❝“Are you a Vessel?” I ask, weak and wary, but starving.
He gives me an evil grin.
“Why don’t you find out?”❞
This mortal means to cause me trouble, I can tell. He thinks he can handle me, thinks he can bind me and bend me to his will. He’s not the first to think so, and he won't be the last. And weak as I am right now, he may be right. But as I grow in strength, so will I grow in power. He will subjugate me—but only for a short time.
I study him, trying to gauge how much harm he’ll cause before I’ll be able to wrest control back from him. He’s not my preferred choice of Vessel—I don’t tend to go for murderers; they garner too much attention, and I prefer to remain unnoticed. But then again, I don’t have much choice.
❝Everyone warns me the Bone Beach is not what it sounds like. They say there’s no point in visiting, that no one understands its strange name.❞
It looks like a regular beach—pale water under the persistently cloudy skies lapping at the slightly pebbly sand at a regular rhythm, washing up the occasional piece of driftwood. It’s utterly empty, and remains so the whole time I’m there, even though the town’s just beyond the ridge leading to this beach. My only company is the v-formations of birds heading to warmer climes that pass overhead, calling mournfully to each other.
I set up camp out of reach of high tide, and I only leave to get necessities, like food that I don’t have to cook on my campfire or camping stove, or a hot shower at the community centre. On one such excursion, a few days after I arrived, I asked some of the locals why the beach was empty. Sure it was the tail-end of fall, so I wasn’t expecting swimmers, but I hadn’t even seen anyone out walking their dogs or enjoying a stroll.
Well they do nowadays, anyway, but it’s a trend that first started with me and Seph.
See, I bring the dead back for a fee and for a cost, which are two different things. The fee is my going rate of three gold coins per body—real gold, mind you, though I don’t care about when or how they were minted. The cost though; that’s not about me, that’s about the necromancing.
I bring back someone who’s died, who’s been to the Other Side, and not only that, but I bring them back in their original body, no matter how far along in the decomposition process it is.
(Hey, I’m a necromancer, not a rejuvenator. They charge a hell of a lot more than I do and for good reason.)
❝When I was only small, I forgot how to sleep. The town council said it wasn’t my fault, that they had the perfect job for me.❞
The Exterminator needed an apprentice, they said. He was remembering how to sleep, so it was imperative that he train up a replacement before it was too late.
“You’ll be perfect,” they told me.
My parents didn’t really have a choice but to let me take the job. It was that or have me suffer from sleep deprivation and let our town be overrun.
Now I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, there’s always an Exterminator and it’s always someone who doesn't sleep, either because they can't or because they've forgotten how to.
It's once again my favourite month of the year, October! And as I did in 2019 and in 2021, I'm dedicating this month to writing short responses to various prompts. However, I'm not using the original Fictober prompts; instead I'm going to pull inspiration from the wonderful Deep Water Writing Prompts over on tumblr!
Every day (if all goes to plan), I will write a short post responding to a different prompt from that blog, with source links and any relevant images. The beginning of this month crept up on me, but luckily, I have Day 1 already prepared, so keep an eye out for that!
I hope you're having a wonderful October. Are you doing any writing or reading challenges? Let me know!
In a world of magic that runs like lifeblood through the very earth, Ro is a rare outlier: a null. Magic doesn't affect her or work for her; she instead cancels it out. This comes in useful; as an assassin, Ro slips through all magical defences and snares easily.
When two different contracts come her way, requesting that she assassinate Queen Alyss of Miraré's oracle for a truly obscene amount of gold, Ro happily, eagerly accepts the assignment. For one, she's never killed an oracle before. For another, the reward is practically a king's ransom, and Ro loves nothing as much as gold.
It takes months, but eventually Ro gets herself into the perfect position to kill the mystical oracle...only she hesitates. Not out of any moral quandary, but out of curiosity.
And that single hesitation has far reaching consequences for an entire universe, because the oracle isn't an oracle. He is something else far more influential than that, whether he knows it or not...
Alyss | also called the Red Queen, ruler of Miraré through usurpation, one-time destined saviour of the world, currently attempting to forge an alliance with Teimor.
Ro | also known as Carrow, a null and assassin whose moral compass points to 'gold' or 'would be fun', depending on the situation.
Sage | an oracle who isn't, motivated by a dual desire for revenge and finding a way home, full of secrets.
Fintan | leader of the Order of the White Hare, a rebel organization dedicated to removing Alyss from the throne, also known as Fin.
Jac | Ro's one-time guardian and current liaison for assignments.
Sirin's son has been kidnapped by the djinn, and she will stop at nothing to find him and bring him home, even if that means marching into the realm of the Unseen on what everyone insists is a hopeless mission. He's gone, she is told. Grieve him, for he is as good as dead. If he is returned to you, he will not be the same child you knew.
But he isn't dead, and Sirin refuses to wait around for an if. She doesn't care that no one has ever returned from such a venture. She's going to save her son, or die trying.
Enter Halah; the only person taken by the djinn who claims to have escaped them, rather than been returned. Only she knows the paths into the Unseen realm and the ways through the kingdom of the djinn, and when Sirin pleads for her help, she agrees.
She can't abandon a child, even one she doesn't know. Even if it does mean returning to the last place in all the realms she ever wants to see again...
Sirin | a desperate, determined mother, chief of her tribe after her husband's untimely death.
Qusaiy | Sirin's son, a six year old boy, renowned for his beautiful voice and excellent memory.
Raoul | Cousin to Sirin's husband and her childhood friend, secretly in love with her, utterly devoted to her.
Halah | escapee from the djinn, living as an outcast at the edge of a village with her best friend and a sootdragon for company.
Ilyas | Raoul's best friend and a fierce warrior of Sirin's tribe, Nilam's twin brother, and a former slave.
Nilam | A Ranger, Halah's best and only friend, Ilyas' twin sister, and a former slave.
Well, I'm back after another long absence. Raise your hand if you're surprised. No hands in the air? Yeah, I didn't expect there to be. You know the drill: I had a crisis, shut everything down, ran away until I felt better, and came back, shamefaced but determined not to pull the same stunt again.
Anyway, you're not here for my personal woes, you're here for writing! Presumably. I don't know if anyone's still around, actually, but if I shout into the void, perhaps the void will shout back a welcome.
So. You may be wondering what's with this post's title. Well, it references both my recent mental state and also the states of two of my wips: Chronicles of Mourra and Wonderland.
Guess what! The plans I had for both? Shattered. On purpose. I picked up both wips, threw them at a metaphorical wall (aka my debilitating writer's block), shuffled through the pieces, picked up the shiniest, prettiest fragments, got a new frame and some glue, and made two different mosaics.
This extended metaphor is getting away from me, so let me speak plainly. Neither of these wips were working for me, so I took what I liked best of them and made something new. Wow, that sounds way easier than it actually was. In reality this took me literal months and serious angst to do.
Let's jump right into it, shall we?
This book brought me unexpected joy! I love period and Regency romances, and having exhausted Austen and the Bronte sisters’ works, I’ve been slowly making my way through Georgette Heyer.
Most of her work is fluffy and fun but not quite ...hm, engaging? But Frederica was a romp, a delight, and emotionally engaging!
Featuring a sarcastic Marquis almost fatally bored with life who enjoys teasing (read: annoying and subverting the demands of) his avaricious sisters, the titular heroine who manages her siblings with spunk and humorous frankness, absolutely hilarious and endearing little brothers, and a very beautiful if vapid (but still sweet!) younger sister who falls for a Regency himbo.
The relationship is a slow burn where the main couple develop a friendship first, and they just so genuinely like each other that it doesn't actually feel like a burn. The Marquis undergoes a wonderful, accidental development as a person, quite literally despite himself. He genuinely can't help but be charmed by Frederica and her siblings. I'd say Frederica reminds me of Anne Elliot if she had a nicer family and Elizabeth Bennet's liveliness.
It's a little slow in its first couple of chapters before it amiably sweeps you along. Every single character was either delightful or amusing, and I loved the sarcasm and teasing and characters saying what they absolutely don't mean half the time.
I also loved the misadventures of the siblings and the crotchety aunt who is supposed to be minding them in London and even the valets and butlers and people they encounter on the street! Literally every single minor character was pretty well fleshed out enough to feel real and also be fun to read about. 10/10 would read again.
I hope it gets made into a film or miniseries, I think it would do great! I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you enjoy Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion (my two fave Austen novels)!
Hey hi hello and happy new year!
Every December I tell myself I won't bother making resolutions because I rarely meet them, and every January I make them anyway. But! I've decided this time to make 'intentions' rather than 'resolutions'. It feels a bit more flexible, hopeful, and aspirational that way, instead of a commitment I already foresee myself breaking, y'know?
As Hyba noted in her positive productivity post (one of a series of three, I encourage you to read them all!), it's important to treat ourselves with grace and compassion.
So here's a non-exhaustive list of my writerly intentions for this year:
✧.* Chronicles of Mourra
There you have it! These are manageable intentions, I think, but also listing them like this is making me a little anxious, not gonna lie. I calm down when I remember this is supposed to be spread out over a full year, and my main 'goal' is to work towards these things, even if I don't finish them! I need to have something to aim for, at the end of the day.
Have you set resolutions and/or intentions for this year? If so, what are they? Comment below so we can support each other!
Best of luck this year babes, and as ever: happy reading and writing.
Welcome to the blog!
Featuring prompt fills, excerpts from my wips, posts about my writing process, and more.