After 16 years of teaching in primary and high schools and at
North West University in South Africa, I was fortunate enough
to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream when I joined READ
Educational Trust as a writer-editor. In 2010 I immigrated to
Ireland with my wife and daughter to take up a position as
Instructional Designer to the Yahoo/Microsoft Search Alliance
Project, after which I worked for different companies as a
Learning / Instructional Designer and Technical Writer.
I have always had a great love for history, warfare, theology,
fantasy and language and have sought to combine these with my
other great love—that of writing. The result is my first
fantasy novel, Sirion. I have been extremely fortunate in being
able to have my wife provide all the illustrations for my book.
It was a joyful experience watching her bring the characters
and the world, which existed only in words, to life with her
I hope that readers enjoy their journey through Mendleburg.
Congratulations to Ivano for being in the 2013 Preditors and
Editors top ten in Other Novels Category for Memoirs of a
New Title(s) from Ivano Massari
Click on the thumbnail(s) above to learn more about the book(s) listed.
|The world of Mendleburg is threatened by
the growing power of the Druadians led by their vicious
overlord, the emperor Estraimor. Between the armed hosts of
Estraimor and southern Mendleburg, lies the mighty Dwarf
fortress of Sirak-arnal which Estraimor must overthrow in order
to achieve his dreams of conquest. Azhal, Warden of Sirak-arnal,
sends out a company of Dwarves to seek for the Sceptre of
Anankhar. With this great heirloom of the Dwarf race in his
possession, Azhal will be able to command the allegiance of the
disunited tribes of the Dwarves, and thus swell the ranks of the
defenders of Sirak-arnal before the hosts of Estraimor lay siege
to Sirak-arnal. The mighty wizard, Sirion, joins the companion
as they seek for the sceptre. Dangers beset the company and the
companions call upon Sirion’s great knowledge, skill in arms and
powerful magic to ensure the success of their quest.
Word Count: 85400
Pages to Print: 224
File Format: PDF
|When Ian Mason’s contract with Snapper
Search, Inc. in Dublin, Ireland is not renewed, he embarks on a
journey of desperate job seeking that carries him across the
Emerald Isle and beyond. His search for a job and for security
for his family becomes a journey of self-discovery and increased
faith as he is forced to call upon all his faculties and
strength of will to stay the course and retain his sanity while
groping his way to a new job in the foggy unreality of the
twilight zone world of the jobseeker.
Word Count: 12300
Pages to Print: 54
File Format: PDF
He who follows the One in this life must be an exile
and a wanderer amongst all creatures always.
(Akhaleth—the Holy Book of the Dwarves, Psalm 9 v 11)
In solitude he stood on the castle tower and gazed across the
storm-weather that had settled upon the valley. The black rain
clouds tumbled across the valley and cut off the light of the
moon. Then the storm hit the castle. The wind howled and
shrieked its way toward him and he pulled his cloak more closely
around him. Torrential rain surged across the night sky and fell
upon the castle. Within moments he was drenched, but he refused
to abandon his station on the walls. He set his hard warrior’s
face grimly toward the storm, determined to endure the weather
and keep his station upon the battlements. He cursed and then
immediately thrust his right thumb toward his heart. A harsh
laugh sounded behind him and a taunting voice cut across the
noise of the storm.
“Still trying to ward off evil with that superstitious gesture,
Arvan, Mound Prince of Arvinia, spun around to face his
“Maberg!” he said. “By the One, what brings you up here on this
demon-cursed night?” The man called Maberg looked with affection
at Arvan, the first born son of Selcontar, High King of Arvinia.
His answer was short.
“You,” he said.
“I thank the Land Commander,” Arvan replied with a sweeping bow.
Maberg laughed affably.
“Must the King’s son stand guard on a night like this?” jested
“Maberg, my friend,” replied the Prince, “duty is to be endured,
The other laughed. “Ah, my lord, always so serious. So young and
yet so serious. Never time for laughter or for the harp.” Maberg
stroked his beard and regarded the man who stood before him. The
tall, dark-haired, powerfully built warrior he beheld little
resembled the scrawny youth the King of Arvinia had brought from
the royal capital to Eagles’ Nest when he had attained his
fifteenth summer. Arvan, High Prince of Arvinia, he thought, was
the most promising young man he had ever trained. He remembered
well the day King Selcontar had entrusted him to his care.
“Above all, Maberg,” the King had said on that eventful day, “he
must be a warrior, skilled in every weapon, and a commander of
men. Teach him well, and teach him swiftly, his time draws near.
I am called by the gods and fear that I must soon leave this
world. I want no weakling to take the kingship.” The man whom
the King had trusted so highly that he had placed his eldest son
into his keeping, was not the same as the one who stood now on
the ramparts with his Prince. Maberg knew that as the passing
years had formed his youthful charge into a man, they had also
marked the passing of his own stature. His brown beard and hair
were now flecked with spots of grey. The powerful shoulders that
had borne many burdens were no longer upright, but stooped.
Maberg heard Arvan talking and forced his mind back to the
“Should the future King be a jester?” the Prince said. “Arvinia
would enjoy such a king. A merry monarch they would have,” he
continued bitterly. “One who spends his days in merriment and
his nights in his cups.”
Maberg laughed softly.
“Ah, Arvan,” sighed the Land Commander, “when your time comes
you will be a great king. The gods be praised that Arvinia has
been blessed with such an heir. These are not times for a poet
king, but for a warrior monarch.”
Arvan swept his long, black hair from his face and regarded
Maberg carefully. His dark eyes were hard and calculating as
they searched his friend’s face, while the storm around them
lashed the castle tower in its fury. Maberg met the Prince’s
searching glance unflinchingly. He was not disturbed by Arvan’s
scrutiny. Their eyes locked and held. There was no question of
arrogance in this gesture, for Maberg was no petty tyrant.
Warden of Eagles’ Nest, the castle upon which they stood, Maberg
was also one of the Ahkans, the hereditary lords of southern
Arvinia, and Land Commander of all the King’s armies garrisoned
between Drenerbach Mountain and the Istenor River. Maberg stood
high in the favour of the King and his counsellors. He had
little need to bolster his own sense of worth by seeking a
confrontation with a subordinate. Not even if that subordinate
was the High Prince himself. He had come to see Arvan this night
for another purpose.
“The people would not have it so,” said Arvan aloud while he
thought secretly, and my brother Eldran is a poet. What game are
you playing, Maberg?
“The people,” retorted Maberg harshly, “do not crown a King!” He
looked away from his Prince over the swaying forest, caught now
in the full power of the storm. For an instant he thought he saw
dark shapes moving in and out of the trees, but they vanished
again into the night-gloom. Maberg scoured the forest,
attempting to pierce the curtains of rain and the blackness of
the night, but saw no further sign of anything untoward. I was
deceived, he thought.
“No,” continued Arvan, “the people would have a King who danced
and diced, who provided games and held feasts. They blind
themselves to the danger from the north.” Arvan turned his eyes
away from Maberg and stared once more across the land below him.
“Danger,” the Prince said slowly. “Yes, dangerous is Estraimor,
who reigns in Druad, and is it not likely that his Wizardry has
embraced Arvinia? For is it not magical that, though Arvinians
see their doom drawing nigh from the north, they nonetheless
shut their eyes and smile, as all Arvinia is doing? Thus would
he weaken our vigilance and take us ill-prepared to meet his
onslaught, or so I and many others believe. Great is the Dread
Lord, the Emperor Estraimor, and greatly is he to be feared, yet
many admire him.”
Maberg narrowed his eyes and looked at the Prince. His heart was
darkened by what he had just heard. The other sensed his fear,
“You admire the Evil One then, my lord?” Maberg asked, the
disbelief he struggled to hold back as clear and as brief as the
lightning flashes above them.
“Fear not, Maberg,” replied Arvan. “As one soldier might admire
the skill of a warrior who is so far above him that he seems
verily to be a god, so do I regard him. But be at ease, for I
detest him and his evil.”
“Good, Lord Prince,” said Maberg with relief. “Very good, but be
warned!” The Land Commander came closer to Arvan and whispered,
“If you have any desire to mould yourself on that demon’s spawn,
then remember the old Arvinian proverb, he who imitates is as
much a slave as the clay is to the potter.”
“As you are a slave of the golden-haired Clothilde?” Arvan asked
“Prince,” replied Maberg, “I doubt not that you will one day be
a warrior of great renown. I pity your enemies, for you have
already learned to strike a blow at a man’s weakest spot; his
heart.” Both men laughed.
At that moment the tread of heavy steps and the clash of armour
warned them that they would soon no longer be alone. Maberg
glanced briefly at the tower’s stairwell. Then he turned and
faced Arvan, son of Selcontar, once more. There was
encouragement and admiration in his look. Arvan nodded,
acknowledging the unstated affection in the Land Commander’s
Maberg bowed and moved toward the tower’s stairwell. Two guards
bearing spears appeared at the top of the stairwell. Like Arvan,
they were dressed in sable armour. Over their shoulders they
wore the fur of forest animals for protection against the bitter
cold. Seeing Maberg approach, they stood aside and clashed
shield against spear as he passed. The latter acknowledged their
salutation by crossing his right arm over his breast. For a
while, Arvan and the guards could hear his retreating footsteps.
Then all was once more silent. Arvan nodded toward the
newcomers, and they bowed deeply. The gesture was not devoid of
affection, Arvan knew. He had long held a place in the hearts of
the men of this stronghold.
of a Jobseeker
The Dark Clouds Appear
“So you see, Ian, we won’t be able to renew your contract.”
There was an awkward pause on the other end of the line, and
since I had recently been retrenched I felt no need to relieve
“You’ve done a great job, Ian,” the voice continued kindly, “and
we really are sorry to let you go, but I’m sure that with your
experience and our excellent references you’ll find another job
soon.” There was another awkward pause and then the voice said
tentatively, “Well so long, Ian Mason. If there is anything I
can do to help, let me know. Bye!”
I put the phone down and stared at my computer screen. My desk
occupied a central position on the first floor at Snapper
Search, Inc. in Dublin’s South Side Business Park. The office
was, as usual, resonant with the sounds of virtual life.
Salesmen, phones in hand, flattered and cajoled, secretaries
chattered inanely and search engine optimisers optimised as best
they could while bawling directives at each other. I sat in the
midst of this joyous, noisy scene oblivious to it all. A cold
icy hand of fear had closed around my heart, making it difficult
for me to breathe.
“You too, eh, Ian?”
I turned towards the voice. Serena Hammond, Snapper Search,
Inc.’s Temporary Vice-Senior Training Team Leader, stood at my
desk. She smiled seductively and brushed her silky brown hair
back over her forehead, releasing a rain of dandruff that
parachuted around my feet.
“We all got the sack, honey,” she drawled in a fake Texan twang.
Serena had lived in the Lone Star State while taking a course in
Business Psychology. She had not really been sure what the
course was about when she signed on, but it looked like the kind
of course one would take in order to get on in the business
world; like Business English or Business Maths or such like. The
course lasted 32 weeks, but Serena lasted only four. Still it
looked good on her CV, and she put on the Texan drawl act to
remind everyone that she had once lived in the New World. The
act was pretty good and one could see through it only when her
Limerick accent peeped through, on those occasions when she got
drunk—not more than once or twice every weekend.
“Ah, shucks, Ian” she said. “You’re not the only one not to have
his contract renewed. None of the Training Team has had theirs
I must have looked stunned because she leaned over my desk, put
her face close to mine and said wisely, “Recession!”
“Yes of course,” I said, trying to sound as wise and worldly as
Serena; not letting her know I knew that she knew the real
reason was the unfathomable and bungled decision made by someone
in management in some office somewhere, that had affected our
“How are the others taking it?” I asked, not really caring, but
trying to get her to move on to another subject and maybe move
off my desk at the same time.
“Oh, very well, really,” she said thoughtlessly, and then after
thinking about it for a second she said, “Quite well, actually.
Yes, quite well.”
Her face went blank and I thought to myself: Am I the only one
that’s worried? I smiled at Serena. “Well, time to start job
hunting I suppose.”
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