Okay, all right, yes, I’m writing another Pimchan story to submit to Sword and Sorceress. Then, after the exclusivity clause in that contract (assuming I make it into the volume), I’ll put out a collection.
Meanwhile, here’s a sample from my second Pimchan story. There was a gap of seven years between the first and the second, and seven years passed for the characters.
Pimchan’s Male is now Nandan, free and trained as a Warrior. Pimchan’s Female is now Nadia, his pesty but protective sister and trained as a housekeeper.
Nandan’s First Rune
excerpt from “Temple of Chaos”
by Marian Allen
Nandan knelt at his place at the dinner table and announced, “I’ve chosen my leading rune.”
Nadia’s mouth opened, quirked lips signaling a tart jest to come, but her expression froze and melted into blankness, her hand fingering the necklace of clay beads she had made for herself. Her eyes weren’t blank, though.
In Nadia’s eyes, Pimchan read the realization that her sole playmate and foster sibling of the past seven years was truly a caste apart, now. Nandan, having trained with Pimchan, would soon be a Warrior. Nadia, having trained with Tyana, was becoming a passable house servant, especially suited to serve in a Warrior’s company. Pimchan read pride in Nadia’s eyes, and a sense of ending. She felt the twin of that pride and that ending throb within her own breast.
She grunted approval. “We’ll have it emblazoned, if you’re ready.”
Movement, as always, caught the Warrior’s attention. A tear trembled on the crest of Nadia’s cheek. Another joined it, and the heavy drop rolled off and onto the young woman’s forearm. Pimchan suddenly remembered her mother’s tears when she came home from her own mentor with her head shaved and her first rune tattooed on her forehead.
Your sweet head, her mother had said. My baby’s precious head, shorn and pierced and stained.
She hadn’t understood that reaction then, and she didn’t understand it now.
“I could do that for you,” Nadia said, voice raspy and thick. “I’d love to drill some sense into that thick skull of yours.”
Nandan’s mouth popped open, but Tyana, household overseer and seasoned companion, interrupted.
“May your runes be the only marks another lays on your body!”
Nandan cast Tyana a beaming smile.
“I’m coming, too,” Nadia said.
Nandan pushed his hair back, rubbing the spot where his first rune would be tattooed, and said, “You’re not. This is for Warriors only.”
Nadia bobbed her head upward in scorn. “Not to that. I’ve been with the Mistress when she’s had runes incised – more times than you have. Better, more powerful runes, at that. I’m coming to see the All-Father. What if he sends you off, right then and there? You can’t go alone. Who would cook your rice? Who would clean your boots?”
Pimchan rapped on the table for the silence and attention a Warrior could always command. “I never had a companion until the All-Father gave me this town to defend. I sometimes walked with fellow Warriors, but we tended to ourselves.”
When, after a count of ten, she had said no more, Nadia was free to reply. To Pimchan’s surprise and approval, the young woman kept her thoughts to herself. The fact that holding back a remark was an obvious struggle made viewing the victory all the sweeter.
Buy it in trade paperback, Kindle, and Nook (ePub) formats.
I’m posting today at The Write Type on A Short Tale of a Long Tail: Are Events Worth It?
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Under what circumstances would (or did) you and/or your main character get a tattoo?