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A Pearl
In Sorrow's Hand

by Arthur Rollins Savage

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A Mythic Novel 

"A Pearl In Sorrow's Hand" tells the story of Magnus, King of Belvedere, who leaves the comfort of his royal existence to defend his adopted son’s honor on a distant battlefield. His quest leads him to an understanding far different—and far more important—than he had ever dreamed.

Magnus's journey teaches us about the wisdom of listening to our heart, gaining humility, accepting the friendship of strangers, and, most important, believing in the power of forgiveness. 

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From the book




Chapter I

Spring, 1720

Outside Belvedere


A filthy worn bearskin hung over the man’s shoulders, askew his Percheron from withers to tail. The man’s deep set brown eyes showed exhaustion, his angular face wrinkled, baked by long days in an unrelenting sun. His unkempt gray beard, thick with lice, ran down his leathery neck. His clothes, torn and baggy, stunk like a beggar’s.  Something in his countenance was off—a small gold amulet swung across his barrel chest like a pendulum with every step of the horse’s gait. Nearly unrecognizable, Magnus, fifth King of Belvedere, was nearly home. 


The north road had deteriorated in the King's absence, rutted by thousands of muddy cart trips. This morning, the path ahead was cloaked in wisps of fog that clung to the massive sessile oaks that lined the Hemsford Road. He inherited this place, the land of Belvedere, from his father, John of Avon, who inherited it from his father and so on for ten generations. The woods smelled of peat, pine, and decaying leaves, scents elevated by the spring rains.


These were the cherished forests of his forebears, passed down as expectantly as salt at a banquet table. For five generations, peace had ruled this land, until the battle of Bendargon.


Bendargon, he thought. Pure hell on Earth. And for what?


The quiet pounding in his chest rose as he anticipated the first view of the Castle. He feared what may await him inside its towering walls. Despite his inner armor, he clung to the hope that all would be as it had been the day his army had left for the north. 


At his left flank, the great Hemsford River raged southward toward the sea, cascading whitewater that by midsummer would slow to a trickle. It was May and the late snows had held spring at bay. The cold, pure water that flowed from high in the Grassmere brought sustenance to the land, greening it and beckoning the farmers into the fields where they would work the rich tilth during a shortened growing season.


Ahead, at the edge of the dirt path, a hooded figure stood hunched in the gray light. A beggar, perhaps, thought Magnus. One by one, the men ahead of Magnus nodded respectfully as they passed. 


Thirty yards in front of Magnus lumbered the makeshift jail cart that had been fashioned by the Belvederan soldiers. It housed Darkbrow, destroyer of all things good. The evil one was captured by Magnus’s daughter, the great warrior Princess Anne, and the surviving contingent was bringing him back from Bendargon to stand trial.


How ironic, thought Magnus, that this evil is mere yards from me, his life spared after all the pain he has inflicted. 


Magnus watched as the bent figure, clad in a dark cloak and laboring upon a crooked staff, turned toward him. Atop Skye, his massive mount, the King approached. As he neared, the hood fell back, revealing a truss of gray braids spun into an ornate bun—‘tis not a man at all, but…


“Havelin!” Magnus cried.


The haggard face gazed up at him and, as their eyes met, a nearly-forgotten joy filled Magnus’s heart. He stared down at the timeless spirit, the wise and contemplative elder and his lifelong teacher. She returned a soft smile. Of course, he thought, who else but Havelin would be the first to welcome me home. 


As a child, Magnus had had the finest tutors. His was an education truly fit for a prince, jealously guarded by his mother, Joan, and sought after by royals near and far. Though surrounded by the most learned scholars of the day, his true education came during his years spent with Havelin as they explored the hills and dales surrounding Belvedere. She shared with him the generosity of nature and life’s endless mysteries. Over the decades, Havelin had been his teacher, guide, sage, and oracle, an enigmatic figure whom he loved to the depths of his soul.


The King pulled back on Skye’s reins, trying to yank his boot from its stirrup, his sword sheath clanging at his side. Havelin gazed up at him, waiting patiently, a droll smile spreading across her time-worn face.


“My dear Havelin!” Magnus exclaimed, his boots finally hitting the dusty path. He rushed to her, gathering her up in his arms, and spun her around.


“Good gracious, lad!” she shrieked, her cloak billowing outward, “my back is not what it used to be.”


“Nonsense! You look strong as an ox.” 


Magnus kissed her cheek, then lowered her to the ground and stepped back.


“My eyes do not deceive! 'Tis my teacher, in the flesh,” he said, gazing at her. “How are you?”


“Still an old potion maker sharing her home with mice,” she quipped.


Magnus laughed, drawing in her shadowy countenance.


“Are you well, though?” he inquired soberly.


“I pass for well, King,” she said, her tired eyes betraying hardship. “I cannot lie, times have been trying in your absence.”


“That hurts to hear, Havelin,” he replied. “As you can see from my brethren ahead, time has shown us neither mercy nor respite. We lost nearly all at Bendargon.”


Havelin studied the King, his broad shoulders rounded, his leathered face and tattered clothes revealing a broken spirit. The twinkle in his eyes slowly dimmed, replaced by a sad realization. She could see that he had met heartbreak on his journey. This wild, spirited boy of days past looked nearly untethered, kept hopeful only by that which he did not yet understand was no longer true.


“And what of dear Anne?” Havelin inquired.


Magnus paused, grimacing at the thought of his last conversation with his elder daughter. “She survived, though I do not know her whereabouts. She took her leave of us just a few days ago.”


Havelin looked into Magnus’s eyes. “A strong woman she is, Magnus. I shall pray for her.”


“My thanks.”


“Anne is a survivor. She shall return in due time.”


Magnus nodded. “Perhaps.”


“And what of dear Colin? I don’t think I saw him up ahead. How does he fare?” Havelin asked.


Magnus faltered. “Colin was taken from us, Havelin. He rests in the arms of the Lord.”


“Oh dear, my heart breaks for that wonderful boy. And for you, Constance, and the girls.”


“Aye,” Magnus whispered. “Colin did not deserve to die, and I do not know how I will face his father.”


“Your cousin put his faith in you,” she replied. “For better or for worse. There are no guarantees in life.”


“Easy to say yet hard to live by, my sage.”


“And what has become of Henry through all this?” Havelin asked.


Magnus pointed to the contingent ahead. “Anne spared his life. He is in the prison wagon ahead. Has not uttered a word in weeks. ‘Twould not have been my choice, but she respects the rule of law, and thus we are delivering him home to face justice.”


Havelin nodded. “The scales of justice are rarely balanced, and sentences not always meted out proportionally. Many of the most egregious offenders are never held accountable.”


“Wise words as always, Havelin,” Magnus replied.


He paused. “And Queen Constance and Morgan Rose? How are they?”


“I know not, King. Much has changed since your departure.”


“But…you must have some idea—"


“Nay, my memory has grown cloudy of late. I have seen neither hide nor hair of them.” 


An odd answer, thought Magnus, for Havelin had always been sharp-witted and prescient regarding the affairs of the royal family.


“I see,” Magnus replied softly. “Well then, I shall take your leave, dear lady, and continue on to Belvedere to make my own appraisal.”


The old woman raised her gnarled hand and put it gently on Magnus’s chest.


“Take heed, my dear,” Havelin cautioned, “for Belvedere’s bloom has passed. As you approach your beloved home, remember that only a thread made from a loom of love can repair a torn tapestry. A gentle hand and a patient heart will serve you well. Allow time for healing.”


“There you go, Havelin, speaking in riddles,” Magnus replied. “I shall heed your words and will seek further counsel in due course.”


With that, the King bowed to his beloved teacher, who returned the gesture with a soulful nod. 


“Go well, King,” she whispered.


“And you, m’lady.”


Magnus climbed back atop Skye, gazing down at Havelin. “I shall hold you in my heart, dear one.”


“And I, you,” Havelin whispered.


And with that, the contingent continued its slow march homeward.

The "Pearl" Podcast

The podcast will include multiple episodes between 10 and 15 minutes in length. Each episode comprises one or more chapters from the novel. Episodes may vary in length to accommodate the 10-15 minute time frame, ideal for a quick listen while on the go or in the comfort of one's abode. New episodes will appear in the Episode Listing below. 

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Listen to the sample

Bewilder King of Belvedere Preface and C

Episode List 

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Episodes coming someday!

The Art

Some of our characters 


King Magnus
of Belvedere

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Sir Colin of Evermore

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Havelin, the Sage

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Queen Constance

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Cyril, the Cormysh Elf

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Princess Anne


Diggory, the Mysterious

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Princess Morgan Rose



All artwork copyright 2023 by Arthur Rollins Savage

Card Deck

The Well of Runes 
Ancestor Deck

Coming Soon


This power deck is a portal into the gifts and challenges our ancestors  have bestowed upon each of us as we entered this precious and magical world. As such, it is only as instructional as the reader of the cards chooses to make it. The cards, through divine inspiration, allow for thoughtful introspection and enlightenment.

There are 23 face cards (blue back), 50 rune symbol cards (green back), and  126 mini virtue cards (yellow back). You may place each set of cards face down on the table, fanning them out before you. Select one card from each fanned pile and turn them over in front of you. You may choose to take more than one virtue card to add to the group for more clarity.

From here, it is up to you how you wish to interpret the images, symbols and words before you. Perhaps these cards help you to begin forming  a clearer vision for you, your soul work and your purpose in the world. Perhaps they shed light on gifts that you possess but as of yet have not explored. They may also offer deeper insights into why you are who you are and how you might begin to evolve into the person you wish to become. Whatever the case, may these cards be an ongoing gift to you in your life and the lives of those around you.

My gift to you is free of encumbrances. Please use them as you see fit to perhaps gain a greater understanding of yourself, your ancestral roots and your deeper purpose.

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The deck includes:

  • 4 introduction and instruction cards

  • 23 full-color ancestral cards

  • 51 rune cards

  • 126 virtue cards


Arthur Rollins Savage 
Author - Illustrator


Arthur Rollins Savage hails from the eastern Connecticut shoreline where he was influenced by the creatives of the day.


He traveled internationally in high school and wrote about his experiences in an unpublished memoir upon his return.


Savage studied literature and creative writing at a college in eastern Pennsylvania, graduating with an A.B. degree in English Literature. Upon graduation, he began his writing career in New York City at international advertising and public relations firms. His diverse writing experience spans corporate, not-for-profit, and agency work, and includes product development, marketing, PR, and creative writing. "A Pearl In Sorrow's Hand" is his first novel.

In 2011, Savage took up pencil drawing. He has produced hundreds of abstract graphite and full-color works since, and his work has been shown throughout the Mountain West. He plans to include some of his work in "A Pearl In Sorrow's Hand.

Savage resides in the Colorado Rockies.


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coming someday, too!

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For all inquiries, please contact Arthur Rollins Savage


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