Slave Elf Part 32: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

Find Part 1 here.

Part 32

She woke at a noise. It surprised her how quiet it was in this dungeon. No outside sound at all, until now. A scrape out in the hallway. Delia sat up and waited. The sound of a key in the lock made scraping noises then the door opened. A black elf with a torch, she still didn’t understand why when they had magical lights, stepped into the room followed by another and a third remained in the hall.

“Come,” the one without the torch said. It was the same unpleasant tone as they’d used the night before. Was it night? Had she slept away the entire day? She rose and stepped to the door. She wished she’d had time to at least splash her face. It felt sticky from her dried tears. No matter, no one was going to look good after spending the day in a dark hole.

Again she was led to the dining room. Again, Nethene, Ceinno and Iyuno were already seated, each enjoying fine glasses of red wine while they waited. Iyuno waved her to a chair. Just as Delia was seated, Kaya was brought in. Delia grinned with pleasure. Kaya didn’t seem to be any worse for wear and better, they sat her beside Delia again. The two clasped hands and nodded.

Delia was seated next to Ceinno again. The evil radiating off of him was palpable. It made her stomach turn.

“I’m glad to see you both well,” Iyuno began. He nodded at one of the black elves. He stepped forward and poured each of the newcomers a glass of wine.

Delia reached out and picked up her water glass, draining it before putting it back. Iyuno raised an eyebrow but nodded to the elf, who refilled the water.

“Your antics this morning could be heard all over the castle.” Iyuno raised his wine glass to them. “Too bad it didn’t work.”

Delia had a moment where she wanted to retort that it had been working but Kaya grasped her hand in warning. Delia drew a deep breath and gave her friend a brief nod. “Why are we here? Are we hostages?”

Ceinno chuckled which made the hair on Delia’s arm rise.

“No. Not exactly,” Iyuno said. His voice drawled in laziness.

Delia didn’t like the way he drew it out. “Then what? It’s certainly not for our sparkling conversation.”

It was Iyuno’s turn to chuckle. “Your time with the humans has made you sarcastic. Very charming.” He traded glances with Nethene.

Nethene nodded. “We are studying you. The only raven-haired elf! We want to see what you can do. I’ll have to say the day was a bit of a disappointment.”

Delia dug her nails into her palm to resist a retort. Beside her, Kaya drank her water with a nonchalance Delia envied. She picked up her wine and sipped, hoping she looked as uncaring as Kaya. “So sorry to underwhelm.” She looked around the dining room with her magical sight. All of the doors had a fine mesh of magic over them. The black elves had dark brown auras. Iyuno, Nethene, and Ceinno’s were all black. Apparently in his own company, Nethene didn’t bother to project the false aura. The wine and water didn’t have any magical properties. That didn’t mean they weren’t poisoned. Delia made a mental note to see if there was a way to see poison. If she got out of here alive, anyway. “What are you looking for?”

Nethene shrugged. “Something worthy of a prophesy.”

“What do you think of my protection spell?” Iyuno leaned forward, eyes on Delia.

“It’s very strong,” Delia offered. “But I’m new at magic. I don’t really have a frame of reference.”

Iyuno looked to Kaya. “And you? You’re twice Delia’s age. What is your opinion?”

“My skills tend more toward the healing arts.”

Iyuno fell back into his chair. “I saw you both at the gate yesterday. Neither of you fool me. And with the door to your room this morning? I could feel the power. Who was working on the door?”

“We both were,” Kaya spoke quickly. “A combined effort.”

Nethene frowned. Delia could see he was skeptical. “I could feel a shield.”

Delia shrugged. Kaya took a sip of her wine.

Iyuno waved to a guard. The elf left the room and shortly, several elves came in bringing plates of food. Delia’s stomach growled immediately. Ceinno laughed as he placed his napkin in his lap. “The body can be such a traitor.”

Delia couldn’t help but blush. Kaya gave her hand a squeeze. They ate quickly. Delia still wanted to know what Iyuno was up to. When he finished his food and one of the elves took the plate away, Delia asked, “Where is my father?”

Iyuno looked toward her, picking up his wine. “He’s dead.”

Delia stared at him. A feeling of overwhelming grief washed through her with such speed she stopped breathing. She hadn’t known him that long. The strength of the feeling surprised her. Again, Kaya squeezed her hand. Delia nodded. It was possible that if these three were in here having dinner at their leisure, that her father was dead, and his force destroyed. Tears sprang to her eyes. “You lie.”

Iyuno shrugged. “We march on your father’s palace now.”

An instantaneous fear for her mother swept over her, replacing the grief. “Why?”

Nethene snorted again. “Iyuno is the rightful heir. The elves will proclaim it or they will die.”

“Liar,” Kaya called out. “Liar. Anyone can see by looking at the three of you that you are not fit to rule the kingdom.

Ceinno reached out a hand and made a grasping motion. Kaya’s hand flew up to her neck. She began to turn red, choking.

“Stop it!” Delia turned on Ceinno and with a push of her hand, knocked him out of his seat to go sliding across the dining room floor. The black elf guards were on her in an instant, swords out. Nethene leapt from his chair and had both hands out in front of him. Delia could see the magic, all black and ugly, swirling between his hands. Kaya collapsed into her chair, leaning over the table, coughing.

“Stop!” Iyuno held up a hand.

Nethene looked as though he’d been slapped, but he let the black magic die away. One of the guards helped Ceinno up. He dusted himself up and sauntered back to the table. “You see, cousin, uncle, how powerful she is.” He sat down and picked up his wine glass. “She has strength. She’d be a powerful ally.”

Delia’s eys went wide. “The is no way.”

Iyuno laughed. “Of course there is.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 33.

1114 Words

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

 

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Slave Elf Part 31: Flash Fiction Friday

green_subatomic_by_milaysvk-dbheqbg

Part 1 Here.

Part 31

Delia brushed her hands off over the plate and walked to stand in front of the door. Kaya did the same and stood beside her.

“So yesterday, I was blasting the castle gate but needed a shield to protect against a back lash, so I stopped to build a shield and you did your best to hold the blast. That didn’t work, or we wouldn’t be in this mess. I suggest you build a shield and I attack the door.” Delia glanced at her friend.

Kaya nodded. “Sounds like a plan.” She drew a deep breath and held out her hands. “Ready.”

Delia could feel her hands sweat. She brushed them off on her pant legs and took her own deep breath, turning on her magical sight. The yellow lines were there, same as on the gate. Would Iyuno build as strong a protection spell on this interior door as on the castle gate? Nothing to do but find out.

She raised her hands and used the spell Kaepli had taught them. “It’s still not right. Same as yesterday. I need to modify it. I’m not sure how.”

“You’re so strong I forget you’re new to magic.” Kaya nodded. “Inch your spell one direction or another. That’s what Master Kaepli taught us. As a mage, we’d have to do just that, discover how to make or break a spell. This is that time.”

Delia nodded, but she had no confidence in her ability to do what Kaya said. How do I move the spell one way or another? She tried adding a color to her spell, like an aura, but aside from a spark or two, nothing happened.

“You can do it, Delia,” Kaya encouraged her.

Delia could feel her breath tremble with the effort. Master Kaepli had made it look so easy. She tried applying more power, but other than her magical force increasing in brightness, that didn’t work either. She could feel drops of sweat start to trickle down her temples. What else could she do?

She heard voices on the other side of the door. “They’ve heard us, somehow.”

“To be expected. We’re generating a lot of power. One of them was sure to notice.”

Delia continued. What did she mean by inch the spell. Actual movement? Despite the noise from the hall, she decided to try and move one of the spell threads. She picked one at the center and eased it out of the golden lines. Her green spell began to vibrate.

“That might be it, Delia. Keep going.”

Delia took another ragged breath. This was harder to do than anything she’d done before. She moved another thread, then another. She panted with the effort, but she could see the golden lines begin to vibrate as well. She was on the right track! Delia had begun to move another of her threads when she and Kaya were knocked across the room with a magical blast. She and Kaya landed against the wall. Delia felt like soggy bread as three of the black elves burst into the room, Nethene behind them. He stared at them as they helped each other to their feet.

Nethene tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his robe. “I told Uncle you’d try to break the spell.”

Delia wiped the sweat from her temples. “You didn’t think we’d just docilly wait here, did you?” Her words sounded more defiant than she felt.

Nethene snorted. “Of course not. I expected you to try something. Now we’ll have to separate you. A bother for us,” he sneered, “unpleasant for you.” He waved his hand. Three more elves came into the room. “Take them to the cells.”

“No!” Delia cried out.

Kaya raised her chin. “You will not win, traitor.”

Nethene laughed as the black elves led them away.

Delia ended up in a subterranean cell, no windows, and with only one of the magic lights she found in her father’s palace. At least she wasn’t in total dark. She had no way of knowing where Kaya was put. There was a straw pallet on a rope wooden bedstead with one blanket. A bucket in the corner served as the toilet and a rickety wooden stand held a pitcher with a horn mug and a round of bread. Delia lay down on the bed. She was so tired, she didn’t know how she’d managed to walk all the way down here.

Tears came to her eyes and leaked down her face onto the rough mattress. She already missed Kaya. What was Iyuno’s plan? Was she to be traded somehow? What about Kaya? She dashed the tears away, a sudden anger filling her. Was this what she was now? A pawn? It was worse than when she was a slave. At least there she’d had some freedom of movement, of thought. The tears came again, and she cried herself to sleep.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 32.

816 Words

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

 

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NaNo, Vision Boards. Tested: Monday Blog Post

Turkey from Upstate NY

 

Newest News:

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States and I want to wish everyone a wonderful day with friends and family.

So today is day 20 of the National Novel Writing Month. I mentioned last week that I ran into trouble with my book being too short. What I finally decided to do was add a second point of view, Jean’s ex-husband, Dwight. I’ve never tried this before so I’m not sure how duplicative it will be. Maybe too much, but I thought I’d give it a try. So, as of Sunday, I’m at 36K words. I’m still going to come in short, I can already tell. I’ll worry about that later this week.

On my new class on Vision Boards, I’ve completed the second module. This week I learned about contacting people to join the workshop, what kind of emails to send and how to keep everyone interested before the class happens. I’m still very excited about this. Have you ever done a vision board? Tell me about it in the comments!

The cover for Tested has finally come back to me. I’m working in the formatting now and will be publishing in December. I know, months later than I had anticipated but it will be out soon. Thank you so much for waiting so patiently. I’m have a few copies ready for review if you’d like. It’s always good to start a new release with some reviews already on Amazon. Let me know if you’re interested.

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway has begun. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

Shout Out:

Author Marge Cutter

Today I’d like to give a shout out to author Margaret Cutter, author of a fantasy you can find on her website, margecutter.wordpress.com. Marge is currently an aspiring author who has completed one children’s picture book under her pen name, Pearl Meadows, and the first two books of a YA Fantasy series under her pen name Marge Cutter, all currently unpublished. But check out her website. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

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

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Slave Elf Part 30: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

See Part 1 here.

Part 30

Delia traded a glance with Kaya and approached the table.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iyuno put down his cutlery. “Happened?”

“The battle. What happened?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaya laughed. “Probably not.”

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

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

“Sounds good. Let’s give it a try.”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 31.

1087 Words

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

 

 

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Tested, Mystery at the Fair: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

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

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

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

Mystery at the Reunion is set in Vegas, Baby!

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

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

I continue to write my serial, Slave Elf. Sunday, I wrote two more episodes. Delia is in deep trouble. We’ll have to see how she gets out of it. You can find the first episode here.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or $150 in Paypal cash? Drop by https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Spooktacular Authors Halloween Giveaway. There are 8 days left so get it now!

2018 Planner

I have started a contest over on my newsletter. What? You don’t get my newsletter? That’s a shame. But see below on how you can join in on the fun. I already have several people writing in to enter it. It runs to the end of October, just 8 days away, when I’ll use a random number generator to select the winner. Let me know you’ve joined the newsletter and I’ll send you the information to enter.

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

Shout Out:

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

Where Will I Be?

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

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

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

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Slave Elf Part 27: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

See Part 1 here.

Part 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delia nodded and the three returned to the camp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not sure, Father.”

“What do you mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to get to work.

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 28.

990 Words

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

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

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

Newest News:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giveaways:

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

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

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

Shout Out:

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

Where Will I Be?

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

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

 

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

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Slave Elf Part 26: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Energy Ball 001 by ISOStock, www.DeviantArt.com

Part 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not much. Not at this distance.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No, water is fine. Thank you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just before dawn. Please hurry?”

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

“Yes. But hurry.”

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

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

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

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 27.

990 Words

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

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Slave Elf Part 25: Flash Fiction Friday Post

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

Part 25

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

Groggy, she responded. “Is it morning?”

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

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

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

“No. I slept straight through.”

“Is your wound bothering you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Very good.”

The mage rode off. Sisruo rode with him.

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

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

Delia hoped so as well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you need me to do, Sire.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“From where I can. And yes, now.”

“I’ll come with you.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 26.

1252 Words

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

 

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Giveaways, Fall, and More: Monday Blog Post

Arizona Hike October 2016 by Randy Cockrell

Newest News:

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

Vegas by Randy Cockrell

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

Giveaways:

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

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

Shout Out:

Author Marina Epley

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

Where Will I Be?

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

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

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

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

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://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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