As the sun rose and exposed Saltmarsh to warm sunlight, it was a very different city. Fires smoldered on one side where siege weapons were attacked and destroyed. Slain guards were lined up and accounted for so they could be buried properly; casualties of the civil struggle between the king and the traditionalists of the city. Much blood has been spilt in the conflict. Will there be more?
Galen stepped into the common room of the Mariners guild house dressed in a clean bright tunic and black pants with boots shined brightly. His personal guard, Buckminster was by his side and held Galen’s arm to steady him. Galen’s face was drawn in and bruised, signs of the torture he endured in the jail of the kingsmen. He stepped to a chair in the center of the room and gingerly sat then folded his hands in his lap. Buckminster stood behind him and looked about the room with eyes narrowed as brow tight searching for any potential enemies and even when he found nothing but friendly faces he maintained his scowl.
Next Eda, the old burly fisherwoman entered. She was wearing a long coat, common for fishermen, and heavy boots. Her face too was bruised, the work of the torturer, and she walked carefully. A pair of strong young men helped her to her seat next to Galen. She sat and he reached out a hand to her, she took it and gently squeezed. They enjoyed a moment of solidarity as survivors then sat forward and waited for the final counsel man.
Murmurs that he would not show began to circulate but at last Anders entered with bright clothes and his head held high as if this were some basic meeting of the counsel. He greeted many personally and took time to shake hands with a number of people whose faces brightened when they saw the young man. He smiled and chatting briefly with a few folks before finally taking his seat.
The room fell silent. Galen cleared his throat with a croak like a frog then asked in a slow and deep voice, “How can we resolve this conflict and if possible, gain control of our precious city once more?”
The question was one on the minds of every person there. It was a question of the fate of an entire city. The answer would affect generations to come.
To the men who are there when their children need them, and even when they don’t, to those who protect the innocent and nurture the young, to those who offer all their strength, wisdom and love to those they call their own, may your day be filled with joy, love, laughter and appreciation for all you’ve given. Cheers!
From The Monster in the Woods a Sureshot short story available on Amazon. It’s a great little story and great way to check out my writing. You’ll love it!
Blood and bones increased in frequency and the men knew they were getting close to the Ogre’s lair. They crept silently along, backs bent low to reduce their profile as they moved through the brush, parallel to the ogre’s path. Their eyes were wide and scanned constantly. Their ears were strained to hear any sound of threat and they even checked the air for changes in scent. Indeed, the air became more foul the nearer they crawled to the ogre’s home. It smelled like rot, as if the woods had an infection or tumor that grew ever more dangerous.
At last the smell of death was nearly unbearable and flies were thick; buzzing about like a constant breeze. There was a bit of a clearing, likely because the ogre smashed most of the trees to the ground. The area appeared to be the site of some hideous battle which left nothing but blood and ruin. Bones were everywhere and blood covered every surface. The trees that were still standing had been abused and bore deep cuts, scratches and gouges on their trunks.
These are the first words I wrote, 20 years ago, that became my first novel The Sureshot Rises. That simple start turned into 3 whole books and a short story! It’s been quite a journey so far and I’m excited about where it will go next!