Okay, first of all, I published CinderEddy on Saturday. Finally broke down and used my mom's account, and realized the next day that Five Glass Slippers had also been published that day. So that means that had I actually finished it in time to enter the contest and had won, it would have been published the same day anyways. If that makes any sense.
Anyways, here's the link:
Also, in celebration of this event, "The Sun Jewel Contest" and "The Prior Quest" are free until Wednesday night.
If you're apposed to magic, neither CinderEddy, nor "The Prior Quest" have any. At the moment, they are my only stories to not do so. Also, "The Sun Jewel Adventure's" magic is more in the form of a child's imagination from reading too many stories and fairy tales. The rest of the Bookania Quests do have magic, but Prior is clean.
Good books, all of them, or so I'm told. (A bit of violence in them, though Sun Jewel is the tamest, since it is told from the perspective of the Fair Maidens who go and hide when anything unfit for their eyes occurs.)
Anyways, on to the title.
I mentioned that the title of one of my plot bunnies is Fire and Song, and I actually finished the first scene today. (I'm doing terrible on this writing business, to tell the truth, as this first scene is pretty much all that I have written, although there is a first paragraph for the Beauty and the Beast one). So I'm going to post it. The reason for the title of this post is alluded to.
“Red berries are poisonous, right?”
Simmon glanced over at Dinna, the youngest member of their group, who crouched in front of a bush that was laden with plump red berries. “Not necessarily,” he admitted, “but those are.”
Dinna rocked back on her heels. “Oh.”
“But you knew to ask questions, get a second opinion. That's good. Very good.”
She stood up and spun around. “But it doesn't get us anything to eat. Let's keep looking.”
“Hey, you're doing good, you've made it this far, even though everyone recommended that you waited until next year to climb to the roost,” Simmon pointed out. “Don't expect too much from yourself. You’re not Nixa, after all. Only Nixa’s perfect at everything.”
She shrugged and scampered off.
Frowning, Simmon thought about following, but he heard a step behind him.
“You're too hard on them, Nixa,” he said without turning around.
An exasperated sigh. “How do you do that, Sim? You always know it's me.”
He shrugged, and turned to face his best friend. “Maybe because it always is you. No one else approaches me so boldly.”
She snorted and leaned against a tree. “No, I choose to believe that you're magic. We're so close to the Roost. Soon we'll know …”
“I can feel the wind under my wings already,” Simmon admitted. He gave his friend a long critical look, then added, “I just hope you won't be too disappointed.”
He saw her tense – though most would have mistaken it for an extra blink. “Why would I be disappointed?”
“Nixa, you may not have actually said what sort of bird you wish to shift into, but I’ve known you long enough that it’s obvious.” Simmon shook his head. “And you haven’t been exactly subtle. I mean, it was quite obvious when you announced your desire to come here the day we received news of Luqua Waterbird’s death. Besides, I’ve known for years that it was your desire to be an Elemental.”
“Waterbird wasn’t my first choice,” Nixa admitted, shrugging. “But I’ll take what I can get. We only had a few more months before we had to take our journey, after all.”
“How convenient for you.”
“I didn’t arrange her death,” she protested, rolling her eyes.
“Wasn’t suspecting that,” said Simmon. “We live a bit too far from the capitol for you to have pulled off such a stunt. But,” he held up a finger before she could retort, “I wouldn’t have put it past you had we lived closer.”
“You think that lowly of me.”
He arched an eyebrow. She arched one back. For several seconds, they just stared at each other, until she started laughing. He chuckled and took a step forward, taking her arm and turning her around so that they walked side by side. “The fact remains that you’re being too hard on the younger members of our party.”
Mirth died away. “We have to make sure they survive.”
“Agreed, but we don’t need to kill them with stress in the process. Let them fail a little – they’ll succeed all the better for it.”
“Sometimes, you say the most contradicting things.”
“Just because two things contradict each other doesn’t mean they can’t coexist.”
“Are you trying to get them killed?” Nixa turned around and started walking backwards, arms folded over her chest, eyebrow arched. “There are a lot of dangers out here. They could eat the wrong thing, wander away and be eaten, and a whole slew of other things!”
“But you don’t have to be so condemning when you correct them,” Simmon pointed out. “Believe it or not, Dinna, Loxor, and Mari think very highly of your opinion, and when your opinion cuts at them like it does …”
“Look, I’m flattered, but I’m concerned about more important things, such as us all surviving the climb tomorrow.” She nodded over his shoulder to the mountain silhouette that rose behind them. “It’s all we have left.”
“I think I shall prefer the trip down.”
“So will I,” she agreed. “So will all of us.”
“Which is why you need to be more encouraging to the kids. We don’t want them to make stupid mistakes because they’re trying to impress you.”
“I won’t be impressed if they make a stupid mistake.”
“Neither will I.” Simmon shook his head as she returned to walking beside him. “But you’re driving them to it.”
“I think I’m looking forward to when you’re trapped in an apothecary grinding at your herbs, and I’m making laws that will make everyone’s lives better at the capitol,” she said impudently.
“I think you’ll get lonely quite quickly,” Simmon countered. “I know I shall without you to keep me on my toes.”
“You need someone to keep you on your toes.”