Updates 7-31-18

Sorry folks, I know I’ve been pretty quiet for a while.  Studying the CPA exam really kicked my rear end, but I succeeded in passing it, and now I should have a lot more time to concentrate on writing and interacting.

Book VIII was release on July 1st, and Book IX is in progress and due out on Dec 1st, 2018.  This one, “Gods and Kings,” will finally see the Temple of Archons opened; the Redemption is at hand, and then the series will march to its inevitable conclusion.  Hold onto your hats, the ride’s only going to get wilder.

In other news, I have a short story about Kari’s prior life in an anthology called Beyond the Deepwoods.  It takes a look at Kari’s first meeting with Ashurinax the Black, the dragon she mentions in Salvation’s Dawn.  The anthology has a number of really good short stories in it, including “The Lunar Clash” which is one of the most beautiful short fantasy stories I’ve ever read.

I am also working on a “Grimdark” short story to be featured in another anthology, and I will keep you updated on that as it progresses.  And here on this site, I’ll be adding “character profiles” about the Silver Blades and their allies in a semi-D&D format. 🙂

Til later,

–Shoeless

Heroes of Citaria: Turik Jalar

Largely considered the greatest of heroes in Citaria’s history, Turik Jalar came from humble beginnings but became a legend among men.  Many speculate that a terrible twist of fate must have ignited the fire that drove Turik Jalar to become the greatest hunter in the Order’s history.  The tale history tells, however, is far less glamorous.

Born the fourth son of farmers in the heartlands west of Gnarr, Turik was brought up under the simple but strict code of honor borne of a life of hard work and family.  No bandits, vicious creatures, or demons ransacked his family’s farm, leading him to go out in search of vengeance.  Instead, it was the infrequent visits of demonhunters that began to pique the young man’s curiosity as he entered his teenage years.  Each time his family hosted hunters on their way to or from the south, Turik would prod them for stories of glory and honor.

To his surprise, the hunters rarely had such stories to share.  Theirs were stories of hardship, of long weeks on the road, of deadly fights protecting the common people from the minions of the Devil Queen.  What Turik saw as glorious stories, the men and women who told them saw quite differently.  Nevertheless, the young man saw these people as heroes, and was certain their efforts were the reason his family’s farm had long remained safe from attack.

Upon turning fourteen, Turik made the decision to tell his father he wanted to go join the Demonhunter Order.  It would still be some years before he would be admitted to the academy, but he wanted to be certain his parents accepted the decision before he moved on.  As is typical among such families, they lamented that he didn’t want to stay and work the land the family owned, but his father, August, fully supported his decision.

And so, when Turik was on the verge of turning seventeen, he traveled to DarkWind with a merchant caravan.  Well-built from a life of toil and possessing a sharp mind and staunch moral code, Turik Jalar was welcomed into the Order’s academy.  He took to using a great, two-handed axe, something that was generally discouraged among the ranks of the Order, but he persisted.  As his prowess continued to build, his mentors found less and less cause to question his choice.

Many speculate on whether Turik Jalar and Karian Vanador, who went to the academy at the same time, ever knew each other or became friends.  What the records indicate is that while they were contemporaries, Turik Jalar was two years Kari’s senior, and they had no notable interactions.  While Turik would later mourn the loss of Kari when she succumbed to Dracon’s Bane, there was never any indication that they actually knew each other personally or were friends.

After graduation, Turik Jalar’s career took off.  Much to the surprise of his instructors, Turik turned out to be quite an intimidating character, striding around DarkWind with his great decapitator on his back, and it didn’t take long for the authorities to notice crime dipped any time he was on patrol.  Though he often required being cautioned for his zeal by the Order, Turik took his post seriously, and completed his probationary period as an Initiate in a short six months.

During his probationary period, Turik became acquainted with a treasure hunter named Mari Jacques, who often shared tales of her exploits over an after-work drink with the young hunter.  He found himself enamored with her tales, though not because of the money, but rather because of the things they hunted.  Stories of bandits, undead, dragons, demons, and worse caught his interest and opened his eyes to the wider world of trouble out there.  As someone primarily educated to go and hunt serilian demons and the occasional underworld invader, Turik realized the potential to do so much more.

Once his probationary period was complete, Turik set out with Mari and her companions, assuring his masters that he would gently guide the group toward accomplishing some of the Order’s aims, even if unknowingly.  And so it was that he initially took over their planning, and then gradually became the group’s leader.  While there are no formal records of their accomplishments, and Turik was ever tight-lipped about his glories, bits and pieces have surfaced over the years from stories, letters, and diary entries left behind by his companions.

Most amazing – which is saying something when considers he’s rumored to have scared off dragons, killed hundreds of bandits and brigands, and amassed a death count of serilian demons that numbered in the thousands – were the mentions of their trips to Mehr’Durillia, more commonly called the underworld.  While Turik was still a young hunter when they first ventured there pursuing a bounty, he managed to befriend some of the mortals living in its central city of Anthraxis, the very home of the king of all demons, called the Overking.

This eventually led to Turik Jalar’s greatest and most talked-about feat.  Before that, though, he continued to lead an amazing career, racking up victories over all manner of miscreants and monsters from one end of Askies to the other.  While there was never any formal “competition” between he and Karian Vanador, their respective careers were followed closely by many within and without the Order, and they became legendary even during their lifetimes.  Turik became a master with the greataxe despite his headmaster’s early protests against using such a weapon, and when he eventually ascended to the rank of Avatar of Vengeance, the decapitator only added to the terror of the title itself.

Once he became Zalkar’s right hand, shortly before Karian Vanador’s untimely death, he made another of his visits to his friends in Anthraxis.  Finding that they had been imprisoned by the Overking, presumably for being friends with the high-ranking demonhunter, Turik walked into the Overking’s palace during the council session, and proceeded to jump clear over the railing and down onto the demon kings’ long meeting table while they were eating dinner.

Normally, such an act of defiance (or stupidity, depending on how one looks at it) would have meant immediate execution, but being Zalkar’s “avatar,” Turik Jalar received an unprecedented bit of leeway.  Walking down the table to the shocked stares of the subordinate kings, he stood tall before the Overking and stared the demon down for what is said to have been some time.  The only movement by either was Turik avoiding having his foot stabbed by King Koursturaux – allegedly because his foot had strayed too close to her dinner plate, according to Mari Jacques’ account.

There is some debate to whether Turik Jalar threw down a literal list of demands or if he simply gave one verbally.  Even his companions remained unsure, looking back on the incident years later.  Whichever the case, he left the Overking with a dire warning: leave his friends and his world alone, or suffer the consequences.  Normally, a single mortal making such a threat against a demon king would draw naught but laughter – and indeed, the incident has since been deemed “Jalar’s Folly” by the demon kings – but his status as Avatar of Vengeance held some weight with the kings, and he walked away from the encounter without harm.

Mari Jacques’ account says he blew King Koursturaux a kiss on his way out, though even his staunchest fans remain skeptical of this.

Not much is known of Turik’s personal life, though he did take a wife and have several children.  He kept his family and his personal life private and well hidden from the eyes of men and demons alike, allowing his sons to grow up to become some of the most renowned paladins of their day.  It was his eldest, Josiah, who founded the Avenger Order, a small company of paladins who try to coordinate their efforts across the lands.

His other adventures remain the stuff of legend, though it is rumored that there were dark days during Turik’s reign as Avatar.  It is understood, even if the details remain sparse, that he was Avatar when the seterra-rir genocide took place.  What part he played in that remains a mystery to this day.

Turik Jalar’s final act was one only Zalkar himself can claim to have accomplished: to die of old age as the Avatar of Vengeance.

“The strength of a demonhunter lies not in their sword arm, but in their allies.” –Turik Jalar