Friday, 29 July 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Ruin of a Rescue

Y'know...I can never work out how to start my posts. Should I say hi? Or hey? Or just...*silence*


Yeah. I have no idea really.

Today marks the fifteenth week since I started this story! Already that far through!

We had some interesting votes on Slayers in Sáliner last week. 2 for 1. 3 for 2. And 2 for 3. And we also got three votes for all three of them put together so...I figured that everyone would be pretty satisfied if I went for all three. So I did. In the order of one, three, then two. And it worked pretty well too, so that's always nice.

And I had plenty fun writing it 'cause...well, hopefully you'll be able to see for yourself!

“You two stay here,” Altin commanded. “I’ll deal with it.” He ducked out of the tent, disappearing as more shouts erupted from the direction of the sea.

Jas grabbed a sword, shoving it into my hands. “Come on.” He flashed a grin. “It sounds like an attack.” His face was alight with eagerness.

Before he could dart out of the tent, it shuddered from a sudden blow, and I barely had time to yelp a warning before the heavy fabric collapsed on top of us.

I sprawled on the ground under the weight, struggling to get loose. Jas was yelping and flailing not far off. The sword in my hand was jammed beneath me, the hilt digging into my stomach. Luckily it had still been sheathed.

Managing to roll over, kicking the fabric away from my legs, I slid the sword from its scabbard. 

Stay calm, I told myself.

Shoving the sword point through a handful of the material, I slashed it down, the sharp blade parting the dense weave gradually.

I shoved through the tear I’d made, scrambling out from under the collapsed tent. A struggling lump that was Jas squirmed forward, his head bursting through the opening. Clambering free he leapt to his feet.

“Come on!” he yelled, charging off.

I spun around, taking in the surrounding rapidly.

Men with swords and cutlasses charged through the gypsy camp, while the gypsies shouted and scattered in every direction. Most of the men were gone hunting, leaving only the younger boys and the women and girls.

Altin was probably the oldest.

A loud wail burst out nearby, and I turned to see Daneela on the ground, eyes wide and terrified. I ran forward, dropping down beside her.

“Daneela.” I gathered her in my arms, dropping the sword to the ground. “Are you alright?”

She buried her head on my shoulder, her wails coming louder.

A tall man loomed over us, sword in hand and I jumped to my feet, grabbing up the sword.

He smiled, leaning forward to pat Daneela’s back.

I swung the sword at him furiously. “Leave us alone,” I shouted.

He parried the awkward slash easily, then flicked the sword from my hand.

Pain shot up my fingers and I clutched Daneela close, backing away. A hand pulled my shoulder, dragging me further back. Altin pushed us behind him.

“Stay back,” he said, voice firm. He raised the sword into a defensive position.

The strange man grinned at him. “You must be Țigan’s son,” he said.

Altin stepped forward, lunging with the tip of the sword. It was easily knocked aside, and the gypsy stumbled forward, right into the man’s wide open arms.

Twisting the sword from his grasp, the man wrapped an arm around Altin, pinning both his arms to his sides. “If we can’t find your dad, maybe the Captain’ll want you instead.”

“Run Louise,” Altin gasped, struggling against the iron grip.

I turned, stumbling away at a half run. Daneela’s mother appeared in front of me, crying with joy as she took her wailing toddler from my arms.

Where was Jas?

Someone needed to save Altin, no matter how annoying and grumpy he was.

The darting figure of Jas shot past and I yelled at him to stop, racing after him. He slowed, turning a wide smile on me.

“It’s great isn’t it,” he shouted.

“Altin’s been caught,” I replied, grabbing his arm before he could run off again.

“Altin?” Jas shrugged. “So? It’d serve him right if he was.”

He shrugged loose and ran toward a bunch of men searching through the food tent.

“Wait,” I yelled, but he didn't hear.

Desperation welled inside me and I clenched my hands into fists. I’d have to do it then.

Spinning on my heel, I raced in the direction of the sea. A ship rested calmly on the grey blue waters a way off shore.

Pirates then.

I picked up a nearby pole, a round tent support, searching for any sign of the pirate who’d taken Altin.

He’d been trying to save me at the time.

I couldn’t let them just take him.

All the men were turning back northward, heading back to the sea.

Dashing forward, I caught sight of Altin struggling in the grip of the pirate. 

“Drop him,” I shouted, charging at the man.

Swinging the pole, I smashed it against the pirate’s head, feeling a crunch as the pole itself broke in half. The man howled, dropping his prisoner.

Altin collapsed into one of the many thorn bushes that lined the beach, yelling loudly as the thorns jabbed into him.

I dodged the pirate’s spinning swipe as he turned, jumping back out of reach. Someone shouted behind me and I ducked, toppling over forwards as a pirate fell over top of me.

Scrambling away on all fours, I barely avoided a grab from the first man. Then a huge hand locked over my mouth, hauling me upwards.

I kicked backward, twisting and struggling to get free but the pirate’s grip was impossibly strong. More hands grabbed my arms, wrapping ropes around my wrists, tying them in front of me.

Altin was dragged from the thorn bushes, bound with his hands behind his back, and tossed into a long rowboat.

I couldn’t breathe. The men shoved me forward, their voices rough as they talked among themselves.

Refusing to walk any further, I dropped my feet from under me, the unexpectedness of the movement catching the pirates by surprise. 

Rolling to the side away from the water, I managed to get a meter before they grabbed me again. The pirate who had taken Altin slung me into the boat on top of the gypsy boy. 

The pirates shoved the boats off the sand, climbing in and picking up oars.

Altin moaned underneath me and I struggled the squirm off him but there wasn’t enough room.

“Stay still,” a pirate growled from above.

I stopped moving, closing my eyes. It couldn’t be happening. Fear twisted in my stomach. 

Water splashed onto my face and I flinched away. Altin groaned into the boards again, his face shoved into the bottom of the boat.

Eventually the boat slowed, the two pirates rowing dropped their oars, one landing on my leg. Shouts and calls came from above, on board the pirate ship.

More hands gripped my shoulders, heaving me up and dumping me on the deck. In another moment, Altin was beside me, sprawled on his face again.

“I thought I told you to run,” he muttered.

“Maybe I should’ve left you to be captured,” I retorted, the words catching in my throat.

“Great rescue,” he replied bitterly.

“Get up.” A pirate dragged Altin to his feet, allowing me to stand by myself.

“What are you going to do to us?” I asked, trying to keep my voice steady.

“You’re going to see the Captain,” the reply was tense. “I don’t think he’s in a very good mood at the moment.”

Fear clenched my gut. What would happen to us?

Glancing toward Altin, I saw the same uncertainty reflected in his eyes. A pirate behind him looked almost as uncomfortable. I pressed my lips together as I noticed the red drips of blood on Altin's arm.

Maybe he was right.

There hadn't been much point in trying to rescue him.

Jas might’ve had the best idea after all.

I fixed my eyes on the deck boards, not wanting to see the pirate captain when he emerged.

A door opened.

“—Two kids. What do you mean you got two kids?” the voice was clearly annoyed, but there was something familiar about it at the same time.

“Captain, it was simply—”

“I sent you to get the gypsy leader Hans Țigan, and you bring me two kids instead? You could have said that he wasn’t there and I would have been happy to wait,” the captain grunted.

Footsteps strode across the deck and a pair of high boots came into view. I refused to look up, glaring at the deck.

“Who’s this?” the captain asked.

“Uh, we think it's Hans’ son.” It was the pirate behind Altin that spoke.

“Well? You, Gypsy Boy. What’s your name?”

Altin clenched his jaw, standing in silence.

“Fine. Have it your way. And this? What made you bring a girl?

I tensed, knowing the pirate would be looking at me now.

“She was trying to rescue the Gypsy Boy,” another pirate explained.

“So you decided to capture her as well. She’s not even a gypsy. If you’ve been antagonising anyone pow—” the captain broke off suddenly.

I suddenly realised where I knew the voice from. Raising my eyes, I found him staring directly into mine.

“Warin?” I said unbelievingly.


1. Warin Wielder narrowed his eyes and ran them over his crew. “Right. So who here is the practical joker?” 

2. “What in the world are you doing here?” Warin asked. 

3. “You know him?” Altin spat the words viciously. “You’re friends?


Mwahahaha we've finally gotten to the bit I've been looking forward to the entire time since I started thinking about this story. 

And now you know who Gypsy Boy is. *grins* Did it come as a surprise to anyone?

I'm going to be away from today until Sunday afternoon so still comment! But I just won't be able to publish and reply to them until Monday.

Really looking forward to hearing how you liked this week's story.

Fair Winds!

Jane Maree

Friday, 22 July 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Slayers in Sáliner

Guys, guys! I finished my Camp NaNo goal! So excited. And y'know what that means?

It means you finally get that longer part I've (technically not) been promising. (technically been not promising, that is. It very technically is long)

Like...2,209 words. That should satisfy everyone. I just hope it's not too long.

And I am so looking forward to next weeks. *grins* Oh, I have such plans.

In last week's part - Generally Gypsies - option two won which was...interesting because, no matter what some people think (*cough* you listening, oh father? *cough cough*), the different options do make a difference and I can't just manipulate them all to happen in any way I want. Trust me, that would be much easier. 

This way I just have to make everything up. But it eventually worked and this is what I ended up with...

“Louise,” a whispering voice spoke. “I would speak with you.”

I swallowed, taking another step back. He grabbed my arm and I froze, not daring to move. “Please, let me go,” I whispered, my voice hoarse in my dry throat.

“Wait,” Lord Saxen Barlow released my arm, “There is something I must ask of you.”

I stopped, seeing his earnest expression. An old pain shimmered behind his eyes. “Yes?” I asked, glancing back over my shoulder to check I wasn’t being watched.

“Jaelle,” he said. “Is she alright?”

I blinked. “Jaelle Țigan?”

The Thief Lord’s lips became thin lines. “Yes.”

“She seems fine,” I shrugged. “At lunch she was looking pretty happy.”

Saxen’s shoulders slumped. “That’s good,” he muttered. “Glad to hear it.”

I frowned slightly. “You don’t look happy,” I replied.

He raised his eyes. “You wouldn’t know.”

“Should I?” I countered.

Our eyes locked for a long moment. Finally the Thief Lord sighed.

“Years ago there was a boy, about eighteen years of age. No one liked him. Hardly anyone noticed that he existed. Except for one girl.

“She was kind, and friendly. The only one who even bothered to try understand.

“They became friends. Close friends.” Saxen Barlow’s eyes darkened. “Then the gypsies came.

“The Girl, too, was a gypsy, but from a different clan than these. Among the new gypsies she met a young man. Handsome and dashing. It wasn’t long before she fell for his charm.

“When the two began courting, the first man—” Saxen paused, sadness and anger mixed in his eyes 
“—the first man begged the girl to come with him, but she refused. So he left. Never to return again.”

I felt a pang of compassion, as his shoulders slumped still further. “And…?”

“I’ve never seen her since,” he heaved. A tight frown touched his brows. “Why am I telling you this?”

“Because I get you,” I replied, lifting one shoulder in half a shrug. “And I’m sorry.”

He looked at me steadily, emotions conflicting in his eyes. “Thank you—” he broke off, a look of alarm flashing across his features. With a rustle he crouched, disappearing into the bushes rapidly.

I spun around at the sound of a footfall. Jas’s figure emerged from the darkness, a bright spring in his step.

“Jas,” I said, stepping backward and tripping on a stick.

He caught my arm before I fell over completely. “Hey,” he smiled hesitantly. Bending down, he picked up the stick and tossed it away into the bushes.

I winced inwardly, hoping it didn’t hit the Thief Lord. “Yes?” I asked.

“Er…well, I’m meant to tell you…umm…” he took a deep breath, drawing himself up straight and squaring his shoulders. “I am here to escort you to dinner.”

“Oh,” I blinked. “Thanks, I guess.”

His fingers twitched uncertainly. “Ah, just this way, my lady,” he said.

I fell in beside him as he led me through the gypsy camp.

“Altin was meant to be doing this,” Jas confided in an aside, “But he didn’t want to and told me to do it. I don’t know what his problem is.” He smiled again, one hand nervously patting his already neat hair back into place.

“I see.” I couldn’t think of anything much to say to that. Thankfully I was rescued by the appearance of the dinner fire, surrounded by half a dozen gypsies.

“Just over by your friends,” Jas pointed toward where Leonora sat with Daneela on her lap, Eumin beside her.

I settled myself on one of the many cushions around the dining area. “Hey Daneela,” I smiled as she scrunched her nose at me.

“You’ve been quiet this afternoon,” Eumin remarked. “I’ve barely seen you since lunch.”

I shrugged, “Been busy thinking.”

“Did it hurt?” 

I raised my eyebrows at Leonora. She looked up innocently. “Yes?” she asked, as if she hadn’t said anything.

Shaking my head I turned back to the food.

Platters were spread with an assortment of dishes. Long buns of fresh bread, and roasted meat dripping with juices. I breathed in a deep breath, tasting the aroma on my tongue. “Is there always this much food?” I asked no one in particular.

Hans, on the far side of Eumin answered. “Sometimes. This has been our best camp for quite some time and it has much to give. Tomorrow morn I shall take some of the men hunting for more fresh game.”

“Sounds tasty,” Leonora said, inspecting a small, oddly shaped pastry before putting the whole thing in her mouth.

“Careful—” Hans began but Leonora was already coughing.

Tears streamed from her eyes as she panted and started eating as many of the vegetables on her plate as fast as she could.

“That,” Hans said, clearing his throat with a smile, “Was a pasta de chiles. A chilli pastry. Very hot and spicy.”

“You don’t say?” Leonora said, shovelling another heap of vegetables into her mouth.

“There is a reason we normally call it especia de loco. Madman’s spice,” Jaelle said, leaning over my shoulder to fill my cup with water.

“Thanks,” I nodded to her, part of my mind distantly thinking about the Thief Lord’s story. “Do you remember a man called Saxen Barlow?” I blurted as she turned away.

She stopped short, looking down at me. “Yes,” she murmured softly. “I remember him. But I made my choice, and I don’t regret anything.” Her long, bright skirt swirled around her ankles as she moved off, making her way to serve all the others.

I munched thoughtfully on a roast potato, lost in thought.

When everyone had finally finished their meal, we moved from the dining area to one of the large campfires dotted around the camp. Leonora gave Daneela back to her mother, and dropped to the ground beside me.

“It’s days like these when I wish I was a gypsy,” she remarked, stretching her long legs toward the fire. “Just living off what you find, moving from place to place, never in the one spot for too long.”

“That’s why you go rampaging around the country on adventures,” Eumin said, tossing a stray stick into the flames.

“Or hunting down assassins as the case may be.” Leonora shrugged. “I still haven’t gotten over how many exciting things can happen in the one country.”

“Not that you limit the adventures to one country,” Eumin replied. “We’ve been halfway across the known world.”

“And look what we found.” Leonora waved a hand at me. “Another adventure.”

I smiled happily into the fire, glad to have a few days rest in the adventure, exciting though it might be.

I’d barely finished the thought before Leonora sat up straight, a frown on her face.

“What?” I asked at the same moment as Eumin.

She held up a hand and in another moment I heard it too. The pounding sound of galloping hoof beats.

Hans stood quickly as a rider burst into the camp. The horse swerved his way, skidding to a stop a few meters from the fire. The rider threw himself from the saddle, his words pouring out in a rush.

Even without understanding the language I could tell it wasn’t good news.

Hans listened until the man was finished then sent him away with a quick word. Jas jumped up from the fire and ran to lead the horse away, speaking to it quietly as he disappeared.

“I am afraid that was bad news,” Hans said, turning to Eumin and Leonora. “That man is a trusted friend of mine, he says that at midday today the assassin struck again, this time killing a fisherman’s oldest two sons while they were mending nets by the shore.

Leonora and Eumin were both on their feet in a flash, I wasn’t far behind. “We’ll need two horses,” Leonora said, her voice tight. “Eumin and I will set off tonight for the town. It’s our best chance to start immediately.”

“Hey,” I protested, “What about me?”

“You can’t come,” Eumin and Leonora said simultaneously.

“It’s safer here,” Eumin continued. “We won’t actually be dealing directly with Marius himself so you won’t be able to do anything.”

I dropped to the ground again, somewhat relieved. “But…” I tried to think of some excuse.

“If there’s any chance of something you can do, we’ll send word immediately,” Eumin said.

I searched my mind, but it wasn’t too eager to give any reasons for going. “Alright then,” I relented, annoyed at myself for not wanting to go in the first place. Heroines shouldn’t hide with gypsies while other people go after the villain.

I guess that’s why I’m no heroine.

“It will be a dangerous journey to Sáliner,” Hans warned.

“Don’t worry about us,” Leonora said, flipping her hair back over her shoulder. “Worry about Daneela when she wakes up and finds I’m gone.”

“Altin,’ Hans turned to his oldest son, who glanced up from the fire, eyebrows raised in question. “Fetch and saddle two horses. The fastest.”

The boy stood, an uninterested look on his face. “Yes father,” he said, turning in the direction Jas had taken moments earlier. 

Just then, Jas appeared, leading two horses. “I figured you’d be wanting to go,” he said awkwardly, holding out the reins.

“Thank you Jas,” Hans said, ruffling his son’s hair.

Jas ducked, grinning sheepishly as he combed it back into place with his fingers. Altin shrugged and sat back down again.

Leonora took the reins, passing one pair to Eumin. “We’ll be off then,” she said, smiling encouragingly at me. “Don’t worry.”

I tried for a smile. “I won’t,” I said, knowing it was a lie as soon as it slipped between my lips.

The two of them swung into the saddles, waving a last goodbye before wheeling the horses and cantering out of the camp. I watched them as the darkness enveloped them and the sound of hoof beats faded.

Hans let a deep breath loose with a hiss. “We won’t hear from them for at least a day,” he predicted. “Best to get some sleep now while you can.”

I allowed Jaelle to lead me back to the tent I’d first woken in, but I doubted that I’d be able to sleep.

Despite my fears, I woke in the morning to discover that I had managed to sleep after all. Wandering out, I encountered Daneela sobbing on the ground. Seeing my approach she looked up hopefully.

“You see horsie?” she asked.

I cracked a smile. “Horsie had to leave,” I explained. “She’ll be back soon.” I hope.

Daneela started sobbing again and her mother put her head out of the nearby tent. “Come on, Dan,” she called. “Breakfast?”

“Don’t want breakfast,” the girl sulked. “Want horsie.”

I gratefully accepted the offer of breakfast with Daneela’s family. Afterwards, Daneela had brightened up sufficiently to finish her bowl and blink up at me again.

“Horsie back again?” She smiled hopefully.

“Maybe you should go look,” I avoided her question artfully.

“I go look for horsie,” she announced, scrambling up and toddling out of the tent.

Unsure what to do, I followed, wandering about the camp. I came across Jas and Altin working at the horse pen.

“Hey,” Jas greeted me, ducking his head awkwardly as he passed, lugging a barrow of dirty hay.

“Morning,” I nodded back, leaning against the post and rail fence. 

“D’you want a tour of the camp?” he asked, returning a few minutes later.

I shrugged. “Sure,” I said.

“Not much to see,” Altin grunted, tossing an armful of hay over the fence. “A bunch of tents, a bunch of people and that’s about it.”

Jas dropped the handles of the barrow. “Come on, it’s not that bad. I’m gonna show her dad’s weapons tent.”

His brother turned on him. “You’re not allowed to just go in there for no reason,” he protested.

“You can come too if you want,” Jas replied, turning away. “I’ll show you,” he grinned at me, jogging off toward the tents.

I followed, hearing Altin’s growl of annoyance behind as he came after.

When Jas stopped in front of the tent his brother scowled darkly. “Don’t forget that I’m in charge while dad’s hunting,” he warned. “I could get you in enough trouble that you wouldn’t want to—”

“Just ignore him,” Jas said, pulling up the tent flap and walking inside.

The walls were lined with long tables, weapons of all kinds laid along the boards. “Wow,” I murmured. There were so many.

“I know,” Jas agreed. “My favourite is the broadsword.” He picked up a heavy sword from the table closest. “But I’m too small to learn it.”

“If dad finds out that you’re playing with his weapons…” Altin said warningly. 

“If you don’t say anything he’s not going—”

Jas’s argument was interrupted by a shrill shout of warning. Both gypsies beside me stiffened, turning to the tent flap.


1. “You two stay here,” Altin commanded. “I’ll deal with it.”

2. The tent shuddered from a sudden blow, and I had time to yelp a warning before the heavy fabric collapsed on top of us.

3. Jas grabbed a sword, shoving it into my hands. “Come on.” He flashed a grin. “It sounds like an attack.”


Wow. That was longer than I originally planned it to be. Egh. Hope that's okay. I'm really looking forward to seeing which option you all vote for favourite this week!

Fair Winds!

Jane Maree

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Tag of Description

As I promised, here is another tag! The Describe Tag, where you basically describe a bunch/five of your characters. Fun!

Hey look, I actually used the proper picture for once! :)

Here are the rules: oh wait. There are no rules. But just so you guys all know what I'm doing, I'll write out the assumed rules in a ruley sounding way (and proceed to break half a dozen of them).

1. Choose five (or more) characters of your creation to participate
2. Answer the questions about them
3. Tag one person per character*
(*Cool optional: choose a person who you think is similar to the character)
4. I think that's basically it now
5. It took me so long to think up all that
6. I hope you appreciate it
7. This is the last rule
8. Just kidding

There, I've got two rules I'll actually follow and half a dozen to break. All set to go then!

So I picked five characters from my current WIP Monsieur Scattlocke: Will Scattlocke, Emir Salib/Ben Kit, Alexis Kit, Allan Adell and General Somethingorother (No seriously. His name is General Somethingorother. I haven't thought up anything better yet).

Here goes. Will first.

Monsieur Will Scattlocke 
(more widely known in the Great Federation as the outlaw William Escarlate)

Is the character magical?

No, I wouldn't really say that. Unless you call surviving for seven years as a world-wide outlaw magical. Aside from that, none of these guys are magic.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.?

I'd say he was more reserved than the other options. He's a good leader (hence he becomes the leader of the Sherwood outlaws) and a good run-away-from-the-Great-Federation-er. He's had plenty of practice with that.

Is the character the main character of the book it's in?

Eh...yes. Hence the title Monsieur Scattlocke. It's kinda his famous cover name. (heh, get it. cover name. No? Never mind then.)

What hair colour (if applicable) does the character have? 

Can I just point out the 'if applicable'? I mean, were they going to have no hair? Actually...I don't think I've ever had a character with no hair...but that's kinda beside the point.

Will's hair is dark brown. Like, really dark brown, almost black.

What is your character? Human or other?

He's a superhero! Er, nope. Not actually. He's just your ordinary young mastermind escape artist. He's also been an outlaw for seven years. Ever since he stole a loaf of stale bread for his starving sister, got conscripted into the army, ran away, got caught again, ran away again...and so on. He had a happy childhood as you can tell.

Good or bad?

I would hope the main character was good...So yes. He's good.

My description: 

Erm...come to think of it. I don't think I've ever described him in words before...Always a first time! I'll do it from Merian Fitzwalter's (she's the maid Marian kind of person) point of view, just to make it interesting.

Something tapped against the window. Merian jolted awake, confused for a moment to find herself slumped at the writing desk.

The window slid up with a scrape, allowing a gust of cold wind into the room.

A dark figure vaulted through the open window, landing lithely on the floor. The outlaw had kept his promise after all.

Straightening, the slim man stepped forward into the flickering light of the lantern. A black mask covered the top half of his face, matching the rest of his raiment. Dark hair fell across his forehead, not quite concealing the eyes – bright in the candlelight.

Overall, he looked just like what he was: the leader of the infamous band of outlaws.

Monsieur Scattlocke himself.

Emir Salib 
(otherwise know as AusIntel Agent Benjamin Kit)

Is the character magical?

Well...let's see. Again, it really depends on your idea of magical...If you count dashing charm and boyish good looks...? Not to mention a brilliant sense of humour, an amazing talent at getting lost (I mean, he was sent to the Middle East and he ended up in Britain. Go figure), and not too bad a shot with his gun.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.?

He's hilariously funny of course. An awkward, quirky kind of person, I'd call him.

Is the character the main character of the book it's in?

Well...about that. He's also in the sequel to Monsieur Scattlocke and is the main character then counts as a yes. It's actually only in the sequel that you discover who he really is (and that his name is actually Benjamin Kit not Emir) and all that. You guys are all getting the spoilers. :)

What hair colour (if applicable) does the character have?

Brown. Lightish brown and...that's about it.

What is your character? Human or other?

Definitely human. But Australian, which, with the circumstances in the world, is basically as strange as a random elf hanging around.

Good or bad?

Good. Although some of his jokes are undoubtedly bad. A good deal are good though.

My description:

Again, I don't think I do much straight out describing of the characters in the book. I prefer to just put in little details here and there so people know what he looks like but aren't blinded by the blindingly obvious descriptions. I'll stick in a scene between Emir/Ben and his older sister Alexis (Ben calls her Lexi, just so you know) so you can get a kinda idea of them. Personality-wise, rather than physical. 

Voices. There were a lot of voices. They sounded strangely familiar, particularly the one just next to his…bed? Where was he anyway? Ben pushed aside the fog of nothingness and cracked open his eyes.

“He’s awake,” someone said. “Maybe.”

Ben blinked again, scanning the room. Two people stood by the door, a doctor at the foot of his bed, and then he saw Lexi. She knelt by his bed, eyes anxiously watching him.

“Lexi?” he groaned hopefully.

Relief flooded his sister’s stormy eyes, a smile breaking out. “Oh Ben,” she said, then sat back, her relief instantly traded for criticism. “Britain?” she began. “You are sent to the Middle East to gather information and you end up in Britain?

“I got lost,” Ben protested lamely.

“You can say that again,” Lexi rolled her eyes.

“I got—” the words were cut off as she put her hand over his mouth.

“I can't believe you could be such an idiot,” she started, then broke. “But you’re alive.” Diving forward she wrapped Ben in a hug.

He ignored the pain, hugging her back. “I missed you,” he murmured into her hair.

Lexi drew back. “You missed me?” she asked, her voice rising with incredulity. “You missed me? I thought you were dead.”

Ben started to reply but she held up a hand. “And you were actually taking a holiday in Britain and breaking the Great Federation’s most wanted outlaw out of jail. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they take your badge.”

“They’re not planning to, are they?” Ben asked in alarm.

“You’d better come up with some good excuses, moron,” she said, eyes meeting his lovingly.

“What about ‘I am a moron’?” Ben suggested.

“No need to state the obvious,” she retorted with a smile.

Alexis Lilianna Kit

Is the character magical?

Nope. She's nice, but not magic.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.?

She's a reasonably reserved and quiet person, (as in, not crazy hyper) although for Ben she can be the bossy big sister. And then with her job with the AusIntel (Australian Intelligence) she has to order people around a bit at least, and she's pretty good at that.

Is the character the main character of the book it's in?

Nah, but I have considered that if I can think up the idea for a third book she could take her turn at the main-character-ing. But that's all still a while away and my brain will explode if I think too hard about writing a trilogy. A far too terrifying thought.

What hair colour (if applicable) does the character have?

Erm, brown. Dark brown this time, but not as dark as Will's.

What is your character? Human or other?

Last I checked she was human.

Good or bad?

Good. Yeah, Lexi's definitely good. Good at a lot of things. Like calling her brother a moron.

My description:

I'm just going to make something up this time: She's amusing at times, not as much as Ben naturally. She is medium height and build, 19, and engaged to someone I haven't named yet. She looks a bit like the picture:

Allan Adell
(the Monsieur Scattlocke version of Alan-a-Dale)

Is the character magical?

Again. Nope. Maybe I should've just gotten rid of this question. He's reasonably good at playing his lute, and can probably play something that sounds magical.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.?

Reserved, I reckon. He was with Robin Hood (who is a complete idiot, by the way, that's why Will eventually took over the leading of the outlaws) for quite a while but never got brave enough to actually protest about anything. He's a follower sort of guy.

And he's quite amusing when he starts falling in love with Avice the shepherdess.

Is the character the main character of the book it's in?

No, but he's Will's second-in-command kind of person. A bit like what Will Scarlet is normally to Robin Hood in the slightly less unusual retellings.

What hair colour (if applicable) does the character have?

Redish brown, but I can't say my picture of him is terribly clear. (very annoying) I'm getting it slowly.

What is your character? Human or other?

He's an outlaw minstrel who ain't that bad at archery. Assuredly human.

Good or bad?

Guess what? Allan's good too. Don't worry, the next one won't be. 

My description:

The picture isn't quite right. I imagine his hair a little browner and less orange. I'm also thinking he's a bit older than it looks in the picture, but it's the best I've got. Allan's about twenty-something, a minstrel, is Will's good friend from as soon as he joins the gang. He meets Avice in a raid on the Sheriff's tax wagons and they get married by Friar Tuck after some amount of time that I haven't worked out yet. You can really see how much of this book is planned out, can't you?

General Somethingorother 
(the leader of the Great Federation and the dude who has no name)

Is the character magical?

Heh. No. Evil. Grumpy. Likes imagining smashing people's faces into walls (and probably does it from time to time). But not magical.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.?

As I said, he likes imagining smashing peoples faces into walls (particularly his IT-expert who is the one person who can get away with annoying him).

Is the character the main character of the book it's in?

General Somethingorother is the Big Bad Villain Dude. Absolutely not the main character. He mostly comes into play in book two (which I should say, is called Agent Kit at this stage) when he really kicks into his evilness.

What hair colour (if applicable) does the character have?

I haven't really spent much time imagining this guy. He's hair's black, and always slicked back perfectly. And looks evil. There. I just thought that up off the top of my head, hopefully it'll be okay.

What is your character? Human or other?

Evil villain dude, and luckily human. Though his IT-expert (Milson) helps him work out some stuff that could be considered slightly inhuman.

Good or bad?

BAD. Mwahahahahaha!

My description:

I don't even have a picture for this guy. Just do your best to imagine a grumpy villain who killed his own dad to get his position, the leader of literally half the world, person who generally kills the people who annoy him (except for Milson 'cause no one else is as good as him), and a bunch of other evil stuff.

Not to mention the fact that he wants to execute Will and make Ben die a slow and painful death for interfering with those plans of execution.

So there we go. The tag of Description. And I only did rule one and two so I actually did break half a dozen. I sadly don't know that many bloggers, and certainly none who are like General Somethingorother (phew). For Ben I'd have to tag myself (heheh) and Will...I have no clue. Lexi and Allan likewise. 

I hope you enjoyed this rather long tag of characters. If you wanna do it, sure, go ahead! I'd love to see your answers. 

Fair Winds!

Jane Maree

Friday, 15 July 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Generally Gypsies

Greetings earthlings. Can you believe that it's already halfway through the month? Crazy. Completely crazy.

What with my brain mostly stuck in Monsieur Scattlocke because of Camp NaNo I was happily surprised when I finished the 1,500 words just before eleven in the morning. Rather nice. 

And we've finally gotten up to the gypsies! YAY! Gypsy Boy is finally here. Except you don't know who he is. (If you guess, please tell me, I want to know all your theories)

Option three won, and (no surprise if you know me very much) it was also my favourite. When I wrote it, I didn't even have to think, it just came out as the natural response. 

So here ye go. Generally Gypsies. I took a while naming it. Jas the Gypsy was the original idea, but I wasn't sure if it counted as proper alliteration, so I ended up with Generally Gypsies. It doesn't make much sense's a name, so it'll do.

“I’m not that ugly am I?” The smilingly offended words brushed aside the horror.

I jerked up to a sitting position, panting and shivering. Eumin looked down at me from where he leant against a wooden tent post.

“Wha— oh.” I swallowed, rubbing my forehead with the heel of my hand. “Sorry, it was just…bad dream.”

Eumin pushed himself forward, making the brightly coloured tent fabric sway. “You feeling alright?” he asked, a slight frown touching his features.

“Yeah, I’m all good,” I said. Already the dream seemed to be fading. A cool breeze swept through the open tent flap, making the fabric billow and flutter. “Where are we?”

“This,” Eumin gestured around, “Is the gypsy camp. The man who rescued you, Hans Țigan, happens to be an acquaintance of ours and he invited us to accompany them back. We were happy to oblige.”

“Oy Eumin!” Leonora yelled from somewhere outside. “You’ve gotta come see this.”

Eumin glanced at me and shrugged, offering his hand to help me up. My head whirled at first but I held onto his arm for balance.

“Ready to meet the gypsies?” he asked.

I drew in a deep breath. “Ready.”

I stopped as soon as I stepped out of the tent, dazed by the buzz of activity. Bright tents dotted the area, the colours flashing contrast against the brown dirt. Copper skinned men and boys worked, cutting wood, sharpening weapons, and women sat in groups in front of their tents, laughing brightly as they stitched and mended. Children dashed around in wild games of chase.

“Woah,” I breathed, unable to think of anything else.

Not far off the land dropped into sea, blue-green waves crashing against sand, spraying white droplets into the air.

“It’s like that the first time,” Eumin agreed. “And every time after that.”

Leonora was playing with a gypsy toddler, subjecting to have her hair be used as horse reins. She looked up as we approached. “Hey, Louise,” she grinned. “Feeling better now?”

I nodded, smiling at the little girl. She hid behind Leonora’s hair.

“This is Daneela.” Leonora swept the toddler into a hug. “She apparently has taken a liking to my hair. Nothing personal of course,” she added, poking the girl playfully.

Daneela giggled, tugging on Leonora’s hair. “Go horsie,” she laughed.

“Neigh,” Leonora said, and snorted loudly.

“Daneela!” A tall woman was standing by a tent not far away. “Nap time now.”

The girl collapsed on the ground in a sobbing heap. “Don’t want to,” she bawled. 

“Aw, come on,” Leonora picked her up and deposited her into her mother’s arms. “I’ll still be here when you get up again.”

“Horsie still be here?” Daneela’s lip quivered uncertainly.

“Yup, Horsie still be here.” Leonora waved to the toddler and returned to us.

“I see the sleeper has awoken,” a familiar sounding voice said from a few paces behind.

I turned to see Hans Țigan, the leader of the gypsies.

“Morning Hans,” Leonora said. “Nice place you’ve got here this time.”

He bowed slightly. “Thank you, we hope to stay here for quite a while,” he glanced around. “It is quite the ideal spot.” Then he clapped his hands together, “But I must introduce you. The midday meal is being prepared, and I’m sure you will all enjoy that.”

Turning around, Hans shouted something in a different language. One of the gypsy boys who’d been charging around the camp, giving piggy-back rides to a shrieking little girl skidded to a stop. Setting his rider on the ground he dashed toward us.

Within moments a small crowd was gathered.

I glanced toward Leonora. “Who are all these people?”

“This is the family circle. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, cousins twice removed, and all that kind of thing,” she whispered back.

“Louise, please meet my wife, Jaelle Țigan,” Hans beckoned to a tall, smiling woman.

In a very short time, my mind was whirling from all the names and how they were related to who. I knew I'd never be able to remember them all.

“How come at least half of them have the same last name?” I whispered to Leonora.

She cracked a smile. “The word Țigan means gypsy in an ancient gypsy language, so basically they’re saying he’s Hans Gypsy, she’s Jaelle Gypsy, and all that,” Leonora explained. “Some of them aren’t descended exactly from the same gypsy clan so they have different surnames. Some were more original with their names.”

“Gypsies are very into family history,” I remarked, turning back to the gypsy leader.

“And these are my sons, Altin Țigan and Jas Țigan,” Hans gestured at two bronzed boys in turn.

The taller of the two, Altin, raised his chin haughtily, cold eyes meeting mine. Jas on the other hand looked at the ground awkwardly, prodding a large beetle on the ground with his bare toe. He combed his hair flat with his fingers, still panting slightly from his mad piggy-back rides.

“Uh, hi,” I said, feeling just as awkward as the gypsy boy looked.

Altin gave me a contemptuous look but Jas still didn’t meet my eyes.

Hans cleared his throat. “Is the midday meal prepared?” he asked Jaelle.

She nodded and replied in the Gypsy language, before hurrying away through the tents. “Allow me to show you to the dinning tent,” Hans said.

I leant my back against the rough bark of the tree, watching the activities of the camp with drowsy eyes.

“They’re nice people,” Leonora murmured from beside me.

I nodded. “Rather,” I thought for a moment before adding, “Mostly.”

Leonora snorted. “There’s always the occasional sulky one.”

Sighing heavily, I voiced the thoughts that were troubling me. “When we do find Marius, how am I meant to stop him?”

“To be entirely honest, I don’t really know,” Leonora said. “But there’s got to be some way, and I think you’re the only one who has a chance to do it.”

“Maybe…” I squinted across the distant sea, “Maybe I shouldn’t have come.” I tried to keep my voice steady. “I just can’t stop thinking about everyone back home worrying, and how hopeless everything is.”

“Just between us,” Leonora said in a conspiratorial whisper. “One of the reasons your noble father gave me for wanting you to stay is that they’d have to postpone the engagement.” She tapped her nose knowingly.

“The WHAT?!” I jerked upright from my slumped position, swivelling to stare at her.

“Oh, didn’t you know?” Leonora grinned innocently. “I believe your father has found the perfect old lord to marry you off to. Probably a nice fat one who wouldn’t stand for adventures. Couldn’t have you going wild. After all, you are getting a bit old and all that.”

“I’m fifteen!

“Sure! And isn’t that the proper marryin’ age?” Leonora arched her eyebrows with a daintily proper expression. “Not like me – I’m positively ancient in that respect. Imagine getting to be twenty and still not married! Disgraceful.”

I gaped at her.

Her face remained serious for a full ten seconds and then the laugh won and bubbled over, spilling loudly into the air. “Oh my, your face…” she choked. “You should’ve seen it…” She doubled over laughing and accidentally smashed her noses into her knee

“You were joking then?” I gasped in relief. 

She grimaced, rubbing her nose. “Well, not downright. Your dear dad does happen to have a duke all set up – dowry and everything.”

I blinked. “Oh.”

“Yes, ‘oh’ is about the right word for it,” she agreed, scratching her ear. “I rather thought you’d be pleased to delay things a little.”

“Oh,” I managed again.

“You already said that,” Leonora remarked dryly.


“That one, at least, is original,” she interrupted with the perfectly straight face that meant she was laughing her head off on the inside. “Besides, it’s not hopeless,” she looked at me earnestly. “Never think something is hopeless, Louise. If you give up before you even start trying, it’s just wasted everything.”

I slumped back again, watching as Jas hopped around with two young boys hanging off his arms and one wrapped around his leg. Her words kept spinning around my mind.

“Well,” Leonora clapped her hand onto my shoulder. “I’m off Eumin hunting. See you.” Her footsteps crunched away over the dusty ground. 

The afternoon passed quickly as I sat, deep in thought. There had to be some way to stop him. Sunset found me still sitting, oblivious to the world. As the shadows grew longer and deeper I suddenly remembered my dream.

The voice of Dark seemed to echo through me, and I struggled to my feet. Sweat sprung out on my palms. 

It is I. He who lives in Darkness.

A rustle sounded behind me, the low hiss of a breath. A figure appeared in the dim light.


1. “Jas!” I exclaimed, falling back in surprise. Relief flooding through me.

2. “Louise,” a whispering voice spoke. “I would speak with you.”

3. “Long time no see,” Marius said calmly.


You almost got a doubly long part this time, but halfway through writing I realised that it was plenty long enough for two parts, so I cut it short and it was still a normal lengthed part.

Thanks all for reading, you are all such brilliant peoples, I wouldn't do this without you. :)

Fair Winds!

Jane Maree