Monday, January 11, 2021

The Blood Tide

 

The morning wind was sweet through the tamarind and acacia trees, carrying the smell of the dawning sea.  Jaya waded through the waist-high grass, carrying her fishing net looped over her shoulder, the bare earth soft under her feet.  The birds in the trees were just beginning to waken and sing softly, though she knew the sun would soon come up over the hills behind her and they would burst into a riot of sound and motion.

She heard her younger brother, Anut, following along behind her, muttering as he pushed through the grasses in her wake.  He was shorter than she was, even though he was thirteen, and he struggled to keep up with her longer strides.  She smiled to herself.  It would not be long before he was old enough to be tattooed and named a man – let him walk behind her for a little longer.

There was a mist in the morning air, and she looked up as they came to the edge of the trees.  From here the slope down to the sea was shallow, and at the edge of the sand there was a sharp black stone that jutted up from the ground, the surface gleaming with sea spray and etched with coiled signs.  When their ancestors first came to Ulu’a, driven out of their ancient island homes by their enemies, they raised this stone as a marker.  A sign to all the Unnamed Gods that the Tau’ta would go no further.

She stopped and stood for a moment, letting Anut catch up to her.  He was carrying his own net as well as a barbed fishing spear.  She thought him too eager – the water would be too cloudy from the past night’s storm for spearing fish.

This early, just after dawn, the light from the sun was still shrouded behind the central hills of the island behind them.  The sea was an expanse of silvery motion, darkening as it extended away toward the lands of sunset, marked at the limit of her sight by the line of white breakers where the reef walled them off from the deeper realms her people had long left behind.  Once, she knew, they had sailed the seas, and had been kings in a far western land, but that had ended long ago.

Monday, December 21, 2020

End of the Year

 On this Solstice, I want to take a minute to pause and thank all my Patrons:

Nathan

Rebecca

Jason

Mike

Laura

Etio

Matt

Cassandra

David

Mel

Eilis


There are not many of you, but especially in this year, you made a big difference, and have helped keep me afloat.  I hope you have enjoyed my stories, and I hope you enjoy the new ones.

I normally try to put up some kind of bonus content for December, but this past month I have been heavily involved in getting my elderly father moved and situated in a new house, and it has eaten up all my spare time and energy, so I just have not had any left to write an extra story.  Look for the new stories to start in January.

And if you are looking at this post and are not a Patron, consider pledging, and helping me to keep making quality Sword & Sorcery fiction.

Everybody who made it through this year should take a moment to pat themselves on the back, and I hope everyone manages a little cheer this holiday.  I'll see you on the flip side.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Down to the Sea of Flowers

 

Jaya has lived all her life on the island of Ulu’a, among her tribe, the Tau’ta.  Her existence has been idyllic, living in the green hills and shady forests of the island, swimming and fishing in the crystal blue waters beyond the white beaches, protected by the reef that keeps the storms at bay and protects them from any who might seek to land on the shores of their island paradise.  She is the younger child and only daughter of the chieftain, and her life is simple and comfortable.

The Tau’ta have stories of their past, when they were once a greater race.  They dwelled on grand islands to the west, amidst palaces and cities of ancient splendor.  A disaster drove them forth, and her people are all that remain of that once-great bloodline, living in seclusion as they dream of past glories.

But when a storm drives a foreign ship to their shores, Jaya’s world is transformed.  The strangers are a terrible, pale-skinned race of giants out of dark legend, and their arrival is a stroke of lightning that shatters the peace of Ulu’a.  Jaya discovers that the dark powers that once ruled the world of men are not gone, that their island refuge is not safe from the wider world, and she will find that the history of her people is not one of peace, but one of conquest and war.  A history written in blood.

Looking forward to the new story next year.  Watch this space...