William Fylbrigge is ill prepared to claim what is his by right of blood and his place among the powerful clan he has been born into. His older brother, Thomas, doesn’t want to share what he thinks is rightfully his, secretly arranging to have the young lad killed in a convenient “accident.” William could lose everything, including his life.
Sean Wilbrun, the son of a common groomsman, transcends the barriers of his class and station when he is elevated to the esteemed ranks of guard for Lord Edward, Duke of Stonehaven. His first assignment, however, is not to wield a sword to protect his duke, but instead to attend to the newly arrived foster son.
William and Sean soon form an unlikely duo and a lasting bond as together they face Thomas’ accusations of murder and treason.
* * *
My name is Lorrieann Russell. I have the great pleasure to introduce you to William Fylbrigge, late of Drumoak Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland, who has joined me today to tell you a little bit about himself. One thing that you should know about Mr. Fylbrigge; he is a work of fiction, and so happens to be the main character in my newly re-released novel, By Right of Blood. Who better to tell you about his story than the man himself? So without further nonsense, I will turn the floor over to him.
William: I’ve been part of this castle so long, I could rightly claim not to recall the time before I arrived; though if the truth is told, perhaps I remember it all too well. How well I recall growing up in my father’s manor, Fylbrigge Hall in Aberdoir, and how well I recall my daily prayers and pleas to any god who would choose to hear, to free me from its walls. Though it was not my father whom I longed to be free of—him, I never knew, being orphaned in my infancy—but my older brother, Thomas, who stepped into the role of father to me. Thomas, who had enjoyed the status of sole heir to our father’s fortune; until I was born, of course. Thomas and his wife, Bryndah (I still shudder at the thought of her) became my ‘parents’, though loving, they were not.
My own dear mother was lost to me, you see. She drew her last breath, just as I drew my first. It was a blessing from the Lady Goddess that I was suckled by a nurse named Rebecca. I loved Rebecca as a child loves a mother, trusting her to keep me warm, fed and protected against Bryndah’s raging temper. How well I recall the many times I hid within the folds of Rebecca’s skirt to escape Bryndah’s lash or a scratch from her talon-like fingernails. Indeed, Rebecca protected me too well, for her own well being. I have missed her all these years, and a night does not pass when I do not see her face, wet with tears, imploring me to “run, little one” . . . before the flame engulfed her.
I was six then. I would spend the next six years being reared on monster tales of a man who ate his rivals and dressed himself in leather made of the skin of those who dared speak against him. His name was Edward of Stonehaven, and he was Bryndah’s father. I believed every word she told me. After all, she was a demoness in my eyes—the vilest of the vile—how much worse, then, was the man who sired her?
I was twelve when my nightmare became reality and I was tossed into a carriage and taken to Drumoak. My fate, she assured me, that Lord Edward would use my bones for quills and my skin for his bed curtains. I believed her.
I was a fool.
That is where my story begins, my arrival in Stonehaven in the summer of my twelfth year. I consider that to be the true year of my birth as it was at Drumoak that my life truly began. Nothing before then really matters. I am here, and this is where I will stay—for a while.
* * *
William is tired now, and has asked to be excused. If you’d like to read more of his story, please get a copy of By Right of Blood, available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.
Lorrieann Russell has written three books (so far) chronicling the life and times of William Fylbrigge: By Right of Blood, My Brother’s Keeper, and In the Wake of Ashes. She has also published several short stories, and has been a featured guest on Edin Road Radio. She is an accomplished artist, illustrator, photographer, and designer. A native New Englander, she spends much of her time in the mountains of New Hampshire, hiking and taking pictures of the landscape.