Slave Elf Part 37: Flash Fiction Friday

Elf’s houses by nikyelisey httpsorig00.deviantart.netb9d8f2010008a8elf__s_houses_by_nikyeliseyev.jpg

See Part 1 here.

Part 37

Dappled sunlight, tinted green after shining through the leaves of the tree, danced on the wall opposite the bed. Delia was so comfortable she simply lay and watched the light. It was the smell of bacon that lured her out of bed. She dressed after splashing her face and went down to the kitchen.

There she found Phara, Aduello, and Kaya at the kitchen table, mugs of tea in front of each. “Did you sleep well?” Kaya asked.

“Yes. Thank you. I don’t think I moved all night.”

“Please sit,” Phara said as she stood up. “I’ll get you some tea. Breakfast is almost ready.”

Delia chuckled. “The smell of bacon was the only thing that could get me up.”

Everyone smiled. “I felt the same way,” Kaya said and sipped her tea.

Breakfast was friendly, and Delia and Kaya insisted on doing the cleaning up. Phara finally relented when the two young elves shoo’d her out of the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to finish and they found Kaya’s parents in the library.

“Good. You’re done,” Aduello said. He closed the book he was reading. “I’ve been giving your father, the king, some thought, Delia.”

Phara motioned to the chairs. “Please sit.”

“What have you been thinking,” Delia asked.

Sandy the dog got up from under Aduello’s desk to get an ear rub from Kaya, then lay down at her feet.

“King Ucheni had fallen back from the fight at Iyuno’s castle. That much I know. I also know that Iyuno attacked the palace.” Aduello scratched his chin. “My theory is that Iyuno’s forces harried the king all the way back. The question now, is where is the king?”

Delia nodded, her hands twisting in her lap. “And why a protection spell over the palace?”

“Tell us about this protection spell,” Phara asked. “I’m not familiar with it.”

“We weren’t either, Mother.” Kaya leaned down to pet Sandy and was rewarded with a tail thump on the floor. “It was something Iyuno had done. Master Kaepli figured it out and had us all practice building it and taking it down.” She nodded at Delia. “Princess Delia was the strongest of us at it. She was the one at the gate, with me, trying to take it down. Then the black elves began erupting from hidden tunnels and we were cut off from the army. I had been knocked silly when the protection spell whiplashed back on us. Delia got us away but more of the black elves came from another tunnel and captured us.” She sighed. “If I hadn’t been so weak, Delia could have gotten away.”

Delia shook her head. “I don’t think so. Iyuno had it all planned out. I was going to get captured or killed, one way or the other.”

Kaya gave Delia a smile of gratitude. “Perhaps.”

“What are black elves,” Aduello asked.

“Oh. That’s what we called the elves following Iyuno. Because they all wear black,” Delia said. “Iyuno and Iyuno’s nephews, Ceinno, and Nethene are all very powerful and I figured out why. That’s how we escaped.”

Aduello and Phara leaned forward. “Do tell.”

“They can draw power from fire.” Delia clasped her hands. “I had wondered why they didn’t use the magical lights like we did. They had torches all over the castle. The magic lights are so much cleaner and safer, I didn’t understand why they didn’t use them. Then the day before I broke out, I saw Iyunno with my magic sight, power was flowing from the torch to him. Then they made a mistake and didn’t take the torches with them that night. I pulled power from all of the torches they’d left until I could break my bonds and get free.”

Phara’s eyes were wide. She looked at her husband. “Did you know this?”

He shook his head. “No. But that was a remarkable escape.”

Kaya nodded. “She came and got me, and we got out. Neither of us think that the other black elves could pull power from fire. Just the two nephews and Iyuno. And now Delia.”

Delia smiled her gratitude at Kaya. “I think I want to go back to the palace and break that protection spell.”

Aduello nodded thoughtfully. “I can see where that makes sense.”

“But won’t it whiplash back on you like at Iyuno’s?” Kaya asked.

Delia shook her head. “I’ll build a bonfire and have a lot more power than we did the last time. I have to know what’s in the palace.”

“Do you think your parents are in there?” Kaya looked at her friend with concern.

“Perhaps.” Delia shrugged. “Perhaps no one is there and Iyuno put the spell up as an annoyance. I don’t know. But it’s a first step.”

Aduello nodded. “I’ll send some pigeons out with a question, where’s Iyuno. We could hear back within a few days.”

Delia pressed her lips together. “Good. We have a plan. May I borrow a horse?”

“Of course. I’ll go with you,” Aduello said.

“You’re not leaving me behind. I can help,” Kaya said as she stood up.

“I’ll pack you some food,” Phara said. “And stay here to receive the pigeons.”

Delia smiled. “You are all so kind.” She felt a little weepy, and sniffed back tears. “Thank you.”

Kaya placed a hand on Delia’s shoulder. “You’re my friend. What else can we do?”

 

Thank You! Come back next week for Part 38.

898 Words

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

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Planning or Winging It: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

Oh my gosh! It’s 2018 and the current topic of conversation in the author sites is planning for 2018. Goal setting is another name. And have you heard about the “word of the year” thing? It’s enough to make your head spin. Bottom line: what do you want for your new year? I usually make this huge, long list of things I want to do and generally, I get it all done. This year, however, I’m going minimalist. I want to do the rewrite and edit on my Zoe Ohale series book 2, Troubled Campus. I wrote the think April 2017. Time to get that bad girl done and out the door. I need to also rewrite and edit Mystery at the Reunion. I only wrote that in November but still—my mystery readers are waiting for it. I have the first book of my All About Bob series written. That was two years ago! But I think I want to write all 5 planned books, get them edited and release them one after the other. That way people who like the series can just dive in. Along with all of that, stop brainstorming my Christmas story and actually write it. Then, I want to release my Gulliver Station series as a box set for both ebook and for paperback. I’ve actually already began that process. Two of the books are reedited and the ebook book set already started on the formatting. Two books down, two to go. Then I have 2 major events and one minor one scheduled. The Phoenix Comicon starting May 24th and the Payson Book Festival, July 21st. My tables are already reserved for both of those. Then I’m scheduled for the Mesa Book Festival, about December 8th. Then, I’m getting healthier. I’ve mentioned I’ve started eating a Paleo diet to help with my Celiac and Hashimoto’s diseases. Food is the key for me. But in addition to eating better, I’ve upped my exercise. I’m already a week in and I can feel that I’ve lost weight.

Finally, there’s that word of the year I mentioned earlier. I started hearing about it last year. You choose the word for the activity or characteristic you want to focus on for yourself during the year. Some people choose FOCUS. Some choose DETERMINATION, or COMPLETION, or any other number of words. For me, I’m choosing FORTUNE. I did some work on this last year but this year, this is my focus. I have a pretty good back list of books. I have some great contacts in the author world. Now to get my stories out in front of you, the reader. What’s it going to take? Extra work in reaching my audiences. Encouragement for readers to leave reviews. Getting my name out in front of the right people for the genres I write. It’s not going to be easy, that much I know but it will be worth it.

http://magikstock.deviantart.com/art/Camel-1-319794644

Saying all of that, I’ve been working on my stand-alone fantasy story, Slave Elf. I’m at 50,000 words, a novel, and I’m loving where this is going. I’m nearing the end but I have one more twist to throw in there before wrapping everything up. It may be another 10k, it may be more, I don’t know but this story has been leading me a merry chase for months now. I hope you’re enjoying it. Once I have it done, I plan on cleaning it up, getting a formal edit and releasing it.

I’ve made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. If you haven’t gotten your 2018 wall calendar, check it out. I hope you like it.

It’s officially 20 days until my first Vision Board workshop. I’m getting everything prepared and I’ve already sent out my first emails asking people to come join me. Hoo!

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway is over. There are 70 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $160 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. The winners will be notified shortly.

We’ll be starting the Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway in a few days. This is a great way to find new to you authors. Check out http://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.

I have a January giveaway, Ring in the New Year with Killer Mysteries, hosted by author Anne R. Tan on BookFunnel.com. https://books.bookfunnel.com/free_mystery. It will run from January 5th to the 21st. Lots of new to you authors are also in the giveaway. Click that link and find some great mystery stories.

Shout Out:

Here’s a shout out to author Abby L. Vandiver. https://www.facebook.com/authorabbyl.vandiver. Abby does a ton of promotional work with other authors, including me! She writes mysteries so if you’re a mystery lover, check out her books.

 

Where Will I Be?

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

I’m already scheduled to go to the Phoenix Comicon May24th – 28th.

On July 21st, I’m scheduled for the Payson Book Festival.

Newsletter Sign Up:

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

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

Newest Book Release:

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

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Slave Elf Part 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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