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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.


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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

examining him.

“Have you informed your son about the peril we face?” asked the

High Priestess.

“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

seen before.

“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

Faharen’s mind.

“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.


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Book Trailer:


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.

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