Haeland’s Ballad by Ian V. Conrey
Date Published: November 30, 2021
“Some call me Murderer, others call me Lord. I've been called Savior and Enslaver. But no one has ever called me Child.”
A young man signs his own death warrant when he joins an already failing militia. A teenage girl is haunted by her childhood abuse and begins to crave the very things she hates. A childless mother finds herself on the run as a convicted murderer. Yet they are all unaware that their own fates are tied to a young orphan who has drowned and come back to life in a foreign land where he will be the death of everyone he meets.
Hælend’s Ballad is a tale about what happens when men and women from two colliding cultures realize they may not be on the right side. Heroes are villains. The persecuted are oppressors. And when rumors begin to spread that the world is dying, the darkness of their own hearts betrays them.
Read an Excerpt:
Søren held his breath, keeping his eyes fixed forward. Another pail was handed to him, and he mindlessly passed it along. From the corner of his eye, a thick shapeless shadow emerged from the wall itself, swallowing the torchlight. No one else seemed to notice. Søren tried to look at it, but as soon as he did, it disappeared.
Gazing at the far wall, it came back into his vision. Within the hovering shadow slowly walked a large creature, like a dark silhouette. The memory of the smell from the mine entrance—and from outside of Everwind—came back to him. It was the same monster he had met once before. An alphyn, Geoffrey had called it.
Its four legs stepped silently as its head and body lay low as if it was a great wolf stalking its prey. Prowling through the lines of men and women, light was continuously being drawn into the shadow’s form around it, like a smooth stream of flowing water. Once, a man turned as if he felt or saw the alphyn behind him, but he went back to work, paying no more attention.
The beast paused before several guards. Søren’s heart began to pound. He was continually tempted to look directly at it, but it always vanished within the shadow. Then he heard a scream.
A woman dropped her pail as she stared across the chamber, pointing her finger. Glancing back toward the alphyn, Søren startled as the shadow had completely disappeared, but the alphyn came into full view. The lights from the torches brightened, revealing thick wooly hide and its hideous face. The chamber shattered into an uproar as everyone stumbled back against the walls. The two mules whinnied and rose on their hind legs before they bolted through the northern passage, dragging the tipped-over wagon behind them. Women and children dashed behind carts and piles of rock. Several men attempted to stand their ground, but within a few seconds, they cowered back with the rest.
With a trembling hand, one guard pulled his sword from his sheath. The alphyn lowered itself to the ground as if ready to pounce. A low growl thundered through the chamber, sending tremors through the rock as dust quaked from the ceiling and floor. Torches throbbed with pulsating light. Then the alphyn leaped upon the guard.
Letting out a horrid scream, the guard fell beneath the weight of the beast as his sword was flung into the air. Except for Algöter, who hid behind a crevice cut into the rock, the other guards stumbled through the southern passageway, shouting out indecipherable words. Several women cried as the alphyn scooped up the guard with its jagged teeth and his body folded in half, spilling blood onto the ground from either side of its mouth.
About the Author:
Ian Conrey is both a teacher and student of history and theology, who actively fights against human trafficking and is working toward an M.A. in Religion. In his free time, he enjoys reading biographies and ancient mythology, discovering early American folk songs, and exploring the Cohutta Wilderness. He lives with his wife and three children in the North Georgia mountains.
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