Below is another sketch a fan sent me. It portrays Monster from the fourth story in the Duty Series (Duty with Honor). In DwH, a wardog puppy was frequently addressed (read that as yelled at) as ‘you little monster’ by the soldiers of the Caralok Levy in the Vladeshan army because of the pup’s tendency to chew on their leather gear (shield straps, tent ties, boots, etc.). This was shortened to simply Monster. This is her interpretation of Monster’s appearance (she pictured him with much longer fur than I do). Thank you, Kathy. (You can see more of her fan art here.)
The concept of the ‘wardog’ came from the real dogs used for war in Roman times and later.
Monster was inspired by my son’s English Mastiff. We dog-sat him while our son was deployed to Afghanistan. It was an interesting learning experience.
I grew up with dogs that I considered large dogs (hunting dogs: blue tick and black & tans. There was a beagle–not large dog–that I named Lucky.) When I met the English Mastiff, I discovered the true meaning of a ‘large dog’ and what was meant by a ‘sight hound.’
Before he was one year old, he weighed more than I did, and was much stronger. From the back of the kitchen counter to the center of the kitchen table, nothing was out of his reach. For the table he just stood on all fours and stretched his neck, without even having to jump. Luckily he was a well-behaved dog and didn’t disturb items on either counter or table once he had inspected them to make sure they were safe for his humans. (He treated our cats the same way: a couple of sniffs and all was good.)
The Mastiff would walk out onto the patio each morning and freeze. Only his head moved in a slow semi-circle as he surveyed everything. Nothing escaped his notice. If he saw something new, his hackles would rise and he would stalk toward it. If he decided it was harmless to his humans, the hackles would lower. If he remained unsure, he would continue stalking stiff-legged. If it ran away (got out of his yard or didn’t rush forward toward the human), he would relax.
And so Monster was born. 🙂
Operating under cover searching for the Chorkan Red, Jatham Draben is embroiled in fighting two wars and forced to dodge multiple assassination attempts. Can Jatham accomplish his mission and end the Chorkan Red’s efforts to subvert one royal family and topple another before an assassin gets him?
(3rd story in the Duty Series)
Jatham Draben is ordered to search undercover for the Chorkan Red. All of his friends and fellow Stormhawk Rangers believe he has been thrown out of their organization.
Duty’s path is frequently difficult. What will it demand Jatham pay? [Set in a period generations after all the previous Tales of Aldura, this is the third story in the Duty Series.]
[You can see a list of all the Tales of Aldura here]
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After the death of their God, Azrael, the Liheiren and Kalieri divided the land of Alarel into five kingdoms: Vladesh, Galdona, Alliandrae, Ryland, and Klatinan.
- Kingdom of Vladesh: (dark orange) Located in the Northwest of the settled portion of Alarel, Vladesh is bordered on the west by the ocean and on the east by the Cappelstoke mountains. To the north were uninhabited lands, which were later occupied by the Chorkan, followers of the Dark God. Vladesh’s southern border is marked by the Derind Mountains.
- Kingdom of Alliandrae: (yellow) Located in the Northeast of the settled portion of Alarel, Alliandrae is bordered on the east by swamplands and ocean, and on the west by the Cappelstoke Mountains. The Great Tereon Sea and unexplored lands lay to the north. While the Kingdom of Galdona borders it on the South. The Liheiren Council is located in this kingdom’s City of Glenwald.
- Kingdom of Galdona: (blue) Located in the Southeast of the settled portion of Alarel, Galdona is bordered on the east by swamplands and ocean, on the west by the tail-end of the Cappelstoke Mountains, and the Kingdom of Klatinan. To its north lies Alliandrae, while the Greymark Mountains and unexplored lands comprise its southern border.
- Kingdom of Ryland: (light orange/yellow) Located in the west to mid-west of the settled portion of Alarel, Ryland is bordered in the north by the Derind Mountains and in the south by the ocean and the Kingdom of Klatinan. The ocean comprises Ryland’s western border and the Kingdom of Klatinan its eastern one.
- Kingdom of Klatinan: (green) This kingdom is sandwiched between Ryland on the west and the Cappelstoke Mountains and the Kingdom of Galdona on the west. The Mickles River serves to separate Klatinan and Ryland in the west. The ocean fronts its southern border. The Cappelstoke Mountains curve west to form Klatinan’s northern border also.
- Plain of Azrael and The Cappelstoke Mountains: (white) Not belonging to any of the Kalieri Kingdoms. The Plain of Azrael is located somewhere in the Cappelstoke Mountains. After the God Azrael gave his life for the Kalieri, the Twin Goddess Arael hid the Plain of Azrael which contained the Aldura’s Heart. Arael created the Guardian Clans and one of their tasks was to protect the Plain of Azrael.