And that's just the start.
Yes, more holiday cheer is soon to come!
If you listen closely you can hear the workshop full of elves, each stuffing stockings until the seams nearly burst!
- Current Location:skulking around behind Santa
- Current Mood:Brimming with cheer-and coffee!
- Current Music:silver bells, sleigh bells, no wait that's just the phone
The Irregulars gang has crafted a collection of Holiday Codas to put a little extra kick in your gingerbread! Josh Lanyon has graciously agreed to post them all on DECEMBER 5th at Just Joshin. (While you’re there you really ought to check out all of Josh’s delightful holiday stories and snap up a copy of KICK START!)
Also on DECEMBER 5th FOR ONLY ONE DAY weightlessbooks.com will be offering the entire Irregulars anthology for $1.99 just to celebrate the release of the holiday codas!
But what about the rest of the month? Fear not!
Holiday Codas for Lord of the White Hell, Rifter and Wicked Gentlemen will each be appearing for the Advent Event at Live Your Life Buy The Book.
When exactly? I don’t know—that’s the fun of the Advent Event! Starting December 1st wonderful stories and all kinds of extras from a bevy of fabulous authors will be popping up every day to make us all just a little more merry!
- Current Location:Heading down a chimney
- Current Mood:hyper-happy!
- Current Music:Sugar Plum Fairies!!!
I'm so excited and happy that all the books are out at last, I can't even describe the feeling! I keep picking the volumes up and flipping through the pages with this overwhelming sense of satisfaction and relief. I think the Rifter project didn't actually feel completed for me until just now, when I was able to hold all three volumes in my hands-- both hands-- and experience the physical reality of so much time and effort.
So many people did so much work on this project and were so supportive that I couldn't even begin to repay you all. The only think I can really do is dance around in delight and shout, "THANK YOU ALL!!!!!"--at least until the neighbor comes over and asks me to quiet down. :D
Pictures! It has pictures!!
- Current Location:dancing all around the house
- Current Mood: jubilant
- Current Music:me crooning to all of you
If anyone is planning to attend or has any thoughts about what I should read from--an old favorite, something unpublished, the back of a cereal box-- feel free to send me any suggestions. I've got 15 minutes so there's time for karaoke too!
Or you can contact me at HERE on goodreads, where Tracy Timmons-Gray has just posted an interview with me.
- Current Location:dancing around the house
- Current Mood: curious
- Current Music:patter of my own flat feet
(I know it sounds a little like a gay singles mixer, doesn't it? But we're gathering in the Seattle Central Library--so I'm thinking it'll be a more literary sort of meet-up... though who knows. Romance could bloom at the reference desk.)
A number of awesome authors will be there, which is just one of the reasons I'm stoked. (The other is that I'll hopefully have completed my Lord of the White Hell sequel and will be able to stay out LATE afterwards !!!!)
Rick R. Reed
There are more details on goodreads if any of you are interested.
- Current Mood:enthusiastic
- Current Music:Little birds in the trees
And we've got bad hours for voting--Midnight to noon (central standard time) March 28th. That's right, for those of us in the US the voting will start at or very near the stroke of midnight and close down before lunch is even served. Which means votes will have to be cast in the gloom of night, basically TONIGHT or First Thing in the morning on the 28th!
So, I willing to throw in one more bribe for those willing to stay up late or rise early to lend a hand. Not only will I write a Holiday coda for my characters from Irregulars but I will also write one for the characters of Lord of the White Hell or Wicked Gentlemen if we take this category.
Just vote and drop me a note--here or just email me--with your request. If Irregulars succeeds, I will post the holiday codas here and on my website for the entertainment of all.
So, if you would like to know how Javier and Kiram spent their solstice together, or want to peek in on Harper and Belimai's troubled holiday please do vote!
--Now, I better get writing!
- Current Location:Running up that hill
- Current Mood: anxious
- Current Music:Heartbeat pounding to war drums
Why is it so important? Well, Astrid Amara has helpfully created this video to explain...take a look and you'll see that the lives of ponies and puppies could be at stake here!
So VOTE Irregulars and vote often!
- Current Location:Eye of the Tiger!!
- Current Mood:determined
- Current Music:Eye of the Tiger!
Fortunately, the judges encourage rampant bribery of voters. So here it is! If Irregulars wins the LGBT category then each author will write a Christmas Coda featuring their characters from the book for YOU the voters!
I happen to love my fellow authors' characters and stories so this is a bribe that I'm really stoked for! (I went and voted myself for the first time--I'm that excited about reading little holiday stories form Josh, Nicole and Astrid.)
If you'd like to read more of the Irregulars, please vote!
- Current Location:On the edge of my seat!
- Current Mood: devious
- Current Music:furious tapping of keys
First the second book in the print trilogy of the Rifter, Holy Road, goes on sale! (I just got my advanced copies and it's so pretty! Also sort of giant... and there are maps!!!!) So, obviously I'm a little giddy and nervous about that release.
But on top of that, Irregulars has ben chosen as a finalist in the annual DABWAHA battle of books! Yes, it's that time once again, when hapless yearling novels are hurled into the gladiatorial ring of literary survival. Readers vote for their favorite titles from those pitted against each other and at the end of the day only one moves on to next challenge.
I'm always surprised and flattered when I get a title in the running-- though I have to just put my hands over my face when my book gets trampled and gored to death. This year I'm be sharing the honor and agony with Astrid Amara, Nicole Kimberling, and Josh Lanyon... Doubtless the four of us will spend the day toasting our triumphs and drown our sorrows in Tab, Coke, Black Drop Espresso and Sidecars!
Fight on Irregulars, Fight on!
- Current Location:Training Field of Literary Battle
- Current Mood: cheerful
- Current Music:battle theme from Star Trek
Master of the Black Flame
The black wall rose above Skellan, flashing long spikes from behind pretty scrolls of corbelling like some immense beast drawing back its heavy stone lips to display iron teeth. Skellan grinned back and climbed higher.
h yes, this deeply carved stone troll knew he was no harmless scamp clambering up. He felt the fire in Skellan’s bones just as charms and wards hidden throughout the vast city recognized Skellan’s presence when he laid his bare hands against them. But this petrified and spellbound troll could not easily break the enchantment that had stilled him a century ago—and in any case Skellan very well knew the huge granite creature who stood guard over the east wall of the Sanctum.
He scampered up the ornate façades that some ass had carved across the troll’s towering body long ago. Winter cold made his hands clumsy and slicked the stone with frost but Skellan didn’t slow until he reached a rolling ledge that sheltered a deep black niche. The hole was wider than Skellan’s arm and clotted with cobwebs, moss and a decade of decayed pine needles. He scraped and scratched, digging out an abandoned wasps nest along with the desiccated remains of rock mice until at last he reached hard granite. Then he caressed the exposed stone as he once had stroked the silky ears of tame rabbits.
“It’s been too long since you’ve been attended, Master Bone-crusher,” Skellan whispered into the dark hollow. “Oesir doesn’t give you the honor you deserve for standing guard against all the cold and curses these east winds carry from the sea.”
Despite the winter frost and twilight chill Skellan felt the rough stone warm beneath his fingers. He tickled the curve of what he knew was once an immense ear, and the stone flushed further, warming Skellan’s body far better than his patched clothes or tattered dogskin cloak could.
“I’ve missed you, Bone-crusher,” Skellan whispered. It served him to say as much but it was also true. For a moment he simply clung to the stone, embracing what small warmth and comfort the dark rock offered his gaunt body.
Then he heard the low voice—an echo of winter wind through granite hollows.
ou mean to challenge the Grimma in his own sanctum?
“That I do.”
It seems too soon, Little Thorn. You still feel so small. Bone–crusher’s low words vibrated up Skellan’s body, making the hair on his arms stand up. He’d almost forgotten how those resonant, low murmurs could thrill through him. No creatures as ancient, mythical or proud as Bone-crusher inhabited the dueling alleys, cockerel taverns and playhouses of Milmuraille.
Briefly Skellan turned his dark-adapted eyes back to the twilight world where he’d eluded Grimma Oesir’s hunters and kept himself alive these past ten years.
From the height of Bone-crusher’s shoulder he took in the vastness of the surrounding city. Mazes of timber-framed buildings crowded cobbled roads and hunched over the banks of the wide Raccroc River. Far past Count Persil’s Sun Palace and the towering red government chambers, beyond those gaudy mercantile palaces, sprawling warehouses, torch-lit taverns and dark rafts of humble homes Skellan picked out the thin red line of Milmuraille’s city wall. It formed a ragged circle of rust-red sandstone blocks and oak timbered watchtowers. Beyond that rose the dense forests and forbidding mountains of the Mirogoths where the Sumar Grimma ruled.
“Ten years, I’ve been gone.” Hardly a moment in a life measured by the ages of stone but more than long enough for Skellan. He’d grown tall and quick outside the sanctum, but too lean and tattered as well. He’d worn rags and hidden his bright red hair in a filthy dark coil of oily soot for so long that he hardly remembered what it felt like to be clean.
Skellan pressed his face close to the black granite, drinking in the thick musky scent of the living body lying just beneath the stone. Old memories of summer afternoons spent sprawled across this warm rock, licking honey from his fingers and laughing as Bone-crusher’s deep voice shook his whole body flickered through the cold hunger of his mind. For an instant he felt a chasm of raw sorrow open in him—he would never know that life again.
But he caught himself. He wasn’t a child anymore and he’d have his revenge soon enough. Then he’d eat pork and cherries in winter and he’d wear mink-lined gloves. He’d possess sweet beeswax tapers, burn butter in his lamps if he wanted and at night he’d sleep on silk and goose down. But he’d get none of that by scrubbing his face raw against a rough stone while mourning the ruin of his boyhood.
Oesir’s treachery had taught him one thing very well: fortune favored those with the daring and drive to seize what they wanted.
“I’ll break him and take the Sanctum,” Skellan whispered. “And I will keep my promise to you, Bone-Crusher.”
A warm sigh passed through the stone and gently rocked Skellan’s body.
Then go and do him all the harm you will, Little Thorn. You will find him walking near the water gardens.
Skellan bounded up. He climbed quick as a cat—edging up crevices then leaping out to silently catch the overhang of decorative columns and shimmy farther up. Sweat beaded his arms and trickled down his spine as he forced himself to move faster still, to keep ahead of the guard pacing the top of the wall. He threw himself into reckless momentum with defiant exhilaration. Then at last he dug his long, callused fingers into a crevice of dark granite and pulled his limber body up between the turrets topping the wall.
And then he was back within the Sanctum, staring at the gleaming black stone of the Grimma’s Palace where a halo of green flame shone over the highest obsidian spire—Oesir’s flame of dominion, proclaiming him Grimma over this sanctum and all Labara by extension. Before Oesir the spire had blazed with Lundag’s gold flame. Soon, Skellan told himself, it might just shine as red as cinnabar.
The bare trees of the surrounding orchards and gardens cast long, shivering shadows as Oesir’s flame flickered and spat from its height. Something agitated the usurper’s mind enough to set his flame roiling. Watching it, Skellan felt uneasy as well. Oesir couldn’t know he was coming. Yet it seemed a very strange coincidence that he should stroll along the water garden where he’d committed his treachery, just when Skellan chose to avenge those murders.
Skellan studied the grounds, watching the brawny blond Mirogoth mercenaries Oesir had hired after the slaughter of Lundag’s guardian wolves. They wore wolfskin cloaks over their leather armor and they paced the walls and grounds of the Grimma’s palace holding their short spears like walking sticks. They and the young silk-garbed torchbearers standing at the palace doors looked cold and bored. One guard lingered outside the scullery stroking his braided beard and teasing a young maid as she chased a sow into its pen. At the foregates, the archers lounged together like gossips in a tavern. One set his longbow aside to warm his hands in his heavy coat. Most tellingly, the portcullis still hung high and open. As Skellan watched a gilded carriage drawn by four sleek Cadeleonian horses swept from the stables and out through the gates.
o, Skellan reassured himself, none of them even suspected his return, much less planned to take him.
Still his heart quickened as he dropped to the oak planks of the alure and raced between shadows to the narrow stone steps that lead down to the palace grounds. Despite his need for stealth and speed Skellan stopped several times both on the stairs and as he raced beneath the cover of the walnut grove. Where he found old stones that knew him, he traced their surfaces and whispered their names, and in return they warmed his cold hands, sheltered him with their shadows and silenced his passage.
He skirted the open cobblestone courtyard where the light of Oesir’s flame burned every shadow to the luminous green of a willow grove. From a distance Skellan caught a taste of the churning air; it felt warm and smelled sweet as spring—like Oesir himself.
Even if Bone-Crusher had not told him where to look, Skellan could have found Oesir just by following the heat and scent of him on the frigid air.
e stood completely alone beneath the bare branches of beech trees, beside the long stone pool of the water garden. A faint verdant glow radiated from him and lit him like the light of a full moon. He struck Skellan as smaller and slimmer than he remembered and he appeared surprisingly young, enveloped in the great white mass of the Grimma’s bearskin cloak. His flaxen hair hung in short curls and his hands and feet, like Skellan’s own, were bare to touch the earth and stone beneath them.
All around him green light gleamed off thin sheets of frost. Overhanging tree branches sparkled as if studded with emeralds and the broken crusts of ice drifting on the surface of the pool shone like jade. An aged water bucket lay beside the pool and for a moment Skellan thought it was the bucket that Oesir contemplated so very intently. But as he crept closer, Skellan realized that Oesir held a small golden cask in his hands and gazed down at it as if transfixed.
Even when Skellan stepped out from the cover of the trees and reached down to the ground to trace a ward-ring around himself, Oesir seemed to take no notice of him. Skellan’s entire body trembled with tension. Before him, Oesir ran a hand slowly over the lid of the cask, studying it as if nothing else in the world existed.
For all his earlier fear—the sweat-soaked, sleepless nights spent fighting for the courage to risk death, and knowing that no betting man would put even a penny on him walking out of Oesir’s sanctum alive—Skellan flushed with anger. He’d eluded Oesir’s hunters for ten years, surviving in a city of cut-throats, whoremongers, brigands and press gangs just to reach his majority and challenge Oesir in the heart of his sanctum; the least the arrogant bastard could do was look up and notice that he faced a witch’s challenge to mortal combat. Skellan almost regretted his decision to fight the man honorably. By now he could have slipped up behind Oesir, shoved a knife in his back and had it done with.
But if he did that then dominion over the Sanctum would not pass to Skellan. The witch’s flame burning so brilliantly over the spire would simply die and the Mirogoth Grimma would all feel that absence. In a matter of days they would raise armies to march against Milmuraille and seize the Sanctum for their own. No, he had to take Oesir’s life and power in fair combat.
“For fuck’s sake, Oesir,” Skellan snapped, “I stand before you with my ward raised and all you can do is ogle some box?”
His words seemed to break the spell. Oesir’s head came up fast and the cask slipped from his hands as his face lit with shocked recognition. Perhaps it was only a trick of the flickering shadows but it seemed that Oesir smiled at him.
“Thorn—” Oesir began and at the same instant the gold cask crashed open at Oesir’s feet. A geyser of violet flame shot up from the depths of the cask to engulf Oesir. His words contorted into a scream of pain and he fell to his knees.
Horrified reflex moved Skellan. He bounded from the protection of his ward-circle and grabbed the water bucket. He swept up ice and water from the pool and hurled it over Oesir. The flame fell back for only an instant revealing Oesir’s charred and blistered body. Smoke and the smell of seared hair and flesh choked the air. Then the flame surged up again from the open cask like a serpent preparing to strike. Its violet light and sweltering heat rose up over Skellan. But Oesir reached out a black, smoking hand and caught the flame pulling it to him.
“Flee!” Oesir gasped before the violet fire fell on him. Then only choked howls of agony escaped Oesir.
Skellan ran, terrified and confused but sure of the need to escape. He pelted for the open maw of the portcullis, while all across the grounds and on the wall guards called out in alarm.
“Look there!” A man shouted from above him. Arrows whistled past Skellan, one grazing his ear. Behind him he heard the pounding thunder of guards racing after him. They shouted for other men and a din of voices rose from all across the grounds. As he ran the cover of the trees thinned. He tore away the rags of his clothes and hurled them up to take the distracting forms of doves and swifts—anything to draw the eyes of the archers from him. He threw himself ahead, calling on every shred of strength he possessed to lend him speed. His heart hammered in his chest and his muscles burned as he tore across the orchard. Another arrow whipped past his face. He felt the wet heat of blood trickling down his neck.
He refused to die like this, shot full of arrows like some gamecock.
Fear and fury surged through him and he felt the witchflame within him blaze to life. A man couldn’t cross open cobblestone and reach the foregates faster than archers could loose their arrows but a beast might.
As Skellan sprinted, his body stretched, arms reaching to the ground, legs swinging forward and then hurling him ahead in a huge leap. His battered dogskin cloak flexed and closed against his body, growing hot and alive around him. His toes tore into the stones beneath him, clawing traction from even the sheen of ice encasing them.
Transformed, he raced lower and faster, his lungs drinking in the frigid night air and tasting everything—sweat, smoke, leaves rotting beneath the frost. His ears rang with the noise of men and beasts, the beating wings of a hunting nighthawk and the squeal of terrified mice. And far away the river slapped and hissed against the hulls of moored ships. He took it all in and kept running, just as he’d run from the Grimma’s palace ten years ago, cloaked in the flesh and muscle of a wild-eyed mongrel.
He became that filthy dog again.
He burst from the cover of the trees, reached the gates in a heartbeat and crossed through without a pause. Mounted men armed with spears followed him, swearing and shouting from high up in their saddles. Instinct more than intellect warned him not to lead them to the nest he called his home. Instead he fled into the crowded chaos of the newly built alehouses and travelers taverns where foreign men caroused and wagered long after dark.
Skellan dodged glossy carriages and darted between clusters of startled drunks.
The guards thundered after him, bellowing, “Clear the way in the name of Grimma Oesir! Clear the way or be cut down!” Men in heavy furs and women wrapped in bright silks fled back into their doorways, abandoning the walkways to the charging guards.
Skellan snarled in frustration then bounded into the street, dashing through the noisy traffic of mounted travelers, horse-drawn carriages and ox wagons. Horses stamped and kicked as he yapped at their hind legs and round bellies. Carriage drivers shouted and more than one rider laid open a bloody weal across Skellan’s back with a whip. But with his barred teeth and wild snarls he startled men and beasts alike, leaving pandemonium in his wake. He needed the men angry and the animals ready to bite and rear as the Grimma’s guards pursued him into their midst.
The Grimma guards bellowed threats, but they hardly carried over the dark cacophony of lowing oxen, indignant traders and unsettled horses. From some wagon, a flock of geese hissed and honked. When Skellan stole a glance over his shoulder he saw only two the Grimma guards still in chase.
Still too many.
His whole body ached and his strength flagged but he didn’t dare slow. He bounded down a maze of narrow alleys, hoping to lose the guards in the dark, but they kept after him, steadily closing the distance. Their horses’ hooves hammered the cobblestone streets like thunder and Skellan smelled the sweat lathering their hides and heard the fast rhythm of their breath as if they were already on top of him. On either side of him the wood and stone backs of taverns and alehouses formed high walls and offered him nowhere to hide.
Then ahead, he glimpsed the wide wooden beams of some kind of corral—the pungent scents of horseshit, leather and sweet hay rolled over him. Skellan dived beneath the corral wall, plowing his chest through muck and mud to get under. Then he raced for the shelter of the dark stables ahead of him. A thin shaft of lamplight shone through the narrow gap in the doors. At his back he heard a horse whinny and stamp in refusal but the other cleared the corral and charged after him.
kellan sprinted into the stables—warmth and light flooded over him—and then he slammed into a tower of hard flesh and bone. The big man stumbled back only a step, but the collision sent Skellan skittering off his feet and into a heap of damp wood shavings and straw. He lay stunned and gasping as the big man strode to where he lay. He loomed over Skellan like a winter oak, huge, dark and all hard angles. And Skellan deliriously remembered that the Irabiim always said that those oaks were omens of death.
A heavy, black traveler’s cloak hid most of the man’s clothes, but not the sword at his hip, nor the way his hand rested upon the hilt. His thick dark hair looked unruly even cropped so very short and his features were sharp and harsh as those of the stone saints who glowered down from the walls of Cadeleonian churches.
Skellan tried to lift his head, but he didn’t possess the vigor to even bare his teeth. He’d burned through all his strength when he’d assumed this emaciated dog’s body. Only the animal drive of panic had kept him running after that. And now even that dissipated before his exhaustion and wounds. His head fell back into the filthy shavings. He’d known he might die tonight, but he hadn’t thought it would be like this.
The shadow of the man’s hand stretched over him, but he didn’t strike Skellan. Instead he knelt and held his broad, bare palm out, allowing Skellan to take his scent. Sea salt, sweat, fresh hay and a deep earthy aroma filled Skellan’s mouth. He remembered the comfort of Bone-Crusher then, and weakly pressed his face against the man’s warm, callused hand. Overhead, the stable lamps flickered at the evening shadows.
“I won’t hurt you.” The man’s voice sounded deep and soft and though he spoke Labaran his strong Cadeleonian accent made his words sound as strange as the intonations of a spell. He stroked Skellan’s muzzle very carefully. Skellan winced when the Cadeleonian’s fingers brushed the open gashes that arrows and whips had torn across his skull and neck. The Cadeleonian drew his hand back, frowning at the traces of oily soot and blood on his fingers. “What kind of bastard did this to you?”
As if in answer to his question the stable door swung open. One of the Grimma’s guards stepped in out of the evening darkness. Mud flecked his yellow beard and the front of his leather armor. He held his short spear up and at the ready. Just behind him a second guard sat atop his stallion holding the reins of the first man’s horse.
The Cadeleonian straightened and once again his hand slid to his sword hilt.
“Move back from that beast!” The guard hefted his spear. Skellan tried to regain his feet. His muscles shuddered with pain and he collapsed back down to his side.
The Cadeleonian stepped between him and the guard.
“Move, you ugly bear!” the guard shouted. “That cur is a witch’s familiar. It has trespassed into the Grimma’s sanctum and by his law must be put to death.”
To Skellan’s surprise the big Cadeleonian didn’t budge.
“You’re going to die for the sake of a filthy mongrel,” the guard sneered.
“No,” the Cadeleonian sounded calm—almost amused. “But you certainly will if you try to harm him further.”
The guard stared at the Cadeleonian in incredulity, as if he’d somehow misunderstood the Cadeleonian’s words. No one disregarded the Grimma guards’ orders—not directly to their faces. In that instant of confusion, the Cadeleonian lunged forward with alarming speed, grasped the guard’s spear and slammed the shaft up into the man’s face with cracking force. The guard fell to the ground and the Cadeleonian deftly drew his sword and brought the tip down to the stunned guard’s throat. He kicked the fallen spear aside as if the motion were a reflex.
Skellan stared at the Cadeleonian’s massive dark form; he’d moved too well and fast to be a man of any peaceable trade. No, Skellan decided, his easy insolence and practiced violence were much more likely the traits of a criminal—a highwayman perhaps.
“Shall we discuss your options?” the Cadeleonian’s hard gaze fell on the mounted guard at the stable doors. Even through the darkness Skellan saw the younger guard blanch.
Skellan’s own heart hammered in his chest. It would only be a matter of time before more of the guards found them. If the Grimma’s guards took him he’d die but not quickly.
ldquo;It’s a filthy black cur,” the mounted guard’s voice quavered. “You can’t mean to kill a man for a creature like that.”
“I happen to like dogs,” the Cadeleonian replied. Again Skellan caught that tone of amusement in the man’s voice.
weak bark of laughter escaped Skellan and he was glad, despite his pain and fear, that he had lived to see two of the Grimma’s arrogant, extorting guards looking so cowed in the hands of a rough Cadeleonian brigand.
ldquo;I beg you—” the guard on the ground moaned but the Cadeleonian cut him off with a shake of his head.
“In your place, I wouldn’t rely on my pity.”
“What then?” the mounted guard demanded. “You can’t believe that you could kill us both.”
“That would require some effort,” the Cadeleonian conceded. “But whether I have to go to the trouble, that’s entirely up to the two of you.” He slipped his free hand into the folds of his cloak and brought out a velvet coin purse with an ornate silver clasp. It looked like a small treasure itself and Skellan wondered who the Cadeleonian had robbed for it.
“I’m looking to buy a dog,” the Cadeleonian stated. “And the two of you could profit well enough by selling this one to me, don’t you think?”
The guards were quiet for a moment and Skellan watched the way they stared at the bulging coin purse in the Cadeleonian’s hand.
“Alright,” the mounted guard agreed. “If you want to take in some witch’s familiar, then let that be on your own head. The beast doesn’t look like it will survive the night in any case.”
ldquo;It may not,” the Cadeleonian conceded.
“The Grimma must not know,” the other guard said quietly, as if miles away the Grimma might still overhear them.
“When next he invites me to dine with him in his fine palace, I promise you that I won’t say a thing about it,” the Cadeleonian responded. The absurdity of this ruffian at the Grimma’s opulent table seemed to amuse at least one of the guards; a flicker of a smile broke across the mounted man’s face.
“Do we have a bargain?” the Cadeleonian asked.
Both the guards agreed that they did. The Cadeleonian ordered the mounted guard out and back across the corral. Then he handed the coin purse over to the man he’d knocked flat on his back and sent him running after his companion. He collected the man’s fallen spear and turned back to Skellan.
“Well, dog,” he knelt beside Skellan, “I think we’d be wise to move along before they decide to return with their friends to sell me a noose.”
Skellan tried to rise but couldn’t. He could hardly keep his eyes open. The man didn’t seem to expect him to get up; instead he reached out and gathered Skellan very carefully in his arms. As the man lifted him, Skellan glimpsed the small golden star hanging from a chain around the man’s neck. The same symbol had decorated Oesir’s golden cask.
hope you enjoyed the rough draft of the first two chapters. The complete book is well under way! – Ginn Hale
- Current Mood:dorky
- Current Music:patter of rain