The original meme was “Name 15 books that will always stick with you.” I’m doing “15 books that were important to you in your protean formative years as a scribbler.” They are, in no particular order (and yes, I will cheat and group some books together): Continue reading
Chapter 6, Part 4
“What are you doing?” Longfeather asked now that they were out of earshot of the crew.
“Something I don’t think either of us is going to enjoy. Now don’t move,” Marta then turned to Sela. “Keep the door open, but if I try to leave this cabin before Longfeather returns, stop me. Knock me out and sit on me if you must, but do it.”
“May I ask why?”
“Because it will not be me.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have asked,” Sela muttered, “but I’ll do as you say.”
“I wouldn’t if I had a say in the matter,” Longfeather said.
“Regardless, both of you please be silent. I need to concentrate.”
Marta wasn’t even certain that what she was about to try would work, but she had the feeling that it would. She also had the feeling that it was dangerous in ways that she did not yet understand, but the circumstances didn’t leave her with many alternatives. She was reasonably certain that she could cripple the pursuing warship once it got a bit closer, but by then it would be in arrow range, plus able to positively identify the Blue Moon even if they did avoid capture. Conmyre, from what Callowyn had told her, neither knew nor cared about her ship, but that wasn’t the case in Borasur-Morushe. Marta wasn’t certain how they would disguise the vessel from the prying eyes, but that was a concern for later. Right now she needed to stop that warship before it got much closer.
Marta turned her attention to the bonds that linked her spirit to her body and invoked the First Law.
What Power Holds, Weakness Frees.
Marta turned her attention to Longfeather and invoked the Second Law.
What Cannot Be Taken, Can Be Given.
Without even being aware of it, Longfeather surrendered the bonds that held his spirit within the goshawk form that Marta had chosen for him.
Marta felt the shift as the natural pull of a physical body to its inhabiting spirit asserted itself, and she deftly redirected each in the way that she desired for them to go, and when it was done, finally, she invoked the Fourth Law.
Changing Shape Does Not Mean Changing Nature.
She wasn’t certain if that last bit was even necessary, but then she felt the strangeness of her new circumstances, felt the shock of seeing herself—or at least the form that she had long considered to be herself—lying on the cot. At that moment she realized her instincts had served her well. She wasn’t sure if she would have been able to hold onto her new shape otherwise.
“W-what is happening….”
Marta’s body sat up straight without her inside it, and the goshawk that was now Marta spoke quickly. “Sleep.”
Her body sank back down on the cot. After a moment Marta heard a faint snore. “Do I snore?” she asked aloud, before she realized that Sela was staring at her, open-mouthed.
“Now do you understand why I told you to not let me leave? That’s Longfeather in there now…and yes, it is disgusting. With luck, he won’t remember much. As for the goshawk, it’s a different matter. Stand watch until I return—I hope it will not be long.”
Marta tried out her wings and realized she hadn’t any idea how to fly, but she also realized that, in the beginning, neither had Longfeather. She took a few exploratory flaps and easily lifted off the stool and floated back down. The form remembered, it seemed, and would do as she directed. Marta flew out of the open door and up onto the yardarm of the Blue Moon. At first glance she felt a little dismay because the Borasur-Morushe warship appeared to be much closer, but then she remembered that she now had the vision of a goshawk, and the ship had hardly gained on them at all in the short time she’d spent in their quarters.
Marta took a deep breath, fixed the warship in her sight, and flew.
Her hawk’s wings floated her easily on the breeze and soon she was high above the Blue Moon and then gliding toward the warship.
Flying! Continue reading
The official publication date for Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate has been moved up from December 3rd to November 13th, but while we’re still waiting (humor me) I’ve put a new novella-length collection out in an ebook-only edition, The God of Small Troubles & Other Stories. This contains five new, original, never published anywhere else stories exclusive to this volume. The Kindle edition is out now. There will be a Nook and Kobo edition as well, but those are going to take a little longer.
The God of Small Troubles
Anchors and Sails
Olam Drexler’s School for Exceptional Children
Miss Jean Takes a Walk
Chapter 6, Part 3
“I thought you might want to know that we’re being followed,” Longfeather said. “A warship. I spotted their sails only a few moments ago.”
“From the south?” Marta shaded her eyes. “I don’t see them.”
“They are there, practically under the shadow of Mount Kuran. While I’m not exactly fond of being a goshawk, I will say that there are compensations. Flight and vision, for two.”
The goshawk shrugged its wings. “Almost certainly, but if you wish, I will make certain.”
The word may have been ‘please’ but the tone was ‘do it.’ Longfeather took wing and had soon disappeared to the south, but Marta didn’t wait for his return. She sought out Callowyn and found her in her quarters with Sela, giving the young woman a lesson in navigation. They looked up as Marta planted herself in the open doorway.
“We’re being followed. Either a naval vessel or another pirate.”
Callowyn frowned. “You’re sure of this?”
“My information source is a bit surly at times, but I do trust his eyesight.” Continue reading
Chapter 6, Part 2
After Marta and Sela took ship aboard the Blue Moon with Callowyn, their first stop was at the port of Shalas to refresh their supplies and so that Marta and Sela could check on their belongings. They found everything in good order, and the cart horse well fed and tended. Once Marta had satisfied herself nothing was amiss, she and Sela took some additional clothing and other supplies from the cart. This time Sela insisted on bringing her mailshirt, while Marta, after some hesitation, told her to bring both of Master Solthyr’s swords.
Sela frowned. “You don’t think the sword would be safe here?”
“As safe as it would be anywhere, provided no one knew what a treasure it was. I just have the feeling that we’re going to be needing that sword. Regardless, we may not be back this way for some time,” Marta said, taking a moment to scratch behind the cart-horse’s ears. “I would prefer that the swords remain in our immediate possession for now.”
They slept in a room in the Red Sunset that evening. Early the next morning they joined Callowyn aboard the Blue Moon to catch the tide. Callowyn’s crew put up their sails and in a very short time Shalas faded and disappeared in the distance behind them. As soon as she judged them to be a safe distance from shore though it was still in sight, Callowyn turned the wheel due east for Amurlee.
“We’ll hug the coast of Denelos as far as the border of Borasur-Morushe, then perhaps a little more distance from the coast would be advisable until we clear their waters. I don’t like running the open sea but it’s safer by comparison.”
“I gather there is some…history, between Borasur-Morushe and the Five Isles?”
Callowyn looked grim. “There is understanding, as there is with King Lokan of Denelos. My father, for consideration, leaves Denelos’ shipping alone. We also get use of the port of Shalas, so long as we are not too…obvious, about our activities. Borasur-Morushe, on the other hand, hangs everyone even suspected of association with the Five Isles, given the chance. We want to avoid this, and so that is our understanding.” Continue reading