Posted in Fiction on February 4th, 2013 by Annabelle – 29 Comments
“You’re sure this is the path you want to take.”
She surveyed the crumbling goat-track down to the harbor cheerfully. “It looks solid enough.” The crisp salt air ruffled her hair and made her want to twirl.
“That is not what I meant.” She looked up. The disapproval had flattened him out like a toad. He was comically glum, as if he might melt into a puddle of sheer concentrated obloquy. She resisted the urge to pat him affectionately on the head.
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Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on January 30th, 2013 by Annabelle – 24 Comments
This, she thought with a wince, might really be the worst of the things she had to hold against her parents about this whole process. She experimentally took a hand away from one ear just in time to hear a particularly off note be followed by a sharp twang and a startled squawk. Broken lute string? She had given up hoping that would shut him up.
The tower thing was ridiculous all around, and she had plenty of things to say about the arrangements for her so-called comfort if she ever got the chance. She was beyond sick of looking at the walls in here and so bored that nearly anything would have been an improvement. But this?
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Posted in Calere, Fiction on January 28th, 2013 by Annabelle – 36 Comments
“Hang in there, Dane. We’ll be there soon.” There was no more response than the last three times. Cy told himself it was probably a good thing that Dane had passed out. Easier that way.
Cy winced as the wagon jolted and his fingers, slippery with blood, slid across the increasingly saturated pad above Dane’s left hip. He swore quietly. Dane was looking far too white, and as for the wound, Cy was afraid to lift up the pad again to look. The mouth of the wound had been ragged after the captain had pulled the arrow out, and the blood was still coming no matter how hard he pressed. Cy was far from sure that yanking the arrow that way had been the right thing to do — it was bleeding so much — but he had no idea what else they could have done.
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Posted in Fiction, Tacar on January 24th, 2013 by Annabelle – 8 Comments
The servant quietly closed the door behind her, leaving behind a motionless tableau: the Emperor’s first wife, Lady Cahlila, and three teenaged girls standing before her in a line. Raicha tried not to let her eyes drop to the mosaic under her feet. It was a fine example, three centuries old, but she’d seen it before, and as Camilia was always saying, showing guilt was as bad as getting caught.
Cahlila leaned back in her chair and gave them a considering look from those famously brilliant eyes. Camilia, next to Raicha, met the look evenly, nearly identical eyes showing nothing but polite inquiry. The corner of her mother’s mouth lifted slightly. Camilia’s half-sister Sai, standing on Camilia’s other side, stood straight and tall. Raicha envied her ease.
“Lady Dahla had a very bad reaction to one of her paints this morning.” They had known that. Rumors in the hallways varied, but the overall trend suggested that she had a face full of hives and was refusing to come out of her rooms.
“Cosmetic creams go bad so quickly in the summer,” Camilia murmured sympathetically. Her mother clearly did not believe that for a second, but faint amusement said it had been an acceptable parry. “And she needs so many of them.” That had been almost inaudible but Cahlila’s lips twitched.
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Posted in Calere, Fiction on January 17th, 2013 by Annabelle – 8 Comments
“You did that?” Cy looked dubiously at a length of fabric so sheer that he could almost see through it and then at the sister who was holding it. She was twelve.
“Don’t touch it!” Make that twelve and bossy.
“I wasn’t going to.” Cy looked guiltily at his callused hands. He’d been a disaster with the finer cloths even before he’d joined up, and now? Five years of continuous sword drills had left him with hands that would snag silk from three feet away.
A snicker came from the doorway. “Eleven years of age and all that military training and Cala’s still in charge, huh?” Their brother Brev, nineteen and the sanest person in the family, leaned against the doorframe, grinning.
“Strategic choices,” Cy responded promptly. “We pick our battlefields.”
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Posted in Fairy Tales, Fiction on January 16th, 2013 by Annabelle – 15 Comments
The frog contemplated the golden ball. It glittered through the murky water, half-buried in the black silt of the pond’s bottom. He could hear the princess crying above, her voice weirdly distorted by the water but still distinguishable. The wavering image on the surface showed him a green dress and dark red hair. Red. Never his favorite.
He swam over and prodded the ball with one sticky toe. It was his way out of this mess, he supposed. Back to the old life of flavored ices and servant girls, assuming he could avoid marrying the weeper. He slowly blinked the nictitating membrane across his eye, the best he could do for a nostalgic sigh in this clammy body. It had been a good life, if not useful. He’d been an idle prince at best, years from responsibility in a peaceful kingdom that did just fine with no help from him. Lovely.
His parents had put it about that it had been a spiteful fairy, he’d heard. It probably sounded better than admitting that he’d insulted a witch on his way out of her rumpled cottage bed the second night, and that she had decided sliminess suited him. True love. He would have rolled his eyes if he could have. But it only had to be true love for her, didn’t it? That might not be so hard.
Red-headed, though. He peered up through the water, trying to discern what sort of figure was attached to all that red hair. Hm. He pushed off of the golden ball with a back foot, and swished back into the depths of the pond. Princesses were so much work, after all. And perhaps a blonde would come by later.
Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge! This week called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word IDLE (adj.):IDLE
3: a : shiftless, lazy
b : having no evident lawful means of support
Thanks for reading!
Posted in Fiction on December 26th, 2012 by Annabelle – 5 Comments
When it came, she knew how she should be. Glassy-eyed with wonder. Struck silent with reverence. Staggered by the magnitude of the change.
She wasn’t. When it finally came, it was after years of dawdling, dragging its feet like a recalcitrant child, dripping stars and omens behind it in a messy trail of portents too exhausting to decipher. When at last it lolled onto the stage, basking in the light of its own self-pleasure, it was exactly how she’d pictured it. The sun still rose over wet green fields, the cows still needed feeding, and the fraying hole in the pocket of her coat still consumed all her spare change. Life went on.
In the end, she thought, the only wonder of it was that they had waited for it for so long.
Welcome to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge! This week called for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word WONDER (noun):
Thanks for reading!
Posted in Calere, Fiction on December 21st, 2012 by Annabelle – 6 Comments
Cy looked down at his pay slip and contemplated the latest misspelling of his name. Seinen. It had, in past weeks, been Sinan, Sainnen, and in a bizarre creative flight that he still had trouble believing wasn’t deliberate, Siiniin. Sinan at least sounded Caleran. What sort of a guy was Seinen? Heid, maybe? It had a Heid sort of an air to it, all E and I.
He shook his head and pushed off the wall, turning toward the offices. Every week, a new man here in the military. He’d wondered at first if he should try to correct it — but he was having enough trouble about his foreign looks without making a fuss over the spelling of his even more foreign first name. It was the least of his problems, really. If he’d been one of the farmers’ kids, he probably wouldn’t even read well enough to know.
Of course, if he’d been one of the farmers’ kids, the Atan officers wouldn’t all look at him like he was a mercenary.
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Posted in Fiction on December 17th, 2012 by Annabelle – 10 Comments
The door slammed.
Tassin came out of the back room, a startled look on his face. “What was that?”
“Another entry for the list of people who are not happy for us.”
The alarm dropped away and he ambled forward. His look said, plain as day, is that all? “We’re going to run out of paper. Who was it this time?”
“The priest. He offered to heal me of your corruption. I would have been touched if I wasn’t pretty sure there would have been fire involved for both of us.”
He sat back onto the arm of a chair and pulled her in. “Who knew a cross-marriage would be so popular?” He sounded inappropriately delighted. His hand wove into her hair, pushing it back off her neck.
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Posted in Fiction on December 13th, 2012 by Annabelle – 7 Comments
It pressed on Michael from the moment he walked in the gallery door. The last exhibition of Itu experiential art, and it was packed, but the crush of humanity was hardly more than a thread against the overwhelming presence of the art. The almost tangible buzz made him stumble and apologize to a woman who barely knew he was there. A pickpocket’s dream, if only there were earplugs for the mind.
Michael looked out over the swimming room and saw him. A slouched figure, strangely alone, in front of a jangling, twisting work in the corner. He closed his eyes, then pushed his way across, deliberately avoiding looking at the other man. He fixed his gaze thoughtfully on a corner of the frame, trying not to see the art itself, and spoke.
“I was afraid you’d be here.”
A sharp laugh, and a twitch of the hand. “You did say you wanted to say goodbye.”
“This isn’t what I meant.” He slanted his eyes left. “You look terrible.” It was true. Lucien was gaunt and jittery, unshaven. Worse, the same consuming aura that radiated from the art seemed to spark from his skin.
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