Writing Prompt- 6th of March

I had to look up what freewriting was. Never don it before. My spelling and punctuation is abhorent. Dyslexia is a pain in the arse when your chosen medium of self expression is writing. I plan everything, my miond maps are a thing of complex beauty, but they keep my thoughts on track. 

I also sue evernote. GAH! I hate not being able to correct myself, this is very uncomfortable! THen again, that is why I have been doing these promts. Gets me out of my cosy written habbits and expands my skillset. 

I am sat at a random desk, chrome book open and gritting my teeth as my typos. The air conditioning is cold. Yes I do need aircon in this room in March. It gets far too hot even with all the heating turned off. Bloody modern buldings. 

I had a protien shake for lunch, very uninspired. Should help my leg recover though. I tore my claf mucel a few weeks ago and on the weekend I wrecked it again. I was jumping on a tyre. No, really I was. Sort of thing you do when you have a 7yo and 3yo sons. Really need to look after myself a bit more. 

Been going back over some stuff from my fanfiction days. I finished all stories, except one. I really should polish it off. Its hard to get back into the mindset of me in 2011 however. I’m different. I moved on and the way I write has changed. I even notice that in my novel. As it was started a few years ago the beginning and the end feel different. 

My novel… feels weird to type that. I know I’ve written the best part of a million words online as a hobbie but, I’ve never dithered and sweatted over a mere 90,000 words so much. The process has been interesting. The writing was easy enough, once I had the plan in place. The editing, that was like pulling teeth. Read, checked, read again. Put though a text to speach program twice to hear how it flows. Cut the opening, re wrote it, re wrote it again. Knocked about 10,000 words out the whole thing. Had to decide how muchback story for the characters should go in. Still not entirly happy with the opening but I don’t think I ever will be happy. I may need to insert something back in too, I may have cut too much. 

Only one person has read it in entirity so far. Really not his genera but he really enjoyed it. Going to pass it to a critical friend next, nervous as fuck about that. Still, I am going to publish this year, book two is started. 

OK, just looked at the cloclk, a minute to go. errr been a busy day, and am sad enough to use my lunch on a- oh just got passed paperwork and had to hide this doc, gah my time. Oh well-   

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Writing Prompt- 27th Feb

​Famous last words: consider the last few sentences of one of your favourite books. 

Now write your own last sentences to an as yet unwritten novel. 


Was submission the only course of action in the end? 

Carrie reminded herself that submission did not always equate to weakness. While there was still breath, while there was still life- there was hope. 

Her will was immaterial. She would endure and survive to gain it back. 

It took true strength to submit. 

Writing Prompt- 24th Feb  

​Imagine your dream house: What does the front door look like? Can you detail the whole entryway? 
A white door, why I don’t know. Gloss paint, unmarked, shining in the sun. No window or number. Simply a letterbox, knocker and doorknob. Plain brass, unadorned. 

There is the lazy hum of bees in the air and butterflies. The whole door frame and indeed, a good portion of the front of the house is alive with wisteria and golden climbing roses. Purple and yellow of flowers in stark contrast to the plain white door. 

There is a single step up, black and made of granite. The keyhole is old, not a compact modern lock. An anonymous gap in the door where an old iron key fits. The lock is stiff and I need to grit my teeth when I turn the key. 

The heavy wooden door creaks a little on opening, slowly moving to reveal a corridor beyond. A vague picture of a marble tile floor and an old victorian hat stand, filled with the jumble of coats that my family wear. 

The scent of wisteria and rose seeps into the house, perfuming it with the nostalgic smell of childhood gardens.  

I am home   

Writing Prompt- 22nd Feb


Open yourself up to all Geographies and time periods and imagine a society with an unusual currency- it is not paper, gold, or bitcoin. What is it, and where does it come from? 

(Borrowed a bit from 1700s UK history for this one. Also this was written with little sleep and edited at 4am… cos sick child.) 

Milly clutched her prize. A faint scent still hung in her nostrils. Not the usual smells of damp earthen floor and hearth smoke. No, this smell spoke of far off places, burning sun, heated sand that stretch on forever. Places where strange creatures lurked, dark skinned people who spoke in lyrical tones; to Gods she knew nothing of. 

He mother would skelp her for thinking such things. If Father Boyd head such- she would be on the punishment stool at Mass on Sunday for all to see her shame and witness her repentance. There was only one God. To say otherwise was heresy. 

Almost frightened the local priest would sense her blasphemous thoughts, Milly scampered past the church. She splashed through mud and slurry in the street. The smell kept the aromas of her little village at bay. It tantalised her nostrils, drawing her on. 

She would not have known the worth of her prize, had it not been for Michael. Her mother would do more than skelp her if she knew Milly still payed with the Gypsy lad. Milly had been bearched last time her brother had found out. He squealed like the piglet he was to Mama. 

The beating did not stop Milly sneaking out to see Michael. Her disobedience had been blessed. The pair had come across a half buried box, that smelt of mystery and warm. Michael had known straight away what the contents were and more importantly, their value. 

Milly lifted her woolen skirts as she splashed across the main track, dodging horse droppings and what looked like a drowned rat. She had to hurry, her Father would be waiting in line to pay the rent. 

They did not own the land they lived upon. The local Laird had recently hiked the price of rent so high few could pay. Repossessed land was covered in sheep. The fleece and mutton sold for more than tenant farmers could pay in rent. Sheep were worth more than people to the nobility. 

Most folk were packing up, leaving. Many selling everything they owned for passage to Canada, America and even India. Places she had heard of, but never even seen on a map.

Her Father was at the front of a line of tired looking men. None of them could probably afford the new rent, yet there they were. To argue the case. A last, faint hope that the new Laird may remember that their families had lived on these lands for generations. Served his noble family, bled for them in times of war, celebrated the birth of their heirs. Supported them in times of famine. They could not forsake all that. Land was a man’s soul. Without it what good was he? 

She had heard her Da say that to her mother and thought she may understand. Milly was sure Canada was very nice, but this place, this rainy, muddy, backwarter of a village was home. 

She drew level with her Father and tugged at his sleeve. The large man, bowed from the plough, hands and face rough from hot sun and frost, turned to regard his only daughter. Ten, yet looked so like her grandmother it made his heart ache. 

Milly smiled and wordlessly opened his hand. 

Three dried buds were dropped onto his heavily lined palm. He looked from the grinning child’s face to what was in his hand. He almost dropped the useless bits of plant and stomp them into the mud. Was she added? 

The gasp from the finely dressed servant behind the desk made him think otherwise. 

“Are those-? Where did you? How?” The fop was purple of face, could almost not breathe. 

Milly’s Father placed the buds on the ledger before the man and waited.  

Stuttering, the man wrote a value in the ledger, quill shaking. 

“Ah, that- that will be all. This will pay the rent for- well the next ten years- that is- that depends on silver prices, of course.” 

The big farmer grunted and took his daughter’s hand, leading her away. 

“Milly-May?” he asked as they passed the church, his work rough hand still firmly holding his daughters. “What were those?” 

“Cloves Da,” she responded. “M-” then backtracked quickly, her mind turning over. “I found ‘em by tha Kelpie pond. Looked like a thing tha’ Laird would like so I brought ‘em.”  

Her hand was squeezed in response. Her Father asked no more, especially how she had managed to identify the highly prived spice when she had never seen it. 

Cloves were worth triple their weight in silver, and so was his daughter it seemed. 

He let her have her secrets.  

February 17th- Writing Prompt

‘Design a scene where tranquillity is unnerving. What makes it eerie? Can you impart the feeling without using the words unnerving eerie or their synonyms?’

OK, gonna use GW2 RP character to try this. 

The silence was complete.

The forest was never quiet. There was always something making noise. Maguuma was alive in a very real sense. Even the chasms in the ground contained vines that were shifting and slithering.

Birds called out in the day, a myriad of rainbow colours. Wild boar and other rooting animals shuffled through the undergrowth. The peoples of the forest were a reflection of the environment. Despite the nightly assaults they found time to sing, dance, play.

The remaining Pact forces in the jungle worked tirelessly during lulls in the fighting to repair weapons and defences. Varicose swarms of pocket raptors brought down screaming prey. Tigers growled and roared to affirm territory and ward off any that might stray near them.

At night, the minions came. Gaining strength in the darkness. The jungle rang with battle cries and fleeing animals caught in the crossfire.

The dragon whispered…

It was all gone… silence, total and utter.

It was wrong.

The tall blue sylvari, hidden in the foliage, edged out of cover. It was night and she was swathed in black and green, hiding her glow from those that may target her. Her footfalls sounded over loud in the night. Her ears twitched and she froze, waiting for the inevitable attack that must come, yet it did not. Her eyes swept over the tree line then scanned the ground.

Nothing stirred, nothing moved. Senses strained. Nothing, oppressive and thick nothing. There should have been relief, but she felt only tension and stain. The jungle was holding it’s breath. Every creature waiting for a monumental- something to happen.

Her nerves began to fray. Pulled taut, they unravelled. The silence in her mind was the most disturbing. What was keeping the dragon so occupied?  The lack of sound pressed round her ears. She could hear her own sap pulsing through her body.

She bolted. Instinct born from hard lessons in Orr pushed her on. Her magic came in a rush, she jumped, blinked and even vanished utterly at times. Anything to get her back to camp as swiftly as possible.

Something was coming and she did not want to be in the open when it-

The roar that echoed through her mind made her fall to her knees. Momentum carried her on, skidding across moss and slamming into a tree.

She screamed, so did everything else around her. The noise thrummed through her, then it came. Wave after wave of wild, raw magic.

Barriers, so carefully constructed round the needy and gaping maw within her, shattered. She remained still, mouth open, now not even able to scream as the reservoir within her was filled and overflowed. She was found insensible and burbling nonsense just outside base camp.

It took a long time for her to come back to herself. Weeks. When she was told the dragon was dead she began to weep. The world was changed for her. The threat was gone but had been replaced by something far more personal, even vindictive. When would she stop having to pay for a mistake made four years past?

A gnarled hand, strong and twisted with age took hers and she looked up at the rugged bark of her dearheart. He had a patch over his eye. When had that happened? She would later learn that the patch was her fault also. More consequences from the death of the dragon.

“Do not cry,” he told her in his gruff tone. “While you live there is hope.” He sounded unsure, was he panicking at seeing her cry?  

Perhaps, but his words, as usual, held wisdom. She was too stubborn to give in. Though it was clear she could no longer serve the order as she once had. Was she useless now? What of her half remembered hunt? Her pride stung.

As if sensing her thoughts, she was abruptly pulled into a lingering hug.
He had never needed words to get his point across. She would endure, for his sake if for no other reason.    

February 16th Writing Prompt

“When have you experienced Euphoria and how would you describe it?”

2009- Summer.

Rotten eggs. Another wave of the sulphurous fumes hit me and I gasped, putting a hand to my rounded stomach. Nausea rolled through me and I cursed the twenty five week old fetus that caused it. I had gone through hell for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Unable to eat anything but crackers and marmite. Nausea had been constant. I had lost weight even as my stomach grew. Things were better after that but my stomach was still delicate.

The child was already big for his age and it felt like he was sapping every ounce of energy from me. Was I at home? Feet up? Sipping ginger tea?  

No- I was climbing an active volcano in Iceland.

I had not intended to be pregnant. I had been told I was unlikely to have children and had been unable to conceive after two years of trying. Finding out I was pregnant had been a shock and my life had needed some considerable reorganisation. However, I was determined not to waste £600 of my own money and I went ahead with my planned field trip to Iceland.

The pace was grueling. Had I really let myself become this unfit? The cinder volcano was steep… composed of loose pumice and ash, burnt ochre in colour and fiendishly sharp. Material shifted under my boots and I was obliged to use my hands… crawling.

Maternity trousers bit into my hips. My stomach flopped.

A French tourist had already commented on me, saying I should “Lay off the cake” before I could not walk. I had responded with the most English of accents and a derisory snort.

“I’m 25 weeks pregnant, I have an excuse for being fat, what is yours for being so rude to a complete stranger?”  Oh the glorious backtracking, stammered congratulations and an inquiry as to why I was not at home. I walked off without answering. I was pregnant, not dying!

I struggled onwards, remembered outrage fueling my efforts. I was at the back of the group as usual and it was annoying me. My stomach scraped against sharp pumice. It was everywhere… in boots, socks, bra… I would later even find orange ash in my knickers.

The day was hot, the sky acid blue and as sharp as the material under my feet. Long days of sun. Not what you would expect this close to the arctic circle. I would later find myself sunburnt.

Another sulphur filled breeze pushed the hair out my face. It was a mess, tied with a headscarf and left limp and frizzy. I was too exhausted in the mornings to get up and style it. I rolled out of bed only with enough time to wash, dress and leave.

Foot slipped again and I dug my hands in, cursing as the pumice cut my palms. Why was I doing this to myself?

Why not. How many people could say they have climbed an active volcano? How many got the opportunity to see such a thing? I was not going to miss this. I would make it to the top.

And I did, one step at a time, legs and lungs burning.

I remember reaching the top, crawling over the edge. Arms and shoulders quivering with the effort it took. I straightened, gasping. Then I looked down.

What I saw will remain with me for the rest of my life. Alien orange rock, open vents steaming hot gasses into the blue sky. The air shimmering with heat. Below… black, twisted sharp pinnacles from a previous lava flow, ripples frozen and cooled. Then the sea, the blue an undecided colour as opposed to the stark blue sky.

Waves crashed against black rock, vents hissed. I felt like I was alone on the top of the world.

Elation washed over me. I had made it! So many people had been worried I would not cope, that I was making a mistake. Yet there I was. Standing, on a volcano.

I wanted to bounce on my toes, cry, punch the air and shout all at once. I understood suddenly why people climbed mountains. The rush of adrenaline, the sense of achievement and pride in myself was something I was not prepared for.

I’m British. I let the emotions wash over me yet acted on none, save to smile.

There must have been something in that smile. A member of my group asked to take my photo. I agreed even though I hate having pictures taken.

In that moment, on that volcano, I was gloriously and unapologetically me. That photo is one of the few of myself I like and every time I see it, I smile.

 

Writing prompt- February 15th

Norman Mailer claimed that- “Insomnia is the minds revenge for all the thoughts we forgot to have in the day.” What do you think about when you can’t sleep?

Money… not notes or pound coins but numbers on a screen, representing what I owe and what I need to pay.

Has the direct debit for my phone come off yet? Am I paying off enough on my computer? Has the mortgage been paid yet? I went out for a meal a few weeks ago… that money could have paid extra off on the credit card.

What of the repairs? £10,000 towards fixing the roof. The zeros parade across my mind. Will I ever pay that off? Oh I know I earn enough to make ends meet but with a pay cut looming in the summer my heart sinks. No holiday again this year.

Then children. Are they happy? They seem so… am I too strict with them? I got angry at the 7yo for jumping on his bed… should I have talked to him instead of yelling? He’s already broken a bed he’s just so big… he does not realise he’s not five anymore.

3yo is smarter than I am. Frighteningly so. People will think we are hothousing him. Nothing could be further from the truth. He just picks it up, loves numbers, is already trying to read. Fuck people. Hate most people anyway. Am I stimulating him enough though? Is he bored?

Are they happy? Am I a bad mother?

Husband. Ever shifted to third on the list after the money and the children. Guilt for that… lots of it. Squirming in my chest. It used to be just us. He was always my first consideration. Can’t remember when that changed. Is he healthy? I worry about him through the day and it all piles up and is concentrated as I hear him breathing beside me. His eyes were bad today. Must make sure to lie still so he sleeps properly. His back, he will wake in pain. Must make sure I get him a coffee in the morning to take his meds with.

Is he happy? Is he still happy to be with me? Does he regret moving here? Our way of life? What can I do to make sure he is okay?

Work harder, smile more. 7yo asked if we were poor a few days ago. A 7yo should not ask things like that. Need to devote self to career, even though it eats my time and presses thick black worry down on my mind.

Sometimes I love it, best job. Sometimes I hate it. Blame self for things I can’t control. Make mistakes because my head does not work like others do. Should I get a new job? Would I feel any better? How much money would it cost to move? Can we afford that?

I feel so trapped sometimes… just want my mind to shut down. Computer helps. I don’t have to think of anything else when writing or destroying pixels on a screen. Even in that I don’t have the hand to eye coordination to perform well. Dyslexia makes words come out backwards, clumsy fingers mash keys…

No… I need to sleep

Mind continues to plan for the worst case and dreams are haunted with hungry children and the roof of my flat collapsing.

Pain

((Wee warning, adult themes.))

The young woman spat at the feet of the man before her. Saliva, mixed with blood stained the reed covered floor. She grinned up at him, her split lip opening further. She could hardly see the man’s face, combination of dim lighting and one eye being swollen closed from the fist to the face the previous day.

“Aye, I deserved tha,” she admitted with a weak chuckle. “I sorry I called ye wife a fifty silva’ whore.”

The angry guard grunted and the clenched fist fell. Her grin widened, the pain- she was used to it. At least the workhouse had gifted her with a tolerance for it. This was nothing. Scrubbing floors with a broken knee, that hurt. Few punches to the face and guts, easy.

“Nah, she be a twenty silva’ whore, sorry. I was confused like and go the-“ the fist crashing into her sternum stopped the insult. Air rushed from her lungs and she sunk to the ground. She lay there, gasping like a landed fish. She curled round herself. Small as possible, protecting face and arms. The two kicks that followed landed on shins and shoulders.

Nothing to be concerned about. She judged that was enough. The guard was panting and his hand no doubt hurt.

She lay still.

A few inexpert curses were thrown her way and a leer that she would be ugly when her neck snapped in a few days. An ugly corpse among the others who had behaved. They would go to their deaths unmarked.

“Fucking lot of good being pretty is when ye be dead,” she thought. “Unless ye like ya lasses dead… which be fucked up.” She kept that thought to herself and the cell door slammed shut.

Min did not want to behave. She knew what happened to the ones who did. The docile ones who thought if they did as they were bid, and sucked whatever was shoved in their faces; then they would get out.

That rarely happened. Then there were those that were frightened and quiet. She heard their tears and what was done to them. It was not all the guards. Just the rotten few. She had identified them early and had gone out of her way to be obnoxious to them. She took the beatings. They were better than what they did to the other lasses.

Of course, she could not go too far, or might end up getting screwed as a punishment. No, she had to walk a fine line. Annoy them enough to be battered and not be prison candy. Though not so much that she got raped as a way to control her. She was not stupid. Most of knocking boots was about control, anyone that said different was deluded.

Love, tenderness- utter ogre shite. Someone wanted, someone gave and got stuff in return. Protection, respect, money. It was how things worked. Somewhere in the last few moons she had forgotten that. Let herself think she could be respected without having to offer anything. That people liked her, for just being her.

She should thank Garry if she ever saw him again. He’d been right. He was not her family; he was her employer. Things had blurred… food fights with captains and insulting customers… Bandit and the beach… Sylvia and dresses. She had taken it all to mean more than it had. Given her hope that she had finally found ‘her’ people.

Garry had shattered that to shit… and he had done her a favour in the end. She saw that now. A slum rat did not get to be respected or liked.

At the back of her mind she knew she was deliberately ignoring the weak link in her current thinking.

Bo.

He had followed her about like an adoring baby brother. She had wanted to take care of him. He was an idiot; he would not make it on his own. Turns out she was rusty. One failed pickpocket of a labourer and she was arrested. Bo fought to defend her and got a kicking for it. So did Bandit. She hoped they were okay. Her adoptive brother was stupid enough to shout her name multiple times during the arrest.

Records were checked. ‘Min’ was linked to ‘Minnie- Ann.’ Minnie- Ann was wanted for murder.

That had been a shock. Her eleven-year-old self, had acted in fear. Grabbed the first sharp object and- well. She knew she had cut him deep. She had not stuck around to see how deep. It was her chance. She had run.

Freedom was almost as bad as the workhouse, but at least she lived on her own terms. She had been passionately independent ever since. Until she was ‘employed’ in the Bones.

“I thought they liked me,” she muttered into her hands. “We got on well like-” She shook her head and her face throbbed in tandem with a different pain in her chest. A pain that was not caused by any physical blow.

She missed them.

Which was stupid.

A few tears forced their way down her face without her permission. Crying was pointless, but the tears still splattered onto the cold stone floor she was curled up upon.

She was not sure how long she lay there, feeling pathetic and yet still crying like a little girl. The rattle of carts on the street above and the chirp of birds, alerted her to the fact it was dawn.

 

“Happy Birthday Min,” she croaked to herself in the gloom. “T’will be tha last one ye see.”

The waiting game.

Ethan sat back, looking at the half elf upon the bed. His rickety chair was precariously balanced on two legs. His feet irreverently propped up on the bed beside Garrett’s hip.  The Captain was out, said she was going for food, but he was not sure if she had been telling the truth, or just needed a break from watching over her quartermaster.

The former mercenary ran a hand through his cropped hair. The memory of his sister cornering him in the tavern with a pair of shears in her hand and a determined gleam in her eye had him sighing loudly.

He had submitted to her whim, knowing she took comfort fussing over him. He remembered Sylvia’s sly comment about his hair colour and shook his head. Red had been raised in the same place as he, he had been certain before he saw her power. Living on a farm he had only gone to town on market days. He was better known in Altinova than Tarif. If they had met he did not remember.

He glanced back at Garrett. The Quartermaster’s chest was swelling and distorted, purple creeping over bronze skin as the bruising began to show.

The crew was in a sorry state if Ethan was the best healer on offer. He knew enough from watching the vigilantes in Olvia how to stop bleeding and prevent most wounds from becoming fatal.

Garrett’s injury was almost a mortal one. He had lost a lot of blood and if he moved too much broken bones risked shredding his wounded lungs further. At least he had not drowned in his own fluids. A swift knife to the chest cavity had stopped him dying. Ethan’s knife.

He listened as the man breathed. Still no rattle, that was good. No fever as yet and the last time he had checked his wounded sides the cuts had been clean and weeping clear fluid, another good sign. That however was the extent of his knowledge. He had some leaves the pirate could chew when he woke. They would ease the pain. Sylvia had been to the alchemist for potions too. Garrett had a good chance.

Ethan had been surprised when he had heard the half elf yell. It had not been an angry shout or battle cry. No this was the sound a wounded animal would make. It had shivered through him and before he knew it, he was turning to help the quartermaster. Not because he had to, or the Captain would wish him to, but because he felt compelled to do so.

He did not want to analyse why. It had happened; there was an end to it.

“You are one lucky bastard” he grumbled to the man on the bed. “After the shit you pulled in the brothel, I should have let you die”

Alright, he admitted he had found the brothel mildly amusing. It was not like he was inexperienced. It was just- any of those women could have been his sister. It was what she almost turned to. Crops failed, mother sick, him still a boy. The money she earnt at the tavern was not enough. He remembered watching her one night, head in her hands weeping- another bill delivered they could not pay. He remembered the quiet resolve that settled over her when the tears dried. He had not liked it. She was meant to smile, not have eyes hard as chips of jade.

In the end, she sold herself anyway. Not to a brothel, but to a man. She had deserved better. Leaving the place where she was understood must have been more than difficult. He turned his thoughts from her husband. That was over too, she was free.

He looked back down at the man on the bed. Sui liked this one and Garrett had vowed to look after Ethan because the sailor liked her in return; yet here Ethan was, saving his life. A’al had a sense of humour it seemed.

Yes, Garrett and his sister were friends. That he could cope with, but the half elf certainly did not deserve any more than that from her, though Ethan trusted Sui knew that. Still, he hesitated to contact her. They were in her largest trading hub. The Samara name was on the lips of trade princes. Use it and he could have a witch here or an alchemist. He could hire an entire brothel out to tend to Garrett’s every whim. Yet- that would connect his activities to Sui. They were supposed to hate each other. She the respectable one, he her wayward brother. It was a comfortable lie, gave him freedom and her protection.

The door rattled open and with a burst of sea air and sunlight the captain strolled in, loaf of bread under her arm. He grunted at her. He never knew what to say. It was not her rank or that he was intimidated, but she had a pair of very fine- legs. He could not help but admire. He was not stupid enough to make it obvious. He knew far too many men who thought with their libido first. He was pretty sure the Captain had killed enough of those and had no wish to add himself to the list. That other elf was fine too. All curves and cool professionalism. Made him want to tease and make her blush.  Did he have a thing for elves?

The Captain slumped down in the chair opposite and instead of scolding him for having his feet on the bed, copied his pose.

“No change?” she asked, looking at Garrett and not Ethan.

“No,” he responded, more sharply than he meant to. Silence settled on them. The creek of the Captain’s chair as she leant forward to place the bread on the table seemed over loud. Should he say something? His mind was unhelpfully blank.

“Ye saved his arse,” she whispered at last, sparing him his dilemma.

“Maybe,” he grunted hating the warm feeling that crept across his chest. “He still could die.”

The Captain pinned him with a fierce look, not at all diluted by the white strands of hair that had fallen from her bandanna and over her face.

“He won’t. Ye won’t let ‘im.”

It was an order if he ever heard one. She did not have to be specific. They both knew he could be doing more.

“Aye aye, Captain.” He breathed.

Moments later he was out in the sun, heading for a courier. It did not sit well with him, but he would have to involve her.  She would have to handle how to keep things quiet. Sui would manage, she always did. They were blood, after all. A little Mediahan bureaucracy stood no chance against that.

 

(With thanks to Rhea, for helping me make sure I had Yanna correct and to all who organised and who were at the event last night. Love and sloppy kisses to you all!)

The Olive Grove

((A little encounter for my characters in BDO which is where I’ve been RPing of late))

Ethan swatted away another questing mosquito, then with an annoyed grunt pulled at the wild herb beside him, inspecting it.

“Good enough,” he grumbled and smeared the mane grass over his exposed skin. If he did not smell like a person, then he was not worth eating.

He lent back against the gnarled trunk of the olive tree he sat under, glancing around the ancient grove that had somehow escaped the ruin of the city. The last time he had been under these trees he had been a boy. He sighed to himself, then looked up. The sky was deep black and studded with a myriad of stars. He had often slept outside growing up, just to get himself lost in the enormity of the Mediahn sky.

A rare smile tugged at his lips. He was used to his life taking odd turns, but the latest twist had his head spinning. He had not been anywhere near Altinova in some time. The feeling of nostalgia that struck him as he stepped off the boat had been a surprise. He had thought his memories of the city would be tainted.

No, he felt comfortable to be in Altinova. It had an openness that the cities of the west lacked. The likes of Calpheon made him feel trapped. All hard edges and grey stone.

What he had not felt comfortable on was that cursed ship. He frowned at the sky. How could they eat while the boat rolled and pitched so? He remembered seeing Garrett eating cheese and an echo of queasiness pulled at his innards. Bastard probably had done it on purpose.

Small wonder Boyd had hired him for a job and not come himself. The sea was vast and the boat was…not. Could giants sail? He was unsure. Would not a boat have to be customised?

He shook his head and ran a hand through his green hair. None of the crew even half trusted him. That was fine, he did not trust them either. If things got rough he knew he would be the one left for the guards to find. It would not be his first arrest, or the last. His Sister would see him right. She thought she owed him.

He would have to watch that Captain, she had given him a look that said if he breathed in a way she disliked then he would find himself filleted. The one in red was annoying, but he knew better than to judge her yet. Miss Hat was fun to tease, but having seen a vanishing staff when she was drunk he knew he had to step lightly there also. He was unsure what to make of Garrett, other than he had an eye for the lasses.

A snapping twig alerted him to the presence of another. The intruder was quickly identified without even needing to look away from the bejewelled sky. The scent of jasmine oil curled up his nostrils.

“Trading’s making you sloppy Sui,” he grunted. He should have known she would find him. In fact, he was surprised it had taken her so long. This was her market. She would be buying up stock to transport back to Heidel… Or that was what everyone thought. Unknown to most was what her main source of profit was, it certainly was not spices or furniture.

He worried about her sometimes, but she was smart; smarter than he was and she deserved her success. It was hard won.

She sat silently down beside him, looking up at the sky as he was. He could feel it in her, feel the background buzz in his ears. Familiar and alien all at the same time.

“When my contact at the docks said you had stepped off a boat I thought you had come for a visit,” she paused and her hand brushed against his briefly.

Guilt tore at his gut, though he did not move nor change expression. He grunted a reply and he felt her shrug in the darkness.

“Then, he described the others with you,” she paused again, choosing her words with care. “You will be careful?”

He nodded and that seemed to placate her. Her warm, lilting tones took him back to the stories she would read for him. Drowsiness rose up and he yawned.

“Are you… planning to spend the night out here?”

He nodded again. He did not want to look at her, he did not want to see her face. The sadness mixed with affection would be his undoing.

“I could… get you a room…” she spoke slowly, knowing she was stepping over the gap that must remain between them.

“No,” he cut her off sharply.

The silence stretched and his anger flared. He knew he was hurting her, but he was not a child anymore. She had to let him go. If anything, the debt between them should be driving her away. Yet, she remained. Their upbringing was still dictating how she acted, no matter how far she distanced herself from their childhood.

“Sorry,” she whispered into the darkness. The wind sighed through the leaves above them, making him feel like it was whistling through the gulf between them.

“They were talking about a trader and unregistered ships. This was your idea?” It was not really a question, more an accusation. He knew the answer, this had his sister’s fingerprints all over it.

She pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them. The chill of the night was setting in and she shivered.

“I’m an investor,” she muttered. “It’s in my interests to see them do well. I will get a better…”

“Bollocks,” he grunted. Picking one of the cruder curses he had heard from a mercenary in Glish.

Again a long silence, he let it fester, knowing she would not be able to stay quiet. His patience was rewarded.

“I know what it is like to yearn for freedom,” she whispered at last. “To feel trapped by your choices, but know you could not have made better ones,” he could feel her eyes on him now. Deep green, like his own. “Existence is not the same as living. It’s for survival.”

He knew what she meant, how many years she had endured. In the end the solution had been simple. He shoved that particular memory back down where it belonged.

“So, you had to say something?” he grumbled. “Give them an idea?”

“Yes,” came the reply from the darkness.

“Might backfire.”

“I know.”

She stood, leathers creaking a little.

“These are not ‘good’ people Sui,” he pointed out.

“And we are?” she countered. Her tone was mild, but he felt as if she had punched him in the gut.

“People are people,” she continued. “We do the best we can with what we have. They are no different, we are no different. Half of Mediah is no different.” She took a step away. He had an urge to reach for her, to hold her close and tell her he would be fine. She could stop, she did not need to keep putting herself at risk. He forced himself to remain seated. He could not change her mind and did not deserve to offer her comfort.

“We do what we must for those we hold dear.”

He had no response for her.

She turned and was gone. Jasmine fading from the air gradually.

“Be safe, Sui,” the words left his mouth, but his voice failed him.

She would not have heard.

The young man found no rest that night under the boughs of the grove. Lost in memories of his older sister and how he now hardly recognised the woman she had become.

That, was his fault. He had made her what she was. His deeds had driven her to the path she now walked. Yet it was her stubbornness that had led to his need to act.

His sister was his mirror and yet his opposite. He was unsure they would ever be a true reflection of each other. Perhaps, in time, he would learn to accept her and not long for what they once were to each other.