Writing Update: The Sisters’ Sequels

The hope had been to release The Cousins Tales in the Autumn and The Rosemen at Christmas.   As Dianne grew more fatigued during the summer, she suggested that we make the most of the summer holiday together, and pick up writing once the academic year began.  It seemed a wonderful idea, and it proved more valuable than we could have imagined.

With her passing in September, the plan to put the writing off will ultimately slow the releases.  But I am now prepared to trudge on with them.   Both books are filled with her co-authorship and she will still be felt in their pages.  Her spirit is to be found throughout the project.  I will post new publication dates as they become clearer.

Three additional titles had begun to form as off–shoots of the first three books.  She will be present in these as well, though her active contribution to their content will be less.  Her raw ideas for some other projects, as well as ideas from her notebooks may well find their way to print as well.

I recently found her bucket list.  Yes, she had a literal one in a notebook.  It had on it “publish a novel.”  I am so glad I helped her fulfill that wish and dream.

Our first book, The Sisters Tales is available on Amazon.





The Sisters Tales Release

Bk 1 Sisters Cover

In the aftermath of the Black Dunes War, the kingdom was a mere shadow of its former glory.   Although victorious, it was at all too great a cost.  Widows and orphans were to be found throughout the land.  Many of these sought a meagre existence in the capital city, swelling its population.  Much of the metropolis had descended into squalor.  This was especially true in the districts of The Alleys, and Back Lane.  It is in these latter environs that a dispirit band of women made a stand against their misfortunes, and set out to determine their own fates.  These heroic, or at least anti-heroic, souls were collectively known as “The Sisters.”

Paperback version is now released and ebook format is available for pre-order with an 1 April release.

Thank you all who supported me through draft copies on the blog, and those who provided advice.  The longer end product owes much to you.


Amazon Link


Epilogue: The Sisters Tales


Photo by Peter Lewicki on Unsplash

Owing to the limited ability of the party to transport the treasure back to the capital, none of them became fabulously wealthy by their shares.  That said, each was set up comfortably for the future.

“Madame” Gwendolyn Davies renovated the Alleys Laundry and turned its operation over to the capable hands of Thyme.  She also set up a second establishment near High Guilds which was run by Mildred, and a posh operation near Parliament which she ran herself.  Though she never remarried, it was not for want of attempts by a long string of suitors.  She became a force to be reckoned with in the business world of the capital.

Thilda and Lydeth were married in an elvish ceremony and set up an armouries firm which became the envy of all their competitors.   The star product in their line was a composite bow constructed along the design of her father’s AF3Bow.  It was trademarked as AF4Bow in his honour.  The pair enjoyed many happy years together.


Breena used her agreed ten percent to build a true hospitalry on the site of the old infirmary.  Her work among the poor and desperate brought her royal attention for the second time in her life.  She was named Lady Bright, First Baroness Backlane in the coronation honours of King Hector II.

Wilberta Small used her portion to purchase a theatre in the Low Guilds.  There she brought together a wide range of circus acts and musical entertainments, renaming it “The Temple.”

Seymour in the fine tradition retired warriors and lawmen everywhere bought an upmarket tavern on the edge of the Great Market.  The Two Axes capitalized on the legend and fame of “The Beast of the Palms.”  That said, Seymour rather than drawing pints at the bar, enjoyed serving as his own bouncer at the establishment’s door.

The Two Axes also became renowned for having the finest livery service of any inn or tavern in the entire kingdom.  The tall exotic Ralulee horse mistress also added to the mystic and draw of the “Axes.”  And mystical the tavern was, as an equally exotic clairvoyant had here “salon” on the tavern’s upper floors.  Both of these two women could at times be seen presiding over the bar, and had quite substantial personal followings.

While their “new lives” were busy, this did not mean that the companions grew apart.  The one thing agreed by them all was that they would always remain “sisters.”



The findings of the expedition included some truly remarkable items.  Though lost, the winged woman amulet, had been one of but a handful made on the Ralulee plains by an order of holy men with the sole purpose of protecting men from Succubi.  Its enchantment allowed it to draw off a Succubus’ own powers, weakening her to the point that her wiles would fail, and that she could be defeated.

The Feather Blade was of elvish construction, and carried just enough magic to allow its bearer to not tire in its use.  A warrior brandishing this blade would not fatigue, nor would the sword feel any heavier at the end of a battle than it did at its beginning.

The Life Stone had been cut in a time before the cities of men.  It had the ability to  restore the life force of one recently dead.  It did not heal the cause or causes of death, but it did allow for additional attempts at healing, or at least for last words and goodbyes.

The white crystal crown or Crown of Truth allowed the wearer to hear the “true meaning” of a speaker’s words.  This was more than mere translation, as it revealed the intention of one’s heart, not the guile of their tongues.

The golden gauntlets or Gloves of Aurile not only protected the hands of the wearer from physical blows,  but could be used by in a palms forward, outreached gesture to deflect most magical attacks as well.

The snow cloak given to Maya was woven in a time honoured fashion by members of the Snow Clan of the Mountain Elves.  It is not only extremely warm, but it has the same reflective nature as freshly fallen snow, allowing its wearer to “become one” with their background.




Loose Ends: A Sisters Tale


A few days later, Bertram Drake’s collections-man Bruno was at working the front counter of the pawn shop, when a tall platinum-haired figure stepped into the premises and started to examine some merchandise.

Bruno began to sweat and called out, “Mr. Drake, I am going to step out for my lunch now.”  Nervously the heavy gathered his things and headed for the front door.

Drake looking at the time and seeing that it was not yet quite eleven, grudgingly came from his office and took a seat behind the counter.

A few minutes later, a tall Green-Landian woman wearing an exquisite gown entered the shop and began to inspect the stitching on a fine leather saddle.

Bertram, while never opposed to the possibility of making a profit, normally did not like to have too many in the shop at a time.  So when the door chime rang again it looked quickly to the door, to see the massive features of a warrior approaching his display medallions and talismans.  The man was familiar, and the pawn-man remembered him as being an easy touch, so relaxed again.

It was when the chime sounded again that he had a start, for coming through the door was the Washer Woman.

“Gweeen . . .”

“Shut it,” she snapped at the weaselly man. “What is this I hear about you terrifying my girls?”

“Gwendolyn, please not in front of customers.  Maybe we should talk in . . .” Drake pleaded.

He was cut short, however, as Lydeth, Star, and Seymour mustered around Gwendolyn.

“Listen here, you waste of space,” Gwendolyn said sternly.   “I have come to pay you what is owed,” she said calmly as she dropped a large money bag on the counter.”

“Why, that is, that is lovely,” the man said uncertainly.

As Gwendolyn’s three companions loomed all the nearer, the Washer Woman said, “Minus an appropriate discount for the undue stress to my staff.”

“Of course, of course,” said the man, now beginning to bead with perspiration.

He pulled out a ledger from under the counter and turned to a page which bore Gwendolyn’s name and an amount.  He drew a thick line through the word “pending” and scribbled the word “paid” next to it.

“In full,” Gwendolyn pressed.

“Of course, my dear,” the man said softly and added the appropriate entry.

“And now in the real book as well, please,” Gwendolyn said knowingly.

“Real book?” he protested quietly.

“Yes, the real book,” she said impatiently.

“I will need to go to the office,” he said nervously.

“That’s fine, and I am sure you won’t mind Lydeth here accompanying you.” Gwendolyn said with a mock of a smile.

“No, no that is quite appropriate,” the man said and waited for the tall androgynous to join him.

A moment later they returned with a thicker accounts book, which contained far more detailed entries, including some for rather questionable transactions.  This was opened to the page that actually bore Gwendolyn’s signature, and the true amount of interest expected.  Again the entry was corrected to read “paid in full.”

Gwendolyn then leafed through the book, and carefully removed two earlier pages.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” Gwendolyn said and she turned to leave, accompanied by Star and Seymour.

The pawn broker began to scoop up his true ledger, but Lydeth laid a hand heavily upon it.

“I think this can stay here for a moment,” the armourer said.

“I was just . . .” Drake began.

“Yes, just in just a moment,” the half-Elf said menacingly.

As the trio exited the door, a young Roseman stepped in, in there place.

“Constable,” Drake began to plea, “you have come just in time.”

“Have I?” The Rosie responded, “In time for what?”

The constable stepped up the the counter, and as he did Lydeth released the book, and turned to exit.  The watchman placed his hand on the book, and said “Well what do we have here?”

“But constable . . .” Drake appealed.

Just then the chime sounded again, and Breena entered the shop accompanied by none less than Chief Superintendent Montoya.  The latter was carrying a royal warrant in regards to the premises.

“Señor Drake, or should that be Duckman, I am so happy that you have agreed to assist us with our inquiries,” Sir Orlando said.

The constable brought a chair around for his superior.  The chief sat down and Breena unwrapped a crystal crown from a piece of silk, and placed it on Montoya’s head.

“Shall we begin?” Sir Orlando prompted.


Homecoming: A Sisters Tale

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Two more day’s journey brought the spires and towers of the capital into view.  It had been a mild winter thus far in the capital, and the roads seemed quite busy for the season.  Several passers-by gave quizzical glances at the camels as the companions passed, and more than one child commented on the beasts’ strange appearance.

The party finally were home.  They were several weeks late, but home nonetheless.  The entered the southern gate and made directly for the Alley’s.  When they arrived at the small square before the arches Gwendolyn dismounted and leaving the rest of the party with the animals went to the laundry.

Thyme was ironing with her back to the counter, and Mildred was engrossed in some minor stitching repairs when the little bell on the door rang.  Mildred glanced up and immediately had to make a double-take.

“Mistress Gwendolyn!” she exclaimed.

Thyme nearly dropped her iron as she quickly turned, and then placing it on the counter rushed to hug the Washer Woman.

“Hello, girls,” Gwendolyn said affectionately.  “Are you well?”

“Yes, yes,” they said in chorus.

“Isn’t Mistress Thilda with you?” Thyme quickly asked, with a rather concerned expression.

“She is fine,” Gwendolyn assured her.  “She is at the arches.”

Gwendolyn again gave each laundress a hug, and then went to summon the others.

The animals were led to the wash house one by one and unloaded, then returned to the square.  The treasure and equipment soon filled Thilda’s work area, and some of the more special pieces were placed on Gwendolyn’s bed.

Star was quickly introduced to the laundresses, and then she and Seymour led the horses, mules, and camels to the livery-yard.

Thyme excitedly urged them to tell about their journey, as Mildred went to put on a kettle.

“There will be time for that later,” Gwendolyn told her.  “Is all well here?”

“Well,” began Thyme, “far be it from me to speak ill of folk, but that Mr. Drake has really put the scare into me.”

“Scare?”  Thilda asked.

Thyme began to recount how the pawn broker had made “polite” visits when they became overdue, and then how the heavies began to call around.

“Mr. Drake musta had a change of heart though,” Mildred piped in.  “The men he sent around said he was getting impatient, then they just never came around again.  And that was over a week ago.”

Gwendolyn looked cross, and muttered “we will see about that.”

After everything had begun to settle at the wash house, Breena made her apologies and departed for the Back Lane.

Thilda too said she had things to attend to, and headed off in the direction of the Great Market.

Maya sat in the laundry and awaited Star’s return.  When she arrived they departed together to the enchantress’ lodgings.  Seymour, for his part headed to his rooms above a nearby tavern.

 *          *          *

As Breena arrived at the infirmary things looked much as usual.  A queue of the dispossessed awaited their turns, and attendants sorted them according to need.  Several of the poor showed joy and excitement at the healer’s arrival.  Some reverently reached out to touch her as she passed.   The attendants at the door, gave an equally joyful response to her appearance.

Breena went straight to the treatment bays where she found one of the medical student’s lancing a rather hideous looking boil.  She then went to the office to find one of her senior attendants sorting some papers.

“Where is Abigail?” Breena asked.

The attendant looked up, and after a momentary expression of joy at seeing “the prophetess,” she became more downcast.

Fighting back a tear, the attendant said, “She passed two weeks ago.”

This deeply affected Breena, as not only had she cared for the old woman, but she had to question if she could have done something if she had been there.

“We chipped in and gave her a good funeral,” the attendant said.  “That young Mr. Egbert out there did his best,” she added.  “He took it badly as well, and has worked extra hours ever since.”

“I’ll be sure to thank him,” Breena said giving the woman a forced smile.

Breena then went to her chambers, and after a brief word with the now communicative “White Ones,” broke into a flood of tears.

*              *               *

Thilda wove her way through the bustle of the market, and with both nervousness and anticipation headed to the armourer’s stall.   There, demonstrating the perfect balance of a rapier to a prospective customer, was Lydeth.  Just the sight of the tall armourer’s beautiful features filled Thilda with joy and desire.  She strode past the customer and gave Lydeth their first ever public kiss.

She then stepped back and punched the half-Elf.  “You said you would look after the laundry,” she said accusingly.

Lydeth smiled and raising Thilda’s chin returned her kiss.

“I have done exactly that.  In fact, I have had to take some matters into my own hands in regards to that weasel, Drake.”

The tall armourer then wrapped her in a long passionate embrace.

Thilda did not return to the wash house that night.






The Rosemen: A Sisters Tale


Watchmen Cruthers and Finch had been in the Seventh Precinct their entire careers, if career described what they had.

Simon Cruthers had originally been the lone watchman for Farmington, and after seven years of dealing with lost sheep, stray donkeys, and vandalised haystacks, he was finally allowed to transfer to League Town.   Unfortunately his previous policing experience hadn’t prepared his for life “in the city,” so after only two months he requested transfer back to a rural watch post.  The Ferry Road circuit from League Town to the capital was soon his.

“Birdie” Finch was a native of the Alleys District of the capital.  He had toyed with a life of crime, as many Alleys boys do, but was taken under the wing of a Roseman in the Ninth Precinct who convinced him that there were benefits to being on the delivery, rather than receiving end of a truncheon.  On his third try to enter the service, he had managed to secure himself a place in the Seventh.   He was posted to a little charcoal burner’s hamlet known locally as “Emberville.”

As their beats overlapped, the two watchmen made it their routine to “catch a ‘tea'” at The Embers Inn in the evenings.  Truth be told, there wasn’t much more to their duties.  The last reported crime in either of their areas was some ferry toll jumping a year or so before, and for the most part they dealt with the occasional domestic dispute in the hamlets.

It was quite an exciting surprise then, when they were first hand witnesses to what might have been seen as an international incident when a Nordlandic nobleman was killed in the small inn they frequented.  This could be the event that was the making of any lawman.

Cruthers had arrived at the inn just as a rather splendid coach pulled into the yard.  The coachman jumped down and opened the door for a finely dressed couple who pushed past him to gain access to the landlord within.  With a flourish the man announced that he was Baron von Hasenpfeffer of Nordland and that he expected nothing less than the establishment’s finest room.

Two things bothered the Roseman about this exchange.  The first was that while posted in Farmington, Cruthers had ample opportunity to converse with the Nordlandic shepherds that competed at the annual shearing festival.  This man’s accent just wasn’t quite right.  Okay, he wasn’t going to stake his Rose Crest on it, but it bothered him.  The second thing was Lady Hasenpfeffer’s dress sense.  There was some money put into her clothing, that was certainly to be seen.  Yet there was just something a little too common about her style to make her persona credible.

A short while later Finch arrived.  Cruthers was sharing his observations with his friend when the baron stepped out onto the balcony that overlooked the lounge.  He looked every inch the aristocrat, but he also bore an astonishing resemblance to a member of the gang Finch had run with in his youth.

The two colleagues were sipping “tea” as they prepared to end their watches and retire to Emberville’s one roomed watch house, when things came to a head.   Five women arrived at the inn with a burly warrior in tow.  This party sat quietly in the dining room and ordered a meal.  Then the matronly looking woman and the man headed up the stairs to the baron’s private table.

The constables watched as the woman calmly spoke to the nobleman.  There had been no raised voices, nor did the woman act aggressively.   Suddenly, however, the aristocrat drew a bow-weapon.  The huge warrior responded in defense of himself and his female companion.  The baroness then reached for the self-same bow-weapon, and was stopped by an arrow from one of the matron’s companions below.  These were clearly, in the professional opinions of the Rosemen, acts of self-defense.

   *                     *                       *

A very similar account, or at least words to the same effect, was recorded on the official report brought by Watchman Finch to Gwendolyn in the morning.

“Ma’am, will you please initial here . . . , and here,” the constable said pointing to the paper. “And sign here, please.”

“That should just about do it,” chimed in Cruthers.  “I don’t think there will be any more questions.  None from us, anyway.”

“Yes, there is always a chance that some of the folks at headquarters might want to know a bit more,” Finch interjected.  “But, I wouldn’t let that worry you.”

“No.  In fact, we have noted that you were very cooperative, and that you seem pillars of society,” Cruthers added.

“Though, it might strengthen our assessment of you if you might show you civic spirit in a tangible way,” Finch began.

“Yes, that would be useful,” Cruthers agreed. “Maybe a small charitable contribution, might highlight your upright characters.”

*         *         *

A short while later the companions were again on the road to the capital, with a receipt for their kind contribution to the Watchman’s Benevolence Society safely tucked into Gwendolyn’s purse.


Righting of Wrongs: A Sisters Tale


Sisters 3

“Seymour, come with me,” Gwendolyn said.

The tall warrior dutifully followed his “little sister” up the stairs to the balcony terrace.  As they crested the stairs they could see Dennis and Helen eating pheasant and enjoying wine on a scrumptiously prepared table.  It was surprising the assortment of dainties that this little tavern had managed to put on for “The Baron.”

Gwendolyn stood atop the stairs and clearing her throat said, “Hello Dennis, Helen.”

Helen immediately turned pale, and Dennis soon followed suit as Seymour came to stand next to Gwendolyn.

“Um, ah, Gwen.  I mean Gwendolyn,” Dennis stammered.  “Amazing seeing you here.”

“Isn’t it?” Gwendolyn retorted.

“I ah, I . . .” he continued.

“Save it,” she cut him off.

Dennis and Helen sat silently, and Helen was doing her utmost to hold back sobs.

“Baron, is it?” Gwendolyn queried.  “Must have got a nice little start with those urns, not to mention my life-savings.”

“Well, actually . . .”

“Yes, I know, it’s a con.  Couldn’t have come up with something better than Hasenpfeffer?” she jeered.

As she spoke Dennis slowly lowered his right arm under the table.

“It has worked well enough so far,” he said a little more confidently.

Just then he quickly drew a small crossbow from under the tablecloth.  His efforts were not quite fast enough, however, for before he could level it one of Seymour’s axes sang as it sliced through the air taking the crown of the villain’s head off.  He fell face first into a bowl of spiced fruits.

Helen cried out in terror, and made a jump for the bow that had fallen to the table.  Before she could lift it, however, and scarlet fletched arrow passed through the railings from below and caught her in the throat.  She fell to the floor choking and then expired.

A minute later Thilda stepped into the terrace and collected her arrow.  “Sorry about your cloak, Gwen, but that will never come out,” she said dryly.

As they turned they were met by the landlord, and the two constables.  “Who’s going to pay for all this?” the man demanded. “And he owed me money as well.”

“Looks like a case of self-defense to me,” said the first watchman.

“What?” interrupted the publican.

“Self-defense.  Foreign fellow went for the crossbow.  Nothing to answer from the law.”

“But the mess, and the bill?” The landlord started again.

“Civil matter,” the second Roseman said.

“I think the tiara should cover your bill,” Thilda said, “If it’s not fake that is.”

“There’s a coach in your yard as well,” Gwendolyn suggested.  “After all he checked out without paying.  Seems a fair payment.”

The proprietor looked quizzically at the Rosies for a sign that this might be a legal course of action.

“A civil matter,” the second watchman repeated.

Thilda suddenly burst into laughter, and looking over her shoulder at Dennis’ still form said, “Looks like he got his just desserts.”

Gwendolyn just shook her head, then asked the watchmen if they were free to go.

“Of course,” the first one said, “but might need you to initial a report in the morning if you don’t mind, Ma’am.”

“We are staying here tonight, and want to get on the road early,” Gwendolyn said.

“Have a good evening,” the second Roseman said, “We will bring you the papers at breakfast.”

“The two cops then went back down to finish their “tea.”

The trio re-joined their companions in the lounge below, and as they were just starting to unwind from the episode, Seymour let out a tremendous roar of a laugh, “Desserts!”




The Baron: A Sisters Tale

Image result for boxing hares drawing

Boxing Hares – Lauren Mortimer – Pencil Illustrator

League Town was abuzz with the news that Baron Otto von Hasenpfeffer from Nordland was staying at The Purple Rose.  Furthermore, he was offering an incredible opportunity for people to buy land in the north at amazingly low prices.  He had said, that his cousin the king of Nordland was trying to bolster settlement, and to maximise the productivity of the region by bringing intrepid settlers in.

Even quite ordinary citizens had been seen going in and out of the central inn throughout the morning.  At noon the baron rolled up the last of his scrolls, securely put two locks on his money box, and joined his wife, Lady Helena at their awaiting coach.  With a flourish, he saluted the crowds and had his coachman take them to Northgate, and onwards to the road to the capital.

*           *          *

The party of course knew nothing of the happenings at The Rose.  The hospitality of Mustafa proved far more gracious than they had anticipated (at least in regards to the sisters), and the beds were some of the finest they had ever slept upon.  Consequently they made a later start to the day than they might have hoped.  Having already delayed, they decided to have a long and leisurely breakfast as well, which included something Star called falafel.

It was getting near noon when they began their passage through League Town, and they made Northgate at about half past twelve.  Their ride towards the ferry crossing was uneventful, and they engaged in what was mainly carefree chatter.  It was getting on to four when the party approached the river.

The ferry was on their side, and it had a single bright red coach already on board.  Breena rode up ahead of the others to ask if the ferrymen could hold the crossing until they could get there with their pack animals.

“Sorry love,” replied the ferryman.  “This here is an important man from Nordland, and he’s paid for a private crossing in keeping with high status.  And he’s paid top notch for it as well, mind.”

Breena glanced at the fancy carriage with its coat of arms depicting two boxing hares, and then turned to meet the others who were quickly approaching.

“The ferryman says we will have to wait.  Some foreign nobleman has paid to cross alone.”

As Gwendolyn got to the riverside, she cast a look towards the ferry which had just begun to make its crossing.  As she did she caught a glimpse of the familiar features of Dennis Dennison stepping down from the interior of the coach.  He was finely dressed in a silk suit of the Nord fashion, and was sporting a pointed beard.  Of one thing there was no doubt, however, it was Dennis.

                *              *             *

It was approaching six when the party made the kingdom side of the river.   It was already dark and there was little sense in continuing much farther that evening.  Their eyes therefore fell on the lighted windows of The Embers for their resting place.

It was a small inn, and had only limited accommodation.  Unfortunately the main suite had already been taken by “a gentleman of quality” they were told, but a smaller room, and some space in an out building were available if they wanted them.  Wearily, if not a little grudgingly Gwendolyn took them on behalf of the party.

While Star was settling the animals in, the rest of the party went to the open lounge of the inn to have a late supper.  Two Rosemen sat at the bar sipping The Embers’ special “Watchmen’s Tea,” brown ale served in a ceramic mug, that is.

Above them seated in a gallery was Baron von Hasenpfeffer, and next to him his wife, and though adorned in a pearl encrusted tiara, it was without a doubt Helen.  In fact, she still was wearing the cloak she had stolen from the laundry all those weeks before.






Hostility and Hospitality: A Sisters Tale

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It was nearly fifteen miles further down the road when the party came across a few outlying farmsteads.   As they approached the first of these, they passed a man dressed in the Ralulee fashion and wearing a red fez.  He was leading a donkey on which rode a veiled woman carrying an infant child.  The couple gave the travellers a gesture of greeting.  Star returned the greeting and uttered an appropriate salutation in the Ralulee tongue.  This was met with smiles and a similar salutation.

An additional two miles brought a village into view.  It had sprung up at the intersection of their road and the main road to Southgate in League Town.  At the crossroads itself, was a small inn, and as the day was coming to an end, the party began to discuss whether they should stop there.   It was named the “Il Iimu” in reference to the famous battle of the First Dunes War.

The decision was quickly made for them.  On seeing camels coming up the street, the landlord, a gruff looking man of about sixty, stepped out onto the porch with his arms crossed across his chest.   As the companions paused outside the establishment, he said matter of factly, “Its bad enov to ‘ave em livin in the village, but I ain’t goin to ave one ov em under me ruv,” giving a nod towards Star.  He then stepped back into the inn, and loudly closed the door.

At this, a passer by, an olive complexioned man in a turban said kindly, “It is not much, but you are most welcome to spend the night in the warmth of my barn.”  The party graciously accepted the offer and were led to a farmstead on the League Town side of the village.

The barn was spacious, and being still early in the winter fully stocked with warm hay.   As they got themselves settled in, the man and a boy of about thirteen arrived with a large platter of roasted goat.

“Please, my friends, make yourselves comfortable and if there is anything I can help with in my humble means, please let me know,”  he said.  Then bowing, he retired to the farm house.

After the tasty meal, and a good night’s sleep, the party again began to prepare for the road.  Not before leaving a walnut sized ruby behind on the platter, however.

Taking to the road again they began their journey to League Town’s southern gate.

“Should we stay at The Rose?” Maya asked, “I really don’t want to answer any questions at The League.”

“It’s too spread out, and now we have even more to keep an eye on,” Thilda reminded.

“There is “The Oasis,” Wilberta suggested.  “It is basic, and is even more Ralulee than The League is.   The circus never stayed there, but it might be an option.”

It was agreed that when they arrived at the city, that Star and Maya would go and check it out while the others waited at the gate.  It wasn’t far from Southgate, and they could always seek shelter outside of the walls if they had to.

When they arrived at the gate, the two scouts found their way to the brightly coloured “Oasis.”   The inn was down a long alley to the east of the gate, and while only two stories it did have its own stables, and theirs would not be the only camels to be tended there.  It had a fountain in the middle of the main reception, and elaborate tiles decorated both the floors and the walls.

“Salaam,” they were greeted by Mustafa the proprietor.  “Welcome to The Oasis.”

“Do you have lodgings for six sisters and our brother?”  Star asked in Ralulee.

“Of course, of course,” Mustafa replied.

“We have several beasts as well,” Maya said in the common tongue.

“We have the finest of facilities,” he said; though Maya looked a little doubtful as she glanced out into the stable yard from an arched window.

Twenty minutes later the band was leading their pack animals into that very yard.  The landlord looked a little confused over the dissimilarity of the “sisters,” but was nevertheless welcoming.  It was only when Seymour entered that his smile faltered.

“Il Washa,” one of his porters said in astonishment, as the giant man entered.

“Beasts indeed,” Mustafa said under his breath, before recovering his smile and showing the party to their rooms.  This time the women would use three bedchambers, and with some measure of irony, Seymour would again sleep in the stables where he could watch the party’s belongings.



Lydeth: A Sisters Tale

Sisters 3

Lydeth Seas was born in the shadow of the lighthouse in the old port of Harbourhead.  Lydeth’s mother, Tara House, ran a boarding house near the pier where she gave accommodation to mariners awaiting ships.  One of her lodgers was a tall mysterious individual with long platinum locks and striking sea green eyes.  At first she was uncertain how to address this guest, as their gender was ambiguous especially under the loose fitting ocean blue cloak that he wore.

The two struck up a friendship and soon, whenever Lyharth was in port, they would meet to catch up and renew their acquaintance.

Lyharth was of elvish stock and a member of the “Sea Clan.”  He was a sword-smith with the most amazing ability to by just looking at a customer to know the exact length, weight, and point of balance that was required to meet their needs.

Over time, Tara and Lyharth fell in love, and the birth of Lydeth soon followed.  Lydeth’s was a happy childhood living with mother, though father was often absent away on business abroad.  At the age of twelve, Lydeth left the boarding house to accompany Lyharth to the Green Lands.  It was on this journey that the young half-Elf began to embrace both the elvish tongue and a love of weaponry and armour.

The youth was apprenticed by Lyharth and soon was nearly as talented in the production of blades as was the master.

Tara died of a fever when Lydeth was eighteen.  Though ownership of the “Sailor’s Rest” was Lydeth’s by right, the half-Elf was no interest in running it.  The business was sold, and Lydeth became a journeyman armourer.

After a short time working for various bow-wrights and sword-makers of mediocre skill in Harbourhead, Lydeth ventured to the capital to build a business in the Great Market of the kingdom.

One of the regular customers was a feisty young woman about five and a half feet in height.  This woman caught Lydeth’s attention for several reasons.  The first is that she often to buy bowstring, but never arrows.  The second was that she would often arrive with bruises upon her arms and face.

Lydeth at last asked her if  she were being ill treated, or in some sort of trouble.   This for some reason moved, the young Thilda, for she felt no one had cared for her welfare since she was a child.  In her mind, the matrons at the girl’s academy definitely hadn’t.  But, this tall strangely beautiful armourer seemed to really care.

As for the need for arrows, Lydeth soon learned that she was a marvel at constructing her own, and though the half-Elf would never admit it publicly, they seemed superior to Lydeth’s own.

Soon the pair could be seen competing together at archery competitions, or having random “chance meetings” in the market place.