Tag Archives: my words

The Sacrifice

Today’s story is a bit special because it’s a gift for @shewhoshipsCS aka @thegreatshipcaptainswan aka Jeannie who is having a Hatchday today. So since I can’t be there, please enjoy this wonderful story written for you.

His father’s old rocking chair moved gently back and forth and the motion had put her to sleep. She was safe in his arms. She was safe in the dilapidated house they’d made their own. Safe from the outside world and the wicked people who walked it.
But the gentle rocking and the comforting arms could not keep her mind from finding danger.
Zena cried out and twitched in her sleep.

“We have to go back.”
The two men reined in their horses and looked back down the road the way they had come, down beyond the wagons that remained and the people that still lived. Charles and Matthew had to lead their people to safety now; their father was among the dead. Everything had changed and it had changed so fast.
The two brothers had been fighting when the first arrows had whistled through the air. Had it not been for Matthew’s good hearing, an arrow might have ended up in Charles’s back. They had been trying to beat each other senseless, trying to hurt each other over a young woman whom they were both in love with.
A young woman who had been left behind. One life to save many. And she had been the one brave enough to make the sacrifice. She had been the one to urge them all to go, to save themselves. She had been crying but resolute as they rode away.
“We have to get our people to safety first. Our duty comes before our hearts.”
“How can you say that!” Matthew snarled at his brother, ready to restart the earlier fight. “She is back there and in danger.”
“And what of these people? What of the children? What of Louisa’s Grandmama? Would Louisa forgive us if we left them to fend for themselves and returned to her?”
Matthew opened his mouth to argue but then he saw the pain in his brother’s face. This was eating Charles up as much as it was him.
“But what if they…”
Charles gritted his teeth and looked at the ground. He could not answer his brother’s question. He could not bear the thought. But he knew what was required of them, and what Louisa had begged them to do. He would not dishonour her bravery by breaking their promises to her.
“We need to keep moving, the sooner we reach the city and safety, the sooner we can go back,” Charles replied after the silence had stretched out.
“But you said…” Matthew looked sideways at his brother.
“I said we have to do our duty first, I said we had to get our people to safety first.”
“Oh,” Matthew grinned at his brother and then spurred his horse on, a wild excitement taking him to be done with duty and rescue their girl. “Well, come on, brother. Get a move on.”

**

Louisa had never thought herself to be a very brave person. She screamed at spiders and needed to light a candle before she could move her feet out from under the covers at night. Today she had found a bravery that she had not known, she had stood up to outlaws and negotiated freedom for her people.
Just two hours ago she had been sitting in the back of a wagon loaded with fabric, negotiating with David and Lea for some maroon lace for a dress she wished to make before the next moon festival. She wanted a pretty dress to wear in hopes that someone might finally find enough courage to make his intentions clear.
Now David and Lea were dead, their wagon emptied of all the expensive fabric they had planned to sell. The wagon had left filled with people. Many of the horses remaining with the outlaws, as Louisa did.
The brothers had not wanted to ride away and leave her behind. She had not wanted to be left behind but she had made the bargain and made them promise. In tears, she had made the two men promise to ride to safety with their people and leave her to her fate.
Because of it, Louisa had found out she was brave. She had found out that she could be a hero like in the stories. Without sword or shield, she had stood up and become a hero. People lived because of her courage.
She would have been proud of herself if she had not been so terrified.
There were at least a dozen men in this gang of criminals. They were not the outlaws of noble heart, robbing the rich to give to the poor. These were terrible men, scar covered and violent, and each looked at her in such a way that her skin crawled. There was violence in their hunger, and Louisa had heard stories…
She knew what was to come and her mind raced as to how she could avoid it, or at least buy time. Not for rescue, she had sent the two men that might do so away. She hoped to buy time for her escape. Hours had passed already and there had been no chance to escape. The men squabbled over the spoils of their attack. They seemed to fight over everything.
That gave Louisa an idea.
A hand rubbed over her back and Louisa jumped, turning she found a gap-toothed man leering at her.
“Are you the leader of these men?” Louisa asked.
“Ha! He wishes!” Another man laughed loudly.
“So,” Louisa said turning to the laughing man. He reminded her of a rat with his long, thin nose. “Does that mean you are?”
“There are no leaders, we are all equal,” another man said. He looked at the others with an expression that made Louisa think that he thought he should be the leader.
“But if there is no leader, then who will I give myself to.”
“All of us!” Another of the men yelled with great enthusiasm and made a lewd gesture. The others all laughed.
“Oh, that won’t work. I want to give myself to the strongest of you, the leader. Only to the strongest will I give myself to willingly and with great passion. So, which one of you is the strongest?” Louisa moved to a tree stump that was clearly often used as a seat by the gang; the wood was smooth. She crossed her leg up over the other, her torn dress flashing her legs.
“I am the strongest!”
“No, it’s me!”
All the men began to yell each other down. Louisa pretended to be unconvinced by their words. Maybe even a little bored. Inside she was terrified and it was all she could do not to shake in her seat.
The yelling turned to pushing and shoving. Punches were thrown.
Louisa watched the men descend into their darker nature. Knives came out and Louisa nearly screamed as one man stabbed another.
They were trying to kill each other, and it was over her! It was insanity. Louisa took no pleasure in the fact nor in the way they were hurting each other. It was awful. But fewer men meant her chance of survival, of escape, increased.
“Whoever is left standing gets me. And to find out what I can do with my tongue.” Louisa called out the words and smiled, gesturing for the men to keep fighting. She had no trick with her tongue but she had heard one of the women say similar in the last town they had visited. The woman had been trying to get Matthew or Charles to purchase her services. Louisa had thrown an apple at the back of Charles’s head, as he was turned away from her. It had served to ruin any moment that might have been happening.
It was that woman that Louisa now pretended herself to be as she waited for a chance to run.
And then the moment came. There were no eyes on her. Four men lay dead and still the others fought on. Louisa slipped from the tree stump and around the trees, she found a horse. One of her own people’s horse. It knew her and knelt for her to get on. She straddled the horse easily in her torn skirt.
The men did not take long to realise she was gone.
Louisa had been born to people that rode, she had been riding since she was tiny and this stallion was young and strong. He moved swiftly taking them back to the road and hopefully to safety. Louisa rode as hard as she could, never looking back.
Perhaps she should have, she heard a rider approach suddenly. How he had appeared so quickly beside her she did not know. She glanced at him and did not recognise his face from the camp and the fight. They must have had others still out on the road waiting for new travellers. Louisa had not thought about that possibility.
The rider leapt from his horse and knocked Louisa from hers. They fell hard to the ground and rolled. The rough ground damaged clothing and skin. Louisa hurt everywhere. She felt as though all the breath had been knocked from her body and she could not draw more. She rolled around on the hard ground clutching her knees up to her chest as she tried to breathe.
More horses approached and Louisa knew her gamble had failed. Now they would not fight over her. Now they would not leave her free to escape. At least Louisa had tried.
Louisa rolled to her knees and tried to crawl away. The man from the horse grabbed her by the hair and pulled her backwards. He tugged her back beside her before striking her in the face. Louisa scratched his face in retaliation and punched him in the throat. He let go of her.
“Leave her alone!”
Louisa looked up and was surprised to see that two of the horsemen bearing down on them were coming from the wrong direction. She was more surprised to recognise them both. It had been Charles that had yelled out. He was in front of Matthew and he leapt from his horse while it was still moving.
A sound behind Louise made her turn back to her attacker. She found a pistol aimed at her face. She had never seen one up close before. None of their people were allowed to carry one.
“Wench!”
The man pulled something back on the weapon that Louisa could not see and then fired. A figure moved and the figure hit Louisa instead of the bullet.
Charles was struck in the shoulder and he lay against Louisa on the ground, bleeding. Matthew yelled as he leapt from his horse, and his blade ended the other man’s life before he could reload.
Louisa cried out. She did not know what she was saying. She cried out over and over, her arms flailing around…

“Zena, Zena, wake up, wake up. It was just a dream.”
She opened her eyes, she was back at their sanctuary, no horses, no bad men. Just them. Zena snuggled in against his chest and sighed. “Charles will find us again, Matthew. I know he will.”
Her best friend looked at her strangely. He shook his head and cuddled her tightly. “You’re safe now, Zena. You’re safe.”
And she felt safe. The dream was fading away and there was nothing else but the rocking chair, the sound of the rain and his arms around her. She was safe now, she was always safe with him.

 

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Waiting for a Friend – A poem

I wrote this a few weeks ago but it seemed fitting to share it again. Some people touch our lives and they never know it. Some people are important and loved and we never tell them. So here is a mission for today. Tell someone they matter to you. Show someone that you are their friend. Pick a bunch of people and tell them you’re so glad they’re here.

Waiting for a Friend

I see her sitting on the bench
She holds a book in her hand but her eyes are on the path
She’s waiting for a friend
She’s there again. Alone on the bench
Her phone in her hand as she pretends her eyes are not on the path
She’s waiting for a friend
Days go by and people walk by
She’s still waiting for a friend
Smiles are exchanged. Hands move in greeting.
But she’s still sitting there alone
Waiting for a friend
A new hat. A new hair do. A pretty new scarf
The leaves redden and fall
She’s still on the bench pretending her eyes are not on the world
Waiting for a friend
Dogs bark and earn fusses
Smiles are exchanged. A half wave in farewell
She remains there alone
Waiting for a friend
Everyone knows her. Everyone sees her
Maybe they like her
But you could not tell as she sits there alone
Waiting for a friend
Maybe I should do something but I’m too scared to move
From my spot
On my bench
All alone
Waiting for a friend.

Lyrical Poetry – Rise Above

Rise above1

Rise above the mundane

Can you explain

What sets you apart

And fires your heart

To call you home

To rise up high

As you fly

And soar

On wings you never

Unfurled before

Launching from a destined place

If you face

The climb

The scraped knees

And begging pleas

But if you make the journey

Oh the view

But only you can achieve

So you can see

What you were meant to be

*

Did you ever think you were mundane

Or was there always

The feeling you couldn’t explain

Or express

But you couldn’t suppress

And you could not ignore

This constant calling

For more

Than you had for

What you could sense

Just out of your reach

And no one could say

Or teach

You different from the

Yearning inside

But you would hide

It away and

Refrain

Pretend you were plain

How you longed for the pretend

To end

So you could go

From darkness to light

And be allowed

To burn bright

For that was your path

Though others might laugh

It was your truth

Your right

Born of fire and blood

To be an endless light

To Share A Book Title

I know I’ve been a bit quiet about the book this last week but that is because I have been working hard on it. After thinking I was almost done, a final read through revealed that no, I was not done and I knew just how to make the second episode of City of the Wiccad even more amazing. The joys of editing.

But I am so pleased with the final result.

Episode 2 finds us returning to the heroine of An All Hallows’ Haunting, and a favourite character of mine, Catherine Belvedere. Which might explain the title of City of the Wiccad: Episode 2. I present our new title…

titlereveal

But do not fear, if you are hanging out to find out more about what happened after City of the Wiccad – Episode 1: Beginnings. For though My Fair Catherine brings in new players to the Tales of the Wiccad, you will get a teaser of Episode 3 when we shall return in earnest to Gabby, Maggie, the wonderful women of Maggie’s Home, and our dear Detective Inspector. And I promise you will not be disappointed.

If you have yet to read City of the Wiccad – Episode 1: Beginnings, you have time to download it, and Catherine’s first Novelette An All Hallows’ Haunting. Next week we will be announcing the release date for My Fair Catherine.

Stay tuned and keep being Wiccad!

 

 

Lyric Warm-Up Writing Day 17 – You don’t see me.

17

I’m running on a lack of good and restful sleep at the moment so today’s warm up is decidedly shorter than yesterday. And I’m not surprised that Jaidee decided this quote was for her, enjoy!

You don’t see Me

In the centre of the flame, she danced. It was a real flame but bigger than she stood and the heat of it burned nothing around it. Not even her.

She spun, she leapt high and crouched down. The flame followed her, it flickered as she twirled. It was truly magical to watch her dance. And then with a thump of the drums, and her foot, the song ended and the flame went out.

The room was plunged into darkness but not silence, as applause erupted from all. Eyes searched for her in the sudden darkness. Lamps were lit again but the stage was empty.

The infamous bard had vanished in the darkness.

Kelsen was on his feet instantly, alert to any danger. It would be just like Jaidee to get herself into trouble so easily.

“Damn woman attracts it,” Kelsen muttered as he effortlessly navigated the crowd so he could get into the back rooms of the tavern.

Jaidee was being helped to a table in the kitchens by two of the staff. She was pale and barely able to stand up, let alone walk or dance again.”

“For the love of the Ancients, what have you done to yourself, woman?”

“There are many women in here, Kelsen. Perhaps if you used a name one would know to respond.” There was a hint of reprimand in Jaidee’s tone, but only a hint. She was too weak to even tell Kelsen off adequately which only furthered his worry.

“Jaidee, this is not the time. What have you done?”

“I danced.”

“I have seen you dance many times, it never causes this to happen.” Kelsen extracted the bard from her helpers and swung her up into his arms.

“You almost sound worried.”

“Almost? And here I thought I was clear, foolish woman. You should not have done the flame dance for these people.” The dance was also known as the Dance of the Dragon Queens and it was forbidden in their realm.

“Who said I did it for them?” Jaidee replied.

“What do you mean?”

Silence greeted Kelsen’s question, Jaidee had fainted. He let out a frustrated sigh, almost glaring at her. But he held her gently as he carried her from the tavern and when they were out of sight of any curious eyes, he ported them back to her forest home.

He lay her down on her bed and looked down at her. She risked too much and for no purpose. Those people did not even realise the great gift they had witnessed. Why had it weakened her so much? Why was her power so depleted?

When she woke, she would explain, even if he had to extract it from her. Thankfully, his means of convincing her to be truthful with him would be pleasurable for them both.