I've been invited to introduce one of my characters by Paula Lofting.
I would like to introduce you to the fictional Commander Rendroc Kaziviere. When he first appeared before me on the page he seemed a predictable baddie, but he told me more about himself and I gradually began to respect and then like him. He is one of the main protagonists in my Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow fantasy series. His is an alternative world where creatures fantastical and prehistoric live beside modern animals and where magic is real. The technology of the time is of the late medieval to Renaissance period, but with a twist. Alongside armies with pike and matchlock muskets, naval ships are powered by huge clockwork engines. it’s a bit similar to the genre “steampunk” , but I prefer the term “clockpunk” to describe this world!
I first introduced Kaziviere in my debut The Sun Shard, he is a commander in the Taleeli Empire; the power that holds sway over The Summerlands. The Summerlands were an area peopled tribes of men and Flint Folk (Neanderthals). For centuries these peoples had shared the Summerlands and resisted the incursions of the Taleeli’s - a warlike people from the Island of Cyria to the south. The Summerlanders successfully remained independent until the Empire discovered their “black powder alchemy” and inflicted a terrible defeat upon them some two and a half centuries previously. The victors had actively exiled the Flint Folk (whose religion and magic the Taleeli's despised), driving them over the Hailthorn Mountains to the cold lands in the far north . The Empire was now looking to embark on a campaign far overseas to the south and uses its Northern Holdings (the Summerlands) as a source of wealth, materials and levies for its armies and fleets. War between Taleel and its rival, the age old empire of Acaross to the east, is almost a certainty.
The Sun Shard followed the story of newly recruited levies who found themselves under the command of Kaziviere. Kaziviere is first seen as a handsome yet cruel and aloof man. He looks down upon the Summerlands and its peoples and is keen for his tour in the Northern Holdings to end so he can return south to proper soldiering. He kills a captured Flinter priest and cuts the tongue out of a levy who dared question him and threaten mutiny. However during a skirmish and later on in exposing treason we find that Kaziviere is a very capable commander with a profound sense of honour and responsibility to those he commands. Unwittingly he has been used as tool of this treason, which causes him to question his self righteousness and beliefs. During a battle on the streets of the provincial capital Kaziviere’s life is saved by two of his Summerlander levies, including the one who’s tongue he removed. Without realising it, he becomes highly protective of the Summerlands and its peoples, as without their help, and loyalty to him personally, the treachery would have prevailed. He falls in love with the northern woman, Tamzine, who aided him. Her love helps him come to terms with the changing situation, but in his heart he carries a heavy burden of guilt over the cruelty he once casually dispensed to those he once thought below him.
In a final showdown it is only the love he carries for Tamzine that proves to be a stronger magic than that which threatens to consume all around him. He casts down the living god of Acaross - the Messiah of Shadows - into the well of souls (a magical portal) but in doing so is transported far from the Summerlands.
There's is much more of course and that can be found within the pages of The Sun Shard.
In my sequel - The Dead Gods - several threads take the story further; as the war clouds are gathering an expedition is launched to try to find out where Kaziviere has gone. We find Kaziviere alone, with only vague memories of what he once was, on the far fringes of the empire of Acaross, enslaved and now fighting for his survival in a gladiatorial ring. It is only the vague memory of Tamzine, who's name has now become his word of power, that keeps him alive. His memory gradually returns and he learns more of the nature of, his now mortal enemy, the Messiah of Shadows. He must find a way back; to warn Taleel of the forces they face, to help his new found friend and fellow slave, Nurarna, and of course to be reunited with Tamzine.
The Dead Gods is currently being edited and will hopefully be released this summer. Some excerpts, background information and concept art can be found at my Facebook author page: Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow