Here is a snippet from “Hostages of Honeycomb,” my story in SWORD & SORCERESS 32.
An Inspection Is Ordered
excerpt from “Hostages of Honeycomb”
by Marian Allen
She glanced from the impassive guard to Somboon who, she now saw, was as pale as boiled beef. Surely, he didn’t fear the inspection. In the years of her residence, she had seen him advance from recruit to chief, and had seen her town guard advance, under his influence, from stout-hearted amateurs to lion-hearted professionals.
She spoke to the soldier. “Has my chief of guards been given this message?”
The soldier nodded sharply.
Somboon licked his lips and said, “It comes at a … good time for me, as it happens. I was about to come ask you for leave to deal with a personal matter.”
“Then you needn’t ask.”
His eyes went watery, as if he had stubbed his toe and didn’t want to cry out.
Old Lek’s voice crackled, “You come from Honeycomb, don’t you?”
Pimchan was irritated that Lek’s poor old joints, which hadn’t allowed him to rise and bow to her, had nevertheless permitted him to interfere in a conversation to which he hadn’t been invited.
Lek clapped his hands together in approval. “That’s where I was living! One of the reasons I came here was to ask you to send someone to Honeycomb. The Widow Zudora seems to think she owns the town, and she’s hired the toughest brutes for miles around as her guards and bullies.”
I knew it would be something. “That sounds like a matter for the army.”
The impassive soldier shook his head.
Pimchan knew better than to ask why it was not a matter for the army. The All-Father must be aware of the situation, because he made it his business to be aware of everything that happened in every corner under his protection.
“Well,” she said, dryly. “What a surprising coincidence, that my chief of guards and I have been ordered out of our town for a week, just at the very time some force is needed in my chief’s home town. I wonder if the All-Father would be terribly angry if I took it upon myself to go look into the matter.”
A corner of the soldier’s mouth twitched, but he made no reply or sign.
Sword & Sorceress 32, edited by Elisabeth Waters, was published November 2, 2017 and is entirely suitable as a gift for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Twelfth Night, Winter Solstice, Yule, etc.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: A character is manipulated into doing something that seems better done by someone else.