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Sunday Scribble — “News”

News

“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” were the words that tumbled out of the healer’s mouth when he exited the castle’s infirmary.

Aidan gripped his lance tight enough to make his hands start smoking, but he calmed down enough to say, “Good news.”

“The queen is getting better.” The dark-skinned healer glanced back toward the infirmary and murmured something about how odd it was that the queen was doing so well. “Quite a turnaround, really.”

“That’s excellent,” Aidan said. His grip loosened on his weapon as he tried to peer into the room beyond the healer. “What’s the bad news?”

“Come and see for yourself.” The healer gestured into the infirmary and followed the soldier in. The room was quiet, save for the soft footsteps of the men, as he checked on the women in the beds.

Queen Mystral had a healthy pink color in her cheeks, and her chest moved in a steady rhythm as she peacefully slept. Jars and containers of ointments and medicines were on the bedside table, and Aidan glanced through them, his curiosity demanding to know what the medicines were, how they were made, why the country didn’t put more emphasis on the healing arts instead of focusing on the army.

The princess, spending much of her time between running the country in her mother’s absence and visiting the infirmary, was lying on the bed adjacent to the queen. Princess Anila’s pale face was wrinkled with distress, her breathing coming in ragged breaths, and sweat was upon her brow.

“The bad news,” the healer said slowly, “is that the princess is not getting better.”

“Her Royal Highness wasn’t sick.”

“She is now.” The healer took off his hat and ran a hand through his hair, messing it up even further. “Quite a turnaround, really…”

Aidan raised an eyebrow. “You said that already about the queen.”

“It applies to the princess too,” the healer said. His eyes were downcast and his shoulders shook from his deep sigh. “I’m sorry…”

“You helped the queen,” Aidan said, “and I’m sure you did your best for the princess. Perhaps she’ll have another turnaround, as you say.”

The healer shook his head. “I don’t think so. I don’t believe that the princess will get up again. Princess Anila wasn’t responding to any of the remedies I tried with the queen. In fact…”

Aidan prompted the healer when the other man wasn’t going to elaborate on his own. “In fact what? What is it?”

The healer’s words dropped to a whisper. “I’m not even sure the queen responded to my remedies. It seems the gods have a hand on her shoulder. Her recovery is nothing short of a miracle.”

“You must have done something,” Aidan said. “I’m sure this miracle wouldn’t have had a chance without your help.”

The healer suddenly chuckled. “Are you always this encouraging?” he asked. “Are you the type of soldier that cheers on his opponent in a spar?”

Aidan rolled his eyes. “If you’re done, healer–”

“Doyle.” The healer stuck out his hand to the soldier. “My name is Doyle Lorz.”

“Aidan Basset.” The soldier returned the handshake. “Now, if you’re done here, the soldier at the front gate will give you your payment. I’ll keep an eye on the queen and the princess.”

“I’m sure they’re in good hands with you.” Doyle tipped his hat to Aidan. “Call me if anything changes.”

“Of course.” Aidan watched the healer go. Doyle’s firm footfalls receded from Aidan’s ears only to be replaced by the lumbering steps of Queen Mystral’s closest advisor.

“Her Majesty?” Zion came into the infirmary, his gaze riveted on the queen’s prone form.

“The healer said she’s doing well,” Aidan said. “Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the princess… Hopefully she’ll make a turnaround just as her mother had.”

Zion made a noncommittal grunt and took a seat beside the queen’s bed. Aidan cast one last look at the princess before leaving the care of the women to Zion.

It was a mere two days later that the queen was well enough to personally plan her daughter’s funeral.

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Posted by on September 17, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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OwlCrate and Dragons

owlcrate

OwlCrate is a monthly box subscription service with a YA box and an OwlCrate Jr. box for the younger readers.

For Rachel’s birthday, I got her a couple of months subscription of the YA box. It was something that she always seemed to want, and I was more than happy to splurge for her birthday.

Even if her birthday was at the beginning of the month and the boxes ship out between the fifteenth and twentieth of every month, but it gave her something more to look forward to!

The box came today, and September’s theme was Mythical Creatures. It involves a lot of dragons! There was a pin, a gorgeous bookmark, a cozy book sleeve, bath salts and, of course, a book. Before She Ignites is the first of Jodi Meadows’ Fallen Isles trilogy and was published, like, a couple of days ago. It definitely sounds interesting, so check it out if it wasn’t on your radar!

Have you ever subscribed to OwlCrate? Know anyone else who has?

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Optimism”

Optimism

She was cursing herself for not having the foresight of wearing a veil around the back of her neck. With her dark hair up in its ponytail, the tiny grits of sand were having a field day stinging her tanned skin, the wind whipping the pieces as if her neck was a target. Her eyes glanced at her partner’s back, promising herself not to utter a word of complaint, seeing as he did not mumble any curses against the sand flying by his narrowed, unprotected eyes as he gazed stubbornly at the sea of sand surrounding them.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked softly.

His response was her only indication that he had heard her words above the wind. “How Aknia will survive this threat…”

“We will survive it brilliantly, just as we do whenever unfortunate circumstances happen.”

His chuckles were bitter, humorless. “I am glad you still have some of your optimism,” he said, his light cape being tugged and pulled as the wind tried desperately to yank the material off of his shoulders in order to brand him with its hot sand. The cape, like its wearer, would not yield to the desert’s arrogant power, however. With a flourish, he turned back from the deep hills that he had been staring at and walked past her. She followed just a few steps behind him obediently.

“The Sword of Fire is not here,” he said, his shoulders slightly slumped as the pair trudged through the heavy sand.

“Perhaps another part of the desert?” she suggested, handing him a flask of water. Although warm, the liquid at least quenched the dryness of their throats. His head shook slowly, allowing drops of precious water to spill out of the flask, evaporating before they had even finished their run down the leather covering.

“Not that I can sense. It must already be gone.”

Her eyes stared at the sand that she passed by as the two walked back to the outpost. “How…?”

“The same way the Sword of Water has disappeared, I suppose,” he said with a grumble. “You are certain the Sword of Earth has been sealed?”

“The Earth Guardian had guaranteed it,” she said. His steps halted, causing her to almost knock into his back, and he turned to her in a fluid motion, his crimson eyes hard like the steel of his daggers.

“You did see the Sword sealed with your own eyes?”

She hesitated to respond and immediately cursed herself for her pause. “No,” she said. “I am afraid I did not. I took the Earth Guardian at her word, without demanding to see the Sword for myself–”

“By the Light…”

He seemed to have growled out the words, turning away from her. His walk began again, his steps longer, faster, and she struggled to keep up. Eager to redeem herself for her foolish mistake, she said, “I will return to the Forest of Illusions once we get back–”

“You will not,” he said. “I will go to the Earth Guardian myself while you remain with the queen.”

Her face burned hotter than the sand scorching her feet, but she nodded. “As you wish.”

“I need to see the Sword with my own eyes.” His voice drifted back to her on the wind, and she allowed herself to smile behind her protective veil at his reasoning. Silence brushed over the pair for a while, until she spoke again.

“What are we to do about the Swords that have disappeared?”

“Find them,” he answered without hesitation.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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“Have a Prompt!” Saturday #111

prompt111

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Prompts

 

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Sunday Scribble — “Toasty”

Toasty

“Alright, what’s the plan?” Simon asked. We were as dignified as we could be while hiding in the bushes that grew wildly along the path toward the dragon’s tower.

“We kill it,” Brom said. “Who needs a plan?”

“How are we just going to kill it?” I asked. “It’s a flying furnace!”

“Shhh.” Luella held a finger in front of her lips, but her eyes were trained on the dragon resting atop of the tower’s roof. “Perhaps someone can distract it, bring it down lower, then a couple of others can help slay it. The fourth can find a way into the tower and see if there is anyone in there who can be freed.”

“You mean if there’s anyone who is not a crispy corpse?” I asked dryly while holding back a sneeze.

Casually, Luella responded, “That’s right.”

“Well, you have the lock picks.” Simon nudged me. “I vote you do the tower climbing. Who wants to be the distraction?” The rest of us stared at him, and he rolled his eyes. “Seriously, why am I always the distraction?”

“You have the biggest mouth,” Brom said without missing a beat. “Lu and I will be your back-up. Get the dragon low enough so my axe can impale it and Lu’s spells can reach it.”

Simon grumbled even as he unhooked his harp from the back of his pack. “Think it likes folk music?”

“Since when can you play folk music on a harp?” Bard asked.

“Since always,” Simon retorted. “Your uncouth ears just can never tell the difference.”

“Be careful,” I said as Simon left our wayward hiding place. I didn’t take too much longer in leaving as well, taking a roundabout way to reach the base of the tower. Huddling in the shadows of the stone building, I carefully looked up, praying to whatever gods Luella calls on for her spells that the dragon wouldn’t notice me.

Judging by how quickly the reptile’s head spun around when I heard the first plinks of Simon’s harp, I wouldn’t have to worry. While Simon’s music wasn’t that bad, he was a much better distraction than a musician.

I paused long enough to allow the dragon’s wings to stretch out, catching the wind as it brought along snatches of Simon’s song. As soon as the dragon took off from the roof, I circled the tower to find the door by the base and got to work on the lock.

Three lock picks later, I was inside and face with a spiraling staircase. I took them two at a time until I started to get a stitch in my side, and any sense of urgency went out the very few windows I passed.

“This is punishment for not joining the others on Brom’s workout regimen at the last town, isn’t it?” I muttered to whatever god wished to listen.

There was a screech from outside the tower and the telltale sound of shattering ice. Luella must have used some sort of freezing spell, no doubt to counter any sort of fire that the dragon expelled. Brom’s explicit-filled voice shouted with battle cries and rage, accompanied by the occasional crash.

All while some cheery folk music was plucked from a harp.

“Finally.” I reached the landing at the top of the stairs only to face a heavy, black iron door. Jiggling the knob, I hoped that I had enough lock picks to break through the lock mechanisms.

“Who’s there?” asked a voice from inside.

“A rescue party,” I responded. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you out in a few minutes—”

“Rescue party?” The voice was utterly baffled. “I didn’t order a rescue party.”

“The village did,” I said, “and we always deliver. Sit tight, I’ll get the door open soon–!”

The door swung open from the inside and, after regaining my balance from almost pitching forward, I found myself staring at a skinny, dark-skinned man, his eyebrows furrowed as he scrutinized me.

I took a deep breath as realization dawned. “You don’t need rescuing.”

“I do not,” he said with a simple head shake. “If you excuse me, I need to see what is upsetting Toasty—”

“Toasty?!”

“Well, yes, one of the first things he burned was my bread when he was no bigger than us—”

“You have GOT to be kidding me!” I threw my hands up in the air. “The rest of my party was distracting the dragon so I could rescue whoever was stuck here in the tower.”

“I suggest you call them off,” the man said mildly, turning to the large window on the far side of the wall. “I would be very upset if they hurt Toasty, and I’m sure you would be upset if Toasty hurt them.”

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Scars

becf69556c7c25543a5f145f4dcc4fd3

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Blight Part Two”

Blight – Part Two
Previous Part

The Blight was not a friendly part of the castle city, not even to someone in a respectable uniform of one of the noble houses. The alleys stank of piss and sex, the natural musk of those who cared only enough to live in order to survive.

Emery did his best to move out of there as quickly as his dignity could manage.

“There you are.” Ridge let Emery back in through the servants’ entrance of the Harding estate. “You’re in one piece, to boot. How did it go?”

Emery shook his head. “Not too well. Thieves apparently are only interested in their own pockets. They want to be certain they get rewarded no matter what they do.”

“Well, it was a long-shot,” Ridge said, helping Emery shuck off the soldier’s uniform and change into his fitted tunic and breeches. “After all, what could a common foot soldier offer to the scourges of the Blight? They have no idea who you are, right?”

“I used the name Dax Cabot whenever I had been asked,” Emery said. Ridge gave him a quick glance over to ensure Emery hadn’t been looking as if he crawled through the dirtiest part of the city, then led him out of the servants’ area.

“Wasn’t that the name of your old tutor?” Ridge asked.

Emery shushed him, but nodded. Talk of Emery’s trip to the Blight ceased between the two friends as they made their way through the manor. Gods knew Emery didn’t want any gossipy maids overhearing that their prince had tried to make deals with thieves.

Ridge changed the topic to a teasing, “My parents are seating you next to Leandra again at dinner tonight.”

Emery gave Ridge a sidelong glance. “You know nothing is going to come of this.”

“Of course,” Ridge said. “You would never be able to handle my sister. It’s why it’s such fun to tease you about my parents trying to set you up. You can’t blame them for wanting the match, though. I heard they had to petition hard to have the crown prince himself go through his squire years at their estate.”

Emery gave his head a soft shake, finding no words. He had no doubt that once he did return to court there would be women lined up as potential brides, both from his parents and from the other noble houses alike.

“There are times when I wish Leandra and I cared enough about each other to go through that,” Emery admitted quietly. “She would never want to be queen, though, and I wouldn’t want to force her to play the part.”

“As her brother, I suppose I’m thankful you care enough about her to think of her feelings like that,” Ridge said. “That and, let’s be real, she’s not delicate enough to be a queen.”

“I’ve no idea where you’ve come up with that thought,” Emery said. “Queens are anything but delicate.”

“Well, yes, I’m sure,” Ridge said, waving off Emery’s words, “but they need to play that part, don’t they? Your mother is the gentle hand compared to your father’s iron fist. Leandra would end up insulting most of the court. Under her, a rebellion would have happened long ago—”

Emery gave Ridge a hard jab in the ribs with an elbow. Ridge glared at Emery but said nothing, grudgingly accepting the admonishment.

“Come on,” Emery said, quickening their pace through the estate’s hallways. “We’ll be late for sparring practice.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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