Please join me in welcoming talented author Aldrea Alien to my blog. She is here today discussing the elves in her new Spellster series!
Book Title: In Pain and Blood (Spellster Series Book 1)
Author: Aldrea Alien
Publisher: Thardrandian Publications
Cover Artist: Aldrea Alien
Genre/s: Epic Fantasy M/M Romance
Length: 309000 words/740 pages
It’s a standalone story and first in a series of standalones.
It wasn’t meant to be like this.
Dylan’s life in the spellster tower has everything he should want: magical knowledge, safety from the King’s Hounds and frequent clandestine affairs with women. All at the cost of his freedom. So when the chance to leave the tower—even as a leashed weapon for the King’s Army—arises, he seizes it.
When his first scouting mission goes awry, Dylan is left alone in a hostile world with the tower a distant beacon of safety. Only the flirtatious Tracker, an elven man whose very presence awakens Dylan’s long-repressed desire, can help him return to his old life before the crown discovers his unleashed status.
But the risk of being branded a deserter may be the least of his concerns as whispers of an armed presence in the North threatens his home. Dylan must rely on Tracker to protect him even as everything he thought he knew begins to unravel around them.
The dagger was the first thing he saw. Curved and sharp. In the lantern-light peeking out from the street, the blade bore an insidious purple sheen.
Barely daring to breathe, he followed the blade down to the bronze hand and onwards to the elven man glaring up at him. “If you’re after money. I have none.”
The elf’s sharp eyes, in a shade that reminded Dylan of rich honey, narrowed. “Money?” The man sneered. “My dear spellster, do I look like I need your paltry coin?” He spoke with the vaguely similar smooth accent of his old roommate, Sulin. The words tumbled off his tongue much like rock down a hill, catching occasionally on a soft trill or hiss. Only those from Wintervale spoke in such a way.
“I don’t—” The man knew he was a spellster? That could become problematic if he also knew of a hound in the area. Dylan lifted his hands, careful to ensure his palms remained facing away from the elf. As well as sharing a similarity in accents as his old roommate, the man was quite tall for an elf. Not quite as much as Sulin, but the top of the man’s head easily reached the base of Dylan’s neck. “Look, I really don’t want to hurt you.”
The dagger flashed up with barely a twitch from the elf, the flat of the blade tapping Dylan on the lips. “No more talking. I have been looking all over this village for the spellster everyone says is here and now I have you.” The point returned to his throat. “Now lower your hands. I am sure it has occurred to you that attacking me will do you no good. You would be dead well before I.”
His gaze dropped to take in the man’s armour. Hard to tell in the watery light, but it looked well-made and leather. Not a common thief, then. A mercenary, perhaps? Something about the style nagged at him. He’d seen it before, as far back as the tower. Not on the guardians, but— The hound. Fetcher might have been human and a woman, but she’d worn the exact same armour. “You’re a hound,” he breathed, amazed he could say a word when it felt like his heart had relocated to his throat.
The man’s full lips twisted into a humourless smile. “How very astute of you. At least you are not entirely without your wits.”
“You have to help me.” Was it not a hound’s job to bring spellsters to the tower? Just like they’d done with Sulin and Launtil and countless others who’d been born outside the walls. And this elf would know the quickest route. “I need to get back to the tower.”
“So you admit you left.”
“Well, yes, but I was—” The minute change in the blade’s pressure against his throat stilled his tongue. The hounds will hunt you. His guardian’s words echoed in his ears. Safe in the tower, safe with a neck banded in metal, but venture outside without being leashed? Practically a death sentence. Any spellster rumoured to have fled the tower weren’t heard from again.
“The crown does not exactly take kindly to runaways.”
☆ 🧝♀️ Guest Post 🧝♂️ ☆
Elves in the Spellster Series
Thank you for giving me the chance to pop over onto your blog today. I love connecting with readers and talking about specific things in the story. One of those things is the prevalence of certain sentient species in my newest fantasy romance. There’s only the three types in the world In Pain and Blood is set in: humans, elves and dwarves. For this guest post, I’m going to hand this over to one of the characters from In Pain and Blood, Madam Katarina of Dvärghem, who will give a brief rundown on elves in the spellster series…
Elves are often defined throughout large chunks of the continent as poor, small, but beautiful, pointy-eared folk who are only fit to be exploited.
Little is known of the land from which they originated, even the natives of Heimat—people who are far removed from the Udynea Empire and their toxic environment—and those who still live according to the nomadic practice of their wandering forebears have fragments of their past.
Much of the tangible facts can be found in the Udynea Empire and their old slave records. These state that the elves arrived en masse in vast ships—vessels that, reputedly, carried several thousand each and were sadly dismantled on site for their wood—on the shores of what is now Obuzan.
Having first reached the shore of a land that freely exploits its own, much of the elven population wound up in slavery. Those who escaped, whether through the initial catch or later, fled to form Heimat. To this day, those who live there are suspicious to overtures made by outsiders, human or dwarf. They trade via the nomadic clans who wander between this elven country and the place of their original berth, wildly skirting the Udynean border in the process.
Whilst relations between human and elf are more common than between elf and dwarf—this being rather due to the spread of both races across the continent than any avoidance by either party—there is a common human bias towards elves. Few gain notable status and are far likelier to be the target of bigotry. The degree of this alienation is, largely, dependent on the country. Where one elf might suffer harsh looks and the occasional slur, others will be forced into lives as beggars, if not taken and sold.
If one is curious, and quite possibly suicidal, observation of the canine definition is a useful tool to denote dilution of blood. The more prominent an elf’s canines are, the more elven an elf’s blood is. Speculation leans towards the supposition that their ancestors subsisted on a meat-heavy diet.
Their rate of healing is twice that of a human’s and somewhere between a third and a quarter faster than dwarven abilities. This may be linked to a faster metabolism and is, perhaps, in direct correlation to their natural leanness.
An elven man who claims either half or more of elven ancestry is not capable of growing facial hair. In fact, hair on all elves is largely lighter than human or dwarven counterparts of similar age. Past scholars have given several theories on why; the wider accepted lean being that their ancestral climate negated the necessity of such dense hair.
Also on the subject of hair, those men who claim over half elven blood can also expect to not go bald like humans. Nor does their body hair thicken as in most dwarven men. The hair does, however, go grey in their very late years.
Their bodies put out more heat than even the average dwarven man, this is despite being shorter than either sentient counterpart (sometimes by several feet). They likewise display a dexterity incomparable to a human of similar size. Through observation of trained warriors, it has been determined that muscle can be bulked via an intense regimen, just not to the extent of a human in the same position. However, overall stamina does seem to have a slight lean in their favour over other races.
Their sight is better than that of a human’s, almost on par with dwarven vision in distance and tracking. It is not certain if their night vision is superior or whether they use their enhanced hearing to pinpoint attacks. A lesser quality is their long fingers, wherein each digit is between half to a full inch longer than those of the average human.
The ears are, of course, a rather large defining quality to an elf and often become the target of the small-minded. Slicing or breaking the ear has become an all too commonly used assault in Udynea. When such an attack happens, the ear is often not completely removed, but rather just the pointed half.
Their ears have long been rumoured as extremely sensitive to the touch and most elves will allow only their partners this privilege. Whilst the elf’s reaction to such a touch is not instant arousal as in the stipulated rumours, testing done by a willing couple rather suggests that it encourages such thoughts. Amongst elves, the deliberate touching of another’s ears is seen as a sign of closeness and a willingness towards initiating intimacy. Allowing another to place their lips upon their ears is a sign of not only trust on the owner’s part, but also often of affection.
Whilst the vast majority of an elf’s speech pattern can be mimicked by humans and dwarves alike, elves possess the ability to voice strange extra notes. This is more evident in those with higher voice, particularly if they speak their ancestral language or sing, where there is a songbird quality to the words. Every full-blooded elf that has been tested is capable of this and thus it is presumed that all of them are. However, this ability varies in those who claim even a dilution as much as an eighth of non-elven bloodline.
They possess, of all things, the ability to purr. Not the occasional rumbling of a pleased dwarf or human, but a consistent thrum much similar to that of a domesticated feline. Unlike cats, who purr in all manner of situations, this phenomenon only occurs if the elf in question is content. Queries have lead to this behaviour being common knowledge amongst elf-dense populations.
About the Author
Mother. Animal Lover. Vampire. Fangirl.
Aldrea Alien is a New Zealand author of romantic speculative fiction of varying heat levels. She grew up on a small farm out the back blocks of a place known as Wainuiomata alongside a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person (especially the cats). She spent a great deal of her childhood riding horses, whilst the rest of her time was consumed with reading every fantasy book she could get her hands on and concocting ideas about a little planet known as Thardrandia. This would prove to be the start of The Rogue King Saga as, come her twelfth year, she discovered there was a book inside her.
Aldrea now lives in Upper Hutt, on yet another small farm with a less hectic, but still egotistical, group of animals (cats will be cats). She self-published the first of The Rogue King Saga in 2014. One thing she hasn’t yet found is an off switch to give her an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind, a list that grows bigger every year with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first. It’s a lot of people for one head.
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