Slave Elf Part 27: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

See Part 1 here.

Part 27

Delia shivered in the cool, pre-dawn air. It was wet, too, dew soaking her boots as they quickly walked to meet the king. “What’s going on?”

“I am not the one to tell you, Princess.” The elf hurried on and Delia, fuming, could do nothing but follow.

They soon arrived at the edge of the camp where elves stood with torches and the king, with Kaepli and Sisruo next to him, in the center of the horseshoe shaped crowd. “Sire. You called for me?”

“Yes. Thank you. Mage Kaepli believes he’s found the correct protection spell.” He nodded to the mage. “Begin.”

The mage held out his hands. “I’m setting the spell around that boulder.”

Delia switched to her magical sight. As the mage concentrated, she could see yellow lines of power around his hands. As they grew brighter, she could see them flow away and surround the rock. “There,” he said as he dropped his hands, “it’s one of the more powerful spells and modified, at that.” He turned to Delia. “It was your description that helped me find the right spell. I am surprised that Iyuno or perhaps Nethene dared to modify that spell.”

“And can you break it?” the king asked.

“Now that I know the spell, yes.” The mage turned back to the boulder and raised his hands again.

Delia could see green lines of magic build, then flow to the rock, covering the yellow lines. The two merged and with a flash, disappeared. A sigh of surprise arose from the crowd.

“Well done, Mage Kaepli. Can you break the spells on the whole castle at once?”

“No sire. Unfortunately not. We’ll need elves at each entrance to work the spells. I could use Delia’s help.”

The king turned to his daughter and glanced at the bandage on her head. “Are you up to it, daughter?”

“I am well enough, Sire, to help the mage and his apprentices.”

“It’s settled, then. We will approach the castle at mid-morning.”

With that the king left and the group dispersed except for the mage, Sisruo and Delia. “How do I work the spell, Mage Kaepli?” Delia asked.

“I’ll teach both you and Sisruo at the same time.” He demonstrated again, this time telling them what he was doing. After two run-throughs, he had them practice. Delia thought it was much like casting an aura and after a try or two, managed to get the protection around the boulder. Sisruo took longer but he, too, eventually cast the magical protection around the rock. “That was hard.” He wiped the sweat from his brow.

The mage looked up. “The sun is up. We’d better get back and eat, then prepare for battle.”

Delia nodded and the three returned to the camp.

When the cohorts formed up, the mage was with Captain Neoni and Sisruo was with Mystesto. Kaya rode with Delia and the king. The other apprentices were split between Sisruo and Kaepli. “Mage Kaepli taught you the spell?” Delia asked Kaya.

“All of us.” She edged her horse next to Delia’s. “I have to say it took me awhile to get the hang of it.”

“I just hope we can destroy the spells quickly.” Delia coughed in the dust being raised by the fidgeting horses. “And that after we destroy the road barriers and the spikes.”

“The rest of the elves can handle those,” Kaya said. “We’re the only ones who can take down the protection spells.”

Delia felt better. Using magic took energy and she thought she’d need all she had to open the castle doors. Nagging at her was how Iyuno and Nethene would defend the place, especially if all of his forces were inside. She was no expert, but that didn’t seem possible. “What other traps do you think they have?” she asked Kaya.

The elf turned to her. “Other traps?” Kaya shook her head. “None?”

A frown filled Delia’s face. “I need to talk to the king.” She applied heel to her horse and moved out of line, cantering up to her father. She edged up to his horse.

“Delia?” The king looked behind, then back to his daughter. “Is everything all right?”

“I’m not sure, Father.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’ve seen no elves outside Iyuno’s castle. They have the roads blocked and spikes placed around the castle but no other defenses. I have to wonder how they plan on defending the place? Are there other traps we haven’t noticed?”

Ucheni pressed his lips together and his forehead furrowed. They trotted along like that for some time. He called the Sergeant of the Guards to him.

The elf dropped back to ride on the right of the King. “Sire?”

“Send messengers to Neoni and Mystesto. Tell them to be on the lookout for other traps. Tell the Mage in particular that we suspect we’ve missed something. You be on the lookout along our path as well. This whole thing seems too easy.”

The Sergeant nodded and prodded his horse forward, calling for messengers.

Delia sighed. “I’m sorry, Father. I feel as though I’m causing trouble.”

He shook his head. “I should have seen it sooner. Thank you. You are quite right. This is too easy. Some logs and spikes and a well-seen door protection? Too little by far.” He sighed. “Now I wonder if anyone is in the castle at all, let alone Iyuno.”

“I saw aura’s through the windows, Father.”

“True. But maybe only a few elves and Iyuno and Nethene and Ceinno and the rest are somewhere else.” He pounded a fist on his thigh. “I was too eager to end this.”

They rode together in silence, just the jingle of harness and the dust of travel surrounding them. The advance guard easily removed the logs and when they got to them, the spikes. No other trap seemed to exist except the door protections. For that Delia and Kaya rode to the front.

Time to get to work.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 28.

990 Words

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

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Craft Fair, Tested, Mystery at the Fair: Monday Blog Post

Connie Cockrell, Susan Haught, and Bonnie Bahn at the Pine-Strawberry Fall Festival 2017

Newest News:

I spent the weekend at the Pine-Strawberry October Fall Festival and had a blast. I was with three other authors selling and signing our books. We met so many nice people who stopped to talk to us about our books and writing, it was very, very heart-warming. The above picture is of me, just before the festival opened. Below is a picture of my hubby who entered the Saturday chili cook-off. He had a good time but sadly, didn’t win.

Randy and Mark at the Pine-Strawberry Fall Festival Chili Cook-off

I have the fourth Brown Rain story, Tested back from the editor. I need to make a few tweaks and finalize the cover then get the book out into the public. It will be November. Stay tuned!

One of the things I spent time doing while at the weekend’s festival, was brainstorm elements of my next Jean Hays story, Mystery at the Reunion. I’ve finalized some details concerning the story that I hadn’t previously considered and made notes about things that I have to do some research on. This is going to be a very fast paced story. Jean has to solve the murder in just 3 days! I’ll be writing this during November’s National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve decided to submit Mystery at the Fair to the Hallmark Channel. I’m in the middle of writing a synopsis and query. Once those are done and I polish up the manuscript a little more, I’ll submit. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Jean Hays on the screen?!?! I think so!

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. I’ve left my girl, Delia in quite a pickle. We’ll have to see how she gets out of it. You can find the first episode here.

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!

I have started a contest over on my newsletter. What? You don’t get my newsletter? That’s a shame. But see below on how you can join in on the fun. I already have several people writing in to enter it. It runs to the end of October when I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner. Let me know you’ve joined the newsletter and I’ll send you the information to enter.

P.S. By the way, you can get the pictured mug at: https://www.gearbubble.com/gbstore/conniesrandomthoughts

Shout Out:

One of the authors at the festival over the weekend was Mark Plets. A native Arizonan, Mark has written a historical fiction, Kelly, A Tale of Ould Ireland, set in the 16th century. His passion for words has led him to speak fluent Japanese! You can find the book at https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Plets/e/B00OM45KWS. You can find his professional writing services at www.markplets.com.

Where Will I Be?

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

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 26: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

Part 26

The enemy castle was over a mile away so Delia and Sisruo saddled their horses and rode out to a hillside overlooking the small valley where the castle stood.

Delia dismounted and tied her horse to a branch. Sisruo did the same. They stood just inside the tree line, where, Delia hoped, they couldn’t be seen.

“How do you propose to see inside the castle?”

“I don’t know. Since father asked it of me, I assumed it could be done.” She could hear Sisruo draw a deep breath.

“I’ve never heard of it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. He may be relying on your magical strength.”

Delia thought so too. She switched to her magical sight. “I don’t see anyone’s aura outside of the castle except our own watchers. What do you see?”

“Not much. Not at this distance.”

She heard the disappointment color his statement. Another thing that made her different. “What I do see is…I don’t know what to call it, an aura of magic around the gate and the windows.”

“They’ve set protection spells. It makes sense. Can you tell me what they look like?”

“They’re lines of yellow, like hoops, around each opening. Over the entire castle is an aura of dark purple. At the windows, I can see some people, auras are all dark. I can’t see through the walls. I’ve failed Father.” Her shoulders slumped.

“I think not. You can see all of that when I can only see vague shimmers at best. I can’t even see our watchers. The news about the protection spells is important. It will change how the king approaches the castle.”

“I suppose you’re correct.” His comment did make her feel a little better. “We should get back and tell the council.”

Once back, she spoke to the king and his councilors, telling them what she found.

“Could you see the protection spells, Sisruo?” the mage asked.

“No, Master. I couldn’t. Nor could I see our watchers. Not at that distance.”

King Ucheni scratched at his beard. “What can we do about the protection spells?”

The mage spoke, “I’ll have to think, Sire. I’d like to work with Delia to try and identify what’s there.”

The king looked at his daughter. “Are you ready for that?”

She nodded. “I am. Whenever you’re ready, Mage Kaepli.”

“Let’s go to my tent. I’ll look in my books.” He gave the king a bow and headed for the door.

Delia and Sisruo did the same and followed the mage out. In Kaepli’s tent, they all took stools around the table. Kaepli handed Delia parchment and pen. “Draw what you saw. The patterns may help me research.”

While Delia drew, Kaepli pulled an ancient tome from a chest in the corner of the tent. He brought it to the table and sat down. “Protection spells can be tricky. A simple one could prevent anyone or thing from entering or leaving. As you add requirements, say, allowing exit, or specifying various creatures or beings, the spell can become a threat to the setter as well as anyone trying to break it.” He stroked his beard as he turned crackling pages.

Delia handed him the parchment. “I’m not a very good artist.”

Kaepli took the page. “You described them as hoops. Were the yellow lines thick or thin?”

“They varied, and as you can see, the distance between them varied as well. These aren’t identical representations. Just generalizations.”

Kaepli sighed and put the drawing down. “That’s all right. They may change constantly. But what you saw may help me pin down the spell.” He continued to turn pages.

Sisuro rose and got them all mugs of water and put them on the table. “Unless you’d prefer wine, Master?”

“No, water is fine. Thank you.”

Delia nodded her thanks and drank. She was getting a headache and wanted nothing more than to go to her own tent and sleep. Being a princess was tiring work. “What can I do to help?”

“Nothing, really, other than what you’ve done already.” The mage continued to turn pages. “I may know what they’re using but I want to be sure.” He looked up at her. “Go. Rest. When I confirm my thoughts, we made need you to help us break the spell.”

Delia nodded. “Very well.” She stood up. “I’ll leave you to it then.”

She left the tent and walked the short distance to her own. Delia didn’t bother to light the candle on her table but took off her boots and lay down on her cot, fully clothed. She wasn’t looking forward to being the spell breaker. She didn’t have the confidence in her own magic that everyone else seemed to have. It was still too new to her. Would they go to battle tomorrow? Iyuno must know that they were there. If she could see the watcher’s auras, couldn’t he? Or Nethene? She sighed and rolled over onto her side and tried to still the thoughts whirling around in her brain. Whether they went to battle tomorrow or not, she suspected it would be a full day for her. She needed her sleep.

She was woken in the dark by knocking on the tent pole. “Princess, Princess. Wake up! The king calls for you.”

Delia rolled from the cot, bleary-eyed and confused. It was still dark. “What time is it?”

“Just before dawn. Please hurry?”

“Is the king all right?” She sat on the edge of her cot and began pulling on her boots.

“Yes. But hurry.”

She couldn’t think why the king would be calling her in such a hurry unless there was something very wrong. “I’ll be right there.”

When she came out of the tent, the elf was still there. “This way Princess.”

The elf hurried away, but not in the direction of the King’s tent. She scurried after the elf. A feeling of foreboding washing through her. What could be wrong?

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 27.

990 Words

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

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Contest, Craft Fair: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I had a really good Columbus Day weekend. First, on Saturday, I had tickets to the local Saluting Our Veterans benefit concert featuring the Charlie Daniels band. There were so many people there it was amazing. That’s just a section of the crowd at the top. There were twice again that many there.

Second, I went to a craft show on Sunday. There weren’t a lot of vendors but the locally made jewelry was fantastic. I saw a little cuff bracelet I really would like to have but I didn’t get it. Mostly because I never wear jewelry. I’d have bought it and it would have landed in the jewelry box, forgotten.

I’m still brainstorming my next Jean Hays story. So there’s that. Also, it’s been too long since I’ve heard from my editor so I think my mail is again giving me a hard time. None of his emails come through. I’ll have to work on that this week.

Purple by Dinky03 http://www.deviantart.com/art/PURPLE-14567744

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. I’ve left my girl, Delia in quite a pickle. We’ll have to see how she gets out of it. You can find the first episode here.

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!

This week only! A Young Adult, Instafreebie giveaway that runs only until tomorrow, October 10th. Eleven authors and 12 books to give away in mystery, SciFi, Fantasy and Thriller genres. https://www.instafreebie.com/gg/8B0D07lf5WpRswSUwjQS

Finally, I have started a contest over on my newsletter. What? You don’t get my newsletter? That’s a shame. But see below on how you can join in on the fun. I already have several people writing in to enter it. It runs to the end of October when I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner. Let me know you’ve joined the newsletter and I’ll send you the information to enter.

P.S. By the way, you can get the pictured mug at: https://www.gearbubble.com/gbstore/conniesrandomthoughts

Shout Out:

In honor of October’s everything horror, this shout out is to Joshua Robertson. He is a bestselling author in dark fantasy, and a writer for Fantasy-Faction. You may recognize him as the dude whose dragons were said to destroy George R.R. Martin’s and Christopher Paolini’s dragons in a very biased Twitter poll. His first novel, Melkorka, was released in 2015, and he has been writing fantasy fiction like clockwork ever since. Known most for his Thrice Nine Legends Saga, Robertson enjoys an ever-expanding and extremely loyal following of readers. Among other places, you can find him at http://www.robertsonwrites.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 this coming weekend 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 25: Flash Fiction Friday Post

alnwick_castle_by_americamarten-dbomzh2 via DeviantArt.com. https://www.deviantart.com/art/Alnwick-Castle-706511126

Part 25

Delia was awakened by a call at the door of her tent. “Princess, breakfast is being served.”

Groggy, she responded. “Is it morning?”

“Yes, Princess. We leave as soon as we’ve eaten.”

Delia blinked, her eyes gummy from sleep. “I’ll be right there.” She heard footsteps leaving as she swung her legs around to the ground. Morning already? She was still in her clothes. At the wash stand she splashed her face and rinsed her eyes. What had happened? Was she that tired? After unbraiding her hair and combing it, she rebraided it and stuffed her personal possessions into her saddlebag. Ready, she left the tent and went to the cook tent. There, people milled around, bowls of mush in hand, chatting. She thanked the elf who handed her a bowl and walked to a tree to sit, her back against the trunk.

Sisruo found her there, eating the last of her food. “Princess. I didn’t see you at dinner last night.” He sat down beside her.

“No. I slept straight through.”

“Is your wound bothering you?”

“No. I rebandaged it this morning after I combed my hair. It’s fine.” She saw him raise an eyebrow. “Just tired, I guess.”

“Ceinno dealt you a huge blow yesterday. Could that be it?”

Delia shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t feel any different.” To herself, though, she wondered if Sisruo was right. “No matter. We leave today.” She got up and dusted off her clothes. “I’ll see you at the lineup.”

Sisruo nodded but she could tell he wasn’t happy with her explanation. After returning the bowl to the dish washers, she went to the picket line to get her horse ready. An hour later, she was in line with Sisruo and the Mage when the King rode up and the party marched off.

The march lasted three days. In that time she spoke with the Mage about the psychic blow she’d received. “It depends,” Kaepli said. “You were already wounded, so that may be all it is.” He studied her. “Your aura looks normal and you don’t seem to be suffering any other effects.”

“Thank you, Master Kaepli. I just wondered.”

“Those kinds of attacks can be fatal. I’m glad you asked.”

Delia nodded. “I didn’t want to bother you.”

He gave her a smile. “Never a bother to speak with you, Princess.”

Now they were at a castle. It was dark, and to Delia, felt evil. The moat around it was full and stakes had been placed in multiple rows all around the perimeter. Logs had been piled on all of the roads approaching the castle. Turning to her magical sight, Delia could see an aura hanging over the entire place. It was as black as Nethene’s.

“I don’t have a good feeling about this, Father,” she said as she sat beside him. Their horses didn’t seem to like the place either. They tossed their heads, snorting and danced around the dusty road.

“I don’t much like it either. But if that aura is any indication, Iyuno and his minions, Nethene, included, are all in there. I’ll send a messenger.”

Master Kaepli shook his head. “I’m afraid you’ll lose any messenger, Sire.”

Captain Neoni and Mystesto rode up. “A bad business, Sire,” Neoni began. “I expected to see his forces outside the castle.”

Mystesto nodded his agreement. “They’re up to something, Sire.”

The king nodded. “Set up camp. Out of sight of the castle. We’ll meet this evening. In the meantime, post watchers around the castle, in pairs. For safety.”

“As you will, Sire.” With that, Neoni and Mystesto rode off.

The mage stroked his beard. “I’ll use the scrying bowl. It may provide some information.”

“Very good.”

The mage rode off. Sisruo rode with him.

Delia stayed with her father and his guards. “Do you have a plan, Father?”

“No.” Ucheni shook his head. “No plan at all. Perhaps the mage will see something useful.”

Delia hoped so as well.

She was present at the council meeting that evening. They stood around the rough table, a map of the area, Iyuno’s castle, in the middle, covered the table. “Do we know what the inside of the castle looks like?”

Neoni shook his head. “We didn’t even know a castle was here, Sire. He must have had it built recently.

Mage Kaepli entered the tent. “Sire. I apologize for being late.”

“You have information?” The king looked tired, Delia thought to herself. And no wonder. The fate of the entire kingdom was on his shoulders.

“Not as much as I would like.” The mage spread a map over the table. “This is the interior of the castle as best as I could see in the scrying bowl. The aura covers most everything in darkness.”

The group huddled over the map. “There are a lot of blank spots,” the king said.

“Yes, Sire. The blackness was too thick there for me to see.”

Mystesto traced possible paths through the castle with his forefinger. “Some evil lurks in the blank spots, I’m sure.”

Everyone agreed. The king sat down on a stool. “What about the blocked roads and the stakes? Can we get rid of them?”

“I have my apprentices working on that now, Sire.” Kaepli pulled his sleeves into place. All of the materials are organic, so we may be able to pull them out of the ground to free our approach.”

The king nodded. “Mystesto, what to your scouts say?”

“They see no one outside the castle, sire. Whatever the inside is like, outside appears quiet.”

There was a commotion at the door. It was Kaya, looking to Delia as though she hadn’t slept in days.

“Sire.” She nodded to Master Kaepli and turned to the king. “The prisoners escaped. They killed all of the guards.”

A gasp escaped from each elf in the meeting. “The wounded?” the king asked.

“They’re fine. I left the most healthy in charge and rode here as directly as I could.”

Delia thought the young apprentice looked about to drop from exhaustion.

“Thank you,” the king said. He looked to Neoni. “Double the watchers. I don’t want them to sneak into the castle.”

Neoni bowed and hurried from the tent. “Master Kaepli, please take care of your apprentice. Let me know if you need anything.” Kaepli bowed and he helped Kaya from the tent.

The king looked at Delia. “Separating them didn’t seem to work. They have great power. Power I don’t want added to Iyuno’s.”

“What do you need me to do, Sire.”

“Check for aura’s. See if you can identify anyone in the castle. Or around the castle, for that matter. Keep me apprised.”

“Yes, Sire.” She bowed and left the tent.

Outside she found Sisruo, pacing back and forth. “Hello!”

“Hello. You didn’t come into the tent.”

“No, Master Kaepli had work for me. Is the meeting over?”

“For me. I’m going to look at the castle and see if I can identify individual auras.”

Sisruo gaped. “At night? From this distance?”

“From where I can. And yes, now.”

“I’ll come with you.”

“Doesn’t the Mage have work for you to do?”

“Not at the moment.” He reached out to take her arm.

Delia pulled it out of his reach. “I’m capable of doing this on my own.”

Even by the light of the torches, she could see him blush. “I know you are. But we’re outside of a deadly enemy’s fortress.”

Delia drew a deep breath. He had a point. “Very well.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 26.

1252 Words

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

 

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Giveaways, Fall, and More: Monday Blog Post

Arizona Hike October 2016 by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

If you look below, I have two giveaways running this week. In both cases, entering is free and in both cases, there are lots of other authors so you can get as many books as you can read, plus other prizes in the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. Links are below!

Vegas by Randy Cockrell

Fall is here and I love it. I love the cooler weather and the leaves turning color. I love October because it’s planning month for November’s National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNo. I am brainstorming my next Jean Hays book, Mystery at the Reunion. So far as my notes read, we get to meet Jean’s ex-husband, some of her old Air Force buddies and, of course, see how Jean solves a murder outside of her hometown, in Las Vegas! I imagine she’s going to have a run-in with local law enforcement, don’t you? Release will be next summer. I may even do a pre-order? What do you think? Would that work for you?

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!

Hurry! A Young Adult, Instafreebie giveaway that runs from today through October 15th. Eleven authors and 12 books to give away in mystery, SciFi, Fantasy and Thriller genres. https://www.instafreebie.com/gg/8B0D07lf5WpRswSUwjQS

Shout Out:

Author Marina Epley

For this week, the shout out is to Marina Epley. A former editor, now full time author, she grew up watching SciFi, horror and action movies and has written stories she shared with her classmates. She released her trilogy, The Mind Breaker, in 2016. You can find more of her work at https://www.epleymarina.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.

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 24: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Purple by Dinky03 http://www.deviantart.com/art/PURPLE-14567744

In the morning after the mage had redressed her head, Delia went to the King’s tent. “May I come in, Father?” she asked at the open tent door.

“Of course!” He beamed up at her from his table strewn with papers. “A welcome break.”

Delia stepped inside. “Mage Kaepli told me you decided to wait here another day.”

The king nodded. “It gives the wounded time to recover. You look well.”

“The wound hurts and I still have a headache but not like yesterday. I’ll be fine.”

“Good. We will leave at first light tomorrow. Rest well.”

Delia came around his table and kissed him on the head. “Thank you.” She went back to the door. “I think I’ll stroll around a little and work the stiffness out of my legs. Then rest awhile.”

“Good idea. Take care.”

“I will, Father.” Delia left the tent and looked around the camp. Everything spiraled out from the king’s tent. She began to stroll, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. The tent was fine but as the day got warmer, it began to smell musty. She was glad to be outside. At the mage’s tent, she found all of the apprentices, gathered. “Hello.”

“Hello! We’re glad to see you up,” Kaya said. “Sisruo told us you were feeling better.” Kaya grinned at him as he blushed.

Delia saw the blush and could feel the heat rise on her cheeks as well. “Master Kaepli was most helpful.”

“Do you still have a headache?” Sisruo asked.

“A little but nothing I can’t handle.”

Sisruo leapt to his feet. “I’ll make more of the headache potion.”

“No, thank you. I’m fine. What about the other wounded?”

“They’re over in the hospital tents. Most will be able to ride tomorrow. The rest will stay here with the guards surrounding the prisoners.” Couran rose from his squat as he finished speaking. “We’re taking a quick break from the morning’s healings. Then we’ll bring them all food and more water.”

Delia nodded. “I’m just working the kinks out, then I’ll be back to my tent.”

“You’re going to keep walking?” Sisruo’s tone of voice indicated his alarm.

“Is there some reason I shouldn’t?” Delia saw Pelan swat Sisruo in the calf from where he was sitting on the ground. A grin across his face.

“Well. I, uh, no, I suppose not.” He blushed again as Kaya snickered. “I’ll walk with you.”

Delia arched an eyebrow. “Thank you. That would be nice.”

As Sisruo hurried to her side, Couran and Pelan both laughed. Delia hid a smile. “Let’s go then.”

They strolled past the Captain’s tent and then Mystesto’s. She realized she could tell who’s rank and status was higher by the tent arrangements. As they walked, she made note of the walking wounded. They nodded to her as she passed and nodded back. “So many hurt!”

Sisruo nodded. “Using the healing arts, we put many back on their feet. Some, though, were hurt too bad for the healing to do much except take away some of the pain or fix minor problems. Kaya has volunteered to stay behind when the camp breaks to look after the ones not able to travel.”

“That was nice of her.”

“Her healing gift is better than the rest of ours. It’s a good choice.”

Soon they came to the hospital tent and Delia went inside. She spoke briefly to each elf, holding their hand or laying her hand on a fevered forehead. “They’re so nice to me,” she said after they left.

“They saw you are wounded. They feel as though they share a bond with you now.”

“Perhaps so.” Delia was lost in thought about how well she was fitting in, given her upbringing when a psychic blast knocked her sideways. “What?”

“Who did that?” Sisruo gave Delia a quick look over. “Are you all right?”

Delia shakily exhaled. “Yes. I think so.”

Sisruo strode to the wooden fence holding the prisoner elves inside. “Who attacked her?”

The elves inside laughed and moved away from the fence.

Delia studied their auras. All of them were dark. One in particular though, drew her to the fence. She looked directly at the elf. “You know me?”

The elf made a mocking bow, a smirk on his face. “Who wouldn’t know the poor princess Delia, robbed of her background. Forced to live with humans.” The six other prisoners all laughed.

Delia could feel the scorn. She swallowed the insults. “You have me at a disadvantage. What’s your name?”

By now the guards were surrounding the fence, spears ready.

“Ceinno.” He made a sweeping bow.

Delia studied him. His aura was dark purple, almost black, like a fresh bruise. She wondered if that aura hurt. “You are a relative?”

“Not of a sniveling, human-raised abomination. I’m nephew to Iyuno.”

“Then you share blood with my father and myself. Why this war?”

“My uncle is the better elf. He was cheated of his throne.”

“Were you there?”

“No. But Uncle told me.”

It was obvious to Delia as she watched Ceinno’s aura bubble and flash, that she wasn’t going to change his mind. A brief thought about how her father’s conversation went passed quickly and she left it alone. “I’m sorry this has happened. We’re family.”

Ceinno spit on the ground. “No kin of mine.”

The evil permeated the stockade, rising from all seven elves. She turned to go. Sisruo took her arm. “Best to leave, Princess.”

“Do you feel it?”

“Feel what?”

“The evil. It’s thick over the stockade. I’m going to suggest to father that those seven be separated.”

“Probably a good idea, Princess.” Sisruo cut straight through the spiral camp to the King’s tent. He called out to the guard in front. “Princess Delia to see the King.”

Delia had a moment of annoyance about him speaking for her but pushed it away. This was more important.

“Come in.”

The King rose. “Are you alright, daughter?”

“Yes, Father. I am. I just came from the prisoner’s stockade.”

The King’s face clouded. “I wish you hadn’t.”

“I met Ceinno. He is almost as evil as Nethene. I advise separating those elves. The entire stockade stinks of evil.”

“What happened?”

“We were walking by. I wasn’t even aware of the stockade. That’s when a psychic blow nearly knocked me off of my feet.”

The King glared at Sisruo. “You were with her?”

“Yes, Sire. The prisoners were most disrespectful.”

Ucheni looked back to his daughter. “I’ll talk to Captain Neoni about it. You think they’re dangerous?”

“Yes, I do.”

The king sighed. “Very well. But stay away from there.”

“Yes, Father.”

She bowed and left, Sisruo behind her.

“Are you sure you’re alright? That seemed like quite the blow.”

“I’m fine. Just a little tired.” She stopped at her tent. “I’ll take a nap, I think.”

“Good. If you need more headache medicine, let me know.”

“Thank you, Sisruo.” Delia went into her tent. It was warmer inside than out. All the better to sleep, she thought.

She lay down on top of the wool blanket and closed her eyes.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 25.

1184 Words

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

 

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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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