"Seton Rax & Company: A Chronicle of Umiat and Kenai" is the follow up novel to "Tumbletick & Company." The novel concerns the adventures of the barbarian Seton Rax as he immerses himself in violence and revenge in the city of Sitka.

STOP THE PRESS! NEWS. "Seton Rax & Company" is now available to buy. From this site www.authorhouse.co.uk for £8.99 and well known retailers like Amazon, Play and Borders.

The final version of the cover which was approved at 21:07 on 11th October 2008. Another tale in the design process is outlined in my blog.

A mock up of a potential cover as we had first imagined it

'Seton Rax & Company' is darker and more gritty than 'Tumbletick & Company'. Set in the same world of Umiat and Kenai it is more violent and disturbing but with the same eloquence, imagery and occasional passages of prose that will make the most hardened fantasy lover cry with joy or sadness.

On the 30th July 2008, Elliot typed up the first draft completely. It has been another tough year but he has 75,001 words committed and now needs to edit thoroughly before publication.

17th August 2008: The work is now edited and is ready to be handed over to the publishers who are doing a fast track process with this work. Borders will be listing it and it will again be widely available on the internet.

20th August 2008: Elliot has decided to edit again and is very glad he has as he keeps finding missing ", and double spaces as well as a few spelling mistakes. Mantel not mantle for instance. Stairs needed not stirs.

By the 6th September the editing process had been gone through several more times and all the materials are now with the publishers.

Please find below an extract from the new work. This is now the final edit. A prize to anyone who can find any spelling mistakes. Sure there will still be some.

Chapter Zeroth

'Seton Rax, hunkered down on his haunches and overlooked the fertile grasslands of the Noatak plains, his ancestral home. The barbarian felt happiness well up inside him as he took in the view. Descending from the Schwatka Mountains the air was beginning to warm as the sun, in the far northwest of Umiat, shone down. He chewed a large chunk of dried meat with a decorum rare in most barbarians. Although he used his hands and teeth to rip the preserved elk flesh, he did not open his mouth, that much, as he ate.
The crossing of the well trodden passes had not been too arduous. Seton Rax had ensured he was well equipped for his lone journey all the way from Rhyell. He was not going to make the same mistakes in kitting himself out as he had done on his recent sojourn to Kenai. Therefore the muscled barbarian was well wrapped in furs. He also still had the death black hooded cloak over his bulky frame. It was a trophy from his last adventure and a cause of remembrance, which he felt he would never discard.
Seton Rax still had a good four miles to walk before he would reach the flat grasslands and their migrating herds of elk. All around him was grey granite now, bulky boulders and lesser peaks. Behind him the towering menace of Noatak was obscured by mist and clouds. Seton laughed to himself quietly as he thought of his new friends who savoured the whiskey distilled on those heights by dedicated and obsessed monks, prepared to inhabit cold stone monasteries and craft the purest of liquids over the course of many years. The waters from the ice capped mountain were pure and fresh and ensured a constant supply for the art of distillation. The warrior promised himself that when he was settled again, in the city of Sitka, he would make a trip one day to the Rinkabar monastery and buy a case of whiskey for a couple of those friends, Tumbletick and Percy Fenton.
Seton stood up and shouldered his pack after his brief respite. He was looking forward to setting himself up in some form of business with the ten thousand gold pieces he carried with him. Fortunately, the money was currently in the form of promissory notes. All he had to do to free the money into coins was to visit an office of the recently passed Lord Jackson of En’Tuk and his clerks would do the conversions.
While part of him wanted to return to a nomadic life with his people on the plains, the dominating voice in his head was to start a career with his new wealth and look forward to the luxuries that city life could afford him. While some of his dearest friends liked to savour a good whiskey, Seton Rax wanted the pleasure of quality ales found in a superb local public house close to his own home. While he had spent his youth as the second son of a warlord on the plains, the yearning for horseback, grazing elk and fighting off raiders no longer truly appealed. Yes, he was decided, he must give city living and running a business a go. As to what business he had finally decided. He had money now and that had allowed him the privilege of choice. His real skills were fighting and courtesy, both delivered to those that deserved it with aplomb and that meant only a few career options were open to him.
As the barbarian strode along the tracks he pulled down the hood of his cloak and shook free his long, dark brown, hair. It felt good to be warming up and he knew that by the end of the day he would be able to pack away his furs and yomp through the tall flowing grasses of the plains with his torso bare to the wind.
The major burden he bore was the large double handed and double headed battleaxe that he carried across his back. The heavy weapon could be snatched from a tough leather strapping when needed but so far his journey had only necessitated the blade to be used for the cutting of wood for nightly fires.
Further along the track Seton saw that a ravine was created as a stretch of granite rose on both sides of the descent. Whether this had once been a mighty watercourse or had been ground down through the rocks by countless generations of travellers, Seton was unsure. It was however a notorious place for ambush by vagrant thugs or the Hill People of Schwatka, who were often in territorial dispute with the nomadic barbarians of the plains, which was odd as neither culture could carry on their traditional way of life in the others geographical area. Seton pulled at the handle of his battleaxe and shifted the weight of the weapon so he could easily carry it in front of him. He was a lone traveller and although he was exceptionally dangerous, any potential attackers might not know that he was and would probably hunt in packs, considering a single warrior easy enough prey.
Seton entered the first part of the ravine and adjusted his senses for any threat from above, ahead and behind. An ambush could come from any or all three directions. The rock was bare and little stones of scree lay at the foot of the steep inclines on both sides. The barbarian waited to hear any loose rocks falling against the sides of the gulley but nothing shifted, all was silent but for the breeze and the distant sounds of birds circling above. He continued to tread a little slower and found that he now approached the centre of the cut through the rock. If it was to come, now would have been the time he would have expected an attack. Nothing happened. No attack, no threat, just a lone barbarian warrior making his way back to his homeland and an uncertain but exciting future. Seton breathed a little easier and picked up his pace to something short of a trot and made his way out of the ravine.
He shook his head free of the warrior’s natural paranoia. He was now fundamentally in the foothills and tangibly close to the fertile plain. Plants had a hold here, trees fought with scraggy bushes for life in the loose soil. Above the ravine all was bare. Here hardy animals and flora ventured, not just man. Seton swung his battleaxe to his side. His massively strong arms were easily able to handle the weight individually. His thoughts turned to another old friend who had died defending his party of adventurers in Ende. Y’Bor Kaz had been so strong he could actually fight with two double handed warhammers, one to each hand. Seton wondered whether he could develop the skills to fight with two battleaxes at a time. That could make him famous and at least fearsomely formidable. All warriors really wanted a legend he mused and a barbarian who could take down his foes in that manner would be well remembered.
Seton heard a distant incongruous noise. He stood still and focused all his senses on listening. This was different to the slight rustle of wind in a bush or a falling stone behind him in the steep gully. Hooves, shod with metal, hitting the rock higher on the mountain. The barbarian heaved the battleaxe into both hands and awaited the approaching horse through the ravine.
The beast was chestnut brown and labouring heavily as it ran. White sweat lathered down its flanks and the rider was hunched over the neck. The shaft of an arrow was deep in the thigh of the man riding the horse, he wore a weather beaten broad brimmed hat, long coat of leather and was clutching at a peculiar looking rectangular case.
Seton Rax having taken in the sight felt the threat was not a great one.
“Woah,” he shouted in an effort to rouse the rider and halt the horse.
The man straightened his back in the saddle and looked upon the barbarian blocking his path. He reined in the steed with a jerking tug on the reins and looked Seton Rax in the eye as the horse vehemently pranced and then presented its flank to the barbarian.
“I am on official business, do not block my path,” the man scolded.
“I offer no threat to you sir,” Seton replied. “It is just that you are injured and galloping to the plains. Perhaps I can offer help?”
“Just let me pass unhindered,” the man said. “And if the brigands are still chasing me I would suggest that you distance yourself from me quickly.”
“Yes. A pack of about six ambushed me a while back thinking I probably carry items of value. They only caught me with this arrow. I should be fine and will seek aid in Sitka. My delivery will be made.”
“Do you think they are still chasing you then?” Seton asked.
“Probably,” the man replied. “It is a sad state of affairs that such people are wandering the lands more and more these days. As I left Rhyell the people were celebrating the return of the Umiat Stone. It protects us from the attack of foreign enemies it is said. What or who will protect us from the filth that exists within our own midst?”
With that the man sharply kicked the side of his horse, it skitted around the barbarian and charged off, down towards the plains. Seton watched the rider depart briefly then turned his attention up towards the ravine and listened for the approach of any chasing thugs.
Seton did not have to wait long for the noise of approaching brigands. An uncouth raucous rampage came from above the ravine and Seton soon saw a group of a half dozen scabby looking individuals scrambling down the rocky slopes. They looked poorly fed and desperate. Armour was mismatched and patchy, the spoils of previous attacks handed out around the band of robbers.
‘Enthusiastic bunch,’ thought Seton Rax to himself. ‘Thinking they can catch up with a man on horseback.’
Seton stood his ground and adjusted the battleaxe as the first of the wretches saw the lone barbarian and came to a skidding halt. The others soon responded too. They stopped their descent and bunched into a group, briefly conversed in whispers about the single warrior ahead of them and then charged.
They were only armed with a few clubs and a couple of swords and they obviously felt they could rush and overwhelm Seton Rax as a mugging band. The barbarian narrowed his eyes and took in the threat. They had probably chosen the correct method to assault him. If they had spread out as individuals he would have had no problem in despatching them. There was little time now, they were nearly upon the barbarian. Seton thought to himself how happy the brigands would be if they did defeat him and then found the notes worth ten thousand gold pieces in his pack. This encounter was not looking too promising. Seton decided that to run further down the hill and attempt to make it to a copse of trees would be beneficial. Here he might be able to break up their attack a little, with the trunks acting as restrictive barriers. As he turned and started to sprint down the slopes towards the trees he heard the attackers yell in rage and derision.
‘Don’t worry boys,’ he thought. ‘You’ll have your chance to test your prowess.’
Seton made it to the tree line and swerved a couple of times as he ran to get into the depths of the small wood. He turned and awaited the band to make it to the copse as well. His plan worked and as soon as the enemy reached the trees in their tight knot they immediately took differing directions to make it around the trunks and were quickly dispersed into individual attackers. Seton smiled, they probably expected him to continue to run or attempt to hide in a scrubby little bush, a terrified lone traveller against their mighty horde.
The barbarian heaved the battleaxe into the air, directly above his head and stepped forward and to the right around a tree, carefully avoiding the low hanging branches he suddenly charged at a surprised brigand and brought the blade of the axe heavily down and into the skull of his foe. The eyes of the brigand were a staring, bulging delight as he died. Seton briefly wondered if they would fully explode forth from their sockets as the blow he had delivered was so vast. There was no time to examine the niceties of battle though, Seton lifted the axe and released it from being embedded in bone and brain and immediately looked for the next threat.
To his right a thug was approaching with a roughly hewn club, more of a dug out stump than a shaped weapon. The man went to jab Seton in the face with the wooden weapon. Seton stepped back and as the enemy over balanced, swung his axe in an underarm motion as if batting away a thrown ball rather than attacking a man. The axe’s blade caught the foe right between his legs and bit deeply into his lower abdomen. It was a move favoured by the barbarian and he relished in the death throes of the man as the weight of the attack and the strength in Seton’s arms meant the brigand was lifted from the floor and visibly began to split before him. There was no time to try and un-seam him completely though, so Seton shifted the axe blade a quarter turn and watched the body peel off it and slump to the mulch strewn ground of the copse.
Four men remained, having just seen two of their number nearly split in half in differing directions, they hesitated in their run. This was obviously not a lone and weary traveller with little skill or stomach to defend himself. Seton turned to their ranks and smiled at them through the sparse trunks, the light dappled on his superb physique and he began to walk towards the quartet of brigands.
“I think that perhaps you should give up thieving like your two friends,” Seton said. “Laying in wait for an innocent traveller is one thing but to attack those on official business is really not on.”
“Shut up you crack of nothing,” the boldest spat back.
His companions did not look as sure of themselves and began to saunter away from the insulting bandit. The one with venom on his tongue and confidence in his mind held a sword that he had killed many men with before. He felt certain he could best a slow and clumsy barbarian with a battleaxe. So he charged at Seton Rax and was left alone by his fellows who were already now fully turned with their fleeing heels leaving clumps of loose earth scattering behind them.
With a knowing eye Seton noticed that the wretch looked under nourished and was very thin around the waist, so Seton heaved the battleaxe into a horizontal position. The brigand was yelling maniacally and waving his sword in the air. Seton Rax shook his head in despair at the clumsy nature of the assault. The muscled barbarian stood still looking as if he was to receive the charge and then with lightning speed sprang towards his foe when they were about two yards apart. As the enemy’s sword began to sweep down, Seton struck with his battleaxe in an awesome flat arc, his body turned to the left and the blade of the brigand’s sword slashed harmlessly behind Seton’s head and down the length of his back as the blade of the axe thwacked into the stomach of the swordsman. Metal sliced through poor leather armour and into skin, it neatly separated muscle and guts and chopped through the spine beneath the lowest rib. Seton need not give any final tug to rid the blade of the body, the sweep from his arms and weight of the blade sliced the crafted axe head through the entire torso. The axe being double headed was efficient when hacking in either direction and in an attack like this not only did the blade that first hit do damage but the reverse of the other blade, being crescent shaped and sharp on the inside curve, acted like a cutting edge with the sweep of the blow. Seton was facing away from the man as the yelling war cry ceased. The barbarian listened for the differing sounds of body parts hitting the copse floor. The thumping torso, arms and head and the previously running legs and lower trunk of body made a slumping sound. The barbarian looked with professional interest at the final positions the two lumps of dead flesh took on the ground. He was impressed that he had made such a clean separation but was disappointed that the remains ended up about a foot apart, their bloodily oozing ends still connected by a thin strip of skin and muscle that had once been the flank of the brigand, just above his hips. Seton had hoped that he would achieve a completely clean brigand bisection.
With three dead bodies in the copse and the living brigands racing back to the mountains Seton Rax walked calmly from the tree line and turned to head down towards the plains of the extreme northwest of Umiat. He knew that the hewn corpses were unlikely to be found by anyone who would particularly care. He doubted that the cowards that had left their companions would return to bury them. These fresh kills were to be unexpected feasts for the carrion hunting beasts of the Schwatka Mountains.
Seton whistled a victory song to himself, an ancient and well known hymn of his nomadic tribe. Maintaining the elk may not have been his chosen career but he still held certain of the customs of his people dear. There was still about seventy miles of walking ahead of him when he reached the level grasslands. He would then follow the Noatak River all the way to the city of Sitka where he planned to set himself up in business. That being done he looked forward to finding a good local pub and making half hearted complaints over a pint of ale that the wilder parts of the land were no longer safe for travellers as he knew of where at least three had found their death in the wilderness recently.'

Any feedback very welcome at elliotsymonds71@aol.com, elliotsymonds@aol.com, message the website or call me direct on 07514 969525. We are planning some evenings in The Grubb Hole to discuss the work over a few ales to anyone who wants to proofread for me.