Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review A Legacy of Shadows by Christopher M. Cevasco.
Fiction Friday: A Legacy of Shadows
Today’s story is A Legacy of Shadows by Christopher M. Cevasco, as featured in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. You can find it here. A story about a monstrous being with a cursed past, and a hunter who seeks a reward for slaying him. This story isn’t your typical hunting scenario, but one that makes the two characters realize that they have more in common than they thought. So, let’s begin.
Legacy of Shadows
This legend tells the tale of Rallos Defilsson, who one day encountered a small group of settlers who want to kill a dreadlyng holding out in their old keep. They offered a mighty reward for the valiant hero, for if he slays the demonic wretch, he’ll gain the honor of those who suffered from his wrath. However, the halfling discovers that this dreadlyng, Morthos, is one who rejects his cursed past and wishes to make amends, despite those who would hunt him.
It’s a tale of a knight seeking a reward and a tale of acceptance and understanding. An interesting story that kept me the whole way through. It’s fantasy in nature and one that isn’t too far out of the realm of impossibility. The what few characters there are interact with each other, learning about themselves and why they are who they are.
We learn a lot about those two characters, even if the world itself feels too contained. I understand they’re in the traditional fantasy village, but I’d like to know more about this world. Who are these dreadlyngs? Are there more besides Morthos? Does this place have a monarchy? What countries are there. Other people?
Granted, there’s little time for world building in short stories, but I’ve seen it done before. But the story is about the two main characters, Morthos and Rallos. Their interactions and relationship are key, and it pushes past what’s typical for evil-type races like these dreadlyngs. Usually, these types are always up to no good, even if they try to suppress their evil side. I’ll get to those types in a momnent, but this story was good to read and explore the other side of evil beings. Ones that try to reject their evil instead of embrace it.
I will say that Rallos, for all his character development, gives in a little too easily to Morthos, so much so that I was fully expecting the dreadlyng to turn on him, which would have made for an interesting ending. Instead, Rallos blindly accepts him and the two ride off, into the wild blue yonder.
I was fully expecting a bit more drama, but I felt that Morthos had to have been deceiving him a little right? Perhaps the goal of the story was that no one should be judged by their history or how they act, but regardless, I fully anticipated a backstabbing moment, and given the numerous opportunities he had (Rallos fully dropped his guard by the end), it came off as a slight disappointment.
That being said, this all boils down to everything being too convenient. This guy just happens to be somewhat related in terms of history and all of a sudden, they’re best friends. Never mind that Rallos was the instigator and Morthos, being the wise zombie he is, felt a little too convincing.
Perhaps a little more interaction between the two would have helped. Like they assumed each other as enemies at first, but maybe Rallos could discover his past the hard way and realize that they had more in common than they thought, instead of “Oh, I’m not like those guys. It’s cool :3.” Just my thoughts.
Defilers and Zombies in Fantasy
I do appreciate the author going out of his way to do zombies and defilers a little differently. I got an “Old Man Moroes from Warcraft” type of feeling when I see a gentlemanly haunting specter of a man, refined and not unlike his fellow shadow brothers.
I see a lot of tropes where these monsters are the bad guys, and while it makes for fine entertainment, I like seeing the undead gain a life of their own, and stake out their own path in the midst of unfair, yet justified, bias amongst the living. It’s something I’d like to see more of in fantasy that can shake it up a bit, and I do appreciate the author going out of his way for it. Sure Morthos might have gotten off easy, but I did like him most of all, being such a unique character. I’d love to see him in a larger story someday, and looking at the author bio, that seems like a possibility someday. I am looking forward to seeing this continue.
Despite getting off easy towards the end, I did enjoy this story a lot and found it entertaining enough. It’s a different kind of fantasy that’s similar to the many legends of the medieval era. Give this one a go if you want a good fantasy tale.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.
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My next work will be titled “City of Kaiju,” a tale about an unlikely alliance between a young girl and her gigantic dog-dragon monster, as they survive chaos and disaster from a gigantic kaiju invasion. Part of a new Short Novel initiative, intended to fill in the gap between releases. Set for release within the Fall 2018/Winter 2019 period. Read more about it here.