Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Snippet: Wine and Chocolate

It's been a while since I've posted an excerpt since - until recently - I've been working on novel-length projects, which are too far along to pick an excerpt that isn't a spoiler, requires a lot of explanation, or both.

But for today, I'd like to share the opening of a new story I'm working on, inspired by:  my research on wine and religion; the medical properties that, historically, people used to believe that chocolate (as a drink) had; and an aspect of the opening scenario of the television show The Last Ship.  I've also just finished my Latin Cuisine course, so I have that area of the world on the brain.

That melange of inspirations has become Wine & Chocolate:

I leaned against the Necessity’s rail, my fingers tracing the grain of my ancestors, and squinted into the fog.  While the dark bulk of the city assured me that Port Diovana had not been swallowed by the earth, no firefly lights sparkled in the gloom to greet us.

“Odd thing, isn’t it, Captain?”  Arojin Feneli, my first mate, spoke in a low voice.  His softness made me more uneasy than the content of his words.  “Never seen a city so still.”

“Neither have I.”  I shook off the unease.  It had been a long journey back to civilization after a pack of privateers had chased us deep into the Evershifting Islands.  After that unwelcome adventure, I was probably just borrowing trouble.  “Tell Nip to stay sharp.”

Arojin nodded and moved off to flag the tiny girl – my cabin girl and lookout.  Nip, who had always looked a bit like a scruffy monkey with tawny hair that spiked down the center of her brow, now looked better kept than most of us:  she had grown up in rags and cast-offs and knew how to carry herself in them.  Arojin took pride in his sculpted black beard, the height of Tavellan fashion, but hadn’t been able to trim it since the ship’s last mirror broke in a storm.

I joined the navigator at the helm as the ship glided into the fog.  “Lane lanterns are out,” I observed.  “Think you can do this by feel, Vassar?”

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