Sunday, July 05, 2009

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

A new online fantasy magazine has made a strong appearance, deubuting earlier this month. Heroic Fantasy Quarterly publishes short works (poetry and stories) of heroic fantasy and strives "to hearken an older age of storytelling - an age when a story well told enthralled audiences." The premier issue was an impressive one, and I highly recommed checking them out. I will bestow the small honor of adding their link to this blog site.

"The Black Flowers of Sevan" by James Lecky - Tulun serves the Melik in Sevan as a mercenary, captaining soldiers in various skirmishes as he attempts to bring peace to the Ten Kingdoms. When Tulun hustles one of his soldiers, Abbas Bedvian, out of a considerable amount of gold, Abbas asks for a final wager as a double-or-nothing. The stakes are that Tulun must bring Abbas black poppy from around the neck of Lady Shimshal, who is the Melik's woman. It is a risky proposal, and as Tulun considers the beautiful and secretive lady, he finds himself more interested in her than in the wager itself.

This was an intriguing tale of passion. Though somewhat predictable, the characters and well-written prose carried the story along quite well. Everything came together nicely for the ending.

"Man of Moldania" by Richard Marsden - The last dragon slayer, Golorus von Zekwit, follows rumors into the east in hopes of finding employment. The aged man enters the small town of Moldania, boasting of his experience with slaying dragons and offering to solve their problem with a local dragon for a certain fee. Dimitru, the town's leader, has his doubts, but he's willing to let Golorus try so long as he can accompany him. When the two men find the dragon's lair, Golorus finds that his previous experience cannot compensate for the beast he encounters.

It isn't often that I come across original dragon slaying tales, but this is a good one. I liked the limitations an older dragon slayer and felt his surprise at the dragon he attempts to slay. Humorous at times with ample tension, Marsden shares a fun story.

"Beyond the Lizard Gate" by Alex Marshall - After watching his father slain at the hands of his older brother, Agenor, Prince Inarus has sought revenge for the past eleven years, draining all of the resources of his kingdom to the point of poverty. With the final battle won, his sister begs him not to pursue Agenor further, but the hatred Inarus feels for his brother overrides his reason. Unable to dissuade him, his sister joins the other forty soldiers who follow Inarus into a valley for a final confrontation with Agenor.

This was my favorite story of the issue. Great tension, flow and angst. Highly entertaining.

No comments: