Slave Elf Part 23: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Bread, Cheese and Pear by Connie Cockrell

Part 23

Delia woke in her tent with a headache that hurt even more when she opened her eyes. Her hand drifted to her head where she found a bandage. The back of her head was very tender and she winced as she gently probed the spot.

“Ah. You’re awake!” Master Kaepli entered the tent. Sisruo followed with a tray holding a pitcher and a horn cup. “I’ve brewed you some medicine for the pain.”

Sisruo put the tray on a small table and poured from the pitcher into the mug. “This should ease the headache.”

Kaepli bent over Delia and looked into her eyes. “How do you feel?”

“Like I’ve been hit in the head.”

He chuckled. “A sense of humor is a good sign.” He checked the bandage.

“What happened?”

Sisruo handed her the mug. “Drink.”

Delia did as he bid. The liquid tasted like dirt and mold. Her face scrunched up and she handed back the mug. “Can I have water?”

“Certainly.” Kaepli nodded at Sisruo, who hurried off.

“So what happened?”

“An enemy was wounded and playing dead. When you stopped near him he took advantage of your back to him and threw a rock.”

“He did a good job. What happened to him?”

“Your father’s guard killed him.”

Delia was surprised at a welling of sadness. She hadn’t felt that way while the battle was raging. “That’s a shame.”

Kaepli nodded. “It is. And all for jealousy and envy. Brother against brother.”

Sisruo returned with another pitcher. He poured some into the horn mug, rinsed it and tossed the water out of the door then poured a mug full. He handed it to her. “Something a little more palatable.”

Delia drank it all, enjoying the taste of the clean water. “Thank you. I was very thirsty.”

“I told the King you’re awake. He sends his regards.”

“Thank you, Sisruo. He’s alright?”

“Yes. The battle was over when you were hit. He’s questioning prisoners or he’d come to see you.”

“Are they telling us anything useful?”

“No. Well, yes,” Kaepli said. He pulled the stool over to the bed and sat down. “As we suspected, most of the elves were misled. They joined Iyuno because of falsehoods. Many have re-sworn to your father.” He stroked his beard. “They’re telling us everything they know about his forces and locations. There are some that hate your father and are loyal to Iyuno. Those we will have to keep prisoner.”

“What about the humans?”

“They’re being woken one at a time. The first one we woke pointed out their leader. He confirmed that they were paid by Iyono. He agreed to take his forces back to his own land. They’re no longer a threat. They’ll leave in the morning.”

“Poor Father. He must be exhausted.”

Kaepli chuckled. “He is determined. I’ll make sure he rests and gets some food into him.” The mage stood up. “And you must rest as well. Try to sleep through the headache. I’ll leave the medicine here. If you still have a headache after we bring you supper, take another mug full.”

“Thank you. I appreciate the help.”

Sisruo held open the tent flap for the mage. “Sleep well, Princess.”

“Thank you, Sisruo.”

He stepped outside and dropped the flap. Delia sighed. Much had happened while she was unconscious but nothing that she could have helped with anyway. She turned onto her side so she wasn’t lying on her wound and drifted off to sleep.

She was woken by her father’s voice. “May I come in?”

Deila struggled to sit. “Yes. Of course.”

The king entered, followed by an elf she didn’t know carrying a tray with bowls. “I’ve brought you dinner. I thought I’d have my dinner with you.”

The elf put the pitchers of water and medicine on his tray then his tray on the one on the table. He pulled the stool around for the King to sit.

“Thank you. We’ll be fine here.”

The elf bowed and left.

Ucheni handed her a bowl and a spoon. “Stew.” He grinned. “Just like every other night.”

Delia smiled back. “Indeed.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Master Kaepli’s medicine worked. I don’t have a headache any more. And I find that I’m hungry.” She stirred the stew. Steam rose and brought her a savory scent. “Do I smell rosemary?”

“Yes. I heard one of the cooks found a patch and added some to the stew. It makes it a little different, at least.”

Delia took a spoonful. It was tasty. “I was told you spent the afternoon questioning prisoners.”

The king nodded as he chewed. “Yes. A weary afternoon as I heard the stories they related about Iyono’s lies.” He stirred the stew in his bowl. “Unfortunate. More so those that joined Iyuno because they believe in him. I don’t understand it at all.”

Delia nodded. “A shame.”

“It is.” The king sighed and ate some more. When he swallowed, he said, “I’m sorry you were hurt.”

She shrugged. “It was a battle, father. No one should expect to come out unscathed.”

“Still. I regret your injury.”

“Master Kaepli has treated me well. I suspect I’ll be up and about tomorrow.” She stirred her stew around in the bowl. “When do we leave?”

“Soon. Perhaps tomorrow. We’ve learned all we can from the elves who’ve rejoined me. Later I’ll meet with my council and we’ll make a plan. I don’t want to chase Iyuno’s forces all over the countryside. If the information is correct, we’ll go straight to my uncle and finish this.”

“That would be good.”

His face was grim. “We lost too many good elves today. On both sides.”

Delia reached out and patted his hand. “It’s not your fault, Father.”

He sighed. “True. But it doesn’t make me like it.”

She nodded. They sat quietly after that and ate. He put the empty bowls on the tray when they finished. “Can I get you anything?”

“No, Father. I’m fine. I’ll probably go back to sleep.”

“Good. You rest.” He kissed her on the head and left.

Not long after, the same elf came and picked up the tray. “Shall I get you more water, Princess?”

“No thank you. The pitcher has enough.”

He bowed and left.

Delia settled into her cot and drifted off to sleep thinking about her father’s grief.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 24.

1060 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Fall is in the Air: Monday Blog Post

Goat at the Fair by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

I don’t know about you but fall is in the air. The temperatures here have dropped and my garden looks like it. The squash is yellowing and looking sad. Same for the serrano peppers. The tomatoes, which didn’t really start producing until late August seem to have given up. I love the cooler temps, leaving the windows open to let in all that lovely cool air for sleeping.

from www.Bakerita.com

August 1st I began eating paleo. Dropping the grains and dairy caused me to lose 15 pounds over the month. September has been crazy with the fair but so far have held that loss. This week really starts the livestyle change back to paleo. The nice thing is that I don’t feel deprived at all and Pinterest has some great paleo recipes. I think I’ll try a paleo chili, no beans, which really, is Texas-style chili. I should do that and take pics for my Chicklets in the Kitchen blog. Here’s a link: from www.Bakerita.com https://www.pinterest.com/pin/512425263837837014/

With the Fair in full swing and dealing with the aftermath, I haven’t had time to edit Tested. I’ll pick that up this week. I’m shooting for an October release. The cover designers are working on the cover and I’ll share as soon as I can.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. This ends after Halloween! Get it now!

Shout Out:

Author Bonnie Bahn

Let’s give a shout out to an author friend of mine, Bonnie Bahn. Bonnie has several children’s books out, one even about Halloween called Moon Balls! Bonnie’s on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Bahn/e/B01BCLAWD0.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days, I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

NEW! In November the Payson library is having it first ever mini-comicon. SciFi and Fantasy fans, get ready to head to central Arizona. There’ll be costumes, SciFi and Fantasy panels. I’m excited! I’ll post the date as soon as I have it.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Slave Elf Part 22: Flash Fiction Friday

knight_by_jorsch-d65hbwt via DeviantArt.com

 

Part 22

The King’s force lined up on one end of the valley. Facing them, Iyuno’s force, filled the other end. She didn’t see the humans, so they might be off to one side or another, as Mystesto’s and Neoni’s forces were, hidden in the woods. At her father’s signal, a soldier blew his horn and the standard bearer dropped the flag, signaling the start of battle. The elves around her roared and kicked their horses forward. She remained in place, to the right of her father, who watched as his elves raced into the center of the valley.

Iyuno’s forces did the same. Delia switched to her magical sight. There were no black aura’s. “Father, I don’t see Nethene’s aura in the other force.”

Ucheni nodded. “He’s probably with some other force. We’ll find him eventually.”

Her horse danced and Delia had to keep pulling it into line while she watched the opposing forces close in on each other, the center of each line meeting in the middle with a crash and a roar. She could feel gooseflesh rise on her arms at the hue and cry that rose over the field in front of her.

Her father’s forces held and she could see elves dropping one by one from their saddles. Pelan must be in there somewhere, using the sleeping spell. Arrows rose and fell, elves screaming with pain as they hit. A small party of five broke away and headed for the King. Delia kicked her horse forward and of its own volition, a fireball formed in her hand. As the five grew closer, she readied the ball, hurling it as far as she could. She didn’t want them to get close to the king. The ball hit the lead rider, knocking him from his horse. The horse screamed and reared, kicking the horse next to it and causing confusion. In no time, all of the horses were screaming. The sound gave Delia chills. She threw another fireball, at the horses. Again, rearing and screaming, the elves could barely control their mounts.

The elves grew closer. One elf in particular seemed able to control his horse while shouting instructions to the others. She chanted the sleeping spell and cast it at him. She saw him shake his head. He was too far away. She threw another fireball, hitting him in the chest. He dropped from his horse and rolled on the ground, putting out the fire. Too close! Too close! She tried the spell again. He rolled across the ground, the spell missed! He grabbed his horse and leapt into the saddle. She threw ball after ball at the now four elves. Two hit, and the elves fell. Two were left.

“Daughter, be careful!”

“Yes, father.”

She tried the spell once more. One elf fell. One more to go, the calm one. She cast the spell, it hit him just fifteen feet away. The King kicked his horse to the left while Delia urged her mount right. The enemy horse raced through the middle and disappeared behind them. The elf lay asleep on the ground in front of them. Two of the King’s elves dragged the elf out of the way and remounted.

“Well done, daughter.”

“Thank you, father.”

Delia tried to still her shaking hands. That was too close. She turned her attention to the battle. There was so much dust it was hard to tell what was going on. King Ucheni kicked his horse to a walk and advanced to the battle. Delia wanted to tell him to stay back but bit her tongue. It was his place to be in the battle. She needed to keep her eyes open.

The horn blew again, and Captain Neoni’s forces came out of the woods just as a company of humans came out of hiding. They joined behind the first battle. The humans were on foot. Captain Neoni’s force formed a circle around the humans. Delia saw them dropping. Sisruo and Couran were wielding the sleeping spell with good result. It didn’t take long for all of the humans to be lying on the grass.

It was different with Captain Mystesto. The group he faced seemed to have their own spells. Elves burst into flame though Delia didn’t see any fireballs. She had to stop looking there as her father had reached the first battle. She chanted the sleeping spell non-stop, elves dropping in front of her like cord wood. Twice she had to kick her horse out of the way of swinging blades. Her father drew his sword and entered the fray. It seemed forever to Delia before the opposing force numbers were noticeably fewer. Her father wiped his blade and Delia took a breath. Was it over? She started to ask her father when something hit her in the back of the head. She could hear herself whimper and slump in the saddle. Then it went black.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 23.

820 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Slave Elf Part 20: Friday Flash Fiction Post

green_subatomic_by_milaysvk-dbheqbg

Part 20

Sisruo turned back to her. “I’m here from Master Kaepli. He wondered if you would consider joining us in suspending the enemy fighters.”

It was Delia’s turn to be surprised. “He doesn’t have enough mages to succeed?”

Sisruo’s shuffling gave away his answer. “Not really. He spoke positively at the council meeting but he feels the more elves he has available to do the work, the better off we’ll be.”

“I’ll be at my father’s side.”

“That’s perfect. You could suspend anyone who closes in on the king.”

Delia thought about it. She had it in mind to use her fireballs and heat blasts to keep the enemy from her father. But as she thought about it, wasn’t it better to hold the elves rather than kill them? “I’ll do it. Will you teach me?”

“Yes, Princess. That’s what the Master has suggested.”

Delia nodded and cleared her mind from thinking about heat blasts. “Very well. What do I do?”

They spent until sunset practicing. “How do I know I’m doing it right?”

“Tomorrow, come to the Mage’s study room. We’ll practice on the apprentices that already know how.”

Delia shook her head. “What if I make a mistake? I could kill someone!”

“That’s how we all learned. And we’ll teach you to un-suspend them too.”

Delia thought this a bad idea but couldn’t think of any other way to test her skill. “What about on an animal. A dog or a pig?”

“They aren’t the same size. They would take a lot less power to suspend. It has to be a full-grown elf.”

“Very well.” She rubbed an eye. “Tomorrow after breakfast?”

Sisruo nodded. “After breakfast then.” He looked at the sky. The first stars were already beginning to shine. “Shall I walk you to the castle?”

Delia swallowed her annoyance. He didn’t think she was helpless. He was just being polite. “Thank you.”

They walked in silence, Sisruo with his hands clasped behind him. “Master Kaepli is worried about you.”

“Why?” Again, she had to work to be polite.

“You’re new to your powers, Princess. That is all. I and Master Kaepli are both surprised and amazed at how you’ve adapted to your new position. That change could not have been easy.”

It wasn’t easy, she thought better of saying. “It has had its challenges.”

Sisruo chuckled. “Diplomacy must have been a birthright, Princess. You’re a natural.”

She had to smile at that. “Sometimes. I was hurt, you know. For years. I thought I was abandoned.”

“I cannot fathom it, Princess. And I regret it with my whole being.”

“Nothing to do with you, Sisruo. And Father and Mother have been so loving since I’ve returned. They apologize constantly.”

They arrived at the gate. The guards opened the door for her.

“In the morning, Princess.” Sisruo bowed.

“In the morning, Sisruo.”

The next day she was in the workshop where she’d first researched changing her aura. She still practiced that every day and was getting stronger and holding the aura longer. But this morning Mage Kaepli, Sisruo and three other apprentices were waiting for her. She was introduced to Couran, Pelan, and Kaya. Kaya was the youngest and female. Her blond hair was plaited into many braids and pulled back into a pony tail which hung down her back to her hips. Couran and Pelan were cousins, brawny, as though they worked with weapons. “We do!” they said when she asked. “Our uncle is Captain Neoni. He was disappointed when we chose to become mages but forgave us anyway.” The two of them laughed.

Kaepli clapped his hands. “Let us begin. Kaya, you go first.”

Delia watched as the young woman, younger than herself, suspended Pelan. He sank slowly to the floor, eyes closed, seemingly asleep.

“Try to rouse him,” Kaepli told Delia.

She walked over and crouched down. No amount of shaking or calling his name roused him.  “He’s truly suspended, Mage Kaepli.”

“Kaya, wake him.”

The young elf held her hands over him and chanted. Pelan woke slowly and sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Nice little nap.”

The apprentices chuckled as Kaya gave him a hand to his feet. “Now you, Delia.”

“I’ll be your partner,” Sisruo said as he stepped into the circle. He looked at her confidently and gave a small nod of support.

Delia wiped her hands on her skirt. She had felt confident yesterday evening but now, what if she killed him? Her hands trembled.

“You can do it, Delia,” Mage Kaepli said. “Just trust your instincts.”

Her instincts were telling her this was a bad idea. But Sisruo gave her a smile and the others were speaking words of encouragement so she held out her right hand and focused, just like last evening. Sisruo sank to the floor. For a moment she panicked, thinking she’d killed him. Everyone was clapping. “Well done, Princess,” Kaya said.

“Here’s the waking spell,” Mage Kaepli said. He said the spell three times. Delia held her hand over Sisruo and took a deep breath. She chanted the words, focusing on the elf on the floor. She could feel the power running from her to him. He didn’t move. She looked in fright at Mage Kaepli.

“Wait. It takes a moment.”

It didn’t seem to take so long when Kaya brought Pelan back. Then Sisruo moved. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. He sat up. “Well done, Princess.” Everyone clapped again. Delia helped him to his feet. “That was exciting.”

“We’ll practice a bit more today. Then every day until the army leaves.” Mage Kaepli left the room.

Delia nodded. Another tool under her belt. It felt good.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 21.

946 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Cozy Giveaway, Editing, KU Thoughts: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I’m in a mystery giveaway this week at https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery/wrllo9pt15. This giveaway, as you can see, is through the Book Funnel site. If you haven’t used them before, you’ll love how easy it is to download books and they have a fantastic help desk if you run into a problem. Anyway, the giveaway has 25 authors and their books and everyone of them is a winner. So, stock up for your last summer vacation or your fall reading in front of the fireplace. This giveaway ends the end of this week so don’t delay.

Bountiful Basket

The garden is still producing. I picked a lot of green and yellow beans and tomatoes on Sunday. The peaches are picked from the tree and I gave away a lot of them. I still have lots in the fridge though, and am loving my peach smoothies in the morning or for lunch. Yummy.

I’m working hard these last few days before the fair so I haven’t gotten to Tested’s edits yet. I will though, I will! In the meantime, I’m finalizing the parking plans for the fair so I can turn them over to the Fire Department. Rules must be followed.

In Book 1, Bob is a soccer player.

Also under writing news, I think I mentioned over a year ago a set of stories I call All About Bob. There are 5 stories planned for that YA series and one is already drafted. I’m thinking about going ahead and writing them all and putting them in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. What’s your thought on this. Do you use KU?

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

I mentioned above my mystery giveaway with about 25 other authors on BookFunnel.com. The giveaway started August 19th and runs for one week. Here’s the link again in case you missed it above. https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery/wrllo9pt15. Act fast, this giveaway ends the end of the week.

Shout Out:

Are you a mystery fan? A fellow author, Betty Web, is writing some fantastic mysteries. Check out her website,  http://www.bettywebb-mystery.com/, where you can find her Lena Jones mysteries. Hold on to your seat, though, they’re high octane!

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

On September 16th I’m going to be at the Payson Flea Market. The details are still being worked out but this is a great event for picking up Christmas Presents and cool stuff for your house and yard. I’m inviting a couple of other authors to come to my space as well so there’ll be a lot of books to choose from.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

On December 9th I’ll be at the Mesa Book Festival. Get full details at https://mesabookfestival.com/. I’ll be in a booth with my author friend Marsha Ward. www.MarshaWard.com. Between the two of us, we have a large number of genre’s covered. Come get your Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. The festival runs from 2pm – 8pm.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

 

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Slave Elf Part 19: Friday Flash Fiction Post

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http://www.deviantart.com/art/green-subatomic-694368700

 

Part 20

Sisruo turned back to her. “I’m here from Master Kaepli. He wondered if you would consider joining us in suspending the enemy fighters.”

It was Delia’s turn to be surprised. “He doesn’t have enough mages to succeed?”

Sisruo’s shuffling gave away his answer. “Not really. He spoke positively at the council meeting but he feels the more elves he has available to do the work, the better off we’ll be.”

“I’ll be at my father’s side.”

“That’s perfect. You could suspend anyone who closes in on the king.”

Delia thought about it. She had it in mind to use her fireballs and heat blasts to keep the enemy from her father. But as she thought about it, wasn’t it better to hold the elves rather than kill them? “I’ll do it. Will you teach me?”

“Yes, Princess. That’s what the Master has suggested.”

Delia nodded and cleared her mind from thinking about heat blasts. “Very well. What do I do?”

They spent until sunset practicing. “How do I know I’m doing it right?”

“Tomorrow, come to the Mage’s study room. We’ll practice on the apprentices that already know how.”

Delia shook her head. “What if I make a mistake?” I could kill someone!”

“That’s how we all learned. And we’ll teach you to un-suspend them too.”

Delia thought this a bad idea but couldn’t think of any other way to test her skill. “What about on an animal. A dog or a pig?”

“They aren’t the same size. They would take a lot less power to suspend. It has to be a full-grown elf.”

“Very well.” She rubbed an eye. “Tomorrow after breakfast?”

Sisruo nodded. “After breakfast then.” He looked at the sky. The first stars were already beginning to shine. “Shall I walk you to the castle?”

Delia swallowed her annoyance. He didn’t think she was helpless. He was just being polite. “Thank you.”

They walked in silence, Sisruo with his hands clasped behind him. “Master Kaepli is worried about you.”

“Why?” Again, she had to work to be polite.

“You’re new to your powers, Princess. That is all. I and Master Kaepli are both surprised and amazed at how you’ve adapted to your new position. That change could not have been easy.”

It wasn’t easy, she thought better of saying. “It has had its challenges.”

Sisruo chuckled. “Diplomacy must have been a birthright, Princess. You’re a natural.”

She had to smile at that. “Sometimes. I was hurt, you know. For years. I thought I was abandoned.”

“I cannot fathom it, Princess. And I regret it with my whole being.”

“Nothing to do with you, Sisruo. And Father and Mother have been so loving since I’ve returned. They apologize constantly.”

They arrived at the gate. The guards opened the door for her.

“In the morning, Princess.” Sisruo bowed.

“In the morning, Sisruo.”

The next day she was in the workshop where she’d first researched changing her aura. She still practiced that every day and was getting stronger and holding the aura longer. But this morning Mage Kaepli, Sisruo and three other apprentices were waiting for her. She was introduced to Couran, Pelan, and Kaya. Kaya was the youngest and female. Her blond hair was plaited into many braids and pulled back into a pony tail which hung down her back to her hips. Couran and Pelan were cousins, brawny, as though they worked with weapons. “We do!” they said when she asked. “Our uncle is Captain Neoni. He was disappointed when we chose to become mages but forgave us anyway.” The two of them laughed.

Kaepli clapped his hands. “Let us begin. Kaya, you go first.”

Delia watched as the young woman, younger than herself, suspended Pelan. He sank slowly to the floor, eyes closed, seemingly asleep.

“Try to rouse him,” Kaepli told Delia.

She walked over and crouched down. No amount of shaking or calling his name roused him.  “He’s truly suspended, Mage Kaepli.”

“Kaya, wake him.”

The young elf held her hands over him and chanted. Pelan woke slowly and sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Nice little nap.”

The apprentices chuckled as Kaya gave him a hand to his feet. “Now you, Delia.”

“I’ll be your partner,” Sisruo said as he stepped into the circle. He looked at her confidently and gave a small nod of support.

Delia wiped her hands on her skirt. She had felt confident yesterday evening but now, what if she killed him? Her hands trembled.

“You can do it, Delia,” Mage Kaepli said. “Just trust your instincts.”

Her instincts were telling her this was a bad idea. But Sisruo gave her a smile and the others were speaking words of encouragement so she held out her right hand and focused, just like last evening. Sisruo sank to the floor. For a moment she panicked, thinking she’d killed him. Everyone was clapping. “Well done, Princess,” Kaya said.

“Here’s the waking spell,” Mage Kaeply said. He said the spell three times. Delia held her hand over Sisruo and took a deep breath. She chanted the words, focusing on the elf on the floor. She could feel the power running from her to him. He didn’t move. She looked in fright at Mage Kaepli.

“Wait. It takes a moment.”

It didn’t seem to take so long when Kaya brought Pelan back. Then Sisruo moved. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. He sat up. “Well done, Princess.” Everyone clapped again. Delia helped him to his feet. “That was exciting.”

“We’ll practice a bit more today. Then every day until the army leaves.” Mage Kaepli left the room.

Delia nodded. Another tool under her belt. It felt good.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 21.

946 Words

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Slave Elf Part 18: Flash Fiction Friday Post

fort_days_furniture_2_by_thewarriorandthegodd, http://www.deviantart.com/art/Fort-Days-furniture-2-166838482

Part 18

Delia was in the practice yard. It felt good to move after spending hours in the mage’s room and then in council with her father. There had been much gazing at maps as they tried to figure out what woods and what lake Mage Kaepli had seen. Decisions were finally made and scouts would be sent out any minute now. Main troop forces would be sent when word came back from the scouts.

The practice field was nearly empty as most of the warriors practiced in the morning. Delia was moving through the katas for the staff, moving slowly to make sure she was making each move correctly, then adding speed a bit at a time, always working to make the move perfectly. By the time she was satisfied, she was dripping with sweat and the sun was heading for the horizon.

Clapping behind her gave her a start and she turned, staff at the ready. It was Sisruo.

“Well done, Princess!”

Her blush was hidden by a face already flushed from exercise. “Thank you. Do you work with weapons?”

Sisruo walked over to her. “Alas, I do not.” He patted his flat stomach. “I fear I do too much sitting and studying and not enough weapons work.”

He looked perfectly slender and fit to Delia. “I was about to practice with my fire balls. Would you care to watch?”

“I heard that you have mastered the art. I’d love to.”

She put the staff back in the rack and motioned him to walk with her. “I don’t think I’ve mastered the art, yet, but I’m a fair marksman with them.”

At the spot she practiced this skill, she stopped. “Stay behind me.”

He gave her a small bow and stepped back.

Her first fire balls were a little sloppy. Mortified, she refocused. The next few were better and thrown about the furthest she’d ever done.

Sisruo clapped again. “How do you do it?”

As she did for the warriors, she walked him through what her process was. He was a quick learner. Probably because he’s already a mage, or near enough, she thought.

They stood side by side and made a contest of who could throw the farthest, then the biggest. She beat him, though when she demonstrated making several at a time and throwing them one at a time. He beamed at her. “I see I’ll have to practice.”

“Do mages go to war?”

He shrugged. “Sometimes. I think this time we will.”

“We?”

“Master Kaepli and myself. Perhaps a few of the more advanced apprentices.”

Delia felt a real fear for the old mage. She truly liked him. “Isn’t Mage Kaepli a bit old?”

Sisruo laughed. “Don’t let him hear you saying that.” He drew a deep breath. “He’s as sharp a mind as I’ve ever met and has forgotten more magic than I will ever know. He will be a huge advantage for your father the King against your uncle.”

Delia realized she was juggling fireballs as Sisruo spoke. She extinguished them immediately as  a blush crept up her cheeks. “Sorry. It’s become, um, natural, I guess, to make them.”

“I wondered. You didn’t seem to know you were doing it.”

“Sometimes I don’t.” She thought back to the council meeting where she’d made one in response to her fear of Nethene. “I think I should go bathe for dinner.” They began walking back to the castle. “I don’t remember seeing you there?”

“Oh no. I’m just an apprentice. That’s not the place for me. Besides,” he said quickly, “I’m usually studying one thing or another. We apprentices have a small dining room where we eat. That usually turns into another session on what we’re working on.”

“So you never stop working?”

“Oh, at mid-winter feast, we do. A lot of fun happens at mid-winter.”

A stab of regret hit Delia hard. She didn’t know any holidays of the elves. Her throat tightened with loss and regret.

“Oh. I’m sorry. I’ve hurt your feelings.” His apology was instant and sincere. Sisruo stopped and turned to her.

Delia swallowed her grief and put on a smile. “Don’t be concerned. I’ll see for myself at mid-winter.”

“Perhaps sometime you could come to the apprentice’s dining room and eat with us. Everyone would be eager to hear about your study of aura changing.”

For some reason, the invitation annoyed her. “Perhaps,” she said a little harshly.

They had reached the doors into the castle. Sisruo stopped and bowed. “I must go this way, Princess, back to work, I’m afraid.”

She bowed curtly. “So you must. Good evening.” Delia turned and went past the guards who held the door for her leaving Sisruo staring.

In her room she peeled off her dress and boots and threw them on the floor. She stomped to the basin and pitcher and after pouring water into the basin, held her hand over it. In a moment the water was steaming. A moment more and it was boiling. She snapped her hand back when it began to boil over the sides of the basin. Her heart pounding, she reached out to touch the water. She stopped just above the liquid, feeling the heat rise from it. Delia stepped back and covered her face, pressing on her eyes. She’d never done that before and hadn’t heard that anyone could.

Anger gone, she poured more water into the basin to cool it and washed the sweat away. In a dressing gown, she brushed out her hair and thought about it. Why had she done it? Anger, she decided. I was angry and it wasn’t enough to throw my boots. In the mirror, she could see the basin behind her. She got up and went to the bowl. The water was now room temperature. Delia held her hand over the water and thought about how she felt before. It took longer but the water began to steam.

Snatching her hand back she went back to her dressing table. After a deep breath, she began brushing her hair again. Another tool. A weapon, she thought. I’ll have to practice that in the yard tomorrow to see how it can be made effective.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 19.

1033 Words

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End of July: Monday Blog Post

Payson Book Festival 2017

Newest News:

Some updates from the Payson Book Festival. After digging into the stats, we had over 700 people attend the festival. That’s the 3rd straight year with 100+ attendee growth. Our new venue, the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino had the tables arranged so that it didn’t feel crowded, even with so many attendees. Feedback from volunteers, authors and attendees were favorable for the most part and I really thank everyone who filled out a feedback form. It makes it so much easier to figure out whether or not there was a problem when people actually tell us!

Bush Green Beans

I harvested 8 yellow squash on Friday. I’m definitely going to have to start calling friends and asking if they want some squash. The peaches are ripe and I have a glut of those, too! Hubby ate three of them (they’re small) for his morning snack on Sunday. Good thing we like peaches.

The editor emailed me, he’s having trouble getting the Tested file to me. I’ve sent an alternate email address so hopefully that will do the trick. I’m still looking for my First Encounter and Downtrodden files. Grrrrrrrr.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway on the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is over at midnight today! You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Author Mary Anne Edwards

Today’s shout out goes to author Mary Anne Edwards. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung. Mary Ann is my featured author on Wednesday’s Author Interview. Can’t wait? Check out her site at http://maryanneedwards.com.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Slave Elf Part 16: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Bread, Cheese and Pear by Connie Cockrell

Find Part 1 Here. Find Part 15 Here.

Delia rubbed her eyes then arched backwards to relieve the strain in her back from leaning over the table for hours. When she looked around, she realized that all of the apprentices were gone. She’d been so engrossed with the books that she hadn’t heard anyone come or go. The door opened and Sisruo entered with a tray. He came to her table.

“Good, you’re taking a break.” He placed the tray in an open spot on her table.

Delia’s stomach growled in reply. She blushed.

Sisruo chuckled. “Studying is hard work, Princess. No shame in that.”

“I didn’t hear anyone leave.”

“We practice moving quietly. There’s usually someone studying or doing research and we don’t want to disturb them.”

“Very polite.” Delia glanced at the tray. “There’s enough here for three people. Will you join me?”

“I’d love to.” He walked to the next table and brought over a stool while Delia moved books to one side of the table.

He pulled the tray over to sit between them. “I took the liberty of bringing some wine to have with our mid-day meal. I can get more water, if you’d prefer.”

“A little wine sounds nice.” She reached for her water cup, drained it, then put it back on the table.

Sisuro poured for her then poured a little into a second cup. He handed her a plate and a napkin then took one for himself. “You pick first, princess.”

She selected an apple, some yellow cheese and a small loaf of bread. “I’m afraid I didn’t eat much breakfast this morning.”

“Understandable.” He took a loaf, a pear and some white cheese. “I get that way myself when I have something I’m eager to study.” He ripped off a chunk of the loaf and with his belt knife, took a slice of pear and another of cheese to make a bite. “What have you discovered?” He ate his bite.

Delia used her knife to slice up her apple, then the cheese. She wiped her blade on the napkin. “Much of each article was in language so vague as to be worthless. It’s as though the author wanted brag about knowing or finding something but wasn’t willing to share the actual information.” She shook her head as she ate the apple, bread and cheese bite.

Sisruo nodded. “That happens a lot. We’ve learned to read around the flowery, bragging language and figure out what they are saying. But what did you learn that was concrete?”

“Over and over each text said it was a matter of core control.” She took a sip of wine. It was a white with a bright, fruity flavor. “As Mage Kaepli said last night, that’s pretty standard for magic. Book four,” she pointed at a medium-sized leather-bound book to her left, “had more specific instruction. Not just a matter of our core, but our essence is needed to change one’s aura.” She studied Sisruo. “Do you understand what it may mean, our essence?”

The apprentice took a deep breath and finished his mouthful. “Not the core, but who you are. Deep inside, when things go bad, when no one’s looking, the part of you that’s the most real.” He shook his head. “Your soul, perhaps is the shortest description I can give.”

Delia’s eyebrows drew together. She’d been in many a situation over the years that was bad. How had she reacted? Was she ever mean? She didn’t think so. Indifferent? Possibly, given her own situation. Probably, more like it. She instantly felt guilty and ashamed. A blush crept up her cheeks.

“Stop that.”

Startled, Delia looked up at Sisruo.

“You’re imagining great personal crimes when in reality you were just being normal.”

“How…?”

He snorted. “It’s part of our training to look into our own souls and understand who we are. We can’t become a full mage until we do.” He looked down at his plate. “I’ve been there. So I recognized it on you.”

She sighed. “There’s so much I don’t know.”

“True, but all it takes is training.” He ate another bite of bread as she nibbled an apple slice. They sat, each in their own thoughts for a few moments.

“Can you teach me?”

“You want to be an apprentice?”

“No, not that. I’m trying to change the color of my aura to other people. If knowing my own soul is what has to happen to allow me to do this, then that’s what I must do.”

Sisruo frowned at his plate. “Master Kaepli knows what you’re doing?”

“Yes.” Delia wiped her hands and put the napkin on the table. “Where do we begin?”

He took a last bite of pear then a sip of wine and put his napkin down. “Fine.” He focused on her. “Ah, green with sparkles.”

She nodded. “And your is,” she smiled, “blue with gold swirls. Pretty!”

Sisruo chuckled. “Your’s too.” The smile left his face. “Why do you want to mask your aura?”

“I don’t, necessarily. I want to know how someone else would do it. Also, it would be helpful, at times, if I could hide my true feelings from others.”

The apprentice tugged at an earlobe. He nodded, slowly. “I can see where that would be an advantage. Hide your glee, or fear, or knowledge. Yes. Useful.”

“Fine. Let’s look at your soul. Tell me what you were thinking earlier.”

Three hours later, Kaepli found them still on the stools, staring at each other. “Sisruo?”

The apprentice came out of the study first. “Master.” He blinked and took a deep breath.

Delia followed. She was dazed and overwhelmingly thirsty. She grabbed her cup and drank down the wine. A sigh escaped her lips as reality came back to her. “We were looking at my soul, Mage Kaepli.”

Kaepli’s bushy eyebrows rose. “So you found something?”

“A little something.” She poured the last of the water in the pitcher into her cup and drank it all. “It needs my core and an understanding of who I am.”

Kaepli turned to Sisruo. “And you found?”

“We can both change our auras, at least a little and for a short time. It’s very difficult to do and even harder to hold.” He slid off of his stool. “Please, Master, sit. You must be tired from the scrying.”

The old man waved his hand. “I’m not that decrepit, youngling.” He eyed the pitcher on the tray of food. “Is any wine left?”

The apprentice nodded. “Certainly.” He poured some into the third cup and handed it over. “Can you tell us your news?”

The mage sat on the vacated stool. “Yes. I should.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 17.

1107 Words

 

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Slave Elf 15: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Ancient Book by Connie Cockrell

Find Part 1 Here. Find Part 14 Here.

Part 15

Nethene sat three elves away from her at dinner. As family, he rated a seat at the head table but that didn’t make her happy about it. Her venison lay cold on the plate as she worried about what her distant cousin might do.

Mage Kaepli sat beside her father. Delia could hear enough of their conversation past her mother to know they were discussing the scrying Kaepli had finished. Confusion, she’d overheard him say. That didn’t sound good to her. She wished she had more experience. It was a handicap of immense proportions that she had been separated from her people and from magic for so long. Her hand began to tingle as fire began to form. Delia squashed the urge and shook out her hand under the table.

At the rear of the hall the musicians were warming up. Dinner was nearly over and she was anxious to talk to the Mage about how to mask her aura. She saw her chance as the Mage rose to take his leave of the King and Queen. She rose as well. “If you don’t mind, Father, Mother, I’d like to retire. I’m afraid I overdid it on the practice field today.”

Her mother nodded. “Of course, Sweetheart.”

Delia leaned down to kiss her mother on the cheek. “Thank you, Mother. Enjoy the music.” She walked around her mother’s chair to the King. She kissed him on the cheek as well. “Good evening, Father.”

He patted her hand. “Sleep well, Delia.”

She saw Nethene watching and a tingle of fear ran down her spine. “Thank you, Father.” She turned to the Mage. “May I walk with you, Kaepli?”

“Of course, Princess.” He bowed and let her go first.

Delia could feel Nethene watching her until they left the hall. “I have a question.”

Kaepli nodded. “I suspected. Go on.”

“How does Nethene mask his aura?”

The mage drew a deep breath. “The books say it has to do with the control of your core. Which begs the question, of course.” He shook his head. “The text talks about your essence, which is the core, of course, and focus.” Kaepli waved a hand. “All magic requires focus, so that is less than helpful.”

“May I read the texts?”

The old mage’s eyebrow rose. “An unusual request but I don’t see why not. Come by my workshop in the morning. I’ll have the books ready for you.”

She was disappointed. She wanted to read them now. “Not tonight?”

The mage shook his head. “My apologies, Princess, but the texts are scattered. Let me and my apprentices find them all and set aside a table for you. It will go much faster that way.”

Delia swallowed her impatience. “Of course. In the morning then.”

Kaepli stopped at the hall leading to the wing where his workshops were and bowed. “In the morning. Sleep well, Princess.”

She bowed in return and continued on to her rooms. After bolting the door, she prepared for bed but was too restless to lie down. As she paced she absent-mindedly formed fireballs, tossing them from one hand to another. Then she realized she was making them in multiples, not just one at a time. That piqued her interest and at the fireplace, focused on making as many at a time as she could.

By midnight she was drained, physically and mentally. She let the fireballs expire and washed her hands and face in the basin then lay down. Her last thoughts were of auras.

In the morning she hardly spared time to eat the bread, fruit and cheese brought to her room. She hurried to the mage’s workshop and stopped just inside the door. She saw a large room, herbs hanging from the ceiling, several heavy wooden tables with stools at them. Some had apprentices already working. Books and scrolls filled the shelves that lined the walls. She cleared her throat.

An apprentice looked up from a huge tome he was reading. “Princess!” He jumped from his stool and came to her. “Welcome. Mage Kaepli directed me to assist you. I’m Sisruo. Come right this way.”

He led her to a table under a window, a stool centered on the table where six leather-bound books were stacked to one side. “We found these for you. The pages with the information you wanted are book-marked. If you have any questions, please let me know.”

Delia nodded. Everything seemed well organized. “Thank you. I won’t keep you from your work. Where is Mage Kaepli?”

“He’s gone to a glade, Princess. To try the scrying again.”

She was disappointed. She’d hoped to talk to him about what she was about to read. “Oh. Very well.”

“May I get you some water?”

“That would be nice. Yes. Thank you, Sisuro. Have you been an apprentice long?”

“Long enough. I test for my mage status soon.”

“Congratulations.” She climbed up onto the stool. “Sorry for keeping you.”

“Not a problem, Princess. I’ll let you get to your research.” He turned and left.

Delia looked at the stack of books. The largest was on the bottom with the books getting smaller as the stack grew. She pulled the smallest book to her and opened the cover. The writing was in a flowing script, the book title so elaborate it was difficult to read. Delia turned a few pages to find treatises on the essence of the core, how to force plant growth, and one on changing hair color. There didn’t seem to be any overall theme to the book, just whatever the author had decided to write about. She found the book mark and flipped to the page. This treatise was titled, Auras and Their Control. That sounded promising.

Sisruo returned and placed a tray with a pitcher of water and a glass on it. “Princess.”

She looked up from the page and smiled. “Thank you, Sisruo.”

He bowed. “Ask if you need anything.”

“I will. Thank you.”

He left and she went back to the page. With luck, she’d learn everything she needed to know from this one book.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 16.

1015 Words

 

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