Explore Leira Blog Tour: R is for Renegade!

My wandering through worlds of others' devising recently took me to the world of Leira, where I had the pleasure of talking with creator Gillian Bronte Adams. She regaled me with tales of a frightful hound, Renegade, and asked me to spread them as part of her Alphabet Blog Tour. Without further ado...

R is for Renegade
Recently, I have been suffering BIG TIME from puppy fever. I consider myself both a dog and cat person. After growing up around both, and having many canine and feline “friends,” I would be hard pressed to choose between the two. At this point, I have a cat—Finn—but am not able to keep a dog for a variety of reasons. Still, that doesn’t stop me from shamelessly borrowing my friends’ dogs or drooling over pictures of adorable puppies. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)
Dogs do make the best companions … although, so far, the dogs that have appeared in the Songkeeper Chronicles have been less than friendly.
Throughout Leira, there are certain creatures that seem to be in the Takhran’s service. Like the Khelari, his soldiers, they carry out his bidding. Ravens and hounds are the chief culprits, although there are others. Ravens act as the Takhran’s spies, while hounds are effective in trailing and hunting his enemies. While not all ravens or hounds are evil creatures, most have been drawn to the Takhran and enslaved by some means or another. Many wear the bloodstone of the Shantren.
Renegade is one such hound. Like all hounds in Leira, he is a formidable creature. Dark furred. Bristling. High backed, with a spine that protrudes like a rail. Barrel-chested with thin flanks. Eerily canny on the scent. A sharp muzzle that barely contains a row of fiercely pointed teeth. Deep-set milky white eyes.

The hound hunkered low, just beyond reach of her blade, muscles coiled to spring. She forced her gaze up, past the beast’s quivering form, spiked collar, and savage grin, and into its eyes. Those horrible, dead-looking eyes.

It is the eyes that one see first, and often last, before the hound’s teeth tear through flesh and bone.
Hounds in the Takhran’s service are kept near mad with hunger. The Takhran’s beastkeepers are gifted as members of the Shantren to control the creatures in his service, else they would have been long since torn to shreds. For the hounds are bred for a single purpose: to hunt and kill those who stand against the Takhran.

“I could slay you in an instant,” he rasped. “Your neck would snap like a twig in my jaws. Better to kill me now and be done with it. There is no telling what I might do. I belong to the Takhran.”

This is the only life that Renegade knows when he meets Birdie in the ramshackle building in Serrin Vroi, where by sword and song, she is able to pierce the veil of discordant melody that has consumed him, and speak with the creature inside.

The beast’s growl claimed her attention, a low rumbling deep in its throat that gradually took on words. “Who are you, little one?” He had a voice like a rockslide, but even so, there was no mistaking the hint of begrudging respect in his voice.

Renegade wasn’t exactly a last minute character, because I did plan on including him in the story fairly early on, but originally he didn’t even have a name. Poor fellow. Once his scenes started to fall into place, we soon remedied that. And Renegade was just far too perfect a name to pass up.

His is a bit part in the grand scheme of things. He appears on scarcely more than four or five pages, and yet the role he places is an important one. At first glance, Birdie’s interaction with the hound seems inconsequential. It is soon forgotten in the wake of the terrible dangers she faces soon afterwards.

Yet her choice in that moment has long lasting effect. The choice to pause for pity, to stay the hand, to act in grace and compassion … sometimes, it is the seemingly little things that are the most important.

While thinking about this post, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a verse from Ephesians. “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16

Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. I don’t know about you, but I could stand to be reminded of this. Although we are not likely to be hunted by hounds or have Khelari soldiers burst through our doors, we do live in evil times. It is the choices that we make in those seemingly inconsequential interactions with others that can have an impact for good or ill.

Choosing mercy over anger, choosing kindness over impatience, choosing forgiveness over revenge—these are some small ways in which we can be a light for Christ in a dark world.
Have you ever had a “chance encounter” that turned into something more important?
Interested in the story? Check out the links below for a place to purchase the books.
Barnes and Nobles: Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper


Still haven't picked up your copies of the first two books? What are you waiting for? Here's a blurb about Songkeeper to whet your appetite:

War ravages Leira and the Song has fallen silent.
Freed from the hold of a slave ship, Birdie, the young Songkeeper, and Ky, a street-wise thief, emerge to a world at war. Hordes of dark soldiers march across Leira, shadowed by whispers of plague and massacres, prompting Ky to return to his besieged home city in hopes of leading his fellow runners to safety.
Desperate to end the fighting, Birdie embarks on a dangerous mission into the heart of the Takhran’s fortress. Legend speaks of a mythical spring buried within and the Songkeeper who will one day unleash it to achieve victory. Everyone believes Birdie is the one, but the elusive nature of the Song and rumors of other gifted individuals lead her to doubt her role. Unleashing the spring could defeat the Takhran once and for all, but can she truly be the Songkeeper when the Song no longer answers her call?
(Hungry for more? Gillian is running a giveaway. Click the image below to enter!)


GILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, Songkeeper, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.


  1. I loved this part of the book, since it reminded me of my favorite theme in the Lord of the Rings series, and really in all literature - forgiveness and mercy. When Frost and Gandalf are discussing why Biblo didn't kill Gollum, or when Frodo refuses to kill Saruman...it's so great and true.
    As for chance encounters, there was a girl at Frontier Camp Angel Tree that kept catching my eye, and finally I asked for her name and told her I was praying for her. I'm not sure I'll ever know what's going on with her or what her story is, but clearly it was what she needed to hear, because she unfroze a bit and was crying and hugging me when she left.

  2. Stories are so much better when dogs are in them! I'm excited to read this series! :)


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