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!”


“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.”

Ghost or Just Her Imagination?

TearsCover_w_Spine copyWelcome to my 300 x 2 book giveaway!  Twice a week I post 300 words from Book I of my War of Whispers series, Tears of Min Brock.

Previously–Elabea, a girl of fourteen summers, witnessed a strange anomaly outside her cottage window. Was it a ghoul or just her wild imagination? Read on to find out…

“Last night, I saw something…or someone…riding out of Hetherlinn.”

“Probably just an Ebonite warrior on a night patrol,” she sighed as she plopped the bowl down in front of Elabea.

“I know what they look like, and he was definitely not one of them.” She picked up a wooden spoon. “He was larger than any man I’ve ever seen, and he glowed blue like the moon.” She dug into the creamy broth.

“You must have been dreaming.” Areall’s voice was overly tired.

“I’m not a child,” she snapped. “I’ve seen fourteen summers and in another four, I’ll be permitted to marry…” In a more sullen tone, “If anyone will have me.”

“Perhaps the moon was playing tricks on you,” Areall interjected, not the least bit interested in the conversation. After all, Elabea’s curiosity could be relentless, like a wolf in winter, desperate for a meal.

“At first, I was frightened, but soon…”

Her thoughts drifted to the eventful night.

“Whatever he was,” she continued, “he was magnificent!”

Elabea twirled her spoon as her imagination began to work. “Is there a Moon King?” she asked.

“Moon King?” Areall chortled. “There hasn’t been a king anywhere since the Dark War and…” Her rosy cheeks suddenly faded to white as if death had touched her flesh. In a serious tone, she abruptly added, “Let’s talk of different matters.”

“Could he have been something of old, something from the Dark War?”

Her spoon stopped twirling as she pondered the next question, one she was certain to get in trouble for asking.

“Mother, could he be from Claire?”

Areall’s eyes widened with fear. “Never mention that nation again! You know the Cauldron’s Oracles ban discussions of things that might be or might have been!”

“I know,” she answered, her spoon spinning again. “But do you really think the Cauldron can hear inside our cottage?”


“Then why hasn’t it seen me at the oak, or heard Galadin and me talking about Claire?”

Areall clasped her hand over Elabea’s mouth. “Shh!”

Elabea looked into her mother’s buggy eyes. She had seen this look many times before. It came with every question she asked concerning the Cauldron, Ebon, the Dark War and the forgotten land known as Claire. It was the look of fear.

Free Tuesday! 300 x 2 Fantasy Giveaway


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.

300 x 2 Fantasy Book Giveaway


Well, I didn’t have time to get this posted this morning. Here is the continuation of Chapter 1 of Tears of Min Brock…



If not a raid, she wondered with a sigh of relief, perhaps it was my father downstairs.

Quinn often drank wildeberry wine well into the night, and in his inebriated state, sometimes hurled objects across the room followed by his curses.


This time, the sound came from outside. Gathering her courage, she peered through a crack in her shuttered window.

Lances of silver-blue moonbeams crisscrossed Hetherlinn while the trees strained against the windstorm and hindered her vision. Suddenly, the trees mysteriously parted, as if sensing her need for an unencumbered view.

Floating above the communal fire was a warrior and his mount that glowed like the moon. He turned and looked at her cottage, number seventeen. Elabea gasped and retreated into the shadows.

Did he see me?

Fearing the worst, she pulled her quilt close and sat perfectly still, hoping the ghost-like warrior would soon be on his way. She tried not to worry, but worry she did.

He’s definitely not an Ebonite. So where’s he from?

She fretted, straining to hear any more sounds, wondering most of all…

Why is he here?

Finally, she found an answer that made her eyes bulge with fear.

He must be a monster from the Cauldron!

Flashbacks from her countless trips to the oak with her friend, Galadin, began to fill her with panic. The Oracles, she gasped. He’s come to punish us for climbing the oak!

As quickly as that notion lit her anxiety on fire, another thought, one that involved reason, cooled her like water. We’ve played in the oak since we were five summers of age. Surely we would have been caught before now.

She relaxed somewhat, but was still frightened by the creature looming beyond her cottage. She tried to push his image out of her thoughts, but her will was not up to the task. In fact, the harder she strained, the more engraved his face became.

And what a face! Like dancing fire in a wintry sky!

Her curiosity, a trait she was noted for, joined her inner fray, and soon, her fears were overruled by a desire to take another peek.