by Arthur Rollins Savage
A Mythic Novel
"Bewilder" tells the story of Bewilder, 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.
Bewilder'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.
An excerpt from the book
A tattered bearskin hung from the man’s slumped shoulders, covering his horse’s back from withers to croup. Perhaps in his sixties, the man’s eyes betrayed his exhaustion, his weathered face wrinkled, a thick gray beard covering his face and neck. A small gold amulet swung across his chest with every step of the horse’s long gait, an indication of title and privilege. His name was Bewilder, King of Belvedere.
The north road had deteriorated in the King's absence, rutted by a thousand muddy cart trips. This morning, the path ahead was cloaked in remnants of fog that clung to the sessile oaks lining the Hemsford Road. The land of Belvedere, entrusted to him by his father, held the familiar smells of humus, peat, and decaying leaves that had been delivered by the spring rains for millennia. These were the cherished fields and forests of his forebears, passed down as expectantly as salt at a banquet table. For five generations, peace had ruled this land.
And then had come Bendargon.
The quiet pounding in his chest rose as he anticipated the Castle’s presence, for he feared what may await him inside its towering granite walls. Despite his inner armor, he carried hope that all would be as it had been the day his army left for the north.
When he was a boy, Bewilder had played character and creature in these forests—peasant, pauper, nobleman, and knight. These were the woods where he had been befriended by Cyril the Cormysh elf and coaxed to accept his birthright as heir to the mysterious Well of Runes. In days long past, he had imagined himself the great white stag of Belvedere lore, standing atop the Twin Spires, the rock parapet that overlooked the sprawling valley, surveying the hills and glades that were as much home as was the castle itself. Today, however, trepidation ruled his heart.
To the east, the great Hemsford River raged southward toward the sea, tumbling whitewater that by midsummer would again be just a meandering stream. It was May and the winter snows had been ample, holding warm days at bay. The cold, unspoiled waters that flowed from high in the Grassmere brought sustenance to the land, greening it and cajoling the farmers into their fields where they would plant for a shortened growing season. This river is the lifeblood of Belvedere, he thought, blessing this fair kingdom with riches only Mother Earth could provide.
Ahead, at the edge of the road, a hooded figure stood hunched in the gray morning light. Perhaps a beggar, thought Bewilder, as his eyes strained to recognize him. Ahead, each soldier nodded in reverence to the crooked old man as they passed.
Just ahead of Bewilder lumbered the makeshift jail cart that had been fashioned by the Belvederan soldiers to transport Darkbrow back to stand trial. How ironic, thought Bewilder, that this fallen angel was just yards from him, spared after all the atrocities he had committed. Once a quiet boy living in the Castle with his mother, Josephine,who was the children’s nanny, he had inexplicably become Bewilder’s arch enemy and the nemesis of all of Belvedere.
As the last comrade passed by, Bewilder watched as the bent figure, clad in a dark cloak and laboring upon a crooked staff, turned toward him. Atop his draught horse, Skye, the King approached. As he neared, the hood fell back, revealing a truss of gray braids spun into an ornate bun—not a man at all.
The ancient, haggard face gazed up at him, and as their eyes met, a wellspring of emotion filled Bewilder’s heart. He stared down at the timeless spirit, Havelin. The wise and contemplative sage offered a broad smile. Of course, he thought, who else but my trusted mentor would be first to welcome me home.
As a child, Bewilder was blessed with the finest teachers. His was an education truly fit for a prince, jealously guarded by his mother and sought after by royals from near and far. Though surrounded by the most learned scholars of the day, his true education had come during his years spent with Havelin as they walked the hills and meadows that surrounded Belvedere, teaching him of nature's plenty and life’s endless mysteries. Over the decades, Havelin had been his guide, teacher, sage, and seer, an enigmatic figure revered throughout Belvedere.
The King pulled back on Skye’s reins, trying simultaneously to yank his boot from its stirrup, his sword sheath banging at his side. Havelin gazed up at him, waiting patiently, a droll smile spreading across her wrinkled face.
“My dear Havelin!” Bewilder exclaimed, his boots hitting the dusty path. He rushed to her, gathering her up in his arms and spinning her around.
The "Bewilder" Podcast
The podcast will include multiple episodes between 10 and 15 minutes in length. Each episode comprises one or more chapters from the unpublished 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.
Listen to the sample
Episodes coming soon!
Meet the Characters
Sir Colin of Evermore
Havelin, the Sage
Cyril, the Cormysh Elf
Diggory, the Mysterious
Princess Morgan Rose
All artwork copyright 2021 by Arthur Rollins Savage
The Well of Runes
& Ancestor Deck
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.
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 includes corporate, not-for-profit, product development, marketing and PR, and creative writing. "Bewilder" is his first novel.
In 2011, Savage began to focus on pencil drawing. He has produced hundreds of abstract graphite and full-color works since, and his work has been shown throughout the Mountain West.
Savage resides in the Colorado Rockies.
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