Archive | February 2012

Twilight Time – Part 3

So, the young woman, Storm, has found the village tavern and entered with a bang, quite literally. A young man, Hellfire, came out of the tavern, hitting her with the door. Now in the care of Sasha, the taverness, she’s waiting for a healer to check her wound.

Sasha had propelled the younger woman towards the bar, pulled up a stool, pushed her gently down onto it and smiled. By that time, the other woman had returned with a clean, damp cloth and they applied it to her cheek.

The other woman spoke, “Tsk, Sasha, I think twill bruise up badly if that healer hasn’t something in his bag!” She smiled warmly. “Well, lass, you’ll look like you’ve been in a brawl when all’s done!”

The girl managed a smile, but it cost her in pain. “Ohh, I think it knocked a tooth loose!” She managed to mutter through bruised lips. The door burst open suddenly & in rushed Hellfire accompanied by a dark skinned, silver haired man in green leather armor.

“Where’s the patient?” The healer bustled up to the bar. “Ah, there she be.”

He held her head firmly in his hands & raised her face gently to the light. His hands were strong, broad and calloused like a warrior but moved with the dexterity of a healer. His touch was sure & light as he examined her.

“Fresh, warm water please.” He spoke to no one in particular, but the command in his voice was unmistakable.

Alli walked to the back & returned with some warm water from the hearth. He tested it with his little finger & nodded sharply.

“Aye, that will do nicely” He handed a small parchment packet to Hellfire. “Nephew, since this is your work, you will help. Open that, pour it in the water & stir til it’s dissolved. Work fast before the water cools.”

Hellfire did as he was bidden. The healer took the clean cloth proffered by Sasha & set to work on her face. The solution stung a bit at first, but as it dried, left her skin tingling and feeling pleasantly warm. He formed the cloth into a small folded square & handed it to her.

“Hold this on there a littler longer, t’will draw out the fluids gathering there and force the blood down.” He washed his hands in the bowl of water & dried them on Hellfire’s cloak. The younger man looked as if he were annoyed, but said nothing, as the healer’s face left no room for comment.

“You’re lucky, nephew, she’ll heal quick she’s young.”

Sasha smiled at him. “Thank you, Glada. She said she thinks a tooth got knocked loose, can you check it?”

Again the healer’s hand went to her head, tilting it back. She opened her mouth & he prodded the teeth on that side. His hands tasted vaguely of mint & some other herb she couldn’t put a name to. He let her go & stood back from her.

“Nay, but it’s bruised in the jaw I warrant.” He turned to Hellfire, “I’ll say this for you, nephew, you did a thorough job of it.” He frowned at the younger man & washed & dried his hands in the same manner as before. He nodded sharply again and turned to leave as suddenly as he’d come.

The girl said a swollen lipped “Thanks” which came out much more like “fanks” at which he & all the others smiled & chuckled a bit. Dragging his nephew by the ear, Glada strode outside.

A smiling, dark haired, bearded fellow by the bar spoke up, a chuckle in his voice. “Well, lass, nothing like entering with a bang! However, we’ve seen thee poked & prodded but still do not know thy name!” He reached across the bar to take her hand in his & bowed over it solemnly. “I am Kirk Kanan, at your service.”

Twilight Time – Part 2

A mysterious young woman is making her way to Sanctuary to find her father. Who is she and who can her father be? She’s already shown herself quite capable of taking care of herself and her light fingered touch keeps her in spending money.

“What’s wrong, Pete, she want more meat than you’ve got?”

“Maybe this one prefers a pretty boy… hmm?” One came up to her, a little too close, trying to impress her.

“Hey, missie, you want a REAL man?”

His voice rose to a girlish pitch at the last, for she’d reached out & grabbed the crotch of his pants in a firm grip. She looked him in the eye & squeezed.

“No, I like a man with more balls than you’ve got. When you grow up, sonny, perhaps you can find a real woman, til then, the doxies are all you’ll have, for you’d not get any lest you paid for it.” With a final squeeze, she left him.

She turned her back on the jeers and cat calls now directed at the dock worker & made her way to the village. She’d heard there was a tavern there which her father had frequented. It seemed as good a place to start as any…. Now truly she was on her own, but well paid, the ferry man had done good trade today and hadn’t been to the bank. Fat fool. She grinned and walked to the lights she saw ahead of her.

The sparkling lights beckoned her onward as her steps slowed, unsure now of her destination. Suppose he wasn’t there. Suppose he was?! Suppose no one knew him. Suppose they all did? Suppose they laughed at her, suppose he didn’t care to love her? Her steps faltered & she tripped over a furrow in the field she crossed without seeing it. Treading more carefully, she walked with more resolution than she felt to the lights ahead. She heard laughter & voices, music and singing, making her feel all the more left on the outside.

As a child, the same. Her playmates, she could not call them friends, chided her since she had no father. “Bastard brat” their mothers called her & she was shunned by all for her father’s absence. No one believed her mother had been married for none had met her father. Did she face the same rejection here? She hesitated on the steps of the tavern, hand out to the door, irresolute & afraid. The decision to open was made for her when the door swung wide hitting her in the face. A young man stepped out and greeted her.

“Whoops! Hello miss! Be ye all right?” He peered at her in the light from the inside. “Come in here, we’ll put a poultice on it for you. Oy, Sasha, I’ve slammed a lassie with the door! A poultice if you please!”

A pretty, dark haired woman approached her & looked her over carefully. “I see that you have. Please, miss, come inside where we can see to you better.” Her firm grip was gentle, but compelling. She smiled brightly at the girl. “I’m Sasha, proprietress of this tavern. Please come in & let’s see to that bump.” She raised her voice to call over the noise of the crowd, “Alli, a cool cloth if you will! Hellfire’s slammed the door into this young lassies’ face!”

The girlcradled her battered cheek. “Hellfire is it? Good name, for my face burns like hell.” Her eyes watered as she tried not to cry.

Sasha turned in mock anger on the young man. “You should be more careful! You could have seriously hurt her!”

He looked playfully abashed & bowed his head to her. “Aye, my lady,” he groveled & sniveled. “I be only an ignrnt fisherman & b’aint be knowin the better ways of manners an such like. Spect tis the only way I’ll find me a woman is to beat her senseless and drag her off! Hey lassie, I’ll be getting my uncle in here, he’s a healer of some skill, he’ll put ye to rights.” With that, he bowed his way out & this time opened the door more carefully.

Twilight Time – Part 1

Quick disclaimer. This story has NOTHING to do with the vampire series by Stephanie Meyer. In fact, it has nothing to do with vampires at all. It’s a coincidence that it even has a similar name as it was written almost 10 years ago.

This story is the sequel to “Chance Encounter”. It takes place about 15 years later. A lot happened in that time and the years have been hard for Shadowdancer. A terrible misunderstanding left him alone with his work. A rich man now, he’s older, quieter and lost some of his sparkle. No longer the womanizer and drunkard he once was, he leads a very subdued life. But all that is likely to change in a heartbeat.

Night fell softly over the island of Moonglow as a young girl eased the window to her bedroom open. As silently as she could, she crept down the trellis near her window and landed on the ground, the only sound a whisper of the wind in her hair. Her dark eyes gleamed in the moonlight as she looked up at her home with a small sigh of regret. Her face formed lines of resolve as she shouldered her pack and turned resolutely on her heel away from her house, her home, her mother, her life.

As she made her way slowly to the Moonglow moongate, she thought on the past days events which had brought her to this pass. A small sigh escaped her as she wandered along the familiar trail from the Lyceum where she had lived the 15 years of her life.

“If I had just not asked again, maybe I wouldn’t be running away,” she chided herself with regret. “I have to find him though, I just have to know if he’s really the sorry bastard she said he is….” She turned her back on her home once again, this time not looking back. She could still hear her mother’s words echoing in her memory.

“Your father? Your father is a sot, a womanizer and a lunatic as well as a coward! He doesn’t care about you or me! He cares only for the bottle of ale and whatever pretty face he sees in the tavern. He stumbles home in a stupor more often than not and missed our anniversary! Some story about a rabid gopher, no doubt cooked up between himself and your uncle to save him from my wrath! Well let me tell you something, missy, you go right ahead and go look for the sorry bastard. He lives outside Sanctuary on the foul side of the moongate. Go to any bar and ask for Shadowdancer of Clan Aerie, they can direct you. Or ask some floozy on the street! Go for all I care and damn you!” Her mother’s demeanor had shattered at that point, she broke into tears. Weeping, she ran into the house and slammed the door shut.

I’ll find him and make him love me. With that thought in her mind, she entered the moongate and walked into a life far different from the one she had known.

The wind swept her long hair and carried odors with it as she rode the ferry boat from the mainland. The ferryman looked at her in a way she knew well, that low brow, low rent, low intelligence, orcish kin reject way of all of his ilk. She pretended to ignore him, but was aware when he stopped the boat midstream & made his way slowly toward her. Her hand gripped the hilt of her dagger & slid it silently from its sheath. It was a plain blade, but made of the finest steel crafted far under the mountains by dwarfs, the edge honed to perfection. It was a deadly blade indeed. His hand crept toward her breast but met cold steel instead. Without turning her head, she twisted it, drawing a thin line of blood.

“Remove your hand, churl, or lose a finger or two. Perhaps more, if you draw too close.”

He withdrew his hand swiftly, assessing the damage to his hands. “You bitch! You’d be lucky to have a man like me!”

She stared at him til he withdrew to the far end of the boat & started to pole across

again. On the far side, she walked past him with a swish, lifting his purse as she went. The dagger came in handy for more than drawing blood, it was good for cutting purse strings as well. She secreted the purse inside her cloak as she stepped onto the dock. The dock master & his men leered at her & laughed at the ferryman’s blustering.

Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

My good buddy, Linda Nance, nominated me for this award. Thank you, Linda! Linda was a guest on my Blog Talk Radio show, Dellani’s Tea Time, back in August of 2011. It was a delight and an honor having her on the show.

Seven Random Facts About Me:

1. I’ve completed 42 novels & novellas and 15 short stories.

2. I’m writing 54 novels & novellas — Not simultaneously, of course, but I tend to juggle 2 or 3 projects at a time.

3. I met two idols of my youth when in college: Playwright Edward Albee who penned “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe” and “The Sandbox” (among others). I also met Richard Brautigan, author of “Trout Fishing in America” (and more).

4. I can’t write without music playing.

5. I based the characters in “Lone Wolf” on characters created for a Traveler game back in the early 80’s. Wil & Marc were inspired by two friends’ characters. Matilda was mine. The game master was my husband and I originally set out to chronicle that adventure.

6. My Blog Talk Radio shows inspire me. I love all my guests and feel enriched by each one of them. When I went through chemo & radiation treatments for breast cancer in 2010, my shows kept me going.

7. I love to cook but can’t stand being asked, “What’s for supper, Mom?”

Chance Encounter – Part 2

“I know that look,” Elliandra said suddenly. “I’ve seen it on Augustus’ face more than once. There’s a girl, isn’t there? You had your mind on a lass!” She sounded both amused and disgusted.

Shadowdancer could not bring himself to look at her. She’d hit it right the first try but how close to the mark she’d come, he could not show her. Not since his heart had been broken, so long ago, had a woman affected him the way Elliandra did. The other had been a redhead too, only it was a rusty red like fallen leaves. How appropriate, for her name had been Autumn. She’d broken his heart, driven him to drink, and made him the man he was—for good or ill.

“I’m right, aren’t I?” Elliandra spoke with confidence.

“Aye, that you are,” he admitted grudgingly. “She’s beautiful, intelligent, witty and strong. In short, Elliandra,” he chanced a look at her. “She’s magnificent in every way and more woman than would ever be interested in a bleary eyed sot like me.”

Nothing moved but her hair. Caught by the breeze, it whipped around her head, escaping her scarf like snakes of flame. The setting sun made it a golden red halo around her head. Tears formed in her emerald eyes, tinged with gold from the afternoon sun.

“How do you know she’s not interested?”

Shadow’s voice caught in his throat. Could he speak? Dared he say what was in his heart? For once he had to speak up for himself. He’d spent so many years hating himself, what he’d become after Autumn had left him, he could hardly bring himself to look in her eyes. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he squared his narrow shoulders, stood up straight and looked at her—his dark gray eyes locked onto her vivid green ones.

“Why would you want a man like me, Elli? I’m old and weak. I can’t even give you a roof over your head, for I’ve none as belongs to me. I’ve nothing to offer you but the love in my heart, the skill of my hands and the clothes on my back, but those I give you freely.”

His nerve left him and his head dropped again as he stared at his feet. Suddenly tired, he sighed heavily and let his pack fall to the ground. The precious golden fabric spilled out, catching the light of the fading sun.

Elliandra’s breath caught sharply and she stooped to grab it before it fell into the dirt. Shadow reached for it at the same time and their hands brushed as they caught at the fabric, fingers meeting in the folds of cool cloth. He felt a spark jump from the tips of his fingers to hers and back again.

The cloth forgotten, he leaned forward, his lips meeting hers. Their kiss was electrifying, lingering, warm and tender. He’d never kissed anyone the way he kissed her and he could tell she’d never had a kiss like his.

“Oh, Elli, I’ve loved you since we met. Each time I see you, it sets my soul on fire.”

“Why have you never told me before?”

“Your brother….”

“Oh, bother Augustus anyway! What’s he to do with us?”

“He’d kill me if I ever made a move toward you. You are his little sister, sheltered and nurtured by him. God help me, Elli, I love you more than my own life, but I say again, what have I to offer you?”

Elliandra took his hands gently in hers, pulling him toward her. “You said it already, the love in your heart. That’s all I ask, Shadow, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. As for my brother, I know we’d have his blessing, for there is no man he regards as highly as you. Now shut up, you fool, and kiss me.”