Tag Archives: Fantasy

Enna, the Dragon Tamer

It would be much easier to tame a wolf pup if I didn’t have my little brother with me. Finn trudged beside me, bundled in caribou-skin coat, tan round face nearly hidden by the fur trimming the hood around his face.

My own hood was down even though the chilled air turned my bare ears to ice. Step one in taming a wild animal was to keep a keen eye on your surrounds, and I didn’t want my hood to block my view.

I pushed my mitten-covered hand into my pocket to make sure the dry meat I was going to feed the pup was still there. I didn’t want my brother to know, but I was feeling a little nervous. I may have read Taming Wild Things from cover to cover at least fifty times and knew the steps for taming all the animals listed by heart, but I had never actually tamed an animal before.

“Don’t you think we should get one of the older ones to help us?” Finn asked. He meant our older brothers and sisters, Bennjim, Sennori, Minnsy, and Ivinn.

“That would ruin everything,” I said.

“It would ruin everything if a wolf bit your hand off and you couldn’t knit anymore.”

“That, actually, wouldn’t ruin anything,” I said, blowing out a sigh that fogged the frigid air in front of me. I wasn’t good at knitting or needle work like Sennori, our eldest sister. She was so talented, that the trader that came in the spring would take the beautifully designed scarves and blankets she knit and sell them to villages miles away. After he brought her thirty-five silvers from her in payment for the things he sold for her, she was known to the village as Sennori, Silver Needle.

And everyone seemed to forget my name. I was just Sennori’s sister.

Then Bennjim, our eldest brother, killed the fierce white bear that roamed the mountains and brought terror to the village with a single roar.

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He became Bennjim the Bear Slayer. And I became Bennjim’s sister.

The twins, Minnsy and Ivinn were known for their skill of music. Minnsy had a voice more beautiful than any in the village and Ivinn’s played his lute so well that it brought tears to people’s eyes.

They were the Twins of Golden Melodies. I was the twins’ sister.

The only thing I was good at was being braver than Finn, which wasn’t very hard. He was only eight, three years younger than me, and mam said he worried as much as an old man. Which is why I couldn’t believe he wanted to come with me when he caught me sneaking off to tame a wolf pup.

“You smell like cheese,” I told him, catching a whiff as a gust of icy air blew around my uncovered head. Finn believed in that superstitious nonsense about cheese being a lucky food that warded off bad luck and was constantly slipping some into his pocket.

I hoped the smell didn’t make the wrong animal come to us and ruin my chances of finding a wolf pup. Today was the day I became Enna, the Wolf Tamer.

“I think we are being watched,” Finn said, ignoring what I said.

I rolled my eyes. “You always think that.”

“I’m always right.”

“Like that one spring when you thought there was a bear in the blueberry bush and it turned out to be Bennjim hiding in the bushes to scare us?”

“That was when I was a kid,” Finn sulked.

“What about the beginning of this winter when we were at the market with mam and you said someone was watching us. It was just the vender’s toddler under the table.”

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Finn frowned down at his snowshoes, seeming to concentrate harder on each step. “Who cares who it was? I was still right. Someone was watching us. My neck prickles every time, and it is prickling now.”

“So, what is watching us this time?” I teased. “A fluffy rabbit? An old woman with steaming hot tea?”

“You’re not funny.”

Before I could tell him that I was actually quite hilarious, something came flying towards me. I thought that Finn threw a snowball at me from the glimpse of something white, about the size of my hand.

Whatever it was came whizzing back from behind me, nearly hitting my shoulder. It didn’t fall to the ground, as a snowball should, but hovered in the air right above my head.

It blinked.

“Enna?” Finn squeaked. “What is that?”

I was trying to determine that very thing. The creature before me was no bigger than a bird, and had wings like one too, but that was where the resemblance ended. Instead of feathers, it was covered in white, fluffy fur. Unlike a bird, it had four legs, each ending in small claws peeking out from its fur. It had a tail that swished back and forth like an excited puppy’s. Its ears were hardly bigger than blueberries and were shaped a bit like a doe’s. Right above its fuzzy ears sprouted delicate, silver horns, twisting in twin spirals the size of my pinkies.

“It’s a dragon,” I breathed, scarcely able to say the words.

The dragon seemed to understand, doing a kind of hop in the air and making a series of sounds that reminded me of the yipping of playing foxes.

“Dragons are bigger,” Finn said in a confused, yet awed voice.

“Not snow dragons. The largest ones are only as big as a man’s hand,” I said, remembering the words from our village’s only book on dragons. I had read it a dozen times, like every other book in our dusty book shop. I ran through the facts it listed about snow dragons and realized that it had, unfortunately, left out the ones about how to tame a snow dragon. Taming Wild Things didn’t have anything about taming dragons either, so it looked like I was on my own.

I held my hand out.

“Don’t do that!” Finn yelled. “It will bite you.”

His voice startled the dragon, who took off flying towards a cluster of trees.

“You scared him!” I tried to hurry after the dragon, but hurry wasn’t a pace you can go in in snowshoes and I ended up falling, mittened hands sinking deep into the snow.

“You can’t run in snowshoes,” Finn said, unhelpfully.

“This was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to us,” I huffed, struggling to pull my arms from the snow, “and you ruined it.”

“You were going to get bit,” he insisted.

“I was not!” I yanked my arms from the snow. One of my hands came up without a mitten. I rolled over and collapsed on the snow. “We’ll never find it now.”

A yipping sound made me sit up. A little, white puff ball was diving into the hole my arm made in the snow.

“It came back!” I crawled to peer into the hole and nearly got my head smacked as the dragon came whizzing out with my mitten captured in its mouth. “It got my mitten for me,” I said, delighted. I reached to take it, but the little dragon darted away, letting out an excited yip.

“It stole your mitten,” Finn said, sounding horrified.

“It can have it,” I said. “It’s Minnsy’s old mitten and it is too big for me anyway.”

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But I knew mam would be angry if I lost it, so I made another attempt to snatch my mitten from its pin-sized teeth. The dragon darted out of the way again and I nearly fell face first into the snow.

Finn, who was standing behind the fluffy dragon, tried to sneak up on it and capture it between his hands (which was quite brave for someone who is as scared of everything as he is). The dragon made a chortling sound and flew out of Finn’s reach.

I thought it might disappear again, but it came to hover in front of my face, huge silver eyes blinking at me.

“I think she is playing with us,” I said, grinning.

“How do you know it’s a girl?” Finn squinted at the dragon.

“Silver eyes are girls. Blue are boys,” I said. “Haven’t you read any of the dragon book?”

Finn didn’t answer because he was too busy toddling on his snowshoes towards the dragon who bobbed playfully in the air.

I grinned and joined him.

Finn and I did our best to get the mitten back from the cheeky little dragon. Our snow shoes slowed us down, but the dragon always came back for us if she got too far ahead. Soon, we had gone back down the mountain, and I had forgotten all about taming a wolf pup.

“I am going to keep her,” I said, reaching my bare hand into my pocket. Instead of Enna the Wolf Tamer, I would be Enna, the Dragon Tamer. That title was much more impressive.

“How are we going to keep her?” Finn asked, “She is too fast to catch.”

“Watch,” I said. I pulled out the dry meat intended for the wolf pup I was going to tame and waved it in the air. The dragon’s eyes widened and, with a happy squeal, she dove toward it. My glove fell at my feet as the dragon traded it for the meat.

“Thank you,” I said, scooping my mitten up and pulling it over my icy hand.

The dragon landed softly on the snow and used her two front talons to hold the meat to her mouth. Her small teeth worked at the tough meat, but she didn’t seem to be able to break into it.

Frustrated, she dropped it on the snow and tried to shred it with her claws. When that didn’t work, her silver eyes turned up to meet mine and she let out a disgusted yip.

I laughed. “That’s what I think of it too.”

She looked back at the dried hunk of meat in front of her and a stream of light came from her opened mouth.

Not light. Fire.

I hopped back and watched as the dragon made more tiny bursts of flame appear until the dried meat was black and the flame sizzled out by from the snow.

“I guess that made her mad,” Finn said.

I stared helplessly at the burned meat and ball of white fluff that was my only chance at standing out from my brothers and sisters.

“Here,” Finn pulled something out from his caribou coat pocket and knelt down to offer it to the dragon.

I was surprised that he wasn’t afraid of the dragon after its display of fire, even if its flames were only as big as a candle’s. Even I was wary of sticking my hand next to its mouth like that, just in case it decided to char my fingers for giving it an insufficient meal.

“Dragons like meat,” I said, seeing what Finn was offering. Cheese.

She took the cheese in her tiny claws, took a dainty sniff, then nibbled. She made a humming sound in the back of her throat, which I guessed meant she liked it because she stuffed the rest of it in her mouth.

“She likes it.” Finn looked up at me, delight playing all over his round face.

“Let me try,” I said, eager to win the dragon’s favor. Finn let me have a piece of cheese and I offered it to her.

We took turns feeding her until Finn ran out of cheese.

The dragon must have still wanted more because she fluttered to my shoulder and perched there, large silver eyes blinking at me.

The dragon licked her mouth and nuzzled her face against my cheek. It was as soft as the baby chicks we had running around our yard every spring.

“You’ve just made me Enna, the Dragon Tamer,” I told her.

I just made you a dragon tamer,” Finn corrected. He paused, face scrunched in thought. “Actually, I’m a dragon tamer too.”

I pursed my chapped lips for a moment, wondering if letting him share in my accomplishment would mean I was back to just being “so and so’s sister.”

“More like Finn the Cheese Hoarder,” I snort.

“You’re not funny.”

“I’m absolutely hilarious,” I said, and the dragon rubbed itself against my neck and made a purring sound. “See, she thinks so too.”

Finn shook his head in mock annoyance, then began clomping towards the village, snow shoes crunching on the snow. “Come on,” he called, his voice strung with anticipation. “We have to tell everyone that we are dragon tamers now.”

Never in all my daydreams about winning a title for myself did I end up sharing a name with Finn. But I never would have thought that Finn’s pocketed cheese would be useful, especially for taming a dragon.

“Slow down, Finn, the Dragon Tamer,” I called after him.

“I bet I can beat you to the house.” He laughed and made his voice deep and important, “Enna, the Dragon Tamer.”

 

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The Song

She was innocently beautiful.  Her hair was a golden waterfall cascading over her slender shoulders and falling to her waist.   Long lashes framed sapphire eyes and her lips were like a soft pink petal.  She had a quiet, smooth way of moving that should have made her invisible, but instead brought every eye to her.  Daron wondered if she was quiet because she was too modest to want attention or because she thought herself so above everyone that she didn’t care if she was noticed by them of not.  Her face held no trace of scorn, but neither signs of bashfulness.  She was as impassive as a marble statue as her willowy form walked through the city at his side.  Perhaps that was what drew the stares—the mystery that lingered beneath her serene gaze.

Daron knew her secret.  She looked years younger than him, fifteen or sixteen at the most, but she had lived thousands of years.  She was one of the Old Ones.  The ones who lived since the beginning of the world and were gifted with ancient wisdom that humans did not have.

The Old Ones once lived among them and shared their wisdom, and the land was prosperous under their watch.  But that time passed long ago.  The Old Ones journeyed across the sea to a land they could make their own after mankind refused to practice their ways and heed their guidance. Mankind declared they didn’t need the Old Ones.

Only they did.  Thousands of years after the departure of the Old Ones, drought and famine plagued the land.  It was why Daron left on an impossible mission to cross the sea and find an Old One who was willing to come back with him and help their dying land—to sing the ancient songs that would call down rain for their withered crops.

Daron looked at the Old One beside him and thought how lucky he was to find her. He was warned that not all the Old Ones would be helpful. There were some who resented humans for their arrogant ways. Their disdain for humans festered inside of them and blossomed into a hate so strong it changed them.  These Old Ones grew cruel and vain.  They were so intoxicated with their power and eaten with thoughts of revenge that they were sent away from their own kind. If Daron had stumbled on one of them, it would have meant death.

But the danger and uncertainty of that journey had passed.  Daron would soon present the Old One to the King as proof he had succeeded in his mission.

—–

They stood on the steps of the front of the castle, looking into the courtyard filled with hopeful faces.  The bright-haired girl stood in the center with the king standing to the right and Daron to her left. She didn’t address the crowd but closed her eyes and hummed. It was so low that Daron could scarcely hear it even at only a few feet away.  It didn’t change in pitch but grew in volume.  Then her soft, girlish lips opened and a melody of words drifted past them and filled the courtyard.  Daron didn’t understand the words.  She sang in an ancient language that the Old Ones alone had mastered.  Even without the knowledge of the meaning of the song it was entrancing.  The song rose and fell in somber minor notes.  Her voice softening, then swelling to portray first sorrow, then urgency.

Daron thought that he would be watching the sky during the Old One’s summons for rain, but he couldn’t look away from the girl.  From his peripheral vision, he saw that the others were equally entranced with the golden-haired singer.   Her eyes remained closed and her face focused as her silky voice bounced off the courtyard walls.  Small pricks ran up Daron’s arms.  As the song went on, he almost forgot why they were gathered or the reason for the song.  There was nothing in Daron’s mind but the captivating melody spinning sorrow and hope.  He shook himself when a shadow passed over him.  Rain!  Rain clouds were forming and blocking the sun.

He looked up and was confused.  Something was blocking the sun, but it wasn’t rain clouds—not unless rainclouds were ebony black and moved as one shimmering mass.  Wait.  That wasn’t shimmering.  It was flapping.  Thousands of crows filled the sky.  Gasps and whispers filled the courtyard.

“What’s going on?” demanded the King, but the girl continued singing.

Daron tried to get her attention. “Old One, the skies are filled with crows.”

She didn’t acknowledge him.

“Thousands of them,” he continued.  “They’re coming at us.  Take them away!”

Her chilling song mingled with the people’s confused cries.

“Is this some trick?”  The King asked, red faced.  Daron was sure it wasn’t a trick, but a mistake.  Maybe the Old Ones forgot how to call down rain.  Maybe in all their years of isolation, they lost their skill.  Or maybe this particular Old One didn’t know how to call rain.

The sky was getting darker.  The birds would land soon and what little crops they had left would be destroyed.

Daron strode forward to shake the girl out of her trance.

As his fingertips touched her shoulders, a shock went through his bones and he staggered back.  The girl’s blue eyes opened.

“Don’t touch me human snake!”  It was her voice, but it didn’t come from her lips which were still forming the words to the ominous song filling the air.

Confused, Daron tried to form words.  “The crows will eat our crops.”

Her laugh filled his head.  The harsh sound didn’t match the softness of the girl before him.

“The crows aren’t going to eat your crops.  They are going to eat you.”

He must have heard her wrong.  An Old One wouldn’t speak such words.

“You, the humans who destroyed the land and drove the Old Ones out with your erroneous ways.

In an instant, Daron understood who the girl was.  Not an Old One, understanding and willing to help mankind like the Old Ones thousands of years ago, but one of the wayward Old Ones he was warned about.  She pretended to help them so she could destroy them.

Before he could call out a warning to the others, the crows fell on them.  Shrieks mingled with the incessant cries of thousands of crows.  People ran or fell to the ground and covered their face as the winged terrors swarmed them.

Daron ran, but there was nowhere to go that wasn’t already filled with crows.  Sharp beaks picked at his arm and shoulders.  They pulled his hair and bit the tender skin on his neck. He kept his arms in front of his face but their sharp beaks jabbed at his chin and cheeks.  He wanted to cry out, but was afraid they would poke their nasty little beaks into his mouth and rip his tongue to shreds too.

He tried to keep moving, hoping he could find a door that would bring him into the safety of the castle, but the crows were so thick and so many wild thrashing bodies kept jostling him that he didn’t know if he were moving at all.

He fell. He didn’t know if he tripped from the crows gathered around his feet or if his legs gave out from the panic that snared him.

He laid in a huddle, feeling wet, sticky blood run down his back and arms.  He was screaming now.  His mouth pressed to the ground and his tongue tasted dirt.

He was ready for death.  Anything to stop feeling hundreds of holes being dug into his body.

Everything began to fade, until one last sound remained.  A haunting melody sung by a sweet, smooth voice.


I hope you enjoyed my spooky story! If you want to go on a dark adventure–keeping with the Halloween mood– check out Zorok, the story of a murderous pirate who may not be as invincible as he thinks.

Happy Halloween!

Join me for tons more fun, writing tips, and a glimpse into the daily life of a writer!

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Zorok

Zorok pulled his sword from the child’s body and watched it crumple to the ground, wondering if he had ever been so frail and easy to kill. He was sure that he was impossible to kill now. There was nothing good aim and gun powder couldn’t protect him from.

He stepped over the bodies that littered the ground and paid no notice to the gruesome details illuminated by the flaming huts: tanned torsos with bloody bullet holes, looks of fear frozen on women’s faces, glazed-over eyes reflecting orange flames. His boots tread on an arrow, breaking it in half.  It amused him that these villagers thought they could defend themselves against his attack with such primitive weapons.  Bows and spears did little against pistols and gun powder.

The flickering orange light from the burning huts deepened the shadows in his hardened face making it look even more ominous. The top half of his dark, shoulder-length hair was pulled back showing a small hoop of gold in his right ear and the scar at his temple.

“It is time we claim what we came here for.”  Zorok’s deep voice rumbled as he reached his gathered men.  They cheered in agreement.

Zorok and his men grabbed torches from the pile they left in the cover of the trees on the outskirts of the village.  They lit them with fire from the nearest hut and headed into the jungle, toward the cave.

It would have been easy to sneak into the cave.  He could have led his men straight there and bypassed the destruction of the village, but he had to prove a point; no one told Zorok, most feared pirate in the land, that he couldn’t do something.

When he arrived on the island, a group of men from the village told him—through one of his crewmen who knew the language—that the cave was an ancient place of worship, and only a select few from their tribe could enter.  They wouldn’t allow him to go in and tried to scare him away by telling him that their god lived there and would kill them if they went in.

Once they shot down the men, they used their swords on the women and children. There was no reason to waste gunpowder on something that posed so little threat.  Normally Zorok would have taken those who looked strong enough captive and sold them on the black-market, but if the legend were true, he wouldn’t have room for slaves.

He could hear his crewmen murmuring eagerly to each other as they reached the cave.  The villagers claimed that it was a sacred place, but Zorok knew the real reason they didn’t want anyone to go in: treasure.

The cave’s ceiling was low and Zorok had to crouch over as he led his men down the winding tunnels. The scuffles of their boots bounced around in the enclosed space, making the group of just a little over two dozen sound like an army.

In the orange glow of his torch, he could see markings covering the walls. They were all symbols he didn’t know the meaning of or words written in a language he didn’t understand, so he paid them little attention.  Not all his crew members shared his indifference.  He could hear Tom, the one who had a flare for languages, reading the words painted on the stone walls.

“’All those who value their lives should not enter.’”

“Like I haven’t heard that before,” laughed one of the men. Tom laughed with him then continued reading the rest of the writing, all of it warning those who entered the cave.

“’Take care not to disturb the great god of the island,’” Tom stopped to read, squinting in the torch light.

“Would you stop reading those,” called a man behind Tom, “You’re holding up the line.”  Tom moved up to fill the gap, then read another one of the inscriptions.

“’Great evil lies within.’” He paused to translate the words in his head. “’If stirred it will devour the souls of those who dared to waken it.’”

“At the rate you’re going, Tom, we’ll have the treasure loaded on the ship and be setting sail while you’re still standing in front of a cave wall,” the crewman directly behind Zorok said.  The men laughed.

“And you’ll have us stuck in here with you,” said one of the men in the line behind Tom.  Tom stopped reading and moved on.

Just as the whole line was moving steadily, Zorok stopped.  There was nothing but cave wall in front of him.  Someone from the back of the line cursed at Tom, thinking he was the one holding it up again.

“Well that ain’t no treasure,” said a crewman right behind Zorok.

“All this way for a wall,” grumbled another.

“Quit your whining,” Zorok said. “It doesn’t end here.”  He dropped to the ground and crawled forward into a hole that his men hadn’t noticed because they were too busy complaining.

Zorok expected to find himself in a claustrophobic tunnel, but instead his lone torch barely reached the shadows of the cavern in which he stood.  The center was filled with knee-high chests.  Zorok went to the nearest one and shot the lock.  He opened it.  Shining gold coins filled his gaze.

“This is it boys.” He grinned.  He turned around and the grin came off his face.  None of his crew were there.  He grumbled under his breath as he walked back to the hole.  Were the idiots scared or just too stupid to find the hole, or was it Tom and his walls of doom holding them up?

The hole was gone.  Zorok scowled and moved his torch along the cave wall, searching for the place where he came in.  It wasn’t there.  He called out to his men, but it remained eerily silent except for a trickling sound on the other side of the cavern.  He cursed at the wall. He knew he came in from this direction.

A small wind brushed against his cheek.  At first he thought it came from the hole he was looking for, but then realized that was impossible.  They had walked too far and took too many turns for wind to be coming through that hole.  There must be another, one that led directly outside.

Before he could follow it, the wind grew stronger, coming from all different directions including  the solid wall behind him.   The wind merged into one place in the center of the room and a mass of swirling black appeared.

The wind stopped as the black shaped itself into a seven-foot, human-shaped form covered in a black, hooded cloak.

Zorok drew his pistol.

“You can’t fight me,” said a raspy but deep voice from under the hood.

“Give me a reason why I can’t,” demanded Zorok.  Holes that disappeared, wind that came from solid walls, and hooded figures that appeared out of nowhere made Zorok uncomfortable, but blasting things with gun powder was something he could handle.

“Your time is up, Zorok.  You made a deal with my master, and he wants his payment,” the form said in an eerie dead-pan voice.

“I don’t make deals,” he said keeping his pistol up and his stance ready. “I do what I wish and crush those who oppose.”

“You made a deal,” said the hooded figure, “Now your soul belongs to my master.”

Zorok laughed dryly.  “What do I care for my soul?  Tell your master, whoever he is, he can have it.”

“He doesn’t need your permission,” said the figure moving forward.  Zorok was ready to hear some enchantment murmured that was supposed to take his soul, but the figure put his hand into his cloak.  He drew out a sword that glowed slightly, giving off a faint white light. The moment he did, Zorok fired. The bullet disappeared in his black torso.  A rumbling sound came from under the hood that could have been a laugh.

“You can’t kill me.” The glowing sword moved steadily toward him.  Zorok stepped back and drew his own sword. An feeling foreigh to Zorok began to make its way down his spine: cold fear.

“Who is this master you serve—the one who wants my soul?” he asked, hoping to stall so he could look for a way out of the cavern.  

“The devil.”  The figure brought his sword down.  Zorok already had his sword drawn, and blocked the blow.  He spun out of the thing’s reach.

“I made no deal with the devil,” said Zorok backing away slowly.

“That’s what they all say,” said the eerie voice.  “But you’ve made the deal early in life and confirmed it many times since.”  The thing didn’t move after him, so Zorok took the chance to look around for some way out.

“Every time you stabbed your sword into a woman, every time you shot a man, every time you ordered your men to kill the innocent, a deal was made.”  The figure thrust his glowing sword at Zorok. Their swords clanged against each other and locked.  The thing was strong, and Zorok had to use both hands. His torch flickered as it dropped, but it continued to burn as it hit the stone ground.  He didn’t need it anyway.  He’d found his way out.

“You can tell the devil,” he said, grunting, “that my soul is mine for today.”  He used all his strength to push the glowing sword off his own, and ran toward a glistening ribbon on the cave floor.

White blasts of light flew past him.  One of them hit his shoulder.  He faltered and cried out as hot pain filled it.  He looked back and saw that the blasts of white lights came from the tip of his sword.

He froze.  There was one coming at him. His sword was up as if it had moved on its own and somehow he managed to deflect the shot with its broad side.  It ricocheted off his sword and hit the figure’s arm, knocking the sword from its hand.

Zorok spun around and headed for the dark liquid ribbon behind him.  He was taking the chance that the river didn’t stay underwater for too long, but it was better than being trapped with an enemy that couldn’t die.

As he jumped, he heard the eerie voice call after him, “Your cannot keep your soul forever. Memento mori.”

Cold water merged over his head. He swam with the current hoping it would lead him out of the cave.  After a few seconds, he tried to come up.  He was met with hard stone.  He kept swimming and tried again, but he was still underground.  It made him angry to have escaped a demon, just to die by drowning. It wasn’t the way Zorok, most feared of the seas, should lose his life.

Just as he was sure the devil would get his soul tonight after all, his head burst out of the water and his lungs filled with air.   He could see the moon half hidden behind the jungle foliage.  He dragged himself to the bank and a wild laugh of relief came out of his mouth.  He was Zorok, the pirate who defeated the undefeatable.  He had beaten a demon.  He had tricked the devil.

His laughter died.  The last thing the hooded figure said to him stopped his little celebration.  He didn’t need Tom to understand what those last two words meant.

Remember that you will die.

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This is a little bit darker and more gruesome than the little tales I usually post here, but it is fun to change things up a bit. Plus, my WIP, Blood Debt, has a tone similar to this (although my main character, Azrin, isn’t a bloodthirsty, treasure-seeking pirate).

I hope you enjoyed the story! 🙂

Join me for tons more fun, writing tips, and a glimpse into the daily life of a writer!

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The Wand in the Attic

Hey Epic Dreamers! I thought we could all use some fun in the form of flash fiction since we are stuck in quarantine. This little story is extra relatable since the main character is stuck at home with someone she doesn’t want to be. 😉

Enjoy the story!

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The Wand in the Attic

I was hiding from my bratty stepsister in the attic when I found it. At first I thought it was just a strange stick—as long as a ruler and as thick as a pencil—then I found the book Beginner’s Guide for Wand Use. I flipped through the many spells listed on the pages, thinking the book was a joke. Then I tried one.

I held it out and said “time for magic” to activate it as the first page instructed. I jumped when the wand gave a slight tremor. I was sure that I’d imagined it, but just in case…. I pointed it at the first thing I saw—a wooden music box that no longer worked—and said “muveras” which is what the book said to say if you wanted something to move.

The wooden box shot off the crate it was sitting on and crashed to the floor. I jumped and drop the wand. I looked from the box to the wand at my feet, to the box again. I wasn’t sure if I was excited or scared. Magic only existed in fairytales. How was it in my attic?

“Sarah! Quit leaving your dirty clothes in the bathroom!” It was my stepsister. She was twelve like me, but because she was five months older she seemed to think she was my second mom or something. That’s why I was looking through old boxes in the attic instead of watching TV downstairs. With mom gone on a date with my stepdad, she was more whiny than usual.

“Hello? Sarah? I’m talking to you. Come clean up your stinky clothes.”

I rolled my eyes and started to climb down the attic ladder.

Then I had an idea.

I snatched the wand and hurried downstairs. My stepsister was standing beside the bathroom doorway with her arms crossed. She was still yelling for me, so she didn’t hear me coming. I ducked behind a table with a huge decorative vase and scooted so I could look into the bathroom.

She wanted me to move my clothes? I would move my clothes.

I pointed my wand at the pile on the floor and whispered, “muveras.” The clothes shot through the bathroom door like a cannonball from a cannon, and exploded into the hallway. My step sister shrieked so loud you would have thought it was an actual cannon.

She stood, frozen for a moment with my tank top over her left shoulder and my underwear on her head. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Maybe staying home with my stepsister would be so bad after all.

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Spilling the Secrets on My Newest Novel

I’ve kept the novel I’ve been working on for the last three months a secret because making myself wait to share it motivated me to keep working on it and because I don’t like to share things too early. I need more than some character sheets and world building to comfortably announce what my novel is about. Mostly because the story could change quite a bit from the idea I had in my mind to the first draft I write, and because there is always the chance that I may decide that the story isn’t worth pursuing while writing the first draft.
But once that first draft is finished…I’m committed!
I finished the first draft on Christmas Eve (which made a fantastic Christmas gift) so that means I can finally spill all the secrets on my newest novel.
Yay! 🙂
So let’s start with the genre. It will be another YA fantasy, although the tone will be a bit darker than The Hashna Stone. Also unlike The Hashna Stone, the main character will be female and it is entirely in one point of view.
Synopsis: 
Everything changes when Azrin, daughter of the most feared warlord in Asarna, finds out the truth about her heritage. The unimaginable knowledge forces her to rethink, not only who she is, but the views she’s held all her life. Will she let the secret she’s discovered ruin her, or will she fight against everything she’s trained to be?
Azrin
Introducing the Main Character
Now that she is sixteen, Azrin is allowed to become a warrior and pledge her allegiance to her father, the clan leader, and her clan, Dorgan. Being a warrior means that she finally gets to go on the raids that Dorgan is famous for and prove her worth as a warrior.
When her father refuses to let her go on the raid, she wonders if it is some sort of test, and decides to sneak off after the warriors anyway.
It doesn’t make sense that she wouldn’t be allowed to go when every new warrior is always taken on the next raid to prove themselves. Not being allowed was as bad as failing the test that determined if you were worthy of being a warrior. Were you really a warrior it you weren’t allowed to go raiding?
Azrin know it wasn’t because she wasn’t a worthy fighter. She had been training since she was seven and while her father was perpetually disappointed with her twin brother, he seemed to single Azrin out for special training that she simultaneously resented and was proud of.
Azrin knew that the extra training, though painful, was preparing her for something big, but she didn’t know what.
After a falling out with her father, Azrin accidentally finds out what it is her father has in mind for her, and she sets out to do it without his knowledge, seeking to win his approval back.
Other Characters:
Bryden–a sixteen-year-old bastard who lives with the town’s blacksmith. His mother was a slave, taken captive from another clan during one of Dorgan’s raids, who died giving birth to him. No one knows who his father is, but unbeknownst to most, Bryden carries the secret with him, knowing his father wouldn’t take too kindly if he revealed it, and bitterly not wanting to claim a father who wouldn’t claim him anyway.
Azrin befriended him when they were young, but after a falling out when they were twelve, hasn’t spoken to him for four years. But events play out in a way that leave Azrin no choice but to–at least begrudgingly–speak to him again and eventually admit the value of his friendship.
Delzred–Azrin’s father is cold, unforgiving, and ruthless. He is the clan leader of Dorgan, the clan that has been thrown out from the other clans of Asarna and banished from interacting with them in anyway. For generations, his clan has been forced to raid and steal from the other clans because none of them will trade with them (although they do enjoy the excuse to enact revenge on the clans who wronged them).
Delzred has found a way to make Dorgan a part of the Clans of Asarna again, though it make take a bit of trickery and Azrin is absolutely essential to the plan.
Does it have anything to do with The Hashna Stone
This book has nothing to do with The Hashna Stone and is a completely different story set in its own world and its own characters, so if you haven’t had the chance to read The Hashna Stone, you can still enjoy this book.
Well, there’s the scoop on my newest project! I’m loving this story so much and enjoying writing Azrin. She is pretty much pulling me along and I’m just writing what she does. She definitely made writing the first draft interesting!

Back from NaNoWriMo

Hey Epic Dreamers! I thought I’d let you know that I am still alive. NaNoWriMo didn’t kill me and I don’t hate words and never want to write again after the experience. 😛

After finishing five (Or is it 6 now? I’ve lost count.) NaNoWriMos, I do find that it is easier and not as overwhelming as it used to be, but at the same time it still requires dedication, patience and a laser-like focus on writing.

I tend to write sporadically with some days only reaching a little over 400 words and other days writing 4,000. Instead of beating myself up for this yo-yo writing style, I’ve learned to embrace it. Some days I have more time than others and some days I have to spend an hour or two world building or researching or simply trying to figure out what comes next (because I completely pantsed this novel).

I learned not to sweat the days I didn’t write much because I knew there would be other days where I would write for hours in a wonderful writer’s bliss and make up for it.

I had about 4,000 words left to write on November 30th, but I drank some coffee and didn’t do ANYTHING else but write until those words were down and I’d officially won.

I actually enjoy the longer writing sessions. It really allows me to get into the world and get my head in the character’s mind and that’s when writing stops feeling like work and becomes magic.

So, that is my advice for anyone writing: write until it feels like magic.

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But, just because I finished NaNo doesn’t mean the work–ur uh magic–is finished.

I’m currently at 100,000 words for this project and I’m barely halfway finished, so I’ll be keeping this post short so I can get back to writing.

Before I go though, I do want to share some news I think you will all like. The project I’m working on right now will definitely be something that I keep working on until it is published (yay!). So you can be expecting more books from me.

I am absolutely in LOVE with this character and her story! I’m having so much fun discovering the story and getting to know the characters, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

It’s not time to reveal anything yet, but I will be letting you all get a gimps of my new project as soon as I’m finished with the first draft. For now I’ll just say that the world is loosely based on Norse/Viking society and it is about the daughter of a war lord who…

Okay, I’m zipping my mouth closed. No more secrets!  You’ll have to wait until I’m finished with the draft. 😉

Meanwhile, follow me on Instagram because I do occasionally let a few secrets out over there…especially pictures where some of the words to my WIP are visible and snippets of what I just wrote on my stories. It’s all great fun! 🙂

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The hashna Stone is Available for pre-order!

I can’t believe it! The little story I wrote for this blog three years ago has grown into a 417-page novel with a beautiful cover. I am beyond excited that it’s turned out so well and that I finally get to share it with the world.

Who knew that the chose-your-own-adventure story we played around with would plant the seeds for my debut novel? Looking back on those first few chapters I wrote, I would have never thought they’d turn into a book.

(Isn’t the cover gorgeous?!)

It’s been a long road to this point, but I’m proud to announce that The Hashna Stone is available for preorder and will be published on the 19th!

I’m doing something extra special for those who preorder: I’m giving away an exclusive short story about Samel, one of the characters in the book.

There’s only four days left to preorder so don’t miss out on this FREE story!

***To be added to the list of people who will receive the exclusive story, take a screenshot of the page that says you’ve preordered and email it to me at authorafox@gmail.com.

It makes me ridiculously happy to get to finally share this book with you all!

I’m so thankful for for all of you and all your support. Your kind words and encouragement has meant the world to me and has, quite literally, made a dream of mine become reality.

I have a feeling you’ll  enjoy this version of The Hashna Stone even more than the blog version  because the characters are richer, the plot is more complex, and the world more colorful.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story and hope you will enjoy reading it. 🙂

***NOTE: at this time, Amazon doesn’t allow preorder on paperback books, but I will be releasing BOTH an eBook and a paperback on the 19th.

 

And I can’t end the post without saying saying… Happy Birthday Invisible World!!! (And sorry you didn’t get your own birthday post this year 😛 )

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for five years already.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve just started, and sometimes I feel like I’ve been doing it all my life and can’t imagine a time when I didn’t blog.

When I started Invisible World in 2014, I had no idea that it would lead to me writing and publishing a book.

Thank you Invisible World and thank you Epic Dreamers!

Want to stay in the loop with real-time updates? Follow me on Instagram! That’s where I did the cover reveal for my book. I share my progress on whatever I’m working on at the time, and Instagram followers will be the first to know about my new book projects. 😉

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Book Update

Hey Epic Dreamers!

It’ s been a while since I’ve updated you all on the book (The Hashna Stone), so I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of where it’s at in the publishing process.

Editing

I’m so excited to announce my editor has finished with it! Not only that, but I’ve finished making all the changes she’s suggested and sent it off to be formatted. (If you are following me on Instagram, you’ll know how excited I was to get to that stage. 😉 )

My editor was great. She went the extra mile to not only look for grammatical errors and places where sentence structure could be better, but she took the time to get to know the characters and pointed out if they said something that seemed unlike them.

It was so refreshing to have someone read my story again after so long since it’s been a year since it went through the beta-reader process. It was nice to have a second opinion after so many drafts with just my own thoughts to go on.

Then, when the editing was finished, she told me that my book was one of her favorite projects that she’d worked on and said that I was a talented writer.

Me? Talented?!

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I might sound egotistical for saying this, but it really felt good to hear that. When you put so much time and effort into a project as large as a 140,000-word novel, you’re bound to have some self doubt. What if I’ve wasted my time? What if after two years of working on this, no one reads it? The smallest compliment or encouragement does so much to combat these thoughts.

Formatting

I’m just as excited to announce that my book has been formatted as well. 🙂

Formatting may sound like the boring part of getting the book ready for publishing, but it was actually the most fun. It isn’t just making sure the text is lined up correctly and that the gutters are wide enough (although it is those things too). Formatting also covers the font and pictures in the book. And that’s where the fun comes in. 🙂

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I loved getting to see my book transform from plain Times New Roman text to being filled with the beautiful, fantasy-looking text my formatter filled it with. (I know, I’m such a nerd!)

I was really lucky to find such an amazing formatter. She created the most epic looking chapter title image ever! She also put an awesome background to my act title pages.

I am so in love with the way this book looks! (I’ll reveal what the inside looks like on Instagram…cough, cough…you should follow 🙂 )

Cover

I had someone from fiver.com design a cover, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way it turned out. It is a very inexpensive place to get a cover for your book, but it shows in the quality.

After several revisions to the image, I finally bought my own image of a gemstone from IStock. It looked better with my image on the front, but it still had a less-than-stellar look to it.

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I thought I would be stuck with it because any other cover design service was way out of my budget, but then I came across someone who designs beautiful covers for a price I can afford on Instagram (which is also where I found my formatter), so I’m going to get them to create a cover and see how it goes. I have a good feeling about it, judging from the example covers I saw.

I can’t wait to get started on it!

Publishing

Besides the cover, the only other thing that needs to be done is a final proofread. And then…it will be PUBLISHED!

Finally. Finally! After two NaNoWriMos, one blog version, four drafts, and two years. It’s actually going to be published!

I am beyond excited! Publishing a book is a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I don’t think I’m going to fully believe it until I hold it in my hands.

The Hashna Stone will be coming out in August and will be  available on Amazon, both in eBook and paperback. I’ll know the exact date once I know how long it will take my proofreader to get through it. 🙂

Well, that’s what’s been happening with me and The Hashna Stone (and also an accidental plug for Instagram–I mentioned it four times 😛 ).

I hope you all have a great rest of the week! Until next time, Epic Dreamers!

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The first 20 to become patrons will get their name mentioned in the “thank you” section of my book. This is regardless of which tier you select. That means you can get your name mentioned (which is something only the highest level patrons get) for only $1. Yes, one dollar will get your name in my book!



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