Bombardier has a blast with fantasy novel

CHRISJEDWARDS

Bdr Jaryd Palfrey

Peter Mallett
Staff writer
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The reviews are coming in, and Bdr Jaryd Palfrey’s fantasy novel Day of the Horn is chalking up good comments.

The book, released in October, is his first published work under the pseudonym Chris J. Edwards, a re-jigging of his first and middle names. 

“I just wanted a pen name to separate my public and private life,” he says.

The cast of characters are familiar to a fantasy story: a princess, a prince, and a hardened mercenary. The backdrop: a mythical kingdom facing impending doom. The plot, a kidnapped princess. But from there it leaves the usual story line and diverts to the extraordinary, for it is the princess who must decide if she wants to be saved.

“The Princess goes through quite an arch in the development of who she is and what she wants in life and realizes what she thought to be the truth clearly isn’t,” teases Bdr Palfrey.

The 25-year-old, a full-time Reservist Bombardier of 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment, penned the first installment of The Faun Quartet – entitled Day of the Horn – after encouragement from his wife Tara. The two are enthusiastic Dungeons and Dragons players, a fantasy role-playing game set in an imaginary world based loosely on medieval myth.

He wrote a character development sheet for the game, and it was so compelling she encouraged him to write more.

“I wrote a description of the character, and it eventually became the basis of the first chapter in my book. Then that chapter evolved into two or three per day and it slowly became an all-consuming, full-time hobby.”

The only other writing he’d done was the occasional creative writing project in high school and formal essays for his undergraduate degree in History at University of Lethbridge and University of Victoria.

His style differs greatly from other fantasy authors, he says.

“In most fantasy novels, nobody ever seems to get hurt and there is always a happy ending. In my novel, while the ending is happy, it is bittersweet. The journey is uncomfortable with graphic scenes before we get to that point.”

He sequestered the services of freelance editors and proofreaders to coach him towards the finished product, and he commissioned Edmonton-based graphic artist Kayla Kowalyk to illustrate the book cover.

Day of the Horn is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and a multitude of e-book distributors including Kobo, Smashwords, Indigo and Apple.

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DAYOFTHEHORN

EXCERT:

Gentle sunlight glowed upon the faun’s face. Willow branches cast their slender shadows onto the grassy banks of the spring, shading us from the gilded morning light.

She looked peaceful there as I knelt over her; she was asleep, head nestled in the dewy grass. I had heard so much about this Princess Dawn – and now I was finally seeing her.

I had heard she lived in a secluded kingdom, somewhere bright and beautiful. A realm of vibrant flowers and alluring aromas, quiet green places latticed by cool, meandering streams. A perfect place, as perfect in its natural beauty as it was in its isolation.

And I heard that, on a perfectly calm morning in this perfectly nestled kingdom, the child that would be called Dawn was born in the idyllic splendor of the realm’s very heart. That she was raised in seclusion, away from the evil and want and sadness of the world beyond that verdant countryside.

I heard that her parents, the rightful king and queen, ensured she live a honeyed life. That Dawn would never have to experience the meanness, the savagery, the brutality of the world beyond. That hers was a youth of sweet smells and pleasant breezes and laughter under the greenest bowers of the kingdom of Céin Urthia.

One could certainly envy Dawn, her happy youth, her blessed inheritance, the Sacred ground of which she was one day to be sovereign.

I, however, did not envy her.

I did not envy Princess Dawn. Not as I knelt over her, not as she lay enchanted beside her private spring, beneath the sightless gaze of the royal keep.

I looked up to the surrounding garden and waved my riders over; as silent as prowling cats the uyrguks slunk out from the brush. I gestured to the sleeping princess. Wordlessly they bound her, picked her up.

I cast a gaze up to the keep. No curtains in the windows stirred; no guards looked down from the battlements. There was nothing to fear; Naraya was safe. Naraya was the capital. And the princess could look after herself.

I smiled. My, had they been wrong.

The uyrguks carried the princess through the garden and slung her over the back of my horse. Then, after a moment lingering in the garden as all was still and the sun was rising, I followed after them.

Steam plumed from the horses’ nostrils in the cool spring air. I was cold too; my clothes were damp from the morning dew. It had been a long, long night of lying in wait.

I mounted up and my riders did the same. I surveyed the garden, the private spring, the imposing shoulders of the royal keep. Still no one stirred; clearly my careful preparation was paying off. No guards, no handmaidens, no attendants… the perfect kidnapping.

I looked back at Princess Dawn, slung like a slain deer behind me, antlers and all. The perfect kidnapping.

I smiled to myself, relieved that my task was coming to fruition, my debts that much closer to absolution.

Then I looked up to the sun crawling steadily over the teeth of faraway mountains.

The princess was mine. It was almost all over. The cool sense of relief that washed through me matched the crisp spring breeze.

I spurred my horse and rode away.

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Filed Under: Top Stories

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