Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Snippet

Since Fatecraft is now available at Darwin's Evolutions, and Loyal Dice is due out soon, I thought I would put up an excerpt from the next story in this series. It hasn't had its final edit before submission yet (much less an editor's eye), so please forgive a little roughness, but here Pazia and Vanchen have come into the hospitality of a forest race known as the Kivesh. (Iphiri, for the record, is a goddess of chance.)

Pazia awoke before her companion and crept into the shrine chamber. Her arm was still sore, but she could move it without wincing. Hafsha knelt, turning lengths of bone over in her hands. The daserii hung back, recognizing the ritual casting of morning lots.

Hafsha’s nostrils flared; she looked up. “Pazia. Please sit with me?”

“I don’t want to interrupt …”

“You are known to Iphiri. You are welcome here.”

Pazia knelt opposite the Kivesh, hands on her knees. “Thank you.” She ventured a question, “The people who brought us here yesterday seemed nervous. Is there something out there?”

“The forest is angry with us,” the priestess replied. “It has been this way for some months. Best to tread lightly.”

“Are you seeking guidance for that?”

“It -” Hafsha faltered. “Among other things.“ She changed the subject. “Do you know the language of the bones?”

“Somewhat – but not well,” she admitted. “I know a bit about every game of chance, but I’m more familiar with seer dice.”

Hafsha seemed to relax at this admission. “Close your eyes, then, so they might fall as they will.”

Pazia did so, waiting. The tink against stone echoed in her head. She squinted open one eye to see Hafsha pass her hand over the bones.

“You may look,” the priestess allowed.

Pazia complied. “What do they mean?”

“They mean …” Her lips rippled, not exactly pursing. “That good fortune has come to us as a gift from the gods, without expectation of return.”

Pazia had seen, in the second before the bones were covered, two crossed bones that indicated a trial or test. Hafsha was not being totally honest about the results. Had she and Vanchen walked from one danger into another?

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