The Staff of Sakatha
The Staff of Sakatha features Jon Gray in his youth as he attempts to procure the Staff of Sakatha for his father. Jon is traveling far from his home to the nation of Elekargul where the Free Riders rule. The ancient relic from Imperial times called the Staff of Sakatha has emerged in this land and Jon must become allies with the stoic riders.
Jon befriends young Sorus Brewer and heads deep into the Mountain of the Orcs to find the Staff. Along the way he learns about a people who believe that their personal freedom is their most important possession. Jon meets the dour First Rider who leads the nation along with jolly Odellius whose fat belly does not prevent him from being among the finest warriors in a people who value the Sword and Lance above all else.
When I was writing the Staff of Sakatha I knew a great deal about Jon Gray already. Where he was going and what greatness lay ahead. I didn’t know how he became such a man. In this his first appearance in my novels it was important that he learn about a society where honor, integrity, and honesty trump all others. If Jon was to become great then it was because he learned at the feet of those in his past.
My idea in writing the Staff of Sakatha was to explore Galt’s Gulch in a more realistic environment. You may laugh at the idea of a fantasy realm being more real than Ayn Rand’s mountain retreat. I always felt that Galt’s Gulch had the advantage of being completely isolated from the rest of the world and the only people there were those chosen. What would such a realm of achievement based life be like when surrounded by the avarice, greed, and dishonor of the real world? What if the people living there didn’t choose to live there, but were born in such a place?
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An old knight of Elekargul, the decrepit warrior wants nothing more than to go out with one final blaze of glory. When Jon Gray arrives in town it gives him that opportunity and he doesn’t intend to waste it.
Jon Gray is the son of the Gray Lord and in this novel is a mere stripling of seventeen although at nearly seven feet tall he already possesses more strength than most grown men. While his stated objective is to find the Staff of Sakatha in reality he learns from the various Free Riders he meets about honor, integrity, courage, and sacrifice. These are lessons he will carry with him for his entire life.
Odellius is knight of Elekargul who’s rebellious streak has landed him in less than ideal circumstances for his 12-month of service away from the Lance. He takes on Jon Gray in the practice ring and later travels with the lad as they try to wrest the Staff of Sakatha from the hands of those who wish to use it further their evil ends.
Most knights of Elekargul who are stripped of their title live the rest of their lives in shame but there are a few who voluntarily give up their duties. Proteus is one such knight who relinquished the lance and shield so that he could raise his two young sons. When Jon Gray comes calling with a dangerous mission it’s more than old knight can resist and he join on the quest.
Sorus is in the lowest social classes of Elekargul not having been chosen to be a squire when he was a young boy. He thinks he is destined to live out his life making beer and watching other young men achieve glory and fame. Then Jon walks into his life.
Tenebrous is a dark shadow living under the controlling thumb of his master, She Who has Always Ruled, the master of Unlife. He is not happy in his current circumstances although his plans to change things remain mysterious. He befriends Jon in his quest to find the Staff of Sakatha and does his best to help the searchers.
The First Rider is the leader of Elekargul as victor by trail for a 12-month period. Vispsanius must choose whether to help Jon Gray or to hinder him in his quests to find the Staff of Sakatha. The First Rider is responsible for the nation and his decisions have a profound effect on the future of Elekargul.