Charlotte Anne's Departure from Arcana
Or...a scene that wasn't included in Choices Meant for Gods
In honor of upcoming Bear Awareness Weak and Fantasy Author Sandy Lender's involvement with Internet Voices Radio this Sunday night, this writing exercise from a past writers' meeting celebrates bear habitat -- or the Rochest Forest in the southeast of Onweald, which you can read about in the fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods.
Charlotte Anne shivered, settling her nerves and reflexes as the waves of nausea passed. She had to find a way to bring her bouts of morning sickness under control before she got back to her family’s farm. She wasn’t ready to face her father. She wasn’t ready to tell him why she’d been sent home from the school in Arcana.
“I’m not ready to tell him about you,” she told her stomach.
As if drawn to her voice, every shadow in the Rochest Forest now turned its attention on the girl. She winced as if they’d touched her.
But she was sensible. Even if dark spaces glowered at her here, angered at the way she’d defiled this place of seclusion, she knew that the morning suns shone back in the clearing where she’d left her traveling companions. Surely daylight lit the sky beyond the canopy above, and creatures like demons or trolls only came out at night.
“We have nothing to fear from the forest in the day,” she whispered, stroking her stomach slowly, lovingly, as if she’d already figured out how to be a mother.
She thought she had nothing to fear from the wispy shadows that wavered like faeries’ wings across the rustling leaf litter and rocks. Nothing to fear from the breeze that brushed across her like fingers lifting her hair, like a goddess hissing a warning in her ear. And it did feel like a warning.
She froze in place, kneeling on the dirt like a condemned man waiting...waiting…waiting for the sound of a snap as a twig broke beneath a boot. The ring of metal as a sword left its scabbard.
She jumped to her feet. And when she spun to face whatever beast had come up on her, the heel of her slipper met the puddle of her sickness. Her balance faltered. She would have screamed out if not for the shock in her throat. She hit the ground with a thud that jarred her teeth, and she imagined the baby within her started to cry.
“No noise,” the man hissed. He was suddenly around her, strong arms confining and bulging muscles binding. The sword blade felt both hot and cold against her neck, but it didn’t bite into the flesh as she expected. Yet his hand gripping and ripping her hair to hold back her head hurt like lightning bolts.
“Your death is supposed to look like an accident,” he said. “But I’ll make it as painless as I can.”
She gulped. “My baby…”
“Sorry, Little Girl.”
"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."