Slave Elf Part 46: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 46

Find Part 1 here.

 

Delia saw Master Kaepli and Master Juner leave together with Kaya. Aduello followed after greeting the king as an old friend. Neoni and Mystesto took Captain Cateri with them. Finally, she and the king were alone.

“How are you, father?”

He took her into another hug. “Better now that you are here. How did you escape?”

“A long story, father. Better left for a quiet winter’s night in front of the fire. But, one thing came of it, I found the key to Iyuno’s and his nephew’s, power. Fire.”

Ucheni looked at her. Puzzlement clear on his face. “Fire?”

“Yes.” She looked at the lamp hanging over the map table. “Look with your magical sight.”

She stared at the small flame, willing it to share its power with her. A tiny thread left the flame and came to Delia’s hand. As soon as it touched her, the soreness and weariness of the last two days left her. She stopped the call there, so she wouldn’t extinguish the lamp. “You see?”

The king looked at her, open mouthed. “How did you learn that?”

“I saw Iyuno do it in the dungeon.”

Her father started to speak.

“For another time, Father. Really. But as I realized when I was first returned to you, most elves don’t use their magical sight very often. I still do because it’s still new to me. So, one day, he was in the dungeon, gloating, and I saw what he was doing. They made a mistake. Usually they left with the torches but one night they forgot. I took advantage and got both Kaya and myself out. Then when we got to the palace, it was protected, everyone gone. I was so worried.”

“I am sorry, daughter. We needed to protect everyone. It seemed best, especially since Master Kaepli knew how to set the protection spell.”

“I thought so. Anyway, Kaya and I went to her home. We arrive half-starved and bedraggled but Aduello and his wife Phara have been wonderful. He was injured in a skirmish we had in Verda.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” He sighed. “Go, rest. Someone will take you to a tent.” He smiled. “I’m glad you are here.”

“As am I. Rest well, Father.”

“And you.”

When she left the tent, a guard walked her to a tent set aside for her. Her saddlebags and bedroll were there. The bedroll already spread out on a cot. She drank some water from a pitcher and mug left on a small table for her and some bread and cheese. That at least stopped the hunger pangs enough that she could relax.

The brief burst of energy she received from the lamp fire had gone. She was just tired. She lay down, thinking about the next day but was asleep before she could form a whole thought.

The next morning, she awoke late. She left the tent and went in search of Master Kaepli. His tent was full. Sisruo stood up when she entered, a grin spread across his face. “Princess Delia!”

Everyone turned to see her. Kaya was beaming from next to Master Kaepli. “I told you.”

The whole group gathered around her for hugs and handshakes until Master Kaepli cleared his throat. The group settled down. Beside Kaepli was Master Juner. “Kaya was telling us about your escape. Power from fire?”

“Yes, Master. I can demonstrate if you have a torch.”

Kaepli nodded to Couran who dashed out of the open tent door. “We’ve been telling Master Juner about the protection spell. Kaya tells us that you broke the one at the palace.”

“I did. With the help of what I’m going to show you. But tell me about this duel? What will happen?”

Master Kaepli sat down. “It’s hard to know. Iyuno has the more powerful magic. Your father, has his own strengths, of course. They can duel with magic, with weapons, or both. It’s their choice.”

That did not sound good to Delia. She knew what Iyuno could do. The fear must have shown on her face.

“Do not fear, child. While your father is keeping Iyuno busy, we’ll be dealing with his army.”

Her eyebrows drew together. “Doesn’t that break protocol?”

“A little,” the mage shrugged. “But Iyuno’s conceit is so huge, he decided to accept the challenge.”

“Nethene and Ceinno are very powerful. Not elves to be trifled with.” Delia had a flashback to the dungeon and shivered. She shoved the memory away.

“We know. Kaya has told us.” He looked at her with sympathy. “We have you.”

She didn’t know what to say to that. Everyone was putting entirely too much faith in her new powers as far as she was concerned. That was when Couran came back with a torch. He stood in the middle of the tent.

“Go ahead,” Kaepli said.

Delia took a breath and held out her hand. It was harder to see in the daylight but everyone in the tent gasped when a small tendril of fire power reached her fingertips. Like it did last night, she felt better, stronger, immediately. She drained the torch of power in preparation for mid-day. “That’s it. I took all the power it had.”

“And what does it do to you?” Master Kaepli asked.

She told them.

Kaepli looked at Kaya. “Have you tried this?”

She nodded. Both my father and I after we saw what she could do. “Neither of us could do it.”

Couran lit the torch. Each apprentice and Kaepli and Juner tried. They couldn’t do it. “You say you broke the protection spell by using the power of a bonfire?” Kaepli asked.

“I did.” Delia nodded. “The bigger the fire, the more power I can draw.”

“And Iyuno, Nethene, and Ceinno can all do this?”

Kaya and Delia nodded.

Kaepli stroked his beard. “How far can you draw the power?”

“I don’t know. I’ve only drawn from fires close to me.”

Juner and Kaepli traded glances. “All of you go. Eat. You’ll need your strength. Delia. If you would stay just a moment.”

The rest left. Sisruo exchanging glances with her until he was out of sight.

“Have you eaten?” Kaepli asked.

“No. I slept late. The ride was very hard.”

“We’ll let you go in a moment.” He again looked a Juner. “We think you need to know more of the prophecy.”

Delia’s heart raced. More? How much more could there be? It already put all of the weight of the kingdom on her shoulders.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 47.

1079 Words

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

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Another Giveaway, Tested is Free: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Mystery at the Fair is in a book bundle called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. I can hardly wait to read all of these new to me other authors. Hope you enjoy it. Just $7.99 for six books!

If you’d like an Advance Reader Copy of Tested and to write a review for me, go to https://booksprout.co/arc/1639/tested. There are only 18 copies left so hurry. You’ll have to join but it’s free. You can follow me there, so you get updated on every new release!

Giveaways:

 

So check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Also happening this month are two other giveaways.

First up is a March Fantasy Madness giveaway. That started on March 1st over on Book Funnel. Tons of fantasy stories up for grab for just signing up for author newsletters. If you love Fantasy, this is the giveaway for you. Here’s the link: http://www.autumnwriting.com/march-fantasy-madness/. Click on the book you are interested in and it takes you right to the purchase page.

Next, starting Friday, March 16th, is a Mystery promo also on Book Funnel. I’m in that with Mystery at the Fair, if you haven’t read it yet. But there will be a lot of other mystery authors in the promo as well. The link is:  https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery/sfaebm0djq. It’ll open on the 16th.

Shout Out:

Today I’m giving a shout out to Autumn Birt. She says: “I’m a writer!

Oh, you probably wanted to know more than that.   And there is more, but writing is my passion. Despite the headaches of learning to edit, market, design covers, create websites, plot stalls, limited time… despite any drawback you can list, I love writing. That really is the first thing you should know about me.

And that is why I’m the author of 12 books and counting. I fell in love with fantasy in high school after stumbling across a short story of dragon impression on Pern written by Anne McCaffrey. So from day 1 I’ve loved dragons and adventures that are a bit farther flung than your average story.

Since writing my first epic fantasy trilogy, the Rise of the Fifth Order, I branched into new territory with the apocalyptic dystopian thriller Friends of my Enemy. With no magic, lots of explosions and a very adult theme, this genre jump may seem like a complete change. But the essence of my writing, exciting plots, strong characters, and a setting that feels real, lie at the core of both series. So if you love books that will keep you up flipping pages, check out my books. The first book of both series is free!

Besides that, I used to live in Maine in a small, off-grid cottage I built with my husband (our two Cairn terriers supervised). I love to travel though and that led us to selling our little house and hitting the road in a Landcruiser for overland travel. I would say travel is a second passion in my life. And I prefer slow travel: hiking, sailing, kayaking, and motorcycling. Especially the motorcycling! I have an F650 BMW that is my favorite thing next to a writing device (preferably a portable writing device). I’m attempting to combine my two loves of slow travel and writing by overlanding in a Landcruiser along with my husband and dog. Check out our progress on Escape with the Dogs to see where we are. Who knows, we might be just down the road from you!

I have plans for many further adventures both real and fictional. So stay tuned and stay in touch. I love to hear from people!”

You can find out more at www.autmnwriting.com.

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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:

Tested released January 31st 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.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Slave Elf Part 45: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 45

Find Part 1 here.

 

The meeting at dawn at the west gate was uneventful. The night guards unbarred the town gate and let them through. They rode silently through the dawn mists. Delia pulled her cloak around her tighter. The weather was getting colder. Summer was nearly at an end and fall would arrive soon. With luck, this would be finished soon, and she could go back to the palace and learn more about being an elf than fighting.

They rode steadily, only stopping at noonday to rest the horses and eat. Then it was back in the saddle. Delia rode beside Captain Catari after they left their lunch spot. “How long until we reach the king, Captain?”

“Another day. We’ll camp tonight and begin again in the morning. It will be after dark when we arrive even riding late into the night tonight. It seems to me speed is most important right now.”

Delia agreed with him. “And Iyuno?”

“We don’t know where he is. His forces are spread throughout the mountains.” His look went hard. “He attacks anyone not pledged to him. We’ve lost many elves.”

“Gallett told me about his family. I am truly sorry, Captain.”

“Thank you.” He looked at her. “This prophesy, do you think it will come to pass?”

Delia shook her head. “I don’t know, Captain. I only heard about it when I was returned to the elves. It seems to me to be far-fetched. I’ve only practiced magic for a handful of months. I don’t see how I could be more powerful than Iyuno or his nephews. They’ve had decades or hundreds of years of practice and study.”

“I’ve heard you can do some amazing things.”

She shrugged. “I can throw fireballs, which isn’t common but not unusual. I can throw an invisible heat ball, kind of like force that pushes. Master Kaepli taught me how to put an opponent to sleep but he taught that to all of his apprentices, as well as how to build a protective wall and how to take it down. But again. He taught that to his apprentices at the same time.” Delia shook her head. “No. To be honest, I don’t feel special at all.”

“Don’t discount your abilities, Princess. I do not have those skills and neither do any of my men. Perhaps Master Juner does, but if so, he’s never told me.”

Captain Catari pulled away from the head of the small column and dropped back to check on the rear. Delia gave some thought to what he’d said. Perhaps it was true, then. Sisruo, Kaya and the others were powerful elves, as was Master Kaepli but even though Kaya and her father knew about pulling power from fire, they’d never said if they’d tried it themselves. And who knew what she herself could do if pushed. Though what else could push her after being tortured for days in Iyuno’s dungeon, she shuddered to think.

They made a quick stop at sundown, again to let the horses graze and grab a cold bite of food for themselves, then remounted and rode into the night. It was close to midnight, Delia thought, when they finally halted for the night. The horses were hobbled so they could graze or sleep. The elves didn’t set up tents. Everyone rolled into their bedrolls and slept under the stars.

The next morning came all too soon for Delia. Cold biscuits and jerky were handed around as breakfast and water from the stream was all there was to drink. Delia was stiff and cold from sleeping on the cold ground and wet from the heavy dew that had fallen. She retrieved her horse and saddled her herself, tying the damp bedroll on the back of the saddle. I’ll take it down and spread it out to dry at noon-tide, she thought. That way it will be at least a little drier when I have to sleep in it tonight.

They formed up and rode just as the sun began to brighten the eastern sky. The second day was much like the first. Delia found herself dozing in the saddle. She nearly fell off of her horse once when it stumbled. That had frightened her, but she realized as she looked around, nearly everyone else was in the same condition.

More jerky was for supper when they stopped just before sunset. She pulled out the apples and handed them around to Kaya and Aduello. Her horse whinnied her happiness when Delia presented the little mare with it, on the flat of her hand. The filly munched it messily then leaned down to lip up the pieces she’d dropped. A small kindness, Delia thought as she stroked the horse’s neck. A battle was coming, she could feel it and perhaps the little mare wouldn’t live through it.

They mounted up and Delia looked at the guards, Kaya, and Aduello. Perhaps none of them would live through it. She felt bad about Gallett, especially. He really shouldn’t be here. He was too young. Did he even have any power yet? How would he defend himself?

She dropped back one spot to talk to Master Juner. “Master, I worry about Gallett.”

The mage nodded. “Young yet, it is so. But the troop is fond of him. He’ll be protected.”

“That’s good to know.” She took a breath. “And how are you? It’s been a hard ride.”

He smiled at her. “It’s true I’m getting old, but my strength is not diminished. Tell me about the spells Master Kaepli has taught you.”

They spent many miles talking about the protective wall, the sleeping spell and much more. Delia was surprised when Captain Catari raised his hand to halt the troop.

In the dark, everyone behind her stopped because she was stopped. Was something wrong? She looked around, trying to sense trouble coming.

“We’re here,” he announced. “Stay here while I ride ahead to announce us.”

Delia breathed a sigh of relief but didn’t stop trying to sense the darkness around them. Knowing her uncle, this would be when he’d attack.

For once, she was glad to be wrong. Captain Catari returned. “Forward!”

They rode into a well-guarded camp. Defensive spikes and ditches surrounded the tents. Guards were on duty, as far as Delia could tell, every thirty feet or so with fires. Elves from the camp took the horses as the Captain, Mage Juner, Aduello, Kaya, and Delia were led to the king’s tent. Even at this late hour, he was still awake. Master Kaepli was with him as well as Mystesto and Neoni, looking at maps on a table in the middle of his tent.

King Ucheni opened his arms. “Daughter, come, let me give you a hug of welcome.”

Delia had tears in her eyes when he released her. “Father. I was so worried about you.”

“And I you, daughter.” He grinned at the others in the tent. “Look, my daughter who was lost has been returned to me!”

After grins all around, she introduced Kaya and Aduello. The king shook both of their hands. “Thank you for keeping her safe.”

“It was she who kept me safe,” Kaya told him. “She arranged our escape.”

Ucheni nodded. “A tale for another day, I’m afraid. You’ve come at a desperate time.”

Delia stepped back from the map table. “How may we help, Father?”

“Master Kaepli?” the king invited.

The mage stepped forward. “Iyuno is just about finished blocking us into this valley. But,” he nodded to the king and Delia. “It’s a trap of our own choosing.”

Delia didn’t think ‘trap’ was a good thing.

“We have set up hidden traps in the passages leading here. We’ve trained more elves in how to use the sleeping spell.” He looked at Delia. “And now, we have the Princess of prophecy.”

Delia blushed under everyone’s stare. “And the plan, Master Kaepli?”

“We draw them down here. A challenge was issued, from the king,” he nodded to the king, “to Iyuno.”

Delia’s heart sank. She knew from personal experience how powerful her uncle was. “A duel?”

The mage nodded. “We have to stop Iyuno himself. Stopping his army isn’t enough.”

Ucheni spoke. “My uncle has accepted. We know he’ll try some trickery. We’ve done what we can to defend against whatever it may be. We meet tomorrow at mid-day. So. Go. Rest. The battle starts tomorrow.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 46.

1393 Words

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

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Giveaways, Gulliver Series Box Set: Monday Blog Post

 

Newest News:

I’m working on re-editing and reformating my Gulliver Station series as a box set in both ebook and paperback formats. It’s slow going as I apparently don’t know how to use a comma. Also, I’m catching little typo’s. It’s coming! Really it is.

I have Mystery at the Fair in a bundle called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. I can hardly wait to read all of these new to me other authors. Hope you enjoy it. Just $7.99 for six books!

I never did get started on the edits for Mystery at the Reunion or my new Zoe Ohale story. So much work to do, only 24 hours in a day.

I did, however, figure out how to automate getting my books into the hands of readers for reviews. I’ve started with Tested, my newest release. Twenty copies were available and two are already taken. So if you’d like an Adavnce Reader Copy of Tested and to write a review for me, go to https://booksprout.co/arc/1639/tested. You’ll have to join but it’s free. You can follow me there so you get updated on every new release!

Giveaways:

So check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Also happening this month are two other giveaways.

 

First up is a March Fantasy Madness giveaway. That started on March 1st over on Book Funnel. Tons of fantasy stories up for grab for just signing up for author newsletters. If you love Fantasy, this is the giveaway for you. Here’s the link: http://www.autumnwriting.com/march-fantasy-madness/. Click on the book you are interested in and it takes you right to the purchase page.

Next, starting March 16th, is a Mystery promo. I’m in that with Mystery at the Fair, if you haven’t read it yet. But there will be a lot of other mystery authors in the promo as well. A link for that will be up closer to the date.

Shout Out:

Author Holly Lisle

Today I’m giving a shout out to Holly Lisle. If you like scifi and fantasy, she’s an author you should read. Hear what she has to say about herself.

I’ve been writing with intent to publish since January 1st, 1985 when my New Year’s resolution was to write a novel before I turned twenty-five (ten months later, more or less).

I hit my resolution with a few days to spare, but the book, Hearts In Stitches, sucked. I wrote a LOT after that, accumulating a big shoebox with well over a hundred rejection slips in it before anybody decided I was good enough to pay for fiction.

I actually started selling in 1991, and I broke in with with the fantasy novel Fire In The Mist (which won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel), and with a couple of sonnets I sold to the SF magazine Aboriginal.

It was a long hard slog between intent and realization.

It’s been a rollercoaster ever since.

But I love telling stories. In fiction, I’ve found the work I want to do for the rest of my life.

You’ll find a little more about me by reading the rest of the About pages at www.HollyLisle.com. Frankly, though, there’s much more of who I really am spread across the writing articles and sprinkled through the heart of my fiction and sprawled all over the damn place in my weblog, Pocket Full of Words.

I am not my work. But my work is me.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my engagements through 2018.

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

And, on Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be at the renamed Phoenix Comic Fest. (formerly Phonenix Comicon) I’ll be in Author Alley at tables AA928 and 930 with author Marsha Ward. If you’re coming to Arizona, stop on by and say hello. I’ll be in costume this year! We can take a picture together. Tickets for the Fest are already on sale.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the SciFi/Fantasy and the Cozy Mystery 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! I have a contest running on my newsletter now. 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:

Tested released January 31st 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.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and the Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to paypal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Slave Elf Part 44: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Apples by denfo httpswww.deviantart.comartApples-13599833

 

Part 44

Find part 1 here.

 

Yarami smiled. “A good question, Princess.” He took a breath. “You want to join him? You seem to have the skills to be of use.”

Delia nodded. “We all do. Kaya is a great healer. Aduello, an old friend of the King. We can help.”

“I believe you can. I can have someone guide you to them.”

“Do you know where Iyuno and his forces are?” Aduello shifted in his chair, cradling his arm in its sling.

The mage stroked his beard. “In a canyon, playing cat and mouse with his uncle.” He shook his head. “It’s bad business. Outposts and homesteads are being destroyed. The skirmishes spill over into the dwarves’ territory and they’re none too pleased about it.”

Lord Yarmai studied Delia. “You know about the prophesy?”

“I’ve been told. But I don’t feel like a very powerful elf.”

Yarami’s eyebrow went up again. “Perhaps. But the speed with which you learn, and the number of unique powers, you’ve learned may prove otherwise.” He pushed a lock of his loose hair behind an ear. “I’ll send you.” He looked at Aduello. “You’re injured. Would you prefer to stay here?”

“My daughter is a good healer. She can tend to the wound.”

Yarami nodded. “Very well. I’ll send a small force with you.” He looked at Captain Catari. “You’ve been itching to go. Set up Lieutenant Gormaldi to be the leader of the guard. Take up to ten of your best.”

“I’d like to go as well, Lord Yarami.”

Yarami turned to stare at Master Juner. “And you? I didn’t know you had any desire to go to battle.”

“You misunderstand me, My Lord. I want to talk to Master Kaepli.” He looked at the two young elves. “He apparently has an amazing ability to create spells.”

“Ah.” Yarami smiled. “A professional curiosity.” He nodded. “Very well. I know your assistants are quite capable.”

“Thank you, My Lord.” He gave a gentle bow from the waist.

“Go with my blessings. All of you. Tell the king I’d send more elves if I had them.” He looked at Delia. “But I suspect he has all the help he needs.”

Delia and her companions rose, as did Master Juner. Captain Catari led them out of the room and down to the main entrance. “Do you have everything you need?” he asked.

“We don’t know.” Aduello adjusted the sling a little. “We abandoned everything at the inn when we realized there was trouble. Everything, including the horses, may still be there or not.”

“Gallett,” he called.

A young elf stepped forward. He’d been one of the elves in the Lord’s office. “Sir.”

“Go with them. Find out if their belongings are still intact. Bring them back if not.”

“If everything is in place, Aduello, meet me at the west gate at sunrise.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

The three turned to leave, the young guard followed. Aduello and Kaya walked side by side. Delia followed beside Gallett. She smiled to see he was distressed by that. “Where are you from, Gallett?”

He looked at her wide-eyed. “Um, nearby, Princess.” He ducked his head and touched his forehead.

“No formalities with me, Gallett. Is there a title I should use with your name? Soldier, Guard?”

“No, Princess. I’m new. I don’t have a rank yet. They just yell, Gallett!”

She smiled. “That’s what my master used to do. ‘Delia,” he’d bellow when he wanted me.”

He looked at her sideways. “I thought that just a story, Princess.”

She sighed. “No. No story. Sixty years, close enough, I was a slave on a caravan. Back and forth, up and down through the desert selling slaves and assorted goods for my Master.”

“That’s not right, Princess.”

“No. But my parents, the king and queen, were trying to hide me. But now I’m back,” she said in a more cheerful voice. “What about your parents?”

He sighed. “We had a homestead, to the south. I’m here because Iyuno’s elves destroyed it.” His voice was hard, but a tear formed and raced down his cheek. He dashed it away quickly.

“I am so sorry, Gallett. Is that why you became a guard?”

“Yes, Princess. I had no one left. So even though I’m too young, Lord Yarami let me join.”

“That was kind of him.”

“Yes. Yes it was.”

By then they were back at the inn. Everything seemed peaceful. They checked the horses first. They were in their stalls, dozing. Delia was relieved. She liked the little mare she’d been riding and had been anxious that something may have happened to her.

They went to their rooms. Nothing had been disturbed. Aduello sighed. “That’s a relief.” He looked at Gallett. “Tell your Captain that we are fine. We’ll meet him at the west gate at dawn.”

Gallett nodded, gave Delia a shy smile, and left. Aduello sat on Kaya’s bed. “Let’s spend the rest of the afternoon preparing. Kaya, could you take a look at my shoulder? It really hurts. Delia, could you arrange with the inn-keeper for trail food for the three of us. Five days-worth if possible. Then with the livery elf for provisions for the horses.

He reached into a pocket and drew out a pouch. “Take this to pay.” He held out several gold coins.

“I have some money. And I brought jewelry to sell. I can take care of it.”

“Nonsense. The king will repay me. Trust me. Keep your things. We may have need of them later.” He urged her to take the coins.

Delia didn’t want to. She felt like a burden. After shoving his hand at her again, she relented and took the coins. “Very well. I’ll get everything arranged.” She put the coins in her pocket and left.

The inn-keeper was agreeable to provide the food. They discussed what would be best, then Delia went to the livery elf. The same there. She paid the elf and told him when they wanted to go. He agreed to have the horses ready.

There were a few coins left. She went to the market, closing down, and bought six apples. Three for the horses and three for them. Delia had a feeling the horses, and the elves, would need a treat before the battle began.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 45.

1040 Words

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

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Cozy Mystery Bundle Release, Giveaways, All About Bob Series: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Remember the cozy mystery bundle over on the Bundle Rabbit site I talked about last week?  Well, it’s been released. The book is called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. I think you’ll enjoy it. The Bundle Rabbit link is:   https://bundlerabbit.com/b/cozy-winter-reads and you can get the bundle in whatever format you’d like. I can hardly wait to read all of these new to me other authors. Hope you enjoy it. Just $7.99 for six books!

I finished the first draft of It’s All About the Odds. I need to let this story rest before I begin editing. This series won’t get published until I have the entire thing written and edited. That way readers won’t have to wait so long to get them. In the meantime I have edits to do on both the next Zoe Ohale story and the next Jean Hays story.

I’m also getting ready to release my Gulliver Station series as a box set in both ebook and paperback formats. Every book is being re-edited and has to be reformatted to a box set format so it will be a while yet. But if you’ve put off buying the series, you might want to hold off a bit longer to pick up the box set.

Giveaways:

The Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway now over.  Winners will be chosen soon and notified. Then, check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the next contest, the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Also happening this month are two other giveaways.

First up is a March Fantasy Madness giveaway. That starts on March 1st over on Book Funnel. Tons of fantasy stories up for grab for just signing up for author newsletters. If you love Fantasy, this is the giveaway for you. Here’s the link:

Next, starting March 16th, is a Mystery promo. I’m in that with Mystery at the Fair, if you haven’t read it yet. But there will be a lot of other mystery authors in the promo as well. A link for that will be up closer to the date.

Shout Out:

I want to give a shout out to author Autumn Birt who is the driving force behind the fantasy giveaway I’m in.

And that is why I’m the author of 12 books and counting. I fell in love with fantasy in high school after stumbling across a short story of dragon impression on Pern written by Anne McCaffrey. So from day 1 I’ve loved dragons and adventures that are a bit farther flung than your average story.

Since writing my first epic fantasy trilogy, the Rise of the Fifth Order, I branched into new territory with the apocalyptic dystopian thriller Friends of my Enemy. With no magic, lots of explosions and a very adult theme, this genre jump may seem like a complete change. But the essence of my writing, exciting plots, strong characters, and a setting that feels real, lie at the core of both series. So if you love books that will keep you up flipping pages, check out my books. The first book of both series is free!

Besides that, I used to live in Maine in a small, off-grid cottage I built with my husband (our two Cairn terriers supervised). I love to travel though and that led us to selling our little house and hitting the road in a Landcruiser for overland travel. I would say travel is a second passion in my life. And I prefer slow travel: hiking, sailing, kayaking, and motorcycling. Especially the motorcycling! I have an F650 BMW that is my favorite thing next to a writing device (preferably a portable writing device). I’m attempting to combine my two loves of slow travel and writing by overlanding in a Landcruiser along with my husband and dog. Check out our progress on Escape with the Dogs to see where we are. Who knows, we might be just down the road from you!

I have plans for many further adventures both real and fictional. So stay tuned and stay in touch. I love to hear from people!

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

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:

Tested released January 31st 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.

Thank you for reading my blog. Like all of the other work I do as an author, it takes time and money. If you enjoy this Monday blog and Friday free story and the recipe I put up on the 25th of every month, consider donating to PayPal.me/ConniesRandomThought. I appreciate any donation to help support this blog.

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Baked Cauliflower: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Serving of Baked Cauliflower

Baked Cauliflower

One thing I do miss while on my new eating plan is pasta. I have always loved pasta and for many years dedicated Saturday night to pasta dinners. But eating paleo has changed all that. I still want that comfort food for dinner though. So what to do? Recreate it, of course. Now no one is ever going to think that cauliflower is pasta but nevertheless, I made this baked cauliflower and it was so good, the hubby went for seconds!

To make this work, since I also am off of dairy, I had to make a cauliflower ricotta. So, this month you get two recipes, three, if you count the sauce, for the price of one! You can find my spaghetti sauce recipe here.

Cauliflower Ricotta, Makes 1 1/2 cups. From FrugalFreebiesandDeals.com

Hardware

Pot

Strainer

Clean Dish Towel

Measuring spoons

Food Processor

 

Ingredients

16 oz frozen cauliflower

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 T nutritional yeast (Optional)

1 egg (optional if you’re not using this in a baked dish)

 

Read the whole recipe here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite baked dish to serve family or guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Slave Elf Part 43: Flash Fiction Friday Post

knight_by_jorsch-d65hbwt via DeviantArt.com

 

Part 43

Find Chapter 1 here.

Delia took a deep breath. She and Kaya could take out a large number of attackers quickly with the sleeping spell but what could Aduello do? Too late to ask. The black elves were attacking. She and Kaya raised their hands as one and one black elf after another with their horses slumped to the cobbled streets. When those facing her were down, she turned to help Aduello. He was hard at it, using some sort of lightning to fight. Arrows were whizzing past. Delia’s first job was to put them to sleep. Soon, Kaya was helping, but not before an arrow hit Aduello in the shoulder. He cried out in pain as Delia and Kaya put down the last one, at their very feet.

Kaya knelt beside her father, down on one knee his hand around the arrow. “Father. Let me see.”

That was when the castle guard arrived. The Captain was on a white charger, men before and after. “Halt!”

Delia raised her hands as the guards surrounded the three, stepping over the bodies of the black elves and horses. Kaya did the same. Aduello raised his uninjured arm.

The Captain surveyed the scene. “Explain yourselves!”

Aduello winced but replied. “I’m Aduello Herberi. I have an appointment with your lord. We were set upon by these elves and defended ourselves.”

The Captain raised an eyebrow. “You’re a formidable fighting force.”

“Not me so much as my daughter and,” he hesitated for just a moment, “her friend.”

The Captain reined in his prancing horse and sighed. “Collect all of the downed elves.” He looked at Kaya and Delia. Can you wake the horses at least?”

Kaya answered. “Yes, sir.” She looked at Delia. “But I recommend we not wake the elves until you are ready to ask them your questions. We can do that one at a time.”

The Captain’s eyebrow rose again. “Very well.” He motioned to one of the elven guards. “Go get a wagon.” The elf hurried off. “I’m going to have to secure your hands.”

“But father is injured.”

“We’ll deal with that.” He motioned to his guards.

Two guards came to each of them. Helping Kaya and her father to their feet. They tied Delia and Kaya’s hands behind them and Aduello’s to his side. They were escorted, led by the Captain, to the castle.

Delia thought this was an inauspicious way to meet the castle’s lord but there was nothing she could do about it. The guards were courteous enough but brooked no nonsense. Fair enough, she thought. They didn’t know she was on their side.

All three were taken first to the healer, an elf nearly the age of Master Kaepli. After Aduello’s wound was dealt with, they were taken to a clean, dry cell with three wooden chairs and a table. Water in a pitcher and 3 wooden mugs were on the table. The door was closed behind them and they could hear the lock turn.

Aduello sat down and Kaya poured him water. Delia studied the door. “There’s no protection spell.”

Kaya nodded. “I suspect the Captain believed us. But he’s just making sure we stay put until he talks to Yarami.” She poured a mug of water for herself and Delia, handing it to her. “The master did a good job on your shoulder, father. I should have no trouble with healing it as we go forward.” She sipped her water.

Delia sat down as well. She could sense two guards on the other side of the heavy oaken door. They would be summoned soon enough. “Well, that was a good start.” She drank about half her mug of water.

Aduello nodded. Of course, not the introduction I would have preferred.” He sighed and sipped again. “But, we’re not dead or captured, so that’s something. And, Yarami now has prisoners to interrogate. A good thing, I think.”

The two young elves nodded. They spent the rest of the time with their own thoughts.

Delia was considering whether they could have done anything else. What if they’d just stayed at the inn? No, that wouldn’t have been good. The black elves would have forced their way in. Perhaps hurt any guests and the inn-keeper and his family. That would have been a disaster. She played with the wooden mug, turning it around and around as she absently looked at the patterns in the grain.

“Aduello, you were using lightening to defend yourself. How do you…”

The key in the door lock sounded. Delia put her mug down and turned to look.

The door opened. It was the Captain of the Guard. “Come with me.”

The three rose, and followed the Captain. Four guards followed. They traveled up and up, three flights of stairs, and were ushered into a pleasant room. Books and scrolls lined shelf upon shelf on the side walls. In front of them was a large window, an elaborately-carved desk in front of it, a silver-haired elf sitting behind in a matching wooden, high-backed chair. The three walked to the front of the desk and waited as the elf finished his scroll and rolled it up.

He looked at them. “Aduello Herbei, daughter Kaya, and,” he studied Delia. “You must be Princess Delia. No one else has black hair.”

Delia was impressed. “Yes, Sire.”

“I’m not a sire. Lord would be the appropriate title.” He motioned to the three chairs in front of the desk. “Please sit.”

The three sat down on the plain wooden seats as Yarami folded his hands on the desk. The Captain of the Guard stood to the side. Delia turned to look. Two of the guards had stationed themselves on either side of the now closed door. She turned back to Yarami.

“Captain Catari told me what he found and your story. I find it disturbing that these dissidents are in Verda.” He sighed, a look of regret, then resignation crossed his face. “You suspect I know where the king is.”

Aduello nodded, wincing at the pain in his shoulder it set off. “Yes, Lord Yarami. Delia had a vision.”

Yarami’s eyebrow rose. “Weren’t you just released from human slavery?”

Delia nodded. “Yes, Lord. I was, just a few months ago. Apparently I’m a fast learner.”

A knock sounded at the door. One of the guards opened it. In came the healer.

“Master Juner, come in. We were just getting to our mysterious guest’s abilities.”

The old elf looked at Delia. “I didn’t ask in the dispensary, but you’re Delia, am I correct?”

“Yes, Master Juner.” Delia sighed. “Apparently not as inconspicuous as we’d hoped.”

One of the guards brought the mage a chair. He sat down. “No. I should think not. What did you do to the elves who attacked you?”

“A sleeping spell. Kaya and I both have learned it. Master Kaepli developed it, knowing we were going after Iyuno and his forces. It’s much better than killing them.”

The old elf nodded. “Indeed.” He looked at Yarami. “I can’t wake them.”

“We can. We can teach you the spell and how to wake them.” Kaya offered.

The lord and the mage studied Kaya, then Delia. “An interesting development.” Lord Yarami drummed his fingers on the desk. “I accept your offer.”

“Do you know where my father, the king, is?” Delia just blurt it out, then round-eyed, covered her mouth. That was too abrupt. She put her hands back in her lap, head down. She could feel a blush creep up her neck to her cheeks.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 44.

1255 Words

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

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New Release! Cozy Winter Reads

I mentioned Monday that I’m part of a cozy mystery bundle with Mystery at the Fair. It’s been released!

A bundle of six cozy mystery books to read by the fire while the storm rages outside! The perfect way to spend cold winter nights.

You can find it here, on Bundle Rabbit. Or at any of the other links on the page (scroll down to see them all!) Just $7.99 for all six books!

I think you’re going to like them!

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Happy President’s Day, Cozy Mystery Bundle, Painting: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Happy President’s Day to all. I hope you have the chance to hang out with family and friends and have a fun, relaxing day.

Painting by Connie Cockrell

Last week I mentioned that I was going to a painting class. Well, I did. I had a wonderful time with 11 other artists and the scope, breadth and quality of the work being produced was just wonderful. Now I will admit it’s been nearly 40 years since I’ve picked up a paint brush, but you can see my picture, while not perfect, came out pretty well. I now have it hanging in my living room. I encourage each of you to give something new a try.

I’m still working on It’s All About the Odds but I’m nearly done. This series won’t get published until I have the entire thing written and edited. That way readers won’t have to wait so long to get them.

Big news for those of you who love my cozy mystery series, Jean Hays. I’ve been selected to participate in a cozy mystery bundle over on the Bundle Rabbit site. The book is going to be called Cozy Winter Reads and has five other authors in it with me. I think you’ll enjoy it. I’ll post the link to it when it’s published. We’re working on selecting a cover right now. In the meantime, check out BundleRabbit.com for other stories, mysteries or whatever genre you enjoy.

Giveaways:

The Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway now over.  Winners will be chosen soon and notified. Then, check out http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the next contest, the 2018 Authors/Bloggers St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

I want to give a shout out to author P.D. Workman who is the driving force behind the cozy mystery bundle I’m in.

Author P.D. Workman

For as long as she can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure for Workman.  She has samples of stories and booklets that go back to her early childhood.  Workman collected notebooks of all shapes and sizes with plans to fill them with words and stories.  By grade four, she discovered that inventing a story in her head could rival the joy of reading one from a book.  She wrote and bound a series stories about a rabbit, painstakingly typed on her dad’s Selectric typewriter and illustrated by tracing pictures.

In grade five, Workman spent a lot of leisure time creating a Narnia-like world of her own.  She drew pictures of it… unicorns, rainbows, forests, mountains in the distance.  There were six meals a day (probably influenced by The Hobbit,) with names like nibble and munch.  She didn’t write a word of the story, though she imagined the plot line, which included her arrival in the land via a pair of magical red tennis shoes.

In grade six, Workman had a language arts teacher who had a box full of pictures to use as story prompts, and the class would write a creative writing story every Friday.  Workman loved it.  She wrote a number of stories about a pair of magical black dogs with glowing eyes.  In grade seven she continued to enjoy creative writing at school, much of it about horses, her new obsession as she read every book in the Black Stallion series.  She started to write her first full-length novel, a classic plot line about a class of school children who get marooned on a deserted tropical island.  No, no Lord of the Flies.  It was all about survival. She went to a young writer’s conference and talked about it.  She read it to the kids she babysat.  But she never finished it.

At the age of twelve, Workman finally did it, she wrote her first complete novel.  It was full of fantastic ideas.  It was the spring board for many other stories and books over the next few years.

Over the years, family and friends had encouraged her publish.  But she wrote for herself, for the joy of creating characters and experiencing their lives.   Most people didn’t even have any idea that Workman wrote. A few times, she took up the pen and dabbled with contacting publishers, submitting to contests, etc., but each time, the joy disappeared, and the creative juices dried up.  So, Workman went back to her hermit-like writing existence, proclaiming that her estate could publish her work after her death. Not until 2013 did Workman finally decide to publish her work, and she has been enjoying the process very much.

When not writing, Workman is a devout wife and a mother of one.  She was born and raised in Alberta, Canada.  She is a homeschooler and an executive assistant.  She has a passion for art and nature, creative cooking for special diets, and running.  She loves to read, to listen to audio books, and to share books out loud with her family.  She is an acknowledged technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools to make her writing and work easier and more fun.  In person, she is far less well-spoken than on the written page. She tends to be shy and reserved with all but those closest to her and prefers communicating by e-mail and text rather than phone calls or face-to-face visits. Her sociable husband and son help keep her from becoming a complete recluse!

You can find her at https://pdworkman.com/ where you can find more of her works.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m excited to say I’m booked for the Payson Women’s Wellness Forum on April 28th, 2018. What’s more healing that getting lost in a novel! I’ll be there all day and you can buy, and I’ll sign, any of my books. SciFi, Fantasy, Cozy Mystery and more. You can find tickets at https://www.mhafoundation.com/upcoming-events.html

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:

Tested released January 31st 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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