Tag Archives: fantasy

Curse or Blessing?

Continuation of Tears of Min Brock

As a teen, have you ever questioned your parent’s way of life? Or wondered if rebellion would be your curse or your blessing? Read on to find out what our heroine, Elabea, decides. Need to catch up? Check out “Past Posts.”

The shaft was clear and glistened like dew while the fletchings were unique colors: the cock feather was yellow while the hen feathers were orange.

This isn’t an Ebonite arrow, she noted. Their shafts are wooden and the feathers black and white. More proof that the Moon King isn’t from Ebon.

Before her thoughts could fade, his mystical face flashed in her imagination. I never saw him shoot this, but who else could have done so?

The rustling paper stirred her curiosity.

Of course, if I take it, I risk violating the Oracles, but this wouldn’t be the first time.

Elabea glanced pensively back at her parents.

Besides, I’ve been going to the oak for most of my life. Nothing has ever happened to us, even when Galadin and I dared to ask to hear a whisper.

Stepping outside, she shut the door and stretched her fingers toward the shimmering shaft. Flesh touched parchment. Tingles raced up her arm. Startled, she jerked her hand away.

The Cauldron’s never known about us at the oak. How will it know now? What harm could come?

She yanked the arrow free.

Nothing happened.

She untied the leather and unrolled the parchment. Even as a simple girl from Allsbruth, she knew that the paper’s thickness and weight were proof it was an expensive quality. Exquisite black etchings were on one side, except for six that were gold.

I wish I could read! she bemoaned.

Drawn to the golden letters, she ran her finger across the marks. Suddenly, a whisper pierced the winds.

“Elabea!”

She shuddered and withdrew her finger.

“Galadin?” she demanded, looking this way and that for her best friend, who was noted for playing practical jokes. Only the wind answered.

Regaining her senses, she went back inside and closed the door.

“I told you I saw something last night!” Elabea boasted as she held the parchment and arrow high.

Areall’s eyes widened as if seeing a specter. She sprang and snatched them from Elabea’s hands.

“What have you done?” Areall scolded as she raced to the door. “What have you done!”

She heaved the arrow outside and slammed the door shut. “Your curiosity will bring death to us!” She darted to the fireplace.

Startled by her mother’s erratic behavior, Elabea asked, “What are you doing?”

“This is a curse!” she yelled as she crumpled the parchment. “It goes against the teachings of the Oracles!” She tossed it into the flames. “I must destroy it before…”

She let her sentence fade, as if satisfied that the fire would quell any uprising their daughter had instigated. Areall returned to her chores as if nothing had happened.


Night Mystery…more Free “Tears”

Here is today’s portion of Chapter 1, The Moon King from Tears of Min Brock…

Elabea rolled her eyes and began banging her bowl again. Areall gently stopped her drumming, and with a patronizing smile, returned to her chores.

The conversation was over.

After a moment of silence, Areall asked, “Would you like to continue learning how to knit?”

Elabea let out a dramatic sigh. “You know I hate to knit! And why aren’t you willing to discuss this? Why do you pretend all is well?   Do you really like the night raids and wearing this?”

Elabea yanked at her tunic.

Areall flashed her another belittling smile just as Elabea’s father, Quinn, stumbled out of the bedroom. Bumping his forehead against the low threshold, he muttered something unintelligible. Rubbing his sore head and mumbling angrily, he staggered toward the fireplace. There, he fell into a wooden chair to begin another day, sitting and staring into the glowing embers that held no answers to his misery. Like the days prior, Quinn would slip further into despair, an occasional grunt about Min Brock shattering the silence.

“Father,” Elabea said, knowing when he was hungover it was better to leave, “I’m going to the meadow.”

Like the other parents of Hetherlinn, Quinn and Areall had banned her from visiting or climbing the oak. Despite their threats and even subsequent punishment, Elabea continued to visit. Overcome with their own personal pains, they resigned themselves to defeat, hoping against hope that the Cauldron would not discover their wayward daughter.

Quinn waved a rubbery arm while Areall huffed disapprovingly.

Elabea threw the door open. The cold breeze took her breath away; she pulled her shawl closer. A rustling sound near her ear made her turn to inspect. Embedded in the door’s rough plank was an arrow. Wrapped about its shaft and secured with a leather strip was a parchment. It was twitching in the breeze.

The THUD I heard last night must have come from this arrow!


Oracles! A Rebel’s Heart! More Free “Tears”

Here is the next installment of Chapter 1, The Moon King, from Tears of Min Brock

“The vapors from the Cauldron of Ebon travel far and hear much!” Areall whispered. “You should respect the Oracles, my daughter!”

Areall did not remove her hand until she was convinced Elabea would humble her tongue. Finally, she dropped her hand and returned nonchalantly to her chores.

Elabea stared at her mother. “Aren’t you the least bit curious?”

“No,” she curtly replied.

“Well–I am,” Elabea snipped, her curiosity piqued. “Nothing happens in Hetherlinn, or all of Allsbruth for that matter.”

Areall spun around. Her eyes narrowed. “‘Nothing’ is good, Elabea. ‘Nothing’ means no more war. ‘Nothing’ is a blessing to life.”

“If this is life,” Elabea said while thumping her spoon, “then life stinks!”

Areall sighed and decided upon a different tactic. Pulling up a chair, she sat across from Elabea, hoping a calm discussion would end this battle of wills.

“Do you remember the stories of your youth?” Areall gently asked.

“Yes!” she bemoaned as her spoon beat a rhythmic cadence on her bowl.

“Then you remember that the Dark War ended the tyranny of the King of Claire. Since that day, the Ebonites and the Cauldron have guarded and guided us. The Cauldron’s drone is a gracious reminder of all we’ve been blessed with.”

Elabea stopped thumping her spoon and listened. She had become so accustomed to the drone’s perpetual nature that she no longer heard it. As she listened, she realized that it was always there, just like the air that she breathed, day and night, winter and spring. Its tone reminded her of the wind howling through the hollow of a dead tree, low in pitch, monotonous. Ominous.

“That’s why,” Areall continued, “we must try our best to obey the Oracles of the Cauldron.”

“And what about their night raids?” Elabea huffed. “What have we done to deserve those?”

“It’s for our own protection. They simply need to tally us to make sure no one has—”

“Listen to you!” Elabea interrupted. “Can’t you see that we’re prisoners in our own village?”

“Oh, Elabea,” her mother answered with a sigh. “I only wish you could see life through my eyes.”

“And I wish you could see through mine!”

Silence.

“I suppose,” Areall added, “we’ve lost some liberties, but those are but inconveniences compared to the peace and prosperity we now have.”

“Peace and prosperity?” she huffed. “The Oracles decree we can only travel five arrow shots from our village. The Oracles determines what we can talk about. The Oracles forbid you to teach us how to read! The Oracles demand–”

“Enough,” Areall interrupted, her voice almost a whisper. “Such curiosity can lead to a rebellious heart.”


Free Tuesday! 300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway

Tears_of_Min_Brock_Cover_for_Kindle

Good afternoon! Here is today’s portion from Tears of Min Brock. We’re still in Chapter 1, The Moon King. Thanks!

Morning came too soon, and she groggily climbed out of bed. She tiptoed quickly across the cold planks and threw on her brown tunic. Woven from a thick cloth, it resembled a floppy bag more than it did a dress. It was the required outfit of Hetherlinn as ordered by the Oracles, creating uniformity and squelching individualism.   She often wondered if the other nations had to dress similarly.

She pulled her wavy cinnamon-colored hair out from beneath her tunic and it fell past her shoulders. Her eyes looked like morsels of dark chocolate that reflected a fiery heart, and her smile was inviting, while a few freckles—sprinkled like nutmeg—adorned her creamy cheeks. Although Elabea was an attractive girl, she did not consider herself pretty. In fact, aside from an occasional compliment from her mother, many in Hetherlinn, especially the widow Mithe, insulted her on a daily basis. As a result, she accepted their demeaning comments as true.

Slipping on warm wool stockings and then her boots, she quickly strapped a thick leather belt around her waist. With it snug about her, it at least gave her the sensation of wearing something more stunning than a sack.

She stepped to the square opening in her floor. The warmth from the kitchen fire below embraced her while the aroma of breakfast porridge made her stomach rumble. She descended the rickety ladder and the rungs creaked with her weight.

“Mother,” she asked as she dragged herself to the table near the fire. “Did you see anything last night?”

“No,” Areall answered dully as she scooped porridge from the large black pot. Like everything else in their cottage, the fireplace was simple and primitive by order of the Oracles. Rough in places with some cracks here and there, it was anything but elegant. Black soot covered the stone, rising up to the thatched roof.


Free Thursday! 300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway

tearscover_w_spine-copy.jpgThanks for checking out my post! If you’re new, I’m posting 300 words from my War of Whispers book, Tears of Min Brock, twice a week, thus the 300 x 2. If you’d like to start at the beginning, check out the “300 x 2” category section of my blog. Thanks again for taking the time. And now, here’s the conclusion to Chapter 1, The Moon King

 

She pushed away her blankets and found herself once more at the crack, staring out into the moonlight. The warrior hovered in the same place, but this time, the sight of him sent peace coursing through her veins.

The steed rose and boxed the air with his front appendages, and in a silvery flash, they disappeared into the deeper of shades.

Elabea stared, mesmerized by their flight.

Lying back down, she knew that sleep was out of the question, but not because she feared his return. Her imagination simply could not leave him be, so throughout the night, she examined every possibility as to his identity.

Being restricted to her village by the Oracles, she was limited to information beyond her border. Nevertheless, she quickly reasoned he was not from any of the surrounding nations. Already concluding that he was not from Ebon or a creation of the Cauldron, she was led to another question, one that went against the teaching of the Oracles.

Could he be from Claire?

The idea stirred her fantasies to the wind. High within her imagination they swirled, like snow on a zephyr. Sleep finally came, but before she drifted off, she felt the need to bestow him with a title.

The Moon King.


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