Coconut-Lemon Whip: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Finished Lemon Whip

Coconut-Lemon Whip

I apologize for the lack of posts. March and April were extremely crazy for me but I didn’t forget about you. April saw me take an actual vacation, to see my daughter in southern California. We enjoyed the beach (cold!) and Solvang, CA, (hot!), and my daughter’s and her room mate’s new house. It’s small, but the back yard has producing fruit trees. One was a Meyer lemon, the lemons ripe and ready to pick. So of course, I brought home five of them. What else could I do but make a dessert?

I’m still sticking to my Paleo life-style. Whatever your eating style, there’s nothing wrong with whole, fresh food, especially straight from the tree! Fair warning, because of the coconut oil and milk, this isn’t low fat but it is “good” fat. Enjoy in moderation. It makes four 8oz, ramekins of dessert.

Paleo Lemon Curd

Hardware

Sauce Pot

Strainer

Measuring cups and spoons

Knife

Cutting board

Zester or Micro-plane

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup juice: 5 Meyer Lemons (6 or more regular lemons depending on how juicy they are.)

1 T Lemon zest

3 eggs (whole)

1/4 C Honey

6 T Coconut Oil

See the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert 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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Thirty Years: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Cold

You may remember I follow the Chuck Wendig blog over on TerribleMinds.com. He likes to toss out story prompts and see what the writers who follow him come up with. The stories are usually awesome, there are some great writers out there. Anyway, the most recent prompt was to write about revenge. Here’s my take on it.

Thirty Years

Joe didn’t even notice, at first. I start small. On his commute to work, I got mud on his trouser leg. He was annoyed, of course, but it barely registered with him. Then it was a wrong number, right in the middle of his presentation. You’d think he’d know enough to turn off his cell in a situation like that.

Then it was a flat tire on his car, just when he was about to take his second wife out to dinner. Life is so stressful. Just one more thing to aggravate a man. I cancelled his hotel reservation at his conference. He ended up paying extra after spending half an hour at the hotel desk. He missed his client dinner. His boss wasn’t very happy. Then I cancelled his order for his wife’s anniversary present. It was such a lovely sapphire and diamond necklace, too. He was on her shit list for a month.

I hacked his work computer and made files disappear. More trouble with the boss. He was passed up for that promotion he’d wanted. Wife wasn’t happy about that, either. I helped that along by planting a note in his pocket, lightly scented and written in lavender-colored ink, all hearts and flowers. She left the next day.

Under a lot of stress at his job, he made mistakes I didn’t create. He was let go six weeks after wifey left. That’s when the drinking really took off. I didn’t even have to drain his bank account. The wife handled that all on her own. The home owner’s association began hassling him because he was letting the yard go. Those fines really start to add up. It only took six months for him to lose the house all together. You’ve got to keep up the mortgage payments, and that’s tough to do when you can’t get a job. His old boss wouldn’t provide a letter of recommendation. That really looks bad to the prospective employer.

The police started showing up at the crappy apartment he rented, after an anonymous tip said he was building bombs. The landlord tossed him out. He was reduced to sleeping in a homeless shelter, where everything he didn’t have on was stolen, even his shoes. I didn’t do that. Not out of generosity, I just never thought of it. The homeless were doing my job for me.

He started begging on the street, a bottle of cheap booze tucked into the pocket of his thrift store jacket. The cops arrested him for taking a leak at the back of a building. Now he had a record, on top of all the other problems. His downward spiral hardly needed me to do anything any longer.

It was winter when they let him go. They found him, frozen, in the dumpster he was in trying to stay warm. My job was done.

Joe was number six. The last one. Now I could breathe. I was free. Free from the memory of those six college football players who thought it was funny to grab a hundred-pound girl heading to her dorm from a night study at the library. They took turns. Laughing, drinking, having a good time. My life was ruined. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies so I dropped out. I had nightmares. I went to support groups. None of that helped. But then one day, it occurred to me that I could make their lives a living hell, just like they did to me. So I took computer classes. I studied psychology. I apprenticed at a stock brokerage to learn finance. Then I started on the list.

One at a time. Some of them collapsed fast. Number four took ten years. But Joe was the last one. Revenge is best served cold, they say. Thirty years, cold, by my experience.

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Yellowstone Arrival: Flash Fiction Friday Post

In June of 2017, my husband and I traveled up to Yellowstone National Park to visit a friend and see the sights. This describes the entrance to the park.

A Bison studies us as we pass by on the entrance to the park. A Bison is the size of a sedan.

We left the sun-baked desert and entered a world of green.

Flat and green, it seemed to run forever.

Crops and houses and schools.

Tame.

Safe.

It was a surprise when we entered the tunnel.

It ran for miles.

Lodgepole pines small and great.

Once in a while they opened and before us ran rivers and meadows,

dotted with great hulking brown shaggy behemoths,

placid in the impermanent sunshine.

Wild.

Dangerous.

Boiling mud, steaming water, birds and fish, elk and bison, cliffs and meadows, rivers and streams.

Our hearts beat quicker.

This is where we’re meant to be.

Not hemmed in.

Not scheduled by mere clocks, but by the sun and moon.

I take my meeting on a wind-blown hilltop,

The earth spread below me in a cloud-dappled wonder,

The way the first human saw it.

It is good.

 

Thank You!

139 Words

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

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It’s So Beautiful: Flash Fiction Friday Post

New Babylon by DigitalCutti on DeviantArt

I was scrolling through Pinterest, a SciFi page, and saw the above picture. It looked so lovely. A place I wanted to go. But a story about a beautiful place with lovely, generous people who would help a bunch of refugees sounded like a boring story. So I came up with this. If it reminds you of The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells and Morlocks, well, yes. Read on.

It’s So Beautiful

We gathered around the monitors as if around ancient campfires.

“I thought it was a lie,” my best friend Jazana breathed softly, as though she didn’t want to break a dream.

“They said it was true.” My response was lame but I was too fascinated with what was on the monitor to think of a sharper comeback. Jazana was right. None of us had really believed what our board of governors had told us. Oh, yes. They’d shown us pictures. Both of Helicity, the new world, and of our old world, Earth System One, Ganymede.

The old world, which I clearly remembered, was a pit of corporate greed and too many people in too small a space. The ship, Rebellion, was put together secretly, though the details we were given were fuzzy. I mean, how’d the leaders of the rebellion hide a whole space ship? But anyway, we were loaded on in secret, shoved into cryo-pods and frozen. They’d woken us two years ago and began teaching us skills.

Jazana wrapped an arm around me. We were both orphans. Somehow both of our sets of parents had died in the pods. I sighed. The world looked so good on long-range. Modern, clean, beautiful. There wasn’t a trace of smog on the screen. As the planet rotated and our ship drew closer, we could see that the whole planet was like that. I dashed the tears from my eyes.

Jazana and I were in the same track, engineering with a minor in leadership. We were going to be management. There were lots of engineering lessons. We were the ones taking care of this ship. But there were also lessons on leadership and government. Economics, too, and social engineering. One day one of us could be the governor. Leader of our rebellion colony. Helicity was a stopgap home. We’d learned that the info about Helicity had been stolen. None of our data had indicated if Earth System had ever visited the planet. It was a risk, our teachers had told us. But one worth while if we could find a planet of our own.

A week later our leaders shuttled down to Helicity, their capital city of Tatham, to meet with their planetary leaders. I could hardly concentrate on our pulse engine power coupling lesson as thoughts about what was going on whirled through my head. A spanner banged down next to my hand on the cover of the coupling.

“Bang, Zuri. Congratulations. You’ve just killed us all.” Sergeant Aranyo glared at me.

I blushed to the roots of my blonde hair. “Sorry, Sergeant Aranyo. I lost my concentration.”

“Pull your head out. Start again. All of you. Thank Zuri for it.”

I had a sympathetic look from Jazana but the other five cadets gave me a glare. That was going to cost me. Probably my dinner. My stomach growled. We’d been on short rations for the last six months. I couldn’t afford to give up my dinner, but it looked like Jaque, the Captain’s son, biggest bully in our age group, was going to make me pay. The others went along because it was just easier that way. No one wanted Jaque’s attention on them. No one would stick up for me against that, despite all the training that said otherwise.

After dinner, the board of governors shared pictures of Tatham as they rode in hover cars from the landing pad to the Council chambers. It was so beautiful. There was no word on whether they’d let us stay, give us supplies, or even give us the address of another planet. It was too early, the Governor Prime said. I believed him. He was such a kindly looking man.

We worked all week, different engine systems each day, with combat training tossed in to keep us in shape. Somehow, I was always paired with Jaque. I had the bruises to prove it. The seventh day I limped to the medic. She took a look at my knee.

“It’s not broken, just bruised. I don’t have any pain meds. I have to save them for serious cases.”

I nodded. That’s the way things went on our ship. Too little of everything.

“Keep a cold pack on it when you’re not working.” She handed one to me. “Bring it back in three days.”

“Of course.”

On the tenth day, the Governor was back on the monitor. A deal had been struck. We were going to be allowed to move into the city—get jobs, while the council of Helicity decided on a home planet for us.

The cheering could be heard all over the ship.

Off-loading began on day twelve. I had everything of value I owned in my duffle. Jazana and the other girls from my cabin were in line with me. We couldn’t stop grinning. We talked about what new food there would be and how much of it. We talked about walking in the sunlight, breathing fresh air, getting pretty clothes instead of ragged ship suits.

Off the ship we were loaded onto transports and taken through the downtown out to the countryside. I was so excited. Even when we entered a tunnel, I didn’t think anything of it. We were off loaded into a cavernous space with cement-looking walls. We were escorted to various halls, separated into different rooms in some random-seeming fashion. I was separated from Jazana.

I was led to a conveyor belt and shown how to attach one strange widget to another. Then the belt started. We worked for hours, then given a dry ration and a bottle of water in a room with at least a hundred cots. I was too tired to eat and fell asleep.

The same happened the next day and the next. It’s been fifty years. I haven’t seen Jazana. There are rumors, of course, that we’d been sold to save the rest. And the shock collars, to keep us in line. I haven’t seen the sun in all that time.

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Slave Elf Part 51: Flash Fiction Friday Post

 

Part 51

Find Part 1 here.

 

When they arrived at the palace, Mage Kaepli took down the protective spell and they all entered.

Delia went to her rooms over the objection of Master Kaepli. “But Majesty, you belong in the King’s rooms.”

“Not until I talk to my mother. That will be the end of it.” She went in and closed the door. Outside she could hear two guards take their positions on either side, and sighed. They were just as tired as she was but there they were, standing guard. All she wanted was a proper bath and a huge dinner. But the few cooks the army had with them wouldn’t have had time to heat water, let alone cook anything. She remembered the state of the kitchen. Totally cleaned out. Someone would have to go hunting or something before anyone had anything other than camp rations to eat. She hoped her mother had supplies.

It was a week before her mother arrived.

Delia was in the courtyard to meet her. She gave her mother a hug and a kiss on the cheek after she’d dismounted. “Mother. I’m so sorry.” Her mother looked pale and thin in her white mourning dress.

Raele patted her daughter on the cheek. “I’m so proud of you. You defeated our enemy. There is much to be happy for.”

Delia walked with her to Raele’s rooms. “Rest, mother. May I get you anything?”

“Later, daughter. We’ll go see your father before the burial.”

Delia nodded. “Let me know when you’re ready. I’ll escort you.”

Raele nodded. “Thank you.”

That evening they went to the throne room together. Now Ucheni was in his finest robes, his crown upon his head. Candles surrounded the body and an honor guard of twelve surrounded him. Raele, put her hand on his. “He loved you. Very much.”

“I know. He showed it in every way.”

Raele sniffed and used a delicate handkerchief to wipe her eyes. “He died too young.”

“Iyuno paid for that.”

Raele turned to her daughter. “I heard stories.”

Delia shrugged. “He treated with orcs, Mother.”

Raele sighed. “True.”

They had a quiet supper in the Queen Mother’s rooms and Delia took her leave early.

Three months later, the coronation was held. Raele was still in her rooms but Delia had moved into her father’s apartment. It seemed weird, to her. She stood in front of a floor length mirror as Alia stood by and servants fussed with the coronation gown. It had been less than a year since Corpet the caravan master had given her that blue gown to wear. Slave to Queen in that short amount of time. It didn’t seem real.

Alia nodded. “You look beautiful.”

Delia studied her reflection. Her hair had been just lightly dressed, so that the crown could go on her head. Her hair mostly flowed down her back. A black river reaching to her waist. She teleported a mug of tea to her hand from a nearby table. It was a trick she’d developed one day by accident when a quill was just out of reach. Alia’s eyebrow rose. “Just in private, Ali. It seems silly to have you fetch it when I can just call it.”

Alia shook her head. “As you will, Majesty.”

Delia rolled her eyes. Alia was a stickler. Fortunately, Kaya still had a sense of humor, as did Couran, Relan and Sisruo. She needed friends and confidantes, not masters. “I’ll not do it in public. I promise.”

The ceremony lasted too long, Delia thought, but her mother looked pleased and that’s all she could hope for.

She thought about Captain Catari and poor little Gallett. Both had died in the sick tent, some poison they’d gotten from orc darts. Her thoughts turned to her mother. One day, her mother would move out of the next door apartments, replaced by a husband. That might be Sisruo. He’d passed his exams after he’d healed and was now a Master Mage himself. They would be a powerful couple, if it all worked out. She was still too young to marry, though. Another hundred years or so to get to know him, and her people, and her culture. It would pass in no time.

Thank You for Reading this Serial

670 Words

I hope you’ve enjoyed this story. It was supposed to be a simple flash fiction of 1000 words or less. It ran long the first day and I thought it’d finish up in four or five parts. Hah! Little did I know. The story took off with me and here we are, over 50,000 words later, finally come to an end.

I don’t like the title, Slave Elf, but it was all right for a working name. Here’s the thing, I’d like a new title. So I’m going to hold a contest. I’m going to get this story edited and put into novel form. Whoever suggests the winning title, will get the story as a signed paperback. Make your suggestions in the comments. I give this contest a month, closing May 18th. Get your suggestions in before then. Yes, you may make multiple suggestions. US residents only for the paperback. Overseas readers, I’ll send you an ebook if you win.

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

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Slave Elf Part 50: Flash Fiction Friday Post

campfire_by_kiaraz via DeviantArt.com

 

Part 50

Find Part 1 here.

 

Alia called for help and two elves Delia didn’t know took her back to the king’s tent. “No.” She pushed away from the tent. “My tent.”

“But Your Majesty,” Alia began.

“No!” Delia shook her head. “My tent.”

Alia directed them to Delia’s tent. “Get the mage,” Alia directed one of them. To the other she said, “Get hot water and cloths.”

Alia got Delia’s breastplate off and her boots. By then water arrived in a basin with cloths. She washed Delia and put her clean shirt and trousers on her then let her lie down and sleep.

When Delia woke the table had a single candle and Alia was dozing, head propped on her fist at the table. She sat up. The small noise waking Alia.

“Princess.” She leapt from the chair. What do you need?

“I need to know what’s happening.”

Alia ducked her head. Everyone is at Master Kaepli’s tent.”

Delia put on socks and boots, having to shoo Alia away. “I’ve been dressing my own feet for years, Alia. Leave me be.”

Alia complied but fidgeted in the corner of the tent while she waited.

“Is there anything to eat?” Delia asked.

“I’ll bring it to the mage’s tent.”

“Good.”

Alia insisted on walking her there before going to get the food. When she entered, everyone, including Master Kaepli, stood. Delia sighed to herself. So this is what is was going to be like from now on? “Reports?”

“We’re glad to see you recovered, Prin, excuse me, Majesty.” Kaepli bowed.

“Thank you. How are our forces from the passes?”

He motioned for her to come to the map table. Juner stepped aside. Kaya nodded her greeting and Delia gave her a smile. Mystesto and Neoni weren’t in the tent but Lord Enaur was. “Tell me.”

Kaepli took a deep breath. “Orcs, Majesty. We had no idea any were left.”

“There are fewer now,” Delia said. The very thought of the ugly creatures she’d had to fight made her skin crawl. “My uncle apparently made a pact with them.” She shook her head. “I’ll never understand it.”

“Agreed.”

“And Captain Catari? Neoni? Mystesto?”

“Catari took heavy losses at the south pass, Majesty. He was severely injured and lost all but one of his men and many of ours.”

A quick thought of Gallett flashed through her mind. She’d find out later. “And the north pass?”

Neoni took a wound, but not too bad.” He sighed. “Mystesto was killed. They had orcs there as well.”

She hadn’t known either of them long but still a pang of grief, sharp as a blade went through her heart. Delia swallowed back tears. She was a queen now, tears were for private times. Still, it took a moment for her to find her voice. “My uncle’s forces were stopped, though?”

“Yes, Majesty.”

“And Sisruo?”

“He took the brunt of the orc attack at the field, Majesty.”

Delia stared at him. “And?”

“He, Couran and Palen were all injured. They’re in the sick tent.”

Alive, she thought. Still alive. “I’ll have to go visit them.”

“Yes, Majesty.”

Alia came in with a plate of roast meat and vegetables. “Majesty. Your dinner.”

The aroma made Delia’s stomach growl. Apparently power from fire didn’t satisfy that need. She sat down, the plate on top of the maps and ate as though she’d not eaten in days. “Go on.”

“We’ve lost nearly a thousand elves, Majesty.”

“And where are Nethene and Ceinno?”

“Dead, Majesty.”

Delia nodded. Painfully, she thought but kept that to herself. “Has word been sent to my mother?”

“Not yet, Majesty.” Kaepli licked his lips. “We await your order.”

Of course, she thought as she ate the last bite of the roast. “Send word that father has died but that I have survived.”

“Where is father’s body?” She stood up.

“In his tent, Majesty.”

“I’ll go see him.”

Kaepli bowed.

Delia left the tent, Alia behind her. After her trailed two elven guards. I’ll have to get used to that, too, I suppose.

There were two guards outside of the king’s tent door, one on each side. They saluted as she passed and she saluted back. Alia stayed outside.

Inside she found her father, washed and dressed in the best robes he had with him, lying in state on a makeshift table, draped in long, cotton cloth. His cloak was wrapped around him and four large candles stood at the corners of the makeshift byre. Gold coins weighted his eyes and a makeshift crown of flowers was on his head.

Delia rested her fingertips on the cloth, not touching the body. It’s too soon. I didn’t get to know you. Why? Why? Tears fell as the pain in her chest grew. So much time, wasted. Damn Iyuno. Damn Nethene and Ceinno. Why? The tears fell and fell but quietly, so the elves outside couldn’t hear. She didn’t know how long she’d stood there but finally the tears stopped and she wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Delia sniffed and left.

“Sick tent,” she said when she got outside. Alia raced ahead as her two guards followed.

Once there she made the round of cots, greeting each one in turn. Finally, she reached Sisruo, Couran and Relan. “I see you survived.”

“And you, Princess.” Couran said.

Relan reached over and smacked his brother. “Majesty, you dolt.” He looked at Delia. “Exuse my brother, Majesty. He’s had the sense knocked out of him.”

“I understand. I had the sense knocked out of me today too. “I’m glad you three are all right,” she said, looking at Sisruo. “May you all heal quickly.”

She spoke to Kaya. “I’m glad you are here to help them.”

“Rest, Majesty. You’ve had a bit of a day as well.”

All of a sudden, Delia felt like an old, used up rag. “Perhaps you’re right.” She took Kaya’s hand and kissed her on the cheek. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Delia went back to her tent. “Alia. I need to sleep. Unless we’re under attack, let me rest.”

“Yes, Majesty.” She bowed and backed out of the tent.

Delia sat down and pulled off her boots. That didn’t mean she was alone. There’d be someone outside the tent all the time, listening for her least command. She pulled the blanket over herself and turned on her side, asleep in a moment.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 51.

1061 Words

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

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Slave Elf Part 49: Flash Fiction Friday Post

young_mage_by_hokunin-d36f1tv

 

Part 49

Find Part 1 here.

 

Her father, Delia could see, was a formidable fighter but Iyuno, even without a fire to draw power from, was better. She found herself making tiny movements, fighting Iyuno with her father. Twice she found a fireball in her hand, ready to throw, but had to extinquish it in frustration. Ucheni was missing multiple chances to deal Iyuno a blow. In return, he was falling back, step by step. She gripped and re-gripped her sword pommel until her hand hurt.

Alia approached. “The fire is ready, Princess.”

Delia nodded, never taking her eyes from her father. “Can you tell what Iyuno is going to do, Alia?”

Alia focused on the fight in front of her. She shook her head. “No, Princess.”

Delia sighed. “What if you pretend you are the king? What then.”

Alia blinked at the Princess. “Let me try.” She took a breath and took a fighting stance.

Delia watched at Alia did what she’d been doing. The shield maiden shifted minutely, hands and arms twitching. Alia stood up. “No Princess. It doesn’t seem to work that way.”

“Thank you for trying.”

Delia took a breath and blew it out. Her hopes to use Alia’s magic sight for strikes were dashed. Besides, even if she could see a blow not meant for her, they’d never talked about whether Alia could send her thoughts to her. She didn’t even know if she could herself. Her fingers drummed against the sword’s pommel. Both Ucheni and Iyuno were using swords. Magical, Delia supposed. Iyuno was driving her father back. It was if he were getting stronger. She looked again at his soldiers. There was no smoke from a fire. Where was he getting his strength?

Suddenly, her father’s foot caught on something as he was stepping back he went to one knee. Iyuno raised his sword and before Delia could scream, he brought the sword down. Her father paused, sword half-raised. The army went silent. A gash appeared at the base of his neck. The sword, dropped, in seeming slow motion, in one direction as her father followed.

Then, she did scream. “FAAATHERRRRR!”

She ran out onto the field. Fireballs in both hands. She had flung them at Iyuno before her father had finished falling.

Iyuno swung his sword around and slid it into its scabbard as he held up a hand. Delia was knocked back, falling into the long grass. She turned on her magical sight. Now was not the time to be emotional, she thought as she rolled to her feet. She used her invisible heat force but the force bounced from Iyuno’s magical shield.

Delia made a shield for herself and glanced back at her army’s line. Her army, came the flash of thought. Alia had lit the fire. Delia pulled its strength to her then faced Iyuno.

“So, pup. You think you’re ready to face me?”

“Face you I will, evil one.” She moved into a fighting stance. “You killed my father.”

“Not much of a father, handing you over to slavers,” he said as he circled.

She watched as he moved. Where was he getting his power? She flung the sleeping spell at him. It splashed against his shield.

He threw another fireball while swinging his sword at her. She stepped outside the swing as his fireball hit her shield.

This could go on forever, she thought. Each of us is getting power from fire. How long can I pull on that and survive? His constant barrage of fireballs, force balls and other tricks she’d never seen were keeping her busy but she did her best, now that she was closer, to see where his power was coming from while still putting up some resistance.

A flash at his feet drew her attention. What sort of magic was that? She looked closer as she chanted the sleeping spell and threw a fireball. The ground? He was getting power from the earth? How could that be?

Where was Sisruo? Shouldn’t Iyuno’s hundred elves be asleep by now?

She scrambled as Iyuno pressed his attack. He was powerful, and her magical shield was taking a beating. Delia drew more heavily from the fire. He had to know what she was doing. Why didn’t he try to stop her?

She tried everything she knew, including throwing up a protection spell around him but she didn’t have the skills and training he had. He was going to kill her too if she didn’t do something.

He taunted her again. “You’ve developed some small skill, niece. Congratulations.” He delivered an invisible blow as he used his other hand to try and force her off of her feet.

Delia didn’t answer. At his feet were flashes of light. What was he drawing from?

“Die, traitor.”

He laughed and somehow, clapped his hands together, creating a gong sound.

She took a step back. Now what?

Screams from her army sounded behind her, as in front of her, behind Iyuno, the ground opened up and orcs came streaming from the holes. She stared. Orcs? Weren’t they all dead?

“You’ve broken the protocol, Uncle.”

He laughed. “Winning is winning, niece.”

She struck out, anger washing through her as orcs came racing across the field. Delia doubled her efforts as she used the anger to fuel her magic. She wasn’t sure just what she was doing, fire and lightning burst from her finger tips. Delia swatted at her uncle, a force ball like none other she’d ever done flew from her left hand, making him stagger. She pulled power from the fire. Ah, his fire was underground. That was it. Delia pulled power from that as well.

She charged as the first of the orcs reached her. They swirled around her as though she were not there. That wasn’t what she’d expected. Her army, though, were in the fight of their lives. Iyuno was not so lucky. Her charge took her right up to him. She held him, magically, with one hand as she drew her sword. “You killed my father!” She ran him through, twice, three times. Again, as he lay on the ground. She pulled her sword and began chanting the sleeping spell and swinging at orcs.

She was half way back to her own lines when she realized Alia was beside her, taking out orc after orc. The field was littered with bodies, orcs mostly but elves as well. Delia’s anger exploded and she seemed to swell, larger and larger as she charged after the orcs. When she’d finally killed the last one she found, Alia was calling to her.

“Princess! Princess! Stop! It’s over.”

Delia drew a breath and blinked. “Over?” She felt shrunken and old.

“Over, Princess. You’ve won.”

Delia removed her helmet and pushed loose sweat-soaked hair back from her face and looked around. “Over.” She sank to the ground, exhausted.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 50.

1141 Words

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

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Slave Elf Part 48: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 48

Find Part 1 here.

 

Sisruo had to leave but she gave him a hug before he did. She choked down the rest of her mush and taking the bowl to the cooks, thanked them for the food.

She went back to her tent. There, laid out across her bed, was armor and a cloak in her father’s house colors. The wool of the cloak was heavy, but soft and fine. An embroidered sigil was on the right shoulder, a blue butterfly on a rose. The same sigil on the pin to close the cloak and on her helmet on the breastplate of the armor.

A knock on the tent pole made her turn. “Come.”

Her father walked into the tent, a young female elf with him. He was dressed in armor very similar to hers, but his sigil was a bluebird on a holly branch. “Ah, you found it.” He smiled. “This is Alia.” The elf bowed. “She’ll help you with the armor.”

“I’ve never worn armor, father.”

“True, but this armor is enchanted. It will help protect you.” He walked over and gave her a hug. “Masters Kaepli and Juner told me they’d talked to you.”

She nodded, looking up into his eyes. “They told me.”

He drew a deep breath. “Alia is a good shield maiden. She’ll be your right hand today. Whatever you need, tell her. She will make it happen.”

Delia smiled and nodded to the elf. “Thank you.” She looked back to her father. “What else can I do?”

Ucheni smiled. “Your mother will be proud of us today. Do your best. That’s all anyone can ask.” He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. “Fight well.” With that he turned and was out of the tent before she could say anything. She was left standing, staring after him.

“Princess. Let’s get you dressed.”

Ali picked up a leg piece.

Delia shook her head. “I cannot wear all of that. I’ve never worn armor. I’ll move too slow.”

Alia nodded and touched the tip of her tongue to her upper lip. “The breastplate then. That’s where most of the protection is anyway. And the helmet and cloak. They both have magical properties as well.”

Delia sighed. “Very well. As I dress, tell me what each piece is capable of.”

Half an hour later, a horn sounded. Delia shrugged her shoulders. The armor was lighter on than she had supposed. The blue cloak, the color of her eyes, she realized, floated behind her, never in the way as she practiced her fighting moves. “I think this will work.” She smiled at Alia. “Thank you. Now.” Delia reset the sword at her hip though she didn’t think she’d use it. “I’ll need a huge bonfire at the dueling field. The biggest fire you can build. But it cannot be lit until I signal. I don’t want Iyuno to have any advantage.”

“Fire, Princess?”

“Yes. Part of my magic.” Delia blinked. “And your magic?”

“I have skill with the sword, Princess. Magical skill, though I’m very good without it. And I know where my opponent will strike before it happens.”

“Good skills. Can you tell for me?”

Alia cocked her head. “No one has ever asked, Princess. I do not know.”

“Is it just physical weapons or can you tell when a magical strike is coming?”

“I,” Alia thought. “I have no idea.” Her face was crestfallen. “I’m sorry, Princess. I’ve never thought of it.”

Delia sighed. “Well today, as I fight, see if you can tell. If I have to get into the field with Iyuno, a notice of what he intends would be helpful.”

Alia nodded. Alia’s freckles, unusual in an elf, stood out against a now pale face.

Delia patted her on the shoulder. “It’s new to all of us Alia. We’ll do what we can.” She spun around slowly. “Am I ready?”

“Yes, Princess.” Alia went to the tent flap and held it open. “We’re to assemble on the field.”

Delia nodded. “Let’s go, then.”

They worked their way through the ranks, the elves parting to let her through. When she got to the front line, her father stood about thirty feet ahead. Iyuno’s forces were on the other side. Rank after rank of black. Nothing like the bright colors of her father’s forces. She was surprised to see Lord Enaur next to her.

“Lord Enaur. I didn’t know you were here.”

He smiled. “My king and princess are in need, my lady.” He gave a small bow. “Where else would I be?”

“We are grateful, Lord.” She gave him a small bow then pointed with her chin to Iyuno’s side of the field. “An evil sight.”

Enaur chuckled. “An intimidation tactic. His army is no more powerful magically than ours. But the solid black mass makes it seem so. Iyuno and his two nephews are the power. We stop them, the rest will disappear back into the elven population.”

She hoped so. Horns sounded. Iyuno and Ucheni began their march forward. Her father’s cape was the same color as hers, and looked like a piece of sky had fallen and attached itself to him.

Ten feet in front of the line, Delia saw Alia instructing the soldiers in the building of a wooden pyre. She nodded her approval. Father was correct. She was a wonderful shield maiden.

Lord Enaur noticed. “What is she doing?”

“What I asked,” Delia said, then turned her attention back to her father. On the far side of the field, Delia searched for a pyre similar to hers. Her eyebrows drew together. She didn’t see one. Was it behind or in the middle of his force? Was he so confident in his powers that he didn’t feel the need for a fire? She shifted foot to foot, her hand tapping on her thigh. What tricks did her uncle have that she was not prepared for?

The walk to the middle seemed to take forever but finally, the two elves stopped in the middle, perhaps twenty feet apart. Too close, she thought. Way too close. Did her father know the sleeping spell? Damn for such a late arrival last night. She knew next to nothing about his skills. She found herself breathing too fast. Delia focused on taking deep, slow breaths. It wouldn’t do to hyperventilate and pass out at the front of the army.

At a signal from Kaepli, the two began with fireballs. As the fire splashed harmlessly against magical shields, Delia wondered if that was the signal for Sisruo as well. She had no time to think about it. Her father and Iyuno were circling each other. Delia held her breath.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 49.

1111 Words

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

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Slave Elf Part 47: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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Part 47

Find Part 1 here.

 

Delia took a stool, folding her hands in her lap. More prophesy? What now?

Kaepli cleared his throat. “We haven’t told the others, though the king knows the whole prophecy. He was much encouraged when you arrived last night. We were sure Iyuno had you.”

Master Juner took over. “We encouraged the king to make that challenge. The prophecy is quite clear. You will be the one to win against Iyuno.”

They let that sink in.

Delia blinked. “But, the duel is between the two of them. How will that work?”

Kaepli shook his head. That is still to be revealed. The prophesy says what happens, not how.”

“That seems less than helpful. It could be today or in a hundred years.” She was disgusted with the whole prophecy thing. Just because she had black hair instead of everyone else’s blonde, she was the most powerful? It was just ridiculous. Delia stood up. “I’m not going to base my life on some mystical pronouncements. Father is a strong elf and can fight his own battles.”

“Wait, Princess.” Juner held up his hand. “The line of succession falls to you. If, and I do mean if, your father falls, you must be there to take over the duel. Otherwise Iyuno’s forces will keep attacking until he’s killed you or you kill him. The line is not free for him until you are dead.”

The bluntness of his words gave Delia a shiver. Chased across the world by Iyuno because she was Ucheni’s heir? The thought was horrifying. She sat back down. “So, I must stand by while father duels?”

Both mages nodded. “The fight must end today.”

“What about Nethene and Ceinno? They’re nearly as powerful as Iyuno.”

Kaepli sighed. “It is unfortunate, but they’ve made their stance clear. They must perish as well.”

Delia rubbed an eye. More killing. More death. Wasn’t there enough already? “You have a plan?”

“We think they’ll each be leading an arm of Iyuno’s army. We mentioned last night that we have traps in all of the approaches. Iyuno’s force will be allowed into the valley with him but then all the passes will be blocked. We have men along all of the routes, ready to attack.”

Delia licked her lips. The carnage would be terrifying. Her stomach rolled, making her glad she hadn’t eaten anything yet. “This has to be done?”

Kaepli looked at her with a mix of kindness and sorrow. “Yes.”

That seemed so final a word. Yes. We must kill hundreds of elves. This is not what she imagined as a slave in the caravan. Delia stood up again. “I must eat.”

The mages rose and bowed. “Thank you, Princess.”

She bowed and left. The sunshine outside the tent belied the dark words she’d just heard. The sky was an amethyst blue. Puffy clouds drifted across the sky in a soft, warm breeze. Birds were singing in the trees and a butterfly crossed her path, searching for an untrampled flower. She walked to where the cook tent should be. There she found Sisruo, sitting at a table with a mug in front of him.

He leapt up when he saw her. Sisuro stopped as he looked into her face. “What’s wrong, Princess?”

He doesn’t know, she thought, then schooled her face into a happier one. “The mages have been telling me the plan. It seems desperate.”

“It is. But come, let me get you some food.” He walked with her to the cooks, finishing up the service. “A bowl for the Princess, please.”

The elf at the long board table nodded to the Princess and brought a bowl of mush, honey on top and a sprinkling of nuts, along with a mug of tea. He bowed as he handed it to her.

“Thank you. Very kind of you.”

“Anything we can do, Princess,” he said.

She nodded and walked to Sisruo’s table. “We haven’t had time to talk.”

He nodded and waited for her to sit before he did. “True. I wasn’t with the mage last night. I had my own preparations to complete.”

She stirred the mush around, mixing in the nuts and honey, then scooped a small spoonful and ate it. It tasted like so much sawdust in her mouth, but she knew she needed the strength, so swallowed. “Much has happened since the battle at Iyuno’s castle.”

Sisruo shrugged. “You’ve grown thinner, Princess. Great hardships have befallen you.”

Delia appreciated the look of sympathy on his face. “I have. There were some long, hungry days on the road. Kaya was a wonderful companion.”

“She’s a good elf.” Sisruo took a sip of his tea. “She says the same of you, by the way.”

Delia had to smile. “A bonding experience, you might say.” She ate more of the mush, feeling better for the kind words Kaya had said. She took a deep breath. “And your role today?”

“I am to block Iyuno’s escape. I have a small force and we’ll come in behind Iyuno. At a signal from Mage Kaepli, I’ll attack.”

Her spoon stopped just above the bowl. “Just a small force?”

Sisruo shrugged. “He is only allowed a hundred elves. We should be fine. The sleeping spell will be the primary weapon.” He tapped the sword at his hip. “But we have these as well.”

“Don’t forget the fireballs.”

He smiled. “I won’t. But I am not as good with them as you are. We’ll be fine. Couran and Pelan will be with me.” He brightened. “Your Captain Catari was a welcome guest. He’ll be leading a group at the south pass. They left very early this morning.”

Again, Delia spared a thought for young Gallett. She hoped he’d be spared today.

“Eat, Princess. We must go soon.”

She nodded and spooned more into her mouth. Too soon.

 

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 48.

972 Words

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

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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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