Author Rowan Utting
The Stones of Home was completed while Rowan was at High School in Tawa, New Zealand. Rowan now resides in Christchurch.
The book includes the author’s songs, drawings and a new language “Alamard”, invented to express the needs of the characters. A full lexicon and grammar is included.
From the rear cover
An excerpt from a funeral for the leading Tiger Wolf.
The flames danced up the bones, and Nalgar raised his arms to cross the flaming bones above his head. Lotar and Drozak lowered the body into the hole, then picked up two half-bones each. Once they ignited them, an amazing three-person juggling ceremony began. Burning bones flew through the air, then each wolf picked up a second unbroken bone. They each used it as a club, bouncing the flaming half-troll-bones, then more bones were added by the chanters. Two dozen bones flew through the air, and suddenly the chant changed, became more intense, and the bones flew higher and higher. The chant stopped, and the lights in the air disappeared. Charred and scorched bones fell back to the jugglers resulting in each wolf having eight bones. They laid them around the edge of the hole, then jumped over the fire. The flames spread to the hole as the chants and drums started up again, then went out, leaving only the edge of the hole burning. The howlsong ebbed, then ended.
Nalgar stood up on a raised platform, with Rittaun on his left and Lotar on his right.They each held one of her pups: Emmann and Hwala, the youngest two. All the other werewolves were sitting on the lower ground, along with Gvengar, Yalavé and Arga,the older cubs of Fotar’s hearth. Nalgar started a beautiful howl, full of sadness and nostalgia. Lotar and Rittaun joined in, and the drummers began a quiet rhythm. The howls spoke of a friend, a brother, a husband. Three voices became one, and amber light shone at their mouths. It drifted out, and slowly, a shape was forming in the air, first faint as a shadow, but gaining strength. Fotar stood before them, a glowing apparition, and the pups joined in the howl, adding their innocent joy at seeing their father. Then, the howl changed its tone; Fotar slowly faded and the light seemed to turn red. A picture of a goblin appeared, red with hatred and blood. The pups whimpered, and Nalgar changed the colour of the howl. Green and blue filled the air; a meadow, and a blue sky. All the werewolves marvelled at his imagery. Nalgar howled of freedom, of sunlight. He was the only werewolf that remembered the outside world; he was a cub in his mother’s arms when they fled from the elves. Now, he was almost a century and a half old, and was ready to see the sky for one last time. His howl hung in the air, and the half-remembered scent of grass hung in his nostrils. Nalgar was unconsciously pouring joy into his howls as his memories came flooding back to him, and then with an aggressiveness that only werewolves can accomplish, he poured his hate of goblins into the howl. Joy and an urge to fight echoed in the caverns, and a love for his people built up in the sound. The image slowly became brighter and turned into a white star with four points. Brighter and brighter it grew, with all of Nalgar’s raw emotion-filled howls of love, of joy, of hatred, of bloodlust until it exploded with a shatter, leaving only the purest ethereal echo of a crystal wineglass. Silence reigned in the caverns for a moment.
Then, Nalgar said:
“These underground caves have been our home for 150 years. But once, we had a different home. A home filled with light, where grass grows and water flows. That home we had, it’s gone now. But there are places like it. We shall fight the goblins and the vampires, and the elves will help us to repay killing our kind. I am an old dog, far older than most. But I remember the smell of grass, the feel of wind,the warmth of sunlight. The howls I have given you are only a taste of marvels of the surface world. I would feel my fur in the sun, one last time before I die.”
The following howl was one of the loudest things the Mages had ever heard. The wolves were pouring all their appreciation and agreement into it; their desire to see the surface and their will to fight.
“Mages!” yelled Nalgar, beckoning them forward. “How soon do we fight?”
“A month, no more,” replied Cragillahan.
“Drozak! How long does it take to get to the surface?”
“For one wolf, a day. For three hundred, including mates, pups and belongings, most of a month.”
“Werewolves! Prepare yourselves! The sky beckons!”