For this post, I'm featuring a story I wrote when I was 18 years old as my entry to my small town's local radio station's Halloween Story Contest. I won for my age group, and part of my award was being invited to come and read for the recording personally. I was the first contestant to read my own story, but having winners into the station to record became an annual tradition. Small towns are cool like that :)
As for current events, this week has been hectic. As in 'cyclone' rather than 'whirlwind'. It's been mostly good news and moving forward activities, all of which are Very Awesome Occurrences, but still a lot of things happening at a very fast pace, and all of it requiring phone calls, emails and/or interacting with humans. (Real, living humans, not the mostly imaginary ones in my head I write stories about.)
My 5-months-physically-isolated and happily introverted self is a very tired bean on this Friday night.
Yup! I'm writing this one up on Friday before bed because tomorrow has appointments, too. Well... one Very Important Appointment: I get to go visit my Chiropractor! Not only is she amazing at her job, she has weekend hours!
Sunday early morning is reserved for shopping needs and late morning is for my youngest to have dance. Sunday afternoon is for me to figure out just how the heck to survive next week as I'm shoveling loads of laundry through the machines.
Surprisingly, I crammed writing time in around the edges of everything else this week. Fifteen hundred words of a new scene were added to the big manuscript, plus a few hours for editing. I fell in love with this story all over again. Now if I could just get it to cooperate and allow me to narrate the scenes in order, that would be great. LOL :D I hope you're keeping safe and having a good weekend!
1. 'Falling' Asleep
People have always talked around campfires. They've told stories of great loves, and great loves lost; of Fairies, and of the Small Folk; of monsters from the grave, and of the evil lurking deeper; most commonly of ghosts, and most recently of aliens. And sometimes, just before dawn, when the night is the coldest and the morning is the furthest away – when even the flames seem to hide from the darkness – the tales of dreams begin to unravel.
This is one such story, fit for a fireside telling, but told 'round tables with electricity to push back the shadows. So light a candle, turn off the switch and snuggle up to someone you love, and I'll tell you the tale of the last dream I ever had.
The dream that ends all dreams, if you will...
I have always been one to have nightmares. Ever since the days of childhood, my nights have been peppered with shadows. Never a happy dream for me, oh no. Sunny days always turned to dreary nights, friends and family turned to foes, and strangers turned to dangers. Never a friendly face, and never a helping hand.
As a teenager, I learned to wake myself up from my strange and horrible visions by saying, as loudly as I could: "This is only a dream and now I am going to wake up." And in the few times when that didn't work, I would pinch myself as hard as I could until my eyes would open, wide with terror and bleary with sleep, the green numbers of my bedside clock glaring out at me with the blank fact of the early morning hour.
The last dream I ever had began in the same manner as any other I've had before: from a great distance up and accelerating at an alarming rate down. Down towards a tiny spot of light that I just know is going to explode up around me and bury me in all sorts of nasty things. Then, just at the very last moment before impacting with the tiny spot, it disappeared and I plunged into the sinister blackness of what I've come to call Shadow Land: the darkest corner of the dream world.
I stumbled around for a few moments, fear beginning to nibble at the edges of my mind and the sense of deja vu overriding all my senses as I began to walk east. Trees that had always been there suddenly grew up all around me in a think tangle. My sense of direction evaporated in the dense forest and, even though I knew that by going east I could get out and into the sunshine, I no longer knew which way east was.
I ran for what seemed like hours, always going in a different direction and always ending up back in the same place, tripping and sprawling and scraping my hands and knees each time I returned. Every time I walked away, a brightly colored, shiny bird would flit across in front of me, and then pivot on a sharp angle that only it could find to make a B-line for the edge of the forest. Every time I chased the bird, running as fast as I could, the bird flew faster and faster until I couldn't see it anymore. Every time after the bird disappeared, I felt those eyes staring out at me from a hidden place and a cold wind rustled through the dying forest to chill me to the bone. Every time, I forget the way that the little bird had gone and would just bolt blindly through the trees, the hot breath of that thing just behind me.
More editing happened this week! Not much for drafting up any new writing, but I'm really happy with the flow of new ideas right. I have no complaints about how my thoughts are percolating into scenes in my head; getting my ideas sorted out is half the fun of writing :D
As of right now, there's just a week and a half left until school starts up again. We've decided to try in-person learning for the first term's option as our school made switching to virtual at any time a very simple process, and because our kids benefit from the mental health side of being around other kids than just each other.
There really isn't a "right choice" right now for back to school. Every choice sucks.
Otherwise, not a lot is going on inside my personal bubble over in this corner of the world. Slugs ate our garden because of all the rain we've been having (and because I'm not a good gardener... I really don't bother to monitor how or if things are growing or not). But I learned all the rain also created a surge in the number of garter snakes we have in the city and that – to me – is wonderful news. If you don't know, garter snakes are completely harmless to humans and most pets, the younger and smaller ones eat a lot of insect garden pests, and the older and larger ones eat rodent pests and insect garden pests. I guess I have some reading to do for making our yard more garter-snake-friendly :)
Hope you're staying safe and healthy!
Flyboy, Part 1:
He waded through the mud in his consciousness. What had happened? He’d been flying... following the river... the Flight Commander had said turn back, too hot... the Ground Commander had said go in... passenger bird and right gunship had turned back but the smoke was popped and the extraction was a sitting duck... two – three? No, only two – people running... only one extra person on the bird... heavy fire... the bird started to fall...
“Just get me across the river!” she yelled.
“We’re going down too fast!” he answered between mayday calls.
“DO IT, FLYBOY!” she ordered.
He forced the bird to limp... the river came up too fast... the far bank didn’t get close enough... something hit him in the back – the front? – and then the controls became part of his helmet... there was water and smoke in the bird when the weight lifted off him... she looked surprised when he sat up...
“We gotta go. Right now,” she said.
“The crew –” he turned and saw them. What was left of them.
They grabbed the tags and ammo and any rations... his head hurt... where was his helmet? His face was bleeding...
“Go! Now!” She pushed him out of the bird and towards the bank.
He carried two packs... the water was cool... the sun was hot... the trees on the bank promised shade... he was knocked to the ground between the roots and something exploded behind him... she was pulling him along as they ran... his head hurt...
He opened his eyes and saw darkness. A shape settled beside him close enough that he could hear it breathing. It stopped moving as the breeze stilled. It looked at him and motioned for him to be silent. His head hurt. A bright light flashed in both his eyes and seared his retinas into the back of his skull.
“It’s a good thing you’re small, Flyboy,” she said.
A wind started up again and the shape lifted him onto its shoulders.
He opened his eyes and saw darkness. A shape was sitting, hunched by his feet, and peering through a slit out to something that looked too bright to exist. He moved carefully and the shape turned to look at him.
“You did good,” she said.
His thoughts felt swollen, the throbbing in his head worse each time he turned it to look around. She crawled up beside him – the ceiling was too close to stand – and pulled something out of the bag closest to him.
“This will probably be uncomfortable,” she said.
She held his head steady with one hand, holding his eyes open one at a time as she shone a miniature sun into his pupils to check his reaction times. It was more than uncomfortable.
“Better than eight hours ago,” she said, and then she smiled at him. “You may just live through this,” she said.
“Oh. Good,” he croaked.
She chuckled. He covered his eyes with his hand, trying not to put any pressure on his head as he did. He listened to her moving quietly as she stayed sitting beside him. She pressed a soft tube into the hand that wasn’t covering his eyes.
“Eat this,” she said.
My hands and arms were feeling better this week, so I was able to finally get some actual sit-down writing done! My big manuscript got some new scenes, and edits / selective rewrites are going strong in one of my side projects. Due to whatever laws of chaos I fall under, all that productivity came to a crashing halt yesterday due to a migraine and my left hand going through some intense cramps and spasms, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy about how this week has gone in regards to writing.
Besides, today I'm feeling better physically. My brain attempted to sabotage that I'm trying to have a positive day with some morning doom scrolling, but Twitter didn't oblige as a lot of threads and posts were intelligent arguments, positive messages, and/or just plain funny.
And all those adults back when we were kids kept telling us that life couldn't be reduced to a multiple choice quiz. Ha! Option A or B, baby!
As for blog posting today, there isn't a new story starting. The next will begin on September 5, 2020. Instead, for the rest of August, I'm re-posting parts of my favorite available stories. Hope you're keeping well and staying safe!
Family Shackles, Part 1: The Nursemaid
Rishima stood up and faced forward. This was not what she had thought her life would be. This was not how she wanted to die. She tightened the grip on the sword in her hand and straightened her shoulders.
She was her father’s thirteenth daughter, born to his fifth wife. She had been proud of her father, of her family, and their place in the world she knew. She had taken her lessons seriously when she learned to dance. She had taken the training seriously when she had been taught of sex and the pleasures of the body. She had taken her life seriously when she had been married as a first wife to the man that her father chose for her.
Even when she had realized that her father had made a mistake, she had taken what she had inside of herself and dedicated everything to improving the man she was married to. She had kindled a child, and still kept their home well in spite of being sick from the time of conception until the time of birthing. She had worked harder than she had ever imagined possible to support and care for her husband.
Her husband was still an idiot.
He had ruined himself, and he had destroyed her in the process. His business dealings had ended with both of them in chains, their newborn son in her shackled arms, as they were thrown in a cart and shunted further from anything familiar than she could have imagined was possible. Her world had become much larger. Men at her father’s banquets often spoke of the largeness of the world and the extent of their travels, and she had made a journey in the cart that only those who traded to other cultures had recounted. Not just other tribes, but cultures so far away that the languages, laws, clothing, and tools were different.
Her idiot husband had tried to lie to and cheat a trader from one of those distant places. The trader had discovered the cheat, and Rishima and her husband were put in chains to pay the debt. And her son… her son…
The roaring of the crowd pulled her out of her lapse into her memories. She didn’t know where she was. She had traveled so far that she was lost forever to her family and her home. The stone walls around her now were too high to climb and the doors were all heavy wood or iron bars that she couldn’t get through. The crowd was cheering because her son had been ripped from her arms, gutted and tossed away like a toy. The man her husband was supposed to have been fighting was who the crowd was cheering for. Her idiot husband, who had pissed himself and then been stabbed through when that man had lunged at him. Then that man had taken her son from her arms, so she had picked up the sword her idiot husband had dropped beside her while he’d been pissing. Then she stood up.
Rishima looked at the man who was many steps away and raised her chin. She was her father’s daughter. She was a proud daughter from a proud family. This was not the life she wanted. This was not a death she could accept. She did not want to die with an idiot.
The man laughed at her, pointing at her, and the crowd laughed with him. He walked over to attack her as though she were a joke and as she spun away she slashed his leg. She had taken her dancing seriously when she had learned. He attacked faster so she dodged faster, spinning away and cutting him again. The crowd grew confused and quiet as she twisted away from the man’s sword blade, keeping her feet in place, only to rise back to standing straight and drive the blade she was holding through his ribs.
She did not accept dying beside an idiot.
Brasus walked without seeing. Yesterday he had been a husband and an expectant father. This morning he had become a widower, and his living child had been wrapped in the death linens of his dead wife because there was no wet nurse. Now, at nearly midday, he was walking through town because he had been sent to deliver the horse that was quietly following him. He had only gone to get away from the weakening wails of his son.
The gladiators were fighting today, but the roaring of the crowd held little interest while his mind was so very occupied with other matters. Usually he would have stopped to make his own bets, but today wasn’t usual. The roaring cheers turned to laughter and jeers as he remembered his tiny son being swaddled for death only an hour earlier. He looked up, angry at their mocking, and watched through the iron bars of the gate as the crowd favorite collapsed and the laughter stuttered to a stop.
A woman appeared in his line of sight as the gladiator fell. She was dark skinned, black haired, and holding the sword that had killed the crowd favorite. The front of her tunic was dirty, bloody and… milk stained. A man nearby yelled wordlessly.
“The gods have cursed me today!” he added words to his yell. The owner of the woman laughed and collected his prize money from the vocal owner of the gladiator.
Brasus ignored them as he stopped to watch through the bars. The sword fell from the woman’s hands and she stumbled a short distance, falling to her knees and reaching for – but not able to bring herself to touch – something that he couldn’t see. Something small. She sat back on her heels, her body rocking, and then threw her head back and screamed at the sky. She voiced every emotion he felt today in a single breath.
“That’s a lovely horse for a freeman to be leading,” the woman’s owner stared at the colt.
“He’s the finest you’ll see in Verona,” Brasus answered slowly.
“I doubt that,” the woman’s owner shrugged.
“I’ll sell him to you,” Brasus stated, tearing his eyes from the woman to look at the man he was talking to. Her owner was about to decline when the gladiator’s owner stepped forward.
“I’ll buy him,” the man offered quickly. His eagerness left the woman’s owner staring at him in sudden confusion.
“I’m not speaking to you,” Brasus stated, not looking away from the woman’s owner.
“Come now, surely you –”
“I’m not speaking to you,” Brasus repeated, his gaze not shifting.
“Here and now, young Nazario, certainly one man’s coins are as good as –”
“I’ll buy him,” the woman’s owner interrupted, his look snapping to Brasus the moment the gladiator’s owner mentioned his surname, and then reassessing the colt that Brasus was leading as the gladiator’s owner kept talking. Brasus knew his father was renowned for excellent horses, and both these men knew they couldn’t afford a colt from the Nazario family’s stock if they sold everything they owned. “What’s your price?” the woman’s owner asked quickly.
“Her,” Brasus stated, turning to look at the woman who had just killed a gladiator. She was being dragged toward the bars he was looking through by one of the men who cleaned up between each fight. She wasn’t resisting, and simply dangled from the hands that held her, sobbing.
The man who owned her looked at her when she sprawled to the ground in front of him. She barely moved after being thrown out through the gate. The iron clanged as the gate was slammed shut.
“She’s yours,” her owner agreed.
6. An Allied Beginning
“You would help me?” She stared at him, blinking with disbelief.
“To stop this corner from unraveling? Yes. Without hesitation,” he replied, so sincere that Gabby felt tears prickle at her eyes. “This plan of yours is a good one.”
She hadn’t been able to share her plan with anyone for fear of her father’s spies, and now Dorgand was an ally to it after only a few minutes of conversation. And he was her cousin. And… blink twice if Lydo’s father murdered my mother; she blinked twice, enough to push back the threatening tears. Now was not the time for emotions, but explanations… Her focus narrowed and she rose to her feet. Lydo smiled, as if reading her thoughts. Maybe he was reading her thoughts. She wasn’t guarding her expression, so what she was thinking had to be showing on her face pretty clear.
“First, let’s stop this corner from unraveling in under two weeks. After that, I’ll answer whatever questions of yours I can, swear and seal,” he promised. The air sizzled in front of him. A seal matching that on Lydo’s chest hovered like a heat mirage half way between them. It was the same as the watery memory of her mother’s vow, except this was an image made of wildfire sparks and storm lightning. He chuckled at the shocked expression on her face when the mirage popped out of existence. “It’s a sorcerer’s promise. We take those kinds of oaths seriously, so you’ll need to be careful who you make promises to now that you know you’re one of the Magiks.”
“But I’m not, I’m –”
“About to port an entire siege army into enemy territory to stop a war before it starts,” he interrupted, still smiling. “You’re a sorcerer. And once you do this, they’ll know too,” he said, pointing at the stack of Wrote parchments. “We’re both going to have a lot of explaining to do once they call on you. And they will call on you after you do what you’re planning to.”
“Oh,” she said, not sure what else to say. What else was there to say?
“All right. So, I’ll eliminate whatever assassin or assassins are after you, then come and pick up the message you want to send to your brother in, say, three or four days. Once we have his agreement, you’ll be clear to port in for the siege. Sound about right?”
“Perfect! I knew it was the right idea to bring you here.”
“Wait!” She held up both hands in a stopping gesture. “You expect people to believe the immortal Dorgand is doing my bidding and delivering messages for me?”
“Well… oh.” His brows furrowed together as he realized the flaw in his logic. “Actually, once you’ve ported an entire army across the distance of a two-week march, it will become a lot more believable that I’m working for you,” he reasoned. “Actually, we can spread some rumors that we’re working together for the good of the people. All the people. I mean, it’ll be fine. It's the truth, after all.”
“That – I can’t believe I’m saying it – but telling the truth might work to explain things after.”
“See? It’s perfect!” He beamed a smile at her and nodded to himself. “So, are you able to port out from here or do we have to go back up to the tower?”
“Um…” The chair crept closer behind her legs as she rocked back on her heels. “I’m free to just… go?”
“You’re going to have to if any of this is going to work. I don’t have porting power, I’m just lightning and fire and air pressure. Sky stuff. Using the tower is how I summoned you.”
Gabby pulled together a couple threads of thought and felt the familiar slip feeling inside her gut that accompanied a tugging for wanting to get to her tent. “I can port from here,” she said, truly surprised at the finding. And at how far away she was from the camp right now.
“All right. Well, I guess I’ll see you in a few days, then.” He smiled awkwardly. “And, um, thank you. For stopping this corner of the world from unraveling.”
“I haven’t stopped anything yet.”
“I know, but… we’ve still got two weeks, right?” He held up one hand in a friendly wave. “Bye.”
Gabrhyne barely concentrated and still easily arrived safely in her tent. She sat heavily on her bed with a sigh and rubbed her hands over her face. It sounded like everyone was yelling and at least half the camp was running around.
“I’m here!” she called. A few confused shouts that she’d been found started and seconds later the flap to her tent was shoved aside for Daratno and Natta to stride in. “I’m fine!” She spoke over top of the questions they immediately peppered her with, standing up to meet them half way to the entrance. “I’m fine,” she repeated in a normal speaking tone once they were quiet.
Daratno was still carrying her sword. Without another word, he snapped her into a hug so tight that the pommel dug into her shoulder blade, its angry vibration of being dropped and abandoned making her teeth ache on top of the rib-crushing grip Daratno had on her.
“What happened?” Natta asked when the one-sided hug ended as suddenly as it had begun.
“A lot,” Gabby replied. She settled a hand onto Daratno’s arm before he could retreat more than a step away and smiled at him. “Most I have to think about alone, but I need you two to get everyone ready to move in a few days’ time. I know I’ve been saying weeks, but we don’t have those anymore.” Both of her commanders frowned sharply, they already didn’t like being unaware of what she was planning and having her changing the lack of plans immediately after disappearing like she had was something they liked even less.
“Where are we moving to?” Natta asked. It had been his most often voiced question since she’d ordered the army gathered.
“And why so sudden of a change from weeks to days?” Daratno demanded. “You still haven’t even told us your initial plan, and now the weeks you’ve been assuring us about are suddenly gone? What happened? And where – ?”
“I’ll explain, but not right now. I really need time to think. I'm asking you now for a few more days of trust instead of a few weeks, isn’t that better?”
They both glared at her, but eventually nodded grudging agreement.
“It feels like a big change, I know, but I think it’ll be good. For everyone.”
Whoops! It's 12:13 am now, so technically Sunday and I'm late getting this done.
Let's see... updates... Not much. Hubby is working nights six days a week, so we communicate by grocery list. He's still our designated Leave The House Guy for groceries and supplies, which he does Sunday morning before going to bed for the day because it's easier for him to head out after having dinner than it is for me to load up the kids and attempt shopp- DON'T TOUCH THAT -ing.
My oldest is a night owl and had worked her sleep schedule around to line up with her dad's working sleep schedule. So, I guess she's a vampire now? But a fancy vampire, because fashion, so that would make her a vampyre.
I convinced her to start working back toward sleeping at night as there's only 4 weeks until school starts and our Provincial Premier made the call that schools will reopen as normal... I'm not looking forward to the enforced schedule of early mornings.
Oh, and there's that pandemic thing still happening. I'm pretty angry about forcing teachers and students into classrooms with zero support, after cuts to staffing and custodial services this summer, while a virus with known deadly consequences and unknown long-term effects and which aerosols in enclosed buildings remains prominent in our province, at a time when our "leadership" is fighting with doctors and attempting to force them out of the province.
The mandatory mask order is great, but I doubt my soon-to-be Grade 1 student will be in a class of high compliance 6-year-olds. I can get her to wear hers, I think (face it: kids at school are not the same personalities as kids at home), but I'm not in charge of other people's kids and our classrooms are overcrowded. It's a sad feeling to wonder if my child's teacher will die this year, or if my kids will have to live with life-long lung and/or brain damage. Or if my kids will have to live on without one or both parents. Especially, it's a sad feeling that all the talk and surveys around safe reopening which happened at the end of June resulted in the method "leadership" chose being None Of The Above.
Needless to say, my anxiety has been a larger-than-usual monster eating my brain. Couple that up with the ongoing ouch in my hands / wrists, and it was a surprise of dumbfounding proportions that I got some writing done on Friday. Small scenes, all in my big manuscript, but it was writing and it felt good. It still feels good! There's more that needs to get out of my head and into my computer, but the small step of getting some of the words out was awesome. Hope you're staying safe and healthy this weekend!
5. Moving Pieces
A chair she hadn’t noticed spun out from the wall in a puff of dust and slammed to a stop just behind Lydo, catching him perfectly as his legs faltered. He slumped into it as if furniture racing to assist people was entirely normal.
“Your father is still alive?” he asked, voice trembling and his face flushing as if he’d been taken with a sudden fever.
Gabby swallowed hard, suddenly remembering very well the stories of consequences doled out in retaliation for unsettling sorcerers, and nodded agreement. Lydo buried his face in his hands and rocked full body, the chair creaking under his shifting weight.
“This is bad. This is so bad,” he intoned as a mutter before slouching back dramatically. “My dad was imprisoned when they found out he hadn’t stayed to ensure you were dead. But your dad still being alive…? And they didn’t know? This is so much worse.” He stood from the chair and started pacing. “Wait,” he said, stopping and spinning to face Gabby. “And you have a younger half-brother?”
“Gabrick, yes,” she answered quietly.
He groaned loudly and the chair scooted half the distance toward him. It stopped when he resumed pacing. “What am I going to do? Wait, though, why didn’t they know?” He asked the second question toward Gabby, as if she would knew the answer. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Who are ‘they’?” Gabby asked carefully.
“The ones who write the Wrote. They’re the ones who know,” he said, as if that explained anything.
“Except you just said they didn’t know.”
“I know! It doesn’t make sense, does it. They should have known, but they didn’t. How could they not know, though?” He spun back into pacing. “Well, now I know, but that means there are actually three untied endings not just you.”
“I suppose, except…”
“Except?” he asked hopefully, half the library away and pausing to stare at her as if she might have an answer after all.
Gabby chose her words with utmost caution. “My father has taken ill in his old age, and is right now attempting to incite war between my brother and I.” She tapped a finger to the second line of the Wrote.
“But your family trait is porting. Why incite war when he could just port in, kill some key people, and start one?”
Her father’s earlier visit tonight raced through her mind. “He enjoys the power of creating the war rather than being the cause of it,” she replied.
“What’s the point of creating a war between his own children, though? Especially with his own lands and people positioned right in the middle of where the conflict would occur?”
“He’s dying, and wants proof through victory that is successor will be a strong Liege.”
“Oh. But by pitting his own children against each other and with so many lands and tribes in the middle of it? That’s… vile.” Lydo frowned at the internal dialogue running through his mind. “You’ve of course ported to your brother and discussed this war idea amicably to ensure it doesn’t happen though, right?”
“No,” she admitted. “We signed an agreement when he came to power over his mother’s people that we would never port to each other. Our father uses porting as a –” she paused, hesitating over how to continue.
“He abuses porting, and you two agreed not to do that to each other so you could build trust,” Lydo interrupted.
“Yes.” Gabby nodded, relieved she didn't have to explain after all.
“So, you’re the Liege of your mother’s people, and your brother is the Liege of his mother’s people, so aside from your father’s instigations what is there to even start a war for?”
“My father’s holdings.”
Lydo scoffed. “Those are barely worth a brawl,” he muttered.
“Yes,” she said. “Which is why I’m not engaging in the war,” she continued. Lydo’s eyes narrowed but he remained silent. Gabby lost the silent battle against telling him the plan she hadn’t even yet shared with her commanders. “My brother’s people have a negligible military. I’ve amassed an army for the purpose of occupying my father’s lands and lying siege on his capital until he dies. It will stop him from invading my lands under the guise of offering my brother support, and prevent him from invading my brother’s lands under the guise of supporting me.”
“What if he doesn’t die quickly? Or his own military slows or stops your advance? This plan of yours could create a lot of unnecessary bloodshed among your father’s people and your own, beyond just marching there and establishing a siege.”
Gabby shifted uneasily and stared at the parchment page she was fidgeting with.
“No way,” Lydo said, his tone slightly awed. “Do you have that much power?”
She shrugged one shoulder and then nodded to the positive. "I practiced with our fleet of fishing ships," she said, still not looking up.
“What about your brother? Can he… no, of course not. You having that kind of strength, it must have come from your mother’s side. From…”
Gabby lifted her eyes in silent question, watching him as he decided whether or not to continue.
“From our side,” he said. “Your mother was my father’s cousin. She must have had dormant power, or the marriage never would have been arranged. My dad must have suspected, or else he wouldn’t have tried to stop the wedding.”
A chair slammed to a stop behind her legs and Gabby dropped into it as if she’d just been punched. The memory of her mother’s family crest wavering between Lashiss and the elder Dorgand that night after her mother had vowed to leave and hide away with Gabby, she’d thought she’d imagined it. But, if her mother did have sorcerer magic, and really was one of the legendary Magiks…? Gabby’s thoughts dissolved into chaos.
Lydo regained her attention by clearing his throat politely. “Do you… do you really think your plan will work? Can you hold the siege against the capital for long enough?”
She tried to pull her exploded focus about her mother back into control and regain enough order in her mind to answer the questions he’d just asked. “Holding the capitol? Yes. As long as I can get trustworthy word to Rick, to my brother, so he knows what I’m doing and why before my father’s assassin gets to me. After my father is dead, Rick and I can decide how to deal with his holdings once we’ve spoken to all his tribal leaders, Generals and advisors. We can arrange peace negotiations between all three holdings after those lands have a Liege,” she answered woodenly.
“When were you going to make your move?”
“I expected to move in three weeks. I need to be certain of getting word to and from my brother.”
Lydo tapped his foot, lightning sparking around his toe, and then he began to pace again. “What if I deal with the assassin and then take word to your brother? It would only take me a few days at most, working around all those ‘Dorgand is walking’ tales and rumors,” he said, making his voice mockingly booming for the ‘Dorgand is walking’ part. “Nobody would argue with a sorcerer’s message delivery being trustworthy,” he added with a wry smile.
A weekly blog updating on Saturdays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!