Fantasy Excerpt From The Black Vale by Leah Bergquist

Being in this group, a writer’s group first, which has evolved into something more. I find myself reading various fascinating and excellent fantasy stories being created by fellow members of the four seasons podcast. I wanted to share a small snippet of the kind of writing that I am talking about. This is from Leah’s work The Black Vale. Without further ado, here is a magical moment that briefly lightens the main character, Amalee’s, day:


They spoke in hushed tones, away from everyone, casting the occasional glance at her. Finally tired of it, she walked out of the store when they weren’t looking.

Amalee didn’t know where she was going, only that she needed to be alone, so she picked a direction and walked. Her filthy hair was stuffed up into a black, knitted cap and she kept her head down as she walked.

When she finally reached a large field of well cared for grass toward the middle of the city, she looked up to behold a towering statue of Ayalla, goddess of music and art. The statue was ancient, yet still perfect. Ayalla’s long, flowing hair and robes almost seemed to move about her in the warm, summer breeze and no matter where you stood, her eyes appeared to follow you.

The Yeddish were a creative people. They worshiped and lived through music. All of their stories and histories were told with song. The people themselves were a mix of Humans and Elves with autumn coloring. They were beautiful and everywhere they went, they had a song in their hearts and on their lips. Even as she stood, staring up at Ayalla, an older half elven man carrying a couple sloshing buckets of water passed her, humming a tune. As he passed a couple out for a stroll, they started humming the same song. This went on and on until it seemed as though everyone on and around the grass were perfectly in tune with each other. As she listened, the song drifted away, replaced by another. It was eerie and fascinating and as Amalee stood there, staring up at the statue, harmonious voices listed into the sky.

She closed her eyes and just listened, feeling a sense of calm for the first time since she’d been in the courtyard with Catherine.

After several minutes, the tune changed again, the song dying out and becoming a soft chorus of hums and ah’s.

She opened her eyes and looked down at the ugly boots on her feet and swallowed against the lump in her throat.

Her skin itched on the inside and her chest was tight. She felt… full. Not as though she’d just had a meal. More like she was full in a different way. A non-physical way. Her very soul was being stretched out of shape by something that writhed and was made of fire, ice and chips of steel.

“Is this my life?” she whispered, wishing she could get an answer from Ayalla, from someone.

The statue remained still.

With a sigh, Amalee turned to leave.


Leah’s revisiting of her currently published The Black Vale is sprinkled throughout with gems of fascinating, breathtaking, and just plain gorgeous details. As I read through this, I marvel at how easy it is to get lost in her story. Beautiful prose, creative characters, and the actual story… amazing!

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