Here’s a “Friday Snippet,” to follow the twitter trend, from my young adult fantasy “The Crimson League.” Read along as Kora Porteg and Sedder Foden reminisce about their childhood imaginary kingdom. (“The Crimson League” is the first novel in the Herezoth trilogy. It is on sale from January 1-11 for only 99 cents for kindle!)
Finally, Nani pointed out where they could sleep—the second door on the right, down the hall, the room housed two beds—and went to her own room to lie down, leaving Kora and Sedder on a settee near the fire.
Kora asked, “Does Nani remind you of Madame Gipry?”
Their first teacher. Sedder told her, “I was about to ask you the same thing.”
“I couldn’t wait to go to Madame Gipry’s every morning. It was so much more exciting than home. Remember that one time, when we were pretending to use magic and she caught us at it? Us two and Hunt. I wouldn’t be surprised if his father beat him senseless.”
“I got a lecture,” said Sedder. “It probably didn’t last ten minutes, but it felt like hours.”
“My father threatened to whip me with a tree branch if I ever did it again,” said Kora. “Which makes me lucky we didn’t get caught again.”
“Little rebels, we were.”
“Not really.” Kora shifted her eyes to the hearth. “What were we risking? Discipline? It felt like something at the time, I guess. We wanted it to feel like something. We wanted to have adventures. We imagined our own world, the three of us.”
“Good old Trenzern,” said Sedder, his face lighting up. “It was a fun place. It had its dangers, of course. Ogres, and giants….”
“Nothing as giant as what we’re facing now.” A log in the fire split in two, shifting all the burning wood. The top log nearly fell; Sedder shoved it in place with a poker while Kora stared at the flames. “I miss the Trenzern days,” she said.
“I do too.” Sedder dropped onto the settee. “I do too.”
“We handled our share of danger, didn’t we? Sand pits, hidden dungeons, dragons’ lairs. Hunt always rushed in at the last possible second to give us a chance.” Hunt as he had been at age seven rose from the recesses of Kora’s mind: huge green eyes, a perfect mouth, a cowlick on the right side of his head. Age seven was the last time she had seen him. “I wonder where he is now.”
“He’s dead,” said Sedder. The fire’s mesmerization lost its strength; Kora wheeled her head around.
She had seen Sedder angry, truly angry, only once, when that lieutenant whipped him on the road. He was just as livid now. Not a trace remained of his nostalgia, and his face was tense, his arm shaking.
“Five months ago,” he said. “They caught him stealing meat and corn somewhere in Yangerton, caught him in the act. No trial needed. Not that a trial nowadays means a damn thing. What the law wants, the law gets, and the law wants thieves hanged.”