Here’s a sample from my soon-to-be-reissued science fantasy novel (formerly called EEL’S REVERENCE), THE WOLVES OF PORT NOVO. In this sample, the three reiver priests (mercenary clerics) visit the merchant Theofric, who has brought the threatened true priest under his protection. In this world priests can be male or female and are called Aunt and Uncle.
Let the Games Begin
excerpt from THE WOLVES OF PORT NOVO
by Marian Allen
Because Theofric seemed on the watch for something, so was I. I heard the lift descend and return. I heard the footsteps behind me, one set all too familiar, and turned to see them coming.
The Port Novo reaver priests, all three of them.
I didn’t bother trying to rise. My legs wouldn’t have held me, had my joints been ever so nimble.
Theofric also kept his seat. “You’ve been long enough coming,” he said. “I was beginning to think Iris had become trustworthy.”
“No fear of that,” said Uncle Gregory. “She turned in her own cousin when the old Auntie stopped here the other day, and she goaded Reynold into telling Isabella and me when Phineas took his two malefactors off into the woods. If it weren’t for Iris, who would know anything?”
Iris, who cooked, and who refused to serve mermayds – Muriel’s cousin. That explained how Reynold had known where to find me; it explained how Uncle Phineas had known to look for Loach. A sneak, an informer, and on her own cousin, the pathetic, loathsome creature. I felt as if someone I’d pitied because she had a rash had turned out to be leprous.
Aunt Isabella’s eyes flicked from me to Theofric and back, fixing on me.
Uncle Gregory laughed warmly. “You audacious old Auntie, you!” He cast himself down at my side. “Isabella’s always warning me not to be complacent; if I’d known the tenacity and fearlessness of my opposition, I wouldn’t have been, honestly.”
“You’re a fool, Gregory,” said Isabella. “You prattle.”
“And you’re a bore,” Gregory replied. “You give yourself airs.”
Uncle Phineas looked on with mountainous impassivity, watching it all through those glittering little eyes of his, the corners of his thick-lipped mouth turned slightly down in amusement.
Theofric lowered the rice-stuffed bread he’d been about to eat and wiped his fingers with care. His merchant’s instinct no doubt advised him to stand back and let the dust settle before trying to influence anybody’s behavior.
I continued my meal. Truth be told, there’s a limit to how many ups and downs a person can take without becoming giddy.
Isabella quirked up the corners of her tight little mouth, her large round eyes unwaveringly on me; she looked like a raptor with a pale pink beak.
“Where are the others?” she asked.
“In the desert,” I said.
“How did you come here?”
“I sent the Fortunatos for her,” said Theofric.
Theofric smiled and waved a hand of invitation over the table. “Please join us,” he said, pleasantly.
Uncle Gregory did, with a will. Uncle Phineas lowered himself with massive grace into a cushion at one of the table’s narrow ends and picked from a bowl of assorted fruits.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A character is trapped at an uncomfortable meal.