Today, I’m pleased to host fellow indie author Voss Foster in this space!
The Jester Prince: Harlan
“Toby.” He stood, no longer an old musician but an impressive figure. When he got like this, his eyes gleamed with such anger they almost glowed. Tobias flinched when he reached out, but Harlan just wrapped his hands over Toby’s shoulders. “Listen to me. I will never use the violin on you. Whether I approve of what’s going on or not, you’re my son. I don’t ever want you to be afraid of me. You don’t need to be afraid of me.” He pointed to the camper behind him, but never broke eye contact. “My violin is not for you. It’s not for anyone in Zirkua. Not the artists, not the hawkers, and damn sure not for you.” Jaw clenched, he shook his head. “If I were to misuse it, you would have every right to tie me to the back of the caravan and drive.” He wrapped his arms around Toby and kissed his cheek. “Come on. We have to get this place torn down. The next town’s a long way off.” He let go, slapping Tobias on the back. “You were wonderful tonight.” He ran his thumb under Toby’s eye, pulled on the skin. “And you’re exhausted. You’re not on tent duty tonight. Go help out with the prop wagon.”
Something finally managed to overtake his anger: guilt. “Dad, really, I’ll be fine.”
Harlan shook his head. “Prop truck, Toby.”
Harlan. Fiddler. The spirit of music. Whatever you choose to call him, he’s an integral part of Zirkua Fantastic and, now, the resistance movement against King jester. But he evaded me for some time. I knew he was music. I knew that, at one point or another, he was in Ireland. Actually, I imagined him as being of Irish origin, since his first memory was of the Fir Bolg.
So, just for the hell of it, I looked into it. I figured I’d give it a chance. And that’s when I ran across The Dagda. He was one of the Tuatha Dè Dannan, who, according to the Mabinogion, defeated the Fir Bolg to take control of Ireland. What’s more: The Dagda was a god of music as well as a fierce warrior.
While I will neither confirm nor deny that I based Harlan on The Dagda, necessarily, I would be remiss not to point out the relationship. I leave it to you, my readers, to decide if he is, in fact, The Dagda.
Read more about Harlan in The Jester Prince, Book Two of the King Jester Trilogy.
With the destruction of Zirkua Fantastic, King Jester, the spirit of discord, has been unleashed once more upon the Earth. Only Toby, a fresh, untrained immortal, and the other former members of Zirkua Fantastic dare to stand against his chaos. But their hold is tenuous, and they are only truly safe from his power within the bounds of their camp. King Jester grows more powerful and more dangerous with each passing day. But he’s made one mistake. That mistake could be his undoing. He’s stolen Toby’s soul mate, Marley. When he discovers Marley’s location, Toby knows what he has to do. He will rescue Marley, even if it means he has to face King Jester alone.
But the others don’t let him go at it alone. Marley has information about the resistance. They can’t afford to let him stay in King Jester’s control. In desperation, the immortals raise an army to storm the compound. But will it be enough to challenge the embodiment of chaos himself? All they can do is hope. Hope and put their faith in love.
Available through Prizm Books.
“Thank you, Coyote.” Harlan stomped one foot forward. “Now go.”
He thwacked the back of his hand on his forehead, tossed himself back from the waist up. “Alas, I’m too weak. I’m just a mere half-breed. Traveling so far at such a speed drained me.”
Harlan scoffed. “Then get King Jester to infuse some.”
“I wouldn’t dream of that. He’s far too busy.”
Zerga swooped around to the front, hot anger radiating from her body. “Then take some of my energy.”
Harlan tossed a log on the fire, summoning an army of angry sparks. When he sat, he steepled his fingers, staring at Zerga. “We obviously can’t meet tonight.”
She nodded. “Everyone, listen.” Her top voice spoke at a regular volume, but she’d lowered the double voice to a whisper. It murmured in Tobias’ head. “We’re postponing tonight’s meeting. Don’t mention it again.”
Harlan shook his head. “There’s something more going on here.”
“Obviously.” Dart flipped his coin over the fire and, in a flash of wind, ran around to catch it. He’s more energetic than usual. Dart rushed back to his seat around the fire. “Has Lou come back yet?”
Zerga shook her head. “He should be close.”
“I hope so.”
Harlan scooted forward, eyes widening. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m not sure. But there was this explosion of power. I just caught the very edge of it, I think. Before it dissipated. So I couldn’t tell you where it came from. Not reliably.”
Harlan nodded. “But why ask about Lou?”
He shrugged. “It wasn’t a pleasant energy. And I’ve been waiting for something bad to happen to one of us.”
“We’ll keep on guard.” With a flicker of his fingers, Harlan sent another log flying through the air, landing on the fire. “Toby, how’s your training?”
“It’s all right. I made fire.”
For the first time in too long, Harlan smiled. A real smile. “Good.” He rose and slipped next to Toby. He wrapped his arm around Toby’s shoulders. “Listen, you’re going to be the weak link.”
“Great words of encouragement, Dad.”
“I’m not sugar coating this. Coyote’s going to do something to get to one of us, and you’ll be the obvious choice. Just stay on your toes, Toby.”
Before he could respond, the coyote jumped over them all, landing next to the fire. He spit the rabbit on the ground before melting back up into human Coyote. “That’ll be enough for me.”
“Are you sure?” said Zerga. “It looks awfully small.”
“I’m sure.” He whipped a knife out of the air, kneeled, and set to skinning his catch. “Please, just pretend like I’m not here.”
After a few seconds of silence, Harlan tapped Toby on the shoulder. “Why don’t you tell the others we have company.”