Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thursday's Fourth Scene Discovering the Secret of the Jewels #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #Fantasy

After four days on the road they reached the pass from the lowlands. On the other side, Brader saw the tavern where he had betrayed Liara. He prodded his pony into a trot. Though the sun sank toward the west he had no desire to stop here for the night.
     Disa caught up with him. “Shouldn’t we stop here? I’d like a hot meal and a bath.”
     Brader shook his head. “This isn’t the best place to stop. They have no rooms to let and I’ve no desire to sleep on the floor in the common room.”
     “There’s more,” she said.
     He nodded. “Liara and I stayed here. There was a spot of trouble. I ended fighting a number of Queen’s Guards.”
      “The tragon incident?”
     “Yes.” He rolled his eyes. Was that to haunt him forever? “At least one of the men who attacked the caravan was a Guard.”
     “And thee fear the tavern owner will remember thy face?”
     “Or worse. This could be the bandits’ base.”
     Disa frowned. “Those men were working for the wizard because he offered them gold. He believed he knew a way to corrupt the Jewels and turn Liara’s White to Black.”
     “He didn’t succeed by capturing thee.”
     “I hope not.”
     Brader’s eyebrows lifted. “What do thee mean?”
     “We’ve been taught that those who hold the Jewels rule the land. I’m not sure that’s true. Sometimes I fear the Yellow is controlling me the way the Black did Reena.”
     Brader prodded his pony. “How can thee think that?  Thee have done no ill with the Jewel except help people and save thyself.”
     She rode at his side. “That’s almost true.”
     She nodded. “When my captor grabbed the Jewel he died. I didn’t warn him of the danger.”
     “Happened too fast I imagine.”
     “He grabbed the Yellow and his hand burned. Then I wanted to stop the wizard’s chanting. I caught the chain in my mouth. Then I tripped and fell against him. Was the action mine of the Jewel’s?”
     “I don’t know.” Brader pointed ahead. “See the grove. We can camp there. I’ll cook tonight.”
     She laughed. “We’ll make the meal together. I’ll see to the seasoning.”
     On the eighth day of travel Brader saw the walls of High Sanctuary in the distance. A wave of joy tinged with sadness rushed through him. He was coming home. Did his mother’s shade linger or had she passed to the next plane? There was so much he wanted to tell her about the events that had happened since he’d left the keep. He knew she would be pleased about the destruction of the Black.
     “There. The walls of my home.”
     “Where we will stay until we find the thread,” Disa said.
     “Forever is my wish.”
     She shook her head. “Once we have the thread we must go to Pala.”
     Brader didn’t respond. Arguing would serve no purpose. Once she settled here, she would see his decision to remain on the isle was the right choice.
     The road wound through the village. Brader saw the tavern where he’d drunk ale with the young men of the village. He rode past the square and remembered moonlit nights and mild flirtations. The number of dark houses puzzled him. Had people been driven away or had they left because they were afraid? As he neared the gates of the keep he remembered how eager he’d been to leave. Now he was glad to be at home.
     The sight of the shattered gates brought Brader to a halt. Had the Queen’s Guards and wizards destroyed all who had lived within the walls of High Sanctuary?
     Disa rode to his side. “Is the place deserted?”
     “Not quite.” A man spoke from the shadows.
     Brader dismounted. “Quinton.”
     The aging armsman emerged into the light. “Brader, lad, you’ve grown.” He stared at Disa. “Where’s Liara?”
     “In Pala. She’s now the queen.”
     “Then she found her heritage. Why did you return? You should be at her side.”
     Brader shook his head. “She has her Chosen to stand at her back. There are things I must do here.”
     Quinton waved his hand. “The gates are broken. The people have scattered. The Guards ransacked the place. Only Agnie and I remain.”
     “I’ll see the keep repaired and the people can return.” He turned. “This is Disa, Holder of the Yellow Jewel. I am her Chosen.”
     Quinton bowed. “My lady, pleased to meet you. Come inside. I’ll see to your beasts.”
     Once within the walls Brader noted the destruction of the small houses and sheds. Anger curdled his thoughts. A woman stepped onto the stone landing at the top of the steps leading into the keep.           “Agnie.” Brader ran up the steps and embraced her. “I’m glad you’re alive.”
     She smiled. “Your mother told me she was sending you and Liara away. I’m glad you thought to return. How is Liara?”
     Brader repeated what he’d told Quinton.
     “So she’ll not be coming home.”
     “Not for a time.” Brader stepped back. “Will you take me to Mother’s grave?”
     Agnie nodded. “After the midday meal.”
     He turned and waved Disa forward. He caught her hand in his. “This is Disa. She holds Mother’s Jewel.”
     Agnie smiled. “Welcome, Lady Holder.”
     “Just Disa. No need for formality.”
     Brader turned and looked around the courtyard until he saw the small graveyard. He noticed no new graves. “Where is Mother buried?”
      “In the meadow on the hill.” Agnie drew him to the doors. “Ever impatient.” She smiled at Disa. “The keep is yours to rule.”
     A frown appeared on Disa’s face. Brader clasped her hand. He would explain later. “Agnie, how do you and Quniton live?”
     “The garden provides for our daily needs. There are bantas and other fowl. Some shoats were left. The silk sheep provide fleece for us to barter for other things.”
     Brader smiled. In time the keep could be repaired and peopled. Perhaps that would content Disa enough so she would choose to remain. He and Disa followed Agnie to the small dining room. The older woman left to fetch the food. Disa followed and helped carry the simple fare to the table. Before long Quinton joined them.
     After the meal the older couple led the way up the hill to the meadow where silk sheep in a variety of colors grazed. Flowers abounded. Brader bent to pick some yellow fiolas. He placed them on the stone slab covering the grave. “Fare thee well, Mother. Go now from this plane to the next. The quest you sent me on is finished.”
     He began the tale of his adventures from the moment he’d left the keep. He spoke of triumphs and failures, leaving nothing out. “So Liara and the White have prevailed. But the trouble didn’t end. The wizards were strong enough to bring more disaster to the land.”
     He continued to relate the story of the struggle with the wizards. “Thus their stronghold was broken. We have yet one task to perform before the land is free.” He drew a deep breath. “Mother, this is Disa who now holds the Jewel you carried.”
     Disa knelt on the other side of the stone. She placed her hands on the slab. Her eyes widened. She didn’t speak aloud. Her mouth moved as though she spoke to someone. Brader watched her face pale.  She toppled and sprawled across the grave.
     Brader lifted her. “What happened?”
     She moaned and opened her eyes. “She spoke. The thread is hidden in the keep. Thee moved me before she could say where.”
     “Do thee mean the one from the prophecy?”
     She nodded. “I need to sleep. I need to think about what was said. Then I’ll search and go.”
     Though what she said made little sense to him he rose. “Can thee walk?” He helped her to her feet.
     When they reached the keep Agnie took Disa to the chamber where Brader’s mother had slept. He sat with Quinton and talked about the keep and what was needed to restore the place.
     For the next two tendays Brader settled into the life of the keep. He hired men to repair the gates, sought those who had been driven away by the Queen’s Guards and arranged for their return. He found spinners and weavers to produce yarn and cloth from the sheep silk stored in a shed. Before long the keep rang with life.
     Disa spent her time in the library where she set about ordering and skimming the books and scrolls the invaders had left strewn around the room. Every day she joined him for the evening meal and spoke of what she had learned.
     Brader felt content. He wanted to stay and he felt convinced Disa had settled into the life he wanted.
     At the start of the third tenday Disa emerged from the jumbled storage room. She held a scroll container. Brader poured her a glass of cider. “What delights thee?”
     “I’ve found a scroll in one of the chests. It holds the lines of a chant to destroy the Jewels. This is the thread I sought. We must return to Pala and take this to Liara.”
     He shook his head. “I want to remain here. No one can destroy or corrupt the Yellow while thee stay in High Sanctuary. Remember what the wizard tried to do to thee.”
     Disa fisted her hands on her hips. “The time has come to destroy the Jewels.”
     Brader frowned. “Does this mean we must set out on another quest?”
     “Don’t thee understand that we’ve almost completed our quest.”
     “Don’t thee yearn for peace like we have here?”
     “There’ll be no peace as long as the Jewels control the Holders. Haven’t thee seen how much darker mine is?”
     “Looks the same to me.”
     “Liara and the others need my help. We must end the tyranny of the gems.” She walked to the door.
     Brader shook his head. “I’ll remain here. So will thee.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday The Taurus Scorpio Connection #MFRWHooks #BWLPublishing #Medical romance #astrological romance #Taurus #Scorpio

The Taurus Scorpio Connection (Opposites In Love Book 2)

Read the excerpts from some really good books here Mine is the Taurus Scorpio Connection found at

Her mother was a hired nanny and her father the Mellwood Bank. This is the way Taurus Laurel Richmond describes her family. After burning out as a nurse with an international health agency, she returns to Eastlake, the one place she where she felt connected. She studied nursing here and made a number of friends. Her one problem is her wealth. Soon she will receive a fortune. But money hasn’t given her the things she wants, a home, a family and love. Since a chance visit after summer camp with a friend made there, her idea of a man to love has been Alex Carter.

Alex Carter is a Scorpio, a single dad with a five year old son. He’s a general practitioner at Eastlake Community Hospital. While attracted to Laurel, he has one problem. His ex and now dead wife had a lot of money and little sense. Drugs and her fast friends were her life. She abandoned their son who cried for hours until his father returned. Alex has no love for women with money. Attraction or not he refuses to admit he’s falling for Laurel.

With the help of Alex’s son, Laurel sets out to prove to Alex she’s in town for the long haul and she will make the perfect wife and mother.

Janet Lane Walters has written a charming tale.
As a child, Laurel Richmond was trapped in a car with her dead parents for hours. After losing them, Laurel's next of kin was a bank. Laurel hides her immense wealth, traveling internationally as a nurse, helping the sick. She decides to settle in Eastlake, a small community.

She once summered with her friend Megan, developing a huge crush on Megan's brother, Alex, who is now a divorced doctor raising his young son Johnny. Alex is leary of wealth because his rich ex-wife had no time for him or Johnny, but Johnny takes to Laurel right away.

The glimpses of a family life that Laurel experiences with Johnny and Alex leave her longing for her dreams to become reality. Can she get Alex to realize that money may bring power, but love offers peace?

The old saying ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ was never truer than in Laurel Richmond’s case. Orphaned at the age of three, she has spent her life being under the care of nannies, and under the watchful eye of her financial advisers. Her fortune, and trying to escape the difficulties that come along with being an heiress, sent her off to the far-flung corners of the world to work in disaster areas for the International Health Resource Mission. Tired of the long hours and following one disaster after another in counties with little amenities she packs up and decides to resign and flee back to the one place in the world that she has ever felt was a haven and the nearest to a home that she would ever find.

Back in The States, her good friend and fellow nurse, is intent on matching her up with her brother, Alex, a doctor. Trouble is Laurel had a crush on Alex when she was young. Laurel is scared because too many people she loved have disappeared from her life. Alex is now a widower with a young son to care for. His wife left him and the boy and went off to enjoy another life a year before she died. Coincidentally she was also an heiress with little regard for anyone but herself. So, the last thing Alex wants in his life right now is another heiress. Trouble is that his son is desperate for a replacement mother and wants Laurel to be that mother. Big problems arise for Alex when his desire for Laurel spirals. But, all he can offer her is a marriage of convenience. Will that be enough for Laurel?


“Are you home for good?”
     How could she tell him she didn’t have a home, just two residences the bank had retained? Would he understand why she had returned to Eastlake? “I don’t know.”
     “Why don’t you consider staying in Eastlake? The hospital needs nurses. Have you kept your license?”
     “Yes.” She noted the overhead signs pointing to the baggage area and turned to the right. “Lately I haven’t been thinking beyond each day.”
     His fingers lightly stroked her jacket sleeve. She wondered if he was aware of the action. The rush of heat she felt in response to his gentleness dissolved the wall holding her pain. In silence she walked beside her.
     Once they reached the revolving baggage carrousel for her flight she pointed to the khaki duffel circling with the suitcases. “The duffel’s mine.”
     Alex snagged the strap. “Just one.”
     She nodded. “I’ve learned to travel light. Not much room in a tent or a hut.”
     “What were you doing in a tent?”
     “Working for International Health Rescue Missions. Didn’t Megan tell you?”
     “Probably. It’s hard finding facts in her chatter.”
      They entered the bullet train and exited minutes later at the door leading to the parking lot. The air redolent with exhaust fumes made her choke and cough. Alex opened the car door and slid the duffel in the back.
     “How’s your son?” she asked.
     “Johnny’s a lot of fun.”
     “And your wife?” As soon as she blurted the question she remembered what Megan had said about her sister-in-law and how she’d abandoned her son and husband.
     A muscle at the corner of Alex’s mouth twitched. “She died a year ago.”
     “Does your son miss her?”
     The tic increased in tempo. “He hadn’t seen her since the divorce.” He pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the Parkway. “What were your assignments like?”
     “Primitive conditions for most of the assignments. Needy people. Too little help often arriving too late. I saw a lot of anger and apathy.”
     “But you helped.”
     “Some.” Just now she didn’t want to talk about IHRM and the reason she had left. “How’s your father? So many of Megan’s letters were lost because of the number of times the team moved. All I have is bits and pieces of what’s been happening.”
     He caught her gaze. “I bet if you had them all, you would still be confused. Dad’s become the heart throb of the middle-aged set.”
     She watched his expression change from the guarded look. Though sorrow lines remained deeply etched at the corners of his mouth the tic had disappeared. Had his wife’s desertion soured him? Not knowing how to offer comfort she closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday's Writer's Tip More on Senses - Sound #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishing #Sound #Senses

Of all the senses, sound is the one we often,not neglect but use in pedestrian ways. What do you hear? Let's look at some examples. She heard someone behind her. Now, this tells us something but not really enough. Try something like this, The scuffle of shoes on the concrete sidewalk alerted her. Now we know someone behind her may mean something good or bad. Now try. The sound of scuffling on the sidewalk behind her set her senses reeling. Why and who? Those questions needed to be answered and soon. Now we have a real picture of the character.

Sounds can be described. Think of the sound of nails scratching a blackboard or the sad cry of a child. How often do you react to a sound. The creaks and groans of a house when you are alone. Laughter of children. When you're writing about the sounds around your characters try to remember something similar.

Sound can also be used in tage. His voice rumbled like a volcano about to erupt. Shespoke so softly the words were blurred. These kind of things show your characters.

Sounds can also help describe a setting. The sound of the wind in the trees. The rush of water in a stream. The crack up of ice on a pond.

So when you're revising think about the sound of things and how they can add to the story, the characters and the plot.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Meandering on Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #Poetry #Writing

Meander i - Poem - The Deathing Bell -

I am a deathing bell, tolling vibrant
And alive to more than meets an outward eye.
A widow who looks at her husband's grave
Or a child whise mother's passed beyond view
A son who looks upon his father's corpse
A mother missing daughter's laughing eyes
All these and more I ring, I toll, I call
So they may face shadows within us all
Before the tone is struck and life is gone.
Come, pull the rope and learn what dying is
A growing process of becoming whole.

Meander 2 Busy times - These days time seems to move too fast and yet slow. I'm preparing to leave for a conference and there are two library signings to do in the near future. I try to prepare and usually manage to do what must be done.

Meander 3 - Writing The rough draft of Fyre's Children is going well. Soon, I will finally have all 12 chapters blockedout. There are some interesting twists occurring. One will see what happens when all the words are on the paper and then I'll have to make sense of themess.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday's Book Discovering the Secret of the Jewels #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #Fantasy #Magic jewels

Discovering the Jewels̢۪ Secret (The Jewels of Erda Book 3)

Seven Jewels – Seven Holders and their bondmates. The words of an elderly Healer send each pair on a quest to learn the secret of the Jewels. Are these gems just tools or do they hold hidden danger for the Holders? The seven leave on seven quests to discover the answers. When they find the answer, they must decide the fate of the Jewels. The Jewels give them powers beyond belief.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday's Blurbs featuring Books by Diane Bator #MFRWAuthor #BWLPublishing #Mysteries # Karate #Wild Blue Mysteries

The Bookstore Lady (Wild Blue Mysteries Book 1)

Wild Blue Mystery Series
    Book 1: The Bookstore Lady
Danny Walker is tracking Paulina Chourney who fell deep into the dark side of life and is lucky to get out before her boyfriend Maddox kills her. She escapes Maddox and arrives in a small town, which she sees as a blessing in disguise since the men she worked for would never think to look for her in a lazy, backwater place like Packham. She changes her name to Katie Mullins, makes a deal on a little bookstore and joins a local writing group then successfully fades into anonymity. Until Danny Walker shows up to visit family and figures out who she is.
When Paulina catches her 80-year-old landlady sneaking out in the middle of the night, the bad guys catch up to her and Danny disappears, she has to choose between spending her life on the run or standing up to face her past. Hopefully before the quirky townsfolk turn her death into a spectacle.

Gilda Wright Mystery Series
    Book 1:  Dead Without Honor
The scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai holds the key to a deadly mystery…
Gilda Wright thinks she’s landed a dream job as the receptionist at a karate school. Her boss, Sensei Mick Williams, is almost as demanding as he is sexy, but Gilda is inspired by the strength and courage of the people around her. When Gilda finds the body of one of the instructors in the dojo with a sword through his chest, she must find her own inner strength and fast! The police regard everyone in the school as suspects, including her boss, and it’s up to Gilda to find out what really happened. She follows the clues of the missing scroll of the Four Possessions of the Samurai down a deadly path filled with lies, deceit, and poisoned ninja stars. If she doesn’t watch her back, she just may become the killer’s next target.

   Book 2:  Dead Without Glory
One body on the beach.
One crazy man with a sword accused.
One feisty receptionist on the case.
Gilda Wright’s life seems to finally be on track. Her love life is looking up and she’s planning and promoting a grand opening extravaganza for Sensei Mick Williams’ new martial arts school. But things go awry when their special guest referee for the opening exhibition match is found dead on the beach. To make matters worse, the school’s new weapon’s instructor Kane Garrick, who is enough to make any woman lose her head and her heart, stands accused of his murder. In spite of her promise to Mick and nearly everyone else in Sandstone Cove not to get involved, Gilda wades into danger one more time. The only question is, can Gilda catch the killer before the killer catches up to her?

Buy Links:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday's Guest Diane Bator - Panster or Plotter #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing

1.                  Are you a pantser or a plotter or perhaps a bit of both?
I am a total pantser! I tend to let the characters take me on a journey. Most times I’ll have a good idea of beginning and end, but the middle tends to be murky so for me to write an in-depth synopsis before the book is written can be a real stretch.
2.                   Which comes first – characters or plot for you?

Character usually come first for me. Sometimes they are contrived from people in reality but mostly from the depths of my imagination.

3.                   What are you working on now? Is this a book in a current series or something totally new?
Right now I am re-publishing my Gilda Wright series and working on finishing off both Gilda’s series and my Wild Blue mysteries over the next year or two. I do have a couple of new things in the wings. Books I wrote already that just have to go to a good publisher and works that have been on the backburner since I’ve been so busy with my day job at a live-stage theatre. I’m also part of a new anthology coming out in 2019 called Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle.
4.                   Do you have some kind of object or place that figures in most of your books? I used gems a lot, hospitals and caves.
I love small towns near bodies of water (lakes and oceans mostly) and coffee/tea shops which are places where people seem to gather. I’ve never been a big city girl and dream of living near a large body of water one day. As for the coffee…that one’s pretty self-explanatory!
5.                   Do you write everyday or just when the spirit hits?
I write when I get – or more aptly – make the time.
Usually, I write on my lunch break or in the evenings. Sometimes if the mood or ideas strike, I’ll take a few minutes to make notes at work so I don’t forget my inspirations. I’ll make notes on whatever is handy – napkins, coffee sleeves, receipts…
I’ve been known to write while cooking dinner and sit up in bed just before I fall asleep to make notes. Ideas never wait for a convenient piece of paper or a computer to be close at hand. They come whenever and where ever.
6.                   Where can we find you?
Usually at work or hiking around town or the local lake! LOL!
Or you could try these links…








BWL Publishing Inc

Headwaters Writers’ Guild: (writing group)

Amazon Author Page:




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thursday's Fourth Scene from Confronting Erda's Wizards #MFRWauthor #BWLPublishing #Fantasy

Tales of the Desert Riders

Long ago, there was no desert. A plain of grass stretches as far as the eye could see. In the Palace of the Seven Jewels dwelled the Holders and their Chosen. Peace ruled Earda. To each Holder came a clan of Riders who swore allegiance. Seven clans for seven Holders. Harmony reigned.
Came men who claimed to be children descended from past Holders and their Chosen. Black were their robes and their spirits. With them rode a false Queen who held the Black Jewel. A battle raged. The true Queen fled into the hills. With her went her clan and no more were they seen. When palace lay in ruins, the hills screamed and the grass turned to sand.

Mara lifted the water flasks by the leather straps and carried them to the fire circle. The sun moved toward setting. Soon the women of the clan would gather to prepare the evening meal. She set the flasks in the sand beside the stone circle and wiped sweat from her face with the sleeve of her desert robe. Then she moved to where the dried balala chips for the fire were stacked.
“Woman, attend me.”
Mara stiffened. “Tomon, what do you want?”
“I, Tomon, have a need for you. Go to my tent.”
He moved with the stealth of a guana and caught her arm. With a jerk, he twisted it behind her back. “Do you think any of the men will take you into his tent even as a second or third wife? You’re a cast-off. You have no clan. You are naught.”
“Tomon, let me finish my chores. I’ll be no hora for you. Vodor took me in when I was a small child. Did he tell you to do this to me?”
Tomon laughed. “Vodor is old. His son deserted the clan to follow a dream. When the conclave meets, I, Tomon, will be named as his successor and there will be a new order. We have something to settle first. Your scorn, your failure to obey me is wrong. When I, Tomon, am finished, there is a man who wants you. He won’t be as kind as I, Tomon, will be.”
Though she struggled, he dragged her to his tent and pushed her inside. Mara landed on her knees and sprang to her feet. He grabbed her robe. The fabric tore. She screamed and clawed at his face. She kneed him. He roared with pain and released her.
“Hora,” a woman bellowed.
Mara was dragged from the tent and into the one where the young women slept. “Let me be.”
“Do you think you can trap my son into having you as his spouse?”  Risha asked. “Tomon will be an important man soon. He will unite the clans.”
“I didn’t entice him. I don’t want him. He’s a guana spitting poison from a forked tongue.”
Risha shoved Mara to the ground. “No lies. I’ve seen the way you look at him. You’ll be punished for your boldness.”
Mara heard the whistle of a lash. The leather thong bit into her back. She caught her lip with her teeth to keep from screaming. She wouldn’t let Risha know the blows hurt.
Again and again, the lash slashed into her flesh. How long would this torture last? She’d done nothing wrong, but her robe was unbanded. No clan had claimed the small child found naked on the sands fifteen years ago.
“What are you doing?”  Kalia, wife of the clan chief asked.
“Giving the hora the beating she deserves. The clan shouldn’t tolerate her kind. She lured Tomon.”
The shrill voice of her tormentor grated on Mara’s ears. “I did nothing wrong. ’Twas him.”
“You lie,” Risha shouted. “I heard your squeals of delight. I saw you in his embrace.”
“Risha, who gave you leave to render judgment?”  Kalia asked. “If you have a complaint, I’m the one to learn the facts. The women’s tents are under my leadership.”
“You did naught about her.”
“There was naught to do.”
“She was in my son’s tent and you know those who are unspoused are not permitted in any man’s tent. She must have followed him. If I hadn’t heard her pleading, she would have seduced him. A man always takes what a woman offers. At the conclave, my Tomon will be selected to take Vodor’s place as clan leader.”
Mara sat up. “I don’t want him. He grabbed me, tore my robe, dragged me to his tent. I fought. I marked his face. She came...”  Mara’s words dissolved in tears.
“Risha, leave the girl be. This matter is for the chief. Come.”  Kalia pulled the other woman toward the opening. “Child, I’ll send someone to tend to your back.”
Mara struggled to her feet. She dashed the tears from her eyes. “I will tell Vodor what happened. ’Twas me Tomon and Risha harmed.”
“You have no right to be heard,” Risha declared. “You’re not of the clan.”
“A thing you tell me daily.”
“I’ll speak for you,” Kalia said.
Mara’s tears began anew. These tears weren’t fueled by pain or anger, but by helplessness. Who would give justice to a clanless girl who didn’t know who she was or when she’d been born? “Give me a water flask and journey food and I’ll go into the desert.”
Kalia turned. “Where would you go?”
“To a town.”
“What would you do there? You have no skills. You will wait. Vodor will hear.”
Once the women left, Mara tore off her tattered robe and reached for a clean one. How soon could she depart? She poured water into a basin, washed her face and cleaned the wounds where the lash had cut her upper arms. She could do naught for the ones on her back.
Vala, daughter of Vodor and Kalia, entered. “Mama sent me to tend to your wounds.”  She put an unguent pot and strips of cloth on Mara’s sleeping mat. “That Risha. Thinks she’ll be the next ruler of this tent. And I, Tomon, makes me sick. If Valmir were here, he’d teach the bully how to behave.”
Mara couldn’t help laughing. Maybe Valmir could have handled Tomon, but he’d left the clan to follow the one who held the White Jewel. Where were they now? News of the battle and the destruction of the Black had reached the clan, but none of the Holders had come to the desert to change the sand to grass.
Something Tomon had whispered to the young men he’d gathered into a band popped into her head. She’d heard the whispers. “Vodor lies. The Wizards are the ones who will change the desert. Valmir is a traitor to the clan. There are those who have told me the truth.”  Even when the hunters had reported the hills no longer screamed, Tomon had insisted ’Twas the Wizards doing.
“Lay down,” Vala said.
The cool touch of wet cloth leached some of the pain. Something jabbed and Mara jumped. “Vala, you’re hurting me.”
“Bits of cloth are in the cuts. Have to remove them so the wounds don’t fester. Do you want starflower tea?”
Mara grasped the edges of the mat. “I’ll bear the pain.”  She hoped the other girl would finish before she screamed or fainted.
“Last one,” Vala said.
Moments later, Mara hissed. “What are you using?”
“Mintos and healal to keep the poisons away. The mintos will keep sand fleas out of the wounds. Sit up so I can bind you. How could Risha do this?”
“For Tomon. If she hadn’t come, my cries would have roused others and he would be unbanded.”
Vala made a face. “He’s a guana creeping over the sands poisoning everything. What did he want?”
Mara felt tears rise. “To make me like one of the women he visits in the towns.”
“But you’re not like them.”
“Who would believe my side? Even your mother wouldn’t let me speak for myself.”
“Papa will listen to her.”
Mara shook her head. “Won’t matter. I’ll be the one punished.”
“Papa’s not cruel.”
“Tomon is of the clan. Though no one knows the name of his father, his robe is banded. He leads the young men. What rights have I? I’m given castoffs to wear and am ever on the fringe of the circle.”
Vala shook her head. “While you have no clan, you have a place with us ’til you choose to leave.”
“I would go now. I asked for journey supplies and your mother denied me.”
Vala handed Mara a cup. “Mama said you must drink this tea. ’Twill help the healing.”
Mara swallowed a mouthful of the liquid, then spilled the rest on the ground. “I won’t be drugged.”
“Wait ’til Mama comes. Stay with us ’til we reach the Palace for the conclave. Perchance one of the other clans will give you refuge.”
Waves of weariness washed over Mara. She stretched on her mat. Once Vala left, she would pack her belongings. The younger girl didn’t understand how hard life was when you had no status or defenders.
Risha’s shrill voice woke Mara. “Why should my son be forbidden to attend the conclave? This was his time to show his worth. He would have been chosen to lead all the clans. The hora is at fault and she must pay.”
Mara felt a pain in her side. She rolled away. Risha aimed another kick, but this time at Mara’s head. “What do you want?”
“Get up, you lazy hora. See to your chores. The fire wasn’t laid for the evening meal. Do you expect me to do the work that is yours?”
“My mother excused her from chores ’til her back heals,” Vala said.
“What? My son has lost face. He’s been shamed and she’s being pampered. She’s naught. A foundling. Your father will see what happens at the conclave. Tomon is the best hunter. The younger man look to him for leadership. It has been foretold that he will lead all the clans.”
“Who spoke those words?”  Vala said.
“A Healer.”
“Who is your sister. Take care, Risha,” Kalia said. “Continue to trouble this child and the bands of your robe will be ripped away.”
“She’s no child.”
“On the morrow, her hair will be cut and her face marked. She’ll be a child for the rest of her life.”
“No,” Mara said. “Let me go into the desert.”
Kalia touched Mara’s head. “’Tis the best answer to the problem. As a child, no man can harm you. No man can make you into a hora. Because you are of no clan, you can never be first spouse. This will make your lot easier.”
Mara’s hands shook. Her body trembled. Rather than face an unjust sentence, she would leave. Just because no clan had claimed her didn’t mean she had no worth.
She looked around. The voice belonged to none of the women in the tent. Who had called?
Once the three women left, Mara rose and slipped on her clean robe. She donned her loose riding trousers. The fabric of the robe rubbed against the dressings on her back. The pain would spur her escape. She went to the tent opening and peered outside.
The clan had gathered for the evening meal. Before anyone missed her, she could be kils away. She filled her water flask, rolled a second robe and trousers and her few belongings in her blanket. She crept to the tent where supplies were stored. Strips of meat and dried palma fruit went into the blanket roll.
As she slipped from the oasis, she passed the pen erected for the animals. Long-necked balalas mingled with the blue and white silk sheep and the sleek antels. If she took one of the balalas, she could be far away before her absence was discovered. Except, taking one would mark her as a thief and the hunters would pursue her to the death.
A balala with dark streaks in its cream-colored fur nuzzled her fingers. Though this particular animal was her usual mount, ’Twas not hers. With regret, she walked away.
The voice seemed to rise from the north and west. She veered in that direction and the siren call became louder. She didn’t know who wanted her or why. All she could do was follow.
She strode across the sand. Evening ended. The moons rose. Their light seemed to be a beacon leading her forward. In the heat of the day, she burrowed in the sand and used her blanket as protection from the sun’s firey rays. At sunset, she rose and followed the voice.
By the third night, her back burned. She was sure sand had slithered beneath the bandages and abraded the raw flesh. The back of the desert robe felt wet. Sweat or blood?
When the moons rose, she saw the walls of the Palace of the Seven Jewels in the distance. Was that her destination? Would she reach the safety of the sacred place before searchers from the clan caught her? No violence was permitted within the shattered walls.
Would the hunters heed the restrictions? She stumbled and fell to the sand. For a short time, she rested. The older men would honor the place, but not Tomon. What had he meant when he’d said there was another man who wanted her?
She drank the last of the water in the flask. She ate a piece of palma fruit.
As she got to her feet, she wondered how many groups of hunters Vodor had sent to look for her. By leaving, she had proclaimed her guilt, but she refused to be named as an eternal child. Thus, she had left all she knew behind. With her gaze on the distant walls, she put one foot after another.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wednesday Discovering the Secret of the Jewels #MFRWHooks #BWLPublishing #Fantasy #Power Jewels

Discovering the Jewels̢۪ Secret (The Jewels of Erda Book 3)

Join other great writers at #MFRWHooks here  To read some really great excerpts. You may find the next book you want to read. My offering is a fantasy for all ages.

Seven Jewels – Seven Holders and their bondmates. The words of an elderly Healer send each pair on a quest to learn the secret of the Jewels. Are these gems just tools or do they hold hidden danger for the Holders? The seven leave on seven quests to discover the answers. When they find the answer, they must decide the fate of the Jewels.


The Yellow Jewel

Seven Jewels and seven threads. Find them, twine them, bind them into a braid to discover how to unlock the secret of the Jewels. What was pale becomes dark and dark changes to light. Sometimes destruction is the way to end a cycle of tyranny.  Blazing sun and icy moons unite in the Yellow Jewel. You must go over land, across the sea and back again. Seek the thread and learn this lesson. What makes a home does not have to be a place. Fears may lurk and fears are faced when one learns to trust.

Disa turned and waved farewell to the Holders and their Chosen who remained at the wizards’ stronghold. All but she and Brader stayed to tend to the living and the dead. Just days ago, the elderly healer had appeared and had given prophecies to all. The moment Disa had heard those words she knew she and Brader had to leave. Their role in the destruction of the wizards’ lair had ended. The overland journey to Quato where they would board a ship to Thanis would take a seven day.
     She prodded her horned horse and caught up with her companion. “Must we race like prisoners released from a dungeon?”
     He slowed his steed. “Why not? I wish to reach my home as soon as I can.”
     Home, she thought. Hers had been a peddler’s wagon and then the tavern in Pala. She didn’t understand his being drawn to a place. “Thy home won’t run.”
     He laughed. “Thee are right, but some inner yearning pushes me to hurry to High Sanctuary. What if the wizards have established a refuge there?”
     She made a face. “Didn’t Andalor mention a ship filled with Queen’s Guards and wizards that arrived in Quato around the time when thee did?”
     “One or more might have remained. I need to find out.”
     She supposed he was right but that wasn’t his real reason for the rush to return to his home. He wanted to visit his mother’s grave to bid her farewell. Did he really believe her spirit lingered on this plane waiting to hear of the success or failure of Liara’s quest?
     At dusk they arrived in Desert’s Edge where they purchased enough supplies for the journey. She nearly suggested they stop at the Healers’ House for medicinals, but could think of none they would need before they reached the market in Quato.
     Eight days of traveling from dawn to dusk brought them to the seaport town. On the outskirts they passed the villa where she had received her Jewel. “Remember our time here?” she asked.
     “Clearly. What a pompous fool I was. Attacking Valmir when he wasn’t the enemy. Angering Liara and thee.”
     She reached for his hand. “Thee feared someone would harm her and keep her from the quest.” She sighed. “I wonder how the others fare.”
     “If there were problems couldn’t they reach us on the inner path?” Brader asked.
     “I don’t know. I’ve listened every night and the voices have grown fainter. Should we stay here or go directly to the docks?”
     He prodded his horse. “This is too far from town. We’ll find an inn. Word of ships leaving for Thanis will be heard at one, but we can’t leave for a day or two.”
     She nodded. “We have to sell the horses.”
     “And arrange for passage. We’re too late for today’s animal market.”
     Once inside the town Disa led him to the inn where she and Andalor had stayed. They were in luck and one of the suites on the third story was available. After leaving their packs in the suite’s central room, they ordered a meal to be brought as soon as they finished in the baths.
     A short time after returning to the suite, Disa opened the door for a serving woman bearing a large tray of food. Disa inhaled the aroma of brewed chokla and grinned. She slipped the woman a coin.           Brader entered from his sleeping chamber. He fastened his amber colored hair at his nape with a thong.
     “What of our plans for tomorrow?” Disa filled a mug with her chosen drink.
     “Sell the horses. Find a ship. Purchase some extra food for the journey. Ship’s food is plain and sometimes not tasty.”
     “Will we have to wait long?” Though they’d taken coins from the wizards’ treasury, if they were forced to stay too long their coins would vanish.
     He shrugged. “Who knows? I’ll slip down to the common room. Someone there will know about sailings.”
     Disa lifted a banta leg. “No tragon.”
     He laughed. “Guess Liara told thee how little tolerance I have for spirits. I’ll stick to ale.”
     Though Disa had planned to stay awake until Brader returned, the soft mattress lulled her to sleep.
In the morning as soon as they broke their fast, they led their steeds to the animal market. After selling the horses and gear they had enough to buy passage on the ship Brader had heard about the evening before.
     Disa walked to the dock with him. While he boarded to arrange for berths, she sat on a bench. She stared at the ship. Seemed sturdy but she had no knowledge about boats. As she watched, burly men carried crates and bales up a wooden ramp to be stowed in the holds.
     Her thoughts drifted to the prophecy.   Did it mean they would remain on the isle? Would they find more danger in Thanis? In two seasons she’d been part of two arcane battles. One to destroy the Black Jewel and the other to destroy the stronghold of the wizards. Would the changes she, Liara and Stilenta had spoken about ever come to fruition?
     For an instant, she pressed her hand against the Yellow Jewel she wore beneath her tunic. Did she control the gem or did it play subtle games with her thoughts? She rubbed her arms and felt as though the sun hid behind a cloud. Until she knew the answer she would be cautious about using the Jewel.
“Ho, Disa.”
     Brader’s deep voice broke into her thoughts. He descended the long ramp from the ship. His broad grin spoke of success. She ran to him. “When do we leave?”
     “The ship sails on the morning tide.” He made a face. “I don’t like the idea of sailing but there’s no other way to reach High Sanctuary.”
     “Will there be storms like the one that stranded Stilenta on that isle? Or nearly drowned thee?”
     “This isn’t the season. I’ve just no liking for the sea.”
     “When thee came this way thee had wound fever. Liara feared for thy life. She said the sea water aided thy healing.”
     He nodded. “All wasn’t ill. We found Valmir and Stilenta. Do thee think the Jewels played a role in the shipwreck?”
     Disa looked away. If she admitted her concerns about the Jewels they might become true.
     He grasped her arm. “Do they?”
     She heard fear and curiosity in his voice. “I don’t know. Tell me what else troubles thee.”
     He stared at the ground. “When the wind fills the sails and the waves roll, the motion of the ship is unsettling. My gut complains and my appetite flees.”
     “There are herbs that can help. I’ll buy some.”
     “And food, too. The trip can be as long as a lunar and a half or as short as two tendays.  Thee can shop and I’ll trade some of the gems from the stronghold for coins.”
     Disa linked arms with him. They left the booming shouts and grunts of the stevedores and entered the noisy market square. The aroma of food and spices, the colors and varieties of the wares enchanted her. Brader headed to a shop with a wide selection of jewelry glittering behind the glass window. She strolled along the booths and made choices.
     The last time she’d visited this market, wizards had made dark blotches to gloom the atmosphere. Today there were none and only a few Queen’s Guards.
     What would she and Brader find when they reached the isle where he and Liara had been raised?          With a sigh, Disa thought of the friends they’d left at the wizards’ stronghold. How did they fare? What secrets had they discovered?
     She bought a mug of cider and sat on a bench beneath a canopy. As she sipped the cool liquid she sought her friends on the inner path. She heard faint buzzes but no words. Was the distance too great or was Brader’s help essential? She finished the drink and returned the mug. Had the choice to scatter been wrong?
     Worrying about what couldn’t be changed wasted time. She stopped at a basket maker’s stall and purchased two lidded containers. At the herbalist’s she filled the compartments of one with a selection of herbs, spices and medicinals.
     The aroma of chokla drew her across the square. She indulged in a powder for beverages, some candies for the voyage and two large pastries for the evening meal. After choosing other treats she carried the baskets to the inn.
     When she reached the suite, she found Brader rolling their blankets. Their packs sat on the floor along with two sacks. “When are we off?” she asked.
     Brader looked up. “After the evening meal we’ll board the ship.”
     “But they don’t sail until morning.”
     Brader chuckled. “The tide goes out at dawn. We need to be aboard before then.”
     “Why? We’ve paid them. Wouldn’t they wait?”
     “Not for a moment. Days from now we would find another ship and have no coins to spare.”
     Disa reached for her pack, blanket roll and the two baskets. “Then we’ll do what we must. I wish we didn’t have to go.”
     He gathered his share of the baggage. “We must. I need to tell my mother what occurred so she can leave this plane for the next.”
     Did he really believe his mother’s shade lingered? She reached for the door. “We’ll need a cart to carry these things to the ship.”
     “Agreed.” Brader followed her into the hall. “Just pray the sea sickness doesn’t grab me.”
     “I have medicines for that.” They walked downstairs and entered the common room. Brader laughed at the chokla pastry and gave her part of his. When they finished the meal they hired a barrow boy to cart their belongings to the ship.
     As they boarded Disa noticed the name painted on the ship’s side. The Amber Lady. She turned to Brader. “With that name and my Jewel we should have a pleasant journey.”
     Her prediction proved true. With sunny days and clear nights, brisk breezes filled the sails. The ship seemed to dance across the waves. Eighteen days after their departure from Quato the shores of the isle appeared in the distance.
     Disa stood at the rail beside Brader. Large gray birds swooped through the air and dove toward the water. They emerged with fish dangling from their beaks and circled the small fishing skiffs. “What are they?”
     “Lorns,” Brader said. “Fishermen train them to catch the fish.” He pointed to one of the boats as they glided past.
     Disa watched as a bird dropped the fish and flew away. A man placed the fish in a tub.               “Enterprising but what about the poor birds being robbed of their catch?”
     “They’re given the heads and entrails.”
     Disa shook her head. “Each to his own. When will we leave for thy home?”
     He grinned. “First we have to dock. Won’t be today or even tomorrow. I’d like to see if any merchants are headed toward the mountains.”
     “If there are we can travel part way with them.”
     She met his gaze. “Do thee expect trouble?”
     He shrugged. “I’ve a feeling I can’t explain. On our way here, Liara and I ran afoul of some Queen’s Guards. They might still be around.”
     Disa sucked in a breath. Could he be right? But Liara was the queen now and any of the Guards should be sworn to her. Disa shouldered her pack and blanket roll. She lifted the nearly empty baskets and followed him down the ramp. Uneasiness settled in her gut.
     They walked away from the wharfs and paused outside a large inn. Brader pushed open the door. “Looks as good as any.”
     “There’s one of the merchants from the ship.”
     Brader dropped the things he carried. “See to the rooms. I’ll discover what he plans.”
     A short time later he returned. “He journeys in our direction and would be pleased to have us join him. He leaves in three days. We’ll have time to purchase hill ponies and camping gear.”
     Disa nodded. “Having our own supplies is a good idea.” She looked around to see if anyone was near. “We need to keep silent about the Jewel I wear.”
     He looked away. “Thee are right.”