathered in the central square to rest for a while and eat.
Being late in the Spring, most planting had been accomplished, and tending the fields now consisted mostly of watering and weed removal. The people of Timfrid were simple folk, friendly to strangers and not much involved in the affairs of the larger towns or cities of the region. They had heard the news of Laerean and other places, but paid no mind. While they had seen Rangers from time to time in the past, there had been no assassin attacks or murders within their quiet community. For them, life went on as usual.
They sat and ate, scattered around the central square of their small hamlet into family groups or workers of the same field conversing with one another and relaxing in the warm sun, or under a shade tree. One of the field hands noticed something and alerted those near him.
“Listen,” he said. “The birds have stopped singing.”
Others that heard him stopped eating or talking and tilted their heads, confirming that he was right. All the sounds of nature around them had stilled.
Suddenly there was a scream from a young girl and all looked toward her. She was pointing at a strange dark spot on the ground, a small circle of gloom. Many looked up, trying to see what was causing this phenomenon, but saw nothing that would cast such a shadow. Also, the small circle was growing, larger and larger. The darkness of the circle seemed more than just a shadow, and seemed to radiate an evil aura from its presence.
Many people began to move, to get away from the shadow, fearful of the darkness and sense of evil, but it grew even faster, even larger. Soon the circular darkness was as big as a house, and still growing as many struggled to stay away from the black shroud.
“Up there!” someone shouted, and all looked to the sky. They could now see the cause of this odd anomaly; a small, black disc hung in the sky above the tiny town. It was growing larger and larger and the shadow grew with it. People began grabbing up their things and heading home, running from the growing black circle as it covered the entire town. Only a few remained in the square, trying to see what was happening.
The black circlet in the sky was now huge and the shadow it cast, blocking the brightness of the noon-day sun, fell over the entire village, every home and every building. Timfrid was swallowed up by the dark, evil eclipse. The few in the square saw movement and realized they were looking at a massive portal and something was on the other side, coming through.
As the frightened villagers watched, the shadow and flame vision of Doomrage began to appear, as if he were climbing through a hole in the sky. Within moments he was above the town, giant wings flapping with swift and thunderous beats as his eyes of swirling fire gazed upon the frightened village below him. Any whose courage or curiosity had bid them remain in the square were now racing with panic-fueled terror for the shelter of their homes.
With no warning, Doomrage opened his huge, fire filled mouth and a jet of white-hot flame shot forth, blasting into the town with such force that several buildings and homes were simply blown apart in an explosive roar of fire and destruction. Screams of burning men, women and children filled the air, mingled with the roaring of the fountain of flame that moved slowly across the town, catching every structure afire with flames leaping dozens of feet into the air.
In less than a minute, the sounds of screaming were stilled and the only sound that remained was the thundering roar and crackle of the flames. Doomrage flapped his gigantic wings as he headed back towards the portal hanging over the town, shouting two words before he vanished into dark recess. “Grom Nar!” he cried with a deep, booming voice, then disappeared as the portal shrunk swiftly and vanished.
The portal was now closed and the sun again shone brightly, but the blazing inferno continued to burn until there was nothing left but a pile of ash where the sleepy town of Timfrid and dozens of families had once thrived. The whirling trails of smoke from the remains swirled gently in the breeze of what was otherwise a beautiful spring day.
Where Shadows Fall, by Tom Fallwell, is the second book of the Rangers of Laeraen series, and as a sequel, is splendid. The stage was set nicely in the first book, and continues with the rise of evil forces, assassins able to disappear, and place the blame on the Rangers.The Rangers fight to regain their reputation as Protectors of the People, and Baric takes on a mission to destroy the sources of disruption of the entire land of Hir. No more plot. With a third book on the way, read the first and second and be ready for what will be a thrilling conclusion. For fantasy adventurers, you will have trouble putting a bookmark in Where Shadows Fall. With little interruptions, I finished it in three days. And now I have to wait to find out what happens. The pace is quick, the characters, old and new, are wonderful. So do yourself a favor and read this book.
Submitted by Michael R. Stern
The whole world suffers as the combined forces of evil shake the very foundations of the peoples of Hir. But there's hope. From the light comes help. Wonders come to meet Baric. His new quest to save and free Hir of the terrible threats is full of bravery, resilience and hope.
New allies join the rangers. New races join the human ranks. Lots of magic and unexpected twists bring pace to the adventures.
The second book of the Rangers of Laerean is the perfect continuation. The quest is a source of fun and the good message stays.
Bravery, sacrifice and love always wins.