Friday, November 18, 2011

Gemfire Excerpt (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by the wonderful and talented Joanne "JJ" Sher over @ her blog, An Open Book. Click here to read and share more great fiction. Several of us Wrimos are sharing novel excerpts this week--you'll be in for a real treat! ^_^ 

Author's Ramblings: And this week is another except for my NaNoWriMo Novel, Gemfire. Still in the extremely rough stage, but featuring the main character, Areya and an old Keeper friend of hers, Thatcher. (Think of Keepers like a cross between Rangers and Guns-for-hire with the protection of the law behind them). This is after Areya and her group of two were lured into a trap by mistake. Thatcher and Areya try to catch up after a few years of being apart. Enjoy! ^_^  (Oh and Spire is the currency in their world).


Areya sipped a small cup of the bitter coffee, her brow furrowed in thought. “I actually haven’t seen anything, we’ve just come over from MinderBlu.” 

“Speaking of which.” Thatcher frowned. “You caused a bit of trouble there and in Meresch, correct?”

“Trouble?” Areya repeated, innocently. “I didn’t do anything. No fights, no citations.” She held up her hand, the coffee cup balanced on her knees. “Hands are clean, see?”

Straw-blond eyebrows knitted themselves together. “Right. Which is why there were rumors of a girl with dark-hair and weird eyes tricking a couple of guards at the entry gate-”

“Hey! I left my toll spire there after I’d earned it and I cleaned all their armor for free! They weren’t even gonna-”

“Sugar?” Lilith took the coffee cup from it’s precarious position and handed it off to Takera who was busily stirring the powdered sweetner into the liquid mixture. 

“-you stole an heiress from under the eye of her bodyguard, blew up a merchant stall and-”

“She came of her own free will and I didn’t blow that up, someone else did. Besides, since when can I actually blow things up anyway? If I could, I would, that’d be a really handy skill to have.”

“That’s a skill you won’t be learning.” Thatcher cut in, irritably. “Areya, could you please pay attention when I’m trying to-”

Takera handed the cup over just as Lilith turned with another, the two collided and coffee went everywhere.

Areya was on her feet in an instant. “Oops?” She offered, lurching forward and grabbing Thatcher’s arm. “The river’s this way, I’ll help you wash it off.” She tugged, hard. “Come on, please!”

The scowl on his face settled, but he let himself be pulled away.

She threw a worried glance over her shoulder, then continued on, pulling the Keeper’s leader further into the clearing to the river. “It was an accident, they didn’t mean it, honest. They’re just a bit jittery, you guys make them nervous.”

“They should be.” He shrugged out of his overcoat and handed it over.

Areya dunked it in the river and began to swish it around. “I really wasn’t trying to cause trouble you know.” Her voice was quiet. “I just couldn’t leave them alone and you all but dared me go into Meresch.”

“I did no such thing.”

“You did too!”

“Areya!” He exclaimed, exasperated. “Really, what am I going to do with you?”

“Love me, adore me and promise to stop randomly knocking me out?” She quipped. “When was the last time you washed this thing? It stinks!”

“We don’t exactly have time to spend on washings and it’s been a while since we were able to stop without attracting attention.” He sighed. “C’mere.”

Areya lifted the soaked vest from the water and moved closer to him by the bank. She sat, tucking her legs up beside her and leaning against his shoulder, snuggling into the arm that was offered. This was more like the Thatcher she remembered. “You been okay?”

“Just peachy.” He rested his chin on the top of her head. “We’ve been cleared to go hunting.”

“Hunting?”

“Yes, three names and we’re to see to all of them. We cleared to move until a situation is declared solved in accordance with general guidelines.” He smiled, sadly. “It’s good and bad at the same time.”

“…sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s good money and we all get along, it could be worse.”

“I doubt it.”

“You been okay?”

“Yeah. The usual.”

“Any news from your mother?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“Areya.”

“I heard that someone in MinderBlu had a map for sale.”

“A map?”

“Yeah, for that place.”
“You came all the way back here on the hearsay about a map?”

“It’s the only lead I’ve got, Thatch. What would you have me do?”

“Tell me you were in the area for one.” He tweaked her ear, straightening and allowing her to sit up. “It would’ve been nicer than just finding out that you were waltzing through the islands and leaving a lovely line of terror in your wake.”

“I didn’t leave anything!”

“Relax. I’m not going to scold you for it, though you do deserve it. What part of ‘don’t cause trouble’ is so hard for you understand?”

“All of it!”

“I’m speaking in plain Basic.”

“That’s beside the point and I really tried. I didn’t fight anyone this time.”

“I know. I’m proud of you, even if I did have to fix a few ruffled feathers and smooth out the kind of debts that the empire really shouldn’t be paying for.”

“Erm. Sorry.” Areya ducked her head. “But I did try!”

He chuckled, softly, patting her head with one damp hand. “Give me that, I’ll rinse it, you don’t need to be wading around in the water, it tires you doesn’t it? When there isn’t any Mineral present in the stuff?”

“You remembered.” She smiled, handing it over. “Thanks. Make sure you scrub it and wring it well, because you stink like a-”

“Don’t finish that if you know what’s good for you!”

She smirked. “Who are you hunting?”

He shrugged. “Three bandits. The Specter, Sunshine Reya and Wolfsbane.”

“Wolfsbane?” Areya shuddered, visibly. “No wonder you all look like that. Isn’t the unit too small?”

“We’ve added a few since you left.”

“I wasn’t one to begin with.” Areya shot back. “I was just a cute little stray that was helpful from time to time.”

“You made a good mascot.”

“I can’t be a mascot for the rest of my life.”

“I know, I know, I’m just saying.”

“It’s that bad?”

“Worse. I’ve lost a few of the young ones.”

“He knows you’re hunting?”

“Oh he knows alright. Knows by know which group is doing the hunting and probably doing all he can to get some inside information on the troupe.” He shrugged. “Thankfully, we’re so new that the dynamics haven’t been worked out completely, it gives us the advantage, just a little.”

“So you’re gathering intel? That why you had us grabbed off a trail for doing nothing?”

“Naturally. You weren’t the original targets though, Orson is good at what he does, but sometimes he can be a little near-sighted. Can’t see past what’s in front of him.”

“Really?”

“The local guards loaned him to us, apparently he’s a consultant for one of their young generals and is good at tracking and integration. There's an outpost in the nearest city, it's a secret safeground for many of the generals and their favorites to visit. We're lucky to have him.”

Areya snorted. “Not that lucky.”

“Really?”

“Lilith and Takera practically had their hackles up from the moment he thought of entering the camp right up until Dekker’s squad jumped us. They didn’t like him at all.”

Thatcher’s bushy eyebrows arched upwards in appreciation. “Really? Impressive.”

“Not really. I think we’re all just a little strung out.”

“What did you think?”

Areya shrugged. “He didn’t smell like danger, so I didn’t figure he was.”

“He led you right into a trap and from what I understand, you didn’t even try to fight back. Even if you knew it was Keepers, there was no guarantee that this would’ve been our squadron or that a Keeper brook would’ve even considered your medallion.”

“Did they find it?”

“No.”

“Figured.”

“Are you hiding it somewhere that I don’t want to know about?”

Areya winked. “Something like that.”

He chuckled. “You’re a real treat, you know that? I’ve missed your chatter. I’ve missed you, kidlet.”

“I didn’t chatter and I’m not a kid!” She pouted. “Well, maybe not all a kid.”

“You know what I mean. My turn now. Have you heard anything?”

“Have you?”

“If I had, I would’ve said so by now, don’t you think?”

“Just asking.”

“No harm in asking.” He smiled. “I see you’ve got yourself two interesting travel companions.”

She grinned. “They’re hilarious. I suppose they are really the only friends I actually have.”

“Really? Congratulations then, though I’m wounded as not to be included in your precious selection.”

“Ha ha. You’re in the special friend category.” She smiled, watching as he wrung out the overcoat and swished it through the water once more. “They’re kind of in a different friend category.”

“Really? Am I flattered or insulted?”

“They’re girls! That’s different enough.” She protested, laughing. “and they’ve been extremely kind. I can’t complain.”

“Why’d you pick them up?” He sobered. “The guard she left behind, a Ferdinand somebody, he wasn’t too keen on it.”

“He shouldn’t be. He tricked her, the two-timing idiot-.” 

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” Areya huffed. “He was lying through his teeth the whole time and he set a pack of thugs on me to explode that merchant stall. I had nothing to do with that.”

“I know. The merchant says you were an angel and pulled him to safety at your own risk.”

“Ha. It wasn’t anything that heroic. He was heavy.”

“Must’ve taken a lot of energy.”

“Not really, I was running pretty low, otherwise he wouldn’t have had a scratch on him.”

“ah. I did wonder.”

“I was fine, thanks for asking.”

“I can see that for myself.”

“Lilith picked me up from the streets and took me back to her place. We kind of hit it off from there and she was…nice. Reminded me a little of Melody and the others. Then I really saw what Ferdinand was doing and how her whole family treated her and—Thatcher, they really weren’t letting anyone in or out of the city! People died!”

“I know.” He said, quietly.

“You know? How can you just say you know? People died and no one did anything about it!”

“Not all of them died.”

“What?”

“Some of them that made it into the harbor didn’t head for MinderBlu, they went back and spread word. We were traveling through to check up on it and also because we’d gotten wind that Sunshine Reya had been active in that area. Imagine my surprise when we pass through and there are two guards grumbling about a girl with dark hair and-”

“And weird eyes, I know already.” She glowered at him. “Really, Thatch!”

“Lack of information and miscommunication.” He listed. “It was a problem that we knew nothing about, so we couldn’t fix it. But your stepping in and turning things upside down made it pretty easy to tie up loose ends.”

“You’re welcome.”

He winked. “Thank you, kindly miss.” 

(c) Sara Harricharan 
Thanks for reading, do let me know what you think! ^_^

5 comments:

Sarah Elisabeth said...

Lots going on here! Great job on characterizing these two.

Joanne Sher said...

Okay - I LOVE Areya. WHAT a character!! Spunky and sassy and ooh - awesome :D

Good stuff, sweet Sawa!
JJ

Sparrow said...

Ooo, interesting story and dynamic characters!

Yvonne Blake said...

I love your names! Mine are always so ordinary...but, I don't write about extra-ordinary places. Well done.

Kristina said...

This is awesome! I love the worlds that you create. Areya is a fantastic character. I really like her. Anyway, this is a wonderful excerpt and I'm looking forward to reading more of this story in the future. Great writing, Sara dear! <3