I can’t believe it’s already July! With all of the work to get Musings into the hands of readers on June 20, I’ve barely noticed the past six months vanish. All that being said, I look forward to slowing down a little and writing some more fiction for you guys.
Right now, I’m working on a fantasy adventure set on the high seas that is sure to be a fun read (since it has been a blast to write). The tale is tentatively titled Thorn and Thistle. So far, I have just over 13,000 words written on the novella’s rough draft with ship wrecks, sword fights, shark attacks, and more already packed into the manuscript. I expect to finish the story somewhere around 20,000 words before doing some serious polishing, but we’ll see. I’ve never been very good at estimating story lengths. In my progress report blog a couple weeks ago, I thought that Thorn and Thistle would finish around 12,500 words. I blew past that marker yesterday with no end to the action yet in sight. I’m really grateful for that miscalculation because it means that I get to explore these characters and their world in far more depth. In any event, I hope you enjoy this introduction to Thorn and Thistle’s main character Captain Thornton Tobias Tarok, one of the most successful and fearless privateers to ever sail the Jewel Sea.
Thorn smirked at his attacker, which was not a comfortable thing to do with a split lip. “Really? That was your best?”
The Ashara mercenary growled and charged again with his drawn saber. Thorn pulled out the two extra blades hidden up his sleeves to replace the short sword lost moments ago and continued his grim work. The right dagger blade ripped through both shirt linen and skin as it deflected the opponent’s thrust. The mercenary screamed at the loss of a finger, but Thorn was quick to silence him with a left-handed knife strike to the throat. The gurgling man fell back onto the crimson cobblestones even as his opponent retrieved his own sword.
Thorn quickly dug through the dead man’s clothes and rescued a fat coin purse and two well-balanced throwing knives from his assailant’s robe pockets. He checked the other two dead mercenaries’ bodies as well before slipping stealthily from the street. It was a shame to leave the men’s beautiful sabers behind, but there would be no easy way to carry them and his own blades without looking even more conspicuous than he already did. Ah well, hopefully the beggars would find them before the City Watch did, and thus change their poor fortune. Swords like those would easily trade for a month’s worth of choice meat!
As Captain Thornton Tobias Tarok turned down a third alleyway, he stopped to splash water from a rain barrel on his bloody and mud-smeared face and clothes. He looked irritably at the tattered, blood-spattered sleeves of his silk shirt and sighed. “Yet another shirt to be tossed in the canal. That makes three. Where are these maoi-sug bounty hunters coming from?”
“You’re late,” a quiet voice said.
Thorn jumped and then glowered at the shadows to his left. “How can I be punctual when you choose to be early, Ebenezer?”
The gray-haired wizard motioned the younger man to his side. “Emperor Sung raised the bounty; he now offers 20 rubes for your head on a pike.”
The captain hefted the mercenary’s bulging coin purse in his hand. “How thoughtful of him! He must have known I was feeling unimportant,” he mocked.
“Be careful, Sea Wolf; he will start sending Ashara hunting parties after you next.”
“And what makes you think he didn’t already?” Thorn asked sourly, looking down at his ruined raiment.
“How did you escape then?”
“A couple of concealment magic tricks you once showed me took care of the first. Snapdragon powder got the second and a knife to the singer dropped the third. Look, can we talk in a cozier spot? The Panthea City Watch will notice those bodies at any moment and I don’t fancy being around when they start asking pointed questions.”
Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!