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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Spotlight: Kelley Heckart

A Warrior’s Heart

What puts the warrior into one’s heart? This is one of the themes in my latest release, Beltaine’s Song. In the second book of my Dark Goddess trilogy, I explore the reason why one becomes a warrior.

My female warriors seem more complex to me. It is not as natural for a woman to choose the life of a warrior. Men are usually more aggressive and taught these things, but I wondered why my female warriors would choose that kind of life. My heroine has been killing for a long time. The first time, she killed to protect herself and her temple. She has been killing so long that it does not even faze her anymore. For another, she was forced to kill at a young age and she still carries rage for that experience. For another, it is the freedom she has as a warrior.

Since she has only known the life of a warrior, my heroine questions her daughter’s choice not to be a warrior. This issue also causes conflict between my hero and heroine.

Blurb: For some, spring’s song is the sound of a harsh battle horn, for others, new love, for all—certain danger.
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Reaching into her quiver with the quickness of lightning, Domelch fired arrows in rapid succession, sending the arrows into the vulnerable necks of her targets. She aimed at her targets, imagining they were the Levite priests who destroyed her Goddess's temple and cursed her back in Canaan centuries ago. Vengeance roared in her heart, an ever-burning ember. She was Domelch now, but she still possessed memories of Cardea. Only she had a new face for some of her targets now—Riderch's leering face.
It made it easy for her to kill.
All of the warriors had something in their past, something to make them want to kill. She wondered what face Mordag saw as she loosed her arrows, her face a mask of rage. In Domelch's mind, she saw Gemma, sweet, innocent Gemma who knew nothing of darkness. She thought of her argument with Aedan about Gemma's future.
Three short bursts from the battle horn signaled for the archers to stop. Domelch raised her hand. “Archers, halt,” she ordered, her heart still pounding from the exertion of battle. She looked down on the battlefield, her heart flickering with relief and warmth. Aedan's banner fluttered in the sea breeze, victorious. He stood among his companions, his golden crown glimmering with the power of the sun.
Bodies littered the battlefield in a grotesque display. The moans of the dying quieted, an eerie silence cloaked the valley. Camp followers tended those left alive, lifting them into wagons. Loud caws filled the air. Ravens and hooded crows gathered in dark swarms, descending on the fallen warriors. The sound of beaks tearing flesh and hitting bone created a macabre rhythm, a death song. She half expected to see the dead bodies rise and perform a grisly dance. A vulture and raven engaged in a battle of their own, fighting over a piece of flesh that used to belong to a brave warrior.
Aedan's warriors gathered the prisoners, rounding them up like cattle.
“The ravens will be well-fed today,” Mordag commented, her face reflecting no emotion.
“Some of those feeding the ravens are our men.” She stared at Mordag, wondering how Mordag's heart could be blacker than her own heart.
“The smells and sights of death still sicken me,” commented one of the male archers.
“Ye are a weakling,” Mordag snickered, slapping the small man playfully on his shoulder.
Domelch's heart had long ago hardened to death. She had been killing far too long. She thought back to her daughter. Do I want the same for her?

Kelley Heckart
'Timeless tales of romance, conflict & magic'

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