Category Archives: serial

Aspholessaria

 

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Asphodel stumbled as she landed in the covered wagon. She lay breathing heavily for a few moments, then she heard a voice and a hand lifted her up.
‘You just made it,’ said a melodious female voice. ‘A few more seconds and you’d have missed us.’
Asphodel looked at the woman who had helped her up and onto a seat. She was wearing white robes tied with a green sash. Asphodel knew this indicated the woman was a vicar and a cleric of Sylissa, the goddess of healing. The woman looked around forty years old and had a few grey hairs just beginning to appear in her dark hair. Her brown eyes had small laughter lines around them and she smiled at Asphodel.
‘Thank you for your help,’ the elf said. ‘It might sound like an odd question, but where is this caravan going to?’
The cleric raised her eyebrows, then replied, ‘To Bluehaven ultimately. We pass through a number of other towns though. First we go through several small villages in Erian before we get to the border with Grosmer. There aren’t any large towns between Frelli and Grosmer.’
The vicar leaned back in her seat and then asked, ‘Where are you going?’
Asphodel sighed. ‘Wherever my coin will take me,’ she said.
The vicar frowned. ‘Running away? What have you done, or who are you running away from?’
Asphodel closed her eyes foe a moment, then opened them and looked straight at her companion.
‘I’ve not done anything. It’s what he did.’
The vicar said nothing, but continued to look at Asphodel.
Asphodel paused, then it all came out in a rush. She told the whole story from meeting Vass to him hitting her. Then her eyes filled with tears and she looked away.
The other woman moved across to sit next to the girl. she put her arm around her and said, ‘You made a mistake, yes, but we all make mistakes, especially when young. How much did you give the caravan leader?’
When Asphodel told her, she tutted. ‘That won’t even get you to the border,’ she said.
‘But Vass saw which caravan I was on. He’ll get the next one and come after me, I know it.’ Her eyes darted around the wagon as though expecting to see Vass jump out from behind the cloth roof.
The cleric patted her hand. ‘Don’t worry about than for now,’ she said. ‘We’ll sort something out. The next caravan in this direction isn’t for a couple of days. By the way, my name’s Trinelli.’
‘Asphodel,’ replied the elf, not giving her full name as she knew the human woman would have difficulty in pronouncing it.
The caravan stopped for a meal at midday. While they were eating, a man came running up to them.
‘Vicar,’ he shouted as he approached, ‘vicar, please will you come to look at my wife. She’s sick.’
Trinelli stood up. ‘What seems to be the matter?’ she asked.
‘She’s vomiting and says she feels dizzy,’ he said. ‘She says that whenever she moves, it feels as if the world is spinning around her.’
Trinelli followed the man to a wagon and went inside. Out of curiosity, Asphodel followed. She stood in the entrance to the covered wagon and watched as Trinelli placed her hands on the woman and prayed to Sylissa.
The cleric’s head slumped forward. Asphodel watched as the sick woman’s colour began to return. Trinelli, at the same time, became paler. Asphodel almost thought she could see something flowing from Trinelli to the woman, but then she decided she was imagining it.
When they left the wagon, and received the man’s grateful thanks, Asphodel had to support Trinelli back to their wagon. The older woman rested for a while, then, as the wagons began to move once more, she seemed to be back to her normal self.
‘What happened there?’ Asphodel asked her.
‘The healing?’
Asphodel nodded.
‘Well. I prayed to Sylissa. She used me as a conduit to send her healing power into the woman.’
‘But it was more than that, wasn’t it?’
‘Yes. When I–or any of us–heals someone, the goddess sends her power, but it also takes some of our life essence to work. That’s why we’re always tired after healing.’
‘I thought I saw something going from you to her,’ Asphodel said. ‘I couldn’t have, though, could I? What you give her is invisible.’
Trinelli looked sharply at the young elf. She frowned.
‘You shouldn’t have been able to see anything,’ she told her, and she shook her head. ‘I don’t know what this means, but I need to think about it.’
The caravan stopped for the night. The caravan leader came to Asphodel and told her that her money had only given her passage to the next village. The girl looked frightened.
‘I have this ring.’ She reluctantly held out the ring she had picked up before leaving. ‘It was my grandmother’s. I think it’s valuable.’
Trinelli turned to the caravan leader.
‘You can’t take her grandmother’s ring,’ she scolded him. ‘It’s valuable enough to take her to Bluehaven and half-way back again.’
‘Well, she can’t have free passage.’ He shrugged. ‘She has nothing else. Seems it’s the ring or she leaves next stop.’
Trinelli fumbled in her purse and withdrew several gold crowns and a sovereign, which she handed over to the man.
‘Here. This should pay her fare to Bluehaven.’
The man took the coins and left.
‘I can’t let you pay for me,’ Asphodel protested. ‘That’s a lot of money. When we get to a town, I’ll sell my ring and pay you back, I promise.’
Trinelli smiled at the young girl.
‘You’ll do no such thing. If you want to pay me back you can help me when I go to heal people. People are always getting sick or hurt on these journeys. Your help will be worth more to me than coin. I’m going to Bluehaven, to the temple there, so I paid enough for you to get there too.’

Has Asphodel has found a means to get far enough away from Vass? How can she help a healer? She’s been brought up as one of the privileged classes in Elven society. How can she help a healer when she has no idea of healing?
Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you.
To find out more about Asphodel’s later adventures, read The Wolves of Vimar Series. Click on the books to buy.

Aspholessaria Part

 

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Asphodel held the ring tightly in her hand. Her mother had given it to her not long before she left Rindisillaron. It had been her grandmother’s ring and she felt an emotional attachment to it.
Although elves lived long lives in comparison with humans, they did not, contrary to popular belief, live forever, nor were they immune from diseases that ravaged the world of Vimar. Her grandmother had succumbed to one of these diseases the previous year. She wanted Asphodel to have her engagement ring as a keepsake.
Now, Asphodel clutched the ring as she wept for what she knew would never be. Vass had become addicted to the drugs and alcohol that his so-called friends had plied him with. He would never make the fortune he had promised her. All his money, and hers, had gone on his own addiction and not to selling the goods to others.
Asphodel did not approve of his work as a drug dealer, but now he was not a dealer, but an addict. She needed to get away.
She packed her few belongings and searched the apartment for anything she could sell, and for some food. She packed it all into the pack she had carried away from Quatissillaron when she and Vass had eloped. She paused to think for a moment before opening it again and taking out half of the food. She could not leave Vass with nothing.
The few objects she had stuffed in, she left there. After all, Vass had plenty money with her jewellery. How he chose to use it was up to him. She blew her nose, looked round the apartment that now looked presentable after all her efforts and walked out of the door.
She looked both ways along the street. A few people were going about their business, but they took no notice of a girl coming out of her apartment. Vass was nowhere in sight. Asphodel supposed he had gone to sell her jewellery. The jeweller’s shop was to the right, so she went left in the direction of her workplace.
It was dark on the street and Asphodel felt a little afraid as she walked. Where could she go? Perhaps her employer would allow her to spend the night there, then she could go and see if she could find a caravan going away from Frelli. If she could find her way to the caravanserai through the winding, spiral streets of the city.
She found herself outside her place of work. Lights gleamed from the upstairs windows. She knocked on the door.
A head appeared from the window upstairs.
‘Yes? What do you want? We’re closed now. Come back tomorrow.’

Krommel, the scribe, was pulling his head back inside when Asphodel stepped into the light cast by his window.
‘Asphodel,’ he gasped. ‘What are you doing her at this time of night? Wait, I’ll be down in a sec.’
After no more than half a minute, the door opened and Krommel beckoned the girl inside. She entered into the room where they did the copying ever day, but Krommel led her upstairs to where the family lived.
As soon as she entered the room, Krommel’s wife, a plump woman of around forty years of age, noticed her bruises.
‘Oh, my dear, what happened?’ she exclaimed. ‘Let me tend to your injuries. Sit down over there.’
While she bustled around finding things that would ease the bruising on Asphodel’s face, Krommel handed her a bowl of stew and a spoon. The girl ate gratefully.
After she had finished and the curious children been sent to bed, Asphodel explained what had happened.
‘I need to get away,’ she said. ‘I’m sure Vass will try to find me. I need to go a long way away. I can’t go back to him.’
She put her head in her hands and wept.
Krommel’s wife put her arms around the young elf.
‘Of course you can’t,’ she said. ‘Men who hit women never change. Oh, they say they’re sorry and perhaps they are, but then the drink and drugs will take over again and it will keep on happening.’
‘I still love him,’ said Asphodel, raising her tear-streaked face. ‘I don’t know why, after what he’s done. Not only to me, but to others by selling them drugs. He started selling before he started taking them. I know if I saw him, and he asked me, I’d go back to him. That’s why I need to get right away.’
Krommel smiled.
‘I’ll be sorry to lose you, girl,’ he told her, ‘but I agree. You must go away. Do you have money?’
She nodded. ‘A little. I’ve also got a ring I can sell until I find some other employment.’
‘Well, you must have your pay for what you’ve done since your last pay packet,’ Krommel told her, walking over to a safe in the wall.
He returned with a pouch of money and handed it over.
‘There’s more here than you owe me,’ Asphodel said.
‘Take it. I can afford to give you a bonus.’
Asphodel thanked him and stashed the pouch away into her pack.
The next morning, Krommel told one of his sons to escort Asphodel to the caravanserai. Asphodel was glad of his company and guidance as she knew she would never have found it on her own. It lay just inside the walls to the west.
The lad said goodbye, and Asphodel rummaged in her pack and found a small coin to give him. He thanked her and quickly disappeared into the crowds now gathering in the caravanserai.
Which one to take? There were several that looked ready to leave. suddenly, Asphodel saw, through the crowds, a familiar figure. Vass. He looked angry as he pushed people aside. His head turned this way and that, looking.
How had he found out where she was? Had Krommel told him? No, her former employer wouldn’t have done, she was certain of that. Perhaps he just guessed. Then he spotted her. He reached into his pocket and gave something to a small figure. It was Krommel’s son. Vass had bribed the child into saying where he’d taken her. She could not blame the child. No one had told him not to tell Vass.
She looked around anxiously. A caravan was just about to leave. Asphodel rushed over and asked the leader if she could join.
‘We’re just leaving,’ he said as the wagons rolled forward. ‘Do you have coin?’
‘I have some. Just take me as far as this will allow.’
The man took the coin and Asphodel jumped into the last wagon and watched as Vass’s figure grew smaller and smaller.

Where will Asphodel’s coin take her? Can she escape from Vass?

Asphodel is one of the main characters in The Wolves of Vimar Series. You can purchase the first two books by clicking on the following links:

http://mybook.to/thewolfpack/

http://mybook.to/NeverDying/

If you enjoyed this part of Asphodel’s story, please leave a comment.

Aspholessaria.

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Once in the village, the pair found an inn where they booked a room for three nights. Vass said if there were work in this village they would see about finding a more permanent place to stay, if not, they would need to move on. After all, their money and Asphodel’s jewellery would not last for ever.
Asphodel left Vass in the inn bar talking to some of the villagers about work. She made her way to a herbalist.
‘Do you have any herbs to prevent pregnancy?’ she asked the old woman who seemed to be in charge of the shop.
‘Is it for you?’ the old woman said, peering over her glasses.
When Asphodel answered in the affirmative, the old woman looked at her sharply.
‘Are you married?’ she asked.
Asphodel blushed and looked down at her feet.
‘Why do you ask?’ she said.
‘Because I don’t encourage promiscuity. I don’t sell to unmarried women and girls.’
‘Y-yes,’ lied the girl. ‘We were married in Quantissillaron just before we came here.’
‘Hmm.’ The old woman peered again at Asphodel, then said, ‘I’ll have to believe you. I don’t know anything about elves so I can’t tell if you’re lying or not.’ She turned round and reached up to a box on a shelf behind her. She weighed out some of the herbs then reached for another box. From this one she added a different herb. She put them into a pestle and began mixing them together.
When she had finished, she took a small pot and poured the herbs into it, then fastened a lid over the top.
‘Take a tea made with one spoonful of the mixture each evening and you will have no trouble with pregnancy,’ she said. ‘You have enough there to last you for three or four weeks, but don’t forget you need to take it every evening.’
Asphodel handed over the money the old woman demanded than almost ran back to the inn.
Vass laughed when she told him she had got the herbs, and almost rushed her up the stairs to their room.
They did not find any work in the village, and so they left after their second night at the inn. Vass thought they should go to Frelli, the capital of Erian. There would be more work there, he reasoned, and so they set off once again.
It took them a sixday to reach Frelli. The capitol city was in a wide valley in the Mountains of Doom, not too far from the border with Grosmer. in days gone by, there had been many wars and skirmishes fought between the two neighbouring countries and Frelli had developed into more of a fortification than a city.
From the Erian side, it appeared as a normal city, with surrounding walls it, but on the Grosmer side, the valley narrowed and the walls had been built across the valley, completely barring access.
Asphodel and Vass approached form the Erian side, of course, and so did not see the forbidding approach from Grosmer. They passed through the gate into a city of streets that seemed to wind around in a spiral towards a castle with a high tower.
‘So this is Frelli,’ Asphodel said, as they searched for an inn. ‘I’m not sure I like it very much. Not much in the way of trees is there.’
Vass shrugged.
‘We can stay here for a while and make some money, then we can go somewhere you’d like better, if that’s what you want.’
Asphodel smiled.
‘Yes, I’d like that. Somewhere where the wildlife can flourish, Perhaps a little farm somewhere.’
Vas put his arm round her.
‘I know nothing of farming,’ he told her, ‘but if that’s what you want, I’ll learn.’
The pair found an inn, and the next morning set off to try to find work. Asphodel quickly found a scribe who was looking for someone who could read and write. His last clerk had left the previous week. Vass, on the other hand, found work more difficult to come by. He had no skills required by the businesses in Frelli.
‘Couldn’t you get something as a labourer?’ Asphodel asked him one evening.
‘What? Get myself filthy? Darling, I don’t want to come home to you dirty.’ He lifted up a lock of her black hair and kissed it. ‘I have more respect for you than to expect you to live with someone who’s dirty.’
‘But you could get washed, Vass. I would barely see you dirty.’
Vass looked at her.
‘Asphodel, the labourers end up with the dirt ingrained in their skin and hard hands. I don’t want you to have to put up with callused hands on your beautiful skin.’
Asphodel sighed. She argued no further but thought she would not mind as long as the hands belonged to Vass.
Vass left again the following morning to look for work and for somewhere for them to live. After all they could not live at the inn. It would be far too expensive. Asphodel left soon afterwards to begin her new job at the scribe’s office. At the end of the day, she rushed back to the inn to tell Vass about her day. He told her he had not looked for a job that day, but had found them somewhere to live. He had put down a deposit and they could move in immediately.
Asphodel was delighted they had somewhere to live, but said, ‘ Why didn’t you wait until I came home before you took it. I’d have liked to have a say in where we’re going to live.’
Vas put his arms round her and said, ‘Asphodel, my darling, I daren’t wait. The place might have gone by the time you got home. There aren’t many places to rent in this city, you know. I had to make a decision straight away.’
They gathered their meagre goods and, after eating a last meal at the inn, went to the apartment Vass had found.
Asphodel was appalled. It was in the poorest quarter of the city with rats running around in the filthy street. The apartment itself was one room. It had a filthy rug in the centre of the room and a sofa that looked as if it had been dragged in from the rubbish tip. It, too. was filthy. There was a greasy sink in one corner of the room, and a fireplace with an oven at the side. In the fireplace were ashes left from several fires.
As she stood there, not believing that Vass could have agreed to rent this place, a cockroach ran across her feet.
‘Vass, this is awful,’ she told him. ‘We can’t live here.’
‘It’ll only be until I find work and we can then get something better. Darling, we can’t afford anything better at the moment.’
‘I suppose it won’t be too bad if I can get it clean. I’ll start now. It’s a good job we ate before we left the inn. I wouldn’t like to eat anything that had been cooked in here.’
Vass told her he would only be in her way if he stayed. He was not very good at cleaning, he said, so he would go out.
Asphodel spent the evening cleaning. She did not get everything to her liking, but it was better than before. She killed at least two dozen cockroaches, and went out to buy mousetraps as she felt sure there must be mice there.
A large cupboard stood next to the sink, and this she filled with cleaning products and then she cleaned out a small cupboard with a mesh front for food. The bed she could do little about, but she determined to wash the sheets the next day. They had access to a small garden at the back of the house and she thought she could wash the sheets before she went to work the next day and with any luck they would be dry when she got home. The mattress she could do little about that night, but decided that one of the first things she would do would be to go out and sell some of her jewellery and buy a new one.
Vass turned up just before the eighteenth hour of the day. (On Vimar, the day began at sunrise on the equinoxes, 6am, and so it was the middle of the hours of darkness when Vass arrived home.)
Asphodel brushed a strand of hair from over her eyes and stopped cleaning the fireplace.
‘You’re late,’ she said.
‘S-sorry,’ stammered Vass. ‘I meeted, no, met, shome blokes in the tavern.’ He staggered. ‘They shtold me all shorts of shtuff. Oh, I feel shick.’

He rushed to the sink and was sick.
‘That’sh better,’ he said, collapsing on the bed.
‘Vass, you’re drunk!’ Asphodel said, but he was already snoring.
The next weeks followed a similar pattern. Asphodel cleaned before and after work and Vass went out to meet his new friends. Each evening he came home drunk. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
One evening Vass did not arrive home at all. Asphodel was at last satisfied with what she had done to the apartment and had been out and bought some flowers and put them on the table. she cooked a meal with what they could afford and waited for Vass to arrive.
The meal got cold, then congealed. Asphodel threw it away. The night crept on and Asphodel fell asleep on a chair. She worried that Vass had gone somewhere else in Frelli and had got lost in the maze of streets. The layout of the city was confusing. It appeared to be straightforward, with the roads spiralling towards the castle, but in reality it was a maze.
Just as she woke, the door opened to admit Vass. She had dark circles beneath her eyes from worry and lack of sleep.
‘Asphodel,’ Vass said, taking her in his arms. ‘You look awful. So tired.’ He ran a finger over her eyes. ‘You mustn’t go to work today, but sleep to get your beauty back.’
Asphodel yawned and pushed him away.
‘I must,’ she told him. ‘You’ve no job and we need money. You’re spending what I earn drinking with your friends.’
Vass laughed. ‘I’m investing it,’ he replied. ‘My friends can get me work. I need to keep on their good sides though, so I must drink with them.’
‘What sort of work? Your ‘friends’ don’t seem to do very much.’
Vass tapped the side of his nose.
‘I can say nothing, yet,’ he told her. ‘I need to sort a few things out first, but be assured, I’ll soon have more money than you’ve ever dreamed of.’
Asphodel turned to the door. Then she turned as she left and said, ‘I’ve never dreamed of money, Vass. Just you.’

Aspholessaria.

At first they passed through the forest Asphodel knew. she had not been far away from Quantissarillishon, but had played in the forest around as she grew up. She knew the little streams and the tall trees. She could tell Vass which ones were the best to climb and which were almost impossible. She laughed as she pointed out one where Liss had got stuck when he climbed up too high. He was there for several hours until his father came and helped him down.
They held hands as they walked, and did not stop even to eat. Asphodel took out some food she had pilfered from her mother’s pantry and they ate as they walked. Vass said they needed to get as far away as possible. Although Asphodel’s parents were away for a few days, Vass was unsure how long Liss’s parents would wait before becoming anxious. Certaily they would not worry until after nightfall, but would they be anxious then when he did not return for the night. He suspected they would. After all, he was their responsibility while staying with them.
The darkness began to creep in and Asphodel shivered.
‘Are you cold?’ asked Vass.
Asphodel shook her head. ‘No, not really,’ she told him. ‘It’s just that the forest seems different at night.’
‘Haven’t you been out in the forest at night before?’
‘My parents are very protective. I’m a girl, after all, and not expected to go adventuring in the forest.’
Vass stopped in a clearing through which a little stream ran.
‘We can stay here for the night,’ he said. ‘We’ll need a fire, though. You get water from the stream while I gather wood.’
When Asphodel got back from the stream, she found Vass cutting the turf in the little clearing to make a circle.
‘What are you doing?’ she asked him.
‘Preparing a hearth for our fire. We can’t risk setting fire to the forest.’
Asphodel sat down and watched with interest. After cutting the turf and setting it aside to replace after they had finished with the fire, Vass picked up a stone from a pile he had collected. They were fairly large and he built a ring around the hearth.
He picked up some dry leaves and placed them in the centre of the hearth before laying some small twigs over the top or them. Once he had everything prepared, he took a small metal box from his pack. When he opened it, he removed, a piece of steel. and a small sharpened piece of flint which he struck against the steel. Inside the box was some tinder and when the sparks from the steel fell onto it, it began to smoulder. Vass then blew gently and, taking a wooden splint, he lit it and applied it to the dry leaves.
‘Asphodel, can you blow gently on the leaves to get them burning while I put out the tinder in the tinderbox and pack it away?’
Asphodel was only too pleased to comply, and as the small twigs caught fire, she fed some slightly larger ones onto the fire. Vass took over then, gradually adding larger pieces of wood until he had a hearty blaze going.
‘There, that should keep us safe tonight,’ he said, sitting back on his heels. ‘Wild animals won’t come near fire.’
Asphodel looked around the clearing, fear showing in her eyes. She had not thought of wild animals, but of course, there would be bears, wolves and wild boar at the least. She realised how unprepared she was for this adventure.
Vass smiled at her. ‘They won’t come near the fire, I promise you,’ he repeated.
‘What if the fire goes out while we’re sleeping?’
‘We must take it in turns to watch it. It’s not like having a full night’s sleep, and we’ll be more tired tomorrow, but it’s necessary. I’d let you sleep, but I need some too.’
He reached over and pulled her to him, kissing her passionately. Asphodel pulled away.
‘What’s wrong? Don’t you want me?’
Asphodel looked at him.
‘I’m here, aren’t I? Would I be here if I didn’t want you?’
‘Well, why are you pulling away?’
‘Firstly, I’m a bit afraid. I’ve never…you know. Then, what if I become pregnant?’
Vass frowned. ‘Surely you knew what would happen if you came away with me? I want us to be married, but there’s no need to wait. We’re not in Quantisarillishon now.’
‘Oh, Vass, I’m worried about the pregnancy thing. I know elves expect youngsters to experiment, and it’s not really frowned on, but illegitimacy is. We’re expected to make sure we don’t get pregnant.’
Vass lay down on his blankets and turned over.
‘Take the first watch,’ he snapped. ‘I’ll relieve you in a bit, and don’t let the fire go out.’
Asphodel’s eyes filled with tears that she quickly brushed away. She was not going to let Vass’s anger upset her. This was their first quarrel, and undoubtedly they would have many more over their long lifetimes. She would get used to it, she determined, and not let it get to her.
After a while, she felt her eyes closing. She stood up and walked around the clearing, gathering some more wood to put on the fire as it seemed to her to be getting low. The walking cleared her head a little, and as she sat down again, Ullin, the silver moon, broke through the clouds above the clearing turning everything silvery. Asphodel smiled. Ullin was full, and seemed to be smiling.
He seems to approve of my running away with Vass, she thought.
Just then, Vass woke and told her to get some sleep. He would tend the fire now.
The next morning, when Asphodel woke, Vass was putting the fire out. He removed the stones by kicking them out of the way. They were still hot. Then Asphodel watched as he replaced the turf he had cut away. Soon it would be difficult to see anyone had lit a fire here.
Vass said little as they ate some stale bread and cheese, not as they walked hand in hand towards what they hoped was the Erian border.
‘Vass, what’s wrong?’ Asphodel asked him after an hour of silent walking.
‘I told you last night. I’m going mad being this near you all night and not being able to make love to you.’
Asphodel sighed. So he was still angry at that. She stopped walking and looked at him.
‘You can wait, Vass, surely. We’ll have all our lives to make love as much as we want once I can get herbs to stop pregnancy.’
Vass looked at her through narrowed eyes. ‘Are you regretting coming away with me?’
Was she? She could turn back now. Perhaps her parents had not come home from Daisy’s yet. and would not know of her escapade If they did know they would be angry, yes. Very angry. She would undoubtedly be punished severely, but they would forgive her. Frishillondor was not too bad. He was quite good looking for a man her father’s age, and he seemed kind. She might get to love him, eventually.
‘Well?’ Vass spoke sharply.
Asphodel looked at him and her stomach did a somersault. This was the man she loved. She had every right to be with him.
‘I left my home and family because I love you, Vass. I would go anywhere to be with you. I regret nothing.’
‘Then why wait for us to make love? You know elves have few babies. We’re not a very fertile species, unlike humans. It would be very unlikely you would become pregnant before we could get married.’
Her grey eyes took on a steely glint. ‘Unlikely isn’t impossible, Vass. My mother had two babies whereas most elves only have one. We are of House Royal, and you know there are twins in the Royal line. We are more fertile than most elves. I’m not risking it.’
Vass relapsed into silence and they continued walking. Then he suddenly turned to her and said, ‘You are a most stubborn girl, Aspholessaria.’ He softened his words with a smile and bent to kiss her gently.
Three days passed as they walked through the forest. There had been no sign of pursuit, nor any dangers from the denizens of the forest, either. Vass had been right about the fire keeping wild beasts away. After these three days, the trees thinned and then they met a track leading westwards. They followed it and soon saw smoke rising from chimneys in a small human village.
‘We must be in Erian,’ exclaimed Vass. ‘At last. Now you can go and seek out those herbs you were talking about.’
‘One track mind,’ laughed Asphodel and she ran ahead into the village.

How will Asphodel and Vass’s relationship progress now they are in human lands? Will their parents find them or will they get married and live happily ever after?

Come back on the first Tuesday of January to find out.

All comments about this story are welcomed. I’ll try to get back to you.

 

 

Aspholessaria part 3.

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Asphodel left the house, tears streaming down her face. She would go to Vass. He would have a solution to this. She could not, would not marry this man. He was old, in spite of what her father said. It was wrong to force someone to marry against their will. It was one thing if the two people both agreed to the arrangement, but she did not agree. She loved Vass. If she married Frishillondor she would never be able to see Vass again. she could not bear that thought.
She ran down the path leading to where he was staying with his cousin, Liss. It so happened that the two young men were just leaving the house. Vass ran to Asphodel and took her in his arms.
‘Oh, my darling, what’s the matter?’ he said, stroking her long black hair.
Asphodel stopped sobbing now she was in Vass’s arms and leaned her head against his chest.
‘Vass, it’s terrible. Father has arranged a marriage for me with a man who himself is old enough to be my father. I told father I won’t marry him and ran out of the house. He’ll be so angry. He’ll make me marry Frishillondor, I just know it.’
Vass pushed the girl away from him, holding her by her shoulders and looked down into her grey eyes, no longer clear as the usually were. He smiled at her.
‘Asphodel, I swear I won’t let this marriage go ahead. I love you and you love me. It’s right we should be together, and this marriage is all wrong.’
‘But what are we going to do? I know we should be together, Vass, and somehow I’ll make sure we will be. I don’t know how, just yet, but whatever happens, I won’t marry this man.’
Asphodel’s tears had stopped. She clenched her fists pressed her lips together and looked up at Vass. She saw his smile and her heart beat faster. Yes, this was the right man for her, not Frishillondor.
‘You don’t much like being told what to do, do you?’ Vass said.
‘It’s not that,’ replied the girl. ‘What I don’t like is being told to do something I know is wrong, and I won’t do it.’
Vass turned to Liss.
‘Do you think your parents will let Asphodel stay here for tonight?’ he asked his cousin.
Liss shrugged. ‘It might not be easy to persuade them. After all, they would be likely to agree with Asphodel’s parents, that it’s her duty to marry the man they choose for her.’
The three walked through Quantissarillishon thinking and occasionally putting forward ideas. Eventually they decided they would have to lie about why Asphodel wanted to stay with them overnight.
As it began to get dark, the trio made their way back to Liss’s parent’s home. Liss’s mother was preparing the evening meal as they entered.
‘Ah, there you are,’ she greeted them. ‘Did you have a nice walk?’ she turned to Liss.

‘Your father will be home soon, so go and get washed. And you, too, Vass.’ Then she looked at Asphodel.
‘Would you like to stay for the evening meal, Asphodel? If you’re sure your parents won’t mind.’
Asphodel looked at Vass who smiled at his aunt.
‘No, they won’t mind. In fact they won’t even know until Asphodel tells them. They’ve gone away to stay with her sister for a few days.’
‘That’s settled then. You’ll stay to eat with us.’
She returned to chopping up vegetables when she suddenly stopped and, brushing her hair from her eyes, she said, ‘I’ve just had an idea. How long are your parents going to be away for?’
This took Asphodel by surprise. She had not thought this question might be asked.
‘O-Oh, er. I don’t know. Daisy, that’s Dassirrola, my sister, is expecting a baby any day and I think they’ll stay until she’s had it.’
Vass looked at her and raised his eyebrows. Asphodel looked back at him and gave a little nod to say that it was the truth she told about her sister.
‘Oh, I understand that,’ said Liss’s mother. ‘Your mother is so lucky having two of you. That’s rare in elvenkind. Most of us have to make do with one child.’
She picked up her knife again and resumed her chopping before continuing.
‘What I was going to say was; would you like to stay here while your parents are away? It’ll be lonely for you at home by yourself.
Vass almost broke out laughing, and Liss’s jaw nearly dropped to the floor. How easy it had turned out to be after all. No arguing a case for Asphodel to stay after all. His kind-hearted mother had done it for them.
The next morning, Vass took Asphodel out to walk in the forest outside the city.
Once there, he took her hand and said, ‘I hardly slept last night, darling. I was thinking and thinking how we can be together and I came to the conclusion there is only one way. We must run away.’
Asphodel stopped and looked at him. ‘Run away? Run to where? Wherever we go in Rindissillaron they’ll find us.’
‘Not to anywhere in Rindissillaron. This is a big continent. We could go to Erian. They’d not find us there. But we must go quickly. Your parents will be already looking for you. First they’ll think you stayed with Sissi and not worry, but this evening they’ll begin asking. It won’t take them long before they think of looking here. We should go tonight, or at the latest, tomorrow morning.’
Asphodel walked to the edge of a small brook that ran through the forest.
‘Leave Rindissillaron?’
‘Yes.’
‘I’ve never lived anywhere but here in Quantissarillishon.’
‘Then it’ll be an exciting adventure for you. It’s the only way I can think of that we can be together.’
Asphodel turned to face Vass.
‘Then we’ll go. I have a few jewels and a little money. If I can get them without my parents seeing me, then I will. We’ll need money.’
‘I’ve a little money too. Not much, but I can work, and you can read and write so you can get a job as a scribe, I expect. We’ll get along just fine.’
‘I don’t speak Erian, do you?’
Vass laughed. ‘No, but we’re both intelligent people and we learned Elvish, didn’t we? How hard can it be to learn Erian?’
Asphodel laughed and Vass picked her up and spun her round.
‘Here’s to our new life in a new country,’ he said

Aspholessaria, Part 2

094Fungi

 
Asphodel spent the next few days in confusion. Her mother reprimanded her several times for forgetting little things.
‘Really, Aspholessaria,’ she said, ‘Anyone would think you were in love. What’s wrong with you?’
Her father laughed.
‘Perhaps she is in love,’ he joked. ‘She’s at that age.’
Her mother turned to her husband.
‘She’s of House Royal. She can’t be allowed to fall in love.’
Asphodel thought, ‘Am I in love?’
She wandered out into the city. She had an errand to do for her mother anyway, but she found her steps taking her towards where Linn lived. As she passed his house, the two young men came out.
‘Asphodel,’ called Vass. ‘I’m so glad we’ve seen you. Are you and Sissi going to Allimissoro’s tonight? Liss and I are, and I’d very much like it if you were there too.’
‘I don’t know,’ replied the girl. ‘I’ve not seen Sissi for a couple of days. I’ll go and ask her later, when I’ve done the jobs mother wants me to do.’
Later, Sissi agreed to go to Allimissoro’s that evening to meet the two young men. Asphodel was still in confusion. Vass had said he would like it if they were there, but did he mean her, Sissi or both of them?
Later that evening, it became apparent that Vass’s interest was in Asphodel. He danced with her all evening and hardly took his eyes from her when he was not dancing. That evening he walked her home without the accompaniment of Sissi and Liss, who walked home separately.
Half-way to Asphodel’s home, their hands touched. Asphodel’s stomach turned over again as Vass took her hand in his. They walked along in silence, each happy in the other’s company. The world around them had vanished. There was only Vass in the world as far as Asphodel was concerned.
All too soon the walk ended and they stood outside Asphodel’s home. Vass put a fnger under Asphodel’s chin and lifted her face, then he bent his head to kiss her. When his lips met hers she thought she would faint with pleasure.
The kiss seemed to go on for ever, but finished all too soon as far as Asphodel was concerned. She leaned against Vass’s chest and he held her close.
‘You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met,’ he told her. ‘I wish we could stay like this for always.’
Asphodel sighed and her practical side came to the fore.
‘So do I, Vass,’ she told him, ‘but my mother will be wondering where I am soon. I’m afraid I must go in.’
Vass bent his head once more and delivered a passionate kiss on Asphodel’s mouth, then stood and watched as she walked up the ramp leading to her home in the trees.
Asphodel and Sissi’s visits to Allimissoro’s became more frequent over the next few months. She did not deliberately keep her relationship with Vass secret from her parents, but she just never bothered to tell them. It didn’t seem important they should know.
She was engrossed in her growing relationship with Vass. That was all that seemed important to the girl. He was kind and attentive and always complemented her on how she looked. Soon the pair took to meeting other than at Allimissoro’s and took frequent walks in the land outside the city. If her mother thought anything, she assumed her daughter was out with Sissi somewhere.
One day, after Asphodel and Varr had been seeing one another for almost a year, Asphodel’s father called her into his study.
‘I have something to tell you,’ he said. ‘You remember Frishillondor? He came here not long ago, to eat with us as I had business with him and wanted to help it along. Well, it seems he was quite taken with you and he’s asked me for your hand in marriage.’
Asphodel gasped.
‘Yes, it’s quite a surprise, isn’t it? And quite an honour too. Your mother is thrilled. He’s nearer in blood to the Elflord than even we are. His sister is the Elflord’s mother. Fancy that! So of course I agreed immediately.’
‘No,’ Asphodel cried. ‘I can’t marry him. He’s old. I won’t marry him.’
‘Now, now, child,’ her father replied gently. ‘He’s not so old. He’s younger than me. Anyway, I insist on this marriage. It’ll be a big boost to our family. All our businesses will benefit greatly with him as a sponsor.’
Asphodel stamped her foot.
‘I said I won’t marry him, and I meant it,’ she said as she ran out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

 

Will Asphodel have to marry Frishillondor? What will happen to her love for Vass? Come back on the first Tuesday of November to find out.

Leave a comment in the comments section and I’ll try to get back to you. Or sign up to my email list to be the first to hear any news of my forthcoming books.

Shadow Stalker Book 3 by Renee Scattergood

shadow-stalker-cover

Things go from bad to worse when the Galvadi Empire develops a new technology to use against the shadow stalkers. Now Kado and Makari are more determined than ever to keep Auren away from their enemies, but Auren decides enough is enough and takes matters into her own hands. She turns herself over to the Galvadi to get close to Drevin and Makari has no choice but to play along. He is forced to either torture Auren to prove his loyalty or die knowing she will be tortured and enslaved anyway. Somehow they have to get close enough to Drevin to bring him down and put an end to the Galvadi’s tyranny once and for all.

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18) is now available for Pre-Order! It’s 50% off for a limited time, so hurry and reserve your copy!

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Stalker-Part-Episodes-13-ebook/dp/B01LAUV5E8/

Get The Whole Series

shadow-stalker-about-the-author

 

 

shadow-stalker-writer-1

 

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy, and she’d dabbling with paranormal thrillers under a pen name.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): http://reneescattergood.com

 

shadow-stalker-social-media-links

Website/Blog: http://reneescattergood.com/

Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/
– A blog where I feature indie and small press authors.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

AuthorsDen: http://www.authorsden.com/reneescattergood

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/RScatts

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-scattergood

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood

Renee’s Shadow Stalkers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rTPYCAwDq5cpyxHfphx0-x6ka9C7DWoJsdgYa2CyAw/viewform

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

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Buy Links:

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18) is now available for Pre-Order! It’s 50% off for a limited time, so hurry and reserve your copy!

Shadow Stalker Part 3 (Episodes 13 – 18)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Stalker-Part-Episodes-13-ebook/dp/B01LAUV5E8/

Another visit by Renee. this time it’s about Shadow Stalker book 2

shadow-stalker-writer-1

 

Welcome back, Renee. I’m so glad you can visit again. Tell us a bit about Shadow Stalker Book 2. I’m susre everyone will want to know what’s happening to Auren after Book 1.

About Shadow Stalker – Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12)

Episode 7: Bound by Fate

Auren’s best friend was captured during the Galvadi invasion, and her rescue attempt goes awry. Now Auren finds herself in the hands of an enemy who knows her true identity…one who has the power to be either her destroyer or her salvation.

Episode 8: Broken

Auren doesn’t succumb to Makari’s torture, so he decides his father was right about her being the delohi-saqu. Now he resorts to more sadistic methods to extract information, which could doom the Coalition if Auren fails to resist.

Episode 9: Turning Tides

Now that Makari knows the truth about Auren, he has sworn to protect her and help her escape. But when the other guides become suspicious, Makari’s loyalty is tested, and he is forced to do something he swore he’d never do again.

Episode 10: Separate Paths

Auren finally meets Shai, Kado’s daughter, but she is too weak from her months of torture to escape the reconciliation center. Makari takes over Shai’s cleansing sessions, but that means Auren will face daily torture again. To make things worse, Makari disappears and Auren is given a task that means taking the life of someone she loves.

Episode 11: Escape Part 1

Auren and Shai begin their escape, but it doesn’t go as planned, and they are forced to adjust their plans. They are pushed to their limits, and Auren has to put her untried abilities to use or risk being recaptured.

Episode 12: Escape Part 2

Makari has decided to stay with the Galvadi for Auren’s protection. Auren and Shai are on their own, and nature seems to be against them. After being seriously injured, Auren falls ill and it starts to look like they will never reach their meeting spot with Kado on the southern shore.

Buy Links:

Want to get Shadow Stalker Part 2 (Episodes 7 – 12) free too? http://reneescattergood.com/subscribe-today/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Stalker-Part-Episodes-Bundles-ebook/dp/B010H5Y9R2/

My Review

Book 2 lives up to all the promises of Book 1. Auren has to escape from the Galvadi, which she does with the help of the Emperor’s son, Makari. The two of them fell in love when he went to torture her.

She discovers another young shadow stalker imprisoned and the two of them, with the help of Makari, plan their escape. It does not go according to plan, however and the dangers are still around her. Makari, too, has to face dangers of his own.

As with Book 1, the story keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat. It moves quickly and poses questions you want answered.

Auren is a well-drawn heroine. She is realistic and has her faults as well as her good points. She feels fear and anxiety, just as anyone would in those circumstances. Ms Scattergood’s characterisation of all her characters is good. Both books are well worth a read and I can’t wait for the day book 3 is released.

 

 

shadow-stalker-about-the-author

Renee Scattergood lives in Australia with her husband, Nathan, and daughter, Taiya. She has always been a fan of fantasy and was inspired to become a story-teller by George Lucas, but didn’t start considering writing down her stories until she reached her late twenties. Now she enjoys writing dark fantasy, and she’d dabbling with paranormal thrillers under a pen name.

She is currently publishing her monthly Shadow Stalker serial, and she has published a prequel novella to the series called, Demon Hunt. She is also working on a new series of novels, A God’s Deception.

Aside from writing, she loves reading (fantasy, of course), watching movies with her family, and doing crafts and science experiments with her homeschooled daughter. Visit her site for more information and a free copy of Shadow Stalker Part 1 (Episodes 1 – 6): http://reneescattergood.com

 

shadow-stalker-social-media-links

Website/Blog: http://reneescattergood.com/

Renee’s Author Spotlight: http://reneesauthorspotlight.blogspot.com.au/
– A blog where I feature indie and small press authors.

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00NTJY1W2

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rscatts

AuthorsDen: http://www.authorsden.com/reneescattergood

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/RScatts

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-scattergood

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8507658.Renee_Scattergood

Renee’s Shadow Stalkers: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16rTPYCAwDq5cpyxHfphx0-x6ka9C7DWoJsdgYa2CyAw/viewform

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/reneescatts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReneeScatts

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100671337443224225702/posts

LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/pub/renee-scattergood/56/963/3

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rscatts/

Hosted By:
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Thank you for visiting, Renee. I’ll see you next week for an update on Book 3, soon to be released.

There will be another visit by Renee on Tuesday 27th September when I’ll be reviewing Book 3 of the Shadow Stalker books. I won’t therefore be posting on that Tuesday as usual. I have work to do on the edited copy of The Wolf Pack my publisher has sent me. Look for my next post the following Tuesday, October 4th, when, as it’s the first Tuesday of October. I’ll be posting the next episode in Asphodel’s story.

Aspholessaria

forest
Today I am going to start telling you the story of Asphodel, whom you can find in The Wolf Pack. Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar Series. You will have noticed I use her name a lot. I like her and the way she stands up for what she believes in, regardless of authority. This gets her into trouble quite a lot.

 

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.Aspholessaria

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.Aspholessaria

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.

Does Vass prefer Asphodel or Syssi? Find out in the next installment at the beginning of October.

Please leave a comment about this story. I appreciate all feedback, good or bad. I can’t learn and improve if I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

 

Jovinda and Noni Part 6. Tragedy

newcoverwolfpack

 

This is the last part of the story of Carthinal’s parents. I hope you enjoy it. Please leave a comment when you’ve read it.

 

Two years passed quickly, and Carthinal was toddling about. Noni came in from the embassy where he was still working. It was Carthinal’s second birthday and he had brought a huge toy dog for the little boy.
‘Dada,’ Carthinal said as he ran towards his father.
Noni gave him the dog and he struggled with it, dragging it towards the sitting room where he had been spending some time with Jovinda. His mother laughed at his difficulty, then went to help him bring it in.
‘Say thank you to Daddy, Carthinal,’ Jovinda said.
‘Fan choo,’ Carthinal said, looking at his father. ‘Fan choo. Doggy.’
Jovinda kissed her husband then said, ‘I’m a bit worried about Carthinal, Noni. Most of my friends children his age seem to be much more advanced. Even some of those much younger are moare advanced than he is. I’m afraid there’s something wrong. Perhaps he’s not very bright.’
Noni laughed. ‘There’s nothing wrong with our son, Jo. Half of his blood is elf. Elven children develop more slowly than human ones. In fact, he’s in advance of most elven children of his age.’ He paused for thought for a minute before continuing. ‘I don’t know how quickly or slowly this mixture of elf and human should develop, but probably about half way between an elf child and a human one, I would say. It’ll be interesting to find out. In the meantime, stop worrying.’
Jovinda smiled up at her husband and picked up her son, dog and all. She kissed him as he struggled to get down again.
‘Down,’ he insisted. He clenched his small fist and tried to punch her. ‘Down’ he repeated.
Noli took his hand. ‘You must not punch your mother, Carthinal. That’s very naughty.’
‘Want down,’ he repeated.
Jovinda put him down and sighed.
‘That’s another thing. He seems to be developing a temper. That must be nipped in the bud.’
‘No one said bringing up a child is easy, love. In fact. it’s probably the hardest thing in the world. You’re doing a great job.’

The couple wished for another child, but the years passed and there was no sign. Noni said it was probably due to the infertility of elves and that perhaps it would happen in due course. Jovinda went to the temple of Bramara and prayed, but it was to no avail.
When Carthinal was six, he was in the garden, playing on a swing that Kendo had fixed to the branch of a tree in the garden. He heard his nurse calling for him, but took no notice. It was nice in the garden. The sun was shining and he liked the swing.
Shortly, Jovinda came out and saw him.
‘Oh, there you are. Didn’t you hear nurse calling for you?’
‘Yes, but I don’t want to go in. It’s nice out here.’
‘You must come in now, Carthinal. It’s time for your tea and then it’s bathtime and bedtime.’
The little boy’s face clouded over and he fixed his lips into a straight line.
‘Shan’t.’
‘Oh, don’t be naughty, Carthinal. Be a good boy and come for your tea.’
‘No.’ His eyes began to look, not like the blue summer skies, but dark stormy seas. Jovinda noticed the change ans she went and picked him off the swing and carried him, squirming and crying into the house where she handded him over to Blendin who took him away for his tea.
Jovinda went into the sitting room and smiled to herself. She had become used to these infrequent outbursts of temper and knew that in a few minutes her son would be his normal sunny self again. His temper never lasted long.

Noni arrived soon after this and sank down in one of the chairs.
‘There’s a problem in Rindisallaron,’ he told his wife. The elflord has died and there’s a problem with the succession.’
‘I thought that the elflord was succeeded by the eldest male child of his nearest female relative.’
‘Yes, That’s true, but in this case there are identical twins.’
‘So! The elder twin inherits, doesn’t he?’
‘Ah, therein lies the problem. You see, when the twins were born, their mother was seriously ill after the birth and in the rush to treat her the twins weren’t labelled. Now both twins are claiming to be the first-born.’
‘The father told the midwife that the first child was to be called Frissillimidor and the second Grimmshollin. She claimed she knew in which crib she’d put each baby and so they were named.’ He stood and walked round the room before continuing.
‘I believe the midwife would have been correct and that Frissillimidor is the elder, but factions have grown up, as you would expect. Now war has broken out.’
‘That doesn’t affect us herein Bluehaven though,’ Jovinda said ‘We aren’t involved in Elven politics.’
Noni came and sat beside his wife and took her hand.
‘You aren’t involved. Bluehaven isn’t involved, but I’m an elf, and so I am involved, like it or not. Father is packing at this minute to go to help the rightful heir.’
Jovinda turned and looked at her husband, understanding beginning to dawn on her face.
‘So you plan to go and fight too.’
Noni nodded.
‘You’d leave your wife and child for this war?’ Jovinda was getting angry rather than sad at the thought of Noni going away. ‘You care more for this Frissi-whatsit than Carthinal and me?’
Noni stood.
Just at that moment, Carthinal came to the door, but neither of them saw him. He had come to apologise for his outburst earlier. He heard his parents arguing. He had never seen that before and it frightened him. Nevertheless, he stood just behind the door and listened to an argument he could not understand. Carthinal fled back up to the nursery, his apology forgotten.
No matter what argument she put forward, Noni was adamant he must go to fight for the rightful heir. The couple went to bed that evening barely speaking and that continued until three days later when Noni had packed ready to leave for the Elven lands.
Jovinda said goodbye to Noni with a heavy heart. They had made up their quarrel and she stood on the doorstep of their house with Carthinal as she waved him off. She blinked back her tears as she stood waving until he could no longer be seen.
‘How long will Daddy be away?’ Carthinal asked.
‘I don’t know, dear. He’ll come and see us when he gets leave.’

Two years passed. Noni came home as often as he could, but he needed a long leave to make the journey to Bluehaven from Rindissillaron and back and he had little time when he was there. Jovinda had to rely on his letters to tell her of the progress of the war.In one letter, Noni wrote of how the war was nearly won. Grimmshollin had retreated to a very small area and was barely holding it. It would be only a few days before the war was over.
Jovinda was delighted at this news and eagerly looked forward to welcoming Noni home. Every day she expected a letter, or even Noni himself to arrive. The letter came in just over a sixday saying that there was one more battle to end the war and then just a few things to sort out before Noni came home. She was ecstatic and began to prepare a welcome home party.
A couple of sixdays later, there was a knock on the door. Their butler answered and showed an officer into the drawing room where Jovinda sat reading to Carthinal. She rose as the officer entered.
He saluted and introduced himself as Roshinderal, who was Noni’s friend.
‘Yes, he’s spoken of you often in his letters,’ Jovinda told him. ‘Do you know when he’ll be home? I’m planning a welcome home party for him, you see.’
The young captain cleared his throat and looked embarrassed.
‘Perhaps you’d better send your son out of the room, Madam,’ he said.
Jovinda’s heart began to beat quickly as she told Carthinal to go to the nursery. At first she though he would refuse as she saw tell-tale signs come over hs face, but the boy thought better of it and left.’
‘Please, sit down,’ said Roshinderal, as though it were his house and she were the visitor.
Jovinda sat down as requested, heart sinking. Then Roshinderal cleared his throat again and began to speak.
‘It was the last battle, and nearly the end of that too. The enemy was retreating. Noni laughed and said he always knew we’d win as we were in the right. Just then, one of the enemy archers turned and drew his bow. The arrow took Noni.’
Jovinda’s hand went to her mouth.
‘How is he? Can I go to see him? Is he badly injured?’
Roshinderal took Jovinda’s hand in his.
‘I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news, but I’m afraid Noni died of his injuries soon afterwards. The arrow ruptured an artery, you see. He knew he was dying and asked me to come and tell you and to say he loves you more than he could ever express. He said to take care of Carthinal. He was very proud of you both.’
Jovinda looked at Roshinderal with a blank look in her eyes. All the life had gone out of them. Then she screamed.
‘No! No! No! No! It’s not true. You’ve all made a mistake. He’s not dead. He can’t be. Go back and check. I’d know if he was dead. I know I would.’ She shook her head in disbelief, refusing to accept what Roshinderal had told her.
Her screams brought the butler, who was passing the door.
‘Madam,’ he said, ‘What’s the matter? Is it this man? Do you want me to escort him off the premises?’
Roshinderal turned and said, ‘I’ve just brought her bad news. Her husband was killed in the last battle of the war. Is there anyone who I can get to be with her?’
Between them, they decided that Jovinda’s parents would be the best people to get and so Roshinderal set off to their house to get them.
As soon as they arrived, they took Jovinda and Carthinal, along with Blendin, his nanny, back to their house. Ellire took Jovinda and put her to bed in her old room with a soothing drink and soon she was asleep.
Jovinda remained in her room for the next few days. She refused to answer the door, so Ellire left a tray outside. Some days a little of it disappeared, but others Jovinda did not touch it.
Ellire tried talking to her daughter through the door, but got no response. She tried to get her to come out to see Carthinal who was wondering what was going on. The six-year-old understood that his father had been killed in the war and had been inconsolable for a few days, but then, in the way of children, he seemed to bounce back somewhat. He could not, however, understand why his mother was ignoring him. Ellire tried to tell Jovinda this, but either the young woman did not hear or she was still too much enveloped in grief that she did not care.
Three days passed and Jovinda had not responded to anything. The trays of food and drink had been left untouched and no sounds came from her room. No sobs, no crying, no prayers, nothing.
Kendo decided that he would go in. After all, no one could go without food and drink indefinitely, especially drink, and Jovinda had not drunk anything in three days. He knocked on the door. No sound from inside. He tried the latch, but the door was locked.
Frowning, he called again, and when he still received no answer he said, ‘Jo, if you don’t answer me I’m going to break the door.’
Still nothing. Kendo put his shoulder to the door and pushed. There was a cracking noise as the hinges gave way and he fell into the room.
What he saw there broke his heart. There was his daughter, swinging from the beams overhead, a belt around her neck. He quickly cut her down, but it was to no avail. She had been dead for quite some time. A couple of days probably.
He left the room and told Ellire not to go in and to keep Carthinal away. The boy had taken to sitting outside his mother’s room talking to her through the door, even though there was no response. He went out into the garden and sat under a tree thinking. Was there something he should have done? He ought to have broken the door down sooner. They should have insisted Jovinda come out and eat her meals with them. She was obviously brooding in there alone. All these thoughts went through his head until he felt he was going to go mad.
The funeral was held in the temple of Kalhera a few days later. The family was surprised at how many people turned up. Jovinda and Noni were popular figures in Bluehaven. Kendo knew he would never get over his guilt about his daughter’s death, but he buried it deep.
He said to his wife after the funeral, when everyone had left and Ellire was weeping softly to herself.
‘There’s Carthinal to consider, Ellire. He’ll need a lot of support and help. We need to be his anchor now that Jo’s gone.’
Ellire blew her nose. ‘Yes, of course. We’ll need to bring him up. We should sell Jo and Noni’s house and put the money in trust for him. He’ll live here now with us.’
‘Should we tell him how his mother died, do you think?’
‘No. At least not for a long while. The poor child’s had enough to cope with without knowing his mother killed herself.’
Thus Carthinal lived with his grandparents and they brought him up. No one ever told him how his mother died.