Lord of Columbia Series

The Story of Columbia

Fighting Tyranny: Episode I in the Neo Skyehawk Series

Fighting Tyranny is the first episode in my perma free Neo Skyehawk Series, which serves as a group of novelettes and novellas that are a predecessor to the Lord of Columbia Series, where the first two episodes can be viewed in further detail here and here.


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Neo Skyehawk and Seneca LaSalle could not have come from different backgrounds. While Neo was born and raised as the crown prince in the land of Ddraigoch, Seneca lived most of her life as an Untouchable in the neighboring nation of Tamuria.

Since moving into the Palace at Radyr in the seaside capital city in Ddraigoch, Seneca has dreamed of rescuing her parents and sister from the corrupt clutches of Tamuria.

Upon discovering growing tensions between Ddraigoch and Tamuria, which Neo is responsible for as seen in the prequel Eurean Kingdom, he leads Seneca back into Tamuria on a rescue mission.

But things aren’t at all what they believed to be.

Tamuria is capturing and jailing Ddraigoch traders, whom they believe to be spies sent by Neo’s father, King Irvin. Anyone wandering in Tamuria of Ddraigoch descent are at risk of facing imprisonment or worse, a painful death sentence.

Neo and Seneca must evade Tamurian soldiers and mercenaries, all the way back to Seneca’s hometown of Tamuria City, which sits right below the Palace of Tamuria, where the Tamurian military has instituted martial law.

Will the duo succeed in rescuing Seneca’s parents, or will their presence spark greater division between the two powerful nations of Ddraigoch and Tamuria?


Main Cast

Neo Skyehawk

The main character in Fighting Tyranny and crown prince to the Ddraigoch Throne. Despite his social status, Neo just wants to live like one of the average townspeople and promote his invention, the sport of shotball. Sadly, the stars never align for Neo and his sometimes reckless antics tend to set the story in motion.

Neo is a Stoicheion, the name for an individual possessing ability to control at least one of the five classical elements. His primary element is fire but is also proficient in wind control.


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Seneca LaSalle

Discovered by Neo in the prequel Eurean Kingdom, Seneca grew up as an Untouchable in Tamuria, oppressed by the nation’s elite class led by the hostile Tamurian King Ruslan Romanoff. Despite her initial hatred for Neo, she grew close to him over the events of the prequel and ultimately moving in with his royal family. Her desire is to rescue her parents from Tamuria’s brutal regime and live a normal life in Ddraigoch.

Despite possessing Stoicheion ability, Seneca had to be careful about practicing her craft in Tamuria due to laws against Untouchables utilizing such ability. However, she managed to master wind control and is also accomplished in controlling Spirit, one of few Untouchables to do so.


King Irvin Skyehawk

King of Ddraigoch, Irvin was once known as running a tight ship reminiscent of the Tamurian regime but lightened up upon meeting and taking Seneca into his custody. Upon witnessing Neo’s friendship with Seneca, he immediately cut taxes throughout Ddraigoch and withdrew Ddraigoch soldiers from reinforcing Tamurian soldiers in the continent of Eura. His actions caused tensions between himself and Tamuria’s King Ruslan Romanoff.


King Ruslan Romanoff

The brutal King of Tamuria and would-be father-in-law to Neo had the latter never come across Seneca. Ruslan’s greatest ally was once Irvin before Seneca entered the picture. Ruslan’s policies include high taxes among the poor and middle classes while utilizing tax dollars to fuel and expand a powerful military force to annex areas of Eura, the continent of Afrikaana, and other areas into Tamuria for his own interests.


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Santo ap Leuan

Leader of the Ddraigoch Knights. A wind master, Santo was one of the first Knights to arrive back in Ddraigoch as Irvin ordered desertion from Tamurian forces. He is loyal without question to King Irvin and was initially confused about the King’s abrupt order to disband.

Santo owns both a Sword of Stoicheion, which is given to one who masters all five classical elements, and a Sword of Destiny, one of five rare objects placed throughout the world. A mysterious object, little is known at the day and age of Neo Skyehawk regarding them. They’re something for Neo and Seneca, and later Cain Riscattare in the Lord of Columbia Series to find out.

Santo is also the father of David ap Santos, who is mentioned in passing in Northern Knights and whose descendants emigrated from Ddraigoch and into the New World hundreds of years after. Santos Complex in Northern Knights is named after Santo and David’s descendant, George Santos y Seafarer.

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  1. As a wannabe writer myself (I’ve got 120,000 words written on the first draft of my own novel) can I just say that I admire the fact that you have created a series of books featuring these amazing characters. It all seems so fantastical that I’d love to read the Lord of Columbia Series from the beginning and get to know these characters as they develop. Can I be really stupid though and ask how to pronounce Ddraigoch phonetically? I’m thinking “Draygotch”?

    • My advice to all writers is to keep writing those drafts. It’ll pay off one day, I can guarantee you! I can attest the character development is huge in both Neo Skyehawk and Lord of Columbia Series; especially the latter! I got the name Ddraigoch from The Welsh Dragon, or y ddraig goch, since the nation of Wales inspired me in the creation of Ddraigoch. From what I know about Welsh (I’m no expert in the language!), I want to say it’s pronounced thraig goc, but I could be wrong.

  2. As I’ve stated before in another comment, these books are a fantasy land where I can relate with my son and are able to bond on different readings. I find myself enjoying them more and more as we continue reading. Thank you, Todd, and keep them coming.

    • Thank you, Jason! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Neo Skyehawk Series later this year. I can assure you I’ll have a couple more works out in April, once I release Missing in Columbia in the main Lord of Columbia Series.

  3. I really admire your writing skills, Todd 🙂

    I have just claimed my free copy of “Fighting Tyranny” and cannot wait to ready it!

    I read your response to Jyl’s comment where you mentioned that Wales inspired you. May I ask why Wales? Have you ever been there before?

    My partner’s parents live in Mid-Wales, not too far from Snowdonia. I absolutely love going there, hence why I am asking 🙂

    All the best,


    • I haven’t been to Wales but it’s the land of my ancestors, along with Scotland. Over 50% of my ancestry comes from Scotland and Wales, so it’s always piqued my interest. I even used places like Llandaff and Radyr as well, while Santo ap Leuan is directly based on Mathew ap Leuan and David ap Santos is based on David ap Mathew, the founder of the Matthews line that came to the US in the early colonial times.

  4. I love this stuff. What a great cast of characters with a unique fantasy twist. May I ask where your inspiration comes from? I’m always fascinated with what motivates and sparks inspiration for other writers. Thanks!

    • Hi, Christian. My main inspiration comes from politics, to be honest, but I also use books, movies, and TV shows from my past such as Harry Potter and Avatar, the Last Airbender. In the parent Lord of Columbia Series, I’ve based a lot of characters on people I’ve met and known, and many of them maintain personas that they have in real life.

  5. Hi Todd! What an interesting novel. You must be gifted I must confess. I can’t just stop reading it coupled with the unique names and characters made it look like I’m watching a movie already on Netflix. I have tried and still trying to perfect my writing skills and I believe I’ll be there someday crafting my own piece from scratch and putting my audience on suspense just like you just did to me from the first few lines of Lord of Columbia series. Can’t wait to get back on my feet to continue. A great Novel. You deserve an award.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 18, 2019 at 2:00 am

      Thank you! It took me a long, long time to perfect my writing, and I’m still learning every single day. I always advise aspiring writers to take a course or two. I went this route and it worked wonders for my writing. I would say to at least read some books on novel writing, as they’ll help as well. 

  6. Wow I have just asked for my free copy . The characters look so interesting and this synopsis really captivated me and I now I want to read how they develop within the story. I admire your talent to build each character and the story. I really would like to learn how to write like that and create a story. I work in the education sector and it is so important to build stories in order to engage learners. But guess what? building characters, their profiles and the profiles is what I find the most challenging from my job. And I use real people as a base model. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to create these characters you just described. It is amazing!!! It would be nice if you could develop these series into an animated episodes. You already have an engaging story.

    • Hi, Thais! Usually, my characters just walk into my mind! I draw inspiration mainly from those I meet and have become friends with over the years. For me, the toughest part is developing characters over a period of time. I’m a huge fan of character arc, so taking a character from their initial personas to something completely different over a length of time is a fun, yet challenging endeavor.

  7. You have a talent, Todd!
    Honestly, I’m not into fantasy stories– whether it’s movie or books–
    but, you were able to captured my attention.

    I like the way you created your characters, their names and the settings.

    Thanks for the free copy.

    • Thanks, Mina! I’m glad you enjoyed the read! Many of the names and characters I created in this particular work are based on real-life people, too, adding a sense of real life experiences to the mix!

  8. Todd,
    Having an imagination is the way to start writing these kinds of novelettes. Using real life names and changing them will give some real feeling to these stories. I will look at your latest entry with great interest as this fantasy type work does appeal to me and my son.

    • Thanks, John! Feel free to claim your copy of Fighting Tyranny. I’ve always felt the same about using characters based on real people; it will always give a realistic feel for the reader and it makes for much easier character creation. More authentic, too.

  9. This is really awesome Todd! You really are a great writer and story teller.

    Seneca sounds very interesting character – i think she will be my next favorite character next to Cain of Northern Knights!

    All the best!

    • Thanks, Hanna. I absolutely loved Seneca so much that (spoiler alert!) I made her the main and point of view character starting in the second book, Fighting Treason, whose description I’ll release later on this week.

  10. Seneca… if i remember correctly Seneca was first philosopher on stoicism and a teacher of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius

    • Seneca the Younger, I believed was his name, yes. In the Skyehawk Series, Seneca is female, but there might just be a few correlations, to a small extent, between the real-life Seneca and my Seneca.

  11. Ahhh, you are writing in my favourite genre of science fiction/fantasy. This is clever stuff. And written with great depth and beauty as the Lord of the Rings style of saga. Please keep writing, your talent deserves to be seen and appreciated by all who love science fiction or adventure

    • I definitely used Lord of the Rings as inspiration for the Skyehawk Series, yes. The Series definitely goes its own way, as one will find out as they start with Episode I (or Episode 0 if they joined my mailing list) and continue through the next two to three books, with Episodes IV and V coming soon.

  12. Phenomenal writing skills. You are a master storyteller. Kept me reading right the end. I have always enjoyed reading, especially fantasy reading.

    I also enjoy writing, had written a 16,000-word story which was just getting started, my computer crashed, and everything was lost. Never found the motivation to write again.

    Make sure to back up and save; You probably know that already though.

    Your gift for writing seems a very natural fit to the personality which is represented through your characters.

    Just quick question for you, how do create characters who seemed to have rounded personalities, yet still display conflict?

    • Thanks, Jag! And yes, I’ve been in that situation before on one of my older computers! That hurt, I will say, especially when you’re halfway through a story. I actually derive my characters from real-life encounters, as well as that of my favorite fictional characters, either combining a few people into one.

      For instance, in Fighting Tyranny, Neo displays a lot of personality traits of my own cousin with a laid back persona despite his immense talent. Seneca, on the other hand, is a combo of people I’ve met in the past, many of whom have polite yet fierce personalities. They stand for what is right and will go out of their way to defend such stances, sometimes a little too much, which describes Seneca.

  13. as a lover of fantasy stories, i usually expect magic, medieval universe, or possibly involving mythical beings or supernatural forms. Most people would not agree with me most especially my younger sister who is a complete lover of romance novels.

    Well no way I would confuse her to read this, and good for me I would have to enjoy this alone. Hope i’m not being stingy?

    • Hi, Rahye. There are a few mythical beings involved here and definitely supernatural forms. I may’ve overdone the supernatural part of it, but it definitely fit the magical system I implemented.

  14. Hi Todd

    To be honest this is one of the best writing I have seen and you are an inspiration. Can I ask when you started writing?
    I am asking because these characters especially Neo grabbed my from the onset attention.

    My friend is and aspiring writer and I will bookmark this page so I can show him.

    Well done keep it up.

    • Thank you, Thabo! I started writing in 2010, but it was very on and off, too few and far in between until 2014ish. In 2015, I developed my concepts for both stories. Since 2015, I’ve been writing regularly ever since.

  15. These fiction stories seem to have a geographic and political solid background. to me. Now, taking into consideration the space you set your story in I think your characters will be your sites and their parts will be the content you are going to develop. Be inspired !Ticu.

  16. Hey Todd, fantastic! I really enjoyed reading this!
    Also, thank you for the copy! 🙂

  17. Hi Todd, I don’t really read many books, but I’ve sat down this afternoon and have been glued to reading this. You are a very creative man.

  18. Hey,

    Great post and thanks for sharing.

    I am writing a book at the moment, to help people with their Leadership skills in their industry.

    I take inspiration from you because you seem to be able to write yours effortlessly and work really hard on them. I am motivated to do the same and write 1000 to 2000 words a day. My book is going to be 60,000 words approximately.

    Keep up the great work you’re doing and thank you for the inspiration,


    • Thanks, Tom. Those kinds of books sell really well, too. I’ve read a good deal of them and they’re always recommended by companies, so definitely keep at it. 60,000 is a great number as well, which is what my future novels will likely run. Missing in Columbia is sitting at 63,000 words. Northern Knights and Swords of Destiny were longer just because I had to do some world building, but 60,000-65,000 is what I’m going for from here on out.

  19. HI Todd

    Very interesting story and you have great talent in writing. How I wish I can do that.
    By the way, do you have any intention to do a movie with your series? something like Lord of The Rings?

    • Hi, Teo, I would love to one day make the series into a movie or set of movies. I know it’ll take a lot of time, effort, and sales on the book side, but if I were approached by a legit company, I’d be more than happy to write a screenplay and turn the book series into a movie.

  20. I really enjoy reading your posts because you are very talented in your writing. The words you use are detailed enough to read your series with my niece. Thank you for writing this! Continue the good work!

    • Thank you, Nia! My main goal in creating these teasers is to provide just enough information to get my audience pumped for the next story while not giving away too much. However, I’ve read some theories from a few fans and they’re compelling. Maybe they’re onto something!!

  21. Todd. You are such an amazing writer judging from this synopsis. It is usually great when one writes out of inspiration. I am glad that Wales inspired you.  From my personal experience I am usually inspired when I sit close to the natural river.  In that atmosphere, I lose myself and words keep flowing on my head unending. See you at the top.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks, Paschal! And yes, Wales has always been a huge inspiration for me, being of Welsh descent. I know what you mean when it comes to nature and inspiration. I live in an area that’s full of hills, valleys, forests, and yes, the Ohio River is right at my back yard. While some of the area is industrialized, much of which has long since been abandoned, the endless forests is just something majestic, especially when gazing into the horizon from the top of the highest hills. 

  22. Wow Todd! Are you kidding me? You mean you are the author of Fighting Tyranny? I love good books, your synopsis just held me spellbound. I am definitely getting my free copy. Reading through each of the characters in the novel, made me feel as if I am actually watching a movie. Writing is not easy, and I always commend people with great imagination, I doff my cap for you. Hoping to read more of your novels in the nearest future. Keep up the good work.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Hi, Gracen, I am! While I wrote this novelette on the fly to serve as a free way for readers to test drive my work, it’s since developed into a series of its own serving as a historical background to the parent Lord of Columbia Series. And I agree, writing is one of the toughest endeavors one can face, but man, is it rewarding! 

  23. Hi Todd! Thank you so much for giving this synopsis. I find the plot interesting and the characters are well crafted. 

    In particular I’m intrigued by King Ruslan Romanoff carácter. I find him very interesting. I would love to read his dialogs and ponder his actions. I’d like to see how much he contributes to the plot as a whole.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Hi, Henry, Ruslan is a very interesting character, that’s for sure. While he’s more minor in this series, I wouldn’t rule out seeing Ruslan sometime down the road.  

  24. I’ve been searching for some fantasy novels to read and found your website. This urban fantasy seems interesting. Your naming sense for the places is quite unique. May I know what inspired you for Ddraigoch? (The name and the place. Also, how to pronounce it). Also most of the characters have the ability to control elements. So, are they some kind of mage soldier? I will read your free copy of Fighting Tyranny. Thank you and wish you success for the books 🙂

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:48 pm

      Ddraigoch is actually a spin from Y ddraig goch, which means the red dragon in Welsh. I almost settled and called the land Cymru, which is how you say Wales in Welsh. As for Llandaff and Radyr, they were inspired by Sir David ap Mathew of Llandaff, who is believed to have started the Mat(t)hews line during the Middle Ages which has since traveled to the new world. 

  25. I must say that this article is very interesting and informative Todd. I am really a book lover, especially fantasy and I would like to read Lord of Columbia as soon as possible. You really have a talent for this and I encourage you to not stop. Thanks for sharing such a great story with us.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks, Daniel! I have a feeling I’m just getting started and I can’t wait to see what both the Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk Series has for the future! 

  26. What a nice review on Fighting Tyranny episode one in the Neo Skyehawk Series. This episode is really an interesting series starter and I can’t wait to read the other episodes.

    I think I’ll start with with Fighting Tyranny before going on to Lord of Columbia. Both series are going to be fun as I get a nice background here of the story itself with your synopses. 

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks! There is definitely a lot of suspense here but also a good history lesson as it pertains to the parent Lord of Columbia Series. Hope you like it! 

  27. Hi Todd,

    I have read your novel I really admire your writing skills. Though I’m not into fantasy stories– whether it’s movie or books–but, you were able to capture my attention with this synopsis. The cast of characters caught my eye more than anything, which I believe will make the book worth reading.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      And thank you, Tawhid, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I didn’t even get interested in fantasy until I read the Harry Potter Series, when I was nine. Since then, the rest has been history. 

  28. Fighting Tyranny is as interesting as anything though not too easy to comprehend. There are similar stories to this about a book I read long ago when I was younger. I will go through this very one in no time and read fully the stories about it. If I may ask, I just want to know the rating of this book. 

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      Hi, Kenechi! You may see a good deal of similarities here, especially if one were to make their way through the series. As for a rating, I’d say the first two can be good for general audiences but starting with the third episode, which I’ll be issuing a synopsis on in a few weeks, does take a dark turn, so I definitely want to forewarn readers on that. 

  29. This is a really interesting review of this article. I really like the cast and the characters and the fact that Seneca is planning to rescue her parents. I salute your writing skills and the motivation behind it, it is one of a kind. I have requested for my free copy, hope I will get it in time. I would like to see more of this review. Thank you. Well done.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks! And yes, out of both the Lord of Columbia and Neo Skyehawk Series, Seneca might just be my favorite character. Once one reads up on her adventures and discovers her backstory, she’ll have one heck of a fan base! 

  30. This book is worth reading. I love the way you highlighted each character and gave a brief tidbit about each of them. Well-written and top notch preview of things to come. Thanks so much for letting me find my next read and I hope to read more of your articles.

    • Todd Matthews

      February 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks, Dapaoch! Feel free to share and have your friends claim their free copies! What started off as a standalone work has since become a series of its own, with much more to come in the future! 

  31. Fighting Tyranny cannot prevent the temptation to read the original book after reading this book review. Todd’s writing style is really solid. Your writing reminds me of John Steinbeck and Jack London. Your writing content is interesting as well. I am eagerly waiting for a copy. With regards.

    • Todd Matthews

      March 1, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks, Ranao! I never would’ve thought Steinbeck, but I can relate to London in a way, since a good deal of all my works takes place in the wilderness. 

  32. Todd, I would say that you have a great gift you have the ability to shift
    from one world to another as you become the characters that you create
    and live in that fantasy world while you are creating.

    • Thanks, Rickey! To me, despite the hard work involved, there’s no better escape to another world, especially after a long, hard day’s or week’s worth of work in the real world. Not my favorite thing, but if I can make my world an escape, I hope it can for others. If they’re informed as well as entertained, well I just did my job!

  33. Thank you for the article. I did not know that there was a precursor to the Lord of Columbia series. I am going to have to go and get this one now also. These books are so amazing and filled with plots and twists that you do not see coming. Is This one also a Trilogy? I would like to get them all. Thank you for the article.

    • Todd Matthews

      March 2, 2019 at 10:44 pm

      Yep! A precursor and a nice history lesson involving the magical systems and the big conspiracy present in both this series and Lord of Columbia. Neo Skyehawk is actually a series of novelettes, where there are three out right now and a bonus fourth if one joins my email list. There are also two more on the way by May of this year, so there’s a lot going on here! 

  34. One thing I know about you Todd… You are very skilled in creating pictures and experiences in the reader’s mind. After going through the background and setting for the story I began to see imagine that the interactions and relationships between the characters are as big a part of the story as the action itself.

    You left me with no choice.. I requested a copy of Fighting Tyranny. 

    Thank you for your brilliant stories!

    • Todd Matthews

      March 2, 2019 at 10:43 pm

      Thanks, Austin! I hope you enjoy the work andn I’m glad that you could see the story as something that is as character-driven as it is plot-driven. You will like this, I can guarantee you! 

  35. Wow, this is really interesting. I really enjoy reading fantasy fiction, so this is right up my alley. I enjoy reading authors such as Brandon Sanderson. I’ve always been impressed by the imagination and creativity that must go into creating a realistic magic system. Thanks for not giving up on your dream and this series. I look forward to reading more about Neo and Seneca!

    • Todd Matthews

      March 2, 2019 at 10:40 pm

      Lots of thought, trail, and error, too. I can definitely assure you of that, Erin! It took me a while to really get the magical system down pat. I had the idea in me for years, but just had to work backwards to really explain how this magical system came into the limelight. It was a tougher, but definitely rewarding journey. 

  36. I’ve been following your posts on these series you have created. I will have to say they are quite intriguing and I enjoy the posts. You are detailed in your summaries of the last installment. Your characters are detailed and well thought out. Your post is easily followed and written well. Overall I liked your posts and your creativity with your plot, characters, and written skills.

  37. Hi Todd,

    Even though i’m not a fan of fantasy stories, it’s actually fascinating reading through your script. I’m a big fan of human right and social justice which i believe your book depicts. This is exactly the kind of call i like – fight against corruption and corrupt system of government. I believe for this ultimate purpose, your book resonate with me and i think it will do with many people out there. In fact, i commend you for the great effort.

    I think the thing with fantasy or fictional stories is the power of the writer to create moments of reality in the minds of readers which is so strong that people tend to feel them as though they are real. You’ve done this perfectly well in your write up by describing all the characters and their part in the story which is a true reflection of what’s going on in the world today. 

    I understand this takes great skills and inspiration for anyone to do and for that, i believe your book will be a great sell perhaps like the British Harry Potter books.

    All the best and thank you my friend.


    • Todd Matthews

      April 4, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Hi, Bolaji, I don’t know if they’ll sell that well, but if they do I can fire the head honchos at my current day job, where I can write a book on the horror stories that occur every single day. 

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