In March I completed a flash fiction story which will be shopped around as soon as I’ve kicked the tires and made sure it’s working right. Still haven’t finished that longer short story yet, but I think that one’s just a matter of time.
Loki, Son of Laufey is finished with the light edits I put it through in March, and The Castle in the Story is currently being looked at by volunteer proofers (thank you to all my volunteers!). Right now, my writing/publishing time is split between figuring out how to create covers that will do the stories above justice while using no money, and working on the sequel to The Castle in the Story, The Curator’s Song.
For those who are curious, I’m going to post part of the first scene. If I’ve already done this, please forgive me.
Disclaimer: This story is still very rough. Anything and everything might change, or even be cut entirely (e.g. the main character’s name…not sure I like it). As a result, please do not share this or repost (telling others I have a snippet up is fine, just so long as they see this disclaimer).
And, as always, all rights are reserved by me.
Thank you. Enjoy!
Lily Marsh ran down the streets of Knocksure’s Hope, the package clutched to her chest. Brown cloth, rough under her hands, made it difficult to hold, and the weight of the book inside, thick and heavy and encrusted with gems that she could feel through the cloth if she shifted it right, made her arms ache. Weak, little. She hated that about herself, wanted to be like the tall, powerful women Richard liked. But at sixteen years, she wasn’t certain yet what it was men wanted. Because it was very clear, from what she could see, that Richard liked women very different from the woman that had given birth to Lily. And that was the only one she’d ever heard a man talk about.
Not that her father talked much about her anymore. But when he did, it was with a reverence and awe that spoke of a love to last centuries.
That was what she wanted. And that was why she slowed down as she approached Richard’s street, even shifting the package so that she could fix her hair as she walked. She stopped entirely before turning the corner, closing her eyes so that she could no longer see or be aware of the collage of buildings pressed against each other like drunken friends, the bright colors each of the inhabitants painted theirs like a vertical rainbow quilt, stretched out on either side of her. She breathed in the salty air, became aware of the distant call of gulls from the shore. She thought of the sea, the rhythm of the waves she and her father and sister sometimes watched (not often anymore) and relaxed until she was sure she had the same haughty, self-possessed air that Richard’s women did.
Slowly, in spite of her father’s orders to hurry back with the book, his order not to linger or take her time, she began to walk down Richard’s street: Merchant’s Row.
Here, the buildings had signs attached at all levels and of all kinds. This was the street that held the local chapter of the Merchant’s Council, and the street where anyone who wanted to be sure to advertise their business put out a sign. It was also the main road through the city, running directly from the Templed lands beyond to the sea. Everyone passed through here. And as she approached the corner, she clung to her self-possessed self with a small amount of terror.
More people than usual walked the street today. Now and then, a cart threatened to run into another. Shouts and yells, even in the cool morning air, had begun to rise faster and louder than usual. Vina would likely have her hands over her ears today, and that meant it would be a miserable day for Lily. Vina was always a handful on busy days.
No. Richard. She focused on Richard and living in his small apartment on Merchant’s Row, just across from her father’s bookstore. He sometimes watched the street outside. With that thought in mind, she began to turn the corner.
A cloaked body slammed into hers, knocking her back, the book flying out of her hands and landing with a thud on the ground, the cloth pulling away enough to give a glint of gold in the morning sun. Scrambling, she reached for it, but found the one who had knocked her down was faster, scooping up her book with a speed that caught her off-guard.
She stood up to demand her book back, but it was shoved back into her hands. “Be careful,” the man said, and she looked up into a barely concealed elven face, blue eyes locked onto hers. She thought she saw a forest, and a sword held by two hands, being given like an offering. And she knew the sword. She’d seen it before when the wind had blown down the street and opened the man’s—no, elf’s—cloak enough for her to see from inside her house. And then she knew who was in front of her.
“So sorry,” she said, hoping the rumors about him weren’t true. “Thank you, for—”
But he’d already left, his cloak billowing behind him.