Sunday, March 22, 2015

Forthright and Clementine by Ellen Mae Franklin and Peter M. Emmerson

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PROLOGUE

Staccato yelps pin pointed their positions as they converged upon her.

She had run far stumbling across the broken ground, her bare feet torn by the sharp flints littering the frozen riverbed. Her legs ripped and scratched by the thorn bushes growing along the forest's edge.

She knew closely behind, following the huge yellow beasts came the Hardmen of the North.

Her heart pounded so wildly in her chest she could feel it banging against her ribs, herd ragging breath blew short and gasping. A red mist of panic began to descend as closer they came closer and closer, unable to run further, she climbed the tallest tree she could find.

Without a moment to spare, for she was immediately surrounded by the long legged,slavering creatures. One, followed swiftly by others began to bray, their howl seven more frightening than their hunting calls.

The howling told its own story; ‘we have her.’

She screamed in utter horror as the beasts began to climb the tree, the closest,its eyes glowing red in the moonlight clawed its way closer and closer…
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FORTHRIGHT

Forthright muttered, but only loud enough for the dog to hear, “Can you see him?”

He half expected the dog to answer. After last night’s argument, he was surprised to see him acting this congenial. It was stupid really, fighting over the scraps of an already bad meal, but when you’re on a ship at sea what else was there todo?

The dog as he called it, forgetting most times that his companion had a name, was named Pelment. They had been travelling together for a very long time, through good and bad, clean times and some very nasty smelling jaunts, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. They were friends, but most of all they needed each other.

He didn’t see Clement staring and may have even missed the youth’s emaciated presence if it wasn’t for the push of a cold wet nose. In fact, the shove was such thatForthright fell backwards. On his arse he went. ‘Thump’ landing awkwardly and cursing for the sorry trouble.

“Look here you! I can’t abide bad manners, not at all and you know it. So, what if I got the last bit of bacon on the plate? I told you last night it left me with a sore gut and if we have to get back onto the matter of shitting again, well … “

Forthright didn’t get any further for the dog not only nudged him, but smacked him full in the face with a wet tongue.

“Oh!That’s just plain disgusting.” The old man wiped his face with a semi clean sleeve and in doing so, looked up.
____________________________________________________________________________

PELMENT AND THE GREYLADY

Pelment wanted to speak to the Grey Lady. Troubled as he was, this shape shifter was still an Un-Named and as he stepped through the trees, the dog shimmered. A youth, unblemished and as fair as the moon’s light among the soft budding evening walked with a step so light, that it hardly touched the forest floor.He whistled a soft tune that was a memory. Before he had become one of theUn-Named, Henri had, like the rest of his kind, been a young boy. It wasn't until the age of seventeen that the change fell upon him. It had been the GreyLady, who had seen him through his transformation.

‘You knowhow much I love that song Henri.’ The Grey Lady out shone the moonbeams,gracing his life. ‘I am happy to see you once again.’

“And I you.” He spoke the words out loud for it made him feel normal.
______________________________________________________________________________

KRAD AND OSTRANDA

Krad and Thgil sat side by side, Every now and then fingers touched, a bond unshakeable.

“You will hold the barrier while I am gone?” Krad spoke in low tones.

Thgil smiled a little sadly. “I had a dream.”

It wasn’t often that Krad sweated. Tonight though, he was all nerves and wondered if meeting Ostranda was the cause of his sour stomach. “You’re having too many dreams my little moon. Was it bad?”

She had large eyes, liquid love for her brother and she nodded, “A river of red I saw Krad. You stood on one side and I was on the other, the river was an angry torrent. I called to you, I tried to Krad, really, I did! But the rushing water was too loud for you to hear.”

The look on his face caused her to bite down, drops of blood dotted her chin and he wiped them away with a finger.

“Maybe it was just a dream. An ordinary dream that meant nothing, we have been under so much pressure. Maybe my friendship with Ostranda has upset you, Thgil? I’m sorry, but I can’t help the way I feel. My bones ache for her, my blood flushed shot when I think of her name. I don’t know what to do, except to find as many minutes as I can that will allow me to feel her skin under my hands. It’s not wrong Thgil to feel this way. Is it?”

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