Welcome to my stop on the Heroes and Villains blog hop. Read below to see how you can win a free signed copy of my YA fantasy, Curse of the Ice Dragon. A few months ago I talked about my villain, Madhea, an evil goddess from Curse of the Ice Dragon. You can read about Madhea here.
For this blog post, I wanted to focus on one of the heroes in my book, Alec. Though he’s plagued with illness and not able to hunt or defend himself like his brother, The Mighty Hunter, Marcus, Alec is a hero to me because he’s never afraid to stand up to his tyrannical father. Despite their father’s best efforts to make Markus a monster, Alec serves as Marcus’s moral compass, teaching his brother right from wrong, knowing their father will beat him for it. To me, a true hero isn’t measured by physical abilities and strength, but the strength of heart and willingness to stand up for what he/she believes is right.
“I wish I never had such skill. I wish I was more like you.” Tossing the blade aside, Markus turned toward Alec.
Eyes narrowing, Alec’s gaze intensified. “Do you wish for every breath to be a struggle? To be weak and infirm, and hardly a man even at nine and ten winters!”
“You are the strongest man I know, Alec. It takes strength and courage to stand up to our father. And your kindness to me…” His voice quavered as he dropped his gaze. “I do not understand.”
“You are my brother.” Alec gripped Markus by both shoulders, looking up into his face with a pained expression. “What is there to understand?”
Markus shrugged and swallowed the lump in his throat that seemed to originate from a hollow pit in his belly. “He beats you, even for my mistakes. A lesser man would despise me.”
“You have good in you, brother, despite our father’s best efforts to make you a monster.”
“I do not stand up to him as you do. I do not defend you as I ought.”
“You might be as strong as an ox, but you are a lad still. Your time will come, brother.” Alec’s voice cracked before he coughed into his hand for several interminable seconds.
Finally, Alec righted his posture and looked at Markus with a glazed-over expression. “On the night you were born, I made a promise to the Goddess that I would teach you compassion. A promise I will give my last dying breath to uphold. This is why I scold you when you kill more than you can eat. A kind hunter respects those animals he kills and does not take their lives unnecessarily.”
Markus turned back to his kill. Picking up the knife, he cut through the meat of the rabbit before ripping open the ribcage with the tip of his blade. “Aye Brother, but when I see an easy target, I cannot stop the blood that pumps through my veins, driving me to kill the beast. It is a feeling I cannot explain.”
With a hand on Markus’ back, Alec breathed at barely a whisper. “You must not surrender to your impulses.”
Repressing the urge to laugh at his brother’s request, Markus pulled down the animal’s innards before ripping them free of its body. A smile crossed his face as the gutting was finally finished. All that was left were meat and bones for the stew.
“I cannot help it.” He shrugged before tossing the organs in the bucket.
Alec stood speechless behind him, leaving nothing between them but the wheezy sound of his strained breathing and the odor of fresh blood.
Finally, he cleared his throat. “Killing comes too easily to you, Markus. It would seem your gift is more of a curse.”
Do you have a favorite fantasy or sci-fi hero? Leave your answer in the comments below and one random winner will be chosen to receive a free signed copy of Curse of the Ice Dragon.
THANKS for stopping by! 🙂 Tara
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