Here’s a bit from the new Pimchan story I just sold to Sword and Sorceress 30, due out later this year.
“Temple of Chaos” — excerpt
by Marian Allen
Pimchan pushed aside the screen to her private quarters, knowing she would find water and clothes waiting just as she wanted them. She had come to expect that Nadia would have arranged water and clothes just as Nandan wanted them, too, but found that the young woman had reverted to her prior irreverence.
Nandan’s water would be too cold or too warm or would have a lotus or a frog in it. There’s nothing like depending on one’s foster sister for service to keep a young Warrior humble.
“Nadia!” Nandan’s second roar had an edge of genuine fury.
Pimchan re-laced the arm shield she had begun to remove and listened more intently.
“Coming, oh great one,” Nadia trilled. “I feared your bath would be too cold, so I bring two buckets of hot water, may it please you.”
Nadia’s bare feet scuffed across the stone floor, borne down by the weight of the water she carried. The wooden buckets clattered against Nandan’s bath barrel.
Nadia said, “You may insert yourself into the liquid, oh great one – Ow!”
There had been no audible slap, so Nandan must have struck the girl with a fist.
Pimchan’s scowl would have prostrated her apprentice into the most abased kow-tow if he had seen it. True, he was within his rights as a Warrior to enact discipline as and when and upon whom he saw fit. Still, to strike a helpless child –
Pimchan had taken but one step when Nandan yelped: “Ow!”
“How do you like it?”
Pimchan was, as ever, startled to realize that Nadia was no more a child than Nandan, and only slightly more helpless.
Nandan’s protest sounded less decisive than he probably intended. “A Warrior deserves respect!”
“Our mistress never hit me, and she’s a greater Warrior than you’ll ever be. True Warriors only fight fighters.”
“You poor, fragile innocent. That’s going to raise a knot. Where did you learn that blow?”
“From the butcher’s boy. I’ll teach it to you if you promise not to use it on me.”
Pimchan returned to her bath. Tyana had been right, as usual: the girl was fit to be a Warrior’s companion. Not, perhaps, in the long run, her foster brother’s, but someone’s.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a sibling relationship.