I’ve been working on this picture off and on for a while now. It’s from one of my favorite scenes in SHADOWS AT NIGHTFALL. I didn’t really do it justice, but I want to share it all the same because it’s one of the most personally important scenes in the series for me.
Without spoiling too much, from the title to today’s post, you can probably guess that one of the major characters from QUEST OF FIRE dies in this book. I won’t say who, but this character was originally based off of a family member I felt very close to growing up. That person died of cancer during the timeframe I was finishing up the first draft of SHADOWS AT NIGHTFALL, years ago. I was on the fence about having the character die, because in general I don’t like killing characters solely for shock value or capriciously. Of course, I hope the reader feels something about it, but I don’t want to do it for the sake of playing with reader emotions.
After the family member died though I knew the character had to as well. The character had grown far beyond its initial inspiration, but the suddenness of the real-world loss and the horrible way cancer laid low someone who always seemed full of humor and life and strength hurt too deeply. I wanted to have a scene to say goodbye in which the character could honor my family member’s memory by giving their life heroically and in as epic a way as I could imagine.
So, in this scene in the background is a mountain range overlooking a deep valley with an enormous reservoir holding back a mountain river into a man-made lake. The beast in the scene is a long dormant wyvern awakened by dark sorcery to wreak destruction abroad. This scene captures the moment just after the wyvern blasted the reservoir retaining wall destroying where the hero character just stood. The character leaps an incredible distance out over the valley hundreds of feet below and plunges the spiritsword into the wyvern’s chest to the crossguard just as the wyvern delivers the final blow destroying the reservoir wall and both hero and felled beast drop into the valley as water and stone explode forth around them further sealing the wyvern’s end and ensuring that the other heroes have the best chance they can be given to escape the same terrible fate.
There are days as I’m working on the later entries in the series that I miss the character. There are so many adventures this character could have gone on, important series moments the others needed them for. But being real and telling a story that resonates and stays with a reader after finishing is important to me. Especially one that can better equip readers to face the wyverns of the real world by seeing their defeat in the pages of my books. It seems a fitting a sacrifice. A hero’s sacrifice.
Just as a reminder, print editions of books 2 and 3 in QUEST OF FIRE are over 80% off on Amazon. If anyone buys either book and messages me with a pic of it, I’ll send a signed bookplate for each copy purchased. The sale is likely to end soon, so now is a great time to pick up the whole series:
COMING UP NEXT WEEK: THE FESTIVAL!