Wednesday, 23 September 2015

[Northspell 11] a friend of thieves

They arrived at an unassuming wooden door set deep into the cliff wall. Despite being out of breath, Gia rapped a complicated series of knocks on the rough wooden surface. Almost immediately, the door swung open and all three children tumbled inside. The first thing Irena noticed was the fact that it was deliciously cool away from the heat and dust outside. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, she began to see strange shapes appearing out of the corner of her eye. Baskets of all types and sizes hung from the low roof, and guttering oil lamps swung from iron hooks or sat in stone niches carved into the wall. They cast more shadows than actual light.

"Who's this then?"

One of the large shapes unfolded itself from the darkness and siezed a nearby lamp, bringing it close to Irena's face. She wrinkled her nose at the strange smell.

"Oh, we stashed the dibs on her and the guards thought she was one of us." Gia explained, turning round from looking out of a spyhole in the door.

"We brought her down on the bales." Arkel added, shoving an elbow into Irena's ribs in a conspiratorial manner. She pulled away and put her hands up to cover her face briefly, pressing her fingers to her eyes.

"I want to go back. Take me back." She said, in a small tight voice.

The big woman laughed, but not unkindly, and a heavy arm was placed around her shoulders. "You can't go back now, not that the guards have marked you out. Why, they'd have your hand off as soon as look at you. Best to lie low for a while until they forget your face, chicken."

Irena wanted to cry but remembered just in time about behaving like a princess should, and choked back her tears. Instead, she was sick at the feet of the woman in front of her.

Arkel leant over with interest. "I've never seen anyone spew purple before...are you ill? Is it infectious?"

The woman cuffed him away and wiped Irena's mouth with a small cloth that had been tucked into her belt. "Feel better now?"

Irena, shivering, nodded her head slowly. Now that she'd adjusted to the temparature inside, it didn't feel so nice, and she had little raised bumps all over the skin on her arms and legs.

The woman covered the mess on the floor with sand from a bucket and shovelled it into a big woven basket by the door. "You been eating anything you shouldn't?"

"A boy gave me some bread. And I had some fruit in the square. The man was angry."

"Angry, eh? What did you do?" She took the bucket of sand and passed it to Irena, "Here, put that over the floor for me."

Irena dipped a hand into the bucket and scattered a handful of the dry sand. "I didn't do anything. At least...I was hungry, so I ate some berries. He said I was a thief, but I'm not a thief. A thief is..." she turned to look at Gia and Arkel, both of whom were staring at her. Gia had her fists on her hips, and Arkel had his arms folded.

"Did you pay?"

"You ARE a thief!"

Gia and Arkel spoke at the same time, Gia with her lip curled scornfully, and Arkel with something like delight in his voice.

Irena dropped the bucket, the sand spilling out onto the stone floor. "I'm not a thief, or a northwitch, or a gutter-rat or a...a... a chicken."

The woman's laughter filled the whole room. "Now that's more like it. But you're wasting my good clean sand, girl. You sweep the rest of that up and I'll fix the three of you something to eat, how's about that?"

7 comments:

  1. I like these things that you post. They have a little bit of the quality of dreams.

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    1. Thank-you Jenny! You have no idea how much I appreciate that you take the time to read my stuff and comment. I'm trying to get my first draft written without (too much) over-editing and it's REALLY HARD for me. I can spend about five minutes deliberating on a word before rapping my own knuckles and ploughing on...

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  2. More please.

    Seriously though, if you could write another ohh.... five hundred pages(?), that'd be great. I want to know more about stolen princess thieves!!!!

    Beth x
    www.thequietpeople.com

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    1. Heaps of thanks, Beth, for reading and for your lovely comment. Check back soon - Irena's adventures are nowhere near finished yet...

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  3. Is this a book you're writing or just short stories? It's very good and I really like your writing style! Very unique. ;-)
    -Amy

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    1. Hi Amy. The book is a pre-teen fantasy called Northspell, about a princess who discovers that she has magic, which gets her into all sorts of trouble before she learns to control it. I'm currently writing the first draft, and sharing the process here on my blog. You'll also find extracts from Glory Brats; a pre-teen sci-fi about a mismatched group of kids who get mixed up in a war. Thanks for dropping by!

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    2. This is totally cool! I will definitely have to check back!
      -Amy

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