Writing Again

More to celebrate coming soon. 😀

It has been a while, a very LONG while, since I last posted on any blogs other than the occasional blurb on Facebook.  Last known post here was back in November.  Her we are at the end of April.

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Bow before your feline overlords

Not a lot has happened during these five months.  Very little in fact beyond work and taking care of myself, my son, and our family.  Naturally, my three cats get the lion’s share of the attention but then, they are our furry overlords and must be treated as such.  If either of them demand my attention, they’ll get it in some form or another.  Naturally, it is never enough… to them.

But, as the title of this post says, I am writing again.  It has been too long.  A couple of years too long since I actually sat down and wrote.  I guess college burned me out that badly as far as writing.  Speech class alone was a LOT of writing, then there was English Comp and Lit to slog through.  Yeah, there was a lot of writing.

This story is not yet named, but it starts off rather sad.  Depressing if you ask me, and it wasn’t easy to write.  It just came to me one day at work and I guess my general mood added to the overall idea of how to start this one off.  But, the fact of the matter is, I am back to writing.

So, to prove I am doing something, here’s an excerpt:

(Warning: it is a bit long)

Slowly, Firiel looked up at Tish then a soft laugh bubbled its way up her sore throat.  “I keep telling you, Tish, there is no need to be so formal with us.”  Though the laugh started a coughing fit which curled the old cat up in pain, she still maintained a brighter outlook.  As best as she could, she waved off her mate when he tried to help her through the episode.  “No.  Vorn, I’ll be fine,” she finally gasped as she relaxed.

“Mom, please,” pleaded her son before the look all children have come to understand from their mothers appeared in the weather face.  “We love you.  Let us help you through this.”

“No, son.” She whispered, struggling to get just a few more minutes with her family.  “I’ll be fine.”  Then, with the last of her strength, she sat up and pointed towards a dusty old box sitting on a shelf beside a large soft cushion.  “Look in that box.  My rings.  Make sure Rhaina get the turquoise one, Minka.  That one is hers.  Yours is my bonding ring.”  She gave her daughter a weakened smile then gave her attention to her son.  “There is a gold band in there, that one is yours.  Tish, my pearl pendant is for you.  Use them to remember me by.”

No sooner had the last words left her lips then she lost any strength she had left.  Her body slumped back against the pillows and she lay there gasping for her last breath.  Vorn slipped his arms around her shoulder and listened to her heart work hard to keep beating slowing with each remaining beat.

“I… love… you…” she whispered softly into his ear with her final breath.  Her eyes closed then her body went still.  As if a switch went off, the color drained from her fur with the last rattling breath left her body.

Wracked by uncontrollable sobbing, Vorn held beloved wife tight in his arms while his children watched; unable to believe that their mother was gone.  “I’ll always love you, Firiel.  Always.”  He choked his words into her cheek fur, clinging to her lifeless body as if just holding on tight would bring her back.

Micah, Tish, and Minka watched, trying not to believe what their own senses told them.  Tears rolled down their cheeks in fresh rivers unchecked.  Only their father’s sobs could be heard in the quiet of the bower.  His grief knew no bounds.  Theirs was too fresh to accept but it was growing quickly within them.

I hope you enjoyed this.  Maybe more will be shared later.  For now, feel free to critique and comment.

Ciao for now!


Sunday Excerpts #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

This has been a week of hardship for me.  Due to a couple of mistakes I had made, I was demoted from Pharmacy technician to regular associate.  This means I am a normal cashier with no protective counter between me and the mobs of idiots people that want to check out.  There is an upside to this.  The chances are good that the assistant manager over consumables may snatch me up to use as a floor stocker so I won’t have to stand a register all day long.  Either way, it will be days filled with aches and pain.

Because of what happened last week, my posts this week have suffered and I just barely managed to promote the Getting to Know You Blog Hop.  I did well enough that many people stopped by to see what I and the others were about and left pleased.

This week’s excerpt comes from one of my very first stories ever written.  A little digging from my mom produced the ratty old pages filled with bad handwriting of a story about a pony who saved her friends from a fate living as statues in a forbidden forest.  Yes, this is very closely related to the old My Little Pony show that aired back in the 80s.  I was a huge fan of them at the time and had amassed a decent collection of them.

With that in mind, I’ll let you decide if it is cringe worthy or not.  Just remember, this was written long ago.

The path went deep into the shadows of the ancient forest.  Within mere feet, it disappeared among the close tree as it wound its way to some mysterious place.  Only a few shafts of sunlight reached through the foliage to cast pinpricks of light on that path but they did little to make the darkness retreat.

Clearly imprinted on the soft dirt of the fading path, hoof prints of four ponies were made out, each distinctive to Starlight as she lowered her head to look at each one more closely.  Nervously she dug at the dirt with her own hoof, too afraid of the deep green unknown that was the forbidden forest.  She could feel the old magic that dwelled within and knew without a doubt that it was stagnant.  The very feel of the old magic made her horn itch in a way that told her she was in danger and to turn back or else she’d suffer in the same way her friends would.

Her thoughts kept drifting back to their taunts.  Deep in her own heart, she knew they were right.  She was terrified.  Fear welled up in her and took a choke hold just thinking of what was happening to her friends.  Her hooves were frozen to the path and her hocks knocked together with her shuddering.  Never before had she felt such a deep seated fear in her life.  Nothing had gripped her so tightly and nothing ever would.  

Without a second thought she backed away from the ominous darkness and shrunk away from the rolling waves of old magic as they reached through the tree to her soul.  The ghostly hands of the victims who entered before called to her, leaving echoes in her mind which made her whinny in fear and rear up to paw at the air before turning and dashing back to the one place she felt safe; the sun filled glade she called home and could almost feel the gentle brush of the flower covered vines the draped down from willow branches beside the calm waters of the river.

An evil laughter chased her as she ran away, taunting her for leaving her friends behind.  Suddenly, she skidded to halt, landing on her rump as she stopped in the dirt.  “No!” Starlight shouted at the vile laughter then swallowed the bile rising in her throat.  ‘I can’t leave them in here.’ she told herself.  “I won’t leave my friends!”  She cried at the top of her lungs as she sat there in the dirt collecting herself and what little courage she had in her heart.

Panting, she closed her eyes and concentrated on her friends, listening for them, yet knowing they were too far away to be heard.  Above the laughter, she detected a single note; her friend’s talent reaching to her through the magic and the trees of the forest.  As faint as what it was, she felt that singular note reaching for her.  Just as she focused on that note, it stopped, leaving a deathly silence behind it and a satisfied chuckle within the imagined laughter that chased her.

Gathering up her courage and standing, Starlight took a deep breath, turned around, Then she marched one slow step at a time toward the forest.  Once again, she stopped at the edge of the shadows marking the boundary of the forest.  Holding her head high, she called to her friends deep inside.  “I’m coming for you!  I’ll save you…” then more softly as she lowered her head and took that first step in, “some how.”

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

What a long and eventful weekend this has been.  I barely spent any time at home.  In my defense, it was to get out and away from the sick child and boyfriend.  Dave was fine with the beginnings of symptoms and Colin was finally recovering from his bout with the flu.

If anyone was wondering why there were three posts so close together, then this one, it’s because I was catching up.  Friday has been just one of those tiring days and I ended up making dinner.  Saturday, I was out of the house most of the day then today, I spent my free time working on these posts.

Onto the excerpt!  This one is taken from the very clean version of How the Kiyrie Got Their Wings.  I chose a small section where StormCloud, a Kiyrie, and Drake, a dragon master hunter (also called hyunitarrii in the Kiyrie language) finally come together to bring about the first evolution in the Kiyrie species.  They are mortal enemies.  He could easily kill her and yet, the Fates decided they were the perfect candidates for their experiments.  There is no dialog in this story.  Just the thoughts of some omniscient being showing the story.

StormCloud wanted to be alone and in silence. She didn’t want anyone to know what she was thinking. As much as it hurt her to do so, she wrenched her mind free of the communal link her people, the Kiyrie, shared.  Immediately she felt an upwelling of sorrow fill her soul and imagined a heart wrenching scream as the depressive shock rise.

For many weeks, she lived alone in the deepest, darkest parts of the northern forests; hunting and gathering her own meals while avoiding the hunters. With each successive week she kept herself apart from the others and the mental link severed, she grew weaker and her hunts less successful.

During self-enforced exile, she couldn’t stop thinking of Drake. He was hyunitarri, the best hunters in all the realms and he was dangerous to her and the rest of her kind. The very thought that some higher force wanted her to mate with him made her shudder in fear and dread.  She’d rather fall from a mountain cliff than be close to a hyunitarri of any kind.

Two months passed without either Drake or StormCloud spotting one or another. It was chance brought them together again and not a moment too soon. The Kiyrie, weak from hunger and the loss of her mental link with her people, lay unconscious on the forest floor, sprawled as if she had fainted in mid-leap. The Earth, always caring for the creatures she created, covered her with the underbrush and leaves until StormCloud awakened.

Drake, tracking a deer for his own meal, stumbled upon her. At first, all he could see was a single paw and the tip of her tail among the leaves and underbrush, laying unnaturally still. Curious, he moved the leaves and forest litter aside and gazed at her sleeping form. Her fur was dull; it no longer had that healthy glow that made the Kiyrie so prized, and she was thin, her breathing very shallow. Once again his hunter’s oath and his heart warred with each other. He could kill her so easily and collect a smaller reward for a less than perfect Kiyrie. But his own honor wouldn’t let either side win. She was too weak for his heart to follow through with what it wanted, and taking a defenseless prey brought no honor or challenge.

He lived for the thrill of the hunt.  This elusive prey was in no condition for any kind of hunt.  Though he wanted to turn and leave her to the forest predators, something made him stop and look at her longer.  Drake couldn’t deny the pounding of his heart was of a different kind of fear.  For someone who has been alone all his adult life, he couldn’t stand the idea of not having this gentle and vulnerable creature near him.

The very thought was interrupted by the darker, more carnal, side of his being, telling him that the Kiyrie was nothing more than prey and a few gold coins at the Temple in any condition.  He shook his head to rid himself of the thoughts of kindness, but they would not be silenced.  Their voices grew louder until he was shouting at the forest and holding his hands to the sides of his head as if to block the turmoil in his thoughts.

Panting, he fell to his knees and stared through unwelcome tears at the slowly dying feline.  He was life was slipping away and he knew it.  He could feel the hope of a brilliant future fading quickly and the eyes of his ancestors boring into his mind and whispering of the honor he would lose if he didn’t help her and fulfill his destiny.  After a long, drawn out sigh, he looked around to see if anyone else was there who could take care of her. Seeing no one, he gently picked her up, tilting his head at the soft, weak, whimper as she was lifted.

He carefully carried her to a clearing then spread his wings and took to the air. The flight was short, a slow glide over the tree tops to where his own hidden oasis was located.  He landed many miles away in a rocky area at the border of the kingdom where the rocky foothills began.  During his short flight, he debated with himself to drop her and let the denizens of the forest finish her off.  But as the idea started to take root, something else pushed the idea away and left in its place thoughts of something far better in the near future.

While he was opening the portal to his lair, StormCloud awakened, dull gray eyes gazing up at him. At first, she didn’t recognize who he was. When realized who was holding her she thought surely her life was going to end right there.  Weak as she was, she shivered and a soft mewl escaped her parted lips.

When he looked down at her, her head rolled against his shoulder and he could see the fear in her eyes as well as her soul giving up and trying to stay alive. Their eyes met again. Time stood still as the universe and to a halt and their souls met once again.  His bright and strong spirit reached out to her, bolstering the growing weakness in her and pausing the slow slide into eternal darkness.

StormCloud shook as she looked into Drake’s eyes then fainted once more, unable to cope with the strong feelings growing inside her. Concerned, the dragon carried her into his lair and placed her gently on the simple bed he had. Drake made sure she was comfortable before lighting a fire. There was little he could do. He was a hunter after all, not a doctor or healer. While she slept, he ventured out to hunt.

Sunday Excerpt #amwriting #fiction #fantasy #excerpt

If you thought the previous post would take the place of my Sunday Excerpts, you thought wrong.  This one comes a bit in the evening (or night as the case may be), but it is still considered part of my Sunday postings.

Tonight’s excerpt comes from the end of Changing Times: A Vampire’s Tale.  Clarissa survived the Great Change and traveled the entire world after the human race was abolished and those who remained were turned into the first furs.  She witnessed many things and helped start the first Bard Hall where musicians would learn the art of diplomacy, music, and entertaining.  Think of it as a version of the Harper Hall from Anne McCaffrey’s books.  This whole story was written in a diary format so you see how she saw things as she wrote them down.

Personally, I consider this one of my better death scenes but we get to see her feelings before she does the deed.  I hope you enjoy this one.

I sit here now on my balcony, looking out over the forest with nothing more than the moon, and a single candle lighting the darkness around me. This paper, and this quill I use are but pale memories of what I once had. For the last several hundred years, I have sat in this very chair, contemplating the night sky and wondering if Adam did make it through that long sleep, or if any other I once knew survived as well.

The town this castle was built near has grown since I first made this my home. It was once a tiny village with barely a single street running through the middle of it. Now, its a bustling community. Once in a great while, I go down and walk among the mortals, watching them go on with their lives and adding a bit of musical entertainment. Just as in my younger days, I became well known, and my infrequent visits became a celebration for these people.

Their joy became my joy, but it was pale compared to what I had once known. This unlife of mine was becoming boring regardless of what I tried to do. The years brought me many good friends among the mortals. Mages and nobles alike were among my friends. Only one, an orphaned fox captured my attention. He had a talent that rivaled my own, and under my care, he blossomed into a great bard.

It is to him that I gave my final instructions. Before he left to travel the world and make a name for himself, I made him promise to return to this castle once in a while to make sure I was still around. If he ever returned and found that I had finally given myself to the sun’s rays, he was to take this journal to the only mage I trusted so that a preservation spell could be cast on it.

Yes, my dear reader, I am planning for my last days. This existence no longer holds anything for me, and my closest and dearest friend and childe knows it. He’s been watching me closely for about a year now. He and I have both lived for well over two thousand years now, and have watched the world change.

I’m trying to hang on long enough to see three thousand years, but I don’t know. That’s an awful long way off. Maybe a nap, but I doubt a long torpor induced sleep would do any good. I miss my family and friends, the life I had when I was just a simple singer trying to make it big, and the adoration of fans that would run up out of nowhere just to ask for my autograph.

There is only one question I have that I cannot answer. Maybe, you, dear reader, can answer this for me after you’ve finished reading this journal. The fame I have earned before the world was remade, and the fame I earned after, was it all due to my own natural talent as a singer and songwriter, or was it because of ability of mine after I became a vampire? Or could it, by perchance, been the result of my sire’s work behind the scenes? It is something I would like to know, but the answers elude me even now. Maybe I am just too tired with living to try to answer them myself.

The castle is finally quiet, dear reader. My only surviving childe is resting, and everyone else is either asleep or gone. Just so that you what it looks like on this last evening of my life, I’ll describe what I see now. This castle looks out over a valley, there’s a river down there, reflecting the starlight as each star winks out for the night. There’s a forest in my immediate vicinity, concealing this castle from the town sleeping below. The eastern horizon is just beginning to color with the rising sun.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

Tonight, I decided to blend two posts into one.  Since I post an excerpt of random stories on Sundays and this is also the day I talk a little about Black Friday and/or Black Friday 2, I figure I may as well make them the same post this time.  Makes sense and I can sit back to watch Food Network or maybe get a quick role-play in before bedtime.  Either way, it’s much easier for me.  Don’t expect this to happen every week.  I don’t want to give away too much of the story.

With this being my last day of vacation, I thought I would make things simpler for you, my readers and friends.

Today’s excerpt comes from the last half what I’ve written for chapter nine in book 2 of Black Friday.  They have just found the place both Karina and others have seen in dreams and visions.  As tired as what they are, there is still work to do and Karina, her husband, adopted son, and their group’s ‘healer’, they prepare to weather out the coming storm.

Marcus’ look of surprised couldn’t be hidden. He stared at me, swallowed then started to ask, but I stopped him with a nod. “Yes, she did. Let’s go, now.”

“Okay everybody!” He clapped his hands together as he turned to face the group of weary shifters. “I need you to bear with us. Shelter has been found and it is a short distance from here. We can all rest there and avoid any other weather that is heading for us.” He then motioned to the building clouds then motioned to me. “Lead the way, my love. You know where this shelter is.”

I smiled at him then licked his cheek before giving my attention to everyone. “It’s only a couple of miles from here. If we support each other, we get there in no time. It’s all downhill, into a valley, and the path looks reasonably clear from what I can tell. Just stick close and don’t wander off without telling someone. If you get lost, we may not be able to find you before the storm gets here.”

There was a lot of grumbling and moaning as tired therians got to their feet. They only had a short rest and that didn’t do much for them. But, knowing they were going to be in a decent shelter, not some cold cave, they didn’t gripe too much.

Getting everyone moving, even the injured on their stretchers, wasn’t easy. Finding the path down into the valley wasn’t easy. It was an overgrown trail almost completely hidden by new growth from the years of neglect, but a few markers showed us the way.

The path wound about, seeming to go nowhere except to give glimpses of the compound below and how close we were getting. With skeletal branches intertwining over us, we could barely see the gray clouds blotting out the paler clouds above and what little sunlight we were getting. It felt like the trek down was taking forever and everyone was starting to mutter and growl their displeasure until at long last, we found the end of the trail leading out into the wide pasture.

It was open land, no trees to take cover in or to break the wind that was starting to whistle through the trees. Anything would be able to see us as we traversed the wide space of snow.

Marcus, Nahana, and I went first to make sure it was all clear. We kept low to the ground, moving on all fours as we were meant to be and keeping our bellies close to the ground. We split up to sniff the air and see if anyone was around before we stood and beckoned the rest to follow. The place was abandoned, not a sound or scent to be found that was recent except for wild creatures stopping by to make use of the pasture or the shelter of the buildings.

I kept an eye on the line of tired wolves, deer, and other therians behind us; making sure no one fell behind. Those that did fall, I rushed back to help Nahana get them back on their feet and offer words of encouragement. They didn’t have much further to go. They can rest inside and we’ll have a fire roaring to keep us warm.

Worry for them filled my heart as they all stumbled toward the building. It seemed so very far away at that point. But, I had to stay strong for them and keep them moving.

As I turned my attention to the building clouds, snow started to fall and the wind became colder. The shiver than ran down my spine raised fur and set my teeth to chattering against my will. Not wanting to leave anyone behind, I plunged through the snow to get the last two, both deer-kin, and helped them get to our new home. The last several feet, I was carrying them, both too exhausted to take another step.

Inside, it was cold. We could feel drafts coming from under the door and around the windows. There was debris all over the place that blew in from a storm sometime in the past. As cold as what it was, it was better than being out in the cold.

“Marcus, Nahana, Nick, we need to gather up wood for a fire and try to fix those drafts.” I looked from one to the other as I rested my hands on their shoulders. “Nahana, you and Nick go gather some firewood and kindling. Marcus and I will start working on plugging the drafts.”

“What about Takesha, Karina?” Nick looked, his eyes questioning and filled with worry for this rag-tag group of therians.

I shook my head and offered a little smile. “She’s tired. Let her rest for now and help tend to the injured. If she needs help, Marcus and I can lend a hand. Don’t worry about her, or anyone else. Just get us that wood and quickly. It’s already started to snow.”

Nick sighed then nodded. “Okay. We won’t be long.”

As I grasped his shoulder, I smiled at him, showing my approval. “Just hurry, son. We’re all tired and we need you to help lead.”

He hugged me; something he hadn’t done since we left First Home, then gave Nahana a gentle shove toward the door. It’ll warm up with all the bodies in there, but a fire will help keep the rest of the cold at bay.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

Where did the week go?  I swear I had just written last Sunday’s post a couple of days ago.  Here it is, Sunday, yet again, and I never made a Wednesday post, let alone any other posts through the week.  Between workouts and work, time got away from me.

Well, onward to today’s excerpt.  Today, you are seeing the opening of chapter ten to Way of the Comet.  Larana has just awakened and found herself not only imprisoned, but force shifted to her feral cat form.  She’s been bound and muzzled to prevent her from escaping or trying to make any attempts at calling for help.  Who ever captured her knew they needed to put some  powerful binding magic on her or they would find themselves in a load of trouble.  But, she isn’t without friends, as she quickly finds out.

When I awoke again, the pain in my head was gone and I couldn’t open my eyes without cringing, but I noticed something else terribly wrong. At first, I noticed the cramp in my back, just between the shoulder blades and something jabbing me in the ribs. When I went to move, I discovered why I the cramp was there and the jab in my side. How it happened, I didn’t know.

What I found was that I had been made to shift into a full cat then all four of my feet were bound together, even my tail, with thick leather thongs. The way I was tied up was what was giving me the cramp between my shoulders. When I tried to speak, I couldn’t move my jaws enough to get more than a few muffled grunts because of a muzzle. To add insult to injury, I felt the cold sting of metal around my neck, as well as a band on my tail near the base. Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable with my current situation.

The pain in my side was coming from the very sharp end of a long spear held by a creature that looked oddly like a hyena but far more ugly. He was cackling while he jabbed my side with that spear, a sound that resonated behind my eyes in pain. “Such a pretty little kitty you are. Yes. Yes! Very pretty you are. Ha, ha, HA!”

There was no way I could answer. Every try was only a grunt or a growl. No amount of speech could come through. Whatever it was they did to me, made it so I was an actual cat. In my mind, I screamed in frustration because I could not break free of whatever it was that was holding me in this form. Adding to that frustration was the pain of the spear poking at my ribs and the insane cackle of my torturer.

As my vision began to clear, I saw more and more of my new surroundings. The hyena that was prodding me had on old worn armor that looked like it saw better days without him touching it. Even his fur was matted and dingy where it showed. Only his teeth looked viciously sharp when he’d curl his lips back with his maniacal laughter. He looked as bad as he smelled.

Beyond him, I saw cages. Lots of cages; each with an occupant that was lying down, sitting, or pacing the inner dimensions of their prison. None of them, as far as I could tell, resembled my torturer. They were animals, chained and muzzled like I was, which made me begin to wonder, between the pain of being jabbed and the grind of the hyena’s voice, if they were like me, or were they simply what they looked like. Unable to do anything, I could only take the abuse ad wish that help would arrive.

“Kisu! Leave our new prize alone. We need her healthy for the auction.” The voice was strong, deep, and harsh. It carried the authority that made the hyena stop his prodding and turn to face the tall, lean figure that approached him.

That voice belonged to canine dressed in rich robes. His grizzled fur was mostly gray with shadings of black and brown where I could see it. The robes he wore were deep red with golden trimming and draped over his lean body. Deep brown eyes remained hard though the smile that stretched across his muzzle looked genuine enough. He looked handsome, but to me, he was another to have to deal with. Little did I know then that he was just the first of many I was going to have to fight before I could reach the castle and my friends.

The hyena turned as soon as his name was called then cowered down before the clear leader and cackled at him. “The pretty one has awakened, Master.”  He heaved as though he had been running instead of laughing.  Watching the crazed minion made me feel sick inside.

“So I have noticed, Kisu. Leave her alone and go tend to the horses,” the wolf gestured abruptly to Kisu as he stepped close to my cage then looked down at me with a sneer on his face. “She will bring us plenty of gold at the auction and every other one after that.” The low laugh that followed made me cringe inwardly and outwardly with the greed and evil that I could feel resonating in his voice. Right then, I wished that Kirin and the rest were there to take me away from there.

I could hear more laughter after I closed my eyes and whimpered. The Master found something amusing about my reaction. When I opened my eyes again, he was walking away and Kisu was already gone after the order he was given. The feeling of hopelessness began to well up inside me so strongly, I wanted to cry but the panther body I was in would not allow that action to happen.

*Be calm my child. All is not lost.* Came a voice in my head; ancient, wise, gentle, they sounded so close and yet so far away at the same time. *You must be strong or they will quickly break your spirit.*

Out of habit, I looked around, darting my eyes everywhere at once before I started moving my head. All I could see were the other cages surrounding the cart I was chained up in, some straw, and a few trees that were scattered throughout the camp. Only vaguely could I make out the peaks of the tents that were being used and what I assumed was the flag belonging to the Master. Nothing else stood out that could send me those thoughts. Yet, they felt different as well as unfamiliar.

Movement in the cage closest to my wagon drew my attention. It was a large bird looking creature from what I could see. The head was that of a hawk with tufts of feathers laying back like ears and great yellow beak. Gold-yellow eyes were peering at me from amid a sea of tawny black tipped feathers. Somehow, it looked strange with how it was standing; not like a bird, but more like a cat or dog. Because I was laying down, I could not see anything but the bird’s front and the harness of leather and a chain secured to a halter that was keeping its head from pulling up and the wings tied in place.

*Who? What?  Where?* I projected the thought back though it seemed loud even to my own ears. Others in the area looked my way and made noises that begged for my attention.  The noise was gradually growing, threatening to draw attention to me, or us, once again. *Where are you? What are you?  Who are you?*  The questions were forced from my thoughts as I tried to find the one who was speaking to me.

The bird creature across from me dipped its head, but made no sound. His gaze never wavered from me for a moment as he dipped his head. *I called to you, white one. Do not fear. We are all on the same side as you are.  We have all felt the sting of Kisu’s spear and the lash of the Captain’s whip when we were first captured.*

Whip?  I saw no whip on the wolf, but then he was dressed in a robe.  That could hide anything as loose as what it looked.  *But, who are you? Are you the bird I’m looking at?* My mental voice was frantic and filled with frustration of not knowing.  I didn’t want to believe what my own senses were telling me and hoped that this was some sort of cruel nightmare.

*I am the one you are looking at. Yes.* The bird’s mental voice gained a tired note as it looked at me.  I could almost feel the years of abuse he had endured.  Yes, I felt that this old bird was definitely male as well as old despite the plumage of a younger bird. *My name has long since been forgotten, but you may call me Hawk.* He stood while still looking at me then lowered his head to push his beak through the bars and call to me in a softer warbled screech belonging to a hawk.

Sunday Excerpt #fiction #fantasy #amwriting #excerpt

I’m sorry there was no excerpt last week.  With it being so close to Christmas, I thought everyone would be paying more attention to the last minute business of getting the shopping done, gifts wrapped, or, like me, getting the tree up and decorated.  At least it was for a good reason and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday that was as quiet and easy going as what mine was.  🙂

Tonight’s excerpt comes from one of the stories in my compilation, Trysts of the Hearts.  In Wish of the Heart, Anuket finds what she has been longing for, someone strong and just wild enough to keep things interesting, but someone who would love her for her, not because she worked in the Temple of Bast or that her parents were well known in the kingdom of Belleau.  Little did she know that the wish she made while polishing one of the statue avatars would be granted.

Anuket was a beautiful woman but had no idea just how pretty she actually was. Like her mother, she had fur as black as night , long black hair she kept tied back into a braid, and crystal blue eyes that looked off into nothing. Her slender body had curves that made many women jealous with a firm bosom and wide hips to match. While not tall, she certainly wasn’t short by any meaning of the word with a long tail she could use like another appendage. Although she was a mix of both panther and wolf, she took after her mother. It took a trained eye to notice the few wolfish features like the shape of her ears and the extra fluff along her tail, and the way her muzzle looked. It didn’t matter to her, she never saw her own image except through shared mental contact with certain priests.

Summer for her meant extra cleaning during the day and long walks in the evening with her brother or parents. There was always somebody with her to make sure she didn’t get lost with all the reconstruction going on around their home. Summer also meant, for her, that the garden was in bloom and the scents of flowers and fresh grass called to her constantly. Many times, she’d be out there sitting on a bench just enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face and scenting the breeze beneath her favorite willow tree.

Life was good for her and she longed for nothing more than someone to share her days with. Just after the summer solstice passed, she started having dreams. Dreams about a young man who would sweep her off her feet and show her things she had only been told about. Someone who wanted to be with her because they loved her, not because she was beautiful or worked in the temple. Though the idea never interfered with her work, she was distracted and entertained thoughts on where to find the mystery man in her dreams. She felt as though those dreams were a promise from the goddess that she wouldn’t be alone forever.

Anuket’s brother already had a mate, a sweet canine woman who adored him and gave him three boys and had another on the way. She was happy for him and always enjoyed her little nephews, but she wanted a family of her own and felt the pangs of loneliness more often than not.

One morning, while in the main chapel polishing the avatar statues, she was talking to them. She was all alone in there, knowing it was just her and the two living statues, which were currently asleep. Or so she thought.

“Oh Darkwing,” she sighed, “sometimes I wonder why I have to be alone. Why can’t I have someone to live out my life with? You and my brother are so lucky to have mates who adore you and have given you children. Someday, I would love to see my dream come true.”

She paused in her cleaning as if to admire her work and held the cloth in her paws gently. “The man in my dreams is so daring and kind, you know. So very handsome.” A soft, wistful sighed slipped through her lips while she turned her thoughts inward. “I know I will never be able to see him, but I know what he looks like and what his aura feels like. Is there such a man out there for me? Someone who would take me away and show me what life outside the temple is really like?”

In her heart, she wished to find the man she was dreaming about. A lion who wouldn’t take no for an answer and did more than just protect her from the world, but encouraged her to experience all that life had to offer. Once she resumed cleaning, she whispered, “I wish he were real. I don’t want to be alone any more.”
Although the avatar was sleeping, he heard the heartfelt wish and took it to his mistress, the goddess Bast. The great cat avatar looked like a feral panther with bat-like wings; fierce and strong in his own right. He looked up at the golden cat with shining yellow eyes that bore no pupils and spoke to her with a booming voice, “Mistress, your willing slave comes to you with a wish from one of your children.”

Speak, my son, and tell me this message,” the goddess said gently while she reached to pet her avatar. “Who is it that has sent me a message.”

The cat purred, pleased with the attention he received before answering. “The daughter of Kupumzika, your song mistress. Anuket has wished for a mate to spend her life with. She has grown lonely and I feel she is missing too much in her sheltered life.”

I see,” came the soft reply, “She has been promised someone who will give her what she wants and respect her every desire. I think you know just the right one to send to her.”

Tilting his head, the feline asked, “Who mistress? I know many young males who would be pleased to court a beauty such as Anuket.”

Bast smiled then motioned to the row of statues not far from her. “One of your own sons. Didn’t Amur-Re voice wanting to be like the mortal cats and live as they do?”

Darkwing looked over at the ivory statue of his son. His brow furrowed then he nodded. “Yes, but if he were to live as they, he will also die like they do and grow old.”

The goddess nodded and sighed, “Perhaps. Anuket has been blessed with longevity like her parents and brother. We can make sure your son will live as long she does and have his own talents to use.”

He walked over to the statue of his son then rubbed his cheek against the strong muzzle. “I love my son, mistress, but won’t he be difficult for her to tame? He is wild and carefree and doesn’t take much to following rules.”

I know, but I think she has what it takes to settle him down,” the golden feline said gently, “Give him this chance. If she can teach him to be less reckless and how to care for more than just himself, then he will be allowed to stay with her until she dies, then, he will be given a choice; to die with her or to return us as a full avatar.”

Darkwing nodded then nudged his sleeping son. “As you wish, mistress. I hope she can perform miracles.” He doubted that someone as calm and patient as the woman who kept him in pristine condition in the temple would be able to handle his son. “Wake up son, the avatar said sternly, “we have a mission for you.”

Last week started my campaign to help raise funds for my church, Light of the World Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, OK.  For details, go to this post,  https://candacegauger.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/help-the-light-of-the-world/,  and follow the links provided.