Games of Chance: Judgement’s Tale I by William Hahn, Character Interview & Giveaway

Prepare to meet Judgement. Solemn Judgement, that is. Sher here, and it’s Judgement Day, my turn for a blog tour character interview by William Hahn, author of Games of Chance. It sounds like a gamble, but you might find it worth the risk to read this YA high fantasy that takes place in The Lands of Hope. Whoever heard of a name like Solemn Judgement? I figure there’s a real character behind that name, so do me a favor and read the blurb and the interview before you pass Judgement. Pun intended, of course. Don’t pass Judgement.

Games of Chance

For twenty centuries the Lands of Hope prospered from their Heroes’ peace, but suffer now from their absence as a curse thickens over the central kingdom known as the Percentalion. An immortal omniscient conspirator schemes to escape the extra-worldly prison restraining his tide of undeath, using a demonic ally in a plot to bring back hell on earth. Solemn Judgement steps onto these Lands both a stranger and an orphan, driven to complete the lore his father died to give him.
In a world beset with increasing chaos, the bravest Children of Hope must take mortal risks. A young woodsman’s spear-cast, a desperate bid to save his comrades; the Healers Guildmistress’ cheery smile, hiding a grim secret and a heavy burden of guilt; the prince of Shilar’s speech in a foreign tongue, a gambit to avoid bloodshed or even war. As a new generation of heroes, scattered across the kingdoms, bets their lives and more, Solemn Judgement- soon to be known as The Man in Grey- must learn to play… Games of Chance: Part One of Judgement’s Tale

Solemn Judgement—an Interview of Sorts

Here is an interview- or as close as you will get to one- for the main character of Will Hahn’s upcoming release Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance on July 4th.
Two persons are speaking to begin with, who know Solemn Judgement better than anyone else in the Lands of Hope. Cedrith Fellareon, an Elf, is a respected member of the Sages Guild visiting Conar from the kingdom of Mendel. Natasha Ioki is the head of the Healers Guild in Conar, and one of the highest-ranking persons in all the Lands. Solemn Judgement, the title character of the novel and protagonist of Games of Chance, is new to Conar and the Lands. It is festival time in the city, and Cedrith and Natasha meet in the midst of an urban fair that covers the streets as far as the eye can see.
“Cedrith! There you are, what kept you?”
“Guildmistress Ioki, a joyous Midsummer’s Feast to you.”
“Titles and surnames? Why Sage Fellareon, distinguished Elf of Mendel, is this some odd method of honoring the customs-reversal practiced in your homeland?”
“Not at all, Natasha, but every so often I feel it does little harm to address the head of all Healers in Conar with proper honor. And are you enjoying the celebration?”
“Too much, I’m afraid! Every street, look you, simply packed with people, all dancing and singing.”
“There are no fewer than a million persons here in the capital of Hope. I am dazzled myself—no city of my homeland has even a tenth this many.”
“And as one of the only gypsies inside the city, I am invited at every door to spend the night in keeping with the turning of traditions.”
“Hah, I had not thought- poor woman, there are so few other feast customs that do not involve breaking a law.”
“You have the right of it, my friend. In Shilar or perhaps in Mendel, they can overlook a few rules for a three-night span, but here!”
“No, it wouldn’t do at all. Still everyone seems to be enjoying it. Say, Natasha, have you seen Solemn Judgement?”
“I have not and why would I?”
“Why! My dear, whyever not?”
“You said yourself, friend sage. Everyone about you is enjoying themselves. Where would your pupil fit in?”
“Natasha, you are unkind! The lad is studious.”
“Yes, as the sun is high, he is studious! But I meant no insult to young Solemn, Cedrith. He has become very dear to me, I assure you.”
“Why then do you assert he is not here, in the greatest celebration of the year?”
“Your feet are answering your own question, Sage Fellareon.”
“We agree that Solemn should be at his pleasure, just as everyone else today. But if you believe he is somewhere among us in these streets, why do your steps lead us back to the Sages Library?”
“Well, as to that—I simply thought—he does like one of the western windows, for study at times.”
“At all times!”
“In any event, we might see from here—indeed there he is! Ho there, Judgement! Solemn Judgement, come out from there, lad; join us.”
“Cedrith, he cannot hear. What in the world? What are you—oh, Telhol’s patience man, that is no way to mime opening a window!”
“What’s wrong, I simply show—”
“Dear fellow, you look as if you were waylaid by robbers. Like this. There, he sees us.”
“Well I’m most grateful for your instruction, madam. Say there, Judgement!”
“Oh please, lad, not today—this is a happy feast for all the city, of all days, you must call me Cedrith. Come outside, Solemn; join us. I insist.”
“As you wish, Eldest. I shall only be a moment.”
“He will not turn aside from using that term!”
“Only fifteen, but so set in his ways. And always, he calls me ‘teacher’ instead of Guildmistress.”
“Appropriate I suppose, for your tutoring in the Ancient tongue.”
“Tutoring! More like an exchange of ideas, I would say.”
“Are you serious? He speaks Ancient that well?”
“Not another word of it, Cedrith. Here he comes.”
“But why not?”
“Trust me! You must let me handle him. Why Solemn, dear boy, come out into the sun with us; you are so pale.”
“As you wish, teacher.”
“You see, Cedrith? Our star student is as regular as the stars themselves!”
“Oho, a star! What say you to that, young man?”
“Not as bright, surely.”
“Hah! Hiding his light behind clouds, I could just hug you. In fact, I believe I shall—there!”
“Come, Solemn, you must enter into the spirit of celebration. Look all about you—people are eating, dancing, trying games of chance.”
“The Midsummer celebration, in sooth I have read about this—it is practiced across the Lands, during the three longest days of the year. Everyone participates.”
“Except for you! What were you doing inside on such a day?”
“There were certain matters, teacher, pertaining to marriage customs, that I still need—”
“Marriage! My dear Solemn, are you to be congratulated?”
“Natasha, please—look, he’s gone numb with shock, poor lad. No, this is only a commission I found for him, a noble client wishes to know some things about the strict procedure.”
“Indeed, Eldest. There is Sage Turtonall now, perhaps I could—”
“Not a word to him today, I insist, young Judgement. Leave him to his, ehm, his toasts of praise.”
“High praise, perhaps, to merit so much toasting.”
“Why you scoundrel, was that a sense of humor I heard nearly escape your lips?”
“I apologize, Eldest. But tell me—is it not likely, at the rate of consumption, that Sage Turtonall there shall have cause to regret his toasting?”
“Do you mean if he becomes drunk now, will he feel the after-effects on the morrow? Most probable.”
“But then, the anticipation of that pain must needs mar the pleasure he indulges now. How not?”
“As to that, I hardly know.”
“Or does he perhaps drink now to flee from some pain in his past, which removes his reluctance to risk the morrow?”
“Solemn Judgement! How can you ask—”
“I seek to learn.”
“By Telhol’s patience, lad, can you not simply enjoy yourself for once?”
“As to that, teacher, I must understand how before I can answer. If pleasure and pain are like two sides of a balance scale, how is a man better off who sinks and rises than one who stays where he is?”
“Perhaps because, dear boy, the pleasure is worth so much more than the pain; being rarer it is the more closely prized.”
“Yet a man does not drink every day.”
“Some do, indeed.”
“Aye, but seem they more fortunate or envied for it? Indeed, I wonder if pleasure and happiness are connected at all.”
“Moment in time, lad, this is the matter of a few drinks!”
“Such gloomy thoughts, Solemn, you astonish me. Well, and you are too young to drink spirits at any rate—come, try the ring-darts.”
“Ring-darts, teacher?”
“A game of chance, don’t say you never threw them before?”
“He is only two months among us, Natasha; it is his first festival. But try your luck, Solemn—you see the ring there covered in paper, suspended with cord above and below. You use three darts, place any of them through the ring and win five silver for the one you risk. Here, I shall front you the money.”
“No need, Eldest, I have the coin.”
“Yet you hesitate.”
“May I ask, what is the purpose?”
“The purpose! To gain five silver.”
“I have five silver.”
“Of course! But to try your skill, to take a risk. To enjoy yourself. I cannot explain—you must simply attempt it.”
“Step up to the line, sir, you there in the grey suit. A soldier perhaps, new in the city? Not to worry, it isn’t very difficult, I swear. And you can always try again.”
“A silver to you, sir.”
“Thank you, sir—oh! I mean young man. Your hair, that is, I had not realized—well, give it a try then.”
“My word! That was very close, my friend, and on your first cast.”
“Still a miss, Eldest.”
“You must not rate yourself every moment, dear boy. Go on, try again.”
“Sir, about these darts—”
“Well, what of them?”
“They seem quite heavy for the distance.”
“What are you—”
“Are these used in war anywhere?”
“War? I have no idea, what a question. It’s only a game, you!”
“Never mind, good sir, my student is inquisitive. I believe, Solemn, that some in the southern empire have been known to deploy them, but I really have no expertise in the subject.”
“Come now, throw it and don’t be all day.”
“Telhol’s Pain! He struck the ring, nearly through! Well thrown, Solemn.”
“Look at that, the ring is spinning on its string like a top; you must have missed by a finger’s width. Just wait to try the third—no, wait, Solemn, you can never—”
“Did he—”
“It’s sticking in the wood behind! He made it—cast directly through the ring while spinning!”
“What a throw! Well done, Solemn!”
“Sorry. Third miss.”
“What do you mean, sir? Look, the paper is torn through. Pay him his five silver.”
“I can’t, he missed.”
“Mayhap the dart flieth on a curving path?”
“Well said, lad.
“Never mind them fancy words, sage.”
“Nonsense, you scoundrel, how then is the dart sticking in the wood directly behind?”
“The paper must have torn—from the spinning, aye, there was no way he could place a dart through the ring as it spun, I say.”
“Are you serious! I’ve never heard such knavery within the capital of Hope.”
“Sir, I beseech you, the lad’s first throw, can you not—”
“Not a chance, woman—oh, Guildmistress! I beg your pardon I’m sure, Guildmistress, but it won’t do.”
“And why not?”
“Well, he—he didn’t put it through the ring, is all, and I’ve a business here.”
“Which he’s ruining, I don’t mind saying! Looming here all ashy and dead-faced, I’ve seen a half-dozen pass by rather than wait a turn behind him.”
“Well, never since I’ve come to Conar—”
“Tis naught, teacher. Let us away, I pray thee.”
“But he cheated you, Solemn.”
“Did he? Sooth, should this be the case wherein we bring a man up on charges, here in Conar, the capital of all Hope where no one hath stood trial for a crime in four thousand years?”
“He has a point, Natasha.”
“Say, I remember hearing about this villain. You’re the old-young one as was nearly arrested, weren’t you? Begone from my stand, or I’ll call the guard!”
“You mind your tongue, rogue. Keep your money and your crooked game.”
“Cedrith, my dear man, I’ve never seen you so exercised.”
“He’s a thief, Natasha! Picking on the lad like that. Is this how they keep the Law here? You saw, he was daring Solemn to accuse him, taking shelter under that tradition to cover his dishonesty.”
“Cedrith! You shock me.”
“It took the boy’s words to make me realize it. What a remarkable—stars of night, Natasha, where did he go?”
“I don’t see him any—wait, there, headed back to the Library, poor lad. He’s had enough enjoyment for one day.”
“Enjoyment. Perhaps this is how he keeps the custom-reversal with us—on the one day everyone is celebrating together, Solemn Judgement returns to his books alone. And this the happiest time of the year, Natasha. I could almost cry. What are we to do with him?”
“I think rather the reverse, dear Cedrith.”
“The reverse? Whatever could you mean, Natasha?”
“This boy comes to our shores, by his own account his first act is to bury the father that brought him here. He lives with gypsies who throw him out, comes to Conar, discovers he is friendless—except for you, Cedrith, praise the heroes. And while he speaks our common tongue, he cannot read or write in our alphabet.”
“I know, I was the one who met him that first day. Oh, I still shiver to think of it.”
“Think on, Cedrith, about all the things you told me. He enters the temple of Conar and casts a miracle of Hope within. He comes to the Guild with you and within one day he is already reading in the new alphabet. He seeks out ancient tomes, even slips into the Dark Archives!”
“Sshh! In innocence, Natasha, we found him there; he had no inkling of the rules.”
“I know, Cedrith. But this is what I mean. This lad, barely a youth among us, already a scholar, perhaps a preacher or a pious warrior or the heroes know what else. Speaking in the Ancient tongue, learning at such a furious pace, so dedicated, so driven. It is not what we will do with him, dear Cedrith.”
“Rather, it is what Solemn Judgement will one day do with all of us.”


Wm. L. Hahn Bio

Will Hahn has been in love with heroic tales since age four, when his father read him the Lays of Ancient Rome and the Tales of King Arthur. He taught Ancient-Medieval History for years, but the line between this world and others has always been thin; the far reaches of fantasy, like the distant past, still bring him face to face with people like us, who have choices to make.
Will didn’t always make the right choices when he was young. Any stick or vaguely-sticklike object became a sword in his hands, to the great dismay of his five sisters. Everyone survived, in part by virtue of a rule forbidding him from handling umbrellas, ski poles, curtain rods and more.

Will has written about the Lands of Hope since his college days (which by now are also part of ancient history). With the publication of Judgement’s Tale Part One, Games of Chance, he begins at last to tell the tale of the Land’s most unique hero, The Man in Grey.


Will Hahn is the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales.

Will’s Blog Thoughts– Including tales of a happy childhood (which continues), hopes for a writer’s journey, and analysis of Classics You’ve Never Read
Rafflecopter of the Lands Contest
Enter to win free Tales of Hope here!

I’d like to thank Will, who assured me he would somehow get his main character to cooperate for the interview. At least he didn’t have to pull Solemn’s teeth to get him to talk. Also, thanks to Katharina Gehrlach for introducing me to Will. She’s his publisher!

Thanks to Candace’s Book Blog for the chance to join the Saturday Situation Hop where you can find plenty of other giveaways. Don’t forget to comment, and once you’re done checking for other open giveaways here, happy hopping!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me Sher! My first white-on-black post anywhere on the web I think. And since Solemn Judgement comes to be known around the Lands of Hope as The Man in Grey, well… this is getting really symbolic I think. Very Yin-Yang…

  2. I loved this scene. Very well done, Will, and great proof of why I’m sure your book will do fine. 😉

  3. It seems the author has steeped himself quite thoroughly in his world. I love the “Lands of Hope.” Great name for a place where evil gathers to threaten the survival of the inhabitants.

  4. Thanks so much cleemmckenzie! I’ve been on the road but very glad you stopped by. The Children of Hope are very dear to me, and Solemn, though not truly one of them, perhaps most of all.

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