Slave Elf Part 30: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

See Part 1 here.

Part 30

Delia traded a glance with Kaya and approached the table.

“Welcome, niece.” The man at the head of the table rose and gave a small bow. “How nice to finally meet you.” He motioned to the table where two places were set. “Join us.”

Delia didn’t want to sit with these elves. There was no need to switch to her magical sight to see their auras, she could feel the evil permeating the room. Despite that, her stomach growled, betraying her to her great-uncle. She sat in the indicated chair as he smiled at her. Kaya sat beside her.

“Isn’t this nice.” Iyuno sat back down. More black elves appeared, carrying plates of food and placed them in front of each elf then left the room.

Delia’s stomach growled again at the aroma of the food in front of her. Some sort of roast meat alongside of root vegetables, and gravy over all. She looked up from her plate to her uncle. “Why are we here?”

Another smile spread across his face. “Why, niece! To meet you, of course. I never understood why your father sent you away. And to humans?” He shook his head. “A trial for you, I’m sure.”

Nethene and Ceinno both grinned at her. She could feel her skin crawl. “I survived.”

At that the three elves laughed. “Indeed, niece. Indeed. I hear you’ve learned to use your magic quite well since you’ve returned.”

She could feel her hand forming a ball of fire. Delia quickly shook it away. “Well enough.”

Iyuno picked up his fork and knife and cut into his roast. “Please, eat.”

She traded a glance with Kaya, who shrugged. Delia nodded and picked up her fork. The others had already begun. Would her uncle poison her? She didn’t know but she was famished and decided to eat. She stabbed a piece of potato and put it in her mouth, hardly chewing before she swallowed it. If it was poisoned, would she taste it? Would it kill immediately? Before she could think about it anymore, she cut a piece of the roast and ate that. Kaya followed suit.

Delia ate quickly as the three elves made small talk. They never once mentioned the battle that had raged outside of the castle. “What happened to my father?”

Iyuno put down his cutlery. “Happened?”

“The battle. What happened?”

Her uncle chuckled. “Nothing happened. Nothing at all.”

Infuriated, Delia looked at Kaya. She shook her head. Delia turned back to her uncle. “There was a battle. What happened?”

“Oh, that.” Iyuno picked up his goblet of wine and sipped as Nethene and Ceinno chuckled. “We won.”

Delia froze. Her father was dead? How else would this evil monster be sitting here? She reached out and picked up her goblet. It was water. She drank it all then placed the goblet carefully on the table. Was he playing a game with her? Kaya reached out and put her hand on Delia’s shoulder. Delia blinked back tears. She wasn’t going to believe Iyuno. “Then you have no reason to hold us. Let us go.”

“I think not.” Iyuno’s voice was cold. “No. You’ll stay with me. He raised his hand. Three black elves appeared at the door she’d come through. “Take them to their room.”

Delia and Kaya rose and went with the elves. They traveled a different direction from before dinner and were led to a furnished room this time. They were locked in and with her magical sight, Delia could see a protection barrier put up on it. The windows, too were protected. There were two beds with night clothes for them laid out on each. Delia went to one of the glassed windows and looked out. There was a crescent moon, low in the sky but she couldn’t see much else in the dark. She wrapped her arms around herself. What had happened?

Kaya stepped beside her. “He’s lying, you know.”

Delia nodded. “Yes. But about what? He’s sitting in his castle with his two favorite followers having a quiet dinner. None of them were injured. At best the fight was a draw and father retreated to our camp to regroup. At worst, he’s dead and the army scattered. Iyuno could be the new king for all we know.”

“Or your father defeated the black elves and has retreated into this castle. A prisoner. Your father doesn’t know we’ve been captured.”

Delia pressed her fingertips to her temples. “Then he’s worried sick about where we are.”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps Iyuno sent him a message saying he has you.”

“That’s not better, Kaya.” Delia pounded fists on her thighs. “Not better at all.”

“No, it’s not.” Kaya put an arm around her friend’s shoulders. “Let’s clean up. They left us a pitcher of water and wash cloths. We’ll get some sleep and make a plan in the morning.”

Delia nodded. In bed and the familiar magical light off, she wondered at her uncle’s use of torches. The magical lights were so much cleaner. Then her mind drifted to what her father was doing. If he wasn’t dead already. Those thoughts churned for a long time. She didn’t know when she drifted off but woke to sunshine streaming through the windows and a black elf leaving a breakfast tray. Kaya was already up and dressed, watching the elf as he left.

After the door locked she turned to Delia. “You’re awake. Good. Breakfast is served.”

“Sorry I slept so late. I had a hard time getting to sleep.” Delia tossed her blankets aside and got up.

“I know. I could hear you thrashing around.”

“I’m sorry I kept you awake.” Delia splashed her face in the remaining wash water and got dressed.

“No matter.” Kaya examined the tray. “A pitcher of water, bread, cheese and apples. Not bad.” She plated the food and sat down at the table. “A little butter for the bread would have been nice.” Kaya ripped a roll in half and pulled a bite off, pairing it with a bit of cheese before eating it.

Delia joined her at the table. “I suppose if he didn’t poison us last night he wouldn’t poison us this morning.”

Kaya laughed. “Probably not.”

They ate companionably, in silence until the food was gone. Kaya leaned back in the chair, mug of water in hand. “So, what’s our plan?”

Delia shook her head. “We can try and break the spell on the door and sneak out.”

“Sounds good. Let’s give it a try.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 31.

1087 Words

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

 

 

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NaNo, Contests, Vision Boards: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

So today is day 6 of the National Novel Writing Month. So far I have over 11,000 words written on the fourth book of my Jean Hays series, Mystery at the Reunion. I’ve totally gone off plan for this, still incorporating some of the ideas and actions but in a totally different time line and way. It’s crazy! I hope I can make this work!

The cover designer has finally contacted me and is completing the back matter on the covers for the entire series. Yep, it is going to delay the release of Tested, but that cannot be helped at this point.

The 4 day Facebook hop that I participated in was a lot of fun but without a lot of readers. That’s too bad as most of the over 70 authors had contests and were giving away great prizes. No one entered my contest so no one will receive the signed copy of Mystery at the Fair I was giving away. That’s alright. There will be other opportunities!

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. I have episodes scheduled up to the middle of December. I’m trying to decide if I should have a Yuletide episode. Maybe not as I don’t seem to be close enough to the ending to make it festive. But, I never know. Perhaps. You can find the first episode here.

 

Have you ever worked with vision boards before? What is a vision board? It is designed to open your mind to your desires. It’s designed to awaken you to the awareness that there really are possibilities for your life – and that you can actually create your world exactly the way you want to be. I’ve just signed up for a class to learn how to teach people to use vision boards to move their dreams forward. I can hardly wait to share this with everyone. I think I’ll be ready to share in January. This is going to be so much fun!

Giveaways:

The Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway is now over. The winner’s list is being compiled and will be out about Friday of this week. The Christmas Giveaway hasn’t quite started but, check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link in a day or two to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

2018 Planner

My October contest is now over. The winner is Kitty Garley and I’ll be contacting her today. The book she’s reading? The Gordeon by Kathryn Le Veque. The other books read: Miss Dimple Picks a Peck of Trouble by Mignon F. Ballard, A Catered Costume Party by Isis Crawford, Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton, Because They Hate by Brigitte Gabriel, A Different Beautiful by Courtney Westlake, and Hostage of Islam by Philip Strang. Those all sound like great books. Put them on your Christmas list!

Shout Out:

Author Patricia L. Brooks

I found out today that Patricia L. Brooks and her husband Earl Llewellyn Goldman will be at the Mesa Book Festival with myself and Marsha Ward. Patricia and her husband are both authors and all around great people. The festival is Saturday Dec 9th from 2 to 8PM at McDonald Dr between Main St and 1st Ave downtown Mesa. Come on by and say hello to all of us! Can’t wait? You can find more of Patricia and her books at www.brooksgoldmannpublishing.com.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

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 29: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

See Part 1 here.

Part 29

Delia woke in a stone room. Kaya was already awake, beside her. “I’ve already walked the room. The door is solid oak with iron laced through it and locked. The window it too high for me to reach. Both of them have protection wards on them.

Delia touched the back of her head. Her fall, or perhaps the elves when they brought her here, knocked her wound open. It hurt and, she looked at her hand, it was bleeding. “Can you look at my head please? My head is bleeding.” She scooted around so her back was to Kaya. She felt fingers gently probe her head and part her hair.

“Oh, yes. It’s broken open. Let me see if I can help.”

Delia felt that spot on her head get warm, the pain went away. “That feels better.”

“Good.” Kaya sat back against the wall. “I was out long enough for my power to regenerate.”

“I’m glad. Any idea how long we were unconscious?”

Kaya shook her head. “I’m not sure. I was totally drained when we were captured and I’m not sure how long it should or would have taken to get back to full strength. So, it could still be today or we may have lost a day. Or more.”

“More?” Delia sagged against the wall. She thought about the battle that had been raging when they were captured. Was her father all right? What happened at the battle? Was he worried? Was he dead? A soft sigh escaped her lips.

“I know.” Kaya took Delia’s hand. “We don’t know anything and it’s easy to drop into despair. So let’s tally up the good points. First, we’re alive.”

Delia chuckled. “I suppose that is a good point. Yes.”

“Next, we seem to have all of our powers and faculties. Every body part works.”

“That’s so.” Delia began to feel better. “And now that I think of it, my head was bleeding, and I’m not covered in blood so not too much time must have passed.”

Kaya grinned. “That’s true. Clever of you to think of that. I guess I was wallowing in some despair myself.”

Delia patted Kaya’s hand and let out a big breath. “The battle could still be going on.” She stood up and looked up at the window. “You’re smaller than I am. If you stood on my shoulders, do you think you could see outside?”

Kaya got up and stood beside Delia, looking at the window. “Maybe. Let’s try it.”

Delia went to the wall under the window and put her hands on the wall. “I’ll make a knee so you can climb up.”

Kaya took her boots off and placed her left foot on Delia’s left knee. “I hope I don’t hurt you too much.”

“It’ll be worth it if we can learn something.” As Kaya shifted her weight to her right foot on Delia’s right shoulder, Delia straightened up. “Are you close?”

“I’m still below the window. I’m going to try and pull myself up.”

Delia felt the weight leave her shoulders so she stepped back from the wall to see. Kaya had both hands on the window’s edge, elbows bent as she made the effort to lift herself up. “Let me try to help.” She dashed over to Kaya and put a hand under each of her feet. “I’m going to push up, Kaya.” As she pushed, she focused and added a little power.

“It’s working! Keep going!”

Delia lifted until her arms were straight up. “That’s it. Can you see out?”

“A little. Tree tops mostly. Wait, listen.” Kaya was silent for a moment. “I can hear fighting!”

“My arms are getting tired.”

“Oh. Yes. You can let me down.”

Slowly, Delia lowered her arms until Kaya’s feet touched her shoulders. She braced against the wall again as the elf clambered down.

Kaya let out a big breath. “That was awkward.”

Delia brushed off her hands. “What did you see?”

“The moat below us. Cleared ground on the other side of the moat to the treeline. That’s it.”

“How high up are we?”

“High. Four stories or more.”

Delia paced around the room. Six paces to the door. Seven from one side of the room to the other. The room was clean, at least there was that. But no water or food and no place to relieve herself, not even an empty bucket.

“The window is open?”

“Yes. Except for the protection spell. I could feel my fingers tingling on the window’s edge.”

“So we are stuck here until someone comes to let us out.” Delia didn’t like that at all. It felt like it did when she was a slave.

“Pretty much.”

Kaya sat down, her back against the wall facing the door. “I’m going to take a nap.”

Delia nodded. Kaya must still be feeling the effects of her all out magical efforts from the morning. But Delia wasn’t tired. She paced back and forth in front of the door, stopping now and then to examine the door or parts of the wall. The sun set and the room grew dark and chilly. She finally went over to sit with Kaya. Delia found Kaya’s body warmth comforting, even if it was just arm to arm. At least she wasn’t alone.

When Kaya woke, the two traded stories about growing up. Delia found herself a little envious of Kaya’s tales of family outings, trips to other elf kingdoms, and her siblings’ antics, but the tales helped to pass the time and she was glad of that.

They were startled by the sound of a key in the lock of the door. It swung open on creaky hinges and they sheltered their eyes at the glare of a torch. It was one of the black elves. “Come.”

Delia scrambled to her feet. Kaya shoved her feet into her boots and rose also. “Where?”

The elf backed out of the room. “Come.”

Delia sighed. There was nothing else to do. She followed the elf into the hall where she saw three others waiting. Kaya followed her.

“Come,” the elf with the torch said. He led them down the hall to the left. Delia and Kaya walked side by side, the three other black elves following. They reached the end of the hall in a tower and went down flights of stairs to a landing that led to another hall. They followed that to a great room, a fireplace at one end, windows along the right wall, and a table in the middle set for supper.

At the head of the table was an elf, dressed all in black. On his right was Nethene and on his left, Cienno. Delia felt the hairs on her arms stand up. This could not be good.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 30.

1131 Words

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

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Slave Elf Part 28: Flash Fiction Friday

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

See Part 1 here.

Part 28

Delia walked up to the edge of the moat as Kaya stood a little to her right and behind her to back her up if necessary. Delia wiped her hands on her trousers then focused as she raised her hands. Her mouth was so dry her tongue was sticking to the roof of her mouth. She refocused on the yellow bands, her energy forming the green magic. At the point when she thought she couldn’t hold the magic any longer, she released it, watching it flow across the moat and cover the yellow bands. She kept feeding the magic, urging it to cover every yellow line, smother it, eliminate it.

Beside her Kaya had her hands raised as well, green power circling her hands, ready to assist if needed. “You can do it,” she whispered.

Delia gave a brief nod. She had to stay focused. It wasn’t long before every yellow line was covered but something was wrong. “It doesn’t feel right.”

“What do you mean?” Kaya looked at her, eyebrows high.

“It’s not the same magic we practiced on. It’s wrong.”

“What’s it doing?”

“Resisting, pushing back.” Her arms began to shake with the effort. “I’m not sure I can hold it.”

Kaya through her magic at the bands. Delia could feel the other elf’s strength and it helped but it wasn’t going to be enough. “We have to build a wall. This is going to blow back on us and the army.”

Kaya had beads of sweat running down her temples. “How did you hold this alone?”

“No idea.” She drew a shaky breath. “Can you hold a few moments while I build a protection shield?”

Delia could see Kaya’s entire body vibrate with her effort.

“A very short time.”

“Here I go.” Delia removed her green magic and using the edge of the moat in front of her as an anchor, began weaving yellow bands in a circle. Around and around she went. Behind her she could hear her father ordering the army back. That was a little relief. She continued to build—around and around until the yellow wall was two stories high. She whispered the command and dropped her arms. “Stop, Kaya!”

Kaya fell to the ground, panting just as the protection on the gate flashed. Delia was knocked backward off of her feet, a wave of energy passing by, ruffling the grass and shaking nearby bushes. The army behind her roared. She twisted around to see what was happening.

Out of holes in the ground elves came running, dressed all in black, she could see that most of them had auras dark as night. Shaking, Delia realized that she and Kaya were on the wrong side of that mass of elves.

She crawled over to Kaya who was lying limp on the ground. “We must move!”

“What?”

“The black elves are attacking from hidden tunnels. We’re on the wrong side. Move!”

Delia helped her to her feet and the two began working their way to the left at the edge of the moat. They hunched over, hoping to avoid being seen. Delia desperately wished for some bushes for cover but of course, none would be found this close to the moat. “We have to get far enough around the castle to cut back to the forest.”

“Yes.” Kaya was breathing harshly.

Delia didn’t like the sound of it but there was nothing she could do about it at the moment. Ahead, she could see the dust rising from Mystesto’s force. “Look. The same thing happened to them.”

Kaya raised her head. “Not good.”

“Not at all. We’ll try and cut into the forest here.”

Kaya nodded and did her best to move quickly. Delia tried to see all around her. Nothing was coming up behind them. Nothing was coming from Mystesto’s direction either. They were closing in on the tree line. She began to think they were going to make it.

They ran into the shade, a blessing in itself. Kaya struggled to stay on her feet. “I have to rest.”

Delia found a tree and helped Kaya sit, back against the trunk, on the side away from the fighting. She glanced around. They were alone. She knelt next to the apprentice. “Can you tell me what hurts?”

“Everything. I used the last of my strength to hold that spell.” Kaya stopped, breathing hard. “Then when the spell snapped, even with your shield, it felt as though I’d been whipped.”

Delia took a look at Kaya’s aura. It was very faded. “I’m sorry. You’ve been injured in a way I don’t know how to fix.”

“I just need rest. It’ll come back.”

Delia sat back on her heels. They were in a fix. She couldn’t carry Kaya. Two forces were fighting on either side of them. Neither of them had more than simple eating knives on them and they were cut off from their own side. Delia pressed her fingers to her temples as though that would generate an idea. All she could feel was panic.

“Take a breath.”

Delia shook her head with confusion. “What?”

“Take a deep breath,” Kaya said weakly. “I can see you’re panicking. Just take a breath.”

Delia felt like a selfish child that the injured elf had to comfort her. “Sorry. I don’t know what to do.”

“That’s fine. We’ll get out of this.”

Delia nodded. She refrained from asking how. She held Kaya’s hand. “Of course, we will.” As they sat, she listened to the battles on either side of them. The clang of sword on shield or sword on sword was loud. There was screaming, too, though she tried not to dwell on that. She worried about her father and the ambush. Was he safe? What about Mage Kaepli and Sisruo? Delia fought back the tears of fear and grief. Stop being a baby. You can’t stay here. Move! “We need to move, Kaya. We’re too close to the castle and the battle.”

“Let’s go then.”

Delia helped her to her feet and they did their best to move quietly through the forest. “It’s just a mile to our camp,” Delia whispered. “Do you think you can go that far?”

Kaya nodded.

They edged around a large bush and just beyond it, Delia heard a snap. She turned around and out of the bush emerged four male elves, dressed all in black like the ambushers. There must be a tunnel in that bush, she thought, just before one of the elves raised his hand and threw a blue ball of magic at them. She didn’t have time to untangle herself from Kaya. The ball hit them. Her last thought was, No!

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 29.

1115 Words

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

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Tested, Mystery at the Fair: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

I spent last week finishing up my synopsis and query letter for Mystery at the Fair and have submitted it to the Hallmark Channel for consideration on Saturday. I expect there have been thousands of submissions. Who knows how long it will take for them to review them all. In the meantime, cross your fingers for me.

A pic I was considering for the Tested cover until I went in an entirely different direction.

I have the fourth Brown Rain story, Tested, edited. I am now formatting the manuscript for both print and ebook. I’ve contacted the cover designer. I should have all four covers, including Tested, back this week. Release will be early November if all goes well.

Mystery at the Reunion is set in Vegas, Baby!

I’m still brainstorming elements of my next Jean Hays story, Mystery at the Reunion. November’s National Novel Writing Month is just eight days away!

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. Sunday, I wrote two more episodes. Delia is in deep trouble. 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. There are 8 days left so get it now!

2018 Planner

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, just 8 days away, 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 Arizona authors that helps with the Payson book festival is Jan Cleere. She says, “I write about the people, legends and tales of the Old West that I have uncovered among tattered documents, tear-stained journals and diaries, and the accounts told by old-timers.” An award-winning author, a historian, and speaker, Jan will next be at the Tucson Corral of Westerners, 4855 Eat Broadway Blvd, Tucson, on November 6th at 6pm. Her topic is “The Woman Who Shot Cowboys” a biography of rodeo photographer Louise Serpa. If you can’t see Jan in person, you can find her books and calendar at https://www.jancleere.com/.

Where Will I Be?

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

The Payson library’s first ever mini-comicon has been post-poned from November 2017 until perhaps March of 2018. I’m committed to being on a panel so I’ll keep you posted on all of the details.

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 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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