11 February 2017

Saturday Scene, 11 Feb '17. (Of Doom).

For this Saturday Scene, another snippet of my current WIP, Little Sisters of the Dragonslayer. It picks up directly where The Knights of Doom leaves off.

“We leave at first light,” Siobhan said.

“You should go and get ready,” the Abbot said to Midori.

Midori bowed, opened the door panel behind her, and exited without standing. Outside the door, she let out a long, slow breath, then allowed herself one quick, silent fist-pump. Aware that the hall contained the cells of the oldest of the Sisters Instructor, those who rarely taught anymore but often frowned at young Probationary Sisters. Midori didn’t think her elevation to Novice Sister would change the propensity to frown at unseemly displays, so she got to her feet and walked decorously to the end of the hall. She calmly descended the short flight of stairs, glanced left, then turned right into the cross hall.

It was empty, and Midori took three running steps before calling the wind to her. It swirled around her, lifting her braided hair, her tunic, sliding under her feet. With the thumb’s breadth of air under her, her momentum carried her quickly down the hall. At the kitchen doors, she let the wind die away. She paused for a moment to finger-comb her bangs, hoping it erased the traces of the wind. She moved into the kitchen, looking around.

“She’s not here,” Lay Sister Zalma called, her huge green hands kneading dough.

Midori tried to look innocent. “Who isn’t?”

The Troll chuckled. “Don’t presume that because my eyes are so far off the floor, they don’t see, child,” she answered in her rumbling voice. “Osumare is helping out at the forge. Take a crescent,” she instructed, nodding to indicate the sheet freshly pulled from the oven, “for yourself, and one for her. One!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Midori said obediently, picking up two of the crescent rolls. She smiled at the Lay Sister, skipped through the kitchen, ducked out the back door into the abbey’s inner ward. Outside, she could hear the pounding of hammers on metal, and the roar of the forge. She trotted to the corner, looked cautiously around.

Lay Sister Clarisse, the Orc forgemistress, was working with several Probationary Sisters, but Midori had eyes only for one: Osumare. Osumare was stripped to the waist, other than a leather and linen breastband. Her skin was the dark brown of those who lived closest to the equator, and under it, every muscle stood in stark definition as she brought the hammer up above her head and then down hard upon the glowing metal she held against the anvil with a pair of tongs. Her dreadlocks were pulled up and back in a messy bun. When they were children Osumare’s hair had been as black as Midori’s own, but about the time their breasts began growing, she had started going gray, and her hair was now as white as the snow on the hillsides.

Midori loved watching Osumare work; watching the play of her powerful muscles beneath her sweat-streaked skin. Midori had made her a name-day gift this year, knitting her a breastband and a pair of briefs from linen yarn. She’d liberated a measure of cocoa beans from the kitchen, ground them finely and boiled them to make a dye she hoped would match the color of Osumare’s skin. The first time Osumare had worn them for combat lessons, though, her sweat had made the improvised dye run, leaving the cloth streaky. Her skin had smelled deliciously for days, Midori recalled.

Osumare finished pounding the metal, and held it up to the light. It was a piece of wasserstahl, Midori saw, though it had been colored a vibrant red somehow. The young woman nodded in satisfaction, and set the piece aside to cool slowly. Midori came out from around the corner, running toward her back, hoping to surprise her. Without looking around, though, Osumare called, “What’s for lunch?”

Midori sighed. “I am not certain, though I have reason to believe it may be chicken salad on crescent rolls.”

Osumare chuckled. “Reason to believe? What’s with the formal language?” She turned and saw the rolls in Midori’s hands. “Is one of those for me?”

“Depends,” Midori answered, looking through her lashes coquettishly. “What’ll you give me for one?”

“A kiss?” Osumare offered.

“And?” Midori countered.

“A promise of more kisses later?”

“Deal!” Midori thrust one of the rolls toward Osumare, who took it and leaned forward to kiss her.

“If you’re not working,” Sister Clarisse called, “step away from the forge!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Midori and Osumare chorused, stepping out from under the roof. They walked to the well, and Midori half sat on the coping.

“That wasn’t a very good kiss,” Osumare said, standing in front of her. “Try again?”

Midori nodded, scooted back on the coping. As Osumare stepped in, she wrapped her legs around the taller girl, pulling her in. They kissed slowly, joyously. “Better,” Osumare said, and Midori grinned agreement.

Osumare stayed leaning against Midori, with the shorter girl’s legs wrapped around her. “Did you just come out to give me a crescent and extort a kiss?”

Midori thumped her butt with one foot. “You are such a liar! There was no extortion, only bribery!” She grinned, and Osumare grinned back, her dark eyes twinkling with good humor. She patted Midori’s leg gently, and Midori released her. “But no. I have news. Big news. Exciting news. News I wanted you to hear first!”

Osumare sighed and leaned against the coping beside Midori. “You’ve been chosen for elevation?”

“No, I’ve been… yes. How did you…?”

Osumare rolled her eyes. “I had stable duty yesterday morning; I saw the Initiate Sister’s runner. And we celebrated last week when you passed the open-hand trial, which was your last one. And the only other probie who’s even close to being ready to be a Novice is me, and I’ve only taken three of the tests.” She tore into the roll, pulling it apart and putting the torn-off hunk in her mouth.

“Okay, yes,” Midori said, good humor in her tone. “But besides that, how did you know?” They laughed together.

And now, time for linkies! If you enjoy my writing and would like to read more, there's a short story I wrote available for free on Wattpad. Also? My book Flowers of Luna is available on Amazon.  It's only U$2.99 for the Kindle version -- and it is available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you're one of those folk, you can read it without any further financial outlay.

I'd also like to mention that my friend Andrea Marie Brokaw recently released her second shifter romance, Of Snow and Whiskers, also on Amazon, at the same price. And my friend Maria Hollis' book The Melody of You and Me? Same price! On Amazon!

See you next week, gentle readers!

No comments: