Calm Before The Storm #WeekendWritingPrompt

The tavern was so quiet that Elias could hear the wind whispering through the gaps in the walls. When the serving girl brought him his drink he paid her with a whole silver, saw her eyes widen, and patted his coat pocket.

‘Keep ’em coming.’

She nodded and darted away.

Apart from one table near the door, every seat was taken. Elias counted the mercenaries, almost all of them Roderick’s, their necks marked with his brand. The King had called the practice draconian, but that didn’t stop him hiring Roderick’s men when revolts broke out.

That was why rebels had to hire Elias.

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Gathering Of The Equinox #WeekendWritingPrompt

Someone had strung lights from the trees, making up for the clouds creeping across the moon’s face. They drenched the clearing white, bright enough to illuminate the flakes of bark littering the feast table and the bad icing job on Elizabeth’s cupcakes.

‘There were more of us last year,’ Malvoc commented, hand hovering over a plate of pink wafers.

‘You always say that,’ replied Grot. He was perched, his feet hanging an inch above the ground. ‘It makes no difference, we’re still enough.’

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Room Six

Checking in proved to be… unusual.

Standing behind reception, the woman with shoulder-length hair and purple eyes stared silently as Sam stumbled in.

“Yes?” drawled the woman, pursing her lips at the wet leaves plastered to Sam’s clothes. Sam drew a hand through her own hair, suppressing a shudder as something slimy squelched between her fingers.

“Is Rook here?” she asked.

“Perhaps,” answered the woman. “Why?”

“I need to talk to him,” Sam scowled.

“Why?”

“Because.”

The woman’s gaze flicked over her appearance again before she reached behind the desk.

“Room six,” she said, handing over the key. “Be careful.”

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I like messing around with old characters from partially completed novels. I found the start of a draft for Archer the other day, only the first few chapters were written but I’m thinking about coming back to it at some point. Darkened Daughter has to take priority for now though. I refuse to keep skipping from one idea to another. Something is going to get finished this year whether I like it or not!

Darkened Daughter Extract – Rickets Den

You did not got to the Purple Pig to drink. You went there for whores and information.

Before the new King’s reign Molly’s tavern had been one of the most successful in Dondara. Now it was nothing more than a crooked sign and a few worm eaten tables crammed into the darkness.

“Are you sure we’ve got the right place?” Mole kept close as his Captain hurried down the city streets towards Rickets Den. Behind them the stone houses of the wealthy seemed to glow softly in the moonlight, oil lamps dotted along the cobbled streets to ward off the shadows.  Rickets Den on the other hand was a mass of shadows, curling and twisting around the wooden buildings which tumbled into one another and disappeared into the depths of the old mining pits. Mole wasn’t a brave man. He was really quite timid by all accounts with a thin reedy voice and a thick, short stature that left many confusing him with a child. Danny found him useful for sneaking into tight spaces but it took some encouragement to get Mole to agree.

“Just stay behind me and keep you voice down,” Danny warned. “We’ll be fine.”

Mole nodded and picked up his pace, determined not to be left behind. If he’d dared he would have caught hold of the tails of Danny’s coat, but he doubted the pirate would appreciate it so he kept his hands where they were. Quickly the cobbled street ran out and instead they were picking their way across mud slick boarding. Mole tried to swallow the bad feeling bubbling up in his throat as he heard his footsteps echoing beneath him. When he was much younger he’d asked his father how deep the old mining pits in Dondara were,

“Deep,” his father said, and left it at that.

Danny led them further into the wooden city, dropping them further into it’s depths ladder by ladder until Mole lost count in the gloom and found himself stood outside a lopsided shack with no windows. Rickets Den was a feat of engineering. It had started when the poor began building their homes near the edges of the open mine, steadily moving closer and closer until their houses jutted out over the edge. It continued that way until eventually half the city seemed to hang in the air above the endless pit, each building pinned in place by timbers, completely interconnected. Mole wondered what would happen if just one beam snapped. Perhaps the whole thing would crumble.

“Stay alert,” Danny warned, fist raised above the door closest. “This may not go as smoothly as I hope.”

Turning away from Mole Danny rapped on the door three times and then retracted his hand quickly, his fingers wrapping around the handle of his sword as he waited for a response. For a long moment there was nothing but silence and the creak of wood as the whole place heaved and sighed around them.

“No one home?” suggested Mole.

“So it would seem.” 

“So we can leave then?”

Danny shook his head and took three steps back, something of a luxury since most of the streets in Rickets Den were barely wide enough to walk down.

“Here,” he said, shrugging off his coat and handing it to Mole. “I need you to hold this.” 

Innocence [Extract from The Lady Winters]

“Innocence has no place between people like us,” Yikes said, eyes fixed on the glass in his hands instead of Sophia. With a flick of his wrist the whisky was at his lips and down his throat, the empty glass clinking against the desk as he set it down.

They were alone this time, no soldiers waiting in the shadows to snap her neck if a wrong move was made, no murder friends dragged across the floorboards as leverage, it made her wonder if Yikes was perhaps starting to trust her.

“People like is are never innocent,” he continued. “Fate knew us too well to ever let that be true.”

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