I’m interrupting my schedule of Fanzine/Fancast Spotlights for a new release announcement. This one is for another Kurval sword and sorcery story, since the character has been occupying my mind of late.
To recap, during the 2020 July short story challenge, I had an idea for a sword and sorcery story that would not fit into my established Thurvok sword and sorcery series, so I created a new character named Kurval, barbarian usurper turned King of Azakoria. Kurval was initially intended to be a one-off character. However, I like him and he allows me to tell stories that just don’t fit Thurvok and his friends, so it was clear that he would show up again. Which he promptly did.
The Wolf of Rajala is the second Kurval story set before his time as King of Azakoria, though after he left his homeland of Temirzhan in The Plains of Shadow. At this time in his life, Kurval is plying his trade as a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.
The initial inspiration for this story really was that I came across a great piece of artwork by Dominick Critelli featuring a swordsman facing off against a giant wolf in a wintery forest and thought, “That would make a great cover for a sword and sorcery story.” So I wrote a story to go with it.
However, after I had written the initial confrontation between Kurval and the wolf, I hit a wall. Because “Kurval fights a giant wolf and wins” is rather boring. And a dead wolf suddenly changing back into a human wouldn’t have shocked anybody in the 1930s, let alone today. After all, Weird Tales was full of werewolf stories in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
As I looked through a rundown of werewolf stories published in Weird Tales with accompanying illustrations and covers, I noticed that a remarkable number of them seemed to feature werewolves and naked women. In particular, Margaret Brundage’s cover for the March 1933 issue of Weird Tales, which features a naked woman running through the snow with a pack of wolves and illustrates “The Thing in the Fog” by Seabury Quinn, caught my eye.
“What if my werewolf were a woman?” I wondered, “And what if she actually had a very good reason for harassing the people of Rajala? How will Kurval, someone we know cares about justice, react?” The rest of the story grew from there.
In the end, The Wolf of Rajala not only features a matriarchal werewolf pack – no, all characters with speaking parts in this story except for Kurval himself are women.
So accompany Kurval as a faces…
The Wolf of Rajala
Before Kurval became King of Azakoria, he was a wandering mercenary and monster slayer for hire.
One day, Kurval is hired to take out the monstrous wolves that have been besetting the village of Rajala. However, he quickly finds that the wolves are not what they seem. He also realises that the wolves have a very good reason for attacking the villagers…
This is a novelette of 8700 words or approx. 30 print pages in the Kurval sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.
Length: 8700 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Scribd, Smashwords, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Buecher.de, DriveThruFiction, Casa del Libro, Vivlio and XinXii.