I just learned that March 12 is, according to Slovenian folklore, the day the birds get married! So congratulations and good luck to all you lovebirds out there!
Here’s another sample from the book I’m revising, formerly called EEL’S REVERENCE. It is not now, and has never been, about eels. I posted a poll, looking for a new name for the book. I have another one to suggest: THE WOLVES OF PORT NOVO.
One of a Kind
excerpt from The Book Formerly Known As Eel’s Reverence
by Marian Allen
We trotted, single file, along a wolf track. We made quite a bit of noise; it wasn’t until I caught a flash of sunlight reflected off a moving eye that I realized we were being monitored. Naturally, I should have known we would be. Did the Fortunatos see the wolf? Did they expect it? Did they care? On the chance I was being rescued from Uncle Phineas, I should have pointed out the animal. On the chance my abductors would kill it, I kept quiet.
We reached some sort of boundary; suddenly, the undergrowth became low ground cover. The wolf didn’t accompany us into the cleared woods, confirming my suspicion that it and the Fortunatos were not in league.
“Let me see this true priest,” the tenor voice said. A horse moved up on our left. “It must be eight years or more since I’ve seen a true priest; they’ve been through, I suppose, but I haven’t paid any attention to them.”
Someone snorted. “Paid a lot of attention to them before, Blennie?”
The horse pulled along next to us now. The rider was a mermayd, with skin as pearly as Loach’s, a dark blue tail, and salt-and-pepper hair done up in the Fortunato topknot. His skin showed no sign of age, of course, no more than a landsman’s would, if he spent his life covered in either water or salve. Only his hands showed age: ridged and veined with blue, red, and silvery gray. He must’ve been at least fifty – old for a mercenary. His saddle covered most of his mount’s back; it had probably been made especially for him. The saddle and tack looked old, too, gleaming with the soft patina of much use and good care. His gillband was covered with sharkskin and metal mesh. This is what Loach would be in fifty years. Assuming, of course, he stopped enraging violent people long enough to learn how to defend himself.
I looked around and counted four other Fortunatos, none of them mermayds.
“Yes, I’m the only one,” Blennie said. “Why the surprise? You’ve seen mermayds before.”
“Not on horseback. I’ve never seen a mermayd on horseback anywhere in the world but here. Is it normal in the Eel, like the Coalition, or this game of pass-the-priest all you Eelites seem to be playing?”
“Blennie’s one of a kind, Auntie,” said the woman on whose horse I rode. “Don’t worry about that.”
There was some rough-humored laughter, Blennie joining in with a touch of bitterness.
“I heard you were brought into Port Novo by a mermayd,” Blennie said. “And followed out by the same one, somewhat the worse for wear. Some of your best friends….”
“Are somewhat the worse for wear, yes.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What has your main character never paid much attention to?