I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I love stories that grip you and stay with you forever. Ever since I was a child I wanted to have my own book(s) published and dream of someday seeing one on a bookstore shelf.
I mainly read fantasy, but I do tend to read a bit of everything from different genres.
I currently live in Galway with my wife and two small boys, but grew up in Laois, before moving to Dublin and spending twelve years there.
I’ve written the first book in a four book saga I have planned called, ‘The Binding Saga’. It’s a story heavily influenced with Irish mythology, legends, folklore and language. I’ve also pulled in Scottish, English & Welsh legends etc. Ethopina & Italian history and legends play a big part as well.
This story has been in my head for over ten years and after a lot of planning I started it during summer 2021.
It’s about a drifter, K’ajj McCulloch, trying to survive and hide from the Royal Empire. A journal he picks up by chance, leads him down a route he doesn’t want to take, secrets about his past come out, things he thought just stories turn out to be real and he faces Gods long forgotten about.
There is a Prologue before this. The below picks up after it.
Five hundred years later.
Fog hung heavy over the forest. It was towards the end of Lughnasa, so most of the trees in the forest were bare. It was hard to see far in any direction.
A lone figure slunk through the forest. He was crouched low and moving very slowly. The dead leaves and sticks under his feet barely making a sound as he stepped over them.
K’ajj McCulloch was dressed in dark leathers, a mix of browns and blacks. A dark green cloak hung around his shoulders, with a hood pulled up.
Stopping to listen carefully to his surroundings, a light breeze blew through the forest causing the bare branches to sway to rub off each other. In the distance he heard a twig snap, his hand darting to the dagger hidden at his waist under the cloak. Looking at where the noise came from, he saw a fox creeping through the forest.
It stopped and looked at him, then dipped its head and carried on. K’ajj released his grip on the dagger’s handle and let out a low sigh of relief.
Looking around again at the unnaturally heavy fog, he picked a direction and headed towards it. Trying to track through this fog was proving harder than he first thought. When he entered the forest, the fog had descended very quickly, causing him to lose sight of the carriage tracks early, so for now he was just heading in a direction that he thought they had gone. But he had lost the road a couple of hours back.
After another hour of slowly moving through the forest, he stumbled upon the road again. Getting down low to it, he could see the track marks of where the carriage had passed. Looking around he found the hoof prints of the horses so he could tell which direction they had headed in. Quickly figuring it out, he followed the track marks.
K’ajj had left most of his gear back in his room at the inn, this was meant to be a quick job so he decided to travel light to move quicker and quieter. He only had his dagger, leathers, cloak, and a small empty bag. He had some of his lockpicking tools in a pocket on his leg, but that was it. Everything else he left behind. He was deeply regretting it now; the fog had made him feel uneasy.
After walking for a further twenty minutes, he found what he was looking for. Up ahead of him was a mess where an ambush had taken place. A tree trunk blocked the path. The guards and carriage driver lay dead. They died violent deaths, torn in half, or smashed beyond recognition.
Weapons lay broken on the ground; bits of carriage wood were strewn about and a wheel was broken in two.
The carriage itself was not there, but it was not hard to see where it went. The ground here was mucky and wet, from blood and rain. K’ajj could see the carriage had been dragged into the forest by someone or something strong.
He heard rumours that trolls or ogres had moved into the Red Forest, but dismissed them, as rumours like that are always circulating. This time though, they looked to be true.
He searched what was left of the bodies of the guards and driver to see if he could find anything useful.
The guards had nothing of note on them, the armour they wore had been completely crushed, as if made from paper. Their house of arms coat destroyed, so he couldn’t make it out.
The driver wore clothes made of a gold-coloured thread. His legs were by the tree trunk and his torso had been thrown off the road, into a ditch.
K’ajj slid down into the ditch and searched the driver’s jacket. Inside he found a small pouch with a handful of silver coins and a letter. He pocketed the small pouch and inspected the letter.
The gold wax seal was still intact on it and bore the house coat of arms. It had two swans on it facing away from each other, with a castle in the middle.
Breaking the seal, he unfurled the letter and began to read:
My dear brother.
As you know, since our parents’ death, I have been leading the household.
I can no longer support your lifestyle, you must either come back home and work for the family,
or you will be cut off. I trust you will make the right decision and I eagerly await your return to our family home.
Ser Robert of Lir, Regent of House Lir.
P.S – I’ve sent my man servant along to help you pack your belongings.
Rolling the letter back up, K’ajj put in it in his bag. Climbing back up onto the road he looked around at the path of destruction left by whatever pulled the carriage through the woods.
He followed it slowly as the fog was still heavy and he couldn’t see far. He didn’t want to run into whatever had caused the destruction unexpectedly.
Bits of painted wood were scattered along the path, obliviously broken off as the carriage was dragged.
K’ajj stopped suddenly when he realized there was no sound in the forest around him. No birds, no breeze, nothing.
He was deep in the forest at this stage, the air hung heavy. The fog seemed to be getting closer. Then he heard it, a crack as if a branch was snapped in two. Then another. Sinking low to the ground, he put his hand back on the dagger, moving behind a tree. Waiting.
Nothing came, but he heard another snap and a pop. Looking out from behind the tree, he spotted an orange glow burning through the fog. Releasing the dagger, he slunk towards the glow.