The Merewyrm’s Tooth
Animal Kingdoms Book 1
by Oliver Paglia
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Faharen was a contented enough young lad, living a simple farming life with his adopted kin the Manxii, on the North Western Plain of the Animal Kingdoms.
After a mysterious blight begins to ravage the pastures of his homeland, he must embark on a perilous quest only he can complete; to cross the Great Forest, entering the Realms of Men to retrieve a piece of ivory with healing properties from a legendary monster, the Merewyrm; a creature so ancient it predates both man and animal kind.
Not long into his journey, it dawns on Faharen that he is part of a much larger, darker world than he thought existed and must mine hidden depths he wasn’t aware he possessed to survive.
Created by the gods to divide fallen men from the faithful animals and forsaken by them long ago, traversing the Great Forest will not be easy, for it hides many malevolent creatures such as the Satyrs to name but one; a half man, half cloven hooved beast that knows only spite and treachery!
With the body of a man and the heart of a Manxii, Faharen must do what is deemed impossible; cross the worlds to save his people.
Book Trailer :
The sun had cleared the horizon and any vestiges of violet had faded
in the glory of a bright, radiant morning. Faharen walked next to
Agnovis as they casually strolled toward the temple. They
exchanged pleasantries with the other Ovispagians as usual, trying
not to appear clandestine as to the nature of their morning’s activity.
Agnovis was doing a better job of it than Faharen.
After the initial revelations of last night, Agnovis had gone on to
explain how he had been surreptitiously taken to one side by a group
of priests, who had expressed the High Priestess’s
desire to speak with Faharen in confidence, though they didn’t say
much more on the subject.
As they reached the temple steps, seemingly on cue, the Medius
Priest appeared above them, his eyes full of knowledge that Faharen,
as of yet, was not privy to. It started to dawn on him that maybe he
was becoming part of something bigger than himself, something that
had been playing out for longer than he had been aware of.
The inside of the temple far exceeded the grandeur of its exterior. It
was a delicate blend of different crafts and artistic expressions,
woven so intricately that it took an expert eye to see where one
stopped and the other began. A stone and marble floor reached
upwards in the shape of fluted pillars, but at about chest height, these
morphed into marvellous wooden beams, arching toward the centre
of the main chamber.
Agnovis, having already surpassed the aesthetic arrest of the place,
followed the Medius Priest to the centre of the main chamber, where
after a brief exchange, the priest left through a small archway to the
side of the entrance. Still in awe of what was before him, Faharen
proceeding cautiously so that his footsteps wouldn’t echo loudly,
walked toward the centre of the space where his Manxii father was
As he moved deeper into the chamber, a grand fresco of Ovis
revealed itself above the empty seats of the Council of Priests. The
Mother Goddess’s arms were outstretched, the procession of her
godly offspring before her.
“Such a loving expression,” Agnovis muttered, his words gently
reverberating around the chamber. Faharen looked again at the
fresco. Ovis’s eyes and gesture seemed to be directed toward the
very place where they were standing. He looked down at his feet to
see that he was standing on a black circle of marble.
Feeling instantly compelled, he stepped away and immediately a
phenomenal, swirling arrangement of interwoven, iridescent
teardrop shaped pieces of marble became apparent. Faharen’s eyes
followed the multi-coloured marvels in a shrinking spiral until they
finally came back to the black circle in the centre. As he looked into
it, the rest of the room darkened, making him dizzy. He wanted to
look away but couldn’t, anxiety swelling in his chest. He felt
“All kneel for the High Priestess of Ovispagus!” The Medius Priest’s
instruction echoed like thunder.
Faharen’s vision faded back into the richness of the temple’s
amphitheatre. Agnovis was already kneeling, his head down. Before
Faharen could take in what had happened, Agnovis’s hoof hand had
grasped his woollen shirtsleeve and pulled him down to the floor on
his knees. After what seemed like an age, the delicate caress of a
ewe’s hoof hand pressed on Faharen’s shoulder.
“Rise,” said a ewe’s voice in a dulcet way above him. Faharen and
Agnovis slowly stood.
Though dressed in a simple, off-white robe, the High Priestess was a
remarkable sight to behold. She was tall for a Manxii ewe and her
wool was white from horn to hoof. She had deep, green eyes that
overflowed with wisdom and generosity. She seemed truly divined
by the gods. Faharen noticed his hand was outstretched; he looked
down, and saw that her hoof hand was clutching his own.
“Welcome, both of you,” she greeted. “Please follow me, time is of
the essence.” With the brief introduction over, the High Priestess
gracefully walked back through the archway. The Medius Priest
beckoned for them to follow, bowing politely as Faharen and
Agnovis nervously moved past him, as it was very rare indeed that
anyone but a priest got to venture deep into the temple.
The short passageway led from the Main Chamber of the temple and
opened up into a modest room of a less ornate nature. Arranged in a
semi-circle in front of the entrance, in a formal manner Faharen
wasn’t overly used to, sat Murtle, the Tauron emissary and half a
dozen high ranking Manxii priests. An empty, high-armed wooden
chair sat in the middle of the group, ready to receive the High
Priestess as she took her place amongst the gathering. Faharen and
Agnovis stood dutifully before them.
“Hello, Faharen,” squeaked Murtle, the nearest expression to a Sus’s
“Murtle!” Faharen exclaimed, joyfully. Murtle didn’t reply. It was
clear the Tauron was eyeing their personal relationship with interest.
A quiet fell across the room. Faharen was aware that all present were
“Have you informed your son about the peril we face?” asked the
“Yes, my Lady,” Agnovis replied. She paused in thought. “And I
understand you have schooled him in all of our
Manxii ways?” came another inquiry. “Yes, my Lady,” Agnovis
repeated. “As best as I was able.” The High Priestess gestured to one
of the priests, who
walked over to Faharen and produced a scroll from within his robe.
As he unrolled it, a drawing of a terrifying serpentine creature was
revealed, surrounded by writing in an alphabet Faharen had never
“Do you recognise this creature, Faharen?” the High Priestess asked.
“I can’t say that I do, my Lady,” he replied.
“If I told you it surrounded the Earth before Glaber created Gigas
and Men,” she stated.
“The Merewyrm!” a terrified murmur came from Agnovis.
“Yes, the Merewyrm,” the High Priestess reaffirmed. “Fallen into
time to live forever as a tormenter to both men and animals.”
A vague memory of such a legend simmered up from the bottom of
“Must we skirt around the issue like this?” a deep, booming inquiry
came from the Tauron emissary. Faharen had never seen a Tauron
up close before, let alone hear one. The bellicose tone of his voice
distracted Farahen from his thoughts. The Manxii present simply
returned his question with a glance and then began muttering
amongst themselves. The Tauron’s eyes widened in fury and he
reared up on his cleft nails. The room seemed to shrink as he did so,
his muscular skin flexing in a ripple from neck to tail. Faharen had
heard tales of their physical prowess but in such a setting the Tauron
seemed god- like. Standing on four legs, with a seemingly
disproportionately wide neck and shoulders, his short, black coat of
hair glistened as the horned behemoth fixed his gaze unflinchingly
on Faharen. “My people are dying!” he growled. “While we talk,
thousands of my race wither to disease and hunger!”
Faharen stood stiff with fright, transfixed by the sharp points of the
Tauron’s horns. Having voiced his concerns, his temper waned
slightly, and he then turned to the High Priestess.
“Please tell him of the Merewyrm’s importance,” the Tauron
The High Priestess reached out and stroked the Tauron’s neck with
her hoof hand. As she looked at him, Faharen knew she felt his
anguish as her own. She turned to Faharen.
“The teeth of the Merewyrm are said to have magical healing
properties. They can bring fertility and cure sickness,” she
explained. “If it can be brought back and prepared correctly, then the
Animal Kingdoms can be spared from this blight that ravages our
“Where is this creature to be found?” asked Faharen.
“It is written in legend that the creature resides in wastelands to the
northwest of the Realms of Men,” replied the High Priestess.
“But that’s beyond the Great Forest,” protested Faharen. “How can
we cross it?”
“As animals we cannot,” stated the High Priestess. The reality of the
situation felt like a slap in the face. “But I’m no animal,” Faharen
murmured to himself. He
looked to his Manxii father for help. Agnovis was already looking at
him with sadness in his heart, but acceptance in his eyes. So this is
what it had been all about, he thought to himself. That Faharen had
been born and raised in the land of the Manxii shouldn’t have
happened, but it had. The only fact that mattered now was that he
was the only one who could last a day in the Realms of Men and if
he could get there, he might just be able to get back.
As Faharen pondered his fate, he felt his left arm rise into the air,
followed by the sensation of bristly, thick skin on his hand. He
looked down at his side. Murtle was there, looking up at him.
“Not to worry, lad, you can do it,” Murtle said with a light,
reassuring grunt. “Besides, I’m coming with you some of the way.”
“I am truly sorry that we have to ask this of your son, Agnovis,” said
the High Priestess, sympathetically. She rose from her chair and
walked over to Faharen. “If we had another way to save the Animal
Kingdoms from famine, it would be done. But we do not.” The High
Priestess looked down at Murtle. “Are you sure on what is to be
“Yes, my Lady. I shall prepare the lad for what is necessary,” Murtle
oinked in reply. As he looked down at the kind eyes and jovial
expression of the old Sus, Faharen’s foreboding gave way to hope.
Murtle had always offered the right guidance since Faharen was a
child. He felt reassured that she would now, as he embarked on his
new daunting undertaking.
Gauntlet of Wrath
Animal Kingdoms Book 2
Residing in a monastery far to the east of the North Western Plain, troubling nightmares stalk Faharen’s sleep as he seeks inner peace and answers to profound questions, stirred up by his quest for the Merewyrm’s tooth.
But in the Realms of Men, all is not well.
Out of the deserts to the south, like a sandstorm on an ill wind, a force of occultists, led by an armoured giant calling himself the Ferra Demiurge, or Forged Lord, wielding the strongest ever blades made of a mysterious metal, have taken the Achaean lands by coup and sorcery. Their ambition and greed is insatiable and the Demiurge will not be satisfied until the entire known world is his, including what lies beyond the Great Forest.
With the worlds of the Animal Kingdoms and men alike set in flux by recent events, the ancient prophecy of the wild men seems to be unravelling.
Now, all those standing against the Achaeans will be tested in their defence of the sacred. Some will conquer, some will die, but all will struggle to survive.
Grundar the chieftain stood before the Forged Lord who sat on his
throne, Fabius and the sorcerers looking on from the periphery. The
Northman was taller and broader than most Achaeans, with a
trimmed, neck length beard and sharp, blue eyes that vivified his
whole demeanour, revealing a fierce intelligence. His hands grasped
a thick belt about his waist, a few fingers resting diligently on a
bronze axe head.
“I want some of your men to cross the river and assist with the
construction of the bridge on the far bank,” the Demiurge ordered.
“You have more than a legion here,” Grundar asserted in his cool,
northern accent. “We are paid to fight, not build bridges. How could
you ask that of my men?”
“I’m not asking!” the Demiurge replied, raising a clenched metal
“You are not my Lord!” the clansman stated as he puffed out his
chest and took a step forward. The mood in the tent suddenly
changed, but the Forged Lord rose to his feet and simply placed his
hands casually on his hips; a dead stare behind his black rendered
mask. “Show me the gold you promised, or I will take my army back
home!” Armour creaked as the Demiurge leaned over the clansman,
making full use of his superior height.
“And how will you get home?” he asked. “In my ships that brought
you from the shores of the northwest? I think not!”
“Ha!” Grundar scoffed. “Clansmen are not shy of a long walk. You
southerners build your bridge with your own hands.” He walked for
the exit, barging past Fabius.
“Can you run faster than a sail, clansman?” The words halted
Grundar. “You must have been desperate to have brought all your
best warriors this far south, leaving your women and children
unprotected.” The chieftain turned to face the Demiurge, his eyes
brimming with pure, unrestrained wrath, knuckles turning white as
they clenched the axe head at his waist. “All I have to do is click my
fingers and the whole Achaean navy will sail north.” He squared up
to Grundar again. “And even if you run all the way home, all that
will greet you will be burnt out fishing villages, empty and lifeless,
because I won’t have your people killed, oh no. After my sailors
have had their way with your women, they will become my slaves.
Then, I will have each of your warriors swear allegiance to me, to
serve in the legion until the day they die!”
In the face of such an insult Grundar showed extraordinary dignity.
It was the only thing the Demiurge could not take from him.
“We will need boats to cross the river –”
“None can be spared!” the Forged Lord cut him off. “There are
stepping stones not too far north of here along the river. You will go
around and clear the far bank of Satyrs from there back to the
bridge.” It was all too clear from the tone of his voice that he was
enjoying dominating the clansman.
“Let me see the gold you promised,” demanded Grundar.
“You’ll see it once the bridge is completed and we have crossed the
river in force,” came a dismissive response. The only act of defiance
Grundar had left was to do nothing. He simply stared at everybody
present, his eyes finally meeting with Fabius’s. They shared
contempt for their ungrateful master. “Hurry now,” the Demiurge
continued. “The days are still short and you don’t want to be
unprepared in the Great Forest at night.” Then Grundar left, not
wanting to be in such company a moment longer. Immediately
afterwards, Fabius excused himself and returned to his hilltop
Oliver Paglia is a writer/filmmaker and was born and bred in Hampshire, south England, where he grew up on a small farm in the picturesque Test valley countryside. He now lives in Reykjavik, Iceland with his veterinary nurse partner, Snæfriður Stefanssdottír. For many years Oliver has worked as a videographer in England and has a substantial portfolio of commercial and artistic film work spanning a broad variety of subjects.
Oliver’s artistic preoccupation is with the mythic; it is his view that it is one of the highest forms of artistic expression. It can be vague, yet illuminating, without a contemporary context yet insightful as to the human condition, absurd yet wise and dark yet moral. The legends of old are the stories that resonate with us on all levels.
As the late Professor Joseph Campbell put it, “The myth is the public domain and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn’t, you’ve got a long adventure in the dark forest ahead of you.” Also, “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.”
And that is what Oliver hopes to do, to keep myth alive in his own modest way.