- The Dragon's Lair (aka Home Page)
- Publications and Where to Buy
- Excerpt from A Ranger's Tale
- Serenya's Song (Tallenmere #2) Prologue
- Hearts in Exile (Tallenmere #3): Chapter One
- **WARNING** For Mature Readers ONLY!! A Glimpse of "No Place Like Home", Book #4 in the Tallenmere Series
- Tallenmere Series Playlists
- UPDATED 11/17/15: Book Reviews by Mysti
- Find Me Online
- Why I Can't Write About My Dreams
Monday, December 27, 2010
I'll announce the winner here, and when the book is out in February, I'll send a free copy to the winner. Get to posting!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas has stressed me out this year. It didn't help that it occurred only weeks after we moved to a new town with a new house and new bills and new everything. I've hardly took the time to sit and ponder the true meaning of it, except for the 7-day nativity I do with the kids each year (thank you, dear friend, for that gift). We've watched a movie or two, cuddled up some, but today I realized that I've got a Savior!
Uh, yeah, you say--that's Christmas, you know, Christ's birthday. Well, I say, it's even better than that. I've got a Savior who loves me even when I burn the biscuits, even when I yell at the kids for sneezing in the cookie dough, even when I freak out because I forgot to send a card to my fifth cousin Pat, once removed. I've got a Savior who was born a perfect being into an imperfect world, who loves me despite all my imperfections.
So, I can be stressed and thankful all at the same time, and be happy that He gave me the best gift of all. He's trumped everything I can possibly buy, bake, or mold into a bundt pan. I can rest assured, that when one of the kids has a meltdown because Santa brought "Dance Dance Your Feet Off" instead of "Dance Dance Revolution", my Savior still loves me, still loves us, all of us, no matter what the season.
Now, to all my friends and fellow writers all over the world, no matter what you're celebrating or not this time of year, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday, and most of all a few moments of peace among the craziness to enjoy special time with family and friends. Until next time....joy to you and yours.
I bring you good tidings of great joy."
~ Luke 2:10
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Okay, so here's the deal. We (which I'm sure you understand as "I", but it makes me feel better when I include the rest of the population...you understand) are not getting fit by sitting in front of the computer eating and pecking out our next best-seller (that delusion is another thread altogether). So, we have to make some changes. It's that tired old New Year's resolution all over again. Call it "losing weight" or "getting fit" or "trying not to split our pant seams"--whatever, but the point is, we need to step it up.
Chances are we have a dusty treadmill and weight bench somewhere hiding in the basement, or hidden under clothes or our kitty's litter box, so let's get that stuff out, set it up somewhere sensible. In front of a big TV is nice. Nature lovers might want a big window where they can watch the birdies and squirrels duke it out over the stale donut remains we just threw out.
Start with something manageable--20 minutes a day. Too much? Ok, 10 minutes. And do some stretches. Throw in a few push-ups. Don't forget those neglected abs. We can sit in a chair and do ab excercises--trust me, I've done it.
To up the stakes, as one writer friend on FB suggested, for every overused word (we could also add adverbs, dangling participles, etc) that we find, the penalty is 10 squats or 10 sit-ups, the choice is ours.
So, after all this Christmas candy/cookie/sugar and trans-fat overload is complete, let's get moving. Grow as a writer in talent alone, get fit, increase the blood flow to our brains so we can peck out that next best-seller.
All right, now who's with us?
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
It was 1984. An eight-year-old me watched with bated breath as Mary Lou Retton seemed to defy gravity itself and scored two perfect 10's for her vaults in the Summer Olympics. I cheered along with the rest of the country for the little hero who could. Her performances gave us all a surge of joy, of hope that we too could aspire to great things. She made us forget for a time (not that I ever thought much of it back then) about the wobbling economy and the threat of nuclear war.
And, if there was one thing that girl could do, it was sticking her landing. A perfect ending. An applause-inspiring summation to a great show.
I struggle with endings. By the end of a story, I don't know if I'm tired of challenging my characters, or if I feel sorry for them because they've been through so much strife. But, more often than not, my endings are rushed. In my hurry to get to "happily ever after", I sometimes leave my readers saying, "Wait a minute, that was too easy" or "But what happened to so-and-so?"
Just one weakness out of many for me, but if I don't stick that landing and wrap up my endings so that my readers can snap the book shut with a feeling of warm satisfaction, then I haven't done my job as a writer. I haven't scored my perfect 10 and sent the crowd to its feet.
Where do you struggle as a writer? What keeps you from the perfect 10?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
As if history pulled me along, I headed in the direction of our old cottage. The stone foundation still stood, covered in vine and brush. I pulled back some of the growth and sat on one of the old stones. Razor climbed from my arm and sat beside me. Life had taken its toll on this place. And me. Maybe Claude had been right. Maybe I was fooling myself. I’d hoped running my father’s old business and doing an honest day’s work would absolve my sins. Forty-five years old, still young for a half-elf, but old enough to know life didn’t work like that. People reaped what they sowed. Eventually, I’d have to gather a bitter harvest.
We hunted for another hour or so, circling around in the direction of Leogard. Another rabbit ran past, and I sent Razor after it. I hurried through the bush, draeberry thorns catching my clothes. Pulling my way free, I stumbled and smacked directly into…her.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Are you all right?” I asked.
Caliphany lowered her hood and smoothed out her robes. She smiled. I admit I’d held a vague hope we would cross each other’s paths again, but I’d also told myself a woman of her class and a man of mine had no business being seen with one another. Even though I didn’t know who she was exactly, the clothes she wore told me she didn’t mingle regularly with us working classes.
She tucked some hair behind her ear and blushed. “Captain Trudeaux.”
I bowed. “My lady.”
“Please don’t bow.” She avoided my gaze and clenched her robe. “You weren’t at the docks this morning. I thought you had gone.”
Razor had started tearing into the rabbit, so I held up my finger. “One moment, please.” I knelt to retrieve him and the carcass before it was gone.
Razor eyed Caliphany when I returned to her side. “I sent my men on to Faewood. They’ll be back by the week’s end. We had some Tilliyan coffee beans to deliver.”
Her shoulders slumped. “I’ve read a lot about Tilliya Island.” Her eyes focused somewhere in the distance, and then rested on me again. “So, you’re a falconer?”
“I’m a ranger. Razor accompanies me from time to time. We sell what we hunt and gather. Sometimes I help thin out wildlife. It’s just my job.”
The words rolled off her tongue. “A ranger.”
I nodded, a bit annoyed she found my profession so curious. I killed things for a living. It was a hard, dirty job, one I was sure she could never understand. I cleared my throat. “I’m glad to see you’re in one piece, though still unescorted. Would you like me to walk you back to Leogard?”
She held up a satchel. “I’m gathering plant specimens.”
“As you wish. Well, good day then. I’ve got work to do.” I began to walk away.
“Wait,” she said.
I turned, and Caliphany approached me, opened her mouth, shut it again, and finally spoke. “I wanted to thank you for rescuing me.”
If she was any other woman, from the lower end of society, I might have thought she was flirting. “You already did, I believe, and it’s not necessary. Good day.” I tried to walk away again.
Razor screeched and puffed his feathers when I turned back around. “Easy, now. Look, Caliphany, it’s really not necessary-”
“I want you to train me.”
I stepped closer. She blushed. I wrinkled my brow and asked, “Pardon?”
The words tumbled from her mouth. “You know how to handle yourself, handle weapons. I want to learn that as well. Will you train me?”
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
About a mile ahead, we reached the Greenbriar Hills, where outcroppings of white rocks dotted the rolling landscape like toppled pawns on a chessboard. Jayden and I shared fearful glances. The ambush opportunity was great. We were lucky to have clear skies, and few trees, but it was necessary for us to ride far ahead of the caravan to ensure the way was clear.
We approached the first outcropping, where two rock formations flanked the road. A sense of dread mounted inside me. Jayden stared at the ground and motioned for us to stop before we rode between the rocks.
“Cali,” he whispered, “go back to the caravan. Tell the guards to draw arms.”
“Can’t we just turn around?”
“Too late. We’d never outrun them. Go!”
I tugged on the reins and turned Charlot back. When I reached the caravan, I yelled, “Guard the mages!”
The six paladins drew their swords, and flanked in closer to the carriages, surrounding them on all sides. My father leaned out the window of his carriage. “What’s happening?”
“I think your enemies are upon us.”
“Then I will fight.”
His face held a mixture of regret and determination. A fiery spark ignited in his eyes. I caught a glimpse of my father’s renowned power, the magic that Academy students whispered about in the corridors, magic that had once ensured my uncle’s throne. I felt a swell of pride to be his daughter in that moment, but I had no idea what kind of threat we faced. He was some five hundred years old, and had not faced any foes for a very long time.
I readied my bow. “You might have to, but stay in the carriage for now.”
Tension filled the air like a sickening fog. The only sounds were the horses shifting their feet. Not a bird sang. Not a puff of wind blew.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Prompt as ever, Sir Malchior stood just inside the door of the preparation room in the manor’s basement. Arms crossed, he glared at me over his spectacles. He had a prominent nose and long, brown hair so dark, it was almost black. I never recalled him smiling and thought his face might break if he tried.
“You are ten minutes late, Lady Caliphany. My time is precious. Shall we get on with this?”
I took a deep breath and stepped onto the dais, mumbling all the way. “You are five hundred years old. What’s the rush?”
Sir Malchior took his seat and raised his head from the scroll he studied. He pushed up his spectacles. “What was that?”
“Nothing. I’m ready.”
“Very well.” He narrowed his eyes and studied my face. “Are you quite all right?”
He shrugged. “Let’s begin.”
My hands shook from the near-kidnapping. But I steadied them the best I could, closed my eyes, and drew from reservoirs of concentration deep in my mind’s recesses. A tiny flame appeared in my palm. The fire never burned anymore, but merely tickled. It had taken me some seventy-five years to get to this point, from when I first joined the academy. My father was counting on me to succeed.
I began to rehearse the words I would use to present my dissertation. “Fire, one of the four primary elements, instrumental in both destruction and creation, is not one single entity, but consists of four distinct components. I will now show you each of these components as I separate them from the mother flame.”
The flame grew larger and brighter, a flickering mixture of yellow, red, white, and blue in my palm. I glanced at Sir Malchior, who watched from his seat in the small auditorium. I lifted my other hand, palm up, to hover beside the first hand. Concentrate, Caliphany. Concentrate. Four metal stands sat on the bench before me, waiting for each component.
“The first component.” I carefully enunciated every word in the spell. “Pyronea icterica.”
Pure yellow fire jumped from the mother flame to my empty hand. I gently deposited it on the first stand. Sir Malchior scribbled some notes. He gestured for me to continue.
“The second component, pyronea ruberica.” I separated out a bright red flame and placed it on the second stand.
“The third component, pyronea albidica.” A stunning white flame leapt from the shrinking mother flame into my empty hand. I placed it on the third stand.
Sir Malchior scribbled again. The nearly perfect tear-shaped flames danced on their stands in front of me. Only one more—the blue flame remaining in my palm.
I continued, with unexpected confidence lacing my words. “And now the hottest component of all, pyronea azurica.” This was the part where I would show off, surprising Sir Malchior when I bounced the flame from one hand to the other, making it leap to the last platform.
The flame leapt to my other hand, but then my mind lost its focus. Unwanted visions of those brutes on the dock flashed before my eyes. I imagined their hands upon me, and could barely resist the impulse to rub their lingering stench from my face. I realized everything was falling apart when I finally pushed aside the memory of those green eyes.
Galadin, his name was Galadin.
The blue flame jumped from my hand to the bench, flared and projected itself directly toward Sir Malchior, who raised his head just in time to notice. His eyes flew wide open; he screamed and ducked. The flame hit the stone wall behind him and shook the room. The others flickered and faded until they were gone.
“I-I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened. Are you all-?”
Sir Malchior shot from his seat and removed his hand from the top of his head. Smoke rose from the patch of bare scalp and the ring of singed brown hair around it.
“You…are…hopeless!” He stormed out just as my father entered the room. Sir Malchior wagged a finger at him. “Your daughter. Your daughter!”
Father blinked, then turned his disappointed gaze on me. He winced when the front door slammed. I tried not to cringe. Hands behind his back, he stepped toward me. I swallowed, wishing my mouth wasn’t so dry. I willed my eyes to meet his, framed in the stone of his unsmiling face.
He calmly brushed his platinum hair behind his shoulder. “You were late this morning.”
“I know. I’m sorry, Father.”
“Come with me. I would like a word with you.”
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Downstairs, in the tavern, we ate a hearty meal of roasted chicken, potatoes, and wild rice. We sat at a corner table, where the music and chatter all around us afforded a chaotic anonymity. Galadin wore a white shirt, with tight cuffs and generous sleeves, loosely laced at his collarbone. His tawny hair was clean, but unruly as ever.
He spoke above the tavern’s roar. “So, you’ve never seen Tilliya Island?”
I shook my head.
“I think it’s time I show you.”
“You don’t have a ship,” I shouted.
“I know where I can get one.”
Galadin drew an invisible “x” over his chest. “Cross my heart.”
When the waiter came by, I ordered Draeberry wine. Galadin raised an incredulous brow.
“Same for me,” he said, and the faery waiter flew back to the bar. He looked at me with a one-sided smile. “One glass of that, and I’ll be having my way with you.”
The waiter returned. I wrapped my fingers around the cold glass. “Oh? I doubt that.”
Five glasses later, we were dancing. A visiting gypsy band played. Their tambourines, bongo drums, and fiddles surrounded us with sultry melodies. The music animated our bodies, drifted around us in a seductive, rhythmic embrace. He clasped my body against his. We shimmied and swayed—so different than the ballroom dancing to which I was accustomed. His hearty laughter was as intoxicating as the wine. I never wanted this night to end. In his arms, I was free to be myself, to let down my guard and allow my heart to soar. Galadin had made me believe in myself, and if we never shared another night like this, I would always be grateful to him for that.
Among the crowd of strangers, no one cared that we danced like lovers. My breasts pressed into his chest. I gripped his back, and we swished as one being into the rising tempo. When my leg traveled up his thigh, he gripped my knee and I let my shoulders and head fall back away from him. He swung me in a half circle and then pulled me up again. Our faces were so close, his hot breath caressed my lips. I kissed him wildly, and he stumbled.
When I pulled back, he said, “Gawd, you’re beautiful. Jesh quit beatin around the bush and shtay with me tonight.”
I sighed and shook my head. “Sure. Let me help you to the room.”
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
- managed to
- swallowed hard
- Leading participial phrases, such as: "Turning my head, I saw Cali's face beside mine." (This one has both a leading participial phrase AND the word saw.)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
The forest surrounding the Howling Caves was much darker than the village. Full of shadow and mist, I thought it ominous. Encroaching storm clouds threatened to shut out what little light filtered through the thick canopy. The twisted penuke trees, draped in long, weeping vines and the lonely howls echoing from the caves brought sadness to my heart. It was as if they were telling me nature itself was out of balance here, and injustice had left its mark.
“You feel it too, don’t you?” Galadin whispered.
Unexpected tears clouded my eyes. “Yes. What happened here?”
Galadin sighed. “Pirates. The Goldtooth and others. They take what they want and leave the land barren. The people here have learned to protect themselves, but the wildlife isn’t so lucky. The bear are starving, since the plunderers kill off their prey. The poison on our arrows should dispatch them quickly.”
A little farther in, we found bear tracks. We concealed ourselves and followed the trail until we came upon a mother bear several feet away. Not far behind was her cub. Saggy skin hung over prominent bones. The little one cried pitifully to its mother, who couldn’t have had any milk to give. I raised my bow, took a deep breath, and shot the mother in her neck. The poisoned arrow worked quickly to put the weak mother out of her misery. Galadin did the same with the cub.
The wind picked up, and leaves blew all around us. We dropped concealment and continued through the forest. Light rain began to fall.
Galadin studied the sky. “I think the storm’s headed this way. We best turn back soon.”
We had reached a large rock outcropping, where the wide, dark mouth of a cave yawned before us. Growling echoed from inside. My skin crawled. We quickly concealed ourselves, but the huge bear that lurched out of the shadows either smelled or spotted us, and it charged our way. Galadin fired an arrow into the beast’s chest. The bear stumbled, but pulled itself up and charged again. Galadin dropped his concealment and ran backwards while he nocked another arrow, but he tripped over a root and fell on his backside. His last shot only managed to graze the bear’s shoulder, further enraging the animal.
Terror gripped my heart as the bear hurled itself toward Galadin. In one instant, I had an idea. There was no time for doubt. I nocked an arrow with a glowing hand. Searing fire erupted from my fingers as I aimed and shot. A fiery shaft flew from my bow, hitting the bear as it made a final leap toward Galadin. The bear blew apart, filling the air with singed fur and flesh.
Galadin lowered his arm from his eyes, shook bear parts out of his hair, and stared up at me. A grin spread across his face. He held out his hand, and I helped him up.
“You never fail to amaze me, Caliphany Aranea.”
I picked some bear flesh off his vest. “Call me Cali.”
Friday, October 22, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
[This is the heroine, Caliphany] It had been little over a month since Galadin and I had met. The Festival of Peace would be over back in Leogard. The month of Inver gave way to the month of Feyth. Autumn’s chill settled over me as I ran down the road leading west out of Faewood. The road rose gradually toward the mountains. Night fell, and I depended on the roadside torches to light my way until the road narrowed at its entrance into the mountains.
In the darkness, I scanned ahead and saw nothing but the faint outline of road. Behind, I saw nothing but the lights of Faewood below and the edge of the light thrown by the last road torches. I dropped concealment, pulled my cloak around me tightly, and continued on my way.
When it became too dark to see the path, I stopped and looked around me. I thought about summoning a flame in my palm to light the way, but I decided it might be too bright and could give away my location. A faint blue light shone under some tall trees. From my botanical studies, I knew it to be the iridescence of Alder mushrooms. I picked one of them, turning the mushroom over to reveal the glowing gills underneath.
“Luminae aldero si,” I chanted, waving my hand over it.
The light intensified just enough for me to see the road ahead, and I smiled. Holding my new light source in front of me, I shivered at the vastness of the mountain forest. Owls hooted somewhere overhead. Something scampered nearby. I trembled. To my right, a footpath veered off the main road. I took a deep breath and ventured down the path, hoping to find a village eventually.
After a long trek, I came to a clearing. No sign of civilization. Instead of going further, I decided to make camp. Never in my life had I slept outdoors. I gathered up some dry wood and placed it near a fallen log. The mushroom light finally faded, but soon the light of blue fire in my palm lit up the clearing. I flicked a small burst of flame into the wood, and before long, I had a warm, crackling fire.
I was quite proud of myself, though beyond the perimeter of the fire’s light, total darkness closed in. Sinking down onto the ground, I rested my back against the log and wrapped my cloak as tightly around me as I could. When my stomach rumbled again, I remembered the evynfruit. I took it from my satchel and bit into it, savoring the tangy, starchy flesh. It didn’t take long for me to devour it. I had just wiped my mouth with the hem of my cloak when I heard a noise behind me.
I froze. It was very subtle, just a small crack of a twig. Then another. Flipping around, I unsheathed Galadin’s sword and crouched behind the log. Whatever was behind me was too close to hide from. I’d have to fight it off. I tried to remember everything Galadin had taught me about sword fighting. My hand shook as I clenched the heavy weapon.
Behind me came a growl, on the other side of the fire. I flipped around again. My heart threatened to leap from my chest. I was surrounded—how would I fight off more than one thing? The growl in front of me grew louder. I held the sword with both hands; my arms shook violently when I saw the reflection of yellow eyes.
I sneaked a peek behind me, behind the log. I saw nothing, but thought there might be more of whatever it was. Turning my attention to the eyes in front of me again, my breath caught when it came charging. A wolf rounded the fire, then leapt straight at me. I held my sword aloft, hoping to impale it. As it landed on me, I toppled over, and it yelped. But, the sword hadn’t even pierced it. I stared at its limp body. An arrow stuck out from the wolf’s side.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
I enjoyed Sibylis and thought she was a great three dimensional character. She was both strong and dark, but also loved her friends and family. [I've removed some spoiler info here--you'll have to read to find that out!]
I love stories with tyrannical characters, political intrigue, and dark secrets that can get people killed. Plus, this story had romance! It was perfect and original! [More spoiler info involving a character that appears in my work in progress--you'll have to read to discover that tid-bit too]
I could go on and on about how much I liked it, but I need to focus on building you a fan club.
Congratulations again on the publication of your amazing story!"
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I will draw one name tomorrow for a free copy of Hearts of Tomorrow, which includes my novelette Let There Be Love, along with four other great stories.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Hopefully, this will occur next week, and I'll consider it a celebration of reaching 100+ visitors to my blog. Thanks for stopping by!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Let's see--for me, I don't remember the very first thing I wrote. I do remember a very early essay though, called "The Sad Christmas". My grandfather died on Christmas Eve when I was four or five. A few years later, maybe the second or third grade, I wrote that essay about his death. Even then, I liked to write. It helped me cope with things I didn't understand. It was therapy on paper. A way for a shy girl to speak her mind, to articulate what she couldn't put into spoken words. It's much the same today, my therapy, my outlet for a mind brimming with imagination.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
And, no, this is not a paid advertisement. They get my money, not the other way around.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This anthology includes my first romantic fantasy story, Let There Be Love. Order your copy today, courtesy of Midnight Showcase Fiction. Just click here:
Monday, August 2, 2010
The Ironhaven University was a short, but bleak walk from New Mortyr. Sibylis dreaded the daily trek, where raw sewage floating by in the ditches turned her stomach. The homes and businesses were all built with the same gray stone, with a few narrow windows, where every resident could look out to see a strange contrast on their smelly streets. At practically every corner stood sooty gold-plated statues of the emperor, and at the bottom of each one was engraved a motivational slogan, such as "Let us thank our Emperor for peace and prosperity".
Sibylis smirked at the statue just outside the School of Dark Arts, its arms spread wide in a sickening fatherly gesture. Beside the statue stood one of the many newspaper vendors, selling the only newspaper in Ironhaven, The Emperor's Wisdom. She often wondered what the city had been like in the days of Xegon, when it was said that the dark elves of Mortyr and the humans of Ironhaven had shared the land in peace. All she had ever known was the progressive tyranny of one corrupt human ruler after another, until Sarvonn assassinated the rightful king and rose to power. Now he called himself Emperor, posing as a benevolent leader, brainwashing his people with these wretched statues and propaganda.
Sibylis entered the great library and tossed her bag onto a table. She began to search through the musty tomes on the shelf and found Understanding the Undead, written by the ancient warlock-king Xegon himself. Thumbing through the pages, she tried to discover another secret hidden in the cryptic journal. She paused when a familiar voice whispered to her from behind.
“Why do you insist on studying necromancy, Sibylis?”
The dark elf male sat a box of new tomes on the table, began to sort them alphabetically, and placed them on the shelves.
“My reasons are my own, Ashten. Leave me to my work,” Sibylis whispered.
Ashten D’Vynn sidled up to Sibylis, opened her bag slightly, and peeked inside. She jerked it away and pulled the drawstring shut.
“You’re going to be shunned wherever you go, even among our people.”
Sibylis answered him with silence and flipped through the pages of the old tome.
“Look, I know you’re hurting…” he began.
She jerked her head up to meet his gaze. “What do you know of pain?” Sibylis snapped.
“She was my twin sister. And they were my parents. I was deployed with the army and couldn’t be there…to even try to save them. I have no family left at all. Do you forget that?”
Sibylis lowered her head and tried to concentrate on the words in front of her, but couldn’t seem to make sense of what she had just read.
“You can’t bring Ashanee back, Sibylis.”
“I don’t want to bring her back, but I want to do more than just stand and watch another person I love die in pain."
Sibylis lowered her head and averted her eyes, regretful she had divulged such emotion.
Ashten laid his hand lightly upon hers. “Then why not be a healer?”
“And be forced to mend Sarvonn’s army? Never!”
The head librarian raised his head from a nearby table and sneered at them. Ashten tightened his grip on Sibylis’s hand.
“You may be forced to raise an undead army for them—have you considered that?”
He leaned in closer as he whispered and his violet eyes peered down into hers. For a dark elf, Ashten was tall. Sibylis was tiny. The top of her head barely reached his chin. He had been drafted as a fighter with the militia, but had badly injured his leg during one of the Emperor’s raids in Leogard. Though he had healed quite well, he still had a slight limp. He was grateful, actually, when the militia had deemed him unfit after his injury, so he worked as a courier between Mortyr and Ironhaven, and took on other menial city jobs as well.
Sibylis almost jerked her hand from his grasp, but felt somehow comforted by his touch. She had grown up with him and Ashanee. Her best friend’s twin brother seemed like her own family. They shared a bond formed out of the pain of loss no one else could understand. She wasn’t even sure if she understood it.
“When I am powerful enough to raise an army, I will have acquired the means to lead my family to safety,” she whispered.
“For your sake, Sibylis, I hope you can. If they can kill my family because their taxes were late, I hate to see what they might do to yours if they discover your secrets.”
He gently squeezed her hand one more time and returned to his duties.