About Us
Voldamar Books
S.F. Swem
S.F. Swem
S.F. Swem
Take a look inside the Cassiopeia ship details for those of you who want to see her design specs.
Uncle Galien provided me with traveling supplies and then with a hug from my Aunt and Uncle, they wished me safe travels. I did travel about the lands, farms, and villages and learned more about healing herbs and life from those I met. With Tinabara my mare, and the bird of prey Chaka, the hawk, my companions and protectors. How a girl can come to have such strange companions is for a telling at another time. I have traveled here and there for the past five summers. At each stopping place, I wondered if it would be the place that I could call home, yet circumstances had continued to push me to move on and travel farther, until one snowbound, stormy night. A new home I did find-in a valley of mystery. How I came upon this place has been rather interesting and I believe it has not been a matter of chance.
I was on the well-traveled road from Laydins Keep to Remdon, when an old man caught my eye, and then a storm came in from nowhere, and well--that is where our story begins.

Chapter - 1 - The Storm
The township of Laydins Keep is a busy and prosperous community, with a well-traveled road to the next village of Remdon, protected by the dark and ominous mountains to the South, gentle hills and forests to the North. Travelers often come and go-some staying, some going, and some just passing through. The old man had come to Laydins Keep many winters past, but remained a stranger among them.
The winter had been an unusually harsh one and after one fierce and stormy night, small groups of battered, hurt and frightened travelers arrived in Laydins, fearing for their lives and telling strange tales of dark men lead by a dragon. A dragon who hunts for people and those men that seem to work for it. With the most frightened travelers leaving very quickly to be away. Some of them stayed in Laydins Keep, but they remained mostly to themselves. Time passes and memory of the tales gets blurry in the hustle of everyday life, and stories change with every telling until the here and now is different from what was.
No one seems to notice the old man any more. He is just one more of the unseen ones with the slumped shoulders and bent back, the grey hair tangled when not covered by the tattered, well-worn brown cloak over torn and dirty jacket and trousers, mud-caked worn boots. His bony, dirty hands are always clutching a gnarled piece of wood that he uses as a walking stick to help him stay upright. His face is always downcast, withered, and weathered by the elements with eyes not often seen, but when seen, his lifeless, dark eyes show a sense of loss and extreme sadness, causing anyone looking into them to shiver and turn away, for no one wishes to look into such deep wells of despair.
As the old man shuffles away from town, to one side of the well-traveled road, riders and wagons pass by without a glance in his direction. Of all the travelers on the road that day, he pays attention to none until a young woman wearing a traveling cloak rides past him. His slow steps come to a stop, watching the rider from under the hood of his worn cloak. Maybe he watches her because of the quality of the horse or the posture in the saddle, but he knows not. Sensing something else, he slowly looks up as a large bird glides in and out of the trees, seeming to shadow the woman as she rides. Something about this combination has made an impression on him, but then the withered head slowly looks to the ground once more and he continues his slow progress down the road.
Once more he stops, and looking around slowly, he sees what might have been a path once. He feels drawn to it, so he slowly disappears down the darkened, seldom-used path as night comes. The wind picks up and some of the townsfolk look to the sky, for they sense a storm is coming. The Old man passes between the lightly snow covered trees as he follows a tugging at the edge of his mind, though he knows not where he is going, or why he is going there. As the old man leaves the main road, the everyday sounds of travelers slowly fade off into the distance, replaced by a blanketed silence. The path seems familiar, and yet seems strange at the same time. He ambles along, moving slowly, yet to someone watching would say with purpose. He comes to a good size clearing in the forest. Laid out along the edge is what looks like it might be buildings.
In the center of the clearing is something that looks like a small structure, and something glints nearby in the fading light as night falls heavily over the area. With tired, dragging feet, he makes his way through the light snow towards the center of the clearing, his attention drawn to the after-image of a glint of silver in the waning light. Coming up to the dark structure, it looks like it might have been a park gazebo at one time, but now the roof is more than half missing. Looking about, a faint twinkle catches his eye-something stuck in a piece of what must have been a roof rafter. He shuffles over to stand underneath the spot, and his hand slowly reaches up to clasp the tarnished pendant hanging about his neck while he looks up at the silvery prize just out of reach. He taps it with his walking stick, and it falls easily to the floor, but as he reaches down slowly to pick it up, a tiny bolt of lightning streaks forth, striking him square in the chest and throwing him back to land with a thud, flat on his back.