Today’s Offering is from New at Love by Dellani Oakes

New at Love coverNew at Love

Fifth was her free period. Straightening up after the students filed out, she took her lunch down to the courtyard for some fresh air and much needed warm sunshine. As cold as it had been yesterday, today made up for it by being warm, breezy and cloudless. She sat on a planter in the courtyard, enjoying the sunshine on her shoulders. Someone approached from her left, but the sun was in her eyes, so she couldn’t see details until he sat down. It was her rescuer from earlier.

“Hi.” He smiled, extending his hand. “Large pizza, extra cheese, pepperoni, bacon and pineapple. I’m Derrick Butler.”

“I thought you looked familiar! I’m Amanda Bitterson. Do you work here?”

He laughed, tossing his blond hair out of his eyes. “Not exactly. I’m visiting from Australia. Might have noticed?” He put on an exaggerated Aussie accent.

“No, not really. We didn’t talk much last night.”

“True, that. So, shit for brains giving you trouble, eh?”

“He would have, except for you. Thank you. He had me pretty scared.”

“Never show fear of the enemy,” he said with a chuckle.

“I was more afraid I was going to break something,” she laughed. “It’s reflex to knee a guy in the balls for grabbing a boob, unless I want him to. I don’t want to lose my job.”

“Can’t say I blame you. Besides, little shit’s not worth it.”

“So, you never said if you worked here or not.”

“I’m mostly an observer.” He shrugged, eating one of her potato chips. “It’s an exchange program for instructors. Kind of like foreign exchange students. I’ve come for a semester to teach a class while a teacher from here works in mine. I hope he’s having more fun than me.”

“What do you teach?”

“History, mostly. Though, mind you, I’m only here for the surfing and the hot chicks.”

“I see.”

“I’m team teaching with a guy who’s near retirement. He doesn’t even notice if I’m there or not, so I wander around having lunch with beautiful women, after rescuing them from horny football players.”

Amanda laughed, covering her mouth with her fingers so she wouldn’t spew her food.

“Though there’s no one to save them from horny Australian history teachers. Pity that.”

“Who says they want to be saved?”

He raised an eyebrow. “You drink coffee?”

“What?” She was puzzled by his abrupt subject change.

“Do you,” he pointed at her. “Drink coffee?” He mimed drinking from a cup.

“Yes.”

“Want to have coffee with me later? My treat. I even have American money.”

“I’d like that. Thanks.”

“Cool! Can we make it right after school? I have to deliver pizzas again this evening.”

“Sure. That’d be great.”

“I’ll meet you by your classroom then.” He was gone as suddenly as he’d arrived.

Amanda had never met anyone quite like Derrick Butler before. He completely took her breath away, bouncing in and out of her life like a beach ball. He was unlike any other men she knew. Somehow that was comforting.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from Shopping for Love by Dellani Oakes

I thought it might help my readers decide, if they had a short excerpt from each book.

shopping for love coverShopping for Love

“I hate rain!” The young woman in the parking lot yelled. She stood in one spot, face to the sky, stamping her feet in a puddle.

I watched her for several moments before approaching her. A man has to be cautious about walking up to a woman, in a mall parking lot. He can get a face full of pepper spray or a tazer to the nads. Especially, I might add, a man who looks like me. I have a dozen tattoos, body piercings, a shaved head, goatee and several earrings in both ears. I’m also rather muscular. In short, I’m potentially a little scary. Standing at least eight feet away, I cleared my throat. The woman was soaked and shivering, dressed in a lightweight woman’s suit with a skirt. I was in bluejeans and denim jacket. The rain didn’t bother me.

“Ma’am? Are you in need of assistance? I can get the mall security.”

“I can’t find my car!” She started to cry. Her makeup was a wreck, mascara running down her cheeks in black rivulets. Her hair lay in sleek, wispy curls giving her a waif like, little girl lost look. It was so wet, I couldn’t tell the color.

“Let’s get out of the rain,” I suggested. “I’ll find a security guard and see what we can do.”

It took very little persuasion to lead her back into the mall. Careful to keep my distance, I took her to the hair salon just inside the doors. They fetched towels and called security. I brought the young woman a cup of coffee from the staff lounge and sat with her. She shivered and held her coffee like a lifeline. I talked to her quietly to calm her down.

Mall security showed up about 20 minutes later. They stood around scratching themselves a lot. After a few prompts from me, they got the important information, and went to look for her car. While they were gone, the ladies in the salon offered to do the woman’s hair and makeup for free.

The security officers started with the place she said she had parked, but there was another car in the space. After wandering around for about 45 minutes, they decided to check the rest of the lot. They came up empty.

“I’m sorry, Miss Woodstone, it seems to be gone.”

“Gone? Gone!” She was upset and indignant. Who could blame her?

“We’ll call the police and report it stolen,” I said quietly in an effort to calm her again.

“We can take care of that for you, sir,” Bob the security guard said.

“Maybe it was towed,” Jim the other guard added.

Bob went to the phone and made the call to the city police. “They’re sending someone right over, Miss Woodstone.”

“Are you hungry?” I asked her.

“I’m fine. I just ate. The coffee’s good,” she replied and smiled. She had a beautiful smile, like raindrops in sunshine. “Thank you so much for your help, Mister?”

“Baker. Chase Baker. You’re welcome, Miss Woodstone.”

We chatted a little while longer, being very formal. The police came in all businesslike, getting her information again, and did a massive search of the parking lot. They came up with nothing, too. We went out to join them in the lot when the rain stopped.

“I’m afraid it truly has been stolen, Miss Woodstone,” one officer told her kindly.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

Today’s Offering is from Love Takes a Swim by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim coverI thought it might help my readers decide, if they had a short excerpt from each book.

Love Takes a Swim

Speaking quietly to the younger woman, the director shook her hand and walked briskly back to the office. Kai leaned forward expectantly. This was by far the youngest and most attractive woman to join the Sunspot Health Club family in over a year. The only other one was Deanna, married and pregnant. He couldn’t tell for sure at a distance, but he didn’t see the glint of jewelry on her ring finger. That wasn’t always a tell. Most women knew not to wear their jewelry in the pool. But he remained hopeful.

Paisley turned from the edge of the pool to slip off her shoes and T-shirt. One of the older men wolf whistled at her. Blushing, she walked to the edge of the pool, shading her eyes against the glare.

“Okay, I can see I’ve got a troublemaker already. Do I need to send a note home?” she laughed as she started the music playing.

“I’ll behave, Miss Paisley,” he promised loudly and insincerely.

She laughed harder, beginning the warm-up. Her bright red one piece suit glittered and gleamed in the hot sunshine. Kai felt the heat, but it wasn’t from the pool deck or the sunshine. His heat was internalized, of his own making. He hated to admit it, but he was hot for teacher. Fidgeting, he wiggled in his chair trying to get a more comfortable position for his long, lanky body.

The man who’d whistled looked up from below. “Feeling it yet, boy?” he asked so only Kai heard him. Mr. Sims reminded Kai of Kenny Rogers in looks and build.

“Don’t know what you mean, Mr. Sims. Feel what?” He shifted as unobtrusively as possible.

The older man laughed at him. He knew the reason for Kai’s discomfort wasn’t because the seat was hard. “Pretty little thing.”

“Yup.”

Kai looked carefully around the pool. One of the elderly ladies who was also very overweight, was foundering. Paisley hadn’t missed it either. She hopped in the pool, making it look like she needed to cool off, working her way to the woman’s side. Kai was off the tower and at the pool in seconds.

© Dellani Oakes 2019

What’s Next?

alton and velda cover smaller

Alton and Velda is at an end. Now, the inevitable question of what to do next, rears once more. I’ve had my family draw titles from a cup, to no avail. The ones they chose, I don’t feel strongly about sharing. The ones I do feel strongly about, might offend—you see my quandary.

Even though I know it’s rather pointless, I am trying (once more, probably in vain) to get some input from my few, faithful readers.

Love Takes a Swim coverFirst choice: Love Takes a Swim ~ Kai Marcello works as a lifeguard at his parents’ health club. He also works part time as a paramedic. His mother hires a new water aerobics instructor, Paisley Saunders. Both have been burned by bad relationships, but find love together. Unfortunately, Paisley’s past comes back to haunt her, when she is stalked by the abusive boyfriend she thought she’d left behind.

shopping for love coverSecond Choice: Shopping for Love ~ Chase Baker may be well built and wealthy, but he’s not what you’d call a social butterfly. Able to talk investors to support his money making enterprises, he’s woefully uncomfortable when talking to women. He meets Tracy Woodstone when her car is stolen from his mall parking lot. Immediately attracted, he wants to do everything he can to help her—even going so far as saving her father’s company from a hostile takeover.

New at Love coverThird Choice: New at Love ~ (I might have shared this one before, I’m not sure) Amanda Bitterson is fresh out of college, and looking for a teaching job. To that end, she substitute teaches on a regular basis. Taking a job for another sub, who has gotten sick, she meets Derrick Butler. Life and love seem good, until Derrick’s psychotic ex-wife starts stalking them both.

(For those of you who are familiar with The Ninja Tattoo, and Conduct Unbecoming, this is the first appearance of my beloved character, Jasper Waters)

love death and pizza cover 2Fourth Choice: Love, Death and Pizza ~ Someone killed Tack Carmichael. Was it his wife? His golf partner? Or, as the police suspect, long time enemy – Brock Parnell. Brock and Tack have a long history of hating one another, going back 30 years, so when Tack’s death is announced on the news, Brock celebrates. The celebration is short lived, when the police arrive at his door. They believe, incorrectly, that he’s killed Tack. Strangely, only Assistant District Attorney, Adrianna Hasselhoff, believes he’s not guilty.

Brand New Day coverFourth Choice: Brand New Day ~ This story spans several decades, following the life of Janet Yarkowsky and the love of her life, Diego Hernandez. Falling in love as teens, Fate seems determined to keep the two apart. First, Diego joins the military after he graduates, then he completely disappears for so long, Janet is sure he doesn’t love her anymore. She meets and marries Tex, and her life spirals out of control.

Those are the choices. I’d love some feedback, so please put your choice in the comments. Whichever gets the most votes, wins. In the event of a tie, or no feedback whatever, I’ll choose. Please help me out! It’s so hard to decide!!

~ Dellani

Alton & Velda Part 41 by Dellani Oakes

alton and velda cover smallerThe war is now over, thanks to the companions. Revanth and Astrid stay in her father’s castle, though his uncle takes his army home.

“I promised you something,” Astrid said later that night after dinner. She and her friends had gathered in the solarium to talk.

“What’s that?” Alton asked.

“I made Velda a promise that once we returned, I would help you find a place to call home. Papa has agreed that anywhere which meets your needs, will be yours. So, tomorrow, we will ride about the kingdom, and see what we can find; a place of water and trees, where you can live.”

“I would like that,” Alton said. “We have wandered far too long. This is most gracious of your father.”

“You have saved us all more times than can be easily counted,” Astrid said. “You gave me back Revanth and saved my parents and our home…. You are a hero, Alton, and will be treated as such.”

“To both our peoples,” Revanth added. “Not to mention, that fire trick is pretty handy. How did you manage all that? I didn’t think you had that much power.”

Alton sighed, bowing his head. “I must confess, I didn’t, until I killed Topaz. Somehow, her energy didn’t dissipate with her death, it filled me instead. I now channel her power within me.”

“Aren’t you afraid that you’ll become a target for someone like Rialtia?” Astrid gasped.

Alton shrugged, shaking his head. “You saw what I can do. And you still worry?” He smiled, leaning forward. “And what of you? Dropping fireballs with just a word. That, my lass, is impressive.”

“But at what cost? It might have killed me if I’d continued.”

“Only because I wasn’t there to help you. I think if we work together, along with Velda, we will make a formidable team should anyone come hunting.”

“What of Revanth? Can he help us?” Astrid asked, taking her husband’s hand.

Alton made a disgusted face, trying not to laugh. “Certainly, if there’s oats to eat. The magic in him is so weak, it’s practically nonexistent. But since he’s a good fellow, we’ll let him join us.”

He winked at his friend. There was more to Revanth than the others knew, and he intended to keep that a secret as long as possible. Were it known that the Crown Prince and his wife could wield magic, there might be some who’d be tempted to come along and test it.

The following day, they rode out early, making a breakfast on the crest of a sunny hill. Below, in a shallow valley, they found the perfect spot for Alton and Velda. There was a deep, clear pool with a rushing stream leading to and from it. It was surrounded by trees, who housed a group of wood sprites. These folk welcomed them happily, little caring that Velda was a naiad. The water nymphs were delighted to see her and made her feel right at home.

“We’ll build a home here,” Velda decided. “It needn’t be large, just for the two of us.”

“There will be more one day,” Alton said with confidence. “I promised you children, my love. I shall give you children.”

She grew very quiet, not believing, but not wanting to lose hope, either. They made plans to come back in a few days, and start building their home. Already, Alton had plans, and he shared them with the wood sprites and naiads, but would not tell Velda anything.

“It’s a surprise.”

That night, there was a feast, and they all stayed up late, drinking, dancing and having a wonderful time. A messenger came from Olster that he was safely home, and confirming that he and his sister-in-law would visit soon.

Gathered once more in the solarium, the women sat apart, making plans for the new home, and even talking about a place for Revanth and Astrid to live nearby. The men sat together, sipping wine and talking quietly.

“How can you be so sure that you can give Velda the children she craves?” Revanth asked.

“It’s something little known about my people,” Alton said. “And I swear you to the greatest silence here.”

Revanth nodded solemnly.

“You know we gad about, my folk—especially the men. As much as we share our seed, we’d have saplings hither and yon. You wouldn’t be able to piss without splashing one of us. So….” He leaned closer. “We men can make ourselves infertile by eating of a special herb. Until we make a commitment to a special woman, we don’t allow ourselves to beget children.”

“But you could have done this at any time?”

“Until she was ready to commit, to accept me as her husband, I didn’t want to. How would you feel if you had to walk away from your child? What if she grew angry, pushed me away? How could I do that to my son or daughter?”

“I take your meaning.”

“I quit taking the herb after taking Topaz’s power. If she’s not already with child, she will be soon. Speaking of which…. I hope you’ve got a room for a babe chosen.”

“A what? A—do you mean?”

Alton touched the side of his nose and winked.

“How do you know?”

“Two heartbeats. These pointy ears are good for something other than tracking game.”

Revanth’s family came as planned and both young couples renewed their vows before the family priest. The guests had brought gifts for all. Velda found herself in possession of more trinkets and gadgets than she’d ever dreamed of. Her favorite gift was from Astrid’s parents. They’d had a necklace crafted from river crystals in shades of blue and green. In a collar shape, each piece dangled from a silver chain in irregular droplets like rain.

That night, Alton was extra attentive, seeing to it his wife lacked nothing—not food nor drink. He danced with her, leading her around the dance floor as if his feet had wings. Later, in their room, he made quiet, gentle love to her, caressing her body with assiduous care. As they lay together later, he cradled her head on his chest and smiled, for he heard not just two heartbeats, but three. Laying his hand on her belly, he sent a gentle wave of golden magic to protect their children, and help them grow. Smiling to himself, he kissed Velda’s brow.

“I promised, my love. I promised.”

THE END

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Alton & Velda Part 40 by Dellani Oakes

alton and velda cover smallerRevanth asks his uncle to end the war and retreat. Just Olster agrees, a burning missile is launched from the castle. Several more hit, but suddenly one goes out, then another, before they hit.

Looking around for Alton, he spotted a pale, terrified face at the edge of the camp. “Astrid! My love!” Running over to her, he tried to hold her, but she shook free. “Astrid!”

“Here comes another,” she whispered. “No!” she commanded, pointing at the fiery ball. This went out, falling with the others.

Haggard and weak, she stumbled. Revanth rushed to her side, catching her as she fell.

“My love! Stop. You’ll kill yourself.”

“I must. I can’t have you hurt,” she whispered.

Another fireball flew straight toward them. It stopped in midair, spinning wildly until it went out. It crashed to ground like the rest. Alton stood outside the tent, leaning on the standard pole. Teeth gritted, he pushed himself upright.

“Fugging stop!” he bellowed at the night, pointing both hands at the castle. The flaming orb was in the catapult, ready to fly, but it went out and the catapult didn’t release. “That’s it, Astrid. You and I are going there now, to see if we can put a stop to this nonsense.”

“Not at night,” Velda said, emerging from the trees. “They’ll kill you at night.”

“She has a point,” Revanth agreed.

“Then, I suppose, it must be light enough for them to see us.” Alton twitched a hand at the pile of pitch covered orbs. They burst into white flames, but were not consumed. The night grew bright as noon. “Horses!” Alton bellowed.

“Four of them,” Revanth commanded a nearby sentry.

“Only two. You aren’t going and Velda will stay here to make sure you stay put. I won’t put you in harm’s way by taking you to the enemy camp. Stay here, watch after your uncle.”

“But Astrid!”

“Will be fine. I’ll protect her.”

“Alton—!”

His friend pointed to the blazing balls of pitch. “Do you have any doubt I can do as I say?”

Instead of speaking, Revanth kissed his wife, hugging her close. Velda did the same. She could feel the energy thrumming through Alton’s body.

“Be careful, my love. Such power can consume….”

“I know, my sweet. Don’t worry. For the first time in my life, I feel as I’m supposed to feel.” He kissed her deeply, and went to meet the man with the horses. Helping Astrid mount, he saluted Revanth and followed her up the hill to the castle.

They were met at the gate by a worried captain of the guard. “Princess! We saw you coming from the enemy camp. Are you all right? Have you been held hostage?”

It took some explaining, and repeating, because no one wanted to listen to the entire explanation. Everyone wanted to ask questions. After Astrid repeated herself three times, Alton had had enough. Fingers to lips, he whistled sharply.

“Be still!”

Amazingly, they were. Adopting an imperious demeanor, Alton ordered the men about.

“Take us to King Hels and his lady wife. The Princess owes you no explanation.”

“Of course, my Lord. Begging your pardon, Sir,” the captain bowed and scraped.

Leading them personally to the king’s quarters, the captain took up a post outside. Alton suspected he intended to listen. That was fine, as long as he was quiet about it. The king and queen were in their dressing gowns, having been woken from a deep sleep when the first of the missiles went out.

Racing forward, Queen Sarai hugged and kissed her daughter. The king’s reaction was far less overt, but he was just as glad to see her.

“You are well, child? He didn’t—harm you?” her mother asked, ducking her head.

“No, Mama! I love Revanth. We’re married. So, you see, all this fighting is unnecessary. We can go back to the way it was—only with us together, not apart.”

“You’re what?” The Queen wasn’t happy. “To that rapscallion? How has this happened?”

“Mama, Papa, I love Revanth more than my own life. He has saved me from harm more times than I can count. He and Alton came to save me and Velda when we were prisoners….”

This took more explaining. Alton grew weary of all the talk. He wanted the matter settled, over, done. There had been too much killing and he’d had his fill. Not only humans were suffering through this. The animals, as well as the magical folk, were being harmed. When they army cut down trees to build their siege engines, they killed the dryads who were a part of them. The land and water ran red with blood, saturating it for years to come. After, perhaps, twenty minutes of talk, he cleared his throat.

“Astrid?”

She understood what he wanted and nodded. “The war is over, Papa. Declare it to your men. Release any prisoners. Let Prince Olster go home with his injured, and call it a draw. No loser, no winner. Revanth and I have gone through so much to prevent this war—yet here it is anyway. For me, Papa. Stop it for me.”

King Hels sighed heavily. “For you, my daughter. I should have stopped it before it began.”

“It’s my fault,” her mother sobbed. “I pushed and goaded. Queen Melisande and I should have allowed you to wed whomever you like. I suppose it’s too late now to hope that you’re still pure.”

Astrid laughed, kissing her mother’s cheek. “Not for many weeks. I am happier than I have ever been, Mama. I love Revanth, and he loves me. And, unless I am very mistaken, he and I will welcome a tiny prince or princess in a few moons’ time.”

“Already?” Sarai smiled, taking her daughter in her arms. “What are you waiting for, Hels? Send a messenger to Olster. Now! And invite my son-in-law to visit. A baby!” Clasping her hands, she started babbling about plans for nursery, leading Astrid toward a chair.

“What a night,” Hels said.

“Indeed. This is a good thing, Sire. A fine thing.”

Alton rode out with the messenger, only to meet Revanth with one of his own. The leaders were sent for. By dawn, king and prince were seated in a field near the burning mound of pitch balls. The queen had sent out breakfast to them and their generals, who gathered there.

“Will those ever go out?” Revanth asked Alton.

“Any time I like,” his friend replied. “But they give a festive air. Besides, it’s cold and I don’t have a cloak.”

After many hours, an agreement was drawn up and Prince Olster’s army broke camp. Revanth stayed with Astrid at her father’s castle, but his mother and uncle would return in a month’s time to celebrate their marriage. A huge party was planned. The queen would have liked another wedding, but settled for a formal blessing by their priest.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Alton & Velda Part 39 by Dellani Oakes

alton and velda cover smallerAlton and Revanth enter the camp where Revanth’s uncle is laying siege to Astrid’s castle. They meet his uncle Olster, who appears to be wounded.

“Revanth!” He tried to stand, but pain shot through him. Falling back onto the cushions, he gasped for breath. “Leave us!” he told the sentry. “Send word to his mother.”

“Yes, sire.” The man bowed and left.

Alton knelt by his uncle’s side. “You’ve had a bad time of it, My Lord.”

The prince’s glance would have withered the ears of a lesser fae. “Do you think so, boy? Who is this, Revanth?”

“My friend, Alton. He’s hardly a boy, Uncle. He’s older than both of us together.” He knelt by the bed. “And he’s a good healer, despite what he says to the contrary.”

“May I, Highness?” Alton asked, holding up his hands.

“Why not? I’m dying in any case.”

“I beg to differ. Even without my help, you are not. But I imagine you wish you were, just to make the pain stop.”

The prince snorted, but it hurt him. Gasping, he held his side. “Do what you must.”

“Give me some wine,” he ordered Revanth.

“You really think that’s wise? Won’t it hamper your powers?”

“It’s for your uncle. Drink it all, sire. Then get him something to bite down on. This is not gentle, but it’s quick.”

When the wine was gone, Revanth got a strip of leather for his uncle to bite on.

“Hold him down,” he ordered his friend.

Doing as he was told, Revanth held onto his uncle. He was stronger than he’d been a few months ago, partly from being a horse, and partly from living rough. When he had his uncle pinned, Alton put one hand on the wound, the other on the man’s head. Forcing the healing energy from him, he felt it flow into the prince.

Back arched, Prince Olster screamed, writhing in his nephew’s grip. Guards came in, but stood watching as red and gold flames danced over their leader’s body, flickering over his wounds as they healed. When it was over, Alton fell to the floor, landing in a heap. The guards helped him lie down on a nearby cot and got food and water. Revanth knelt by his uncle’s side, amazed to see the wounds almost completely healed. Prince Olster and Alton slept a long time.

When he woke, Olster talked extensively with his nephew. Alton continued to sleep unimpeded. Revanth checked on him from time to time, but he was in a deep slumber.

Revanth told his uncle of his adventures, glossing over Alton’s powers. He wanted his uncle to believe that the wood sprite’s skills lay in healing, not in destroying. For some reason, that was very important to him. Though he loved his uncle, he was not above using Alton, if he thought it would help him win.

“I think that Astrid and I should approach the castle tomorrow….”

“No. They’d kill you on sight,” Olster warned.

“Then you should retreat.”

“No.”

“Uncle, there is no need for this war. Astrid and I are married. Whatever argument there is between you, it can end. We won’t be marrying anyone else. I love her more than my own life.”

“You’re a spoiled princeling,” his uncle grumbled. “You’re hardly old enough to make up your own mind.”

“I’m twenty years old. I’ve been a man, by every standard, for five years now. I have loved women, killed men, probably sired a son or two.” He didn’t mention that this last was probably with naiads. “I’m fully capable of deciding who I want to marry, and I have done so. Tomorrow, you need to decamp and head home. This war is over nothing.”

“We have been insulted!”

“Is our honor worth so many lives? We saw a soldier, hardly more than a boy, in the medical tent, his guts dangling from his body. Alton couldn’t save him, so he gave him a peaceful death. Is honor worth that boy’s life? He could not have been more than fifteen.”

Olster puffed out his cheeks, pouting and frowning. “Give the order,” he muttered.

“Thank you.”

Revanth ducked through the door to give the order, but saw a glimmer of light from the castle wall. Raised on a motte, it was easy to see. The glimmer grew brighter, ducked and disappeared.

“Did you see that?” he asked a guard.

“See what, Your Highness?”

“That! By the gods!”

The flicker grew even bigger, rising rapidly as it shot in to the air.

“Take cover!” He ran back into the tent, yanking his uncle onto the floor. He pulled Alton down with them. “Wake him!” he commanded.

Olster did what he could to wake the sleeping wood sprite. As Revanth got up, Olster was slapping Alton in the face, bellowing his name.

Dashing out into the camp, Revanth saw the missile hit near the latrines. Exploding when it landed, it sent men and tents flying. Not long after, another thudded nearby, scaring the horses. Those who could wrench free, did, screaming as they ran away. Desperate and worried, Revanth watched as yet another flaming missile came their way. This one stopped at the height of its arc and went out, falling harmlessly to the ground. It bounced and lay still. A flurry o f activity at the castle, showed that this had been noticed. The next burning missile met the same fate.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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