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Arrow on the String

Solomon Sorrows Book 1

Dan Fish

Copyright © 2021 Dan Fish

All Rights Reserved. The right of Dan Fish to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted.

All of the characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Cover design by www.miblart.com

Editing by www.cbmoore-editor.com

Dedicated to David and Judith,

because I love you and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me.

Also, because doing stuff like this really sticks it to the sibs.

—your favorite son


WRITING A NOVEL can be time consuming and thought consuming. It can involve a lot of blank stares and pushing food around a plate while thinking through plot details. Which might be fine if I was alone when my brain turned to mush. But I rarely was.

Thank you to my beautiful, patient wife, Kat—always supportive in the ways I need to be supported. I love you and appreciate the hells out of you. Can you believe this life we’ve put together? I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

Thank you to my three boys—you keep me grounded, young, and always inspired by the things you accomplish in your own lives. Amazing.

Thank you to Kelli Kimble—so much wisdom shared; so much time spent reading and offering feedback. You brought writing back to me, and I will always be grateful for that.


WOULD YOU CHOOSEto become a god if you could? What would you gain? What would you be willing to sacrifice?

Imagine you could summon the four elements: earth, wind, water, and light. Each one in its entirety, fully formed and under your control. Not the whispering gusts of the magi, nor the flickering illusions of the Weavers. Imagine you knew the gods-tongue itself. What would you do? You would create worlds. You would build mountains and oceans and deserts. You would harness the storms, the tides, and the fire that flows like water within the earth.

What of life? Imagine you knew the mysteries of blood and breath. Imagine you knew how to knit muscle and bone. Not the mending of healers. Not the restoring of that which the gods had already wrought. Imagine that the gods-breath welled within your chest and passed over your lips. What would you do? You would create creatures and peoples. You would command them to multiply and fill those worlds you had shaped. You would bless and punish according to your will. You would rule over all.

These are the unwritten laws of mastery. These are easy concepts to grasp. They apply to many different pursuits: swinging a sword, shooting arrows, throwing knives. They apply to any of the noble arts: the study of the gods-realm, the dance of battle, the weaving of song. If you master a discipline, you are revered, exalted. Worshipped. Master rain-calling. Master forest-walking. Master gem-cutting or stone-shaping. Master anything.

What of killing? Could you master killing?

Imagine holding death in your hand. Imagine facing any creature with the confidence you could end its life before it ended yours. Imagine killing the great predators. Wolves, bears, lions, dragons. Imagine killing the mortal races. Goblins, orcs, gnomes, half-born. You wouldn’t stop then. Not with your gifts. Not with your intelligence and cunning. To do so would fall short of mastery. No mastery, no recognition. You would work harder, push farther. You would study the gods-born. The elves and the dwarves. You would seek to humble the mighty. And when you were done, you would look to the gods themselves. After all, if humans could kill their god, then why not you?

Why not you?

You would need to know the various ways to kill. But that is easy. There are as many ways to end a life as there are stars in the gods-realm. You need to learn which ways create risk. Which ways draw attention. Which ways inspire anger. Which ways inspire fear. So you study and practice and study some more. You delve into histories and dark tomes.

You study dwarves. You live as one of them. You pay close attention to their habits and you discover an opportunity. It is a narrow, golden vein within the mountain of Dwarf culture. It is a delicate thing because your mastery is a delicate thing. There are steps to be followed. Techniques to refine. Patience is very important. Crucial. But patience is the wine in your goblet, the bread in your stomach. You are not burdened by patience. You know it better than most, perhaps better than all.

You test your ideas on lesser creatures. The screams of countless rats and strays become music in your ears. They sing the song of your ascension. You move from the lesser creatures to one of the mortal races. But one which will not draw attention. Orcs. Lumbering, superstitious simpletons. No one cares if an orc is killed. Not even other orcs. You lure one away. It dies easily. A perfect kill. You are pleased. You have killed one of the mortal races. You take a bead from its hair. A small trophy, but to you it might as well be gold or a jewel. You savor the moment. Then you move on.

You acknowledge the difficulty. The aftermath. The vengeful nature of the gods-born. How will you remain untouched? Killing is punishable by death. How will you survive? How will you continue to pursue your mastery, refining your skill until it becomes second nature? Like breathing. You remember your studies. The vast horde of knowledge you have built up over countless years honing your craft. You know about the gods-born, both the dwarves and elves. You’ve watched them in love and anger, war and peace. You’ve celebrated new life among them, and you’ve mourned sudden loss. You’ve watched them prepare for battle against the Cursed. You know what to look for in their rage. You know

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