Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #48, May 2021

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly #48, May 2021

“Intrigue in Aviene” by Steve Dilks

“King Yvorian’s Wager” by Darrell Schweizter (reprint, not reviewed)

“A Night in the Witherlands” by Daniel Stride

Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf

Mighty warriors face challenges both natural and unnatural in this issue’s two new stories.

The protagonist of “Intrigue in Aviene” by Steve Dilks is a mercenary soldier between wars. A revolutionary attempts to hire him to assassinate a politician, but a brawl in a tavern leads to his arrest. Sentenced to slavery, he escapes, meets the intended victim of the assassination plot, and comes up with his own plan.

This is an action-packed tale, full of combat and derring-do. The story is vividly written, but fantasy fans may be disappointed by the fact that only the setting is imaginary, with no supernatural elements in the plot.

The narrator of “A Night in the Witherlands” by Daniel Stride accompanies a merchant through a lonely wasteland, serving as a guard. He picks up an ancient coin, leading to an encounter with malevolent ghosts. He escapes from the specters and the eerily transformed merchant, only to find a strange old man in an isolated cottage and further dangers.

The author creates an effective blend of horror and adventure. The old man remains an enigma throughout the story, creating a sense of confusion and frustration.

Victoria Silverwolf is not a mighty warrior.