The Forest’s Heart

The Forest’s Heart

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Vallebrion is one of the old places — a forest where the old and new worlds lie side by side. Clara has grown up walking its shadowed paths and green glens, and one day the man she takes as husband will be Master of Vallebrion and the mysteries that have been forgotten by the temple’s Teaching.

Then the peace of the forest is shattered by the arrival of two men. One is a southern lord intent on winning Clara’s hand, and the other is his prisoner: a man marked as an outlaw and outsider, tortured and near death. One of these men could be the ruin of Vallebrion and the secrets it protects, while the other may hold the key to help Clara save the forest.


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Duncan stood over the unconscious guard for a moment, then crouched down, put his sword to the man’s throat, and drew it across.

“I don’t owe you mercy,” he whispered, then rolled the body into the latrine trench, where it sank into the muck.

The Forest’s Heart

(Duncan shows his dark side…)

I watched “The Physician” yesteday. Good film” I kept having to pause and take screencaps because of how much Rob Cole – played by Tom Payne – looks like my character Duncan from The Forest’s Heart – especially when the lighting makes his eyes look amber.

She pointed at a place where the main thoroughfare turned and narrowed as it approached the dockside. The street there was lined with sturdy-built stone warehouses and stalls trading in exotic goods from across the seas: a pleasant, well-kept high street for nobles and merchants travelling between their ships and houses.

Aithne’s map told a different story. In between these stone and glass tributes to mercantile respectability, alleyways splayed out from the road.

They had turned down one of those alleys to reach the safehouse, which sat between the dockyards and a down-at-heel artisans’ quarter where craft shops were giving way to brothels and smugglers’ hides.

“The Web,” said Aithne, giving the cluster of narrow streets and rotting wooden hovels pressed up against the stone perimeter of the high street its colloquial name. “What a good place to hide a nest of spiders.”

I’ve been reading about Old Nichol, and as usual it is impossible for interesting things I’m reading not to spill over into my writing.